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The Best Bento Boxes for Work and School

Last updated on May 24, 2024

Our Review Process

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Our Picks For The Top Bento Boxes

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Product Overview
Key Takeaway
  The Best Overall

MISS BIG Airtight Natural Fibers Bento Box

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MISS BIG

Airtight Natural Fibers Bento Box

Keep your meal fresh with this high-end bento box. It's sturdy enough not to shatter when dropped and has a seal that keeps it from leaking. The box is made using natural fibers and is safe to be placed in a microwave when a hot lunch is desired.

Overall Take

Multiple Color OptionsYou'll find this bento box comes in a choice of colors, including white, blue, light pink and purple.

 Best for Kids

Bentgo Kids’ Microwave Safe Bento Box

Bentgo

Kids' Microwave Safe Bento Box

Eating a healthy homemade lunch is more fun with this bento box. The five compartments are designed for smaller, child-appropriate portions. The leak-proof design will keep your child's backpack clean.

Overall Take

Kid-Friendly PickThis bento box is a bright, practical option for school day lunches.

 Best Stackable

Umami Bamboo Leak-Proof Bento Box

Umami

Bamboo Leak-Proof Bento Box

Dining on the go has never been easier than with this top-notch bento box. It features two compartments, each of which have a 20-ounce capacity. Additionally, shoppers are provided with two small round containers that work well for salad dressing, nuts or raisins.

Overall Take

Ideal for Portion ControlThe compartments within this bento box have a divider that can be adjusted to match your ingredients.

  The Best Value

LOVINA Plastic Dishwasher-Safe Bento Box

LOVINA

Plastic Dishwasher-Safe Bento Box

This three-compartment lunchbox is a little deeper for larger portions. It comes with a handy spoon and fork for a zero-waste meal. It's also microwave-, dishwasher- and freezer-safe.

Overall Take

Colorful & CompactThe LOVINA BPA-Free Bento Box with Spoon & Fork has everything you need for tasty meal in one colorful package.

Buying Guide

Bringing your own lunch to work or school is a healthy and affordable choice, but it comes with a few challenges. Bulky, leaky lunchboxes can take up much-needed space in your bag, and disposable plastic or paper options create unneeded waste. Bento boxes are a compact, easy way to turn your favorite at-home meals into on-the-go options. 

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These streamlined lunch boxes let you take a main course and a few sides with you without juggling multiple plastic containers. Some bento boxes come with reusable cutlery that fits neatly inside; it’s a bonus for eco-conscious buyers. The sectioned-off portions of bento boxes also make them a great way to practice portion control for healthier eating. 

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Some bento boxes are designed especially for kids, with fun colors and locks that are easier to open. These boxes usually have a greater number of smaller compartments for child-sized servings of fruits, vegetables and healthy wrap sandwiches. 

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Whether you’re buying a bento box for yourself, a friend or your kids, there are a few things you’ll need to consider before handing over your cash. Check out our Tips & Advice for practical hints.

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MORE: The Best Chopsticks

What to Look For

  • Think about what types of meals you enjoy before you choose your bento box. If you prefer a sandwich, wrap or salad with a couple of small sides, go for a box with three or more compartments. If you prefer one or two larger portions of foods like stir frys or pasta, look at boxes with one or two larger, stackable compartments.
  • Make sure your bento box is microwave-, freezer- and dishwasher-safe before you heat it up, store or wash it.
  • Included cutlery is a common bento box bonus. Many boxes come with a fork, spoon and knife. Others add in a set of chopsticks. Think about the style of cuisine you enjoy most often to determine what type of reusable cutlery you’ll need.
  • See if the box comes equipped with a handle or carrying case. If it does, you can tote it around on its own. If it doesn’t, make sure you have your own bag to bring that is large enough for the bento box.
  • Take a close look at the measurements of the bento box. This can help you determine if it will hold the amount of food you need, and whether or not it will fit in your bag, backpack or briefcase.
  • If you’re buying a bento box for a child, make sure it’s constructed from sturdy materials that can withstand drops and dings. Boxes with fun colors or prints can make bringing a lunch more fun for your child.

More to Explore

Bento boxes originated in Japan in the late 1200s, when people going to work, farm or hunt started bringing a dried rice called hosh-ii along to eat. But no one used the word “bento” to define take-along meals until the sixteenth century, when military commander Oda Nobunaga fed individual meals to masses of people at his castle. The boxes themselves were designed for people who couldn’t go indoors for lunch, so they had to be very utilitarian and portable.

Today, single-use bento boxes are available in vending machines, convenience stores and train stations across Japan. However, many Japanese people still choose to carefully craft sushi and other rice-based meals for their reusable bento lunch boxes.

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