Review: Our Favorite Lunch Boxes for Kids

By blog team member, Kiran. To learn more about Kiran, check out our team page!


It’s that time again – time to purchase school supplies and break out the bus schedules. Also I bet at the top of your list is figuring out the best lunch box for your child(ren).

We have good news…we’ve done the research for you! Below are five of our favorite lunchboxes that should make your lunch packing a breeze. Now if you could just get someone to prep all the food for you – ha! ;)

Our favorite lunch boxes on 100 Days of #RealFood

Compare Our Favorite Lunch Boxes

 YumboxPlanetBox RoverLunchBotsZiploc Divided ContainerBentology
MaterialBPA-free, food-safe plasticStainless steel + silicone rubberStainless steelBPA-free, food-safe plasticBPA-free, food-safe plastic
Price$28$49.95*$18.99 – $36.99$3.29 for two$19.99
Leakproof?YesNo, but comes with leakproof containers.No (additional leakproof options available)YesYes
Dishwasher Safe?YesYesYesYesYes
What We LikeLabels make it great to get kids involved; leakproof; cute design.Very well made; kids love all the compartments, which are especially great for bigger appetites.Numerous options let you get the perfect size for your appetite; well made and lasts.Lightweight and affordableComplete customization; take as many or as few containers as you like. Made in the USA!
What We’re Not Crazy AboutMade of plastic.Initial investment is somewhat pricey but pays off in the end.Need to purchase leak-proof containers.Not meant for longterm use, and made of plastic.Many pieces to clean.

Yumbox

Available in two versions, Yumbox is a kid-friendly, bento-style lunch container designed for kids and adults. The original version has an educational tray that offers cute labels for five 1/2-cup portions of the key food groups to help kids pack their own lunches with guidance. The Panino has four compartments, is sandwich and salad friendly, and is suitable for all appetites. Super durable and leakproof, this one’s a winner in our book (and book bag!).

Size: 8.5 x 6.5 x 1.8 inches Weight: 1 lb. 1.5 oz.

>> Try it out with our 15% off code: SWEET15 <<

Review of Our Favorite Lunchboxes on 100 Days of #RealFood


PlanetBox

Made of stainless steel, the PlanetBox offers an eco-friendly option with compartments that make lunch packing a journey (yes, I did just say that!). Don’t be alarmed by the price tag. It’s well built and offers a 5-year warranty, ensuring that lots of love (think being tossed around) won’t do any real damage. Sensible portion sizes, three options to choose from, and being dishwasher safe round out the reasons why we have been longtime fans of the PlanetBox.

Note: In the graph, we tested the Rover. Compare all three sizes and costs on this page.
Size: 10 x 7 x 1.5 inches

>> Try It Out <<  

Review of Our Favorite Lunchboxes on 100 Days of #RealFood


LunchBots

Another longtime favorite of ours, LunchBots stainless steel food containers and bento boxes offer endless options. Bento boxes range from one compartment to five. And though they aren’t leakproof, the condiment containers and 4 or 8-ounce rounds are. They can be purchased to round out your meal and store those leaky liquids (think applesauce, yogurt, condiments, etc.).

I (Kiran) have been using the same containers for 6 years now and they are still going strong!

Size: 6 x 5 x 1.75 inches

>> Try It Out <<

Review of Our Favorite Lunchboxes on 100 Days of #RealFood

Ziploc Divided Container

Popular brand Ziploc’s take on the bento box is a very affordable, everyday product. Sold in packs of two, the BPA-Free containers consist of three compartments each and a secure fitting lid.

The product claims to be freezer, microwave and dishwasher safe, though precautionary statements for use are included on the package. Please note that the containers are also disposable and are not intended to last as long as more expensive containers, though we have had success in using them for 9+ months. 

Size: 8 1/2″ x 6″

Easy Lunchboxes

Similar to our old favorite Ziploc divided containers, Easy Lunchboxes are simple to pack and unpack. Three spots in the container leave lots of room for variety to please the appetites of those of all ages. Though they are not leakproof, they have a good price point and provide easy prep and cleanup.

