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Packing school lunches often involves using several plastic bags or many pieces of aluminum foil, which is wasteful and time-consuming. One solution is the bento box, which is definitely a worthwhile purchase if your kids like their food stored separately.
These cute lunch boxes stand out, thanks to their numerous compartments, which are sized for all types of foods, from sandwiches to fruit to chips. Many bento boxes are even leakproof, allowing you to pack liquids alongside your child's snacks—ideal for, say, carrots and ranch dip.
We sent each of the bento boxes on this list to our experienced testers, who used them to pack real lunches and snacks for their kids. They evaluated each one on its design, insulation, versatility, and size. They gave additional feedback about which types of food pack best in the compartments and whether or not their kids could easily carry them—without spills.
Here are the best bento boxes for kids, according to our parent testers.
Best Overall: Bentgo Kids Lunch Box
Rubber sides are extra durable
Made with BPA-free plastic
Easy to clean
Slightly heavier than other models
Exterior scratches pretty easily
Who else recommends it? Good Housekeeping also picked the Bentgo Kids Lunch Box.
What do buyers say? 91% of 30,400+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
If you’re looking for the best bento box for kids, there are a few extra things to consider. First of all, you want a more durable product that can stand to take a few tumbles if it slips out of their little hands. Second, it’s important that the box is easy to open and close; otherwise, you might find yourself cleaning up spilled lunches.
The Bentgo Kids Lunch Box meets all these criteria, making it an ideal lunch box for children ages three to seven. The BPA-free plastic bento box has five compartments and can be used safely in the microwave and dishwasher. It boasts a tight seal to keep the various sections from leaking, and you open and shut the box with two secure, kid-friendly latches.
As a bonus, the edges of the box are lined with rubber to minimize impact in case of drops, making it perfect for young children. But just because it is made for toddlers doesn't mean big kids and adults can't use it as well. Our tester noted that the extra protection of the lunchbox made it a touch heavier than others, but it was easily manageable and worth the security. It was also easy to clean by hand, since there are no small crevices on the smooth surface of the box.
Dimensions: 8.5 x 6.5 x 2 inches | Weight: 1.4 pounds | Material: BPA-free plastic and rubber
"We particularly loved that nothing leaked out into our son’s backpack the entire week he used it." — Linnea Covington, Product Tester
Best Budget: Bentgo Kids Tray
Great for portioning foods
Easy to pack inside a larger lunchbox
Lid is not leakproof
A lot of wasted space
Certain bento boxes can be pretty pricey, but you don’t have to shell out a ton of cash to get a quality kids’ bento box. The Bentgo Kids Tray is a great budget solution for young children, as it’s designed to be the perfect size for kids’ portions.
This bento box is recommended for kids ages three to seven and comes in three cute colors. Each box has five built-in compartments. According to our tester, these compartments are largely satisfactory, but some are on the small side, which can limit your selection. (The super small circle, for example, is really only adequate for a small treat—a few M&Ms or gummy bears, for example.)
The product is made from BPA-free plastic, and it’s both dishwasher- and freezer-safe. The transparent plastic cover snaps on tightly to keep food fresh, but it’s important to note that the lid isn’t leakproof, especially if you put liquids in the tray. It’s not a deal-breaker, though, especially since our tester found this bento box to be a convenient and fun option for at-home lunches, too
Parents—our tester included, who regularly uses these at home—love these affordable bento boxes, because they’re the perfect size for creating little snack packs for your kids.
Dimensions: 8.5 x 6.1 x 1.5 inches | Weight: 8.8 ounces | Material: BPA-free plastic
"For kids, this is a nice, easy-to-transport lunch box. Everything stays nicely in place, and it allows you to include plenty of variety." — Brigitt Earley, Product Tester
Most Versatile: PackIt Mod Lunch Bento Food Storage Container
Ability to adjust and remove dividers
BPA-free and shatter-resistant
Compartments aren't leakproof
Grooves make it harder to clean
The PackIt Mod Lunch Bento Container is ideal for anyone who’s ever struggled to fit food into too-small bento box compartments. Unlike other lunch boxes, which have fixed inner compartments, this food storage container allows you to remove and adjust the dividers for more space.
