Lunch Bag Comparison Chart

Lunch Bag Comparison -- all the details about 7 popular brands, PLUS which lunch boxes fit in them!

Back to school season is officially here! That means that not only is it time to buy lunch boxes, but it’s also time to buy LUNCH BAGS to put those lunch boxes in.

I am frequently asked which lunch bags I recommend and I’m even more frequently asked which bags certain lunch boxes fit in. So I’ve put together a chart laying out the different key features of seven popular lunch bags — all for you! I’ve also put five of my favorite lunch boxes — and a few assorted containers — in each of those bags and photographed them so you can see how they fit and how much space they take up. Again — all for you!

Here are the criteria for the bags I reviewed:

  • Insulated: All the lunch bags are insulated to help keep lunches at a safe temperature until lunch time. (Pack an ice pack or two with cold lunches; put warm foods in a thermos.)
  • Not-too-small: I wanted most (or all) of our many lunch boxes to fit in the bags. I also wanted an assortment of containers to fit for those people who don’t use a single lunch box. For my test I used a Thermos Funtainer, a reusable sandwich box, a sandwich bag filled with popcorn and a small reusable container filled with berries.
  • Easy to Find: All of these lunch bags are easy to find online or in retail stores.
  • Boy or Girl-Friendly: Each of the lunch bags tested come in both boy and girl-friendly colors and patterns. The lunch boxes I purchased tend toward the boy-ish because I have two boys, but they also come in a variety of cute colors or patterns that will appeal to any pink or lavender loving girls. There are lots of colors and patterns here to appeal to all kinds of kids.

Ready? Let’s get to the chart!

(Starred links are affiliate links. Click any photo to enlarge it.)

Embark Lunch Satchel
Purchase*
EasyLunch-
boxes Cooler Bag
Purchase*
LL Bean Lunch Box
Purchase
Lands’ End ClassMate Soft Sided Lunch Box
Purchase
PlanetBox Carry Bag
Purchase*
Bentology Insulated Lunch Bag
Purchase*
Pottery Barn Kids Taylor Lunch Bag
Purchase
Notes This lunch bag is large enough to fit every lunch box  tested and it comes with a low price tag. The most economical bag I tested. It also is the only one that holds lunch boxes flat when held by the handle. The smallest lunch bag in the bunch, this easily fits in a kid’s backpack. Comes in 34 designs. Great all-around lunch bag. Fits most lunch boxes and comes with a guarantee.  Fits the PlanetBox (obviously) but fits all other lunch boxes too. Insulated outside pockets are a nice touch.  Another great all-around lunch bag. The newest prints are some of the cutest of the bags I reviewed.  Pottery Barn Kids has a number of lunch bags, but this one has the largest footprint of the bunch. The twill outer gives it a classic look.
Front
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Target Embark Lunch Satchel easylunchboxes-front-s LL Bean Lunch Bag Lands' End Lunch Bag PlanetBox Carry Bag Bentology Lunch Bag Pottery Barn Kids Taylor Lunch Bag
Back
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embark-back easylunchboxes-back-s LL Bean Lunch Bag Lands' End Lunch Bag PlanetBox Carry Bag Bentology Lunch Bag Pottery Barn Kids Taylor Lunch Bag
Open
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embark-open-s easylunchboxes-open-s LL Bean Lunch Bag Lands' End Lunch Bag PlanetBox Carry Bag Bentology Lunch Bag Pottery Barn Kids Taylor Lunch Bag
Price $12.99 $7.95 $19.95 $19.00 $26.95 ($12.00 when purchased with a lunch box) $18.99 $22.50
Colors/Prints 6 colors 7 colors 11 colors
23 prints
5 colors
10 prints
5 colors
4 prints
4 prints or plain navy blue 5 colors
Bottle Pouch Yes No, but kid-sized water bottles fit easily inside. No, and water bottle will not fit inside with a lunch box Yes Yes (insulated) Yes, includes a bungee tie Yes
Pockets Front pocket None Zip pocket on outside, velcro mesh pocket inside Zip pocket on outside, mesh pocket inside Velcro pocket on outside (insulated), mesh pocket inside Zip pocket on outside, velcro mesh pocket inside Zip pocket on outside (insulated), small zip mesh pocket inside.
Dimensions 10 x 7.75 x 3.5 inches 9 x 6.5 x 6.5 inches 9.5 x 7 x 3.75 inches 11 x 8 x 4 1/2 inches 12 × 9 × 2.5 inches 8.5 x 10 x 3 inches 9.5 x 8.75 x 3.25 inches
Holds Lunch Flat or Vertical? Vertical Flat Vertical Vertical Vertical Vertical Vertical
Materials Polyester Outside: 300D polyester Lining: Vinyl free (PVC free) and lead free, with an FDA-compliant PEVA lining Outside: packcloth Lining: BPA and PVC free Outside: Polyester Outside: 100% recycled PET with PU coating Lining: PET with TPU coating Outside: Polyester Lining: Reflective Lining (No lead, BPA, or phthalates) Outside: cotton twill Lining: PEVA
Cleaning Wipe clean with a damp cloth Machine Washable Wipe clean with a damp cloth Wipe clean with a damp cloth Hand wash (fully submerging bag in water is OK) and air dry Wipe clean with a damp cloth Wipe clean with a damp cloth
Special Features Carabiner for attaching to a back pack Adjustable strap 34 fabric options! Personalization available. Clip handle to quickly attach to a back pack. Personalization available. Elastic bands on inside hold flatware. Easy adjust strap. Front pocket expands, bottle pouch has a drawstring to keep it snug. Personalization available.
Which Lunch Boxes Fit?
Embark
Purchase*
EasyLunch-
boxes
Purchase*
LL Bean
Purchase
Lands’ End
Purchase
PlanetBox
Purchase*
Bentology
Purchase*
Pottery Barn
Purchase
Bentology (formerly Laptop Lunches)
click image to enlarge
(More info)
Purchase*
Target Embark Lunch Satchel Does not fit Does not fit Lands' End Lunch Bag PlanetBox Carry Bag Bentology Lunch Bag Pottery Barn Kids Taylor Lunch Bag
Easylunch-
boxes