Size: 9.38 x 6.1 x 2 inches

>> Try It Out <<

Review of Our Favorite Lunchboxes on 100 Days of #RealFood

Bentology

Formerly known as Laptop Lunches, Bentology offers everything you need to pack a bento lunch, including lids for most compartments. If customizing your lunches each day is your thing, then this set is surely for you. Sleek style combined with eco-friendly materials allow you to assemble the perfect portion that you wish to take. Be sure to check out their ice packs, reusable napkins, and more. Oh, and the icing on the cake? The food containers are made in the USA. LOVE!

Size: 9 x 7 x 2.25 inches (outer container)

>> Try it out with our 15% off code: 100days <<

Review of Our Favorite Lunchboxes on 100 Days of #RealFood


Another must have for the lunch box!
Lunchbox Love Cards

Before the school year (and also throughout), Lisa and I both always make sure to stock up on Lunchbox Love cards – super cute cards that have jokes, sweet sayings and trivia on them. My kids have been known to hoard these cards, and Lisa’s girls are the same! It’s such a cute way to connect with your kids to let them know that you are thinking about them while they are away for the day. This sponsor of ours has both printed cards and printables that you can download – and a special hint: they almost always have a good discount on their site, too. Check them out!


In Summary

We hope all this information helps you pick the best lunchbox for you and your family! But when in doubt, there’s no need to stick to just one brand. Both Lisa and I honestly have a couple different sets that we rotate through depending on what we’re packing.

Review of Our Favorite Lunchboxes on 100 Days of #RealFood

And on that note, another solution worth mentioning that comes in smaller sizes than the others above is U•Konserve (pictured). Their containers are great when it comes to pairing side items with a hot lunch in a thermos and you can get 25% off of everything on their site with the coupon code 100DAYS.

Did we forget any of your favorites on our list? If so, we’d love to know in the comments.
Good Luck and Happy Packing! :)

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82 thoughts on “Review: Our Favorite Lunch Boxes for Kids”

  1. I saw a video (a few weeks ago) about lunch boxes and prep ideas. In it, Lisa briefly talked about a spork (spoon + fork) that her kids use. I did not catch the name or brand of that. I’d love some specific info. and where to purchase those.

    Thank you!

    Mary

  2. Do you have any info on the silicone muffin cups that fit in the ziploc containers? Mine are a bit too small! Thanks!

  3. I ordered jumbo silicone muffin cups on Amazon; they are too big for my ziplock containers. Is there a link for the ones that Lisa uses?!

  4. Hi, it looks like you’re using some kind of silicone muffin cups to hold / separate items in the larger compartment? Those look great, can you share where you got them? Thanks!

  5. Just a quick review on the U•Konserve containers mentioned at the end of this article. I ordered a “Divided To-Go Medium” and was able to get it for a great price with the 25% off code plus limited-time free shipping. I bought this for a 3-yr old, so my review is based on appropriateness for a preschooler.
    PROS: Perfect size, leakproof lid, removable divider for easy cleaning and versatility, and stainless steel means it won’t hold smells like plastics do.
    CONS: Company does not recommend putting the plastic lid in the dishwasher, lid is too tight for a preschooler to remove without spilling all the contents, and the removable divider means my preschooler makes a big mess mixing all the foods together and then doesn’t eat any of it!
    CONCLUSION: Reasonably priced stainless steel container for an older child or adult.

  6. I have seen some small thermos-type stainless steel containers in some of your photos for hot foods. Where did you get those?

  7. I have been waiting for at least a month to order 2 yum boxes but they have been out of stock. They are in stock now as of today (at least the colors I wanted) but the coupon code has expired. Is there any new codes available? It’s a bummer because I would’ve bought them earlier when the coupon was active but couldn’t because of out of stock. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

  8. I just ran across some Rubbermaid reusable divided containers that look promising. The bigger one is not leakproof, but the snack size is. The only drawback I’ve seen, other than its on the small side, is that the lids are hard to get on. It may not be ideal for younger kids. It’s a good low cost option though.

    http://www.amazon.com/Rubbermaid-TakeAlongs-Storage-Container-Divided/dp/B00E5UAM36/ref=pd_sim_79_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=0ECE0FHVXKFQ1AWA48Y1&dpSrc=sims&dpST=_AC_UL160_SR160%2C160_

  9. Charlene Ryckman

    Have you ever looked into Go Green Lunch box? I use them and they are great!! And they are leak proof!!!

