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The Coleman 9-can Soft-Sided Cooler will keep your lunch cool. Credit: Reviewed.com / Jackson Ruckar

The Best Lunch Coolers of 2022

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The Coleman 9-can Soft-Sided Cooler will keep your lunch cool. Credit: Reviewed.com / Jackson Ruckar

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Product image of Yeti Hopper Flip 8

Yeti Hopper Flip 8

The Yeti Hopper Flip 8 is a durable cooler with excellent straps and ties, a well designed zipper that prevents leaks, and solid construction. Read More

Pros

  • Can stay below 40°F for six and a half hours
  • Durable
  • Leakproof

Cons

  • Pricey
Product image of CleverMade SnapBasket Cooler, 30 Cans

CleverMade SnapBasket Cooler, 30 Cans

This Clevermade cooler is portable, easy to store, and has more than enough space to fit a single person's lunch and drinks. Read More

Pros

  • Can stay below 40°F for nearly seven hours
  • Collapsible

Cons

  • No external pockets
Product image of Igloo Playmate Elite 16 Qt. Cooler

Igloo Playmate Elite 16 Qt. Cooler

The Igloo Playmate has a nostalgia-inducing design and is great for picnics and other outdoor uses. Read More

Pros

  • Can stay below below 40°F for seven hours
  • Classic design

Cons

  • Clunky to carry
  • Unsealed and not leak-proof
Product image of Yeti Daytrip Lunch Bag

Yeti Daytrip Lunch Bag

The Yet Daytrip is an attractive lunch bag with a variety of options for securing it shut. Adding an icepack helps keep its contents cold for longer. Read More

Pros

  • Good for rugged environments
  • Durable with good closing options
  • Attractive

Cons

  • Short on straps and storage
  • May require additional ice packs
Product image of L.L. Bean Lunch Box (TA271893)

L.L. Bean Lunch Box (TA271893)

With a few ice packs, this durable lunch box keeps small lunches cold. It's built to last, too. Read More

Pros

  • Durable and well constructed
  • Many color and customization options
  • Can double as a packing cube

Cons

  • Small capacity
  • Require ice packs to stay cold

If your to-go lunch food is perishable and you can’t brown bag it, or if there’s no guarantee that you’ll be near a refrigerator in the immediate future, investing in an insulated lunch box or an insulated lunch bag is a good idea.

There are a ton of cooler bags to choose from to pack food, each with their own sets of pros and cons, but don’t worry, we’ve got your back. We investigated the temperature control, usability, and versatility of eight lunch containers, including both small coolers and insulated/freezable lunch bags to find the best lunch coolers for you.

Editor's Note

The recommendations in this guide are based on thorough product and market research by our team of expert product reviewers. These top picks are based on examining user reviews, product specifications, and, in some limited cases, our experience with the specific products named.

Product image of Yeti Hopper Flip 8
Yeti Hopper Flip 8

Best for: outdoor adventures, times when you can’t afford to have a leak.

Yeti's heavy duty Hopper Flip 8 should make any person braving the elements with food and beverages (and with some disposable income) a happy camper.

In our experience, the Hopper Flip is able to keep the contents of the cooler cold for hours. More specifically, it kept our contents below 40°F for just over six and a half hours. To prolong the cooler’s cold conditions, Yeti also recommends block ice, rock salt, and/or Yeti ice.

Between the Hopper’s stiff insulation and tough fabric, it’s rigid enough that it can survive being bounced around on the back of a four-wheeler, and will provide a decent amount of crush protection if it happens to get lost at the bottom of a luggage pile.

With a carrying strap, water-resistant zipper, handle, and tie-down options, it's clear that Yeti wants you to be able to take this cooler with you wherever you go. The strap is long enough that it can be thrown across your back and has a thick, non-slip shoulder pad.

As for the zipper, its strength can be problematic at times. While Yeti provides zipper lubricant to make the zipper easier to operate, it’s really tough to pull.

Most die-hard Yeti fans who try out the Hopper Flip maintain their status as loyal Yeti customers. However, with a cost of about $200, some customers felt as though they paid too much. Others mentioned the fact that the thick insulation significantly reduced the available storage space.

The bottom line: The Yeti Hopper Flip 8 is a very expensive cooler, but consider it a sound investment if you need a cooler that can take a lot of damage, doesn’t leak, and still keep your perishables cool.

Pros

  • Can stay below 40°F for six and a half hours

  • Durable

  • Leakproof

Cons

  • Pricey

Product image of CleverMade SnapBasket Cooler, 30 Cans
CleverMade SnapBasket Cooler, 30 Cans

Best for: picnics, lunch and one or two beverages, cookouts.

If you want all of the capacity of a regular cooler without the arm strain of lugging it around everywhere, then the Clevermade SnapBasket is for you.

This cooler was able to beat the summer heat by maintaining interior temperatures below the bacteria “danger zone” of 40°F for nearly seven hours, with the help of a frozen ballast, and a couple extra ice packs.

The major selling point of this cooler is its collapsible nature. The sides of the basket easily snap into place; then, by pressing gently on the side of the cooler, it collapses down into a relatively flat profile that makes storage a breeze. On the other hand, some user reviews report that the cooler sometimes collapsed when it was bumped accidentally or when something heavier was placed on top of it.

