Flat-bottom heating plate fits snugly inside the basic, soft lunch box. Aluminum lining maximizes heat retention. Heating plate is removable so you can use the bag as a regular lunch box if desired. Available in various colors.
Corded design makes it difficult to keep food hot while commuting to work.
Large container is convenient to carry with the curved top handle. Built-in warmer works slowly to prevent overcooking the food. Food container is dishwasher safe. Available in several colors.
The small size of the food container makes it difficult to stir or mix contents inside.
Vacuum-sealed walls for long-lasting temperatures, both hot and cold. Equipped with non-slip silicone base and portable folding spoon to make it easy to eat no matter the location. Sold in a variety of colors and portion sizes.
Children may have a hard time opening the lid.
Two types of plugs so that you can warm the food at home or in your vehicle. Comes with an indicator light and a heat-resistant container. Steadily warms up your food to maintain the temperature for a longer time period. Dishwasher-friendly trays.
Takes longer to heat up properly.
Built-in utensils organizer and a 3-section compartment to organize your meal. Stainless steel surface and heating plate on the bottom can be taken apart to clean. Comes with both AC and DC plugs so you can heat your food no matter the location. Includes spoon and fork.
Plastic side latches may be difficult to adjust or shut.
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There's something satisfying about eating a hot meal at work and using up those leftovers, but if you don't have access to a microwave, you'll end up eating tepid soup or cold pasta. A heated lunch box is a great alternative when you won’t be able to reheat or just prefer to keep your food hot. Just turn it on a little while before you want to eat, and it will warm your food to a toasty temperature.
Heated lunch boxes aren't extremely common gadgets, so you might not know much about them. Before you buy, you'll need to consider a wide range of factors, such as the overall capacity, how your lunch box is powered, and whether you’ll want compartments to separate your food. Plus, you want to consider where you’ll use it and if its design and color are going to suit your preferences.
Heated lunch boxes run off one of two power sources: a standard power outlet or a 12-volt car adapter. Which one is right for you depends on where you'll be consuming your lunch. While the majority of models are powered one way or the other, some include separate adaptors, so you can power them either way as needed.
Check how long any heated lunchboxes you're considering take to heat up food. The majority range between 15 and 30 minutes, but you can find a few outliers that are slightly quicker or slightly slower. You should also remember these times are estimated and based on the lunch box being completely full, so it's always worth checking on your food every now and then, especially if you've only half-filled it.
The majority of heated lunch boxes are designed to hold an average amount of lunch for one. However, this might not be enough if you have a large appetite or you want to share. The internal capacity is often stated in liters, but you may be able to find out the internal dimensions as well.
The vast majority of heated lunch boxes have a hard plastic exterior, though you can find a small number with insulated fabric exteriors, which are a bit like soft-sided coolers. On the inside, you’ll often find a removable metal food tray (usually stainless steel or aluminum), or the interior could have a metal lining or simply be made from molded plastic.
Some heated lunch boxes have separate compartments to store your food in. This is great if you like to keep different foods separate. For instance, if you have rice and curry, you might like to keep the two separate and mix them together later. Other heated lunch boxes have just one large internal compartment, which is less versatile.
Ideally, your heated lunch box should have a leak-proof lid. If your heated lunch box isn't sufficiently leak-proof, you'll need to be careful to carry it upright, or you'll be limited to the types of food you can bring.
You can find heated lunch boxes in a variety of colors, though they tend to be fairly plain, without any bold patterns. A large number of heated lunch boxes on the market are available in several colors, so it makes sense to choose one based on its other merits first and then select between the available colors.
A quality heated lunch box should have a cool-touch exterior so that you won't scald yourself on the outside of the box when it's finished heating your food.
What's the average cost of a heated lunch box? We wouldn't recommend spending any less than $20 to $30 on a basic heated lunch box as lower-priced models might not be particularly reliable. Mid-range models cost between $30 and $40 and may be slightly larger and more durable than basic choices. At the high-end of the price spectrum, you'll find heated lunch boxes costing roughly $40 to $60. These are generally large and rugged with all the bells and whistles.
Q. Are heated lunch boxes safe?
A. Heated lunch boxes tend to run on a low voltage and are generally safe to use. Of course, you'll always find a few unreliable models out there, but as long as you avoid the cheapest offerings and select ones that have decent reviews, there's no reason to be more worried about their safety than any other electrical appliance.
Q. How do I clean my heated lunch box?
A. It probably goes without saying, but, unlike a regular lunch box, you can’t wash your whole heated lunch box because of the electrical components. The easiest heated lunch boxes to clean are those with a removable food tray or container, as you can wash it either in the sink or dishwasher, dry it, then return it to the body of your lunch box. Those without removable trays will need to be wiped down, which doesn't get them as clean and is more inconvenient.
Q. Are heated lunch boxes easy to use?
A. Yes, the majority of heated lunch boxes you simply plug in and leave for 15 to 30 minutes, so they're extremely easy to use.