Lunch Box Comparison Chart: How 6 Popular Boxes Stack Up

Lunch box comparison - How 6 popular lunch boxes stack up

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.

Ready? Here we go!

EasyLunchboxes
Purchase*
Laptop Lunches
Purchase*
LunchBots Trio
Purchase*
PlanetBox Rover Complete
Purchase*
Yubo
Purchase*
Yumbox Original
Purchase*
Exterior EasyLunchboxes - Exterior Laptop Lunches -- Exterior LunchBots Trio -- Exterior PlanetBox Rover - Exterior Yubo - Exterior Yumbox -- Exterior
Interior EasyLunchboxes - Interior Laptop Lunches -- Interior LunchBots Trio -- Interior PlanetBox Rover -- Interior Yubo - Interior Yumbox - Interior
Price $13.95 for a set of 4 boxes $23.99 $19.99 $59.99 (bag included) $29.99 $28.00
Color 2 color options available — Classic and Brights 12 color combinations Stainless; lids also available in blue or red Stainless; decorative magnets included 6 color options Green, Pink, Blue, or Purple
Dimensions 9.38 x 6.1 x 2 inches 9 x 7 x 2.25 inches 6 x 5 x 1.75 inches 10 × 7.5 × 1.5 inches 9.8 x 6.9 x 3.5 inches 8 x 6 x 2 inches
Volume 3 3/4 cups 4 1/3 cups 3 cups 4 1/2 cups 3 3/4 cups 2 1/2 cups
Materials BPA-free plastic BPA-free plastic Food grade stainless steel Food grade stainless steel BPA-free plastic BPA-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 Sort of — three lidded containers are leakproof, the rest is not No – lid is tight-fitting but not water tight Sort of — 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 are not 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 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 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 Available separately in 6 bag/sleeve styles and multiple colors. Prices range from $12.99 – $27.99 Felt bag available separately for $20.99; easily fits inside standard lunch bags Bag included in choice of 7 colors The outer container functions as a “lunch bag” and includes an ice pack, so no extra bag is needed. Yumbox does not sell bags, so one must be purchased from an alternate source. It fits easily in most thermal lunch bags.
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, flatware, extra lids available separately Extra magnets and small inner containers available separately Extra face plates, medium sized inner containers and a strap on drink holder are available separately Spare trays can be purchased separately.
See this box packed with food EasyLunchboxes gallery 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 Laptop Lunches 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. It’s the priciest option in this round-up, but the PlanetBox Rover is our family’s all-around favorite lunch box. 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 small, fun and easily managed by a preschooler. It may not hold enough food for older children.
Full Review Read my full EasyLunchboxes review Read my full 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 Laptop Lunches Purchase LunchBots Purchase PlanetBox Purchase Yubo Purchase Yumbox

 

A few more notes:

Durability: All of these boxes are durable. I haven’t had any problems with the plastic warping, cracking, or breaking and the stainless steel boxes look practically new after a full year of use.

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?


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



Subscribe to the Wendolonia newsletter!

Everyday Bento: 50 Cute and Yummy Lunches to Go -- AVAILABLE NOW! Are you looking for more ideas for packed lunches! My book, Everyday Bento: 50 Cute and Yummy Lunches to Go is packed with ideas for fun, delicious lunches. With 50 brand new bento box lunches and step-by-step photo tutorials showing how to make them it will provide you with loads of inspiration when it’s time to pack lunch. Order today from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Powell’s.
  • Momtoafew

    Would love to know as well! I need a lunchbag that fits the planet lunch box with just a smidge of room to fit a small kleen kanteen on the inside too. I would buy the planet lunchbox bags, but the design has the drink on the outside, which means I won’t be able to pack milk since there is no way to place insulation on the outside. :( Open to bag ideas people!

  • http://www.wendolonia.com/blog wcopley

    Hi Kerrie, Mary and Momtoafew — I asked around a bit and got a recommendation for this bag: http://www.target.com/p/embark-lunch-satchel-black/-/A-15023712#prodSlot=medium_1_2&term=Embark+ My friend said: “It works with the Rover and a good sized water bottle inside or in the sleeve on the side.” I didn’t turn up anything else! (Other than the PlanetBox bags, of course…)

  • Momtoafew

    Thanks! I will go check it out. :) Today I ordered some gogreen bags-they should fit rover with room to spare-I will let you all know how they fit too :)

