Bags, boxes and plastic free … we've tried them all! Learn the pros and cons of 15+ popular lunch boxes to help you find the perfect one for your kids.
Get ideas for healthy packed lunches in our extensive photo gallery of healthy lunches for children.
A great lunch box makes all school lunches a lot better for your kids … and for you! Lunch boxes are pretty exhausting. They are thrown in backpacks, spilled and sometimes even forgotten with smelly food. (Yech! Maybe it's time for a replacement!) There are so many options it's hard to know which one will suit your needs. That's why we've put together a very thorough list of different lunchbox options, including the pros and cons of each type. Look at her!
Bento style lunch boxes
- Leak-proof compartments. Starters, side dishes and snacks stay separate on the go, without the inconvenience of having multiple packed lunches or containers.
- Inner tray is microwave safe.
- Good portion sizes for all groups of children.
- Customizable compartments. Keep the 3-compartment structure to pack larger main dishes or add the optional divider to create 4 compartments.
- Not insulated and will not keep food hot or cold
- Hand wash recommended
- Heat-insulated bento lunch box with two temperature zones for storing hot and cold dishes.
- The integrated vacuum-insulated stainless steel thermos container offers high-performance insulation for hot dishes.
- Double-walled, air-insulated bento lunch box keeps fruit and vegetables cool and fresh.
- 3 separate leak-proof bento compartments keep food separate and visually appealing.
- The thermos for food is flat and has a wide opening so that children can easily take out the food. The insulated bento box is also flat with rounded corners.
- Heavier than other lunch boxes. Can be difficult to carry for young children.
- Not as easy to clean as other lunch boxes as you have to take out several parts and wash them by hand.
- Modular containers fold up to save space and organize, and can be stacked to accommodate different shapes and sizes of packed lunches.
- Blue Ice freezer packs can be attached directly to food containers and keep lunch chilled on the go.
- Durable lunch box containers have a secure lid seal to prevent leakage.
- The kit contains: 2 snack containers (0.5 cup capacity), 1 side container (1.2 cup capacity), 1 sandwich container (2.6 cup capacity) and 1 medium blue ice
- Microwave, dishwasher and freezer safe
- Attractively priced
- Very small – hardly a sandwich fits in the sandwich container
- Several parts to keep track of things
- YUMBOX is leak-proof! Pack wet foods like yogurt and applesauce (not water). Closes with a lid.
- Child-friendly closure for easy opening and closing.
- The removable tray holds five 1/2 cup portions.
- Sturdy outer box with stainless steel hinge, Tritan (tray) and silicone (seal).
- Dishwasher safe. Top rack only. It is highly recommended that you hand wash the outer cover and / or remove it prior to the heat drying cycle to maintain the seal.
- Can be too small unless you have smaller children.
- Shelf life may not last unless you only hand wash.
Simple lunch box
- Designed with kid-friendly, easy-to-open lids. Lid seat is snug, not tight; ideal for people with special needs.
- 3 compartments (9.4 ″ x 6.1 ″ x 2 ″); Made of FDA-approved, high-quality polypropylene.
- Ideal for portion control or special diets; keeps food separate; safe for microwave, freezer, dishwasher; These food storage containers are nested inside one another to save space when not in use.
- Not leak-proof; Avoid liquids or liquid food.
Lunch boxes without plastic
- Including lunch box made of stainless steel, 2 round containers with lids; a soft tote bag and a set of decorative magnets.
- Individual compartments ensure that the food does not touch and that it arrives neatly and attractively.
- Made from safe, non-toxic and recycled materials – safe from lead, PVC, phthalates or BPA.
- All-in-one design for easy care and cleaning – no unsuitable lids to lose – dishwasher safe.
- Not entirely leak-proof, but things like tomato sauce on pasta won't go into the other compartments.
- Much more expensive than other stainless steel options
- With one large compartment perfect for a sandwich and two smaller compartments for the sides, all of your lunch will fit in one container.
