Best Lunch Cooler for Construction Workers

Without a doubt, construction site workers need a decent lunch box that can handle a bit a rough treatment.

However, there’s one thing worse than a squashed lunch, and that’s when your food gets warm from sitting in the sun all day.

What you really need is a rigid and insulated lunch box that’s been designed for the outdoors.

In this article we review some of the best lunch box coolers for the building site with particular focus on lunch coolers with a solid build that can keep your food cool (or warm) throughout the day.

Comparison of a Few Top Lunch Coolers for Construction Workers

Type Pricing Our Rating
Stanley Heritage Cooler $$
IceMule Coolers Pro $$$
Klein Tools Tough Box Cooler $$
YETI Roadie 20 $$$$
HemingWeigh Insulated Lunch Bag $
Coleman Cooler $
MIER Adult Lunch Box $

**Below, you’ll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews.

Product Reviews

1) Stanley Heritage Cooler Review

When you buy a Stanley lunch cooler, you also get a thermos flask that locks perfectly into the area between the handle and lid.

The bottle holds 1.1 quarts and can keep drinks hot or cold for up to 24 hours. If you fill it with ice, the ice will keep for 5 or 6 days.

Carrying your lunch box is easy as the shape of the handle is designed to be used with the thermos is locked in place. When the thermos is full of liquid, the box can be top heavy and unstable on uneven surfaces.

When you remove the lid of the cooler, you can use it as a lap tray and a safe place to put the cup from the thermos.

Internally the lunch cooler is lined with foam insulation and is broken into two compartments to separate your lunch items. The large compartment is 7 inches by 8 inches (and 4 inches deep) and the smaller compartment is 7 inches by 4.25 inches (and 4 inches deep).

With the addition of an ice pack, it can keep food cool for between 12 and 18 hours. However, by the time you add an ice pack, the storage space inside the cooler is limited and may not suit workers that carry a large lunch.

From an external point of view, the cooler is made from a solid plastic and only comes in green.

Stanley has been around since 1913, and with more than 100 years experience, they offer a lifetime warranty on the lunch box and thermos.

Our Verdict: Check out the dimensions before you order. This is a good lunch cooler for snacks and drinks. However, it may not be good for workers that need space for a generous lunch.


2) IceMule Coolers Pro Review

If you move around a lot or want to keep your lunch with you throughout the day, a backpack cooler may be just what you’re looking for.

The IceMule Cooler is built tough from the same fabric they make river rafts out of. It’s designed to handle knocks and scrapes and general outdoor abuse.

Unlike other coolers, this backpack has five different insulation methods that are combined to give outstanding cooling ability.

At the top of the cooler is a neck seal that is designed to keep ice in and air out. The body has a tough inner and outer layer that’s twice as thick as other soft coolers and the internal PolarLayer keeps the contents cool for up to 24 hours.

This cooler is huge. The XL model is 17-inch tall, 14-inch wide and 11-inch deep cooler and can hold 24 cans with ice to keep them cool. This is more than large enough for most construction workers and you may want to consider getting the slightly smaller "Large" size which can hold 18 cans and ice.

When you’re not using it for work, it’s also perfect for long hikes, a dry bag on the river or carrying home the shopping on public transport.

Because of its soft cooler design, it can lay completely flat when it is empty.

Our Verdict: This cooler is a real head turner. Not only does it keep food and drinks cool for the entire day, but it also has a massive capacity that has versatility that means you can also use it when you’re not at work.


3) Klein Tools Tough Box Cooler Review

The Klein Tools Tough Box Cooler is manufactured by a company that knows all about construction and has been making tools since 1857.

This lockable and rugged lunch cooler can also be used as a seat while you’re eating your lunch.

With a capacity of 17 quarts, it’s a little bit too big to carry around all day. However, it’s perfect to leave in the car and to come back to when you’re hungry or thirsty.

It also doesn’t have a handle and instead includes a shoulder strap for when it comes time to move it around. The shoulder strap works better than expected and makes it easy to keep your hands free for carrying other items.

The solid construction and stainless steel hinges can keep contents cool for up to 30 hours. The interior doesn’t have any dividers or mesh. This means you need to use ice packs instead of loose ice if you intend to also keep your lunch in the cooler.

One of the great features is that you can store a 1-liter water bottle or a gallon milk container in the upright position. The lid has a cutout at one end to accommodate larger containers.

Our Verdict: This is a good solid cooler that doubles as a seat. The performance is similar to the YETI range of coolers without worrying about the huge price tag.


4) YETI Roadie 20 Review

Over the years YETI have made a name for themselves as the "go to" choice for coolers. However, the YETI name also comes at a price and is the most expensive cooler in our reviews.

Made from rotomoulded plastic and with two inch thick walls, the YETI can keep its contents cold for up to 3 days.

The lid is sealed with a gasket that’s designed to keep the cold in and the warm air out. The inside dimensions are 10 x 13 x 8 3/8 inches with the ability to stand a gallon jug upright with the lid completely closed.

Rotating the handle allows you to sit on the cooler and use it as a makeshift seat.

Check out the manufacturer’s video for the YETI Roadie 20:

YETI is proud to state that their coolers are made in the US at facilities in Iowa and Wisconsin. Some models are also made in the Phillippines.

Our Verdict: A premium product with excellent cold rentention. You will certainly pay the price for the YETI name. If you’re only using this on a work site and don’t need to keep things cold for 3 days you may want to look at a cheaper option.


