Our Picks for Best Lunch Cooler – Lunch Boxes that Keep your Food cold

As we continue to march forth into this new year, you should make sure that you’re following through on at least two of your resolutions. First, you resolved to save more money, and second, you decided to eat healthier.

Although there are a few different ways to achieve success with these resolutions, we believe that one of the simplest solutions is to start bringing your lunch to work. This one change can make a profound impact on both your wallet and your waistline, which is why we cannot stress it enough.

But in what are you going to bring your lunch, you ask? It’s easy - one of the best lunch coolers, of course. Today we’re going to show you some of the top models on the market today that will make your resolutions effortless to keep. Whether you prefer sandwiches or something more gourmet, you will agree that these lunch coolers are the ideal method of keeping them fresh all morning long.

10 Best Lunch Coolers - Comparisons

10 Best Lunch Coolers - Reviews

Stanley 7QT Heritage Cooler

When picking out the best lunch cooler, there are two primary options. First, you can go with something soft and flexible, allowing you to carry more items since it won’t be as rigid. Second, you can have something like this Heritage Cooler from Stanley. It operates like a standard ice chest, only smaller.

What we like about this cooler is that it’s built for harsh environments. That means that no matter where you work, it will be able to keep your contents safe and secure. It also comes with two layers of insulation, which will ensure that your food doesn’t spoil.

One of the primary selling points of this cooler is the fact that it comes with its own Thermos. Not only is the vessel as durable and rugged as the rest of the chest, but it’s so well insulated that you can keep either hot or cold beverage at temperature for up to 24 hours. If you have ice in your drink, then it will stay frosty for several days without any significant changes.

The other remarkable thing about the Thermos is that it locks into place when you’re carrying the cooler. This allows you to bring both items securely and efficiently, wherever you go. The Thermos also has its own carrying handle and the lid doubles as a cup, making it even more convenient for your next meal.

Cleaning this cooler is a breeze, thanks to its slick interior surface. Inside, it comes with two compartments, and they can both be cleaned quickly with a few wipes of a damp towel. Although we would prefer for the divider between them to be adjustable, it should provide more than enough storage space for most lunches.

What we liked

  • Durable plastic construction
  • Easy carry handle
  • Impact-resistant materials
  • Locking stainless steel Thermos 
  • BPA-free materials
  • Thermos keeps hot or cold for 24 hours
  • Leak-proof design
  • 2x insulation for better storage
  • Two separate compartments
  • Lid doubles as a tray
  • Thermos has a handle for convenience
  • Easy to clean inside

What we didn't like

  • Interior is smaller than you might think
  • Divider is not removable
Meal Prep Bag Meal Prep Containers 3 Compartment

Although bringing your lunch is going to save you money in the long run, if you’re really serious about making a lifestyle change, then you can start meal prepping instead. This process involves cooking or preparing enough food for the week and then labeling each meal based on the day you plan to eat it. If that sounds like something you’re interested in, then this meal prep bag from Prep Naturals is going to make things so much easier for you.

Rather than relying on a rigid ice chest to keep your food from spoiling, this prep bag is made of durable and flexible 1680D nylon. Not only that, but it has much more storage and many more compartments, allowing you to bring as much or as little food as you like.

In the center section, there are four dividers. These are perfect for placing a variety of Tupperware inside so that you can utilize portion control (a big part of meal prepping). Although you won’t usually need all four sections, it’s nice to have them, just in case. What makes this part of the cooler even better is the fact that you can unzip the sides all the way to the bottom, ensuring that you don’t have to reach down to grab whatever you need.

On the other sides, there are two additional zippered compartments. One is for water bottles, and the other is for any other peripheral materials that you may want to bring with your lunch. There is also a top section for things like silverware and napkins so that they don’t get cold from your food.

