It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of our Laptop Lunches bento box. In the three years I’ve been using it for my boys’ lunches I’ve packed more than 150 lunches in it! When my older son was in Kindergarten it held the perfect amount of food for his lunch and a snack and now that he’s heading into third grade it’s the right size for the bigger lunches he eats. It’s held up wonderfully with no warping or lost pieces all this time despite countless runs through our dishwasher. It’s a work horse and I love it!
Even though our original style box is in great shape, I decided it was time to try out the newer version of this box — version 2.0. This newer version came out a few years ago now and it comes with a few changes and upgrades.
I had heard that the new version of this box was bigger than the old one and I was nervous that it would no longer fit in our Laptop Lunches thermal lunch bag. No worries though — the new box has the same footprint as the old one (see them stacked on top of each other up above) so there’s no need for me to buy a new bag for it.
The new box is taller than the old box though. In the photo above you can see that it’s roughly 1/4 inch taller. This means that the inner containers from the old box can be used in the new one, but not the other way around. If you try to put the new taller containers inside the old box it won’t shut. Just something to keep in mind.
Besides being taller, the inner containers for the 2.0 version have been redesigned. The lidded containers have the same rounded corners as the old ones, but the containers that don’t have lids now have square corners. This makes it easy to know which type you are using with just a glance and it’s less likely you’ll accidentally dish applesauce into an un-lidded container when you are in a rush. Yay!
Another thing I love about the new containers is that they nest, unlike the old ones. You can see in the photos above that when I stacked six of the new inner containers (on the left) they took up less vertical space than four of the old ones (on the right). It’s a small thing, but if you’re pressed for kitchen storage space, you’ll appreciate it.
Another thing I’ve been loving about the 2.0 version of the Laptop Lunch box is the Bento Buddies add-on pack. These packs of four boxes include lidded versions of the standard containers plus one extra large container that can be used for other foods.
I’ve really liked having an extra set of boxes to use when one of the inner containers didn’t make it into the dishwasher the night before. I also like how the extra large container opens up new options when I’m choosing food for lunches. I packed myself this salad with a little container of dressing and some nuts for crunch the other day. I also left out one of the inner containers to fit in a piece of bread.
There are a couple of things about the new lunch box that I don’t love so much:
First, I’ve found that if you don’t take a moment to arrange the inner containers just so, the box won’t shut properly. It’s not a big problem because it’s easy to fix, but I do find it annoying.
Also, like the original box, the outer container is hard for my three-year-old to open. This wasn’t something I was aware of when I bought my first box (my older son was four at that time) and we were both frustrated that he couldn’t use it because he couldn’t get it open by himself at school. After some practice at home he learned eventually, but seriously — who wants to practice opening a lunch box with their preschooler?
The other thing I wanted to address about the Laptop Lunch box are two questions that I’m asked frequently: Are all the different pieces hard for kids to manage? And is it worth the cost?
In answer to the first question, no — I don’t find all the pieces hard to manage. My boys are both really good about bringing everything in their lunch bag home with them — including uneaten food and any wrappers — and we rarely lose any lunch gear at all. (Sweatshirts and jackets are another story altogether….) Also, since I wash them in the dishwasher I don’t mind having so many pieces to keep clean. But if you’re considering this style of lunch box you need to consider your family. Do your kids lose everything they take to school? Are you dishwasher-less and hate hand washing little bits and pieces? If yes, this might not be the right lunch box for you.
As for the price — $23.99 for the basic lunch box — I do feel like it’s worth it. (I did buy a second one, after all.) It’s made of high quality materials, it looks good, it’s fun to pack and my kids like using it. You should probably factor a lunch bag into this equation though. The Laptop Lunch box is large and it’s not likely to fit in standard insulated lunch bags so it’s unlikely you can repurpose something you already have. I do recommend you use an insulated lunch bag and ice pack with this box (safety first!) and the bags that Laptop Lunches make sell for about $20 each.
So to wrap this looooong review up, I’ll just summarize this way: I love the Laptop Lunches bento boxes. They are a favorite of mine and my kids’. Because they come in basic colors and are not cutesy in any way, I know that they will grow with my boys as they become too cool for some of our other bento boxes and I predict that we will continue to use them for years to come. The 2.0 version has only managed to improve on a good thing and I’m happy I finally bought one!
Laptop Lunches Bento Boxes, Bento Buddies and lunch bags are available on their website — LaptopLunches.com.
Disclosure: Laptop Lunches sent me a set of Bento Buddies to test out but I purchased my other lunch boxes. Because I am a Laptop Lunches affiliate, I’ll receive a small percentage of any purchase made on the Laptop Lunches site that comes through a link on my site. I’ve received no other compensation for this review and the opinions expressed in it are a result of my oddly loving feelings toward these lunch boxes.