These are my favorite bento boxes for everyone – ages 2 years and up! A great guide showcasing the pros and cons of each bento box on the market.

A guide to the Top bento boxes for everyone - a spread of different bent boxes with graphics.

Last August when Ellie started full time preschool, I went a little crazy! Not because she was going off to school all day (okay, I was a little sad about that) but I went crazy trying to find her the perfect bento box to take to school with her everyday.

I wanted the perfect bento box, she wanted the perfect blue lunch bag with sharks on it. Priorities!

Her bento box needed to be functional, durable and of course cute.

What I found out, was that it was beyond tough to find a bento box that had all of those three things going for it. Turns out that most bento boxes are either cute or functional, but not both.

What started as one amazon order of 3 highly rated bento boxes, has slowly turned into a mega-bento-box-search lasting over 7 months and including more then 20 boxes from 14 different brands!!! My cupboard is beyond packed with bento boxes and my husband jokes that he might have to build me a shed so I store all of them!

So while none of the boxes are completely perfect, there are some that are clear WINNERS in my book!

I divided this post up into categories of bento boxes by age, because I found that while some boxes are great for toddlers they are not big enough for school age kids (or adults). I also, of course, gave my personal opinions (sometimes long winded) in a list of pros and cons for each box.

Let’s get started – here are my favorite bento boxes!!!!

Toddler

Winner – Innobaby Din Din Smart Stainless Divided Platter (The BUS)

I mean it’s shaped like a bus! What kid can’t love a bus box?!? Other then it’s great design it is also functional, with perfectly sized compartments with rounded edges (rounded edges make it easier for the kiddos to eat out of). I highly recommend this box for any kiddos age 1-3.

Pros

  • 5 smaller compartments are perfect for packing just the right amount of food for a toddler or younger kid. It features 2 larger main and 3 snack size containers and the divided compartments prevent food from sliding and mixing around.
  • Made with the highest quality food grade stainless steel and is BPA, Phthalate, PVC and Lead free
  • Metal tray is dishwasher safe
  • Slightly rounded corners make it easier for smaller kids to eat out of
  • While not leak proof, I have had no problems sending yogurt in this container

Cons

  • Lid is not dishwasher safe and must be hand washed so it won’t bend, I learned this the hard way and called their customer service and they shipped me a new lid out within a couple of days! Gotta love great customer service!
  • Bus shape is pretty big and is hard to fit into some regular size lunch bags
  • Sometimes it’s hard to fill 5 compartments with different food for this age group
  • Younger toddlers will need help removing the lid

Innobaby Din Din Smart Stainless Divided Platter has a 4.5 star rating out of 37 reviews. 

Runner Up – PlanetBox Shuttle

They are not cheap, that is for sure, but buying a planet box bento is an investment into your kids’ lunch. And as long as they don’t lose it, you will have your planet box forever! The Shuttle style is the smaller style of planetbox with only 2 compartments and is great for younger toddlers. It will also grow with them and can be used for an after school snack box when they get older.

Pros

  • The shuttle has 1 large and 1 medium compartment that with slightly rounded edges. Since this box is pretty deep, I would recommend purchasing the leakproof pods that fit inside so you can send small quantities of foods for younger toddlers.
  • Made with the highest quality food grade stainless steel and is BPA, Phthalate, PVC and Lead free.
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Won’t retain yucky food odors or stains if you forget to wash it out for a week
  • Divided compartments prevents food from sliding and mixing
  • Is small enough to fit into almost any lunch bag
  • Clasp is easy enough for almost any age to open

Cons

  • These are expensive. If your kid tends to lose everything, then this box probably is not for them.
  • Save yourself the headache and skip the fun magnetics. You have to take them off and put them back on every time you wash the box.
  • Has a slightly military feel to it
  • Will dent if your kid is rough with it

Planetbox Shuttle has a 4.5 star rating out of 19 reviews. 

Little Kids

Winner – Yumbox Panino

One thing I love about the Yumbox Panino is that while it is bigger in size, it isn’t heavy. And not sure about your kids, but Ellie likes to pack her backpack full with her lunch bag and about 3 million other toys, stickers, books and games for the 5 block walk to school. So a lighter bento box is usually a good thing. The Yumbox also comes in 6 fun colors, so I am sure even the pickiest kid can find one they like.

