Find the best bento lunch boxes for kids and adults with this comprehensive guide. We put the top bento boxes to the test and picked the most durable, affordable, and easy-to-use options to make it easy for you to buy the one that’s right for your family.
Bento Lunch Box
Bento boxes are one of the best lunch box styles out there since they make it very easy to include a mix of foods in a bento box lunch. This means you have flexibility to add a diverse range of foods to a lunch, foods don’t touch each other (which is important to some kids!), and you can pack things like dips and desserts, crunchy and soft foods, wet and dry foods and even salad, sauces, or applesauce without the textures impacting each other.
Below you’ll find my top picks for the best bento boxes. We have tested all of these lunch boxes in real life for durability, ease of use (whether a child can open them on their own or not), ease of cleaning, and affordability. Which means I’ve looked at ease of washing the interior tray, if it’s removable, whether the lunchbox is dishwasher-safe, whether the lid seals tightly, and how well it works for basics of meal prep.
There are bento-style lunchbox options that work for toddlers, older kids, school lunches, daycare lunches, and adults so you can choose the one that works best for your family. And a variety of compartments, too, since you may prefer fewer or more spots for food.
(Note that I don’t love the way that bamboo lunch boxes hold up over time, so I am not including any of that material here.)
Stainless-Steel Bento Lunch Box
This LunchBots Medium Quad Snack Container lunch box is a great option for toddlers and younger kids, as it holds a modest amount of food portions and is lightweight enough to carry back and forth to school or daycare in a backpack.
This stainless steel bento box (and therefore BPA-free) material is super easy to clean and durable. The company makes a few different styles, so you can choose one with three compartments if you prefer or a larger size for an adult.
Prices for LunchBots are usually between $20-40.
Plastic Bento Lunch Box
These classic Easy Lunchboxes have been our go-to kid’s lunch box for years. A set of four costs about $14, they nest for compact storage, and they are super durable. We use them for kids and adult lunches for school, work, and traveling since the larger compartment is perfect for a main dish, with space for side dishes. These are my favorite for meal prepping lunches, they are high-quality BPA-free plastic, and they fit nicely in an insulated lunch bag.
I’ve been using the same set for about 5 years now and often use them to pack leftovers.
Toddler Bento Lunch Box
These Easy Lunchboxes Snack Boxes are a perfect lunch box for a toddler since they hold plenty of food and have four compartments so you can pack a mix. You can also use these as a snack box for older kids or adults. The lid seals securely, making the boxes leak-proof in my experience, and they are perfect for baby lunches, toddler lunches, and general food storage, too.
A set of four usually costs about $13 on Amazon and makes for really easy cleaning.
Bento Lunch Box with Insulated Thermos
If you want the option to pack a mix of hot and cold foods in the same bento box with insulation, this Omielife Bento Box is the one for you. The round part is an insulated thermos, and it’s removable so you can also use that space to pack a sandwich on days when you want to pack a cold lunch.
This one is more of an investment, as it costs around $45, but it’s easy to clean (we usually go with hand washing to get all of the corners and silicone seals clean) and will last for years and years. The company makes a really nice lunch bag and accessories including a fork and spoon, too.
Leakproof Bento Boxes
The design of the Bentgo Bento Boxes can’t be beat, as they securely seal so the food in each compartment stays put. This box has more compartments than others, which makes it great for little kids who may appreciate a diverse mix of foods. (This also makes it easier to pack a mix of food groups and maybe even a dip or dessert in the middle.)
The latch on this one is very easy for little kids to open on their own, which makes it a great choice for preschool food.
These bento lunch boxes come in a broad mix of colors and designs. They have a design that fits an ice pack so it stays cold and have a stainless-steel one, too. They usually start around $27 on Amazon.
Stackable Bento Box
This classic bento box, the Bentgo All-In-One Stackable Lunch Box, features two layers that easily stack together. This is a great adult lunch box since it has ample room to pack enough food for lunch for work (or just on the go).
It comes in a variety of colors and starts priced at about $14.
Frequently Asked Questions
A bento box is a divided lunch container that allows you to pack a mix of foods separately. There are bento boxes for kids and adults, so you can choose the size that works best for your family.
You can put foods including elements for burrito bowls, sandwiches, snack boxes, a breakfast box with yogurt, granola, and fruit, chicken and sweet potato, or really anything you’re in the mood to pack.
A bento box typically has more compartments than a standard lunch box, though the popularity of bento boxes means that many lunchboxes these days are bento box styles.
Bento Lunch Box Recipes
For more ideas on what to put into the bento box, you can see my Bento Lunch Box Ideas for 15 easy options.
Best Tips for Success
- Choose a lunch box that’s not too big but one that will grow with your child.
- Most lunch boxes, even if they say they’re leakproof, have the potential to leak, so try not to pack anything super liquidy inside.
- Include a mix of food groups in a lunch to help it satisfy.
- Pack yourself a lunch when you pack one for the kids so you get to eat too.
- Try to wash a bento box when it comes back from school or daycare on the same day to avoid mildew and mold.
- Follow care instructions on the package to help the lunch box last.
- Pack cold food with an ice pack in an insulated lunch bag to keep it cool and safe, and don’t forget to pack a drink in a water bottle.
I’d love to hear your feedback on this post, so please comment below to share.
This post was first published June 2022.