The 7 Best Electric Heated Lunch Boxes

Updated December 29, 2017 by Melissa Harr

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We spent 46 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Perfect for school, work, camping, or a long road trip, these electric heated lunch boxes will ensure you never go without a decent meal. We’ve included those suitable for car, home and office use. The only rule is, once you get one of these, you're not allowed to make fun of the poor unfortunates with their brown paper bags. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best electric heated lunch box on Amazon.

7. Tayama EBH-01

6. Smart Planet with Spork

5. Smart Planet Collapsible

4. Koolatron 12-Volt Lunch Box

3. Crock-Pot 20-Ounce

2. RoadPro 12-Volt

1. HotLogic Mini Personal Portable Oven

Not Your Average Lunch Box

The electric heated lunch box goes beyond the original school lunch box designed with a simple handle and clasp for children to carry their food with them throughout the day. Many average lunch boxes are insulated, but the heated lunch boxes take things one step further and heat your food as well as store it.

An electric heated lunch box is a lot like a portable slow cooker, only most of them work much faster. They are great for trucker drivers, campers, or people who are frequently on the road. They are even perfect for people who want to take a hot lunch to the office but hate waiting to use the microwave.

It works well to simply reheat leftovers or it can completely cook your food from raw as you work or drive. When you are ready for your lunch, it is hot and waiting for you to devour it. Many heated lunch boxes serve multiple purposes. Not only are they great for cooking or reheating your food, they are perfect for storing it and keeping it hot for long periods of time.

They contain a concealed heating element that is protected by heat resistant materials. Some models are even insulated to keep food cold if your heart so desires. Others are specially designed to keep medicines and other sensitive items at the proper temperatures.

Depending on the lunch box that you purchase, you can plug it into a wall outlet, a car cigarette lighter, or both depending on your preference and specific needs. Some come complete with on/off and temperature switches while others are simply plug and go.

Time To Hit The Road

An electric lunch box might be just the thing you need to sync your meals with your busy schedule so you can maintain a healthy diet. If you are in the market for an electric heated lunch box, consider your needs and desired features before making your final purchase.

First, if you intend to use your lunch box to cook full meals, make sure that the one you choose cooks thoroughly and doesn't simply reheat or insulate. There are some heated lunch boxes that claim to cook food from a raw state, but they don't reach the level of heat and power that is needed to achieve this.

Second, if you are a frequent traveler, consider a lunch box that comes with a car adapter that can plug into the cigarette lighter. Some heated lunch boxes come with only an AC adapter. These are great for people who spend a lot of time at work and want to save money. But they are inconvenient for campers and truck drivers.

Third, look for one in the proper size. Electric lunch boxes come in a variety of sizes. Some will cook only single person meals while others are large enough for storing and cooking for two or more people. If you frequently travel with your entire family, you will need to purchase one of the larger-sized lunch boxes.

Fourth, check the casing and heating capabilities. Make sure that the casing will hold up to continuous, frequent use and that it is compatible with the contained heating element. Ensure that your lunch box heats properly and works well with the foods that you plan to prepare.

Finally, and most importantly, check the safety certification and features. Ensure that it has been properly inspected and tested so that you can rest easy while you wait for your meal. Always make sure to follow the recommended safety instructions included with the product.

A Brief History Of Electric Heated Lunch Boxes

The creation and use of the lunch box began in the mid nineteenth century when working class citizens began carrying their lunches in metal pails. They eventually became a negative status symbol. If someone carried a metal pail to work, it meant that he couldn't afford to buy a hot lunch.

It wasn't long before children decided they wanted to copy their fathers, and they began putting their food in used tobacco or cookie tins. In 1902, the first metal lunch boxes were released by the Aladdin company and marketed to children.

Soon, the Aladdin company began putting favorite popular characters on lunch boxes to increase interest and sales. In 1935, Mickey Mouse was the first cartoon character depicted on a lunch box. These character lunch boxes quickly became a hot commodity among children who often traded with their classmates for new models or their favorite characters.

Less expensive, vinyl lunch boxes hit the market in the 1960s, but it wasn't until the 1980s that molded plastic lunch boxes literally gave the metal ones a run for their money. The Aladdin company stopped production in 1998. As of 2012, Thermos was still producing popular metal designs. Vintage lunch boxes are considered classic collector's items today.

Today, the lunch box is less of a novelty and is produced for practical purposes. Many of today's lunch boxes are made with insulation to keep food hot or cold and are again appealing to the adult working class, as they have lost their negative stigma.

The electric heated lunch box has revolutionized the modern lunch box industry by bringing an extra element of convenience to meal times. Not only do they help busy people maintain a healthy diet, but they are economical and easy to use.


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Last updated on December 29, 2017 by Melissa Harr

Melissa is a writer, editor, and EFL educator from the U.S. She's worked in the field since earning her B.A. in 2012, during which time she's judged fiction contests, taught English in Asia, and authored e-courses about arts and crafts. In her free time, she likes to make stuff out of sticks and string.


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