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi there. That is not one we’ve reviewed. While I use mostly stainless now, I have used those sets and like how they snap into their ice packs. ;)

  10. Hi – Kiran and others, how do folks keep the LunchBots container cold? I’m thinking of purchasing it for my toddler’s preschool lunches, but they don’t refrigerate food, so I need something I can keep cold. We have a few versions of the PackIt Freezable Lunch Bags, but not sure a LunchBots Trio will fit inside. Any suggestions? Thanks!

  11. Does anyone have any recommendations for insulated lunch boxes/containers? I like to pack a warm lunch a few times a week so it needs to stay hot (or at least somewhat warm) for a few hours.

  12. Great post! Thanks for taking the time to do that comparison and saving me time, ha! I was just wondering is the PlanetBox leak-proof? We use ThinkBaby right now which is stainless steel but with BPA-free plastic lid. I don’t necessarily like that the lid is plastic BUT it is leak-proof. I definitely need a leak-proof container.

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hello Lorena. It is not but it comes with small leak proof containers. See above chart for specifics.

  13. Is there still a discount code available through 100 days for a purchase from Lifefactory reusable glass bottles? I definitely want to purchase a few, but if I can save a few dollars, that would be even better.

    1. Kiran Dodeja Smith

      Hi Sally,
      I’m also a huge fan of Lifefactory glass bottles – my kids all have them and so do I! Unfortunately I don’t have a discount code for you.
      Kiran

  14. Thank you! Because of this site I bought 2 Yumbox’s and I can’t wait to try them out! My daughter’s preschool requires us to pack her a lunch which is great because it will get me in the habit for when she attends Kindergarten! Thank you for all your help!

  15. Bentgo Kids lunch boxes are so great!! I really wanted a sealed leakproof box so I could put hummus and dips for veggies in the little compartments, and this box really works. I’m actually surprised that this one didn’t make the list here!

  16. Hi,
    Do you have lunch suggestions for high school boys? I love the ideas that are here but most would not be a big enough lunch for boys this age. Any ideas for wraps/sandwiches, etc.? Also, I’ve found at this age they prefer not to bring a lunchbox type set up to school so something where there are fewer compartments and just an easy go to sandwich, etc. they can put in a re-usable bag in their backpack?
    Thanks…love your blog! :)
    MS

    1. Kiran Dodeja Smith

      Hi Mary,
      A lot of suggestions can simply be doubled. For instance, Lisa’s taco days can just include larger quantities. We will have two different lunch plan ebooks for sale August 17 – 31 (next week!) with some great ideas within. I had testers test, and some had late-teen boys; they supplemented with doubling the quantities or throwing in a hard boiled egg + another piece of fruit, etc.
      As for boxes, I’d check out the Lunchbots offerings or bentology (links are all above). Both have large containers that are not bright colors/etc. – you know, those things that teenage boys are probably not looking for:).

      HTH!
      Kiran

  17. I just received my GO2 Container (ThinkBaby) yesterday. The criteria I had looking for lunch containers this year were stainless steel, TRULY leakproof, and economical. This was very difficult to find because several brands (including some above) say they are leakproof, but this only applies to the container as a whole (meaning it will not leak out of the main lid) and not to the compartments. So if you have applesauce or anything with liquid, it could certainly seep into other compartments, just not into your lunchbox. With the GO2 container, however, each compartment is sealed separately, much like Lisa’s beloved Ziploc containers :)

  18. What do you think of Bentgo Children’s Lunchboxes? I have read really great stuff about them. Son is going into kindergarten :)

    1. I just ordered the Bentgo kids for my daughter going into kindergarten on Monday. We have used it twice now and she has no problem opening and closing it, we also put water in several compartments and shook it and it didn’t leak into the other compartments! We love it!

    2. I just got a bentgo kids for my 5 year old. I put yogurt in it and sat it up all night long in the fridge. No leak out of the compartment that I put it in. She was able to open it easily herself. She was proud that she didn’t need any help from an adult in the lunch room on her first day! I think, depending upon what I send, the compartments may be a little small. I like that the tray comes out to be washed and the outer box can just be wiped down. It fit in a Disney lunchbox my SIL bought her from target. Still had room for a small water bottle and ice pack.

