Best Lunch Cooler 2020 – Find The Best Personal Cooler Right Here

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Are you looking for the best lunch cooler for your needs? If so, then you've found the right place. Read on..

Have you ever had this happen to you? The day is dragging along and you’re looking forward to lunch. Really, that’s the only thing that’s been keeping you going all day.

You finally sit down to take a break, open your lunch cooler and find that the contents are warm to the touch. Your ice pack has already melted and the one thing you were looking forward to is ruined.

If only you hadn’t purchased that cheap soft-sided cooler, to begin with, is what you think to yourself. The story above doesn’t have to be yours. We can help you to avoid that from happening.

In a Hurry? Meet our Top Picks

If you'd rather get some quick recommendation, here are our best picks:

  • Best Personal Cooler: Igloo Playmate
    The iconic lunch cooler, 100% Made in US, good features and even better pricing
  • Best Lunch Cooler Bag: RTIC Day Cooler
    Well designed bag, with dense insulation, heavy-duty shell; attractively priced

best personal cooler
Igloo Playmate – One of the most iconic personal coolers in America.

Best Personal Cooler – Our Top Picks Compared

editors-choice Editor's Choice  
to-middleColeman FlipLid Cooler, 5 Quart , Blueigloo playmate mini coolerRubbermaid Cooler, 10 Quart, Red...Wagan 12V Cooler/Warmer - 24L Capacity (6224)...
item-titleColeman FlipLid 6 Personal CoolerIgloo Playmate Lunch CoolerRubbermaid Victory Personal CoolerWagan 12V Cooler/Warmer
to-top• FlipLid top reverse to become a serving tray
• Wide-bottom base for stability
• Comfortable bail handle
• Top push-button for easy one-hand opening
• Open to either side for easy access
• Superior thermal retention
• Stain and odor resistant
• Superior thermal retention
• Stain and odor resistant
11x8x7 in;
Capacity: 6 cans
11.75x8.25x12 in;
Capacity: 7 qt
14.4x11.5x10.1 in;
Capacity: 12 cans plus ice
11x8x12 in;
Capacity: 24L/27 Cans
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Igloo store
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editors-choiceEditor's Choice

Best Lunch Cooler – Reviews

Tired of lunches that are warm by the time you eat lunch? That wouldn’t be a problem IF you wanted your food warm in the first place, but what if you just needed your cooler to keep your lunch cold?

We can help. Here is a look at our top picks when it comes to personal lunch coolers.

Coleman FlipLid Personal Cooler, 5 Quarts

Coleman FlipLid 6 Personal Cooler

You’ll have your choice of either getting this in red or blue. The inside of the cooler will allow you to fit six cans (one user reported perhaps less if you decide to use an ice pack).

When lunchtime rolls around, you won’t have to search for a table, as the lid reverses to become a serving tray.

The tray also has built-in beverage holders so your drinks won’t slip. Add in the wide base for stability and you have all you need to accommodate your eating needs.

Users of this product at Amazon reported that it’s the ideal size to fit meals for one or two people. While one user reported that this cooler wouldn’t keep items as cold as it’s larger siblings, the user did say that it did keep items cool for the better part of the day.

One user also reported the durability having said that they used it as a seat (the user weighed over 200 pounds).

Check the Coleman FlipLid at Amazon >>

PRO TIP: You may also want to read the post about other Coleman Coolers.

igloo playmate mini cooler

Igloo Playmate Personal Cooler

One look at this cooler and you’ll swear that you have seen it before, because you probably have. Either you’ve owned one yourself, seen one at the beach or other outdoor event, or even attended a party where someone had one.

The tent top that can be found on this cooler helps to prevent spills from happening, while the push button found at the very top makes it easy to unlock for easy opening.

With a lid that opens to either side, you’ll find getting in and out of this cooler a breeze. Nine cans with ice can easily fit, making it ideal for one or even a few people to use.

Many users at Amazon like the size of this cooler, as they are able to fit all of their lunch items. Many also enjoy the easy one-click button opening at the top of the cooler, which allows for easy one-handed opening when needed.

Check the availability in Igloo's store >>

 Tip: Read our full Igloo Playmate review for more details .

Rubbermaid Cooler, 10 Quart, Red...

Rubbermaid Personal Cooler

This 10-quart Victory cooler can be found in a variety of colors. A top swing handle makes it easy to carry and a large inner area allows you to carry multiple meals if need be.

You can fit nearly a 12 pack of cans in this cooler, which should give you a better idea of the size you can expect upon purchase.

