The 9 Best Bento Boxes For Kids in 2019

Enter the bento box! Japan’s answer to diverse, portion-controlled meals on the go.

Bento boxes are an elegant solution to kids’ lunchtime. They have multiple compartments to keep food separated, making them perfect for pleasing picky eaters and providing a fun variety of options for lunch. Some even have thermal components to keep food hot or cold.

We went on a quest to find the best bento box for kids, exploring nine school-friendly options as well as what makes bento boxes awesome.

Editor's Choice

Bentgo Kids Children's Lunch Box

This kid-friendly box is extremely easy to operate that makes it perfect for toddlers and elementary-school aged kids.

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What is a bento box?

Compact and convenient, bento boxes make great on-the-go lunch containers. They’re a style that’s become popular stateside, but they originated in Japan nearly 1,000 years ago. They’re a pick that focuses on both variety and portion control. Wondering what makes bento boxes unique?

  • They’re typically a single unit container that’s either divided into 3+ sections or features small, removable containers which can be filled or washed with food
  • They are typically made with food-safe plastic or metal, though in their country of origin, they’re sometimes still seen constructed from wood
  • Some bento boxes can be microwaved, and most can be refrigerated or frozen – additionally, some have a thermal component that can keep food hot or cold

Why your kids’ need bento boxes?

It’s hardly a struggle to find lunchboxes for our kids, with companies tripping all over themselves to market them as yet another school supply. They’re not wrong – a good lunch box can make a real difference in how well their lunch keeps, which can be a day maker or breaker – but why is a bento box a good option?

  • They’re great for portion control: Because bento boxes are divided into individual sections, it’s easy to make sure that kids are getting the right amounts of the right foods; picks that are higher in fat and calories can be placed in the smaller portions of the bento, while fruits, veggies, nuts and healthy proteins can occupy larger spaces.
  • They prevent food from touching: Okay, we know that a lunchbox isn’t a dinner plate, so it’s less of an issue for picky eaters; however, for those kids that don’t even want their carrot and celery stick in the same baggie, a bento box is the perfect level of food organization.
  • They prevent food and plastic waste: For a lot of parents, packing a traditional lunch box means using at least a few disposable plastic bags for food storage, some of which hold portions of food that are too large and don’t get finished. Bento boxes allow parents to offer smaller portions of a variety of foods, meaning less food gets wasted and there’s no plastic waste as a result.

What materials should bento boxes be made of?

While any food-safe, leak-proof material would technically be fine, research has shown which materials work best for making these ancient lunchboxes. Wondering what material your bento box should be made from?

  • Plastic picks are some of the most popular bentos available right now, as food-safe plastic comes clean easily without retaining the smell or color of foods or affecting their taste – make sure it’s PVC and vinyl free
  • Metal bento boxes are also often used, and some metal picks have thermal features to preserve hot and cold temperatures for foods – look for indications that it’s lead-free
  • When they were first created, wood was often the material of choice for bento boxes, and wooden bentos are still commonly used in Japan today

What qualities should savvy shoppers look for in a good bento box for kids?

Choosing gear for our kids can be challenging, but that’s especially true when we’re not familiar with what we’re shopping for. Wondering what qualities a bento box for kids should possess?

  • Easy to wash / dishwasher safe: They’re kids, which means they’re already messy. Add food to the mix, and things get real quickly. Bentos that wash clean quickly or are top-rack dishwasher safe are winners.
  • It’s made for transporting food: Not all bento boxes are actually made for carrying food from place to place, some are just serviceware. Unless it indicates that it’s designed to be a portable lunchbox, assume it’s not.
  • There’s not too many pieces: A lot of bento boxes are a single piece with non-removable dividers, which are ideal for kids because there’s no small pieces to lose or accidentally throw away. If you do pick a bento box with removable containers, try to stick with ones like the stacking pick on our list, which has pieces that are big and easy to keep track of.


Our Top Picks

#1 The Bentgo Bento

Editors Choice

Material: Non-toxic plastic
Color: Purple
Number of Compartments: 5
Microwave Safe: Yes
Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Temperature Control: None

The lid of Bentgo Kids Bento Box (check price on Amazon) is leak-proof, but isn’t as complex to latch as tightly sealed bento boxes designed for adult use. There’s five small compartments, designed to be appropriate portion sizes for kids between the ages of three and seven. Even cooler, Bentgo, the manufactuer of this cool little bento box, is a proud supporter of Feed The Children. That means when you make this pick, you’re not just feeding your own kids, you’re making a difference to hungry children around the world.

