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
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 or Pink
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.
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 No accessories are offered at this time
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.



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  • Glory

    Nice summery!

  • Cathy

    Your lunches always look so pretty. My question is this: When the box/tray/whatever is put into a lunchbag, it gets upended. Are any of these (or their bags) designed to be carried flat, as it would sit on the table?

  • Rebecca – Bentos on the Bayou

    What a wonderful comparison of these boxes! Fantastic post.

  • TamaraEden

    I love my laptop lunch box and only wish I had ordered multiple colors instead of all pink :) . I think you should include “Accesories”. I paid for the insulated zipper bag which has an outside pocket for napkins, chocolate bar :), etc. Inside it has a mesh pocket for an ice pack. I believe I got my ice pack from them too. There is also a tiny bit of extra room in that back to add a banana or something like that. The fact that the back goes on a shoulder makes it handy as well.

  • Tamara

    Oh, and I forgot, safely microwaveable is good to add since preschools and adults may want/need to do that. I bought mine because it has no bad chemicals AND was microwaveable.

  • Mimi

    I’m very intrigued by lunch boxes so I love this post. I personally love the PlanetBoxes but my daughter (9) won’t use hers because she says it is not cute enough, i.e., the carrying bag is too plain so I’m on the hunt for a different carrying bag. My son (12) doesn’t like how heavy the Rover is, especially when carrying textbooks in his backpack. He won’t carry his lunch bag separately. However, he does like using it at lunch time as his lunch period is short and the PlanetBox makes food quickly accessible.

  • Tamara

    OOPS, you did mention bag :)

  • Laura Benavides

    You should also include the GoGreen Luncboxes! https://www.gogreenlunchbox.com/ My son loves his and so do I. It’s about the same size as the Planetbox and they have some really cute bags to choose from….and it’s leak proof!

  • MaxCat

    Oddly enough the PotteryBarnKids site has various PlanetBox sets with fun carrying cases, we have an owl and a shark version in our house. Although I do not believe the case can be bought separately. Another option I’ve seen other people buy a neoprene ipad sleeve (aside from the “height/depth” the dimensions are super similar) or a neoprene laptop sleeve (just look for similar dimensions) which is an option for a more fun look.

  • Daniela

    Hands down, the Planetbox. We’ve been using it for a year now and kids still love it. We bought them from Pottery Barn kids and IF IF you are willing to wait till the season is over PB has great sales on them. The last one I purchased for $39 including tax..it was on sale, plus coupon and free shipping. My biggest draw was a single piece design that opens flat and fits in the dishwasher and comes out perfectly dry, unlike all the previous plastic containers I had. I have the grown up version (The Launch) for myself.

  • Mimi

    Thank you for the ideas!

  • Erin Canfield

    I hope nobody minds me partially responding. The only boxes we have used are the Easy Lunch Boxes but the cooler bag is designed to have the lunchbox sit in it like it would sit on the table. You can actually put 3 in one of their cooler bags. We put one ELB in the bottom and ice packs on the top with a water bottle and napkin.

  • Erin Canfield

    I have bought the colorful sharpies recently because the lunch bags we have will look just like 20 other kids have. My kids are allowed to decorate their ELB lunch bags as long as they don’t color all over them.

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

    Yes, several of the lunch bags the manufacturers sell bags that hold the boxes flat: EasyLunchboxes (as Erin said above), Laptop Lunches and Lunchbots.

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

    Yes, many of these boxes are microwavable. I’ll try to add a line with that info ASAP,

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

    Yes, the Pottery Barn bags are *adorable*. I wish you could get them separately. They came out after we got our PlanetBox and I’d love to buy one of them.

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

    Awesome idea, Erin!

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

    Laura — thanks for the recommendation on the Go Green box! I haven’t tried them myself, so I left them off the list but I’ve heard lots of good things about them.

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

    Whoa! That’s a *great* deal, Daniela! Thanks for the tip.

  • Caron

    Great post! Quick question about leakproof. I’m wondering which box keeps food neatly in each compartment? Meaning, when the lunchbox is turned upside down etc, will the food stay in its section and not mix with another section? Is that what you mean by leakproof? Thanks

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

    By “leakproof” I mean that if the box is properly closed then shaken or turned upside down, applesauce, yogurt or any other item inside will not spill all over your lunch bag. If you pack food into any of these boxes tightly and right up to the rim, and use silicone baking cups to separate multiple items packed into the same compartment they are far less likely to mix together, though occasionally a goldfish cracker or some peas might sneak into one of the other compartments.

    The box on this list that absolutely meets the “No mixing” criteria is the Yumbox. I’ve packed runny stuff in it, turned it upside down, shaken it and then opened it with NO MIXING.

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  • britt

    Do you have any idea if these or the Planetbox fit into a Garnet Hill lunch pack?

  • Britt

    When is the season over? I’m willing to wait.

