Best Lunch Bags of 2019: Complete Reviews with Comparison
When you bring your own lunch to work or school, it not only means that you end up eating healthier, but you also end up saving yourself money in the long run.
However, carrying your lunch in a plastic or brown paper bag can be unsightly, messy, and not eco-friendly.
With you and the environment in mind, we’ve gathered five of the best lunch bags and compared them against each other to provide you with all the information you need to make an informed purchasing decision.
We’ve even included a buyer’s guide and answers to some common questions.
Top 5 Lunch Bags Comparison Chart
Best Lunch Bag Reviews
1. Sable SA-PS011 Lunch Bag
We randomly selected the Sable SA-PS011 Lunch Bag to start our reviews. After we saw the high ratings and affordability of this product, it became clear that we needed to determine if it could be the best when compared against some others. Let’s take a look at some highlights, as well as the things we liked and didn’t like.
The Sable SA-PS011 Lunch Bag was designed to store an entire meal along with utensils, condiments, napkins, and cups. The dual-layered lunch bag allows you to store both warm and cold food items. It’s recommended that warm food gets packed into the top inner part that has insulated aluminum, while the bottom is suggested for keeping food that needs to be kept cold.
Made out of 600D Oxford fabric, the surface of the lunch bag is not only waterproof, but the entire sack is durable and long-lasting. It has a front zipper pocket where you can store your cutlery and napkins, along with side pockets that are perfect for cell phones, keys, water bottles, and other personal items. Also, the bag has a handle for carrying and includes a detachable strap if you wish to carry it over your shoulder.
What's to like about the Sable SA-PS011 Lunch Bag
The main part that we liked was the dual compartments for hot and cold items. The bottom compartment kept the contents cold for a reasonable amount of time, and the top kept hot food warm. We did test out cold food in the top section with an ice pack but found that it didn’t stay cold as long as it would have had it been stored in the bottom.
We also really liked the multiple ways of carrying it. The shoulder strap was an excellent addition to take off some of the weight mainly when the lunch bag was full.
What's not to like about the Sable SA-PS011 Lunch Bag
When first using the lunch bag, we did notice a small odor, but it disappeared after ventilating. Additionally, we found that the mesh pockets at the side felt like they would easily rip, and the zippers on the lunch bag consistently snagged.
We also found this lunch sack to be extremely large since there is enough space to store breakfast, lunch, snacks, drinks, and utensils. When you are out for long days, the bulky size could be challenging, especially when storing in a shared fridge.
2. MIER Adult Insulated Lunch Bag
MIER is well known for their insulated lunch bags, and a known Amazon Choice. Choosing the MIER Adult Insulated Lunch Bag was a no-brainer once we found the dual-layered design. Many people have chosen MIER as their favorite lunch bag, but whether or not it’s our favorite is a question that still needs to be answered.
The MIER Adult Insulated Lunch Bag is a thermal-style lunch container with a tote design. Its large size allows you to carry an entire day’s worth of meals, snacks, and beverages within its dual-layer design that separates hot and cold food items.
The bag is made of synthetic, leak-proof materials that make it easy to clean. It’s affordable, eco-friendly, and the handle and removable shoulder strap make it portable.
The top compartment of the lunch bag is perfect for smaller items such as fruits, snacks, and dry food, and the bottom is suited for Tupperware containers and food that needs to be kept warm. The bottom compartment is insulated with a PEVA lining, and there is also additional space to add in an ice pack.
What's to like about the MIER Adult Insulated Lunch Bag
Just like the Sable lunch bag, the dual compartments to separate hot and cold food was a high selling point for us.
We liked the additional storage pocket at the front of the bag which made it easy to store utensils and condiments, and the detachable strap made it very easy to carry around. We found that the lunch bag is highly durable and easy to clean, which is also a significant benefit, especially after a long day of use with a lot of food stored inside.
What's not to like about the MIER Adult Insulated Lunch Bag
Unfortunately, the MIER lunch bag is quite heavy and almost comes close to the size of a backpack. While it is big enough to store a day’s worth of food, it is too big for specific situations. We found that the top compartment was slightly bigger than the bottom and felt like it should be reversed, and the zipper at the front pocket snagged after a couple of uses.
3. BALORAY Lunch Bag
We are halfway through our list, and for our third option, we brought in the cutely designed BALORAY Lunch Bag. Listed as an extremely affordable Amazon Choice, we wanted to confirm that this lunch bag really does hold up to the claims that it makes.
The BALORAY Lunch Bag is a great lunch sack that was designed with ample space in mind. It has a main compartment that’s perfect for storing food containers, bottles, and snacks. While it doesn’t have overly large spaces and is good for storing lunch only, it does have additional pockets for storing items such as utensils, and it also includes a handle.
BALORAY ensured that they lined their bag with insulation to keep food hot and cold and the rest of the pack is made from polyester. It’s lightweight, highly versatile, waterproof, and has an aesthetically pleasing design.