click image to enlarge
(More info)
Purchase*
Target Embark Lunch Satchel easylunchboxes-easylunchboxes-s LL Bean Lunch Bag Lands' End Lunch Bag PlanetBox Carry Bag Bentology Lunch Bag Pottery Barn Kids Taylor Lunch Bag
LunchBots
click image to enlarge
(More info)
Purchase*
Target Embark Lunch Satchel easylunchboxes-lunchbots-s LL Bean Lunch Bag Lands' End Lunch Bag PlanetBox Carry Bag Bentology Lunch Bag Pottery Barn Kids Taylor Lunch Bag
PlanetBox Rover
click image to enlarge
(More info)
Purchase*
Target Embark Lunch Satchel Does not fit Does not fit Does not fit PlanetBox Carry Bag Does not fit Does not fit
Yumbox
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(More info)
Purchase*
Target Embark Lunch Satchel Lunch Bag Comparison - EasyLunchboxes LL Bean Lunch Bag Lands' End Lunch Bag PlanetBox Carry Bag Bentology Lunch Bag Pottery Barn Kids Taylor Lunch Bag
Assorted Containers
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Target Embark Lunch Satchel EasyLunchboxes filled with assorted containers LL Bean Lunch Bag Lands' End Lunch Bag filled with assorted containers PlanetBox Carry Bag Bentology Lunch Bag Pottery Barn Kids Taylor Lunch Bag
Purchase link* Embark Lunch Satchel* EasyLunch-
boxes Cooler Bag
*
LL Bean Lunch Box Lands’ End ClassMate Soft Sided Lunch Box PlanetBox Carry Bag* Bentology Insulated Lunch Bag* Pottery Barn Kids Taylor Lunch Bag

* Disclosure: Though this post contains affiliate links, I have not been compensated in any way for writing this post or pulling this information together.

