I’ve been packing lunches pretty much daily for the past 4 years, and I’ve tried a lot of lunchboxes over the years as the kids have gotten older and their needs have changed. There are so many options out there nowadays, but it can be difficult to figure out exactly what fits your needs until you’ve been packing lunches for a little while. The most important factors to consider are: 1) how much does your child eat, 2) what type of lunches do you pack (bento vs. sandwiches for example), 3) what type of container do you want? (stainless steel, plastic, weight, ease of use, etc.), and 4) how many different pieces do you want to deal with.
Because Mr. Bee and I are Japanese and Korean and bentos are part of our culture, it’s something that our kids have grown up with. Since Charlie and Olive can be particular about what they eat, bento-style lunches have really encouraged them to not only eat more, but eat more variety.
Below I’ve rounded up 20 of my favorite lunch boxes starting from $7 and up!
1) OmieBox ($49.50) – I discovered this new lunchbox through the Hellobee community, and it’s a successfully funded Kickstarter campaign. What’s cool about this lunchbox is that it features a removable vacuum insulated bowl so you can store hot and cold food in the lunchbox! Each compartment is also individually sealed so you don’t have to worry about foods spilling into each other.
2) Lock and Lock Rectangular Food Container 3.6 Cups ($10.94) – I’ve been using this container for years, and it still remains one of my favorites. What I like about this particular lunchbox is the four different compartments. This box often sells out and it may be hard to find the one that I have (four removable containers vs. removable divider), but in general I’m a big fan of Lock and Lock boxes. They sell containers of many different sizes, and I also use the smaller ones for snacks.
3) Easy Lunchbox ($13.95) – The Easy Lunchbox is just two easy pieces. Mrs. Tic Tac Toe wrote a review of them here. If you pack sandwiches, this lunchbox is a great affordable set that comes with 3 boxes.
4) Boon Trunk Snack box ($16.21) – I love this lunchbox and use it daily to pack Olive’s lunch. It has four different sections — 2 small, one medium and one large. I’ve found this layout to be ideal for the types of lunches that I pack. A whole banana fits in the big compartment, or I can always pack two different things in the big compartment.
5) Sugarbooger Good Lunch Box ($7) – I’ve seen this lunchbox in Charlie’s classroom and it is a pretty substantial size, similar to the Easy Lunchbox. A great affordable option, especially if you pack sandwiches.
6) Yumbox 6 Compartments ($29.99), 4 compartments ($30.99) – The best feature of the Yumbox is that each compartment is individually sealed so even if you pack something wet like yogurt, it won’t mix in with the other sections. While I did love this box I did find the 5 main compartments to be a little small at times. Luckily they recently launched a 4 compartment box that allows you to pack a sandwich and have a little more versatility.
7) Goodbyn Bynto ($12.90) – The cool thing about the Bynto is that its water bottle (or a juice/milk box) will fit in the middle compartment. Because it also has a handle on top, your child can carry that without a separate lunch bag if their lunchboxes are refrigerated at daycare/preschool. Goodbyn also launched the Hero ($12.99), which features 1 large compartment and two small ones, with 2 additional containers that can be used to divide the larger compartment.
8) Laptop Lunches ($23.95) – We used to have a Laptop Lunchbox, and it was great until we accidentally left it on the playground and someone took it. It features 2 smaller and 2 larger containers, and I loved how deep the containers were. It held a lot of food and was relatively compact. I could also put silicon cupcake liners into the bigger containers to have 5 or 6 sections. The downside was all the different containers to wash, but you can just pop them into the dishwasher.
9) Yubo ($29.95) – The Yubo is the biggest lunchbox on this list. It comes with changeable faceplates for the lunchbox, an ice pack and three containers (1 large, 2 small) with lids. You also have the option to purchase 2 medium containers instead. Because it comes with its own lunchbox and ice pack, it’s a pretty good value. Plus you don’t have to deal with stinky lunchbags since it’s made of plastic!
10) Planetbox Rover ($39.95) – Shuttle ($34.95) – Charlie has been using his Planetbox Rover for a couple of months, and he really does eat better with it. I love how it looks and that it’s stainless steel. My only real complaint is that it’s really heavy. I did a review of the Rover here, and Mrs. Chocolate did a review of the smaller version the Shuttle here.
11) Sassy on the Go Feeding Set ($8.49) – This was a serious contender when I was purchasing the kids’ first lunch boxes. It’s the perfect size for a toddler, and I love the clever versatility. You can use it with two compartments, or add the 3 optional containers with lids!
12) Bentgo All-in-One Stackable Lunchbox – ($14.99) – This is a compact system that stacks — the top container features two sections while the bottom container features one large section. This is a great portion size for older children.
13) Cool Gear Ez-freeze Collapsible Bento Box ($10.69) – This clever, compact system stacks two boxes, with an ice pack in the middle. The top container features 2 small containers and one medium one with lids, and the bottom portion features one large container.
14) Pottery Barn Spencer Bento Box ($16.50) – I’ve always been interested in this bento box because it’s just one piece, features 5 compartments (my ideal number), and is a good size for younger children.
15) OXO Goodgrips Bento Box ($19.99) – This OXO bento features containers that are stacked when stored, but can be transformed into a square when eaten. I like the stacking feature because it keeps the food upright instead of sideways, which most lunchboxes tend to do. There are 5 compartments – 1 large with an adjustable divider, 2 smaller compartments, and a separate lidded container for dips. It also comes with a spork that can be stored in the lid.
16) Steeltainer Stainless Steel Compact Container ($13.95) – This doesn’t hold much food so it wouldn’t be appropriate for a lunch, but many kids like Charlie have to bring a morning snack and this is a perfect size for that.
17) Rubbermaid Lunchblox ($10.60) – This Kit is similar to the 13) Cool Gear Bento Box in that it features stacked containers with an ice pack in the middle. Compact and leakproof, this is definitely a great size for older children with one large container on the bottom and two smaller containers on top.
18) Lunchbots Quad Stainless Steel Food Container ($21.99) – Lunchbots has the most options when it comes to stainless steel lunchboxes. The Quad which features 4 compartments would probably be best for children’s lunches, but the Trio ($20.99) is also quite versatile. For big appetites, there is even a Cinco ($21.99).
19) Innobaby Bento Packin’ SMART Lock & Lock Bento ($13) – This stacking bento box features one large compartment on the bottom and 2 compartments on top. The size is great for a toddler’s lunch.
20) Inomata 2 Tiers Picnic Lunchbox ($9.76) – This is an awesomely affordable and verstaile lunch system. The top portion is similar to the 2) Lock and Lock featured above, but it also has a large compartment on bottom that can hold a sandwich. This system would be great for a school-age child that needs to bring a morning snack, or you could always use the two tiers separately.
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Phew that was a lot of lunchboxes! Do you have any favorites you’d like to share?