The 9 Best Lunchboxes for Kids of 2022

The Omie Bento Box stores hot and cold foods and snacks

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Don’t let packing your child’s lunch slow down your morning. The best lunch boxes make it easy for the parent and child to enjoy lunchtime and pack food that can be kept cold (or hot) or separated, depending on your needs.

Reviewed & Approved

We love the Omie Bento Box because it's versatile, durable, and easy to clean. If you're looking for something more affordable, try the EasyLunchboxes Bento Snack Boxes.

Bento boxes are a popular choice. They have small compartments that allow for creativity, variety, and plenty of snacks. A traditional insulated bag or thermos also makes a great choice since it will help store cold or hot food. Once you've settled on the type of lunchbox, consider the price, ease of cleaning, and how long it claims to keep food hot or cold. We researched popular options from trusted brands with these features in mind.

These are the best lunch boxes for kids on the market today.

Best Overall: Omie Bento Box

4.2
Omie Bento Box

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Stores hot and cold food

  • Leak-proof

What We Don't Like
  • Thermos may make other food warm

The OmieBox is our top pick because of its overall value. It was invented by a mom who couldn’t find a good solution for both hot and cold food, so it comes with a removable thermos compartment that can be used to keep foods like pasta and soup warm for up to 6 hours. For cool foods like sandwiches, you can remove the leak-proof bowl and use the removable rectangular compartment. It also has three other divided sections that can house fruit, crackers, and other snacks.

The box completely disassembles for easy cleaning. It is top-rack dishwasher-safe, but the brand recommends hand washing. It's made of 18/8 304 grade stainless steel and food-safe plastic and silicone that's free of BPA, phthalates, vinyl, lead, and PVC.

Reviewers note that it is easy to open for kids but may require some practice at first. As a bonus, it also comes in five different color options so your kid can pick the color that they like most.

Best Budget: EasyLunchboxes Bento Snack Boxes

EasyLunchboxes Bento Containers

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Inexpensive

  • Good for snacks

  • Stackable

What We Don't Like
  • Not leakproof

  • Requires separate lunchbox

For under $15, you get four four-compartment containers that are colorful and stackable. With these, you can make lunches a few days ahead of time. Or you can buy one set to share among several kids.

The lids are not leakproof, but that means young children can easily remove them when it's time to eat. Parents recommend putting these containers in an insulated fabric lunch bag if the food needs to stay cold.

Best for Big Kids: Art of Lunch Insulated Lunch Bag

Art of Lunch by ARTOVIDA

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Insulated

  • Machine washable

What We Don't Like
  • Small interior

The maker of these fun neoprene lunch bags partners with artists around the world to create unique, stylish designs. The thick neoprene material keeps food fresh and insulated for up to 4 hours, and they’re easy to store at home or in your bag after lunch.

They lay flat and can be thrown into the washing machine to clean. Also, while these bags are on the smaller side, they still have enough room to hold a water bottle along with lunch.

Best for Cold Food: PackIt Freezable Lunch Bag

PackIt Freezable Lunch Bag with Zip Closure

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Keeps food cold

  • Roomy

What We Don't Like
  • Not ideal for hot food

This lunch bag keeps food cold for up to 10 hours. Instead of worrying about ice packs, simply fold the bag up and put it in the freezer overnight. The patented freezable gel is built right into the bag. The zip closure ensures it keeps all contents inside cold. This bag is large enough to hold a sandwich, a drink, and some snacks.   

Best for Toddlers: Pottery Barn Kids Mackenzie Glow in the Dark Lunch Box

Mackenzie Blue Dino Glow-In-The-Dark Lunch Boxes

Courtesy of Pottery Barn

What We Like
  • Can be personalized

  • Organized compartments

What We Don't Like
  • Not machine washable

Toddlers will love the cool designs on this lunch bag. It glows in the dark and you can even get their name embroidered on it. It has a fun pattern and features a water-resistant exterior and an interior that is easy to clean.

To save space inside, the water bottle holder is on the outside. The bag also includes a removable ice pack that fastens inside. Even better, Pottery Barn has a full collection of lunch boxes and accessories to complete the lineup.

