The best kids’ lunchboxes and lunch bags tried and tested
Give your kids packed lunches they’ll be excited to open. Discover our picks of the best child-friendly lunchboxes for durability and ease of use with different ages in mind
Whether you’re packing lunch for a toddler or teenager, make sure to do your research on the best lunchboxes around. Although style and functionality can come down to a matter of preference, top of everyone’s priorities tends to be something leakproof that fits easily inside a school backpack.
We've included a selection of kids' lunch bags in addition to kids' lunch boxes below for if you've already got smaller pots in the cupboard for containing sandwiches and snacks.
Trying to get your kids to eat their lunch while you’re not around can also be a real struggle, so choosing a lunchbox that looks cool might encourage them to eat. Discover a host of lunchbox ideas for kids and all ages for making packed lunches more delicious and fun for school, picnics or the office.
The options are plentiful, but your choice ultimately comes down to personality and priorities. Do you want to offer kids variety at lunchtimes and need a box with different compartments? Or perhaps space inside your child’s backpack is limited and you need something slimline, or even with its own handle for carrying separately to school and back.
There's no right or wrong type of lunchbox to buy, but try to make sure you get one that's made without BPA – and one that doesn’t leak is crucial. Need a water bottle too? Check out our best personalised water bottles for ones that won't get lost in the playground.
- Best kids' bento box: Monbento kids lunchbox, £18
- Best budget kids' lunch bag: Rex London lunch bag, £4.95
- Best kids' compartment lunchbox: 3 Sprouts lunch bento box, £16.99
- Best compact lunch bag: Sass & Belle Alma narwhal lunch bag, £7.13
- Best all in one bento box: Meider lunch bento box, £11.99
- Best divided lunch box: Smiggle kids rainbow print lunch box, £20
- Best playful lunch bag: Fringoo lunch bag, £16.99
- Best lunch box for older kids: Sistema bento lunch box, £10.50
- Most stylish compartment lunchbox: Fairies In The Garden lunch box with tray, £6.95
- Best starter lunchbox for toddlers: Munchkin kids' bento lunch box, £22.99
Monbento kids lunchbox
- Available from Amazon (£18.90)
Best kids' bento box
- Compact size
- Efficient and study design
- Can be personalised
- Removable pots could easily be lost
Brilliantly designed, this bento box has one main compartment that’s ideal for a sandwich or main dish, a separating tray on top, and two smaller containers – great for snacks such as fruit, nuts or crisps. They all slot neatly on top of each other and seal tightly inside an efficiently sized tub that locks on both sides.
It feels sophisticated for a children’s lunchbox, steering away from inefficient gimmicks. The dismantling and reassembling of each container takes a bit of getting used to, so perhaps it’s best suited to older children. Otherwise, make sure you sit down together and show them how to use it.
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It also has a customisable little window on its lid for popping pictures behind, accessible below a see-through spinner. Spec-wise, the box is BPA-free, microwave-safe and dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning.
Rex London lunch bag
- Available from Amazon (£4.90)
Best budget kids’ lunch bag
- Made from 50% recycled materials
- Foldable when empty
- Being a bag, you still need a kids’ lunchbox for holding sandwiches
Testing revealed that few are immune to the smile-inducing power of a happy sloth design. This lunch box will appeal to all ages. But in case your child is an exception to this statement, lots of other designs are available from the Rex London brand.
This foil-lined lunch bag will be fought over and is insulated to help keep its contents cool until lunchtime. You can easily fit a standard sandwich box, two small snack boxes, a piece of fruit and a small water bottle inside here so it’s a practical size for visiting for snacks throughout the day.
The recycled material used in this lunchbag is equivalent to one average size plastic bottle, which is a nice eco credential.
3 Sprouts lunch bento box
- Available from Wayfair (£16.99)
Best kids’ compartment lunchbox
- Three compartments for sandwiches, snacks and little surprises
- Dishwasher-safe in top shelf
- Moisture could leak from a small compartment into its other sections
This is an endearing lunchbox with three compartments that packs in practicality. There was a slight plastic smell on opening, but this disappeared after being washed with warm soapy water.