Pros

  • The Panino has 1 main compartment, 2 snack size compartments and 1 dip/treat compartment.
  • All food-safe materials, BPA-free and phthalates-free. Sturdy ABS (outer box), Tritan(tray) and Silicone (seal)
  • Each compartment is leakproof (applesauce, yogurt) and the food inside each compartment doesn’t slide all over the box
  • Dishwasher safe (top rack only)
  • Comes in 6 fun colors – Escape Blue, Bijoux Purple, Parisian Pink, Tutti Frutti Blue, Rocket Red and Pomme Green.
  • Clasp is easy enough for almost any age to open

Cons

  • The dip/treat compartment is pretty small, which is good so you don’t pack too much of those items, but it’s hard to get your fingers to the bottom of that container (maybe just my fat finger problem?)
  • I am not in love with the designs at the bottom of the plastic that goes behind the food, but that is probably just a personal issue
  • Doesn’t fit into all lunch bags, so measure first
  • You have to take the plastic lining out of the box and wash separately and together they take up almost the entire top rack of my dishwasher

Yumbox Panino Leakproof Bento Box has a 4.5 star rating out of 166 reviews. 

Runner Up – ECOlunchbox Three-in-One Stainless Steel Food Container Set

This is the only stacked version bento box in this round-up because I couldn’t find any of the stacked versions that weren’t a complete mess with kids. Some brands, the lids wouldn’t snap on, in others they wouldn’t stack nicely and almost none of them are leakproof. And while this ECOlunchbox isn’t leak proof, it comes with a good size removable container that is leakproof. I also love the clamps because they have this industrial coolness that I love but they are also easy for Ellie to get undone.

Pros

  • The ECOlunchbox has 2 medium size compartments with 1 removable compartment that you can add into the bigger compartment, or you can  pack it separately for even more variety and food.
  • Made with 100% stainless steel
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Cool metal clasp that keeps it all together
  • Love the companies passion for sustainablitiy, earth friendly products and responsibly made products. You can check their story out here.
  • Is very small in size and can fit into almost any lunch bag

Cons

  • This is a medium size box, so if you have a kid with a huge appetite, then you might want to consider getting the 3-in-1 Giant box.
  • While the removable compartment isn’t branded ‘leakproof’ we have not had any issues with using yogurt or applesauce in ours. I haven’t tried sending dressing in the removable compartment as the compartment would be too big for a normal amount of dressing. If you want to send dressing, this container would work nicely in this box.

ECOlunchbox Three-in-One Stainless Steel Food Container Set has a 4 star rating out of 353 reviews. 

Big Kid

Winner – Planetbox Rover

The Rover is the priciest box on my list and I had to build up my courage over a couple of months to actually purchase a bento box that is priced over $75. But since I had already spent hundreds on other boxes (many of them I have only used once or twice), I finally bit the bullet and ordered it. And I am so glad I finally grew a pair and took the plunge. The Rover is an amazing bento box that we will use for years to come. So don’t let the price scare you, I promise this box is actually worth it!

Pros

  • Shallow compartments help you not pack too much food. The Rover has 5 compartments with 1 large main, 3 medium snack and 1 small treat compartment.
  • Made with the highest quality food grade stainless steel and is BPA, Phthalate, PVC and Lead free
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Won’t retain yucky food odors or stains if you forget to wash it out for a week
  • Divided compartments prevents food from sliding and mixing
  • The Rover itself isn’t leak proof but it comes with 2 round (1 big and 1 small) leak proof containers that fit nicely into the compartments.

Cons

  • These are expensive. If your kid tends to lose everything, then this box probably is not for them.
  • Save yourself the headache and skip the fun magnetics. You have to take them off and put them back on every time you wash the box.
  • Will dent if your kid is rough with them.
  • Ellie actually laughed at the lunch bag that came with the Rover, that is how uncool it is. It reminds me of one of the bags people get at work conferences that they immediately toss in the garage/goodwill pile/trash when they get home. It comes with a shoulder strap, enough said. Anyway, you might want to consider getting another lunch bag for this box.

Planetbox Rover has a 4.5 star rating out of 163 reviews. 

Runner Up – Bentology Leakproof Bento Lunch Box

This bento box is the one that has the most versatility to it. It comes with 5 different smaller compartments that fit into the box and you can add or take out based on what you are packing for the day. Or you can just take all the smaller compartments out and have one big area to work with. It also has an area for a utensil, which is kinda brilliant.