Notes:

  • Flat or Vertical: When I asked about what my readers look for in a lunch bag on Facebook and Instagram, many people told me that they wanted a bag that held their lunch box horizontally when it was carried by the handle. I heard you! But…I’d also bought all the bags for this review at that point and I really needed to draw the line somewhere because I can’t fit more than seven lunch bags in my chart! There is one lunch bag that holds lunch boxes flat in this post, but I will keep this request in mind if I decide to do a second post about lunch bags down the road.
  • So Many Lunch Bags: The seven lunch bags I chose are a mix of bags I already own and bags from popular brands that I’m trying for the first time. (A few of the lunch bags I use regularly — from PlanetBox and Laptop Lunches — were older versions that are no longer available for purchase  so I bought the current versions to test.) There are so many great lunch bags I could have reviewed that fit all my criteria but I simply didn’t have space for them!

Do you use any of these lunch bags? Share your experiences with them in the comments for others to learn from! Do you have a different lunch bag you recommend? Share that too!

Are you looking for a lunch box to put in your lunch bag? Check out the LUNCH BOX COMPARISON CHART:
A comprehensive chart comparing 6 popular boxes on 21 different criteria -- UPDATED for 2016


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Interested in packing bento lunches? Check out my book:
Everyday Bento: 50 Cute and Yummy Lunches to Go -- Buy now on Amazon!

Lunch Bag Comparison -- all the details about 7 popular brands, PLUS which lunch boxes fit in them!

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  • emackes

    I teach in a classroom where everyone has to put his lunchbox on shelves. The ones that are wide enough to hold boxes flat take up so much room that we can’t fit all the unchanged on the shelves. Consider where your child will be storing his lunchbox before you purchase.

  • Great point! Thanks for putting that out there. My kids’ lunches stay in their backpacks all day so this is a factor I wouldn’t have thought of.

  • Daniela

    Thank you for all your hard work. If I click on the Planetbox link to get 2 bags will your affiliation be recognized??

  • Shannon Snow

    I actually got the easy lunchboxes cooler bag half way through last year when I went to to the easy lunchbox for my boys. I got them because they were the only ones that would let me put the containers in flat so things stayed where I put them. With a 5th grader and junior in High school both of my boys can be a bit rough on things…. These lunch boxes held up great and will be starting the new year with them on Wednesday. The youngest did have a certain place they keep lunchboxes last year, this year both the boys (going into middle and last year of high) will be keeping their stuff with them all day. Thank you for this review, I will know better which ones will work with their lunchbox containers when replacement time comes.

  • Yes, it will. Thank you!

  • Our ELB bags have held up really well over the years, but we’ve never seen exactly how long they last because my husband tends to lose them! 😉

  • Daniela

    Awesome!! I want to show the kids the $12.99 bag but the disadvantage is having to take the whole box out of the bag and having to place the bag somewhere, then opening the box. Those lunch tables are not very wide. The Planetbox bags just allow them to open the box with the bag zipped open… yeah I know…first world problems

  • Daniela

    And I am def tempted by the wipe down interior. Our other bags are 3 years old and still in “decent” shape sort of

  • YES! I was pleasantly surprised by the improvements PB made to the carry bags! The wipe down interior is great and I love the insulated pockets.

  • danaroo

    I bought the new Goodbyn bags for our lunch kits this year. I have tons of Lunch Bots and other stainless containers though, so didn’t buy the goodbyns to go in them. Hope they work out well.

  • danaroo

    Ha! Store them elsewhere then.

  • Angela Vullo

    I’m glad to hear they have improved. The one we bought in 2014 fell apart pretty fast. I was hesitant about buying another one for the price but I think I will try it. You can’t beat the design.

  • Jamie Oliver

    Thank you so much for sharing this!! I have piles of lunch containers around and am constantly trying to figure out bags that work. We pack every day and try to be healthy and creative (which means bento style works well for us!) We have the PB bags from several years ago without the pocket. We like that they fit well in most backpacks, but it can be hard to fit lunch containers AND a drink in them and our kiddos have to keep their water bottles, etc. with their lunchbox to have it at lunch.The outside pocket looks good, but it means the drink has to be self insulated. I also LOVE our Easy Lunch Boxes, but the bag is harder for the kiddos to manage and they tend to stuff/shove it randomly in their backpacks and it doesn’t hold up well. The Embark might be a good fit for us to try.

