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What’s the Best Kids’ Lunch Box? These 6 Are Parent-Tested, Child-Approved

Whether you’re into something stainless steel or flat-pack-able

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bentgo, one of the best kids' lunch boxes purewow tested
bentgo

Growing up, choosing a lunch box meant picking out your favorite cartoon character amid the sea of plastic containers. It was just a container for whatever Mom tossed inside; if your sandwich was mangled or your Cheez-Its resembled dust by the time you got to the cafeteria, that was life. At least you could stare at Garfield or the Muppets as you sipped water from the lid of your coordinating Thermos lid. Now, things are a bit more complicated—lunch boxes come in all sizes, materials and price points—so which ones are actually worth your money? What won’t contribute to a meltdown in the carpool lane? I needed answers—and since you’re here, I’m guessing you do, too.

The Best Kids’ Lunch Boxes at a Glance

1

Best Overall Kids’ Lunch Box

BBox Lunch Box

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2

Readers’ Favorite Kids’ Lunch Box

Bentgo Kids Stainless Steel Lunch Box

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3

Most Kid-Friendly Lunch Box

Packit Freezable Playtime Lunch Box

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4

Best Bento Box/Insert

LunchBots Medium Trio

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5

Best Lunch Box for Preschoolers

Munchkin Toddler Lunch Box

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testing kids lunch boxes
Candace Davison

How I Chose the Best Kids’ Lunch Boxes

As PureWow editors poll parents and vet products for the Happy Kid Awards each year, determining the best lunch box is always hotly debated. Our team combines market research and reviews with parent recommendations to form a short list of top contenders, and from there, lunch boxes are distributed to parents, as we ask them to review the containers based on the following criteria:

  • Size and overall portability — Are they too bulky for a backpack? Can kids tote them easily? How much food do they actually hold, and is it enough?
  • Ease of use — Can kids open and close them without dumping dino nuggets everywhere, or needing a teacher’s help? How easy are they to clean and care for?
  • Durability — What happens if they’re dropped? Do they crack, tear or scuff easily? Do the latches seem sturdy or flimsy? Could this last a school year or longer?
  • Value — How much does it cost, and what do you get for that price?

The Best Kids’ Lunch Boxes of 2024, Tested & Vetted

Best Overall Kids’ Lunch Box

1. B.Box Lunch Box

What I Like:

  • Easy for kids to open/close
  • Adjustable compartment divider
  • Generous 2-liter capacity

What I Don't Like:

  • Bulky design

B.Box

In a world where kids’ lunch boxes can creep past $80 a pop (!), this $24 find stands out for its versatility, durability and value. The main compartment is large enough to fit a whole bagel or sandwich—with a removable ice pack included—and the hard case features a silicon bubble in one compartment, so you can easily stow a whole piece of fruit without bruising it. What really impressed me were its leakproof compartments, which were filled with marinara as the box was flipped, dropped and shaken—and didn’t leak at all.

Fast Facts

  • Weight: 1.27 lbs.
  • Material(s): BPA-free plastic and silicone
  • Care: hand-washing recommended

Readers’ Favorite Kids’ Lunch Box

2. Bentgo Kids Stainless Steel Lunch Box

What I Like:

  • Compact size yet spacious compartments
  • Easy to clean
  • Sturdy

What I Don't Like:

  • Can be challenging for little kids to open/close

bentgo

In every poll, Bentgo comes up as PureWow parents’ most-recommended lunch box. And it’s not just hype—it’s consistently won over editors in product testing, winning a Happy Kid Award not once but twice. The Chill has been a crowd-pleaser, but I vote that you give its stainless steel bento box a closer look. It comes with a five-year warranty—rivaled only by PlanetBox, no. 7 on this list—and it was redesigned in 2022 to feature stronger latches to ensure a better seal. This three-compartment box is slim—roughly 2 inches thick, so about the size of a binder—with an optional fourth compartment, courtesy of a removable silicone container. Cleanup is a breeze, since you can pop it on the top rack of the dishwasher, and the silicone seal on the lid prevents leaks and spills. It’s pricey, yes, but with a sale—and considering its lengthy warranty—you’ll get plenty of use out of it.

Fast Facts

  • Weight: 1.5 lbs.
  • Material(s): stainless steel and BPA-free silicone
  • Care: top-rack dishwasher safe

Most Kid-Friendly Lunch Box

3. Packit Freezable Playtime Lunch Box

What I Like:

  • Freezable
  • Collapses flat
  • Easy to clean

What I Don't Like:

  • No internal compartments (bento sold separately)

packit

Why bother with ice packs when your whole lunch box can be one? PackIt’s latest design features freezable gel walls, keeping foods chilled all day, and when it’s empty, it smooshes flat, taking up less backpack space. Kids loved the fun designs, and that the zippers were easy to use. Plus, you can easily pop in a bento box, and the handle features a buckle clasp, so you can tether it to a backpack or messenger bag, if your kid’s bag is already crammed full.