What We Love

  • It’s a pick that’s specifically designed for kids, so the portion sizes are age-appropriate and the latches are simple to operate
  • Bentgo supports Feed The Children, an organization which strives to end child hunger worldwide, so it’s a purchase you can feel great about

Watch Out For:

  • There’s no thermal features, but it can be microwaved or placed into a bag with an ice pack

Check Price on Amazon

#2 The Kinsho Bento with Insulated Bag

Upgrade Choice

Material: Non-toxic plastic, silicone, aluminized mylar-lined tote
Color: Blue
Number of Compartments: 6
Microwave Safe: Bottom portion only
Dishwasher Safe: Yes, but lid should be hand-washed
Temperature Control: Insulated tote

One of the trade-offs with some bento box designs vs traditional lunchboxes is a lack of a convenient carrying handle. The Kinsho Bento with Insulated Bag (check price on Amazon) features the best of both worlds thanks to an insulated carrying bag that keeps food hot or cold while also making it even easier to transport.

The box itself is leakproof and features individually sealed sections, so it’s possible for them to enjoy soups, yogurts and other favorites without worrying about a mess. There’s even a convenient center compartment for their utensils, as well as extra room in the insulated carrying bag for an ice pack to keep cold foods chilled.

What We Love

  • The five food compartments are individually sealed with a lid that latches tightly – this makes it leakproof, so foods that were formerly too messy to pack can be enjoyed
  • It comes with an insulated carrying bag that keeps hot food hot, and there’s room in it for an ice pack to keep cold food chilled

Watch Out For: 

  • Because the seal of this lid is so tight, it needs to be perfectly aligned with the container in order for it to latch, so parental help may be needed when starting out

Check Price on Amazon

#3 The Jeopace Bento

Best Microwaveable Bento Box  Best Budget Buy

Material: Non-toxic plastic
Color: Champagne gold
Number of Compartments: 3
Microwave Safe: Yes
Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Temperature Control: None

There are a lot of fancy lunch kits and bento boxes out there, but the basic concept persists from the simplest picks to the fanciest. This Jeopace bentos (check price on Amazon) is hardly spartan, featuring a three-compartment design that includes flatware and has a lid that snaps to seal. It can be microwaved, frozen and put in the dishwasher, including the cutlery, without risk of damage. The individual compartments aren’t water-tight within the container, but the compartments are big enough to accommodate smaller sealed containers easily and the top lid is both leak-proof and shock-proof.

What We Love

  • It has the portion control and convenience of a bento box at a budget price
  • The whole unit, including cutlery, can be microwaved, frozen or put in the dishwasher

Watch Out For: 

  • The individual compartments within the container aren’t water-tight, so smaller sealed containers are needed for liquids

Check Price on Amazon

#4 The OmieBox Bento

Best Thermal Bento Box

Material: Non-toxic plastic, metal Thermos insert
Color: Pink
Number of Compartments: 3
Microwave Safe: No
Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Temperature Control: Two temperature zones keep food both hot and cold

A bento box that can keep food both hot and cold was heretofore unheard of – at least in our household. We’re in awe of this pick from OmieBox (check price on Amazon), which features two temperature zones to allow kids to enjoy a hot entree with cold sides, or vice versa. A real Thermos insert is perfect for storing mac and cheese, hot soup, or even a warmed half-wrap, while the two cold compartments take on none of the unit’s heat, staying cool as a cucumber(or strawberry, or celery stick).

The design of this pick can offer kids exceptional lunch variety, and the Thermos insert is awesome for offering them hot food on demand with no microwave necessary.

What We Love

  • It has a unique Thermos insert which can be filled with their favorite hot foods, which also slides out easily to make an all-cold bento box if desired
  • It features two cold compartments which stay chilled thanks to distinct temperature zones in the box

Watch Out For:

  • The individual compartments within the container aren’t water-tight, so smaller sealed containers are needed for liquids

Check Price on Amazon

#5 The Mini Kinsho Bento

Best for Toddler

Material: Non-toxic plastic
Color: Blue, green, clear
Number of Compartments: Four pack contains three containers with three compartments and one with four compartments
Microwave Safe: Yes
Dishwasher Safe: Bottom portion only
Temperature Control: None

If you’ve got the organizational skills to meal plan your kiddos’ lunches for the week, or even beyond today, you’ve got a gold star from our team. The multi-pack of easy to wash, leak-proof bento boxes from Kinsho (check price on Amazon) is ideal for parents who plan ahead, letting them stock up lunches for daycare or school during weekend downtime so they’re ready for the week. Two of the containers featured here are “mini”, which makes them ideal for smaller kids and snacks, while the other two are larger, making them great for full lunches.

