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Best Lunch Ice Packs

Updated October 2023
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Best of the Best
Cooler Shock Reusable Cooler Ice Packs - Set of 3
Cooler Shock
Reusable Cooler Ice Packs - Set of 3
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Best for larger lunch boxes or coolers, these are long-lasting ice packs that work well to keep food cold.


These ice packs work so well many customers had repeat or multiple orders. They get top marks for keeping food and beverages cold (some said up to 2 days) as well as being easy to use and having good instructions. We love that it provides great cooling without the bulk.


A few experience rips in the packs after multiple uses.

Best Bang for the Buck
Rubbermaid Rubbermaid LunchBlox Ice Packs - 3-Pack
Rubbermaid LunchBlox Ice Packs - 3-Pack
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A compact and affordable ice pack from a well-known brand in a convenient size.


Customers like that this smaller-sized ice pack is lightweight, well-made, and doesn't leak. We love that it's easy to clean and comes at a low cost per pack.


Some felt the plastic was too thin and because of it's smaller size may not cool for very long time periods.

Healthy Packers Slim Lunch Box Ice Packs - Set of 4
Healthy Packers
Slim Lunch Box Ice Packs - Set of 4
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One of the most versatile ice packs you can buy, this works well for smaller lunch boxes or bags.


Users appreciate the uniform cooling, ease of cleaning and storing, and it's versatile enough to fit almost any bag, even smaller ones. It also stands out for freezing quickly.


May not keep food cold for long in extremely hot temperatures or for extended periods.

Fit & Fresh Cool Coolers Slim Ice Packs
Fit & Fresh
Cool Coolers Slim Ice Packs
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Slim size that are bright and friendly for children, as well as non-toxic and BPA-free. Great choice for the money considering you get four in a package.


Comes in over six designs so it’s easy to find a favorite character for your child. Food remains cold for around six hours in an insulated lunch box. Keeps food cold without freezing, which is especially important for growing children with sensitive teeth.


Mild sweating and are somewhat too large, especially if you want to use more than one in smaller lunch boxes.

Bentgo Ice Lunch Chillers Ultra-thin Ice Packs - Pack of 4
Ice Lunch Chillers Ultra-thin Ice Packs - Pack of 4
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A slim-fit, affordably priced lunch box ice pack for kids' or adults' lunches.


Customers remark on the fact that this is a good size with good cooling power in a slim design. It also gets top marks for freezing solidly and being easy to use in a variety of lunch boxes without taking up too much space.


Some customers experienced the packs leaking, and they may not be the best option for long-term cooling.

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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.About BestReviews 

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best lunch ice packs

Think of the hard work you put into preparing a meal for work, school, or travel. There’s a great deal of planning and organizing, and packing a lunch box can have its own challenges. For one, if you expect several hours to pass before mealtime, it can be disheartening to eat room-temperature food.

With a collection of lunch ice packs, you can enjoy the refreshing experience of a chilled meal and beverage on the go. The compact, efficient design keeps food cold without taking up too much space. In fact, you can include as few or as many packs at a time in your lunch, so it’s easy to control how cold your food gets.

Lunch ice packs are also appreciated by those who need to chill medication and breast milk. They’re light enough to line a bag without weighing it down. There are even special types of lunch ice packs that are TSA-approved. So whether you’re packing for yourself or your child, lunch ice packs are the way forward. We looked at some of the best ones around so you can be as cool, calm, and collected as your lunch box.

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If you’re traveling and have medication that needs to stay cold, consider using lunch ice packs to insulate them. Check with TSA requirements to see that they meet their standards, which periodically change.

Key considerations


It’s common to use more than one lunch ice pack at a time, which is why they’re often packaged in sets of three to 10. Due to their design and size, having smaller individual packs makes it easier to pack your lunch box in a way that maximizes the amount of time your food stays cold. Some manufacturers recommend that you buy more than one set, as the ice packs have stacking and connectability options.


Lunch ice packs come in different shapes and sizes, but most are small enough to fit in a 12” x 12” lunch box. Smaller packs are up to six inches long, whereas larger packs could be cold sheets that span the entire length of the lunch box. Slimline lunch ice packs that save space tend to be popular with consumers.

Soft or hard packs

Lunch ice packs typically come in two styles: soft and hard. Soft packs are flexible and soft — ideal if you’re keeping them in different types of bags and lunch boxes. They tend to be relatively lightweight, too, so they’re a decent choice if you find yourself traveling with food often.