The container comes with three leak-resistant dividers that you snap into the various channels to separate food, and the leak-free lid snaps on to prevent spills inside the lunch box. In tests, rearranging the box was a breeze. Safe for the microwave, freezer, and top rack of the dishwasher, this container is the perfect size to fit into the popular PackIt lunch bags, too.
Just note: The compartments themselves are not leakproof, so you can’t pack a liquid in one section without risking it seeping into the other foods.
Dimensions: 7.2 x 2.8 x 5 inches | Weight: 9.52 ounces | Material: BPA-free plastic
"The versatility of these bento boxes is especially great—I used the container to send lunch to school, but also to pack snacks for a trip to the playground." — Brigitt Earley, Product Tester
Best Design: Yumbox Original Leakproof Bento Lunch Box
Easy to clean
Made with BPA-free plastic
Shows wear and tear easily
Not the best value
For a bento box that’s aesthetically pleasing and designed with little kids in mind, the Yumbox Original has some seriously well-thought-out features. This leakproof bento box is designed especially for kids, and careful attention was given to every detail, from the cute colors and illustrations to the easy-open latch.
The Yumbox is made for toddlers and young children and is more expensive than many other options, but it makes up for the cost with great functionality. There are six unique containers in the lunch box, each labeled with a food group to help kids learn and help parents figure out what to pack. You can include foods like applesauce without worrying about them spilling out, thanks to the leakproof silicone seal. Plus, the inner shell is top-rack dishwasher-safe. This box also has a small dip container to fill with sauces like hummus or salad dressing.
Our tester liked that this bento box is durable and that its compartments are perfect for various snacks. The high-quality design comes with a higher price tag, however. Our tester noted that the surface shows some wear and tear the more you use it, and you may want to hand wash the box to increase its longevity.
Dimensions: 8.5 x 6 x 1.8 inches | Weight: 1.09 pounds | Material: ABS, BPA-free plastic, and silicone
"We never experienced any leaks or spills, even when turning this container on its side." — Linnea Covington, Product Tester
Best Colorful: Munchkin Bento Box Toddler Lunch Box
Bright, vibrant colors
Includes kid-friendly utensils
Compartments larger than other boxes
Fairly heavy, especially for young children
If brighter is better in your kid's mind, then they'll love the Munchkin Lunch Bento Box, which has an extremely bold tricolor design—there's no way you'll lose this lunch box in your cupboard. Also nice: Our tester’s child loved the easy-carry handle.
In addition to its kid-friendly appearance, this bento box excels in the performance department. It has five inner compartments that are deep and spacious, accommodating larger items like sandwiches, as well as smaller items like sliced fruit or a sweet treat. It even comes with stainless steel utensils that store right in the lid—a bonus that’s surprisingly hard to come by.
The Munchkin Bento Box has a silicone seal that helps to keep its compartments from leaking into each other, and the whole thing is BPA-free and dishwasher-safe (which you may want to take advantage of, since our tester found the deep sections tricky to clean by hand).
Dimensions: 9.25 x 8.9 x 3.25 inches | Weight: 1.3 pounds | Material: BPA-free plastic and stainless steel utensils
"The colors are really fun, and it's very easy to carry. My son was very excited to bring this bento box to school. It fit his lunch really nicely, although it could actually be a little bit smaller." — Brigitt Earley, Product Tester
Best for Warm Foods: Omie Bento Box
Insulated thermos keeps food warm
Large compartment can hold a sandwich
Made with BPA-free plastic
Thermos is fairly small
Expensive compared to other options
If you have a picky eater, you might benefit from a bento box that can keep food warm, and OmieLife's OmieBox is one of your best options. This unique bento box is more expensive, but it's worth the investment, thanks to its vacuum-insulated thermos, which includes an easy screw-off top and holds up to 8.5 ounces of warm food or just over 1 cup. The thermos can also be used to keep food cold—our tester used it to pack applesauce and yogurt for her child. It does require some forethought, as you have to fill the thermos with warm or hot water (depending on what you’re using it for) and let it sit for 10 minutes prior to filling it with the food item.
