Why buy an electric lunchbox?
Variety is the spice of life, right? Any time you can add variety to your day is a chance to lift your mood and work more productively. Because of the lock-in seal design, food from an electric lunchbox will invariably taste better than from a microwave. Better moisture, flavor, and nutrients. Voilà! Also, electric lunch boxes work great on road trips, camping, and even long days running errands and doctor appointments.
What should you look for in an electric lunchbox?
- Design: Pay attention to the dimensions; they’re bulkier than your average lunchbox. The interior design should have a food tray that meets your needs. If you don’t want your food to touch or prefer a built-in system to make food partitioning easy, look for a lunchbox with dividers with a food tray. It should also be removable to clean it properly. Other important design features include leakproof, lockable lids, durable carrying handles, insulated totes, and charging cables long enough to reach from your desk to the nearest outlet.
- Material: Many electric lunchbox companies prioritize food-grade polypropylene (PP) for the outer shell and removable food containers. You’ll see a lot of stainless steel-made lunchbox trays or containers, some with 304-grade steel, which has corrosion resistance and is easy to clean. Some models feature a heat-conduction design using an aluminum plate to create a convection oven.
- Power Source: Electric lunchboxes can be powered by car or truck motors which are super convenient. Nearly all of the models we review are chargeable by car and home outlets and come with 12V/24V charging cables for cars/trucks and 110V cables for work/home. While we didn’t review any electric lunchboxes powered by battery, they’re out there.
What should you know about the temperature range for an electric lunchbox?
The heating design you’ll most frequently see in electric lunchboxes uses a positive temperature coefficient heating element (PTC). The PTC element self-regulates, increasing and decreasing heat to maintain an even temperature. You want stable heat when cooking, especially to avoid foodborne illness and because evenly-cooked food tastes better. Most of the PTC-headed products we review have a constant temperature of 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Another thing to consider is how long an electric lunchbox takes to heat up to its constant temperature. Some take 30 minutes, others as long as 50 minutes. Heating time may vary based on the season or inside temperature.
FORABEST Electric Lunchbox for Car and Home
A food-grade plastic lunchbox with sturdy handles, a stainless steel container, and utensils.
Pros: The FORABEST dual compartment lunchbox plugs into a vehicle with the 12V 47-in power cord or outlet with the 110V 47-in. There’s also a handy insulated carry bag with a clean, professional, and casual look. But how does it work? Put the 304 stainless steel container into the base, set your meal inside, then put the lid on and close it using the locking lid. When it’s lunchtime, add about two spoonfuls of water, open the top steam vent, plug in the 110V or 2V cable, set a timer for between 25 to 50 minutes depending on your meal and temperature, and enjoy. The FORABEST also has a removable, food-grade plastic container and a stainless steel fork and spoon.
Cons: This is not a kid-friendly option for school.
Bottom Line: This 1.5-liter electric lunchbox makes an ideal warmer for soups, stews, and leftovers. Take it with you for office work, to a construction site, or camping.
Punup Portable Electric Lunchbox
This electric lunchbox features a three-compartment tray for help portioning your meal.
Pros: Like to pack your lunch? This three-compartment design might work for you. Separate your food into reasonable portions, or at the very least keep foods from touching. Made of food-grade PP, the electric lunch box heater is safe and durable, as is the removable 304 stainless steel container. Designed to make lunchtime easy no matter where you are, this electric lunchbox comes with a 12V/24V charging cable for vehicles and 110V for home. The heating time is about 30 to 45 minutes. Once thoroughly heated, the lunchbox keeps the temperature at 150 degrees Fahrenheit. An insulated bag and a stainless steel spoon and fork are included.
Cons: The edges of the tray are sharp.
Bottom Line: The Punup portable electric lunchbox lives up to its promise to provide an easy way to carry and warm a meal without leaking. The Punup would make a great gift with the food carrier and accessories.
Baeelyy Electric Lunchbox for Car and Home
A portable powerful food warmer with dual-power jacks.
Pros: A handy electric lunchbox you could call a portable microwave because of the 360-degree heating cycle created by the aluminum plate and uniform heat conduction. The lunchbox automatically heats to a constant temperature with a PTC heating design, keeping your food at 175 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s way more efficient than a microwave and more effective at heating food all the way through while maintaining moisture. This electric lunchbox has a leakproof gasket to prevent leaks. The average heating time is 30 to 40 minutes. Made from food-grade 304 stainless steel and PP material and an inner tank, this electric lunch box features safe materials, so your food stays safe, too. Even the outer shell is food-grade plastic.
Cons: The power cords may run too short.
Bottom Line: The Baeelyy comes with two power adapters: a 110V household and 12V and 24V for cars and trucks. Eat like a king or queen in your car or at your desk. For that matter, park your car at a nice park and have a picnic.
LOYALHEARTDY Electric Bento Lunchbox
A bento lunchbox that steams rice and eggs on the go.
Pros: Possibly the cutest electric lunchbox out there, this stainless steel two-liter Bento-style appliance offers more than meets the eye. You can’t see it from the outside, but this lunchbox has three main layers with valuable items hidden in between them: the base with a heater, a steamer, and the top with a handle. What you find inside is a big surprise. Two bowls (1.0 liter and .3 liter) nestle inside the bottom section, and a 0.7-liter bowl sits in the steamer section. There’s even a steaming tray with holes to cook eggs. The brown lunchbox is made of high-temperature-resistant PP environmental protection material and features automatic power-off protection. Steam your rice, cook vegetables, and stew in one portable bento box. The electric lunchbox comes with a measuring cup and power code.
Cons: Unfortunately, this 110 V electric lunch box cannot be heated using a car adapter.
Bottom Line: What a lovely, electric version of the traditional Japanese bento lunchbox. It makes lunchtime healthy and convenient.
Herrfilk Electric Lunchbox
A solid appliance with bonus items like an extra compartment and a dishcloth.
Pros: Introducing the Herrfik electric lunchbox—it’s everything you need. The lunchbox comprises food-grade PP plastic and stainless steel, so it’s high-temperature-resistant, strong, safe, and nontoxic. The heating mechanism features PTC constant temperature and low-energy consumption to keep your food warm and moist. Use the 110/12V power cables to heat the lunchbox via your car or truck or the 110V at home or in the office—the constant heat temperate averages 160 and 170 degrees Fahrenheit for a piping hot meal. You’ll also get an insulated lunch carry bag, a bonus compartment, a stainless steel spoon and fork, and a dishcloth. The leakproof seal ring ensures no yummy juices escape.
Cons: You may find that the Herrfik electric lunchbox heats up slower than you’d prefer.
Bottom Line: Truckers, office professionals, even day campers, everyone can find something to like about a product that offers so much.
Convenience is at your fingertips with an electric lunchbox. With incredible features, you can warm your favorite food in just minutes. Next time you go to the park or office, you can enjoy a freshly-cooked, warm meal without the hassle of a grill or microwave.