5) HemingWeigh Insulated Lunch Bag Review

With food trays instead of compartments, the HemingWeigh insulated lunch bag is perfect if you like to break down your lunch into different servings.

The lunch cooler contains three trays and extra room in the top for loose fruit and room in the tray area to store a small ice pack. It also has other pockets for storing a drink, your mobile phone, and eating utensils. The water compartment can hold two 12oz water bottle size containers.

When you buy this cooler, you also get the three microwave-safe trays and an ice pack. The trays are roughly 5 inches by 7 inches wide and 2 inches deep. The trays break quite easily, so you might like to consider getting good plastic trays to replace them. Plastic trays from most takeaway shops or department stores are a good alternative.

Our Verdict: We like the idea of having trays instead of a big storage compartment. Most purchasers report that the trays break easily and don’t always match the ones shown in the product photo. However, they all report that the cooler works well and can keep food cold for hours.


6) Coleman Cooler Review

Even though the Coleman cooler has a soft outer casing, the interior contains a hard plastic liner to add strength to keep your sandwiches and other food from being crushed.

Either store your lunch and a couple of water bottles, or store nine cans on their side.

With the addition of an ice pack, the cooler can keep the contents cool for 12 hours or more. If you have time to pack your lunch the night before, storing the Coleman cooler in the fridge overnight will keep the content cool until lunchtime – even without an ice pack.

We like the way the shoulder strap can be adjusted for comfort and the front and side pockets allow you to carry utensils and other items. The cooler doesn’t have a top grab handle. However, you can adjust the carry strap length to use as a handle instead.

The following video has a good tour of the features and the interior lining of the cooler:

Space can get a little bit tight if you want to store a couple of drinks and ice pack with your food. The internal measurements are 8.5 inches long, 6.75 inches tall and 5.75 inches wide.

Our Verdict: A good soft side cooler with a solid plastic liner. The insulation isn’t that thick, but it can keep food cold for around 12 to 14 hours with a good ice pack. It may be too small if you carry a lot of drinks for the day – so check the internal measurements before ordering.


7) MIER Adult Lunch Box Review

With two completely separated sections to keep warm and cold food, this double deck design has plenty of room for sandwiches, drinks, and fruit.

Because the two compartments are stacked on top of each other, a 1-quart bottle or a short thermos is best stored laying sideways on the bottom of the bag.

When you buy the MIER lunch cooler, you don’t get an ice pack included with your purchase. You will need to take this into account when you’re comparing prices with other products.

If you don’t use an ice pack, the cooler will keep the contents cool for a couple of hours. With one or two ice packs, the contents can stay cold for a good 12 to 14 hours.

The two internal cooling compartments are both 9.45 inches long and 7 inches wide. However, from a depth point of view, the top compartment is 5.5 inches deep and the bottom compartment is 4.7 inches.

A 4 ft long adjustable strap allows you to wear the lunch cooler over your shoulder is across your body.

Our Verdict: An innovative double deck design with two separate compartments. It doesn’t include any ice packs – so take that into account when comparing prices.

How to choose the right Lunch Cooler for Construction Work

Size

When it comes to lunch coolers there are generally two types of coolers.

The large majority of coolers are small and designed for the office or school environment. They normally only have enough room to store a sandwich, some fruit and a bottle of water.

Keeping well hydrated and nourished is a priority for construction workers. That’s where a good size cooler is required. You need enough room to store your lunch and liquids to last an entire day. Often this means you need to use a full-size plastic cooler or one cooler for drinks and another for your lunch.

Rugged

There’s nothing worse than coming to the middle of the day and finding that your lunch has been squashed or that your drink bottles have burst.

Unless you’re storing your lunch bag in the car or an office, you’ll need to select a cooler that had solid walls or a tough inner shell to handle the knocks and scrapes that can’t be avoided on a building site. You also want to find a cooler that can keep out the dirt and dust from the environment you’re working in.

Cooling Time

Pick a cooler that has room to hold at least one ice pack (and preferably two)

All of the coolers we’ve reviewed can keep food cold for 10 to 14 hours with the help of an ice pack. If you don’t have an ice pack, you can normally keep the cooler in the fridge overnight (with the lid open) and the bag will keep the food cold for a couple of hours after it’s been sealed.

When you’re comparing prices and features, make sure your cooler comes with an ice pack. If it doesn’t you will need to add a few extra dollars to buy it separately.

Quick Reviews of a Few of Our Favorite Lunch Coolers for Construction Workers

Type Pricing Our Rating
Stanley Heritage Cooler $$
IceMule Coolers Pro $$$
Klein Tools Tough Box Cooler $$
YETI Roadie 20 $$$$
HemingWeigh Insulated Lunch Bag $
Coleman Cooler $
MIER Adult Lunch Box $

Final Thoughts

There’s a lucnh cooler for option for every type of construction work. For light construction, you might be able to get away with the HemingWeigh, Coleman or MIER Cooler.

For tougher work sites, you cant look past the reinforced Stanley, Klein or YETI coolers.

If you have plenty of cash and only want the best, the YETI is the cooler of choice.

We really like the Klein Tools Tough Box Cooler. Not only is it super rugged, but it can be used as a seat and has outstanding storage capacity. The price is really good too.

 

If you don’t want to lug around a full-size plastic cooler the Coleman is an excellent choice. It has plenty of space and will satisfy the needs of most construction workers.


Image credits: Amazon.com