What we liked

  • Soft, flexible 1680D polyester
  • Insulated core keeps food fresh for up to eight hours
  • Side storage for drinks and other items
  • Four dividers to compartmentalize your food
  • Easy carry handle and padded shoulder strap
  • Works with pre-made bento boxes or other containers
  • Perfect for meal preppers
  • Full set of lunch materials (boxes, measuring cups) included
  • Back pocket to hold valuables
  • Sleek black design
  • Sides open flat to allow for more accessible storage

What we didn't like

  • Bag is not leak proof
  • Containers that come with it are relatively flimsy
Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Zipperless Cooler

So far, we’ve seen models that are designed and built for lunches. However, if you prefer to bring a lot of food and drinks with you wherever you go, then you will appreciate this model from Arctic Zone instead. There are three sizes to choose from, and each one will allow you to carry a ton of stuff. Thus, whether you use it for lunch or your next outdoor adventure, this cooler is perfect for any occasion.

What’s nice about this model is that the outside is flexible and stain-resistant fabric, while the inside is a single insulated piece. The reason that we like this setup is that the interior is leak proof (since there are no seals or cracks), and the exterior comes with two separate zippered pockets. This way, you can bring almost anything with you, from food to drinks to valuables.

Another selling point of this particular cooler is that it doesn’t have a zippered top. Instead, it uses Velcro, enabling you to open it and access its contents much faster and more efficiently. Although you may not need that for lunchtime (depending on how hungry you are), it makes it an ideal choice for the beach or any road trip.

The last feature that we like about this unit is the flexible insert shelf. This piece creates a barrier so that you can separate the contents of the cooler much more easily. For example, you can put your beverages on the bottom and the food on the top without them touching, which helps ensure that your food doesn’t get soggy. Both the inside of the cooler and the shelf are easy to clean and just take a quick wipe to get rid of any messes or spills.

What we liked

  • Durable rigid interior
  • Soft, flexible exterior
  • Velcro top for better security
  • Side pockets for additional storage
  • Leak-proof design
  • Padded shoulder strap for easy carrying
  • Back saver design
  • Multiple sizes and styles available
  • Adjustable inside shelf for convenience
  • Radiant heat barrier keeps contents cold
  • Stain and water-resistant materials
  • Easy to clean

What we didn't like

  • Doesn’t hold ice as long as other models
  • There is a significant difference between the outside and inside dimensions
Stanley Adventure Cooler

As we’ve seen already, Stanley is a brand that makes high-quality, rugged coolers. Although we’re talking about models that work for your lunch break, Stanley Coolers are meant for outdoor job sites, like construction. Nonetheless, if you want something durable, reliable, and compact, then this model is an ideal choice.

Overall, this cooler is pretty basic, meaning that there aren’t a lot of additional features and functions. The sides are foam insulated to help keep your contents cold, and it comes with a thick rubber gasket to ensure that the frigid air doesn’t escape quickly. The outside of the cooler is sturdy and can take a beating, should you ever wind up dropping it.

The lid also comes with some elastic tie downs so that you can hold a water bottle or a Thermos on top without any problems. This feature is perfect if you already have a Stanley Thermos and you want to combine the two without having to buy them together.

What we liked

  • Rugged plastic shell
  • Double wall foam insulation for better cooling
  • Adjustable tie downs hold additional items
  • Two color options available
  • Easy carry handle
  • Multiple size options
  • Leak-resistant gasket
  • Keeps contents cold for up to 36 hours
  • Sturdy metal hinges for durability

What we didn't like

  • When items are placed on the lid, the unit can roll over more easily
  • In rare cases, the bungee cords may be flimsy
eBags Crew Cooler II

If you’re looking for a lunch cooler that will provide you with the comfort and quality that will allow you to bring it with you day in and day out, then we suggest getting something like the Crew Cooler II from eBags. This is a traveler’s model, which makes it ideal for constant back and forth between the office and your home fridge.

