Lunch Box Comparison Chart: How 6 Popular Boxes Stack Up

by Wendy Copley on August 1, 2013

A comprehensive chart comparing 6 popular boxes on 21 different criteria -- UPDATED for 2015

NOTE: This post has been completely reviewed and updated — from top to bottom — as of August 2015.

As a lunch box aficionado and…ahem…collector, I am regularly asked to recommend a lunch box to friends, family and readers. While I would love to have a quick, easy answer to give people, I actually have a very hard time answering this question because there are so many variables that determine which box is the best option for any given kid (or adult). How old is the child? What’s her appetite like? Are you only packing lunch or do you need to include food for snack breaks too? Are you OK with plastic or do you prefer to avoid it? What’s the budget? Do you hate managing lots of pieces? I could go on and on…

I decided what was needed was a handy dandy chart that showed all these different variables side by side, so parents could make their own informed decision easily. I knew I couldn’t include all of the dozens of lunch and bento boxes in my collection, so I needed to narrow it down a bit. Here are the criteria I settled on for the boxes I included in my chart:

  • Each one is easy to purchase online or from retail stores. I love my imported bento boxes, but I know not everyone has access to those.
  • Each one is divided into 3 or more sections. Many children are not interested in different foods touching and many parents are not interested in dealing with silicone cups and decorative baran.
  • My kids and I like them. There is not a single stinker in this bunch. I’ve only included boxes that I reach for repeatedly and that my kids like. These boxes have all been used dozens — if not hundreds — of times and are all still in great shape.

(This post contains affiliate links.)

Ready? Here we go!

Bentology (formerly Laptop Lunches)
LunchBots Trio
PlanetBox Rover Complete
Yumbox Original
Exterior EasyLunchboxes - Exterior Bentology - Exterior LunchBots Trio - Exterior PlanetBox Rover - Exterior Yubo - Exterior Yumbox - Exterior
Interior EasyLunchboxes - Interior Bentology - Interior LunchBots Trio -- Interior PlanetBox Rover -- Interior Yubo - Interior Yumbox - Interior
Price $13.95 for a set of 4 boxes $19.99 $21.99 $49.99 $29.99 $28.00
Color 3 color options available — Classic, Brights, and Urban 6 color combinations Stainless; colored, snap-on lids also available in 9 colors for an additional $1. Stainless; decorative magnets in choice of 29 designs included 6 color options; dozens of decorative faceplates available 6 colors
Dimensions 9.4 x 6.1 x 2 inches 9 x 7 x 2.25 inches 6 x 5 x 1.75 inches 10 × 7 × 1.5 inches 9.8 x 6.9 x 3.5 inches 8.5 x 6.5 x 1.8 inches
Weight (empty) 4.5 ounces 14 ounces 9.6 ounces 20 ounces 20.8 ounces 17.5 ounces
Volume 3 3/4 cups 4 1/3 cups 3 cups 4 1/2 cups 4 cups 3 1/2 cups
Materials BPA, phthalate, and lead-free plastic BPA, phthalate, and lead-free plastic Food grade stainless steel Food grade stainless steel BPA, phthalate-free plastic BPA, phthalate-free plastic
Number of Compartments 3 — 1 large, 2 small 5 — 2 large, 2 medium, 1 small 3 — 1 long, 2 squarish 7 — 1 large, 3 medium, 1 tiny in tray; 1 large, 1 small lidded containers 3 — 1 large, 2 small 6 — 5 medium, 1 small
Configurable No Yes — inner containers can be rearranged or removed. No Sort of — lidded containers can be added or removed Yes — inner containers can be rearranged or removed No
Leakproof No — lids are designed to be easy for young children to remove Partially — three lidded containers are leakproof, the rest is not No – lid is tight-fitting but not water tight Partially — lidded containers are leakproof, tray is not Yes — lidded inner containers are leakproof Yes
Cleaning Dishwasher safe Dishwasher safe, top rack only Dishwasher safe Dishwasher safe Dishwasher safe, top rack only Inner tray is dishwasher safe, top rack only; hand-washing the outer box is recommended to protect the seal
Number of Pieces 2 8 2 5 12 2
Easy to Open Yes Can be tricky for preschoolers, older kids have no trouble Can be tricky for preschoolers to open Tray is easy to open, lidded containers can be tricky Outer box is easy to open, but if child opens the wrong side it can get messy Yes
Cuteness Low cuteness factor — 4 different lid colors per set add appeal for kids Low cuteness factor — multiple color options allow for playful or sophisticated choices Low cuteness factor — colored lids add appeal for kids, stainless looks cool for older kids/adults High cuteness factor — magnet sets are fun and at least one design should appeal to your child Very high cuteness factor — the intechangable face plates are adorable Medium — the outside of the box is plain, but the inside features cute food pictures
Bag Available separately for $7.95, machine washable, 7 color choices. See more about this bag here. Available separately in 6 bag/sleeve styles and multiple colors/patterns. Prices range from $12.99 – $19.99. See more about one of these bags here. Felt bag available separately for $21.99; easily fits inside standard lunch bags. See how this lunchbox fits in various bags here. Available as part of a kit in choice of 5 colors ($12.00) or 3 patterns ($14.00). Purchase separately for $26.95-28.95. See more about this bag here. Bag that fits inner containers only available separately for $21.95. (No bag needed for this configuration.) Yumbox does not sell bags, so one must be purchased from an alternate source. It fits easily in most thermal lunch bags. See how this lunchbox fits in various bags here.
Accessories Set of 8 Mini Dippers (small lidded containers that fit inside the box) available separately Set of 4 Bento Buddies (extra inner boxes) available separately, including an extra large box that can be swapped for the 2 large boxes Small leak-proof condiment cups, utensils, extra lids available separately Extra magnets, inner containers, silicone pods, utensils, and an excellent (though pricey) water bottle available separately. Extra face plates, medium sized inner containers and a strap on drink holder are available separately Spare trays can be purchased separately.
Other Lunch Boxes from This Company None None Same-sized box with 1, 2, 3, and 4 compartments. Larger “bento” boxes in multiple configurations. Snack-sized Shuttle, larger Launch. None Yumbox Panino with 1 large, 2 medium and 1 small compartment
See this box packed with food EasyLunchboxes gallery Bentology/ Laptop Lunches gallery LunchBots gallery PlanetBox gallery Yubo gallery Yumbox gallery
Notes This no-frills box is a sturdy and economical choice. Great for adults and kids of all ages! The Bentology box is a work horse (we love ours), but if you’re prone to losing things the multiple pieces can be a pain to keep track of. Though this box looks small, it easily holds enough food for elementary school kids when packed tightly. It’s the priciest option in this round-up, but our PlanetBox Rover is our family’s all-around favorite lunch box and looks new after 3 years of use. The super cute Yubo is a good choice for preschoolers and young elementary aged kids, but keep in mind that it is a large box. Yumbox is compact, fun and easily managed by preschool and elementary school students.
Full Review Read my full EasyLunchboxes review Read my full Bentology/ Laptop Lunches review Read my full LunchBots Trio review Read my full PlanetBox Rover review Read my full Yubo review Read my full Yumbox review
Purchase link* Purchase EasyLunchboxes Purchase Bentology Purchase LunchBots Purchase PlanetBox Purchase Yubo Purchase Yumbox