Parents should note that only the bottom portion of these boxes can go in the dishwasher, while lids should be hand-washed to avoid melting.

What We Love

  • It’s a four-pack, which makes meal planning for toddlers and kids a breeze
  • It comes with both snack-size and full-size bento boxes, so it’s easy to pack for their day’s needs
    Watch Out For

Watch Out For:

  • The lids of these picks can’t go in the dishwasher, as they might warp or melt

Check Price on Amazon

#6 The East World Bento

Best for Cooling

Material: Non-toxic plastic
Color: Pink
Number of Compartments: 5
Microwave Safe: Yes
Dishwasher Safe: Yes, and tote is machine washable
Temperature Control: Insulated tote with freezer gel pack

Classic lunch tote convenience and the variety and portion control of a bento box meet in the middle with this fun bento from East World (check price on Amazon). It features its own flatware as well as a freezer gel pack to keep cold food cold, so the convenience factor is significant. Each area of the five-compartment bento box is hermetically sealed, which means it’s safe to pack liquid and dry foods side by side without risk of leaks or a ruined lunch.

The convenient-handled lunch tote is insulated for temperature control, plus it can be wiped clean or thrown in the washing machine for ultimate ease of use.

What We Love

  • It comes with five individual compartments that hermetically seal when the lid is attached, so wet and dry foods can both be packed
  • It’s stored in a thermal tote that maintains food temperature and is easy to wash

Check Price on Amazon

#7 The LunchBots Stainless Bento

Best Stainless Steel Bento

Material: Stainless steel
Color: Stainless steel
Number of Compartments: 5
Microwave Safe: No
Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Temperature Control: None

Food-grade stainless steel is one of the most hygienic materials to make a lunch box out of, because it isn’t porous and won’t discolor or hold on to bacteria or scents. It also looks pretty sharp in our professional opinion, and this five-compartment bento box from LunchBots (check price on Amazon) is non-toxic, lead-free, and “virtually indestructible” by its own description. That means drops, bangs, booms, tosses and other childhood interactions won’t do this pick in, nor will it get damaged in a backpack.

Parents should note that this pick isn’t leakproof or water-tight, so anything with liquids will need its own small container within the box.

What We Love

  • It’s made of stainless steel, so it won’t hang on to bacteria or nasty odors
  • Because of its sturdy steel construction, it’s dishwasher safe and can take a serious beating

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#8 The Komax Lunchmate Bento

Best in style  Best leak-proof bento

Material: Non-toxic plastic
Color: Green, navy, white
Number of Compartments: 3
Microwave Safe: Yes
Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Temperature Control: Insulated tote

Leak-proof and super cute, the Komax Lunchmate (check price on Amazon) is something of a hybrid between a traditional lunch tote and a bento box. The fun navy tote has jazzy green accents as well as a green zipper and strap, and it’s insulated, so it’s great at keeping cold foods chilled and preventing hot foods from cooling off. It features two individual leak-proof containers, one of which features two separated compartments, as well as a set of stainless steel cutlery and chopsticks for eating.

The containers can be frozen, microwaved, or put in the dishwasher for all around convenience, but make sure the cutlery, chopsticks and tote stay away from the microwave oven.

What We Love

  • secure, portion-controlled containers
  • It comes with both stainless steel cutlery and chopsticks, plus the containers can be frozen, microwaved or put in the dishwasher, so it’s super convenient

Watch Out For:

  • The cutlery, chopsticks and tote must never be microwaved (we know you know – make sure the kiddos do), and the tote should be washed with gentle detergent only

Check Price on Amazon

And the winner is…

Portion control is a huge part of making sure our kids eat a healthy diet. Bentgo’s kid-friendly box (check price on Amazon) boasts the perfect portions for toddlers and elementary-school aged kids, plus it’s extremely easy to operate, differentiating it from other picks that the younger set might struggle to open and close. We also love that Bentgo supports Feed The Children, an important organization devoted to ending childhood hunger, making this fun little bento our editor’s choice.

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