We updated this article in April 2022 to add more information about each featured product. To our original top-rated products, selected by the Good Housekeeping Institute, we added picks from Built, OXO, Dagne Dover, Vera Bradley, Takenaka and more.
As many of us slowly return to the office, packing a healthy lunch is making its way back into the weekly routine. Lunch boxes geared to adults help you comfortably transport food from your home to the office and make it easier to avoid accidental spills and leaks. That's why our experts pulled together a list of our favorite top-rated adult lunch boxes, ranging from insulated totes that keep your food fresh to bento boxes, backpacks and cute bags that are easy to carry around.
At the Good Housekeeping Institute, the Kitchen Appliances and Culinary Innovation Lab tests everything ranging from air fryers to kitchen knives. When selecting the best adult lunch boxes, we evaluated criteria such as style, size and material to help you pick the best lunch box to suit your needs and budget. Whether you’re looking for something to keep your soup piping hot to protect your salad from getting soggy — and maybe even complement your outfit? — these are the best lunch boxes for adults of 2022:
Our top picks
- Lightweight, flexible material
- Machine washable
- Zippered closure
- Slightly narrow
The Kitchen Appliances and Culinary Innovation Lab experts love that this adult lunch box is affordable, lightweight and easy to carry. It’s a practical pick that easily fits all sorts of containers and snacks inside, and it includes a zipper to keep items from falling out while you’re rushing to the office.
Because it’s made from flexible neoprene material, this lunch box is easy to stuff into a larger bag or backpack; plus, it’ll help keep your food cool or warm. Best of all, it comes in several fun colors and patterns and can even be thrown in the wash should anything accidentally spill.
- Several stylish designs
- Manufacturer claims it will keep contents cool or warm for about 4 hours
- Not as flexible
Offered in several colors and patterns, this lunch bag is as stylish as it is affordable. One of our experts says “this lunch box has lasted for years and fits more food than you’d think. It’s super easy to wash when it gets dirty, and I love how the handles are the perfect size for carrying it around NYC.”
It’s made from an insulating material that helps keep your salads cold, and it also comes with a convenient zippered closure. It even includes an extra front pocket so you can fit your phone or utensils inside!
- Dishwasher safe
- Multiple compact containers
- Airtight and leakproof
- Plastic material
The containers in the Brilliance range from Rubbermaid stack neatly on top of each other, meaning you never have to play a game of fridge Jenga again. This five-cup salad kit keeps things fresh with a leak-proof seal and includes a tray for your dressing and toppings so you’re able to mix your salad right before you eat it. It’s the perfect adult lunch box for meal prep and salads, and our experts love that it’s easy to wash in the dishwasher.
- Detachable shoulder strap
- Stylish design
- Multiple pockets
- Hand wash only
Our experts love that with a detachable shoulder strap in addition to the handle, this lunch box is extremely portable. The main compartment is insulated to help keep foods cool. It even comes with extra pockets to keep your lunch organized. While our pros found it a bit narrow and not the best lunch box for soups or liquids that need to be kept upright, we love its classic, sleek design.
- Large capacity
- Waterproof coating
- Manufacturer claims it keeps contents hot or cold up to 4 hours
- Narrow design might not work for all containers
Hydro Flask knows how to keep things cool, and this large insulated cooler bag will do just that. It has a fully lined interior to help keep your meal warm or cool, and the exterior coated fabric is durable and waterproof, according to Hydro Flask. We like how the tote has a flat bottom to help keep everything upright and that the bag is big enough to store a few small groceries items on your way home (especially in the 20 L or 35 L size). If you’re looking for a more traditional, structured lunch bag with a handle, you can also opt for this 8L Hydro Flask insulated lunch bag.
- Dishwasher safe
- Cute design
- Two tiers
- Not flexible
Made in Japan, this slim and sleek adult lunch box from Takenaka caught our experts' eyes. We like how it’s leakproof according to the manufacturer, dishwasher safe and that it comes with two tiers so you can keep your lunch in separate compartments. Offered in several bright, pretty colors, it’s the kind of lunch box your colleagues will want for themselves.
- Includes clipable buckle handle
- Collapses to save space in freezer
- Hand wash only
This freezable lunch box from PackIt is the best choice if want to keep your food cold without having to carry around separate icepacks. All you have to do is collapse the lunch box and freeze it overnight! Offered in multiple designs, this pick is as useful for adults as it is for kids. The flexible material makes it simple to fit in a bookbag, or you can use the buckle that's built into the handle to clip it to your backpack or tote.
This lunch box from OXO is as practical as it gets. Though we wish it was offered in more colors, we love that it comes with long straps so you can comfortably sling your lunch on your shoulders. It’s also insulated to keep everything cool and has a roomy interior to fit your lunch and more with an expandable top section. For extra storage, there’s an exterior pocket that can fit little treats, utensils and condiments.
- Cheerful patterns and colors
- Machine washable
- Consumer complaints of poor insulation
If you want a lunch box that flaunts your style, this selection from Vera Bradley is for you. It includes an insulated lining as well as slip pockets for ice packs so your lunch can stay cold, but what our experts love most are the cheerful, colorful patterns. Its lightweight and unstructured shape also make it extremely easy to shove in your bag once you’ve emptied it. On top of being easy to carry around with a handle, it’s machine washable.
