A lunch box is one of the most important purchases you’ll make for your kids’ school year, unless they prefer to buy their lunch in the cafeteria every day. It’s also ideal for summer camp season when kids often tote their own snacks and lunches. The best lunch boxes for kids are durable, simple to wipe clean or wash, well insulated and easy to pack, including with additional lunchtime accessories.
Once it’s time for your children to shift from days enjoying outdoor toys and kiddie pools to days spent in school, they’ll be using a lunch box possibly every weekday—so it’s important to find the features that work best for you. Our editors love the built-in cooling layer in our top lunch box pick, the versatile PackIt.
These lunch boxes put the classic brown paper bag to shame, boasting insulating layers to keep things cold (they typically do this better than maintaining heat), convenient pockets, handles or straps, fun designs and bento-style organization.
After looking at various lunch boxes and considering size, durability, features, customer reviews and more, we’ve compiled the best lunch boxes for kids to take to school. (We even have a recommendation for a baby bottle bag for daycare.)
Best Lunch Box Overall: PackIt Freezable Classic Lunch Box
Best Insulated Lunch Box: L.L.Bean Lunch Box
Best Cute Lunch Box: Hello Kitty Standard Lunch Box
Best Bento Box: Bentgo Kids Brights Lunch Box
Best Lunch Bag: Adidas Excel Insulated Lunch Bag
Best Neoprene Lunch Bag: KicksBySammy Lunch Tote
Best Lunch Bag For Babies: Momcozy Insulated Baby Bottle Bag
Best Overall Lunch Box
A Popular Option With Built-In Cooling Layer
Best Insulated Lunch Box
A Longtime Favorite That Keeps Lunches Cool
Best Cute Lunch Box
A Fun Lunch Box With A Kid-Favorite Character
Best Bento Box
A Super Organized Option That’s Dishwasher-Safe
Best Lunch Bag
A More “Mature” Looking Style For Teens
Best Neoprene Lunch Bag
An Insulated Lunch Bag With Lots Of Cool Designs
Best Lunch Bag For Babies
A Daycare Bag To Hold Everything Your Little One Needs
How We Chose The Best Lunch Boxes
We reviewed many products when searching for the best lunch boxes, and we took note of parents’ customer reviews, especially those that referred to durability and ease of cleaning. We also looked for kid-friendly design, both in appearance and practicality. Most of our picks are in the range of about $15–$25.
What To Consider When Buying A Lunch Box For Kids
If you’re shopping for kids’ lunch boxes and lunch bags online, the number of options can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve put together the buying guide below to help you sort through the selections and choose the right lunch box for your child (and the right one for you, if your kid isn’t old enough to pack and clean their own lunch box).
Ease of Cleaning
Many kids’ lunch boxes and lunch bags aren’t machine washable, so make sure the lining is at least described as “wipe clean”—either with water or soap and water. Sometimes a lunch box’s outer material will be indicated as “spot clean” only, and in that case, darker colors might be more practical.
If your kid likes to bring a new lunch box to school every fall, you can get away with buying a product that isn’t meant to last for years. If that’s not your plan, classic brands like L.L.Bean are good bets. In general, check customer reviews for parents’ comments on how particular lunch boxes hold up.
Pay close attention to the measurements of the lunch boxes you’re considering, especially if you plan to pack particular food containers, a large ice pack and/or a water bottle. Some lunch boxes have outer pockets for extra room.
Most lunch boxes close with a zipper. If you buy a bento-style lunch box and plan to pack sauces or similar items, make sure it’s leakproof. You still might need to purchase an additional insulated lunch box to hold a bento box, especially if you’re trying to keep things cold vs. warm.
Everything your kid could possibly want on a lunch box or lunch bag is out there somewhere, whether that’s solid colors, geometric prints or their favorite animals, characters and video games.
Lunch box features may include one or more pockets, a handle or strap, and clips that attach to backpacks. Bento-box trays may be freezable, microwaveable and dishwasher-safe, while some lunch bags are machine washable.