* Disclosure: Though this post contains affiliate links, I have not been compensated in any way for writing this post or pulling this information together.

A few more notes:

Data in this chart: This chart was originally compiled in 2013. I have completely reviewed and updated it from top to bottom as of August 2015. I try to stay on top of the info in it but occasionally manufacturers make changes I’m not aware of. Please be sure to double-check information before purchasing!

Durability: All of these boxes are durable. The have been all been used continuously for 2+ years. The stainless steel boxes look practically new after years of use. I had a hinge break when I dropped the first generation Yumbox a couple years ago, but it has since been redesigned and I have not had any problems since then.

Ice packs: With the exception of the Yubo, none of these boxes or their bags comes with an ice pack. I highly recommend that you invest in several ice packs to place inside your lunch bag, along with the lunch box to keep the food at a safe temperature until you or your child sits down to eat.

Did I miss something? Do you have a question about these boxes that I didn’t answer? Please leave it in the comments below and I’ll do my best to find the answer.

Have you got your lunch boxes all lined up for the new school year? Which boxes will you be using?

A comprehensive chart comparing 6 popular boxes on 21 different criteria -- UPDATED for 2015

Do you need a bag to put your lunch box in? Get the details about seven popular lunch bags — and which lunch boxes fit in them — here:

Lunch Bag Comparison -- all the details about 7 popular brands, PLUS which lunch boxes fit in them!
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Interested in packing bento lunches? Check out my book:
Everyday Bento: 50 Cute and Yummy Lunches to Go -- Buy now on Amazon!

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  • bentoforkidlet

    This is a fantastic guide! Love it!

  • Myra

    great post!

  • joaniebritt

    OMG, this is EXACTLY what I needed to see less than one month before school starts. How do you always know what I’m looking for? I love your blog and you rock!

  • Thank you Wendy, for including my EasyLunchboxes! What a great comparison chart you’ve put together. This can really help people make the right choice, depending on their needs 🙂


    Great guide 🙂

  • I’m secretly reading your mind! 😉 Thank you!

  • Of course, Kelly! As I said in the intro these are our favorite boxes, so there’s no way we could leave ELB’s off the list!

  • Jackie

    This is great! Love the info and comparisons. Are there any options (shown or not) that have a beverage container in the box?

  • Jackie — I’ve removed one of the inner containers and put drinks in our Laptop Lunches box a couple times. I think you could probably do the same with the Yubo, depending on how bid the drink container was. Also I’m not positive about this, but I think the Goodbyn lunch box can fit the drink container in the box.