At first glance, this cooler may look a bit on the larger side, which was what some users reported, but upon using it, many of them stated that it is just the right size. Many also mentioned the interior is easy to clean.

One drawback that was mentioned by some users was that the lid was a bit too tight for their liking. However, when it comes to ice retention times, a tight-fitting lid is not a bad thing to have.

Another user also mentioned the tight-fitting lid was a good thing as melted ice stayed in the cooler on trips when it accidentally fell over in the car.

Check it at Amazon right here >>

Wagan 12V Cooler/Warmer - 24L Capacity (6224)...

Wagan Cooler & Warmer

Are you looking for a cooler that won’t need ice? Do you need a food warmer? Do you want something that can do both? Well you are in luck as Wagan’s 12 Volt 24 Liter capacity cooler and warmer can do both.

The two-temperature setting can either cool your items to 32 – 36 degrees Fahrenheit or warm it up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

You can easily fit four two-liter bottles or 27 cans. Just plug in to your vehicle’s 12 Volt outlet, or use the optional AC adapter to plug in anywhere else and you are ready to go.

While it may seem like the dual cooling and heating options would be the most attractive, it looks like the hidden feature many enjoy is the shape and size of Wagan’s Cooler & Warmer.

Many users mentioned how easily it fits behind the driver or passenger seats in vehicles. Many users also reported appreciating the location of the fan above, as it can avoid being affected by any leaks or spills that may happen and potentially ruin it.

Get Wagan Cooler & Warmer at Amazon here >>

best lunch bag cooler
Personal lunch bag cooler. Yeti Daytrip

Best Lunch Bag Cooler – Our Top Picks

editors-choice  Editor's Choice 
to-middleYeti Daytrip Lunch BagONIVA - a Picnic Time Brand Pranzo Insulated...rtic Day Cooler 15HSD Lunch Bag, Leakproof, Insulated Cooler,...
item-titleYETI Daytrip Lunch BagPicnic Time Pranzo Lunch ToteRTIC Day CoolerHSD Lunch Bag
to-top• Coldcell Flex™ Insulation
• Food Safe
• Thermo Snap™ Closure
• Fold-And-Go Packing
• Durable polyester construction
• Isolated sections for hot and cold foods
• Heavy-duty polyester
• High density insulation
• Zippered pocket
• Two mesh pockets
• Antimicrobial material
• 600D waterproof polyester
• MOLLE / PALS webbing
• 8mm thick PE Foam insulation
5 3/4×8 3/4×8 3/4 in;
Capacity: 6 cans
12x8x11 in;
11x8x9 in;
Capacity: 15 cans
10x7.5x6.5 in;
Capacity: 6 cans
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RTIC store
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editors-choiceEditor's Choice

Lunch Cooler Bag Reviews

Yeti Daytrip Lunch Bag

YETI Daytrip Lunch Bag

If YETI products are your favorite, then look no further than YETI’s Daytrip lunch bag. As a premium cooler, Daytrip is expensive, but it will probably be worth it if the brand name is important to you.

At the heart of the YETI Daytrip cooler is the Coldcell Flex insulation, which appears to be very similar to the closed-cell insulation used in YETI hard coolers. It’s just thinner, more flexible, and has lower ice retention capability (about a day).

To ensure that your food and drinks are thermally insulated, the Daytrip lunch cooler employs a convenient magnetic closure. While inside, the food-grade fabric will also make sure that your stuff stays safe for consumption.

Another interesting thing in the Daytrip lunch cooler is the Adjustable Grid feature. This tech allows you to adjust the size of the lunch bag in accordance to your needs. Apart from that, the Daytrip cooler can be very folded when not in use for added storage efficiency.

Check it out in YETI store >>

rtic Day Cooler 15

RTIC Day Cooler

The RTIC day cooler is an inexpensive yet rather large lunch bag option. It’s also available in several sizes, so you should be able to find something that will work for your lunch needs.

The RTIC day cooler features dense insulation that can keep ice cold for up to 24 hours with proper packing. At the same time, the heavy-duty polyester shell should make sure that the cooler stays in-tact and retains its thermal insulation under heavy use.

And like in the YETI Daytrip cooler, the interior of this lunch cooler is lined with an FDA-approved food-safe material with antimicrobial properties.

With its pretty bulky size, the RTIC cooler is easy to make heavy – fortunately, there is a convenient shoulder strap in this cooler to make carrying effort-free.