The OmieBox allows you to pack both hot and cold foods together, allowing for more variety in the kids' lunches. The box features four compartments, including the large main section, which is big enough to hold a sandwich when the thermos insert is removed. The long compartment is designed to accommodate any brand of box drinks, like juice or milk cartons. Also nice: It features a removable insert, so you can divide the compartment in half if you want even more division.
The lunch box is BPA-free and made of impact-resistant materials for durability. It is rather bulky, though, which our tester found a bit cumbersome in terms of storage, particularly if you have multiple children and more than one box for each.
The OmieBox is ideal for children who don’t like sandwiches. Plus, parents —including our tester—confirm that the hot/cold food container is sealed tight to prevent leaking, allowing you to pack soup or other liquid foods.
Dimensions: 8.5 x 7.5 x 3 inches | Weight: 1.7 pounds | Material: Stainless steel, BPA-free plastic, and silicone
"It's an overall great lunch box for kids—easy to carry, nicely divided, and great to have the option for a hot/cold item in the thermos." — Brigitt Earley, Product Tester
Best for Salads: Oxo Prep & Go Salad Container
Keeps ingredients separate
Special container for salad dressing
Fairly bulky design
Not much separation
If your child likes to bring salads for lunch, this leakproof container from Oxo is a great choice. It helps keep wet and dry ingredients separate and has a handy 2-ounce container with a tight lid for dressings. It’s not just for salads, though. Our tester’s children don’t like lettuce, so instead, she used it to pack chicken, fruit, and a side of ketchup. What we love is that it nestles all in together tightly so little ones can transport it to school easily.
The lid is clear and made out of BPA-free plastic and won't get discolored after washing; after a busy day, you'll be happy to know that this container can be cleaned in the dishwasher.
Dimensions: 8.5 x 8.4 x 3.3 inches | Weight: 1.1 pounds | Material: BPA-free plastic and silicone
"This worked perfectly for packing ketchup, which my son is always asking for, but I had never found a good way to include it in a bento box." — Brigitt Earley, Product Tester
Best Stainless Steel : LunchBots Small Protein Packer Toddler Bento Box
Extremely compact and lightweight
Dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning
Too small for full lunch
If you're looking for a compact bento box to hold your child's daily snacks, the LunchBots Small Bento Box is a perfect choice. This simple lunch box is made from extremely durable 18/8 food-grade stainless steel, so it will hold up just fine even if it gets banged around. However, keep in mind that it's truly small—measuring just 5.5 x 4 x 1.5 inches—which means it's perfect for snacks, not full meals. Our tester thought it was much too small for lunches for her children—even her two-year-old. Even snack choices are limited, as you can’t fit larger items like potato chips in the various sections available.
This lunch box has four inner compartments: two with a 2-ounce capacity and two with a 1-ounce capacity. It's perfect for transporting finger foods, nuts, fruit, and veggies. The petite size is also great for transporting, since it takes up very little space in a diaper bag or backpack. Also convenient: The whole container can be popped in the dishwasher at the end of the day for hands-off cleaning.
Dimensions: 5.5 x 4 x 1.5 inches | Weight: 7.4 ounces | Material: Stainless steel
"It's easy to transport, especially because it's so small. The lid stays securely in place, and everything stays where it should be." — Brigitt Earley, Product Tester
The Bentgo Kids Lunch Box is a tried-and-true favorite—it has five compartments that don't leak into each other, even when jostled around in a backpack, and its rubber sides make it extra durable. For a more affordable option, the Bentgo Kids Tray is perfect for portioning snacks for younger children.