The box itself is BPA-free and safe for putting in the top rack of the dishwasher so an initial blast in there without the lid would be ideal.
Its dividers are immovable but you can easily fit a sliced-up apple and a whole satsuma peeled in just one of the small sections.
We slotted a yogurt and chocolate into the other, whilst a chunky-filled sandwich filled the main section.
It seals well and has clips on all sides, meaning it would take a fair amount of shaking around inside a school bag. With a variety of designs to choose from, this is a nice children’s lunchbox.
Sass & Belle Alma narwhal lunch bag
- Available from Amazon (£7.19)
Best compact lunch bag
- Compact design
- Useful inner pocket
- Smaller capacity than tall bags or boxes
- Won’t fit a water bottle
For a narrow lunch box that will fit easily into a school bag or rucksack, this Sass & Belle lunch bag is perfectly designed. It has a wide zip that unzips the whole top section, enabling the lunch bag to sit flat on the table. There is space for a sandwich and snacks, although the flat shape means it can’t fit a water bottle inside (it is 8cm high).
There is a handy net pocket in the lid for keeping cutlery, a napkin or more snacks secure without getting squashed by other items rolling around. The fabric handle is short but comfortable to hold. The compact design also means it is lightweight to carry and squashes flat when empty.
Meider lunch bento box
- Available from Amazon (£11.99)
Best all in one bento box
- Practical all in one design
- Three colours to choose from
- Large compartment is narrow for sandwiches
- Younger children may struggle with the buckle openings
If you have kids who hate when different foods touch on a plate, this simple bento box is a great lunchbox to get them started with a packed lunch. Instead of having multiple containers and compartments that could get lost, this is made up of one tray divided into four compartments. It is BPA free and can be used in the dishwasher and microwave. It is available in blue, green or pink.
There are 3 roughly equal-sized square slots and one long rectangular slot. This rectangular design would be great for pasta salads, leftovers such as chicken or skewers, or crackers and cheese, but may be impractical for sandwiches unless cut into fingers.
There is a slot in the lid for cutlery and the lid mirrors the design of the compartments on the tray, to keep each section fresh and prevent scents travelling. The lid is secured with a clasp on each side, as well as a rubber ring to make the box leakproof.
Smiggle kids rainbow print lunch box
- Available from M&S (£20)
Best divided lunch box
- Practical hybrid design
- Matching school accessories available
- Lots of patterns to choose from
- Wipe clean
- Bulkier shape
A hybrid shape between tall lunch bags and flat box designs, this practical lunch box is split into two compartments. The smaller top zipped pocket has a label for writing your child’s name and relevant contact details if the lunchbox is lost, and is useful for keeping morning snacks in.
The larger base compartment is practical and wipe-clean. It won’t fit a water bottle inside but will fit a juice box and plenty of food for lunch. It has a simple double zip to open and comfortable short fabric handle to hold.
A water bottle, backpack and pencil case are all available in matching prints for a complete new school year set.
Fringoo lunch bag
Best playful lunch bag
- Vibrant and playful design
- Insulated food-safe lining
- Convenient mesh pocket
- Adjustable, detachable shoulder strap
- Space for a name tag
- Single compartment
- Wipe clean but not dishwasher safe
Add a touch of excitement to lunchtime with Fringoo's fun and colourful design. It is part of an extensive range of school equipment such as a drawstring bag, pencil case, water bottle and more, so your child can show off their style.
The bag’s insulated food-safe lining ensures that your food stays cooler for longer and keeps fresh. With a generously sized single compartment, this lunch bag provides ample space to carry your lunch essentials. You won’t need to compromise on space by requiring it to fit a water bottle, as it has a helpful mesh pocket on the side.
The lunch bag has an adjustable, detachable shoulder strap for added comfort and flexibility. This feature lets your child comfortably hold their lunch bag, leaving their hands free for playing and exploring.
Inside the bag is a slot to add a nametag, great for personalising your child’s lunch bag but also highly important to ensure it returns home with them at the end of the school day.
