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.
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.
Which children’s lunchbox should I buy?
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.
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’ lunchboxes to buy
Monbento kids lunchbox
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.
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 Sydney the Sloth lunch bag
Best kids’ lunch bagPros:
- 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.
A Little Lovely Company space kids’ lunchbox
Best lightweight kids’ lunchbox
- Lightweight lunchbox that would make a nice gift
- Elasticated strap closure that could get lost
Made from BPA-free plastic, this lunchbox is not only lightweight but also pretty robust. We recommend having the hoover on standby if you’re ording through the mail as our lunchbox was accompanied by a handful of confetti, so it felt like a surprisingly special occasion to unbox.
You’ll fit a standard sandwich in here without any problems along with a handful of snacks like carrot and cucumber sticks and a small yogurt. An elasticated strap secures the lid to its bottom half which could quite easily get lost, but the lid is snug fitting so if that does happen, its not the end of the world.
3 Sprouts lunch bento box
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.
Joules Munch Bag
Best kids’ school lunch bag
- Simple to use
- Colours and designs to choose from
- Easy to clean
- No external holder for drinks bottle
From British designer Joules, this decently sized zip bag comes in a range of colours and fun designs with a wipe-clean interior. Not only that, inside you’ll find a handy plastic container, aptly sized for carrying a sandwich or wrap.
Although limited in terms of compartments, this lunch bag does exactly what’s required – transporting food and drink to and from school without messy spills.
Skip Hop Zoo Ladybug lunchbox
Best lunchbox for toddlers
- Easy to use bento lunchbox
- Removable inner compartment
This cute lunchbox is perfect for toddlers or younger children as it can be opened and closed easily and isn’t complicated by too many features or compartments. You could, however, insert extra containers to keep snacks separate from sandwiches.
We wouldn’t recommend you put anything liquid inside as the lid isn’t the most secure – the clips holding it in place (in the shape of two large flowers) unclip very easily, which, of course, is so that little hands can open it.
How we tested lunchboxes
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 was put through our ‘leak test’ – filled with wet and dry foods, closed tightly shut and then shaken around before being checked for leaks. Any boxes that didn’t pass the leak test were disqualified.
How we tested: over a two week period, we checked each shortlisted lunchbox against the testing criteria. After passing the leak test, boxes were reviewed based on their unique features.
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This review was last updated in September 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you have a trusty kids’ lunchbox to recommend? Leave a comment below…