How We Tested
We researched highly rated bento boxes designed specifically for kids and sent the top models to our experienced at-home testers, all of whom have little ones. Our testers packed lunches and snacks of all kinds—from hot soups to sandwiches and salads—and had their kids carry the bento boxes. Then, they rated each one on design, insulation, versatility, and size. They checked for leaks, spills, and dents in the boxes from drops. They also assessed how easy they were for kids to open and how easy they were to clean.
Other Options We Tested
- EasyLunchboxes Bento Lunch Boxes: We tested this four pack of bento boxes as a potential best budget option. While there are limited compartments, our tester actually liked that there wasn't a lot of wasted space and found that the bento box was versatile enough—perfect for a main dish and two small snacks. However, she found that the lid isn't super secure. It easily busts open, especially when young kids are carrying their tote or bag, since they tend to be a little more rough with their things. Ultimately, we wouldn't recommend this if you want to put it in a child's backpack, but if you're taking it to the park, and the parent is transporting it carefully, it's a usable (and very affordable) option. Note that it is not insulated, so you have to pack stable food items. Finally, while it is top-rack dishwasher-safe, our tester said it tends to harbor water spots and shows signs of discoloration over time.
What to Look for in a Bento Box for Kids
Bento boxes are made from different materials, each with pros and cons. Plastic is lightweight and easy for kids to handle since it won’t shatter if dropped. Metal is more durable and can withstand high heat in a dishwasher. Glass is both dishwasher and microwave-safe, but it’s heavy and breakable.
Consider how much food you need to pack. It's not necessary to send your kids to school with a bulky, adult-sized bento box that’s half-full, but there should be enough space for everything they like to fit comfortably. If green salads are often on the menu, you’ll need more space than if you pack smaller amounts of denser foods.
Number of compartments
If the bento box has a large number of compartments, you can keep many different foods separate from each other, and you’ll have space for sauces and condiments, as well. But if your kids prefer larger portions of fewer foods, you won’t need as many sections. While it might look cute to keep carrots separate from celery, having larger spaces will make it easier to pack lunch.
What is a bento box?
A bento box is a type of lunch box that originated in Japan. It's designed to hold a single serving of food, and it's segmented into several compartments, typically to hold the main entree, along with one or multiple snacks.
Are bento boxes insulated?
Certain bento boxes, such as the OmieBox Bento Box, offer insulation that will keep your food warm until lunchtime, but the majority do not. Bento boxes are most commonly used to transport cold dishes such as sandwiches, and if you're packing a dish that must be warmed up, it's generally a good idea to pack it separately—otherwise, you'll have to take it out of the bento box to microwave it.
Can bento boxes be microwaved?
Some bento boxes are microwave-safe, but it's not a given, so you'll want to carefully review the product description before heating the container. Bento boxes made from metal or certain types of plastic should not be put in the microwave.
How do you keep food cold in a bento box?
For safety purposes, it's recommended that you keep lunch foods cold until you're ready to eat them, but this can be tricky with a bento box, as they're generally not large enough to hold an ice pack and rarely come with a space for one. The most common way to keep food in a bento box cold is to place the whole bento box into a larger lunch box along with an ice pack (or two).
Why Trust the Spruce Eats?
This article was written by Brigitt Earley, a freelance writer who has spent the last 10-plus years researching the best home goods and kitchen items for various digital publications, including The Spruce and Good Housekeeping. Brigitt also frequently contributes to parenting sites like What to Expect, and she has four of her own children, including two preschoolers she regularly packs bento box lunches for.
10 Best Bento Boxes for Kids in 2022. Good Housekeeping. https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/childrens-products/g36731156/best-bento-boxes-for-kids/
Food and Drug Administration. Bisphenol A (BPA): Use in food contact application.
Oi, Mariko. Lifting the Lid on Japan’s Amazing Bento Boxes. BBC.
Food and Drug Administration. Are you storing food safely?