Fast Facts

  • Weight: 13.3 oz.
  • Material(s): BPA-free plastic, polyester and PEVA liner
  • Care: hand-wash only

Best Bento Box/Insert

4. LunchBots Medium Trio

What I Like:

  • Easy to open/close
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to clean

What I Don't Like:

  • Not leakproof

lunchbots

OK, maybe your kid doesn’t need 2+ liters of food each day. Or maybe you need a container that can easily fit inside an existing lunch box. That’s where LunchBots comes in. Its stainless steel boxes come in multiple sizes with varying compartments, but I love the medium trio for day-to-day use. It’s just the right size to fit half a sandwich and two handfuls of snacks, and it’s completely plastic free. Cleanup couldn’t be simpler—it’s totally dishwasher-safe—though it’s not leakproof, so you’ll want to avoid spooning yogurt or saucy pasta in this one.

Fast Facts

  • Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Material(s): stainless steel
  • Care: dishwasher safe

Best Lunch Box for Preschoolers

5. Munchkin Toddler Lunch Box

What I Like:

  • Easy for preschoolers to open/close
  • Durable
  • Leak resistant
  • Affordable

What I Don't Like:

  • Somewhat bulky

munchkin

Designed for kids aged 18 months and up, this five-compartment wonder is a daycare must-have. The lunch box survived drop tests without popping open, yet small hands didn’t have any difficulty opening the box themselves. Plus, it comes with stainless steel utensils that pop into the inside of the lid, though our tester said they occasionally pop off and into food if the container is sloshed around too much. That said, the silicone liner on the lid creates a great seal, so liquids didn’t seep into other compartments, no matter how much it was jostled.

Fast Facts

  • Weight: 1.3 lbs.
  • Material(s): BPA-free plastic, silicone and stainless steel
  • Care: dishwasher safe

Best Stainless Steel Lunch Box

6. PlanetBox Rover Stainless Steel Lunch Box

What I Like:

  • Durable
  • 5-year warranty
  • Easy to clean
  • Magnets allow for customization

What I Don't Like:

  • Closure latch takes some getting used to
  • Portions a bit small for older kids

planetbox

So many stainless steel lunch boxes are a hit with parents—but then kids can’t open them. Or they’re just not as fun as their friends’ character-emblazoned bags. PlanetBox bridges the gap, with a slim, five-compartment container that parents can pop in the dishwasher, and yet kids can easily use and customize with exterior magnets (which come in 18 designs, from unicorns to galaxy prints). The set also comes with two leak-proof stainless steel containers with BPA-free silicone lids, so you don’t need to pack your kid’s yogurt separately.

Fast Facts

  • Weight: 1.6 lbs.
  • Material(s): stainless steel and BPA-free silicone
  • Care: dishwasher safe (just remove the magnets first)
testing kids' lunch boxes for durability and ease of use
candace davison

What to Consider When Shopping for Kids' Lunch Boxes

Budget and aesthetics aside, there are a few key things to look for:

  • Size — Both in terms of whether it can hold enough food for your child's lunch and snack needs, and how bulky it is. If it can't fit in your kid's backpack, is there a strap that can connect it to the bag?
  • Number of compartments and configurations — Do you want something bento-style, where you can store multiple foods without them touching (or needing to resort to resealable bags and other containers? Are the compartments adjustable and/or removable?
  • Ease of use — How easy is it for a kid to use? How easy is it to clean?
  • Durability — Do you intend to use this for more than a year? What do the reviews say about its longevity? Are the latches strong? Does it scuff or crack easily if dropped? (Stainless steel options have the best warranties—often five years, versus one or two with plastic lunch boxes—because they tend to be the most durable.)
  • Ability to keep foods cold — Is there an ice pack or freezable liner included? How insulated is it, or will you need to purchase something separately to get the job done?
  • Leak resistance — If it's a hardshell lunch box, are there silicone gaskets or other seals to make it less prone to leaks? Is it recommended for dry foods only?

What's the Best Overall Kids' Lunch Box?

Due to its overall capacity, ease of use and adjustable compartments, B.Box lunch box is PureWow's best overall kids' lunch box. However, if that style is too bulky for your taste—or you'd prefer something that's stainless steel, I recommend taking a closer look at Planetbox or Bentgo.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Bentgo Worth It?

Yes, Bentgo is worth the investment if you plan on using it for more than one school year. The stainless steel variety features a five-year warranty, is leak-resistant and is slim enough to fit in a backpack alongside folders and binders without difficulty.

For a more affordable option, consider the Bentgo Chill. It's roughly half the price and includes a removable ice pack. It's made of BPA-free plastic, and while it only has a two-year warranty, parents told us it's lasted longer.

What Are Some Good Lunch Box Ideas?

Homemade pizza rolls, baked quinoa nuggets with veggies and pinwheel sandwiches are all fun alternatives to the classic almond butter and jelly or Thermos full of soup. If you'd like even more inspo, check out these 35 bento box lunch ideas.


candace davison bio

VP of editorial, recipe developer, kitsch-lover

Candace Davison oversees PureWow's food and home content, as well as its franchises, like the PureWow100 review series and the Happy Kid Awards. She’s covered all things lifestyle...

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