The first thing that we like about this unit is how easy it is to carry. The material is durable yet lightweight, and the whole thing flattens out rather easily, especially compared to other “soft” coolers. We appreciate that you can use either the top handle or the padded shoulder strap as well.

Inside, this model is not meant for ice cold items, but it’s perfect for keeping your lunch at a crisp temperature for a few hours. The inside has a removable food-grade liner, which enables you to clean any messes that may occur.

The other thing that we appreciate about the Crew Cooler II is the fact that it comes with so much storage. There are four pockets in all, with a dry mesh pocket on top for anything that you don’t want to get cold. The sides are made for beverages, and there is even a “pass-through” pocket in the back so that you can attach the cooler to your suitcase when you travel.

What we liked

  • Soft yet durable 840D nylon flex material
  • Multiple designs available
  • Soft grip handle and padded shoulder strap
  • Multiple zippered pockets for added storage
  • Top compartment stays dry for convenience
  • Front zipper opening allows for easy access to your contents
  • Well insulated bag keeps items cool for hours
  • Food-safe interior PEVA liner comes out for easy cleaning
  • Side water bottle pockets
  • Pass-through pocket in the back for airline travel
  • Flattens for easy transportation and storage

What we didn't like

  • May be smaller than you expect
  • Not designed for ice cold items
Coleman 9-Quart Excursion Cooler

As far as cooler brands go, Coleman is one of the most well-known and the most respected. No matter what kind of model you get, you know that it will do its job well and keep the contents cold for hours on end.

In this case, the Excursion Cooler is a small camping model that can be re purposed for daily lunch. There’s nothing too exciting about it, except for the fact that it comes with the same quality control as any other Coleman product. The outside is rugged and durable, and the inside is polished and easy to clean. There isn’t much more to say about this unit beyond that.

What we liked

  • Durable plastic construction
  • Easy carry handle
  • Multiple colors available
  • Easy to clean surfaces
  • Thermal insulation for better cold storage
  • Small enough for lunches and snacks

What we didn't like

  • Bottom narrows
  • May be too small for some users
Coleman 30-Can Soft Cooler

If you want a Coleman Cooler that can do more than just hold your stuff, then you will prefer having this unit instead of the Excursion model above. This is another combo model that has a rigid interior and a soft exterior. This makes it an ideal choice for lunches as it is much more comfortable to carry.

One thing about this cooler is that it’s quite large. It can hold up to 30 cans of soda (or beer), so it will be much bulkier than other options on this list. However, the size also ensures that this can double as a weekend or camping model as well.

What we like most about this unit is that the inside has a removable PEVA liner. Not only does it make cleaning it much easier, but the material itself is designed to keep odors and stains at bay. It is both antimicrobial and antibacterial, so you shouldn’t experience the “old cooler” smell that comes with so many other models.

Other features that we appreciate include a soft padded shoulder strap, outside pockets for convenience, and a leak-resistant design. As long as the size isn’t too much for you, this could make a great lunch cooler.

What we liked

  • Rugged nylon exterior
  • Removable PEVA food-grade liner
  • Antimicrobial and antibacterial materials
  • Hard shell interior keeps its shape 
  • Padded shoulder strap
  • Large inside for holding more food
  • Extra storage for your convenience
  • Leak-resistant design
  • Odor-resistant interior

What we didn't like

  • Doesn’t keep items as cold as other Coleman products
  • Side pockets are relatively small and tight
MIER Insulated Cooler Backpack

One of the primary issues with most coolers is that they are a pain to carry. Usually, they have a top carrying handle, which means that you have to use one hand at all times to bring it with you. Even if there is a shoulder strap, it can be uncomfortable, especially if you have a lot of stuff packed inside.

Fortunately, there is an easier way. This model from MIER is designed as a backpack, meaning that it will be much easier to bring with you to work and any other outings you may want it for. Adjusting the straps is super easy and enables you to walk with it for much longer, such as if you're going to bring it to the beach or camping. Best of all, there is padding on the backside so that it’s even easier to carry for extended periods.