  19. I may have missed it, but do you also list somewhere the best lunchboxes to carry these in? I am looking for one to fit one of these and an ice pack and possibly a water container? My child is entering K, so this is all very overwhelming! Thanks!

    1. I just got my older kids the Bentology boxes and you can purchase an insulated “sleeve” and ice packs, also from Bentology, for the box. However, the Bentology boxes are somewhat difficult to open, which could prove challenging for a kindergartner! I juts got my 4-year old LunchBlox by Rubbermaid. They stack on top of each other and will fit right into his Disney lunch bag.

    2. Kiran Dodeja Smith

      Hi Allison,
      Many of them have their own lunch bags. Yumbox, PlanetBox, bentology and Easy Lunchboxes all have bags that you can purchase, too. We also use Lands End bags for our Yumboxes. And yes, bentology has super cute ice packs and accessories, too. HTH!

    1. I like these too! I have a small two compartment one that is perfect for my preschooler – as much as I love the look of all the ones pictured here, it would simply be too much food for her. I also have some tiny leak-proof containers to go in it. They have a lot that looks neat, although I guess they aren’t really beno style boxes like the ones here. The Sistema pieces are all cheaper than the options pictured here as well,

      1. I too am using the small two compartment one for my kindergartener. It says that it is leak proof (applesauce or yogurt), but I haven’t tried that out yet. But they are easy for the little ones to open.

  20. Thanks for the reviews and for the savings code. I just ordered 3 Yumbox Paninos and the code saved me a little over the cost of shipping. :) Here’s to a new school year! Thanks, Lisa!

  21. I just recently tried out the Sunsella 3 compartment lunch containers off Amazon. So far, I am very happy with them. Price is fantastic and they seem much sturdier than the beloved Ziploc containers.

  22. On a related lunch note-does anyone have suggestions for keeping the cut-up fruit fresh? I have tried lemon juice but apples were brown by lunch. Thanks!

  23. We’ve been using Bentology lunchboxes since they were the original “Laptop Lunches.” Bentology lunchboxes ARE BPA-free — this was important to me as a parent — and this is from their website:
    “We are also concerned about toxins in our food and in the environment. Thus we take great care to ensure that we use the safest materials available. For this reason we manufacture our lunch box containers here in California using plastics (polypropylene and polyethylene) that are FDA-approved for food use. None of our products contain phthalates, bisphenols (BPA or BPS), lead or PVC.”
    We’ve been very happy with Bentology’s products!

    1. I have the laptop lunches/bentology boxes for my girls. One is going into third grade, one 7th. I love them! I stick everything in the dishwasher and wash their outer bags in the washer on delicate when needed. Both outter bags have room add in an ice pack when everything is packed into the actual bento box. I just ordered a few more containers because I found I can never have enough. :-)

    2. I had the laptop lunch box when I was in college and I LOVED IT!! I forgot to clean it out and left it on the counter when I went out of town for 2 weeks and my roommates threw it away because the food was molding :( I never replaced it.

      Sometimes the little lids can be hard to open especially if a child needed to open it. Something to think about if you have weak children :)

  24. This is so helpful! Even though they are dishwasher safe, do you recommend the dishwasher or hand washing? Do they really get clean in the dishwasher?

  25. we love the Litter-Free Lunch Kit by New Wave Enviro. It’s big enough to hold lunch, snack and the included water bottle.

  26. I love the suggestions, but do any of them keep food cold? Or do you need to put them in an insulated bag? If you do, what bag do you recommend to fit them in? In the past, I bought the ziploc containers with the separate spaces for different foods, but they wouldn’t fit in my child’s insulated lunchbox.

      1. We have the Pottery Barn Kids classic lunch bag and it fits good and will also hold a water bottle on the outside. They are great quality!

  27. I absolutely love the Planetbox!!! I bought both the Planetbox and Yumboxes for my son for JK. He loves the Planetbox as well! I’m not loving the Yumboxes yet. I find the insert sometimes sticks and lifts, making it difficult for little fingers.

      1. It comes with two leakproof containers. I’ve even sent maple syrup in them and it was fine!

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