Sistema bento lunch box
Best lunch box for older kids
- Effective food separation
- Dishwasher safe
- Microwave friendly
- Suitable for fridge and freezer use
- BPA free
- Not possible to request a colour
- Simple design – not very exciting for a child
This bento lunch box is designed to excel in keeping your child’s lunch items and snacks neatly separated and maintaining their freshness until they’re ready to enjoy them. With a spacious central compartment featuring a top tray and divider, this lunch box provides ample space for your child’s main meal. It also includes a seal-tight yogurt pot and two smaller compartments, perfect for accompaniments like dips, spreads, nuts, and other snack items, perfect for ensuring your child gets a healthy and varied diet. The fridge and freezer-safe design allows for top organisation as you can prepare your children’s lunch the night before to prevent a hassled morning rush, and the fact it is dishwasher safe means your end to the day will be as hassle free.
Fairies in the Garden lunch box
- Available from Rex London (£6.95)
Most stylish compartment lunch box
- Stylish design
- Optimal depth for food storage
- Easy-to-use clip
- Dishwasher safe
- Not microwave compatible
- Only three storage compartments
This gorgeous lunch box has a removable tray with two handy compartments, making it easy to separate your food items. The lunch box is not only functional but also visually appealing. It's part of the enchanting Fairies in the Garden collection, adding a touch of beauty and charm to your child’s mealtime routine. The subtlety of the design means that it could suit both younger and older children as it won’t be seen as ‘childish’. The lunch box's lid has a user-friendly clip mechanism that securely seals the contents. This feature guarantees that your food stays fresh and contained during transportation. The lunch box’s dishwasher-safe design makes it ideal after a long day when you want a minimal cleanup.
Rex London (£6.95)
Munchkin kids' bento box lunch box
- Available from John Lewis (£22.99)
Best starter lunch box for toddlers
- Divided compartments for freshness
- Integrated stainless steel utensils
- Stylish bento-style design
- Durable with kid-friendly touches
- Dishwasher safe
- Backpack friendly size
- BPA free
- Not possible to request a design
- Space for juice but not a water bottle
Munchkin's lunch bento box provides a perfect stepping stone for toddlers and older kids eager to embrace more sophisticated meal options. It empowers them to enjoy a snack box while keeping their food fresh and delicious.
Addressing the picky eating habits of preschoolers, this bento box is designed to cater to their preferences. Its layout and compartments are carefully constructed to accommodate small portions and little hands, making it easier to entice them with a variety of foods. With five thoughtfully sized compartments, this bento box supports the creation of balanced, kid-friendly meals. It allows for a diverse selection of sandwiches, fruits, veggies, and snacks, ensuring a nutritious lunch.
The toddler bento lunchbox has its own stainless steel utensils that conveniently snap onto the lid. This clever feature encourages independence and guarantees that utensils are always at hand for a complete eating experience.
Crafted with durability in mind, this lunch box is designed to withstand the rigours of kids' daily activities. The handle enhances its portability, making it a convenient choice for youngsters.
The bento box is dishwasher safe, ensuring effortless cleaning after every use. This feature saves time and effort for busy parents and caregivers. As a reliable choice for children's meals, this lunch box is made from BPA-free materials, prioritising the safety and well-being of young eaters aged 18 months and above.
John Lewis (£22.99)
We tested a representative range of children's lunchboxes and scored them against the following criteria:
BPA-free: the lunchbox, especially if it contains plastic, should be completely safe to store food inside.
Size and storage: we searched for boxes of all shapes and sizes to suit different needs, excluding anything that seemed a poor use of space.
Cleaning properties: we looked for boxes that were easy to clean. Dishwasher-safe was preferable, but for those that weren’t, we made sure they could be cleaned easily by hand.
Aesthetics: a lunchbox allows your little one to express their personality, so we looked for boxes with a bit of character and style. Any additional features such as cutlery, separate compartments, or cooling packs were also taken into consideration.
Leak test: every lunchbox must withstand the jiggling
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