RTIC’s lunch cooler also has very nice organization capabilities. More precisely, it has a roomy main compartment along with two side mesh pockets and a zippered pocket on the front. Keeping everything tidy should thus be easy with the RTIC cooler.

Check out more pictures at RTIC's store >>

ONIVA - a Picnic Time Brand Pranzo Insulated...

Picnic Time Pranzo Lunch Tote – Best All In One Personal Cooler

Want to make sure no one accidentally mistakes your lunch can for theirs? Then you may want to pick this up.

The Pranzo Lunch Tote comes in a wide variety of colors and designs and is so stylish, that someone may “accidentally” pick it up and walk away with it.

With different sections to hold hot and cold food, you just may find this to be the all-in-one lunch cooler you have been looking for.

Pop open the front storage pocket and you’ll find salt and pepper shakers, stainless steel knife, fork and spoon set, as well as a cotton napkin.

Fancy, huh?

Many users at Amazon appreciate this for the extreme versatility of being able to pack hot and cold items. Another user really enjoyed all of the extra pockets and mentioned that the special diet they are on allowed for all food items, as well as a food scale to be easily carried in it.

Check the current price at Amazon >>

Watch the video review of Pranzo Lunch Tote cooler:

HSD Lunch Bag, Leakproof, Insulated Cooler,...

HSD Lunch Bag

Lastly, we have this rather interesting, military-esque lunch bag model from HSD. It’s priced just around the same as the RTIC day cooler, but it has a few goodies to boast. 

Arguably the most unique feature in the HSD lunch bag is the PALS webbing on the back. If you didn’t know, PALS is an attachment system used by some NATO armed forces. 

Strictly speaking, PALS is intended for pouches (PALS stands for Pouch Attachment Ladder System), but you can use it for anything else (like keys or bottle openers).

On the outside, the HSD bag makes use of military-grade materials – more precisely, 600D waterproof polyester. On the inside, the bag features 8 millimeters of PE foam insulation paired with aluminum foil (whereas most other brands use 5mm insulation, according to HSD).

Capacity-wise, the HSD cooler bag is pretty nice – it’s available in two sizes (8.45 and 13.7 quarts). Apart from that, each size option is available in several color schemes (which are military- and camo-inspired).

Lastly, for improved item organization, the HSD lunch bag features a main compartment, a front pocket, and two mesh side pockets – like in the RTIC Day Cooler. And to make carrying easier, HSD includes a shoulder strap with this cooler (in addition to the top strap handle).

Check it out at Amazon here >>

Buying Tips: What Makes The Best Lunch Cooler?

There are several things that make the best personal cooler. The first being that it must fit your specific needs.

For instance, if you are in an area where tables and a place to eat can be difficult, then perhaps the FlipLid 6 listed above may be more to your liking.

If you find that you cannot easily get condiments, utensils or napkins for your lunch, then the Pranzo may be a cooler you want to take a closer look at.

Another thing to consider when choosing the best lunch cooler for your needs is the accessibility. If you are in tight and confined spaces during meal times or constantly on the go, where you may only have one hand free to open up your cooler then you may want to consider the Igloo above, with single push bottom unlocking and a sliding cover making opening much easier.

If you are in vehicles all day long, where your cooler may be sliding or tipping over on a regular basis, and you need contents to stay sealed in, then perhaps a tighter lid like the one found on the Victory will be more to your liking.

Now, before you make any purchases, here are three other key areas you should pay attention to:



As mentioned earlier, will you need to open the cooler with one hand? Do you need a tighter lid or do you need something that can double as an extra seat? Once you determine the different functions your cooler will need to perform, you’ll then be able to decide on which one to choose.

right sized ice box


This one is easy as all you need to decide is how much food and beverages you’ll need to pack. There are different sizes to choose from so think about the amounts of food and drinks you will need to carry with you, and you’ll be able to determine the size you will need.

insulated beverage bag


Do you need extra pockets to store other items? Do you need to keep some things hot and others cold? If you have a variety of needs, then you will need a lunch cooler that can meet those needs.

As you can see, a lot goes into finding the best personal lunch cooler. 

The best lunch cooler for you is the one that will meet your needs the best. We hope that after reading this guide you'll feel more confident in making the right buying decision.

Tip: Check out all lunch coolers available at Amazon >>

Till the next one, stay cool!‘ team

Last update on 2021-07-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


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Greg’s a co-founder of and author of 100+ product reviews and comparisons on this website. When not at work, Greg’s an avid sportsman who enjoys running marathons, loves snowboarding, hiking and discovering new single tracks on his bike.

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