- Safe and durable. Made from high quality 18/8 stainless steel. Even with the colorful dot covers, the 18/8 stainless steel is everything your food touches. And because they're practically indestructible, they're great for any lifestyle that's on the go.
- The divided lunch box made of stainless steel saves you the laborious task of opening countless containers for quick convenience and a beautiful presentation.
- Super easy cleaning, just throw your Bento Trio and lid in the dishwasher.
- The lids and dividers are not waterproof, so only pack dry food. Can use a separate container to hold dips and dressings.
Eco lunch box
- The lunch box set made of 100% stainless steel is ideal for packing a small sandwich on the bottom as well as a wet and dry side dish in the upper container.
- All in all, the bento in the carton is 4 inches wide, 5 1/2 inches long and 2 3/4 inches high and fits about 4 cups of food. The bottom section is 1 inch deep (holds about 1 1/2 cups of food) and fits a small whole sandwich on sliced bread. The top layer is slightly larger at 1 1/2 inches deep (holds about 1 3/4 cups of food) and works well for bulkier foods like chips, sliced fruit, leftover pasta, or salads.
- The clips are child-tested and can be adjusted to the desired stiffness.
- ECO lunch boxes are not leak-proof. Moist foods work well, but because the lids don't have plastic gaskets or other added plastics to create a seal, very wet foods can leak.
JaceBox stainless steel lunch box
- Continuous. Virtually unbreakable so you can get great use out of it.
- The airtight snap-on lids are leak-proof, create a tight seal and are EASY to open, especially for toddlers and children.
- Easy to organize as the 3 sizes are nested and fit well in a closet or drawer
- Clear lid so you know what's inside before you open it.
- Great as a freezer container. No odor absorption and no taste retention.
- Lid not as stable as the container
Stainless steel box with snap-on lid
- Made from food grade stainless steel.
- Leak Proof Seal – Enjoy meals without worrying about leaks and spills.
- Durable and perfect for everyday use and picnics.
- Easy to clean – removable lid. Dishwasher safe.
- Comes in three different sizes.
- There is a chance that the snap top will break because it is made of plastic
Tiffin Square stainless steel lunch box
- Has a partition so you can eat different types of food without them touching each other on completely separate levels.
- Holds up to 3 cups of food
- The square shape offers more space in a lunch bag for other items
- Not leak-proof. Has no plastic seals and so liquids can leak out on the sides.
Soft packed lunches
LunchBots double decker packed lunch
- Double decker design. Can keep food warm and cold in the separate compartments.
- The flexible top compartment is perfect for fruit, a water bottle or a thermal container. The bottom area is specially designed to hold a large bento box flat, reducing the risk of accidental spills.
- Two ways of carrying – with a detachable strap and sling or a comfortable handle. Available in several colors.
- Made from durable, high quality polyester fabric, which makes it super easy to clean.
- No extra pockets for extra items.
- The top compartment is small.
Funkin's packed lunch
- Neoprene material that is incredibly durable.
- Great design with high-quality features such as soft handles, reinforced seams, hard-wearing zippers, wide zipper openings, internal name label and pocket.
- Environmentally friendly, reusable and extremely durable – dirt, tear and water repellent means that this bag can be used over and over again beyond a school year.
- Really easy to clean. Funkins neoprene lunch bags can be hand or machine washed and air dry in a few minutes.
- Can be stored flat in a drawer and stands upright for easy packing. The pocket design helps keep the food containers upright on the way to school.
- Very roomy – large bag expands to hold all of your child's reusable lunch and beverage containers.
- So spacious that a lot could move inside.
Bentologie Lunch Bag
- Lots of really cute designs to choose from
- This luggage rack fits perfectly into the Bentology Bento Box or the Combo Set.
- Lots of different bags. Has an expandable zippered side pocket for your beverage bottle. The expandable front pocket offers space for additional items. Mesh pocket inside.
- Ideal size for younger children.
