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Top 5 Insulated Lunch Box / Coolers for Adults: Ice Cold Picks

Updated on November 27, 2014

Finding a Good Lunch Cooler for Work: A Few Reviews

There is nothing better than a refreshing drink on a hot day. On the flip side, there is nothing worse than opening your lunch pail to find your lunch half-cooked by the sun.

If you are in a manual labour or trades type vocation, it's worth it to find the best insulated lunch box for your work. The best ones out there will keep your lunch in great shape all day. That's a good thing if you don't have a fridge handy!

Unfortunately, not all lunch coolers for work are made the same. They're often ineffective, too small, or unable to stand up to the rigours of a day at work and end up broken.

This article is meant to help you out. I'll be outlining a few of the top thermal lunch boxes for adults. We'll be looking at items that have the space you need, the durability to get through the day, and (most importantly) the ability to keep your food and drink nice and frosty all day long.

Ready? Let's get going!


Hot or Cold? Insulated Lunch Boxes Explained

One important thing to understand about thermal lunch boxes is that they only serve as a barrier between your food and the ambient temperature outside. They don't provide extra cold or warmth, that's up to you.

Anything cool or hot will naturally try to attain the same temperature as the surrounding environment, a process known as thermal entropy. The better insulated the lunch box, the slower that process will be.

For that reason, if you want to find the best lunch cooler, I'd also recommend picking up a few ice packs to go inside. These packs keep the interior cool, but they also help slow thermal entropy like a refrigerator.

Stanley Combo: Among the top insulated lunch boxes for men

As a guy, I completely love the look and feel of this gorgeous lunch box / thermos combo from Stanley. Most guys will remember their father or grandfather carrying a Stanley thermos with them on fishing trips (filled with either coffee or 'medicine'.)

This also happens to be one of the best thermal lunch boxes you can find today, with amazing durability and utility.

The thermal lunch box itself is pretty straightforward. It contains two different cubbies, one large and one small. It's a good way to separate your drinks from your food. I should note that the two cubbies are not thermally sealed from one another.

The lid locks in place, and it can be turned over to serve as a handy lunch tray in a pinch. The lid locks in place securely.

The thermos fits perfectly inside the handle, and it's a great way to bring ice water or hot coffee to work. Believe me, it will stay hot / cold! The lid is a handy cup, and it carries over a quart in total.

Both the thermos and the lunch box are well insulated. The box has foam insulation inside, and when combined with an ice pack it will keep the contents cool all day long if you leave the lid on. Your ice packs will be barely melted at the end of the day!

It's rugged enough to sit on, and Stanley backs it up with a lifetime warranty against defect.

Easy to clean, lots of room for big lunches, this is one of the top insulated thermal lunch boxes for adults you'll find!

Polar Bear: A thermal lunch box cooler for work that stays cold

Polar Bear is a top name in this industry, and they live up to their namesake with extremely well insulated adult lunch boxes that keep the contents ice cold all day long.

This particular item is a soft-shell lunchbox, and it has a lot of handy features that will keep a hard worker pretty happy.

Polar Bear advertises that this soft lunchbox will keep ice in 100 degree heat for up to 24 hours, and that it will keep hot food up to 200 degrees for hours on end. Those are lofty claims, but reviews of this thermal lunch box seem to back it up. Your ice will definitely be safe for hours.

It uses a combo of thick nylon outer shell and high density foam to retain either heat and cold very effectively. The external shell also happens to be waterproof on the outside and leak / sweat proof on the inside.

It's also a pretty large insulated lunch box, with adult sized storage for a large meal. It comes with convenient and durable handle, along with a shoulder carrying strap.

As lunch coolers for work go, Polar Bear has a heck of a product here.

Igloo MaxCold: A dual-compartment insulated thermal lunchbox

If you're hoping to find a thermal lunch cooler for your work that has multiple pockets to carry items, this is a good choice. Igloo is well-known in this area.

The MaxCold has a '24 can' capacity, meaning it can theoretically hold up to twenty four standard beverage cans (think cola). I'd say that's an optimistic stretch, but there's no doubt this is one of the largest and best insulated adult lunch boxes around.

It has two primary containers: one in the top lid, and one in the base. Both are separated from one another, which can allow you to have a cold and hot side, or a wet and dry side.

The case has a 10mm thick 'Macula' layer of insulation, which serves admirably to keep your cold stuff nice and frosty all day if you use ice packs. The zipper is the only design flaw: it's not as well insulated. Even so, your ice should be safe for hours.

It's a bit larger than the typical lunch box, perfect for the worker who needs to spend all day on the jobsite. It can contain lunch, snacks and drinks with no issues. It has a removable shoulder strap and a durable, moulded rubber handle in the top.

Versatile and user-friendly, the MaxCold is a large lunch box cooler for work that you'll probably love.

Pranzo: A well-reviewed, multi-pockt, insulated lunch box for work

The Pranzo, by Picnic Time, is the perfect large, adult-sized lunch box cooler for someone who wants storage, and lots of it! The Pranzo is covered in pockets and compartments.

It's a tote style, meaning it has a shoulder strap as well as a convenient carrying handle on the top. It has two mesh pockets on the side, a small zip compartment on the front (for cutlery), and two large, insulated compartments stacked on top of one another.

The two main sections are thermally isolated from one another, and that's perfect if you've got hot and cold items to bring along. Just throw an ice pack in one section, and your hot coffee in the other.

The insulation is pretty excellent. Ice will stay frozen for hours, even in hot weather. The nylon exterior is durable and the whole thing should last you for a good long time.

My only complaint? The zippers are finicky and tend to get stuck. Just treat them gingerly and you'll be fine.

As large coolers go, the Pranzo is among the top insulated lunch boxes on the market.

Koolatron: An insulated, thermoelectric lunch box cooler for work

If you find ice packs too messy or fiddly, you're in luck: there is an insulated adult lunch box that will keep your food and drink cool, even without ice.

This iceless cooler by Koolatron relies on electricity. Just plug it in, and the thermoelectric unit will keep the contents at a frosty 30 degrees Fahrenheit below the ambient temperature.

It's designed to be plugged into a vehicle 12v outlet (a cigarette lighter in your car), and for that reason this is one of the best insulated lunch boxes for someone who works from their car, van or truck. It's also a fantastic insulated adult lunch box for a big rig driver.

You can also get an adaptor that lets you plug it into a standard 120v outlet, should you want to plug it in inside the house.

It's very large. This insulated lunch box is perfect for work because it can easily hold two 2 litre soda bottles upright in the main compartment. It's a bit heavier at 4 pounds, but that's to be expected with the refrigeration unit attached.

It comes with a side pocket for some dry storage, as well as a durable top handle and shoulder strap to easily carry it around.

If you want to keep your meal and drinks cool without ice, consider this amazing, insulated thermal lunchbox for your work.

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