A few weeks ago Yumbox sent us one of their new Panino style lunch boxes to try out. I was excited to get my hands on this lunch box because I’ve been using the original Yumbox for about a year now and it quickly rose up the ranks as one of my family’s favorite lunch boxes. Now that I’ve had some time to pack lunches in it and use it for a few weeks I thought it might be useful to compare this new Yumbox with the original.
Please note: Yumbox is an advertiser on this site, but I have not been compensated to write this post. This post contains affiliate links.
Let’s start by reviewing some of the features of the original Yumbox:
- This box has six separate compartments — five that hold 1/2 cup each and a tiny little dip/treat compartment. It’s great for kids who like to graze on lots of different foods at lunch time.
- When the box is closed the compartments are water-tight. In the year we’ve been using it, we have never had a problem with food from one compartment leaking into another compartment. (I don’t recommend packing soup in it though.)
- The box locks tight, but it is very easy to open. Most preschoolers have no trouble with the wide, chunky latch.
I love to use the Yumbox original on mornings where I’m feeling rushed. I can pull little bits of this and that out of the fridge and pantry with no plan and it always ends up looking good. Both of my kids — aged 5 and 9 — are fond of this box and request it often. I expected that my 5-year-old would like it because it is designed for a kid his age and he likes all our lunch boxes (much like his mom) but I was a little surprised to discover that my older son likes it even more than his brother. As the pickier eater, he enjoys having a lot of choices and he appreciates that nothing ever mixes together. The original Yumbox is priced at $28.00 and it can be purchased on the Yumbox site or at Amazon.com. It comes in four colors: green, pink, blue and purple. (It is currently out of stock in both places at the moment, but it is expected to be back in stock in a matter of days.)
I was pleased to see that the Yumbox Panino maintains all the best features of the original Yumbox with a few changes:
- This version of the box has four compartments — a large section that holds two cups, two smaller areas with a 1/2 cup capacity and a small area that holds about 1/4 cup of food. The different configuration of the compartments means that this Yumbox holds up to 3/4 cup more food than the original.
- The lid is configured a little differently than the original but it is still water-tight.
- It has the same easy to open latch and the hinge has been redesigned to be even sturdier than the original.
- While it holds about the same amount of food that many of the other divided, tray-style lunch boxes on the market hold, the foot print of the Yumbox Panino is much smaller than most of them. This allows it to fit easily in many thermal lunch bags.
The Yumbox Panino is priced at $30.00 and it can be purchased on the Yumbox site or at Amazon.com. It comes in three colors: red, pink, and blue. (My five-year-old chose the red because “it’s the color of danger.” Heh!)
This new configuration of the tray is great for a couple reasons. Number one on the list has to be that the large compartment allows you to pack a full sized sandwich. (This was obviously a major consideration when they were designing the box — “Panino” means sandwich in Italian, after all.) One of the big complaints I heard about the original Yumbox was that it was a pain to pack a sandwich in it so this solves that problem handily.
Another plus is that this Yumbox holds plenty of food for an older child or an adult. We’ve been able to use the original for my older son, but I can see that in a few years it will be too small for him.
Finally, I love that the size of the smallest section has been increased. The dip/treat well on the original Yumbox was so small that I had trouble using it to it’s full advantage. For example, my younger son loves to dip his veggies in hummus and he’ll eat a great deal of it in one sitting. The original treat well didn’t hold nearly enough for him, but this one holds plenty. Also, the diameter of this area has increased so it’s now large enough to hold a couple small cookies or another treat. And it’s just the right size for a serving of nuts, dried cranberries or even a little fruit.
Another problem that’s been addressed is the way the back of the tray is set up. The trays on both versions of the Yumbox are top rack dishwasher safe (it is recommended that you hand-wash the outer box to preserve the seal). The old tray has lots of nooks and crannies on the back and when I wash it in the dishwasher, quite a bit of water pools up in it. I’ve found that I always need to dump this water out when I unload it and then turn it over on the dish drainer to completely dry for a few hours. Not a huge issue, of course, but it is an annoyance.
The back of the Panino tray is flat, so this almost completely eliminates this problem. Water can still pool up on the edges, but it’s a huge improvement.
One other thing to note is that the Yumbox original and the Yumbox Panino have exactly the same foot print.
You can actually fit the tray from one set into the outer box of the other. This may sound like a great way to save a little money — buy one complete set and then pick up an extra tray with the other configuration — but I do not recommend doing this! The problem is that the lid of each box is designed to match up with a specific tray and if you pair it with the wrong one, the seals will not match up and it will no longer be a leak proof box. I’m pretty sure you could also damage the seal on the lid thereby wrecking it for the tray it was meant for as well. (I haven’t tried this to verify it because I don’t want to risk damaging my Yumboxes.) If you mix the trays you will be cancelling out one of major benefits of this lunch box. Not worth it!
The original Yumbox and the Yumbox Panino are both terrific lunch boxes. I’m thrilled with the introduction of the Panino because it gives me more options for packing lunches for my boys, but I will still regularly use the original.
Disclosure: Yumbox sent me a Panino for review and they are an advertiser on this site. I have not been compensated to write this post and everything I’ve written here is my honest opinion. This post contains affiliate links.