Hard packs are made with plastic, so they may be a little heavier. However, there are many slim packs made of plastic that keep your lunch box light. These are popular for children’s lunch boxes; there are quite a few with fun characters and designs.



The outer case or container of a lunch ice pack is uniquely designed for frequent use. They’re generally made of food-grade materials, particularly hard plastics and thick vinyl that won’t contaminate your food. As tough as they are, they do require proper care for long-term use. You’ll want to wash your lunch ice packs by hand, as they’re not dishwasher safe.

The internal materials of lunch ice packs are what provide the coldness and insulation. Many are made from liquid or gel that is freezer-safe; some are also nontoxic for use around children. There are also lunch ice packs that you fill with tap water and freeze. These packs have reinforced walls to accommodate the hardening of the ice.


  • Nontoxic: Lunch ice packs are labeled nontoxic. This may refer to their BPA-free status, or it may refer to the fact that the materials in the pack reduce the likelihood of contamination.

  • BPA-free: BPA, also known as bisphenol A, is a chemical used in the production of certain plastics, such as everyday bottles and containers. As there is the possibility of BPA transferring from plastic to food, there has been a call by consumers for BPA-free products, particularly those used in food storage. Some lunch ice packs are BPA-free for this reason.

  • Puncture-resistant: Since they bounce around a fair amount, lunch ice packs are sometimes equipped with puncture-free features. A pack might have double- or triple-reinforced walls to cut down on leakage. It also might have small air pockets inside that make space for the expansion of internal materials once they freeze, so they don’t burst or explode from the pressure.


One of the most popular uses for lunch ice packs is to keep a child’s lunch box cold. As such, there are plenty of themed lunch ice packs to choose from: animals, shapes, designs, fun colors, and animated characters. In fact, some lunch ice packs for kids have unusual shapes that create nooks and crannies within the box. You might need additional packs to fill these gaps.

Lunch ice pack prices

Lunch ice packs range between $4 and $25 and usually come in sets.


At the low end of the range, between $4 and $10, you can expect basic compact lunch ice packs with no standout features. Ice packs in this category are generally similar in shape, design, and size.


For $10 to $15, you can get packs that incorporate different types of freeze technology to maximize cold time. These come in a variety of sizes and include some unique perks, including puncture-resistant materials and TSA approval for travel.


Lunch ice packs in the $15 to $20 range place a strong focus on extending the amount of time food stays cold. These products may tap into multiple methods of cooling and freezing to achieve the best results.

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Did you know?
Breastfeeding moms can use lunch ice packs to keep bags of pumped milk and/or bottled milk cold.


  • Buy more ice packs than you need. You never know when you will need extra lunch ice packs. Since they’re usually compact, it’s easy to store them in the freezer in case one punctures or gets left at school or the office.

  • If you can smell them, there’s probably a leak. If you begin to notice a smell emanating from the packs or your lunch box, chances are there’s a leak in the packs. Discard and replace them immediately. You may wish to also replace your lunch box as a precaution.

  • Don’t leave lunch ice packs out in the sun. The packs keep food cold on the beach and during hiking excursions, but don’t leave them out in the sun while you’re eating. Not only will they lose their coldness, but they could become permanently damaged.

  • Do not use them for teething. Even though some lunch ice packs are BPA-free and safe enough to keep your food cold, they’re not intended for the mouths of teething babies. They contain chemicals, and if punctured, the internal components are extremely hazardous to health.

  • Contact poison control or emergency services. Even though lunch ice packs could be nontoxic, if your child accidentally ingests the internal materials, contact poison control or a health care provider immediately.
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Lunch ice packs could make brown bags wet and cause them to tear. Opt for a reusable lunch box instead; it’s a more environmentally friendly choice, too.


Q. Should I use an insulated lunch box with my lunch ice packs?

A. It’s not required, but it could help keep your food cold longer since it provides an additional layer of protection. Insulated lunch boxes are also reusable, so if you’re looking for ways to go green, it’s a simple, affordable option.

Q. How many lunch ice packs do I need for my lunch box?

A. It depends on how large your lunch box is and what type you have. Smaller insulated lunch boxes condense contents and push food closer to cold areas, so coldness becomes concentrated. Larger lunch boxes, even insulated ones, may require more lunch ice packs or better packing to bring coldness to food.

Q. Are there any perks to getting themed lunch ice packs?

A. Yes. It could be a friendly reminder for children to bring them home after school each day. If they recognize the characters or animals, children could have a sense of responsibility to return them to the freezer when they get home.