The 4 Best Lunch Boxes of 2024

By Maria Lichty

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It’s back to school season so I’ve been thinking a lot about lunch boxes. It may not seem like it, but lunch boxes are one of the most important school items your child has.

kids lunch box with fruits, veggies, and owl toast.
Credit: Two Peas and Their Pod

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They have to be hardy enough to withstand multiple trips back and forth from home to school, distinct enough to stand out from the crowd, and just the right size to contain your kiddo’s favorite lunch and any ice packs that go with it. 

I’ve packed a lot of school lunches in my day, so I’m a bit of a lunch box fan. And now I want to share my thoughts with you! From bento boxes to classic insulated lunch bags, these are my favorite lunch boxes. 

My Top Picks 

  1. My Favorite: Bentgo Kids Lunch Bag- $24.99 at Amazon
  2. Budget Pick: Flowfly Kids Lunch Box – $12.99 at Amazon
  3. Best Bento Box: Bentgo Kids Bento-Style 5-Compartment Lunch Box – $27.99 at Amazon
  4. Best Splurge: PlanetBox ROVER Classic Stainless Steel Bento Lunch Box – $54.99 at Amazon

Reviews of The Best Lunch Boxes

1. My Favorite: Bentgo Kids Lunch Bag

Bentgo Kids Lunch Bag.
Credit: Amazon

This lunch bag is designed to fit the brand’s beloved bento boxes—but you don’t need any bento box at all to make the most of it. Each bag is made of durable insulated nylon with a strong, stable YKK zipper that makes it easy for little hands to open and close. The inner compartment is roomy enough for an ice pack and all kinds of food (or, yes, a bento box). 

It also has a mesh water bottle holder on the outside for easy hydration access. Most importantly (to your kid, at least), the bags come in a host of fun colors and patterns—from dinosaurs to fairies to outer space—so they’ll be excited to bring it to school every day. 

The Specs:

  • Material: Food-grade safe PEVA thermal insulation and nylon EVA polyester
  • Dimensions: 11″ L x 3.5″ W x 9.5″ H

The Pros:

  • So many fun colors and patterns
  • Easy to pack
  • Great insulation

The Cons:

  • None we could find

What Others are Saying:

The Bentgo Kids Lunch Bag is the best overall kids lunch box for kids pick on Verywell Family, and Good Housekeeping named the Bentgo Kids Lunch Bag the best kids’ lunch box that holds a bento box. It also has a 4.8-star rating out of more than 15,000 Amazon reviews.

Buy the Bentgo Kids Lunch Bag:

2. Best Budget Lunch Box: Flowfly Kids Lunch Box

FlowFly lunch bag.
Credit: Amazon

This simple-but-mighty insulated bag is the ideal choice if you’re looking for a budget-friendly lunch box that doesn’t skimp on quality. Its internal pouch is roomy enough to fit tupperware or bento boxes and small water bottles, and it has a small mesh pocket that’s perfect for an ice pack. And with its range of colors and patterns—including not one but two dinosaur options!—it’s easy to find one that suits every child’s taste. 

The Specs:

  • Material: BPA- and phthalate-free PVC
  • Dimensions: 10.6″ L x 4.33″ W x 7.7″ H

The Pros:

  • Fun colors and patterns
  • Less expensive than other options
  • Versatile uses

The Cons:

  • May be less durable than other lunch boxes

What Others are Saying:

HGTV named this Flowfly box the best lunch box for grade school kids and the Kansas City Star named it the kids lunch box with the best storage capacity. On Amazon, it has 4.7-star rating out of almost 7,000 reviews.

Buy the Flowfly Kids Lunch Box: 

3. Best Bento Box: Bentgo Kids Bento-Style 5-Compartment Lunch Box

Bentgo Lunch Box.
Credit: Two Peas and Their Pod

I love packing lunches in the Bentgo! And my kids love eating them! This bento box-style lunch box has five kid-friendly compartments—including one that’s perfect for liquids and sauces, like applesauce—to help separate food without using plastic baggies or easy-to-lose containers. It also has a rubber trim that lines the top and bottom to protect against inevitable drops. 

This box’s portion sizes are intended for kids 3-7, but you can get a slightly larger version for kids 8+. It doesn’t have handles, so you’ll probably want to pack it inside  an insulated lunch bag to make transporting it easier. 

The Specs:

  • Material: BPA-free plastic
  • Dimensions: ​​8.5″ L x 6.5″ W x 2″ H

The Pros:

  • Keeps food separate and mess-free
  • Leakproof
  • Dishwasher-safe tray

The Cons:

  • No insulation

What Others are Saying:

The Bentgo Kids has a near-perfect rating on The Spruce Eats and a rave review on The Kitchn. It also has a 4.6-star rating out of 57,000 reviews on Amazon.

Buy the Bentgo Kids Bento-Style 5-Compartment Lunch Box: 

4. Best Splurge: PlanetBox ROVER Classic Stainless Steel Bento Lunch Box

PlanetBox Rover Lunch Box.
Credit: Amazon

If you’ve raised your child to have good taste, they’ll no doubt approve of this chic stainless steel bento box. Equipped with five sturdy compartments and a strong clasp to keep food secure, it’s a great plastic-free option for all kinds of food. Plus, it’s easy to clean—just stick it in the dishwasher—and won’t break over time. 

The Specs:

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Dimensions: 10” L x 7.5” W x 1.5” H

The Pros:

  • Sleek yet sturdy stainless steel construction
  • Easy to clean

The Cons:

  • Heavier than plastic bento boxes

What Others are Saying:

Wirecutter called it a “worthy splurge” in its review of kids lunch boxes. It also has a 4.4-star rating from 114 Amazon reviews.