  • MamaZ

    Before dd started preschool, I bought the laptop lunch kit. I quickly realized that, if I was having a little trouble opening and closing, she would too. So I got the Planet Box. Seemed really steep to pay that much for a lunch box, but it’s easy to open and, when I thought about 3 teachers opening and closing multiple containers for 24 kids, I decided on something dd wouldn’t need help with. I typically pack a sandwich, fruits, veggies, nuts–things that don’t mind being tipped over for carrying(I’ve rarely used the included containers). And it’s been great. She has used if for 3 full years and is about to start the 1st grade with the same Planet Box. The main box still looks as good as new. The zip case looks a little worn, with one or two spots where the zipper caught the fabric. But it has tons of life left. I’ve even put it in the washing machine(one that doesn’t have the twisty thing in the middle). Then just hang up to air dry, over the weekend. A few parents told me in the first year, that they replaced their cheaper lunch boxes 2 to 4 times. If that’s the case, then this has paid for itself several times.

  • MamaZ

    I got excited that PotteryBarnKids has PlanetBox, but it’s their own set, not actually Planet Box. I checked it out thinking it might cost less, but it’s the same. Good configuration. They also have a plastic bento box, but at PotterBarnKids, the bag and other pieces are all separately priced. Lots of cute designs.

  • Laura

    Which of these would you say is easiest for a 4-5 year old child to open? We’re currently looking at the Yumbox and the Planet Box Rover (maybe getting both!) We have the Easy Lunch Box at home, but my child can’t open it without help, and especially without food flying everywhere! Thank you :)

  • http://www.wendolonia.com/blog wcopley

    The Yumbox and PlanetBox lunch boxes are the easiest of these six to open. Most kids aged 3 and up should have no trouble with them.

  • Laura

    Thank you!

  • KarenC

    My older kids all use Laptop Lunchboxes. My oldest two kids have been using theirs for 5 years…this school year will be their 6th year with the same lunchbox. So durable. Easy to pack – each kid has a different color combination so that it is easy to line up the lunchboxes the night before and fill them according to each kid’s preference and then put them in their bags in the fridge for the morning. We have two old style bags and one newer style and the old style bag didn’t have a ton of room for an ice pack since it is a tight fit, but the newer style bag does have room for that.

  • Patricia Ong

    I saw the OmieBox on Kick starter and thought it was ingenious as it can hold hot AND cold foods at the same time. My daughter is starting kindergarten next year and I’m browsing and researching lunch boxes. What do you think about it? https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/506949578/omiebox-hot-and-cold-food-in-1-lunchbox

  • http://www.wendolonia.com/blog wcopley

    I am very excited to get my hands on an OmieBox and check it out! The owner and designer are local to me so I had a chance to check it out and it looks very cool. I can’t wait to get the one I ordered this fall!

  • Viann

    Have you tried out the new yumbox panino? If so, how does it compare to the regular yumbox?

  • Kathryn
  • http://www.wendolonia.com/blog wcopley

    Thanks, Kathryn!

  • fumofu

    I wish someone would come out with a stainless steel version of the Yumbox. Why doesn’t it exist?!

  • AF

    Hello! I am curious to know if you’ve tested the Go Green box?
    TIA!

  • http://www.wendolonia.com/blog wcopley

    Nope — I haven’t tested the Go Green box. One of the kids at my son’s preschool used it and his mom loved it but I don’t have any first hand experience.

  • Stacy H

    I’m going crazy trying to find my son a lunch box that will meet his standards that will fit the easylunchboxes container. I bought their blah bag, but he is highly unimpressed and sad over having to use it. He starts kindergarten on Wed of next week and I want him to be excited to use all his new stuff. Does the ELB fit into your son’s dual thermos lunch box (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003VLLWJ8/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B003VLLWJ8&linkCode=as2&tag=wendolonia-20)? I want ELB to lay flat, but also have enough room to fit his thermos drink bottle and possibly also fit his thermos food jar. Most important though is if that lunchbox will fit the ELB. Thank you so much for your response. This article was super helpful.

  • Colleen

    what do you think of the Go Green Lunchbox? http://www.gogreenlunchbox.com/

  • http://www.wendolonia.com/blog wcopley

    Hi Colleen — I haven’t tried the Go Green Lunchbox myself, so I can’t comment on it from personal experience. One of the kids at my son’s preschool used it and his mom liked it a lot. The only complaint I’ve heard about it is that it’s quite large.

  • Colleen

    thank you for the quick reply… I saw some comments below about it after posting (sorry about that). If I do decide to try it, I will be sure to post my review

  • http://www.wendolonia.com/blog wcopley

    Oh, please do!

  • Libby

    Depending on how you look at it, the Planetbox is only one piece. The lid is on a hinge and you don’t always need the extra containers (we only use them once in a while).