Best for Teens: CZYY Waxed Canvas Lunch Bags

Waxed Canvas Lunch Bags Brown Paper Bag Styled

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Simple design

  • Adjustable size

What We Don't Like
  • No handle

Getting a teenager to take a lunch box to school can be a challenge. We like these waxed canvas lunch bags because they have the look of a brown bag, but are durable enough to withstand spills. They can be cleaned with a damp cloth or rinsed with water.

The height can be adjusted and the bag is quite roomy—it can fit a water bottle and lunch with snacks at its tallest point.

Best Insulated: L.L. Bean Expandable Lunch Box

L.L. Bean Expandable Lunch Box

Courtesy of L.L. Bean

What We Like
  • Expandable

  • Fits ice pack

What We Don't Like
  • Basic color options

This insulated lunch box from L.L. Bean is durable enough to last for many years, even in the hands of a child. We love the expandable option that gives you two inches of extra room when you need it. The internal mesh pocket fits an ice pack and the smooth plastic interior is easy to clean.

Fans of the product love putting a bento box inside of it to keep cool and protect from any leaks.   

Best Thermos: THERMOS FOOGO Food Jar

Thermos FOOGO Food Jar

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Small enough for lunchbox

  • Good for hot and cold food

What We Don't Like
  • Only for single food item

Most kids don’t have access to a microwave or refrigerator while at school, so having a reliable thermos can be a make-or-break at lunchtime. The insulation technology in this thermos keeps contents cool for up to 7 hours and warm for up to 5 hours.

The 10-ounce capacity is a good size for children and the rubber lid is easy for little hands to open and close. To maximize heat retention, warm the thermos with hot tap water or boiling water before putting your lunch entree inside. 

Final Verdict

There aren't many options on the market that can really compete with the flexibility of the Bentgo Kids Lunchbox (view on Amazon). Your child can enjoy snacks and a main course all in one place without worrying about their food mixing into a mess.

For a simple option that can store all of your child's food while keeping it cool throughout the day, the L.L. Bean Expandable (view on L.L. Bean) is durable and will last throughout the school year.

What to Look for in Lunchboxes for Kids

Size

Before buying, think about how much room you will need for your child’s food items.  If you want to be able to fit a bento box, an ice pack, and a water bottle inside a lunch box or bag, you will need a larger option.

However, a larger lunchbox may be too bulky for kids to carry and tough to fit inside a backpack or locker. Typically, older kids can get by with a smaller lunchbox as they don't need to pack several snacks for the entire day, while toddlers may need an option that can hold breakfast, lunch, and snacks.      

Functionality 

What works for someone else may not work for your family, depending on what you typically pack for your child’s lunch. A bento box style gives your child lots of snack options, but doesn't work well for perishable foods. An insulated box with room for an ice pack is better if temperature is a high priority for you.

It's also important that your child can open and close all their lunch and snack containers independently. Be sure to show them how, and practice at home before they bring the lunchbox to school.

Cost

A single lunchbox can last a whole school year is important for some families, whereas others may prefer to have a few reusable boxes. Most options are priced between $20 and $25, but there are a few great budget-friendly choices available as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the best way to sanitize a lunch box?

    A lunch box can be sanitized by taking out all the food and wrappers, and then wiping it clean with warm, soapy water. Let air dry before filling it again. Some lunch boxes can also go in the dishwasher or even be laundered in the washing machine. Check the label for washing instructions, as ideal cleaning methods vary among products.

  • How often should I replace a lunch box?

    You may want to replace a lunch box when it begins to look dingy and/or shows signs of wear and tear. Additionally, if you see signs of mold or rips in the lining, It's time to toss that box and get a new one.

  • What are the best things to pack in a lunch box?

    The best things to pack in a lunch box are those that can sit out for several hours without spoiling. Insulated lunch boxes will extend the time food can stay fresh inside. Be sure to read the lunch box label to confirm how long it will keep food warm or cold. However, items like fruit, nut butter and jelly sandwiches, chips, pretzels, crackers, dried fruit, and jerky all keep well.

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Deanna McCormack is a writer, copywriter, and creative consultant who specializes in beauty, parenting, and lifestyle products.

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  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Back to school meal prep as easy as 1, 2, 3.