LLBean Lunch Box
This spacious, soft-sided insulated lunch box is made of sturdy materials and fits perfectly in a backpack. It is also easier to clean than many competitors.
LL Bean Expandable Lunch Box
This expandable version has the same features and durability, with the option of about 2 inches of additional depth (which is useful if you regularly pack beverage cans or large containers).
The LLBean Lunch Box is our favorite insulated bag due to its proven durability and reliability. This lunch box is made from the same durable nylon as LLBean’s beloved backpacks. And its smooth interior is easier to clean than the interior of many other models with exposed seams and crevices that trap food and debris. It has plenty of room for multiple containers and a food thermos, and the inner mesh pocket can hold an ice pack to keep contents cool. If you need even more space, there is an expandable version, which opens to provide an additional 2 inches of depth. As with all of their gear, LLBean offers a one-year satisfaction guarantee on this lunch box. Among the box’s few flaws: Its soft sides don’t protect fragile food much, removing tough stains can be challenging, and its mesh pockets are likely to snag and tear.
Pottery Barn Kids Mackenzie Classic Lunch Box
This insulated lunch box comes in the widest variety of styles we can find, including popular character themes. And its reinforced sides make the Pottery Barn Kids bag easier to clean and more protective of fragile foods than the LLBean lunch box.
The Pottery Barn Kids Mackenzie Classic Lunch Box is similar in construction and quality to the LLBean Lunch Box. But the Pottery Barn bag comes in a greater number of designs that may appeal to your child, including Disney princesses, action heroes, and dinosaurs. Their reinforced sides protect soft fruit and crunchy snacks better than the soft sides of the LLBean bag, but they can be easily folded. This lunch bag is the only one of our selections that does not come with a guarantee.
Bentgo Fresh Lunch Box
This plastic bento-style lunch box is easier for younger children to use and has fewer parts to deal with, but is less durable than our other bento picks.
Bento-style lunch boxes have convenient compartments within a rigid box, to keep food separate, protected and well organized. The optimized Bentgo Fresh Lunch Box is our favorite bento for kids for a number of reasons. For one thing, it has a versatile design. And it’s still compact enough not to clutter a backpack, but can still comfortably hold a lot of food for an elementary school kid (including a whole sandwich, which other bentos can’t). The Bentgo has fewer parts for kids (and adults) to deal with, which means fewer missing parts. And the removable dishwasher-safe tray makes cleaning easy. The Bentgo is the only leak-proof bento we tested, and it was the lightest and least expensive of our bento selections. However, this bento has durability issues – the latches and hinges are especially susceptible to breaking. Our tests have shown that it should last at least one school year, but it is unlikely to be a long-term investment.
PlanetBox Rover Stainless Steel Lunch Box
This stainless steel lunch box is the most durable of our bento picks and the easiest to clean because it can go straight into the dishwasher.
* At the time of publication, the price was $ 50.
Many parents who purchased the PlanetBox Rover Stainless Steel Lunch Box immediately recognize that it costs more than they expected to pay for a lunch box. Yet at the same time, they extol its durability – the Rover lasts for years and wears less easily than our other bento picks. Its simple steel construction also makes it easier to clean, as you can throw everything in the dishwasher. The optional insulated bag, which can be included in a set with the lunch box, adds versatility, with space in the outer pockets to store a thermos or a kid’s water bottle, as well as additional food containers. Although the tray itself does not have seals and is therefore not leak-proof, the included lidded containers are. PlanetBox also offers the longest warranty of all our selections – five years.