Best Hot Box – Portable Food and Pizza Carriers for Keeping Hot Food Hot (and Cold Food Cold) During Transport and Delivery

Hot boxes are required to keep foods cold or hot for extended periods of time. They are useful for people who travel a lot, such as athletes or people who want to enjoy a home-cooked, delicious meal almost anywhere they go. They are also traditionally used by restaurants and caterers to transport trays of food for events. For this review, we looked only at prestigious brands and picked up 5 portable hot box carriers. Within each review you will also find links to other products these brands carry, to help you find what you need.

Now, the first time we researched this topic several years ago, the term “food hot box” was typically used to refer to solid construction food warmers. And the usage was most frequently by people in the food industry. But the year 2020 put the world on its head, and now this term is often used more broadly to also refer to insulated deliver bags that keep food either hot or cold.

With many people turning to services such as Grub Hub, Uber Eats and Door Dash, or just getting takeout from their local restaurant, the demand for more portable hot boxes has grown tremendously. As such, in addition to our featured product reviews, we wanted to showcase some of the most popular and best rated insulated food and pizza delivery hot box bags and totes.

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Our Top Choice
Carlisle Cateraide Insulated Food Box
Carlisle is THE brand when it comes to creating high-quality catering, cooking and baking products that won’t break the bank, evident in their Cateraide Food Pan Carrier
Available in 5 colors. Insulated. Allows for 2-person carrying. Keeps food hot or cold for up to 12 hours.
Door is prone to warping.
For hot and cold food
30.5 lb. 25.22” x 17.5” x 24.8”
Can hold up to 5 pans
Best Value
Hot Logic Portable Food Warming Tote
Hot Logic is all about creating practical products that you will LOVE, evident in their Mini Portable Oven.
Available in 4 colors. Can use a wide variety of containers. Low-slow heating system.
Product can be quite slow.
Insulated hot food carrier
Aluminum lining
1.9 lb. 9” x 7” x 3”
Up to 8.75” x 6.75” x 2.5”
Accepts wide variety of containers
HeatMax Portable Food and Pizza Hot Box
Heatmax knows EXACTLY what you are after when it comes to commercial and professional cookware, evident in their Portable Food Hot Box.
Countertop food warmer. 550 temperature control. Lightweight and portable. Dual heating elements.
Heat element is on the bottom and doesn’t heat up the top two tiers as well.
Commercial food warmer
20 lb. 19" x 19" x 29"
5 shelves (16"W x 18.5"D)
550W heating element
Cambro Camcarriers Portable Food Hot Box
Cambro is the obvious choice for anyone looking for high-quality catering and cooking products that won’t break the bank! This is evident in their Camcarriers Food Pan Carrier.
Stores both hot and cold food. Thick foam insulation. Easily transportable.
Hinges are a little flimsy.
Food pan carrier- hot and cold
30.2 lb. 24” x 16.5” x 23.3”
3 x 4” food pans
Transports easily
Rachael Ray Expandable Cold & Hot Food Box
Rachael Ray really knows what their customers want in terms of cookware and bakeware, evident in their Expandable Lasagna Lugger.
Available in 3 colors. Easy to clean. Carry handles. Two compartments. Exterior zip.
Not dishwasher safe.
Tote for hot or cold food
1 lb. 16” x 11” x 4.8”
Two 9" x 13" baking dishes
Easy clean lining

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What Is the Best Portable Hot Box Carrier for Food? Read Our Hot Box Reviews!

The secret to picking to a good hot box is to analyze your needs first and then come up with a budget. The market is full of quality hot boxes, so if you know how much food you want to store in them, you should be able to make a good decision. Now that you have read our guide, let's look at our 5 recommendations and learn more about them.

Related: Six Marvelous Microwave Meals for You to Try Out on National Microwave Oven Day
Our Top Choice
We are BIG fans of Carlisle’s Food Pan Carrier due to its insulated technology and the fact it comes in 5 different colors too! If you are after a top loading hot box carrier (that can also handle cold foods) consider the Cateraide Slide N Seal Polyethylene Top Loader Pan Carrier.