Pros

  • This box packs a ton of food. It has 1 big main compartment, then 4 medium size removable compartments and 1 tiny treat/dip container. 2 of the medium and 1 small containers are leakproof. The box itself is not leakproof.
  • Made in the USA
  • Dishwasher and microwave safe
  • 1 year manufacture guarantee
  • Has an area for an utensil/napkin

Cons

  • Even though it says you can, I would avoid putting the compartment lids into the dishwasher to prevent warping
  • It kinda feels cheap and reminds me of a flat Kaboodle (saying that totally dates me as an 80’s child)
  • The entire container isn’t leakproof

Bentology Leakproof Bento Lunch Box has a 4 star rating out of 172 reviews. 

Family

Winner – Premium Bento Lunch Box Containers

There is only 1 winner in this category because we love these boxes so much that I never had to look elsewhere. While not the coolest looking bento boxes out there, they are relatively inexpensive and are so light and easy to pack for your entire family. Whenever we go on a family adventure to the park, mountains, or pool, I always pack us each a lunch in these boxes.

Pros

  • Sold as a set of 4 for a super reasonable price
  • Made with clear plastic that is BPA and lead free
  • Microwave, dishwasher and freezer safe
  • 3 compartments – 1 large main and 2 smaller snack sections
  • Slightly rounded corners make it easier for smaller kids to eat out of
  • Fit into almost all regular size lunch bags
  • Lid is easy enough for older toddlers and kids to get off themselves

Cons

  • Besides colorful lid, there isn’t much design to them
  • While not completely leakproof, I have never had a problem packing yogurt or pudding in the snack compartments. But will need to be careful when sending liquid items to school.

Premium Bento Lunch Box Containers has a 4.5 star rating out of 824 reviews. 

Snack Boxes

Winner – Planetbox Shuttle

My one box that made it into two categories! Way to go Shuttle! It is such a great snack box for any age and has a great versatility.

Pros

  • The shuttle has 1 large and 1 medium compartment that with slightly rounded edges. Since this box is pretty deep, I would recommend purchasing the leakproof pods that fit inside so you can send smaller quantities of foods or dips.
  • Made with the highest quality food grade stainless steel and is BPA, Phthalate, PVC and Lead free.
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Won’t retain yucky food odors or stains if you forget to wash it out for a week
  • Divided compartments prevents food from sliding and mixing
  • Is small enough to fit into almost any lunch bag

Cons

  • This box is expensive. If your kid tends to lose everything, then this box probably is not for them.
  • Save yourself the headache and skip the fun magnetics. You have to take them off and put them back on every time you wash the box.
  • Has a slightly military feel to it

Planetbox Shuttle has a 4.5 star rating out of 19 reviews. 

Runner Up – Steeltainer Leak-proof Stainless Steel Compact Size Container

This in the only box in my reviews that doesn’t have a 4 star review and I am not sure why. I use this box all the time for snacks but I also use it when I am packing a thermos in Ellie’s lunch, and I will use this smaller box for some sides or for the add-ins for the soup/pasta/oatmeal. I really like these boxes. But there are a couple of key points I have to tell you about. While yes, the entire box is leaf proof the areas divided with the metal separator is not leak proof. Also, food smaller then cheddar bunnies will move around the box, even with the divider in. But fruit, cheese, small sandwiches, crackers or veggies will all stay in place.

Pros

  • Great for snacks, small lunches or to pack with a thermos
  • Non-toxic, BPA and Phthalate free,
  • 100% recyclable. Interior Material: Food grade #304 stainless steel. Outside Material: Durable polypropylene (#5) shell
  • Comes in 3 colors – Pink, Blue and White

Cons

  • Metal part is the only section that is dishwasher safe. You have to hand wash the lid and base.
  • Food doesn’t always stay where it is supposed to. This dipping container fits in it for dips or smaller foods (nuts, seeds, chocolate chips, trail mix, dried fruit).

Steeltainer Leak-proof Stainless Steel Compact Size Container has a 3.5 star rating out of 58 reviews.

Thermos

Winner – Thermos 10 Ounce Funtainer Food Jar

This thermos is a great price and works great for keeping foods warm in the colder winter months. It also comes in a bajillion different colors and designs, and I know your kid will approve of at least one of them. Ellie had to have blue – done!

Pros

  • Good size thermos for soups, pasta, meatballs, pizza and even risottos
  • Durable stainless steel interior and exterior
  • School age kids would have no problems getting the lid off themselves, while toddlers would still need some help
  • Keeps food warm all day and usually the leftovers are still warm when I get them back in the afternoon
  • Great price

Cons

  • Have to hand wash it, which is the norm with thermoses
  • The mouth (3.5″) is a little small for toddlers and little kids to spoon food out of

The Thermos Funtainer Food Jar has a 4.5 star rating out of 2,134 reviews. 