    Again, this was SO helpful!

  • Jamie Oliver

    Oh, and just FYI…as needed, our PB boxes get washed on the gentle cycle with VERY LITTLE soap and air dried and do just fine.We also use PB backpacks and are VERY happy with the quality and value for the cost. They easily last 3 years, and our munchkins are HARD on them.

  • Yvonne

    The Pottery Barn Kids’ 2 section lunch box is a lifesaver. It allows the YumBox and the Easylunch Box to sit flat. Since it has two sections, we use the top section for snack and the bottom for lunch.
    Thank you Wendy! You changed my life with your lunch box wisdom.

  • Thank YOU, Yvonne! This is great info about the PB Kids lunch box.

  • aimeehj

    Okay, I am moved to comment! This comparison is amazing. I wish I had this kind of chart for every consumer choice I ever had to make. Thanks so much!

  • This is so helpful!

  • Lisa Kukal Jennings

    Just curious why the Planetbox Rover is listed as not fitting in the Land’s End Classmate bag? The bag is 11x8x4-1/2 and the Rover is 10x7x1-1/2.

  • Hi Lisa — Good question! The dimensions listed for each bag are the outer dimensions and usually include extra pockets and the handles which will both stick out a bit. The inner dimensions — where the lunch boxes go — are usually smaller. I tested the Planetbox by putting it inside the Classmates bag and it wouldn’t fit in the main compartment completely, let alone zip up.

  • Vinkrish

    Hi, I got my daughter Bentgo lunch box…can’t find any bag. Could you please help??? 😔

  • kathy

    Wish I had found this before, I bought my lunch container first and then spent hours online searching for a bag that would. I ended up with Land’s End Classmate bag and now I use 2 styles of containers: Smart Planet Large 3 Compartment Eco Silicone Collapsible container, and Sistema Triple-Split Lunch To Go container – used by my 8 yr old and adults. I love that both the base & lid of the Sistema are completely dishwasher safe, however the lid for the Smart Planet needs to be handwashed. I also have a 3-pack of the Sistema multicolour 6.8oz containers and I put one in the front zipper pocket of this bag, and I have a 4-pack of small square containers with lids that I got at the dollar store that I can put in the larger section of the container to hold more items and help prevent a smaller sandwich from moving around too much. If I’m putting in berries that might leak then I just put a bit of papertowel under the fruit to absorb the juice and that works perfectly. I really enjoy looking at all your lunch ideas.

  • SSchwarz

    *waves from the Peninsula across the bay*
    Thank you for maintaining your comparison charts! I’m looking forward to the challenge of the daily lunch pack, and appreciate having your site as a resource.

  • disqus_l4NMSUJLsi

    I’ve used the same Easylunch-boxes and bag for the last 5+ years and they’ve held up great. Love they lay flat in the bag and prevent leaking. For anything liquid I do put in separate container or cover. Great option for low cost.

  • dmatthews

    I’m shopping for the new school year and have a question.
    the current size description of the Yumbox is 8.5 x 6.5 x 1.8 inches
    the Pottery Barn Kids Dual Compartment lunchbox is: Interior Bottom Compartment: 8.5″ wide x 5.5″ deep x 2″ high
    Yvonne: you say it fits, but are you squishing it in there and deforming the lunchbag?

  • Jess

    Great chart! Have you ever tried the Wildkin lunch box? It looks like it might fit a Planetbox Rover and my bigger kids are ready for some new styles and colors. Thanks!

  • Kate

    Do you know of any insulated lunchboxes that will fit the Planetbox Rover AND a drink? I bought the Planetbox lunch box but have been stymied by the fact that the drink has to go in the outside pocket. We usually send milk so this is a big problem for us (even when using an insulated drink container like the Thermos Foogo).

  • Hi Kate! No, I don’t know of a lunch bag that is big enough to hold a Rover with a drink inside. I have heard that some of the Built NY bags can hold the PlanetBox Rover though, so maybe they would be stretchy enough to fit a drink too? Might be worth looking into. Good luck!