Carlisle Cateraide Insulated Front Side Loading Food Pan Carrier – Portable Carrier for Hot and Cold Foods, 5 Pan Capacity, Available in 5 Colors


Carlisle is dedicated to creating and designing professional-grade products that make the lives of their customers that little bit easier! Carlisle understands how good products can make life run smoother and more efficiently, and this is why they only create products they are certain will achieve this. By making themselves work harder, Carlisle makes the lives of their customers easier.

We wanted to feature Carlisle’s Cateraide Food Pan Carrier due to the brand’s extensive collection of products and the fact this is a fantastic commercial grade carrier hot box too! The Cateraide Food Pan Carrier is insulated and can keep food hot or cold for up to 12 hours with flexible pan sizes and arrangements that allow for up to 5 pans too! The dual ergonomic handles on this product allow for 2-person carrying and its high-strength plastic construction means this product will last a lifetime, even with frequent transport!

Best Value
Hot Logic’s Mini Portable Oven is so cute and useful we HAD to feature it in our top products—who wouldn’t like a lunchbox that cooks your food throughout the day! This food hot box accommodates containers up to 8.75” W x 6.75” L x 2.5” H (1.5 quarts of food). But if you need something bigger, get the Casserole Carrier Warming Tote.

Hot Logic Mini-Mac Personal Portable Oven – Food Hot Box Evenly Cooks or Reheats Fresh or Frozen Meals, Available in 5 Colors


Hot Logic is a brand that is sick and tired of cold, boring lunches as well as expensive meals out and the dreaded microwaveable meal…That’s why the brand created the Hot Logic Personal and Portable Oven, which allows you to take hot foods with you wherever you go! If you are after an easy, affordable and (most importantly) yummy way to eat hot meals, then Hot Logic is THE brand for you!

We wanted to feature Hot Logic’s Mini Portable Oven due to it being an insulated food carrier for home use as well as being able to reheat food! The Hot Logic Mini uses a patented low-slow heating system that reheats food perfectly and gently, ideal for leftovers and frozen meals too! The Mini is the ideal heating lunchbox for the office, work site, car or even your hotel room on vacation! The product’s aluminum lining maximizes heat retention while its Smart Shelf technology automatically cooks food to perfection while you get on with your day!

HeatMax’s Portable Food Hot Box is the ideal counter hot box to keep all your favorite foods nice and toasty warm! If, however, you were after a food warmer with display case too, then take a look at the HeatMax Commercial Pizza, Pastry and Patty Catering Food Hot Box and Warmer Case instead!

HeatMax Aluminum Countertop Commercial Food Warmer - Electric Food Hot Box Cabinet and Pizza Warmer, Great for Fund Raising


HeatMax provides commercial and professional products for kitchens all around the world, and we can certainly see why! Their high-quality, affordable products are durable and will last you a lifetime. They are of incredible quality too, and you can therefore rest easy knowing that your new product from HeatMax will get the job done every time!

We wanted to feature HeatMax’s Commercial Food Warmer due to it being a countertop commercial-style hot box. Its all-aluminum construction makes it incredibly durable and has a 15” clearance through the front door, which allows for a variety of pan sizes. It also has an up to 550-degree temperature controlled heating element, and only weighs in at 20 lbs.—perfect for maneuvering and portability! This food warmer has dual heating elements too, perfect for hot and cold food. This product is also perfect for foods such as pastries, sandwiches and other foods that require 140-160 degrees.

Cambro’s Camcarriers Food Pan Carrier is ideal for anyone looking for a hot box that can store both hot AND cold food. The Cambro EPP400110 Insulated Food Carrier is another great option and can handle multiple combinations of pan and container sizes.