  • Bridget

    I love easy lunch boxes for my toddler. There is enough room in the lunch bag to put his 2 milks, sippy cup, and yogurt in as we’ll and keep his food all together nice.

  • aaawwwww…thank you!

  • MamaGto3

    A great comparison! I like that you’ve included the sizes. While we love our leakproof Go Green lunch box ( it was a bit bulky in my grade 1 daughter’s backpack. She loved using it though and I found packing lunch into the divided containers so much easier than a traditional sac! Thanks for sharing your list. It’s great to have so many options!

  • vjillian

    yes, i have the goodbyn ones, and they have a drink box inside. i worry about them closing properly and leaving lunch all over the backpacks, or the kids having trouble opening them on their own at school too.

    oemgee! thanks so much wendy. I never know what to do, and we’ve tried them all except planet box.

  • Jessica Chui

    One of the kids in my class has one of those planet box metal trays and here is my issue with it. The top part doesn’t come off so it takes up about half the table. We are a preschool with preschool sized tables and he just takes us so much space!

  • Emnldsmom

    What box would you suggest for a brand new bento packer? I am leaning towards the Laptop cause it seems the most versatile. I also find that I enjoy those lunches the most when I see your pictures,lol.

  • Thanks for sharing that, Jessica! I’ve never heard that point made before and I think it’s an important factor to consider.

  • I think the Laptop Lunch box is a great choice, but as I said, I like all of these boxes and use all of them for packing lunches bento-style.

  • Megan

    I have a pretty petite almost 5 year old that will be going to a new preschool that he will take lunch to this year. All your info was great! It would also be great to have a category for weight. As I have been researching, the one thing I can’t fully determine is how heavy the lunch boxes will be for my little kiddo. Thanks!

  • Karen

    One thing you missed — the Laptop is the only one I know that allows for the easy removal of a single inner box for microwaving a main dish while keeping fruits, veggies, yogurt etc. cold. Useless for my kid (in a large middle school), VERY important for me in my office (we both use this as our primary lunchbox).

  • Plume

    This is a great guide! Too bad we don’t need a new lunchbox, haha. But you’ve almost sold me on the Yumbox, even if you haven’t posted a full review yet. I’m really digging it. And I’m sure he would too, especially the labeled compartments. Can’t wait for that review.

  • Lesley

    As a preschool teacher I have to say that I prefer a lunch box where the top isn’t attached. My table is small and the PlanetBox takes up so much space. (I like to read and do cards during lunch and need that space.) Also – for the extra little ones ice packs are heavy and distracting and in my opinion not really necessary. I often freeze my daughters food, such as tubes of yogurt and they are perfect by lunch!

  • Klau oh

    Hi Wendy! It is Michael’s mom here. Your blog rocks! How could you keep it a secret after all these years we know each other? 🙂 I can’t seem to find the measurements for the laptop lunches 2.0, wanna see if it will fit in our bags.. Thanks for lmk! XO

  • Klau oh

    Oops just found the dimensions I was looking for.

  • Oh good! Glad to hear you found them.

  • I like to think I’m a mysterious woman with many secrets! 🙂

  • Oh, and thank you!

  • Jen

    I love this guide, was just looking for bentos and wondered how they compared! THanks! Also, have you ever used the goodbyn boxes? Those are also in my consideration but havent found anyone who has tried them, they seem similar to the easy lunchboxes but maybe slightly cuter? Anyway, thanks again!

  • Thanks so much for sharing this perspective, Lesley. It’s something I never thought of.

  • Yes — this is an excellent point! The EasyLunchboxes box is also microwave safe, but you have to put the whole thing in.

  • Hi Jen — I have not tried the Goodbyn so I didn’t feel it was appropriate to include it here because I can’t personally endorse it. When the original Goodbyn came out, I heard mixed things about it from friends — specifically that it was quite large and that the lid is hard for younger kids to open and put back on securely. Since then they’ve included a few smaller boxes in their line-up.

  • Karen

    Yes, and since I always try to have fresh fruit/veg (I try to have the fruit for dessert) with my leftovers, that doesn’t work so well!

  • Kim

    Thank you so much! I just purchased the EasyLunchboxes online yesterday and this post just confirms I made the right choice! They look easy to manage for my 4year old son, older kids and myself as well. Going to clear out all the old cluttery plastic containers from last year!

  • Great info, Wendy – thanks. We have a Laptop Lunchbox from your list. Our other “bentos” are more like small lunch containers that we use in a standard lunchbox, but they work. This will be helpful as our needs expand.

  • Jennx lynch-postma

    We put a milk box in the Yubo all the time for my preschooler. We usually use a medium container, two smalls, and the milk box for lunch. For my new Kinder kid we’ll use the drink holster because he eats a lot more now. I love our Yubo boxes.

  • My oldest is starting Kindergarten this year. THANK YOU FOR THIS.

  • Lenci213

    Today, if you had to choose between LunchBots and PlanetBox Rover which would you choose?

  • If I were choosing for my boys (age 12 and 8) today I would go with the Rover.

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