Last Updated: May 4, 2023 @ 10:44 am.

What is the best heated lunch box? To find out, we tried a few different brands. Then we asked our parent readers for their favorites. Which performed best? Was best for a vehicle? Here are the favorites.

FYI: We've been reviewing and rating products for the home and families since 1994. We don't take money or freebies from the brands we review. Our work is 100% reader-supported!

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Best For Cooking

Great for the office
Love this lunch box for use anywhere an outlet is near by—and as long as you leave enough time, it works well.

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Best Heated Lunch Box For Cooking: HotLogic Mini Portable Oven – Food Warmer and Heater – Lunch Box

Let’s talk heated lunch boxes.

Popular with folks who work “in the field” (think construction, truckers or other folks on the go), heated lunch boxes pretty much do what they promise—they heat up food. 

That said, we should note one important caveat after trying out several of these ourselves: heated lunch boxes are NOT speed cookers. You will need to experiment with cooking times to find the right solution. 

Yes, you can reheat food in a heated lunch box—and most will keep food hot for hours without drying it out. But don’t expect to plug in your heated lunch box and have it cook a full meal in 15 minutes.

In our research, we found some heated lunch boxes are better for cooking than others. This model by HotLogic impressed us with its quality and durability. Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Leftovers take about half an hour to warm up.

• Nicely sized for most users.

• Don’t have to use a dirty microwave at work!

• Can use your own container as long as bottom is flat.

• Uses standard electrical outlet.

• Affordable.

What Needs Work

• Not ideal for use in a vehicle (there is no 12 volt plug).

• No auto shut-off.

• Too small in size for some folks. 

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Best For Truckers

Heats up well
If you work out of your vehicle, this would be our pick—excellent quality and easy to clean. Nice design features include a steam vent.

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Best For Truckers: Electric Lunch Box Food Heater

If you have a job based in your vehicle, this is our choice: Forabest’s lunch box heater. This reader favorite works well on the road (thanks to the 12 volt power cable) but you can also use it an office, of course. We were impressed with the quality build here . . . and it is easy to clean.

What We Liked

 Works well.

• Includes vehicle 12 volt power cable.

• Perfect for folks who work from their car (truckers, emergency response workers, etc).

• Easy to clean.

• 50 watt heating element works well to keep food hot.

What Needs Work

• Takes a while to heat food up—experiment with heating times before taking it on the road.

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Best Bigger Capacity

Perfect for soups
With about 20% more capacity than similar models we tried, this box impressed us with its quick heating time.

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Best Bigger Capacity: Hot Bento – Self Heated Lunch Box and Food Warmer

One complaint we hear from our readers about heated lunch boxes is capacity—the boxes sometimes have trays that hold too little food. This model by the Hot Bento Store holds about 20% more food than other models we researched . . . and that’s perfect for most folks. 

What We Liked

• Bigger compartment holds 1.8 liters of food.

• Dual power supply including vehicle outlet.

• 60-watt heater is more robust than other models researched for this article.

• Includes fork and spoon.

• Easy to clean.

• Lightweight.

• Soups work great in this box.

• Perfect for use in a truck.

What Needs Work

• Pricey.

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Best For Travel

Nicely designed
The star feature here is the leak-proof gasket and dual power supply—perfect for on-the-road use. Also nice: two compartment tray.

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Best For Travel: Electric Lunch Box Food Heater

This lunch box fits nicely in a backpack and is perfect for folks who are on the go. Yes, you can use it in a vehicle (the dual power supply includes a plug for vehicles) but it also is good for the office. We liked the included extras in this box, such as the knife and fork. And the leak-proof gasket does its job, according to our readers.

What We Liked

• Stainless steel tray has two compartments, which is handy.

• Vehicle 12 volt power supply as well as standard outlet.

• Affordable.

• Easy to use.

• Saves money on going out to lunch.

What Needs Work

• Hand wash only.

• Too small for some folks.

• Cord could be longer.

About the Authors

Denise & Alan Fields are consumer advocates and best-selling authors. The Fields have authored 12 books with three million copies in print, including the best-selling guide to baby gear, Baby Bargains.

The Fields have been featured and quoted in the New York TimesWall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times.

As consumer products experts, the Fields have been guests on the NBC Today Show, Good Morning America and ABC’s 20/20.

How We Pick Products To Recommend

We often turn to our readers (3 million strong!) to find products to recommend. We ask our parent readers for their favorites and consider their real-world experiences in our recommendations.

When we test a product, we always purchase it with our own monies. We do not take free samples, as we believe that compromises our independence.

We also fact check manufacturer information with our own measurements. If a maker claims a product weighs X pounds, we will weigh it to make sure. If the battery life is supposed to be six hours, we will see how it stands up in the real world.

In some cases, we will do interviews with experts in the field to get additional feedback on products.

To get hands-on time with products, we regularly meet one-on-one with gear companies and even tour manufacturing facilities. (When we do this, we pay our own travel expenses).

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do extensive research, evaluating products with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability.

We make our living from affiliate commissions, but we always recommend what we think are the best bets for our readers (not the ones that are the most expensive). We are always looking for products that offer the best bang for the buck.

Our independence is a key reason why we have been doing this so long. As we mentioned above, when we purchase a product for hands-on testing, we do so with our own money.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported!

Baby Bargains: Your Baby Registry Cheat Sheet is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to and its related sites. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.