Cambro Camcarrier® Ultra Front Loading Insulated Food Pan Carrier with Handles — Hold Pans of Hot or Cold Food at Safe Temperatures for Hours


Cambro has been offering their customers a wide range of products from trays, table service and display items, to storage, shelving, insulated transport and many more for over 60 years! Cambro has a tradition of continuously developing their products old and new in order to help food service operators, making their lives easier and simpler! This is why Cambro’s customers keep coming back for more as they increase sales, reduce labor and (most importantly) improve service.

We wanted to feature Cambro’s Camcarriers Hot Box due to the popularity of the brand and the overall quality of the product. This food pan carrier can be used to hold multiple pans of either hot or cold food at their perfect temperatures for hours! The box itself is constructed with a seamless polythene material as well as thick foam insulation to keep your food at its ideal temperature. The product’s plastic latches secure the contents of the box and makes for safer transport and storage.

Rachael Ray’s Lasagna Lugger is the perfect choice for anyone after a hot box for casual, everyday use. If you are looking for the perfect food carrier for a picnic or to carry lunch, however, then take a look at Rachael’s Jumbo ChillOut Thermal Tote instead!

Rachael Ray Expandable Lasagna Lugger – Double Portable Food Carrier for Casseroles, Side dishes and Desserts, Food Stays Hot or Cold for Hours


Rachael Ray is a brand renowned for its beautiful assortment of cookware, cookbooks, dinnerware, bakeware and SO much more! The brand sets out to create stylish products that can be used every day to make your life that little bit simpler (at a great price too!). If you are looking for a fashionable and affordable solution to your cookware, baking or catering problem them Rachael Ray is the girl for you!

We wanted to feature Rachael Ray’s Expandable Lasagna Lugger due to the brand’s popularity and the fact the product is perfect for casual, everyday use! This food warmer has two compartments that are insulated with SuperFoam as well as Therma-Flect for a radiant barrier—your food will be toasty and warm in this hot box! The lining is super safe and easy to clean with the box even having an exterior outer pocket for utensils and cutlery. Our favorite part about this product, however, has to be its carry handles, which make the whole thing portable and easy to lug about with you wherever you need to go!

Best Food Hot Box Buying Guide — What to Look for in a Portable Hot Box Pan Carrier or Pizza Hot Box

Modern technology is raising the quality of life for everyone out there, particularly for people who travel a lot on a regular basis. Are you a businessman? You can get a quality business backpack or a suitcase to take your documents and gadgets with you. Are you a bodybuilder or professional athlete moving from place to place to participate at contests? You might find a hot box helpful to pack your meals and ensure you are always in the best shape!

The beauty of a hot box is that it can keep your food hot or cold for extended periods of time, saving your day when you travel for many hours and don’t have access to a refrigerator or a freezer. It can be an excellent camping accessory, right up there with a camping grill, allowing your family and friends enjoy a delicious hot meal outdoors. Best of all, these practical appliances are not that expensive nowadays and we will get into more detail about that immediately.

If this is the first time when you are buying a hot box, sit back, relax and enjoy reading this guide. You will learn everything you need to know about them and how to buy a good one for you and your family!


Video: DIY Insulated Food Warmer Sleeve

How to Make a Food Warmer Sleeve. | Courtesy of SurviveN2

When it comes to price, we are happy to mention that most high-quality hot boxes start with prices around $45-50 dollars and can go up to $350-$400 for a really high-end model which might be more suitable for commercial applications. The size of the box as well as the materials from which is made and insulation quality can increase or decrease the price of these appliances. For example, if you want a larger hot box which can accommodate up to 4 or 5 trays with food, your budget must be flexible. Obviously, you don’t have to go for a very expensive one if you don’t need to, but it is good to know that the market offers you so many options!

Speaking of multiple options, there are also many cheap hot boxes out there which are not that cleverly built and can cause you a lot of problems. It is wise to stay away from them and go for a hot box which is made by a reputable manufacturer, to ensure that your foods are preserved at an optimal temperature all the times.


Let's cover some of the most important aspects when it comes to hot boxes, so that you know what to look for when you are browsing.

