What Is An Electric Lunch Box And How Does It Work?

These days, bringing your lunch to work doesn't have to mean carrying a sad paper bag on your morning commute. In 2023, lunch boxes have become more sustainable, insulated, and easier on the eyes. Bento boxes are now a popular option, as they can separate foods into different compartments — because there's nothing worse than salad dressing making your lettuce soggy for hours or your saucy pasta getting all over your banana slices. The New York Times' favorite bento box features stackable compartments, a small fork, and an array of cute pastel color choices.

If you're worried about your food going bad while you wait for your lunch break, there are a variety of other lunch boxes that have you covered. Take the Baggu Puffy Lunch Bag, for example, which is designed to keep your food cool until mealtime — not to mention it's made from recycled nylon and polyfill (via Baggu). Or the Picnic Time Urban Lunch Bag, which has both an insulated cooler and a dry compartment and looks as sleek as your laptop case (via Dwell). But if you really want to purchase a state-of-the-art lunch box, try out the electric kind.

A lunch box that leaves your food piping hot

While insulated lunch boxes try to maintain foods' temperatures, electric ones are designed to heat up cold food so you can enjoy a warm meal on your lunch break. According to The Spruce Eats, electric lunch boxes either have an internal battery or are meant to be plugged in at your office, and they can warm up your food for anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours. These devices don't cook your food for you but are designed to bring your cold leftover chicken parm, for example, up to temperature while you're plowing through the morning's tasks.

While electric lunch boxes may have additional compartments for cold food like fruit, they usually include a stainless steel container that heats up once plugged in, according to Forabest. Since these appliances are easily transportable, they can even be used on road trips or camping getaways, and are perfect for heating up food at tailgates, LunchEaze explains. If you shy away from bringing food to work, an electric lunch box may incentivize you to do so, as you can enjoy your food piping hot while resisting the urge to spend money on a purchased lunch.

If you enjoy liquid-y lunches like soup, however, you may want to stay away from electric lunch boxes, Saveur explains. Their lids are generally not leak-proof, so you'll risk spilling your food during your commute.