Buy the PlanetBox Rover: 

Other Lunch Boxes for Kids to Consider

L.L. Bean Lunch Box

This L.L. Bean lunch box is a classic for a reason: Its high-quality construction means it’ll last for years, and its insulated, BPA-free material helps keep lunches cool or warm. The only hitch is that it’s slightly smaller than most other lunch boxes on this list, so it doesn’t fit quite as much food. The L.L. Bean Lunch Box is available at L.L. Bean for $19.95.

Hydro Flask Kids Lunch Box

This Hydro Flask kids lunch box has a solid construction with a plastic interior—meaning it won’t collapse in on itself like softer pouches—and a unique, eye-catching design. However, it’s somewhat heavy, and the tough-to-clean exterior tends to collect grime. The Hydro Flask Kids Lunch Box is available at Amazon for $47.71.

Yeti Day Trip Lunch Box

Like all Yeti products, this lunch box boasts impeccable quality and the ability to keep lunches cool (or warm) for hours. That said, it isn’t really designed as a kid-specific lunch box—and its $80 price tag proves it. If you’re looking for a lunch box for yourself or an older child, the Day Trip is a great option. The Yeti Day Trip Lunch Box is available at Amazon for $80.

Vera Bradley Lunch Bunch Bag

The Lunch Bunch bag is made of gorgeous quilted material and has strong shoulder straps. However, the material and floral patterns won’t appeal to every kid. The lining isn’t insulated, either, which means it won’t keep food cold or hot  on its own. The Vera Bradley Lunch Bunch Bag is available at Amazon for $28.

Why You Can Trust Me

I’ve been cooking, developing recipes, and packing lunches for my two boys for many years. I know the importance of a great, high-quality lunch box, so I wanted to share my findings with you!

I started this list with my favorites, the ones I’ve been using—and recommending!—since I began packing school lunches. I then dove into researching all the other lunch boxes out there, going deep on customer reviews to see what people love (and don’t love) about the most popular lunch boxes out there. Finally, I compared my findings to other reviews to make sure my recommendations were rock-solid.

Everything to Know Before Buying a Lunch Box

Bentgo kids lunch box.
Credit: Two Peas and Their Pod

What to Consider Before Buying a Lunch Box

  • Size: Think about what your child likes to eat for lunch. Will it fit inside this box? Remember to account for things like ice packs and water bottles. 
  • Insulation: The best lunch boxes have great insulation—after all, it’s necessary to keep lunches hot or cold for hours! Without it, the lunch box (and its contents) will become soggy and unappetizing.
  • Durability: A good lunch box is made with high-quality materials. It’s going from home to school to home again five days a week, and kids have a tendency to drop their lunch boxes! That’s a lot for a humble lunch vessel, but the best ones can withstand the process for years and years. 
  • Easy to clean: Kids lunch boxes can get messy. This means it should be easy to clean. Bento boxes that can go in the dishwasher are great, as are lunch boxes that can be thrown in the wash. Lunch boxes that can only be spot cleaned may get stinky, fast. 
  • Color options: You want your child to be excited to carry their lunch box to school every day! This means it should come in fun, kid-friendly colors and patterns.

What to Pack in a Kindergartener’s Lunch Box?

Pay attention to what your kindergartener loves to eat at home, then implement it into their school lunches. I share LOTS of ideas on what to pack in a lunch box HERE.

Some of my favorite meals to pack are sandwiches on a stick, turkey cheddar apple pinwheels, chicken caesar wraps, turkey wraps, and pizza bagels!

How Do You Wash a Lunch Box?

When you’re looking to clean a lunch box, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. My favorite lunch boxes can be tossed in the dishwasher (like the bento boxes I recommend!) or the washing machine. 

If you want to keep an insulated lunch box in good condition for a long time, though, you may want to hand wash it in the sink. To do this, fill a sink with warm water and add a little bit of dish detergent. Then, grab a sponge or towel, dip it in the soapy water, and use it to wipe down the lunch box. You can also submerge the lunch box right in the water and use a sponge or towel to get into all its nooks and crannies. Then, rinse with cold water (you can either use another towel or submerge it under running water) and pat it dry. Make sure it’s entirely dry before you zip it back up! You might want to place it on a dish rack overnight to ensure there isn’t any moisture left.

What is a Bento Lunch Box? 

A bento box is a traditional Japanese single-serving food container, usually used for packed lunches, that has individual compartments for each item. The results look visually appealing, encourage balanced meals, and keep food separated. This means they’re perfect for picky eaters or kids who need a little encouragement to eat their veggies!

How Do You Keep Food Warm in a Lunch Box? 

If you want your kid to enjoy a warm lunch at school, make sure to get them an insulated lunch box! You can also use an insulated Thermos that will keep food hot for hours. This thermos is great for younger kids. I like this Thermos for older kids because it’s a little bigger.

If you’re packing things like burritos, wrap them in aluminum foil. This will help the food retain heat.

Keep Food Cold

Keeping food cool is a little easier. Start with the same insulated lunch box, then add in an ice pack or two! You can strategically place them against the items that really need to stay cold, but they should keep the whole lunch box chilly. You can also use a Thermos to keep items cold.

Water Bottles

Don’t forget to pack a water bottle! Stanley is our favorite brand. We love the iceflows and they have new water bottles. Both come in lots of sizes and colors and keep water cold all day!

The Best Lunch Ideas for Kids

PlanetBox lunch box.

You will find the best lunch ideas for kids HERE! Keep this list handy so you can mix up what you pack in your child’s lunch box. I know my boys get tired of sandwiches:)

Prices were accurate at time of publication. 

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I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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