Runner Up – LunchBots Thermal 16-ounce Stainless Steel Insulated Food Container

This thermos is BIG but it has a great wide mouth for easy spooning for little kids. I wish they made a slightly smaller version, but for now this thermos is great for our warm lunch needs.

Pros

  • Wide mouth (5″ round) is great for easy eating
  • Food is usually still warm when I get it back in the afternoon
  • Is also light enough to pack snacks, even if they don’t need to stay warm

Cons

  • It holds 16 oz of food, which is way more then any kid would eat.
  • Hand wash only
  • The lid is pretty big and there is no way a younger kid could get it off by themselves

LunchBots Thermal 16-ounce Stainless Steel Insulated Food Container has a 4 star rating out of 572 reviews. 

Ice Packs/Lunch Bags

Fit & Fresh Cool Coolers Slim Penguin Lunch Ice Packs has a 4.5 star rating out of 234 reviews.

PackIt Freezable Lunch Bag has a 4 star rating out of 1,730 reviews. Also with a zipper
I couldn’t find a blue lunch bag with sharks on it for Ellie that would fit her bento boxes, but I did find this blue lunch bag that she loved all the same. It has a freezable gel pack inside of the lining so you just freeze overnight and the bag is good and cold in the morning. It also fits almost all of the bento boxes above (but measure before you buy just to make sure).

Other Boxes I Have Tried

Boxes that are okay, but have some kinks

Thinksport GO2 Container
I REALLY wanted to love this box. Thinkbaby just redesigned their sectioned bento box and I grabbed one super fast because I love their products. It has such a cool design with 3 triangle compartments and is a great size for toddler or small kids. But the problem I have with it, is that the lid is a pain to get to snap on. You have to get the metal and plastic bottom section just right and then quickly as you can try to snap the top on. Sometimes it takes me forever to snap it together in the morning with only 1 cup of coffee in me. As hard as it is for me, there is now way Ellie can snap the lid on by herself when she is done with lunch. So by the time she gets home for the day, I usually find the box is open in her lunch bag with all of the leftover food everywhere. No fun to clean up at all!

Steeltainer 5 Compartment Lunch Container
I wasn’t sure where to put this box, because you will see that I use it ALL the time. I love the design and size of the box. The problem (like so many on this list) is that there is a gap between the tray (where the food is) and the lid, so if you tilt the box at all the food will go everywhere. Which is stupid because which kid (or adult) is going to carry the box perfectly horizontal to and from school/work? No one I know! So I hacked this box and cut out a piece of my shelf liner to fit into the lid so the food won’t move around (I have a shelf liner that is kinda think – 1/8″). This works great, but again, super annoying that now I have to pack the shelf liner in the box or the lunch gets totally ruined.

Boxes that are totally pointless

LunchBots Bento Trio
Again, I really wanted to love this box, and it somehow has 4.5 stars on amazon, but it just doesn’t work for me. First of all, there are these small gaps between each section at the bottom where the separators meet the sides/bottom of the bento. So if you have anything that is even slightly wet (i.e. – cut fruit, cut cherry tomatoes, dips, etc), their juices will get everywhere. So you can only pack dry items (which isn’t practical at all). And then the lid doesn’t even really snap on or anything. It closes but again, the liquids will just run out of the box if tipped at all. I have only tried out the 3 section bento, but I am assuming the other versions are the same.

Comfort Loft Japanese Modern/Traditional Compartmental Bento Box
Small box with 6 compartments. Would love the size of this box, but there is a small gap from the food to the lid so small food will just kinda go everywhere. Not as back as the Iwotou below, but still annoying.

Lunch Bento Box, Iwotou Microwave and Dishwasher Safe Lunch Box
The box is seriously ginormous and there is a 1″ gap from the food and the lid so all the food just goes everywhere. I love the idea of the round liquids container, but it is cheaply made and would probably last you roughly 1 week.

Where to get all of these boxes –

I made all the links go to amazon, because I can’t be the only one that uses 2-day prime shipping like their life depends on it, anyone as obsessed with prime as I am??? Many of the brands also have their own websites, so be sure to check them out for even more info and product details.

Disclaimer: All of the amazon links are affiliate links and I get a very small percentage of each sale. All opinions on this post are 100% mine from months of trying out each of the products listed above. Thank you for supporting Baby FoodE and my bento obsession!