What's to like about the BALORAY Lunch Bag
Due to the design of the BALORAY Lunch Bag, it’s highly versatile, which is something that couldn’t be ignored. It’s fashionable and can be used as a lunch, picnic, carrying, or hiking bag. It’s great for daily use, and the brown handles made it easy to carry.
What's not to like about the BALORAY Lunch Bag
When testing out the lunch bag, we found that it wasn’t as great as we expected when it comes to insulation, and found that it was more polyester than anything else. We also didn’t like that there wasn’t an adjustable strap and found there were stitching inconsistencies where the handle was attached to the bag
4. PackIt Freezable Lunch Bag
Most of the lunch bags that we’ve included in our list so far are standard insulated lunch bags, but we wanted to incorporate something different. The PackIt Freezable Lunch Bag brings a different type of lunch bag to the front of the line, and we took the time to explore it properly.
The PackIt Freezable Lunch Bag has a patented cooling technology that’s made up of freezable gel built directly into the bag. Unlike other insulated lunch bags, there are no aluminum or foam insulation layers, and the "chill" that keeps the contents cold comes from the bag itself.
The bag is made from BPA and PVC-free, non-toxic poly material, while the lining is resistant to water. It’s easily foldable and clean.
What's to like about the PackIt Freezable Lunch Bag
The unique design of the PackIt Freezable Lunch Bag lured us in and was unlike anything that we tested before. Freezing the lunch bag overnight was easy, and we found that we could pack a variety of food items in it without worrying about the food getting soggy. We also really like the extensive range of colors and patterns that the lunch bag is available in.
What's not to like about the PackIt Freezable Lunch Bag
There is no insulation in this bag because the cooling effect comes directly from the bag itself, so, unfortunately, it is meant strictly for items that need to remain cold.
Also, without freezing the bag overnight, food returned to room temperature fairly quickly. We also noticed that the lunch bag was quite small for the cost, and there’s not much room if you plan on storing a full-sized drink inside.
5. KOSOX Collapsible Insulated Tote Lunch Bag
As we come to the final lunch bag on our comparison and review guide, we chose another bag that is unlike the others. The KOSOX Collapsible Insulated Tote Lunch Bag provides multiple features that made it worthy enough to make our list, but did it come out on top?
Unlike some other lunch bags, the KOSOX Collapsible Lunch Bag has multiple layers and a unique design that creates three changeable storage spaces within the main compartment. It’s made from Oxford fabric with non-toxic and easy-to-clean PEVA foil for insulation.
There are two pockets for storage and two ways of carrying because of the included handle and detachable shoulder strap. The KOSOX bag is great for men, women, and children, and it comes in three design choices to better suit your needs.
What's to like about the KOSOX Collapsible Insulated Tote Lunch Bag
The KOSOX bag is extremely friendly on the wallet, and the insulation works wonderfully well for a lunch bag that’s so affordable. It was effortless to clean, and the detachable straps and handle made it easy to carry around.
What's not to like about the KOSOX Collapsible Insulated Tote Lunch Bag
The way that the KOSOX lunch bag is designed is impractical and makes it difficult to access the food in the middle of the bag because it doesn’t open all the way. Instead, it has two zippers that work in opposite directions. We also expected the bag to be larger, but we noticed that many Tupperware containers didn’t fit properly.
knowing what to look for in a lunch bag before even deciding what to buy is crucial in order to make sure that you end up with a model that perfectly suits your needs and lifestyle.
The size of the lunch bag that you purchase is highly important. It's recommended that you buy something large enough to store your food, beverages, and an ice pack if needed, but it’s also crucial that you take into consideration how much room it’s going to take up. Surely, you don’t want a significant amount of space at your desk to be occupied by a lunch bag.
Hence, try to be logical when determining how much food you are going to bring for lunch before purchasing a lunch bag. If you aren’t sure, then it’s best to go on the larger spectrum. Also, consider if you are packing lunches for one or two people.
One of the greatest things about lunch bags on the market today is that you can find them in nearly every color and pattern, and there are no guidelines that you need to follow. Where you are carrying your lunch bag is one of the ways on how you should choose which one you want to purchase.
If you are bringing your lunch to work, you might want to look into something sleek and professional such as an all-black lunch sack. Though, for other cases, you can certainly let your personality show by buying a lunch bag that is bright and full of all the colors of the rainbow.
You can purchase lunch bags that have multiple levels, though they aren’t necessary, and it’s a matter of personal preference. Usually, dual-leveled lunch sacks have a main compartment on the top with a slightly smaller chamber on the bottom.
In most cases, the bottom compartment is used for storing smaller items such as utensils, condiments, extra snacks, and more commonly, heated or ice gel packs that are needed to maintain the food’s temperature.
Just like with anything else, there is a wide range of brands that sell lunch bags, and some of them are even world-renown designers.
While it is a matter of personal preference, it’s recommended that you do your research and seek out customer reviews before purchasing, especially if you haven’t bought a product from the company before. Make sure that the company has a solid reputation and they aim to please their customers.
It’s even good to look to see if there are a warranty and customer support provided to consumers. The companies that are there to provide their customers with excellent service are generally the ones that stand behind their product.