With carrying handles and a strap that’s long enough to be thrown across your back, you can easily carry this cooler for long distances without wanting to drop it. It’s great for hiking or camping. Plus, it has a sewn-in bottle opener.

One downside is that there’s no additional storage anywhere on the outside of the cooler. While it’s true that there’s plenty of room inside the cooler for your favorite bento box, it’s always nice to have a few separate compartments on the outside in case you need to pack something small at the last minute.

The bottom line: This Clevermade cooler is portable, easy to store, and has more than enough space to fit a single person’s lunch needs.

Pros

  • Can stay below 40°F for nearly seven hours

  • Collapsible

Cons

  • No external pockets

Product image of Igloo Playmate Elite 16 Qt. Cooler
Igloo Playmate Elite 16 Qt. Cooler

Best for: a day at the beach, those who work outside, picnics.

The Igloo Playmate Elite cooler is a variation on one of the oldest (and most nostalgia-inducing) coolers on the market. Over the course of a day, the Igloo Playmate Elite is able to maintain cool temperatures below 40°F for over seven and a half hours.

The cooler is spacious, and its angled top means that it can also fit taller drinks. By pressing the button on the handle, the cooler’s top smoothly slides to either side, making it easy to open with one hand. Compared to other coolers, though, the Igloo feels a bit less durable and more breakable; the top of the cooler feels particularly rickety at times.

As for other people who’ve used this cooler, most were very happy with their purchase, especially considering its low price of ~$20. Others had problems with the button on the handle; its location means that it is easy to open the cooler accidentally. The other major complaint about this cooler is that the cooler isn’t sealed, so if it tips over, any liquids can easily leak out.

The bottom line: There’s a reason why this is a staple of construction workers everywhere: this cooler gets the job done with its long cooling time and easy opening.

Pros

  • Can stay below below 40°F for seven hours

  • Classic design

Cons

  • Clunky to carry

  • Unsealed and not leak-proof

Product image of Yeti Daytrip Lunch Bag
Yeti Daytrip Lunch Bag

Best for: adult lunches, snacks for the beach or other outdoor ventures.

The Yeti Daytrip is a durable, cleverly-designed lunch cooler.

After folding it flat and freezing it overnight (and supplementing it with two additional ice packs), the Daytrip maintained temperatures lower than 40°F for just under five hours. The Daytrip has a magnetic closure mechanism at the top of the lunch bag, which helps it to seal in hot and cold temperatures.

To completely close the lunch bag, you can fold the top of the Daytrip over and latch it securely in one of a number of possible loops that make it easy to seal the Daytrip whether it's completely full or not. Both the handle and the material of the bag itself are durable, and will do fine in a rough-and-tumble outdoor environment.

Additionally, the adjustable storage configuration is a really neat idea, but because the top of the bag folds over, the amount of space available may be less than you expect.

The bottom line: While the Daytrip lunch bag doesn't provide all-day cooling, its folding design is perfect for keeping snacks cool during beach trips and day hikes.

Pros

  • Good for rugged environments

  • Durable with good closing options

  • Attractive

Cons

  • Short on straps and storage

  • May require additional ice packs

Product image of L.L. Bean Lunch Box (TA271893)
L. L. Bean Lunch Box

Best for: kids' lunches, as a packing cube for a trip.

The L. L. Bean Lunch Box is well-constructed and has very few moving parts in order to minimize ripping or breaking. The lunchbox typically lies flat, and can comfortably fit two water bottles and an ice pack or a large, square plastic container.

With the help of an additional ice pack, the L. L. Bean Lunch Box maintains temperatures lower than 40°F for about two and a half hours. To keep food cool until lunch time, we recommend using at least two ice packs.

This lunchbox has a carrying handle, as well as two additional storage options: a zippered pocket on the outside that is best for flat objects and a mesh pocket on the inside of the top of the lunchbox.

Reviewers note that the lack of seams on the inside of the lunch box makes it easy to clean, with the exception of the white liner, which is easily stained by food or beverage spills.

The bottom line: With a few extra ice packs, this L. L. Bean Lunch Box can be your kid’s lunch co-pilot for years to come.

Pros

  • Durable and well constructed

  • Many color and customization options

  • Can double as a packing cube

Cons

  • Small capacity

  • Require ice packs to stay cold

Meet the testers

Julia MacDougall

Julia MacDougall

Senior Scientist

@reviewed

Julia is the Senior Scientist at Reviewed, which means that she oversees (and continually updates) the testing of products in Reviewed's core categories such as televisions, washing machines, refrigerators, and more. She also determines the testing methods and standards for Reviewed's "The Best Right Now" articles.

See all of Julia MacDougall's reviews
Ceara Perez-Murphy

Ceara Perez-Murphy

Staff Writer, Search

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Ceara Perez-Murphy is a staff writer at Reviewed. In her free time she likes trying out new recipes in the kitchen, exploring new restaurants and spending time outdoors with her dogs.

See all of Ceara Perez-Murphy's reviews

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