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

    I’m sorry, but I don’t know. My guess is that they don’t though. There aren’t many lunch bags big enough to hold a Planetbox.

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  • Jessica H

    I’m loving our Rubbermaid lunch blox kits. They come with a flat ice pack that the pieces snap onto. They are pretty cool and I got them on sale at target for 12.99.

    I also am having the lunch box issue. I let my kid pick the cute lunch boxes and now their lunches ride to school sideways. I show them what it looks like in the morning though, and so far no complaints.

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  • http://celiackiddo.wordpress.com/ Dana Schwartz

    Awesome summary! We love planet Box, too. It’s the best.
    -Dana

  • A

    Does the lunchbots hold 3 cups or 2.5 cups of food? Its volume is 600ml

  • Beth

    This is a great summary! Do you think you could include weight though? My 4-year-old uses a planetbox and it really is too heavy for her.

  • LiliTombe

    I’m looking for a lunchbox that can carry runny mullti-dish lunches such as indian or chinese food. So far the only one that could fit our needs is the YumBox. Is the tray microwave safe?Also, can the kid visuals be removed? I feel like it would look silly for my 37 years old husband.

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

    Hi — the Yumbox stickers can be removed from the tray, and the inner tray is microwavable, but honestly I think it would likely be too small to hold enough food for an adult. If I were in your shoes, I would choose a Mr. Bento, Ms. Bento or a monbento instead. Here are links to those products:
    Mr. Bento – http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000246GSE/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B000246GSE&linkCode=as2&tag=wendolonia-20 (this is the lunch box I used when I worked outside of my house)
    Ms. Bento – http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0016S7MJM/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0016S7MJM&linkCode=as2&tag=wendolonia-20
    monbento – http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005HGSPTA/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B005HGSPTA&linkCode=as2&tag=wendolonia-20

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

    Hi Beth — I’ll try to add un-filled lunch box weight at some point in the future. Thanks for the suggestion!

  • Mandy

    Do you know of ANY other lunchboxes that are one piece like the PlanetBox?

  • LudicrousMama

    Starts going on clearance in early January, often drops another $10 within 30 days, and they’ll price-match you the difference if it does. (You have to call them though)

  • LudicrousMama

    They all keep the food within each compartment. If you had silicone cups together in one compartment, food might jump between, depending. But all of them have lids that are flush with the top of the compartments (or close enough that anything larger than a sunflower seed would stay in place) or have lids that are shaped to dip down into the compartment to keep stuff in. I use a folded cloth napkin to fill in the space where the muffin cups don’t quite reach the lid when using them together in a larger compartment though.

  • LudicrousMama

    Planetbox has 3 styles, if it’s the configuration of the Rover that doesn’t work for you. Go Green lunchbox isn’t quite one-piece, but it has clips that keep the lid attached, so it doesn’t get lost. I personally prefer to be able to remove the lid, so it isn’t taking up so much table space and gets pushed or elbowed off by another kid, taking the whole box with it!

  • ella

    love planetbox!

  • Kim Klein

    I actually have all of these except the Yubo (instead I have some Goodbyn ones). My husband says I have a problem but *clearly* I am not the only one that has various ones!

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

    You will always find support and fellowship here at Lunch Box Collectors Anonymous! ;)

  • aida

    Do any of these hold heat well? I’ve been looking for a thermos type lunch box, but in a square tray shape instead of the round version. Anyone know where I might find one?

  • momofthreelittles

    Do you know if the LunchBots fit in the Pottery Barn lunch boxes?

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

    While I haven’t tried this combo, I would be shocked if they didn’t fit. Lunchbots are very small compared to the others.

  • Jennifer

    Hi there, So glad I found this comparison as I am currently searching for the best one for my son to use in kinder. I did want to see what you thought of the amount of food the Yumbox holds. It seems to be the smallest in the list so I am afraid it may not hold enough food. Do you think it holds enough for a kinder kid or just for preschoolers? Thanks!

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

    Hi Jennifer — It’s always hard to answer this question because different kids have different appetites, but for the most part I think you should be safe using this box for a kindergartner. 2 1/2 cups is actually quite a bit of food for any kid, so if you fill the compartments right up to the rim it should be plenty of food. My soon-to-be 5th grader is using this box for day camp this summer and I will continue to use the Yumbox for my rising kindergartner next year too.

  • Jennifer

    Yay sounds like this will work for us – going to order one tonight! I have been previously using the easy lunch box ones but hate the leak issue and using extra containers for liquidy foods as the last thing my son worries about is keeping the bag in a certain postion or make sure to track pieces. Thanks for the response!

  • Kerrie

    I love the planet lunch box! Pottery barn is no longer selling this line. I was wondering if anyone had tried to purchase another type of bag to carry it in. It looks like maybe go green lunch box would work? I would love some ideas! TIA!