The materials used in the manufacture of lunch bags come in a wide variety, but most commonly, you would find that they are made from synthetic materials such as polyester because it’s highly durable. It’s also known that synthetic materials are easier to wash than some others, so it’s best to purchase lunch bags made from those.
With insulated bags, you might find that some also have an aluminum foil inner lining that helps with temperature control but always make sure to choose those that are made of food-safe materials or those that won’t contaminate your meal with any chemicals.
Lunch containers and bags come in a wide range of types that include plastic and stainless-steel lunch boxes, polyester lunch bags, and insulated lunch bags, as well as insulated cooler-style lunch bags. The kind that you choose should depend on what you are using it for, and how much food you plan to store.
If you are packing food for multiple people and it needs to stay hot or cold for a few hours, you should look into purchasing a cooler-style lunch bag. If you are buying a lunch bag just for yourself, consider if it needs to be insulated and if you prefer a fabric bag or a hard lunch box.
Lunch Bags F.A.Q.
What is a lunch box?
A lunch box is a reusable container or bag used for carrying food to school, work, and other places. There are plenty of variations of lunch boxes available on the market, and many types of material are used to construct them.
Typically, lunch boxes are made of fabric in their bagged form or made of hard plastic or stainless steel when in their box or container form. They are relatively affordable, and often found in a variety of colors while some of which include modern day designs.
How to wash insulated lunch bags?
Cleaning out your insulated lunch bag is a simple process, and it shouldn’t take you much time. Before you clean anything, it’s always best to make sure that you’ve thoroughly read the care instructions that would have been provided to you when you purchased the bag.
If your lunch bag is machine washable, you can pop it into your washing machine on a gentle cycle and let it air dry once finished. For those who need to hand wash their insulated lunch bag, we've provided a simple guide below:
- Fill your sink with warm water
- Add approximately a teaspoon of dish detergent
- Thoroughly submerge the lunch bag into the water-filled sink
- Properly wipe the lunch bag clean, making sure to clean the corners
- Use a toothbrush or small brush to clean crumbs or dirt from zipper and seams
- Rinse your lunch bag with clean water and pat dry with a towel
- Leave it to air dry overnight
- If there is an odor, sprinkle baking soda into the lunch bag and leave it to sit overnight before cleaning
How to clean lunch bags?
Typically, cleaning a regular lunch bag requires the same steps needed to clean an insulated lunch bag. The only thing that may be different is that you’re likely to find more lunch bags that are machine washable if they aren’t insulated.
Do note that there is always a risk of breaking the seam when washing a lunch bag in the washing machine, even on a gentle cycle. While it’s recommended to hand wash your lunch bag regardless if it’s insulated or not, always consider the care instructions that came with your lunch bag. If you no longer have them, you can reach out to the manufacturer if you don’t want to risk ruining the lunch bag.
How to make lunch boxes?
If you want to make the best lunch box possible, you need to start by determining what type of lunch container you wish to make. There are a variety of tutorials available on the internet that provide you with step-by-step instructions on making insulated lunch bags, regular lunch bags, lunch boxes, and even reusable sandwich bags.
In addition to the tutorials, you can also find many patterns that are available for free and even video tutorials on YouTube that help make the process a little easier.
Keep in mind that for the vast majority of the patterns you find, you are going to need a sewing machine, fabric, and a handful of other items that you can find at your local craft store. By doing a lunch box tutorial search on YouTube, you can become a pro at making lunch bags in no time.
How to use an ice pack in lunch boxes?
Using an ice pack in a lunch box is incredibly simple. Depending on the type of lunch bag that you have, there might even be a separate, insulated compartment at the bottom of the bag that is perfect for storing the ice pack. Before packing the ice pack into the lunch sack, ensure that it has remained in the freezer up until the point of packing.
Pop the ice pack into the separate compartment if it’s there and zip it shut; otherwise, you can store it in the central section of the lunch bag.
It’s always recommended that you place the ice pack at the bottom of the lunch bag for small to medium size lunches, but if the content of your lunch box is large, it’s best to store one at the bottom and one at the top. As a tip, you can freeze a water bottle overnight and use that to help keep your food cold if you don’t have access to an ice pack.
When looking to find the best lunch bag, it’s tough to seek out one that’s going to be perfect all around. You’re likely to find one that doesn’t have the best insulation, but it has good storage space, or it has excellent insulation, but it’s too small. While we reviewed and compared all these lunch bags, we remained as objective as we could, and considered that.
Once our judgment came in, we determined that the MIER Adult Insulated Lunch Bag is our top pick. It’s affordable enough not to have to seek alternative options and includes everything you would look for in a lunch bag. The insulation is fantastic, and your food remains hot or cold for four to six hours, it comes in three different and professional colors, is an Amazon Choice, and provides ample storage.
The MIER Adult Lunch Bag might be larger than some would prefer, but with all the extra space, you can store additional items like your wallet and cell phone, eliminating the need for a backpack or even a purse.