- Great thermos temperature retention according to manufacturer
- Compact storage in thermos
- Includes useful tote for carrying and forked spoon
- Three microwaveable bowls
- Hand wash only
When a solitary cup of soup just won't do, the Ms. Bento is the perfect solution. It comes with three separate microwaveable bowls that fit into a single thermos, all stored in a useful tote bag that will keep everything upright, in one place and easy to transport. The thermos is ideal in situations when a fridge or microwave aren't available since it helps keep your food warm (or cool) for hours according to the manufacturer. But as with any thermal containers, we recommend "preheating" the hot-food bowls by pouring in and emptying out boiling water before adding hot food to maximize the heat longevity.
- Hands-free design that can accommodate other items
- Includes laptop sleeve
The experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute are already fans of the highly functional Luncher bag from Modern Picnic, but we all know that a backpack is oftentimes the most comfortable hands-free option. The Backpack lets you carry your lunch to work along with any personal belongings. It comes in a stylish vegan leather material, features magnetic closures for easy access and includes an insulated interior so your food and beverages stay cool. Our Media & Tech lab pros were fond of the padded laptop sleeve, though they wish it were in a separate compartment in case of any spills.
- Clever take on a traditional design
- Insulated lining
- Includes button and tie closure
- Hand wash only
If you miss the days of bringing a brown bag lunch to school, why not opt for this spin on a classic design that's flexible and versatile and has that beloved paper-bag look? Made from Tyvek material that’s resistant to leaks and stains, according to Lekue, this bag is also easy to fold and put away. In addition to being waterproof according to the manufacturer (unlike traditional brown bags), this lunch sack is lined with insulating material to keep your food fresh. It comes in grey or brown and features a button and tie so nothing falls out when you're in transit.
- Large capacity
- Adjustable shoulder strap
- Removable plastic liner
- Not insulated
If you need to pack lunch for the family, this lunch box has room for lunch, snacks and nine beverage cans. It’s perfect for tailgates or picnics in the park and is easy to carry thanks to an adjustable shoulder strap. Our experts love that there’s a plastic liner inside that keeps this lunch box upright and that it’s a breeze to remove for easy cleaning.
- Vacuum seal valve on top
- Fork included
- Oven and freezer safe
- Might be too small for some
This Black + Blum lunchbox is made of stainless steel, meaning that it can be used in both the freezer and the oven. There’s a vacuum seal to help prevent spills and leaks, as well as a silicone strap for extra security when tossing your lunch in your bag. Our experts especially love that this lunch box comes with an adjustable food divider and a fork as a bonus.
- Spill-proof seal
- Collapsible and stackable
- Microwave and dishwasher safe
- No handle or strap
This lunch box bowl is a favorite among our kitchen pros and a winner of a 2021 Kitchen Gear Award. It's a great choice for a kid's lunch box, but we love it for adults too because once you’re done with your lunch, the bowl collapses, making it super portable and easy to stash in your bag. It’s microwave and dishwasher safe and stackable, so owning a few of these won’t clutter your kitchen. We like that it comes in a variety of pastel colors, and think it's a great choice for packing sandwiches or healthy snacks!
When shopping for an adult lunch box to bring to the office, on hiking trips or even to a spring picnic, there are a few key factors to consider in addition to how much you want to spend.
✔️ Style: Do you want a lunch box that is soft and flexible like a bag or tote, or do you prefer something sturdier, such as a container or a bento box? Also, consider how you plan on getting your lunch box to your destination and whether portability is important. Some lunch boxes come with a strap or handles for easy carrying.
✔️ Size: Adult lunch boxes come in all shapes and sizes. Some are large totes or bookbags so you can throw in a few extra items, while others are smaller and have only enough space for your food. Before purchasing a lunch box, you'll need to decide whether you want room inside for a water bottle, snacks or utensils along with your lunch or whether you'd prefer something smaller and more compact.
✔️ Material: Once you've narrowed down whether you want a lunch box that's a bag or container, you'll have to choose from materials like glass, plastic, stainless steel or something softer like neoprene, cotton or polyester. You should also check whether your lunch box is stain-resistant, water-resistant, leak-proof or dishwasher safe for easy cleanup and protection from spills. Keep in mind that not all lunch boxes are insulated, so also look out for an insulating lining to help keep your food at the right temperature. This is especially important if you don't have access to a fridge or don't have room for ice packs. We also recommend looking for lunch boxes with smooth vinyl or plastic interiors, which are easier to clean on a daily basis.
To select the best adult lunch boxes, Media & Tech Reviews Analyst Olivia Lipski collaborated with the Kitchen Appliances and Culinary Innovation Lab Director Nicole Papantoniou. Together they reviewed and evaluated each lunch box for criteria such as style, size, insulation and portability.
In previous tests at the Good Housekeeping Institute, lunch boxes were tested for their ability to retain a safe temperature, ease of use, durability, ease of opening and closing, packing, carrying and cleaning as well as resistance to leaking and staining of the box.
Media & Tech Reviews Analyst Olivia Lipski oversees product testing and covers everything from video doorbells to bathroom scales across appliances, health, home and fitness. She frequently collaborates with the Kitchen Appliances and Culinary Innovation Lab to help readers make better buying decisions by testing and reviewing the best kitchen tools and gadgets to hit the market. With a B.A. from George Washington University and a master’s in communications from Sciences Po Paris, Olivia has several years of experience writing about tech and trends and continues to stay on top of the latest innovations across industries.