  • Size - If you need to pack a few dishes and maybe a beverage, you don’t need a very big hot box. On the other hand, if you go camping with your family, you might need a box which has several shelves. And if it's pizza, you will need one that's large enough for the hot pizza box.
  • Material - Some boxes are made from polyethylene, others from aluminum while others from a high-quality type of fabric which is designed to preserve the temperature of your foods
  • Insulation - There are several options here – some boxes have insulation based on aluminum, others use a type of foam, etc
  • Color - This is also an option of yours, so make sure you don’t overlook this small aspect

In the next section, we are going to cover a few more details regarding how certain boxes are built. Once you know this information, it will be easier for you to make the right decision when buying hot boxes.

Construction and Design

All hot boxes come with handles which can be made from varied materials such as plastic, fabric or even metal. Some boxes are more compact and lightweight, taking the shape of a regular suitcase, so no one will ever suspect that you have food in there except for maybe a highly-trained police dog.

Other boxes look like mini fridges but these come with two handles that will make it easy to transport anywhere. ) These models usually accommodate more food, so if you plan on camping in the woods with your family next weekend, go for those. The shelves will allow you to store several pans of hot or cold food at optimal temperature, so no one will be hungry during your adventure.

When it comes to the insulation materials, just as mentioned earlier, there are several trains of thoughts here. Most large boxes come with thick walls, so although this might make them a bit heavy, the food can be preserved at the desired temperature for half a day. Smaller boxes might have aluminum foil as insulation alongside with several other types of fabric to ensure your soup stays warm during the trip.

Before wrapping it up, keep in mind that some boxes use electricity to keep your food hot or cold. They come with a cord which can be plugged into any power outlet (even the one in you RV) and they passed all safety standards. Such boxes might cost a couple of extra bucks more, but they are worth it.

Video: Self Heating Food

Quick Hot Meal Ideas That Don’t Need Electricity. | Courtesy of DancingBacons
Performance and Ease of Use

An excellent quality box is designed to keep your food hot from 4 to 12 hours, so that’s a convenient feature. You can even arrange the shelves inside a large hot box according to your desires, to accommodate smaller or larger pans. Before buying such an appliance, bear in mind to also look at the warranty certificate provided by the manufacturer as these products usually include warranty periods of 1 or 2 years. Hopefully nothing goes wrong with your food box, but just in case, it feels nice to be covered, right?

Get the Best Hot Box of 2023!

Most hot boxes don’t only keep your food warm or cold for up to 12 hours, but they are also quite practical and easy to carry. So, whenever you are hungry, you can always enjoy a delicious and fresh meal that will last the entire day. Get one of the best hot boxes out there by selecting from these 5 or any other hot boxes made by these famous manufacturers!

Our Top Choice
Carlisle Cateraide Insulated Food Box
Best Value
Hot Logic Portable Food Warming Tote
HeatMax Portable Food and Pizza Hot Box
Cambro Camcarriers Portable Food Hot Box
Rachael Ray Expandable Cold & Hot Food Box

Hot Box FAQs

What is a hot box?
A hot box is an electronic device that maintains food temperature for extended periods, whether cold or hot. It makes it possible for you to enjoy a hot home-cooked meal on the go. Other individuals, such as athletes, also find hot boxes handy.
What is the best hot box?
The best hot box is one that you can use to maintain food temperature for a long time. Even though the functionality is the most important consideration, it shouldn’t cost more than you can afford. Notably, the device should be of the right size to carry all the foods you have. When it comes to the material, the right hot boxes are made from polyethylene or aluminum. The hot box should be adequately insulated to keep your food at the right temperature. You may also want to pick a hot box of a given color, depending on your tastes and preferences. Have a look at our review on hot boxes for more information.
Where to buy a hot box?
Are you looking where to buy a hot box? We recommend Amazon, the largest online retailer when it comes to the variety of goods. Besides, the deals you will enjoy are unparalleled.