Lunch Box Comparison Chart: How 6 Popular Boxes Stack Up

A comprehensive chart comparing 6 popular boxes on 21 different criteria -- UPDATED for 2016

NOTE: This post has been completely reviewed and updated — from top to bottom — as of July 2016.

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!

EasyLunchboxes
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Bentology (formerly Laptop Lunches)
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LunchBots Trio
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PlanetBox Rover Complete
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Yubo
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Yumbox Original
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(Get 15% off with code WENDY15)
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 $24.99 $55.95 $29.99 $28.00
Color 3 color options available — Classic, Brights, and Urban 4 color combinations Stainless; colored, snap-on lids also available in 9 colors for an additional $1. Stainless; decorative magnets in choice of 20+ designs included 6 color options; dozens of decorative faceplates available 10 colors; multiple tray designs
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 High cuteness factor — the intechangable face plates are adorable High — 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 2 bag/sleeve styles and multiple colors/patterns. Prices range from $12.99 – $18.99. See more about one of these bags here. Bag available separately for $34.99; easily fits inside standard lunch bags. See how this lunchbox fits in various bags here. Available as part of a kit in choice of 6 colors ($14.00) or 4 patterns ($16.00). 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.) Available separately for $15.00. 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 extra inner boxes available separately, including an extra large box that can be swapped for the 2 large boxes. Small leak-proof condiment cups, side dish containers, thermal jars, 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 Extra trays can be purchased separately.
Other Lunch Boxes from This Company None Portion Perfect” line aimed at adults. 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. Smaller MiniSnack.
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 one of our family’s all-around favorite lunch boxes and is going strong after 4 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
(Get 15% off with code WENDY15)

* 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 July 2016. 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 2016

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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  • Lisa

    This article and the lunch bag article are amazing! I don’t know how much time I have spent going back and forth between Yumbox and Planet Box, between the Pottery Barn bag or the ugly Planet box bag. THANK YOU FOR THE CHARTS

  • liz ardila

    There is a Lunch Box with bonus of small leak proof container soup, I bought it from amazon the lunch box is from EcoNaturell, here is the link if you are interested, https://www.amazon.com/EcoNaturell-Bento-Lunch-Box-Compartments/dp/B01G88APB6

  • Kelly Smith

    Have you considered only BPA free, Lunch Box, I try a new one EcoNaturell Lunch To Go Box,, which is amazing practical uses, 3 compartments, plus soup container all leak proof, BPA free and FDA approval … I bought 3 , for my husband, my son, and me, you can find it on amazon https://www.amazon.com/EcoNaturell-Bento-Lunch-Box-Compartments/dp/B01G88APB6

  • Kardashian Kelly

    Where I can find this EcoNaturell Lunch To Go Box, I want leak proof for my kids and me, I am on the way to get healthy eating habits , would like to have leak proof portion control lunch box thank you.

  • Linda brown

    I just come across with this web I love to try new things, As i am trying to change my eating habits I found a portion control lunch box would help me a lot. I just got a EcoNaturell Lunch Box, with 3 compartments leak proof, As I hear people talking about the product, I was curious so I got one, I am very satisfied with the quality and also is BPA free, love that is leak proof. I got it on amazon here is the link if you are interested https://www.amazon.com/EcoNaturell-Bento-Lunch-Box-Compartments/dp/B01G88APB6

  • Linda brown

    I just come across with this web I love to try new things, As i am trying to change my eating habits I found a portion control lunch box would help me a lot. I just got a EcoNaturell Lunch Box, with 3 compartments leak proof, As I hear people talking about the product, I was curious so I got one, I am very satisfied with the quality and also is BPA free, love the bonus, a soup leak proof container. I got it on amazon here is the link if you are interested https://www.amazon.com/EcoNaturell-Bento-Lunch-Box-Compartments/dp/B01G88APB6

  • nancy

    I would love if you could do a comparison with the Lunchbots CINCO Bento instead of the small ones. I think it would make a difference. Almost all comparisons are only with the original lunch bots which are much smaller.

  • dweebner

    Hi WCopley, I decided to go with the Yumbox! Thank you for your suggestion! I love it, and my daughter thinks it’s so pretty!!

  • Kathy

    I’d love to see bentgo kids added to the review.

  • Alice H

    Are any of them microwavable?

  • You’d need to check the recommendations for the plastic ones, but I probably would not put any of these boxes in the microwave because of the risk of them warping or cracking.

  • I’ve had multiple requests to add the BentoGo Kids this year so I am going to look into it for a future update. Thanks for your input!

  • ieva

    Hi
    I have a 6 year old and can’t decide between Planet box and Yumbox ????? Will Planetbox leak sideways ? which one would you recommend?
    Thank you

  • mamajenn

    thanks for this great updated review! we are going to try out the planetbox. i was noticing that the chart above says it only has 5 pieces, but i think it may have been switched with the yubo, which is said to have 12 pieces per the chart. thanks again for this thorough review. i am very curious about the other imported boxes you mentioned, preferably any that are stainless steel. i do not trust “bpa free” materials, as it is quickly being discovered that many of those use other equally toxic ingredients that have not yet necessarily been studied and/or banned. just my two cents. thanks again for your insight!