The inside of this cooler is also excellent as it comes with mesh dividers and it’s much taller than most other models.Thus, you never have to worry about your beverage container (i.e., water bottle) being too large to bring along. Not only that, but the bottom is leak-proof, so even if there is a spill, you don’t have to worry about it.

The exterior has three zippered pockets for your convenience, and they ensure that you will always have the right amount of storage for your needs. Overall, this is an incredible cooler that will become your go-to for lunch.

What we liked

  • Soft yet durable design
  • Backpack model is easy to carry
  • Leak-proof cooler
  • Large capacity interior
  • PEVA liner prevents odors and stains
  • Tall capacity holds all kinds of items
  • Mesh divider for your convenience
  • Exterior storage for all of your stuff
  • Padded back support

What we didn't like

  • In rare cases, the seams for the straps may start to come undone
  • Wearing for extended periods may affect internal temperature
Igloo 55912 Playmate Gripper Maxcold Cooler

Along with Coleman, Igloo is another brand that’s synonymous with high-quality coolers and materials. This particular model is designed specifically for lunchtime, so you will be able to bring all kinds of meals with you to the office or job site.

The insulation of this unit is incredible, and it will keep your food and drinks cold for hours. It doesn’t have a rigid interior, however, so that does mean that it may sag if you load up too much inside. Fortunately, though, the liner is made of PEVA, which is both stain and odor-resistant, as well as removable so that you can clean it better.

Another feature that comes with this cooler is the top pocket in the lid. This compartment is perfect for soda cans or other peripheral items that you may need for lunchtime. The soft grip handle and the shoulder strap are also designed to make carrying much more comfortable overall.

What we liked

  • Durable soft material design
  • Easy carry top handle
  • Adjustable padded shoulder strap
  • Separate lid storage for convenience
  • Leak-resistant design
  • Antimicrobial liner
  • Thick insulation keeps items cold for hours
  • Large design for better holding
  • Flexible and lightweight

What we didn't like

  • Bottom can sag when the contents are heavy
  • In rare cases, the seams may start to split over time
eBags Crew Cooler JR

If you liked the Crew Cooler II from eBags that we featured above, but you were afraid that it would be too big for your lunchtime needs, then this model is the perfect alternative. This cooler comes with all of the excellent features that make the II so amazing, but it’s just a size smaller so that you don’t have so much extra space.

Some highlights of this unit include a soft and flexible design, rugged 840D nylon exterior, extra storage for your convenience, and many colors and styles from which to choose. Overall, this is a perfect accessory if you are really trying to eat healthy, as the smaller size ensures that you don’t bring too much for lunch.

What we liked

  • Durable 840D nylon material
  • Multiple designs available
  • Easy carry top handle
  • Soft padded shoulder strap
  • Side and top pockets for convenience
  • Removable PEVA liner
  • Bottom access for easier removal
  • Small design for lighter carrying

What we didn't like

  • Bottom may sag when contents are heavy
  • May be too small for some users

Final Verdict 

Although we’ve seen some excellent coolers on this list, many of them are made for more versatile outings, not just lunchtime in the break room. That being said, if you’re looking for a model that can work both at the office or on your next camping adventure, then something like the Arctic Zone or Coleman 9-quart will be your best bet.

When we’re talking about lunchtime specifically, though, then our top pick is either the eBags Crew Cooler II or the Meal Prep model. Both of these units are designed for the break room, which means that they are easy to carry, work well for a variety of lunch options, and aren’t too bulky or heavy to bring on a daily basis.

When it comes to saving money and eating healthier, the Crew Cooler II or the Meal Prep Cooler are the ones to get.

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David Valle

I started this blog to provide advanced material, guiding you towards a better and more comfortable fishing experience. I deliver more than fishing gear guides, and motivate people to hit the water!