- The width is thinner than other packed lunches and may not fit in as much
MIER children's lunch box
- Mesh pocket on the inside lid for ice packs, spoons, napkins. Special design for Velcro closure, keeps things in place when the lid is opened. Outside pocket with zipper for additional storage space
- Insulated and food-safe PEVA lining keeps your food warm or cold. Heat-welded seams on the inside prevent the flexible liner from leaking. Easy to clean.
- High quality "MIER" zipper design – more durable than other packed lunches.
- Robust and softly padded handle that is easy and comfortable for children to hold.
- Cheaper than other packed lunches
- Smaller capacity than other packed lunches
OPUX thermal lunch bag
- Equipped with environmentally friendly PEVA lining that is soft and easy to clean. Just wipe it with a damp cloth and it's like new.
- Very spacious – can hold a lot of food.
- Front and side pockets for transporting additional items and a multifunctional strap with buckle make the lunch bag easy to carry. Lunchbag can be carried by hand or attached to the backpack using the handle.
- Made from high quality nylon and polyester fabric and reinforced zippers for maximum durability.
- Not as insulating as some other packed lunches
PackIt Freezable Classic Lunchbox
- PackIt's classic lunch box has a groundbreaking all-in-one cooling system. Freezing gel is built into the walls of the bag and cools the contents for hours. There are no extra parts to lose or forget in the freezer
- The entire lunch box can be folded flat for compact storage in the freezer. Freeze the lunch box overnight (12 hours) and in the morning the walls of the bag will be completely frozen and ready to refrigerate items for hours.
- The large zippered opening allows for quicker packing from the top and traps cool, dry air. With a buckle handle, you can conveniently attach this lunch box to backpacks, shoulder bags, sports bags and more. The outer mesh side pocket holds an 8 ounce water bottle, utensils, and napkins or snacks.
- Heavier than other packed lunches due to the built-in freezer bags.
- Some complaints about breaking zippers
Extras: lunch box accessories
Thermos Foogo Jar
- Vacuum Insulation: Double-walled stainless steel food container has vacuum insulation technology that keeps the contents cold for up to 7 hours or warm for up to 5 hours. The vacuum insulation keeps the temperature of the contents longer, which prevents bacterial growth and spoilage.
- Durable: Designed for kids. The inner and outer material made of stainless steel is durable and can withstand the demands of daily use; Thanks to the double-walled design, this food container stays cool for hot dishes and sweatproof for cold dishes. Has an ergonomically shaped lid with a rubber handle for easy handling; The bottom of the can is non-slip and scratch-proof.
- Easy to fill: the wide opening makes filling, eating and cleaning the food jar easy; It's a great way to package fresh and healthy meals for school or on the go.
- Cheaper than other similar products
- Smaller fill volume – only 10 ounces
- In my experience, the food doesn't keep warm for 5 hours. When my children eat lunch, their food is lukewarm.
LunchBots thermal glass
- Superior insulation: Keeps cold for up to 12 hours or hot for over 6 hours. They guarantee that it will outperform a product with the same capacity from any other brand.
- All stainless steel: no plastic involved! The inside of the Thermal, including the lid, is made of durable 18/8 stainless steel. Dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
- Large size: Holds up to 2 cups of food. Its 4.5-inch diameter is ideal for chunky stews or fruit salads, and makes it easy to fill with your lunch favorites. Fits great with many different lunch bags.
- Leak Proof Design: When you have a hectic schedule, you need a food jar that can keep up! The Thermal is absolutely leak-proof and a must-have for every morning to take with you. You can put it in your kid's lunch box or backpack without worrying about accidental spills or mess.
- More expensive than its competitors
Lunch box ice pack
- Perfect size: Ideal size for everyday use. Each ice pack measures 4.75 "x 4.75" x 0.25 ".
- Practical: Fits in all types of packed lunches, lunch boxes, cool boxes and shopping bags.
- Slim design: ideal for use in tight spaces or stacking several for more cooling capacity.