The best lunch box for boys and girls should be durable, lightweight, spacious, and easy to clean. It should also fit in a backpack and come in stylish colors. 

With back-to-school days on the horizon, the best lunch box is a must-have for any kid. It’s been a long time since the days of the metal lunch boxes that would rust before the first holiday break. Now, kids and parents want lunch boxes that are lightweight, durable, and spacious. 

The best lunch box doesn’t just look good; it has to be easy to clean and fit inside of a backpack. It should also be available in a favorite color and with a popular design. Better yet, the best lunch box should last for more than one school year and have quality insulation. 

Product FAQs

The best lunch boxes have features that make both parents and children happy. Since kids use these every day for about 180 school days, they should be able to last a long time and withstand the beatings of daily bus rides and backpack loadings. 

What are soft-sided lunch boxes made of?

Since lunch boxes are designed to keep food cool for half of a day, the best lunch boxes are made of materials that keep food at a safe temperature. While it might be tempting to send your child to school with lunch in a paper sac or plastic grocery bag, these are not ideal for keeping food fresh during the school day. 

Instead, parents should choose insulated lunch boxes. Manufacturers use plastics like vinyl or nylon that are stain-resistant and durable. The boxes are then lined with additional materials like vinyl, foil, or aluminum to keep food cool through the day. Manufacturers usually put a foam made of polyurethane or polyester fibers for even more insulation. 

What are bento boxes? 

A bento box is an alternative lunch box to the soft-side version. These are single-serve, reusable food containers that are inspired by Japanese take-out boxes. They have compartments for main dishes and side dishes, so they are popular with parents and school-age children. 

Bento boxes are made of harder materials than soft-sided lunch boxes. They come in silicone, metal, and plastics, too. These usually do not have any insulation, so it is essential for parents to put cold packs inside of them. 

How do parents keep their children’s food fresh all day?

Even though lunch boxes are made of materials that are designed to keep food cold, most of the soft-sided lunch boxes for kids need extra help. Parents should put reusable cold packs in their children’s lunches as an extra precaution. 

How We Reviewed the Best Lunch Boxes for Kids

We reviewed numerous children’s lunch boxes for boys and girls. We had several children take lunch boxes to school and child care centers to see how they stood up to traveling in backpacks, sitting in lockers, and being used daily. We also asked boys and girls what patterns and designs they liked on their boxes. 

Before we finished rating and reviewing lunch boxes for children, we asked parents their thoughts, too. We asked them to pack them, clean them, and take care of them as they would any other item for their children. We then asked them to report back on their experiences with them. 

We asked parents to share their thoughts about the capacity of the lunch boxes and whether they were durable. We also asked them about the ease of keeping them clean. Parents also told us if their children’s food stayed fresh throughout the school day. 

Product Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Lunch Boxes

When looking for the best lunch box for boys or girls, there are a few things to consider. The first is the size of the lunch box. If your child likes to eat a lot of food at lunch, you will want a large lunch box. After that, the next consideration is the style of the lunch box. Children want a lunch box that they are proud to carry with a design that shows their personality. 

While children are concerned with the way the lunch box looks, parents want to be sure the lunch box will keep food fresh. They also want a lunch box that will last at least for one school year, maybe more. They also want one that is easy to keep clean both inside and outside. 

The Top Ten Lunch Boxes for Boys and Girls

Out of the numerous lunch boxes we tested, these 10 were our favorites. Children liked the way they looked, and parents appreciated how easy they were to fill and clean. These lunch boxes for boys and girls have designed that are fun; kids enjoy taking these to school each day. 

Under Armour Fractured Multi

Under Armour Lunch Box, Fractured Multi

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The Under Armour Fractured Multi lunch box has durable polyester with foam insulation designed to keep food cool all day. It opens and closes with an exterior zipper and includes an interior mesh pocket to keep food separated. The outer handle clips to backpacks, so it does not have to be squeezed inside of them. 

The lunch box includes a crush-resistant interior liner that is easy to clean and prevents food from being squished. The lunch box meets safety standards by being PVC-free. It also has an exterior pocket with a zipper close, too. 

Pros

  • Hard plastic interior liner
  • Available in several colors and designs
  • Has side pocket for a water bottle 
  • Kids like the designs and brand name

Cons

  • Not much room, especially if using a thermos on the inside
  • Zipper can break
  • Girl’s version is smaller than the boy’s version 

Key Features

Crush-resistant interior liner. Attractive exterior. Side clip that attaches to backpacks. 

Warranty 

A manufacturer’s warranty is available, but you must request it from the Under Armour website. 

Skip Hop Zoo Narwal Lunch Box

Skip Hop Kids Lunch Box, Zoo Lunchie, Narwhal

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The Skip Hop Zoo Narwal lunch box is an insulated lunch bag in the Zoo Lunchies line of products from Skip Hop Zoo. It has a large main compartment and an interior write-on name tag. It also has a clip on the handle to attach it to a backpack. 

The Narwal design has a horn, shell zipper pull, and articulated flippers. It also has an interior mesh pocket. It is appropriate for preschool and early elementary-age children. 

Pros

  • Cute styling
  • Can fit a small bento box
  • Clips to backpack
  • Insulated well

Cons

  • Mold can grow in the interior creases
  • Not machine washable
  • Not very big

Key Features

Adorable design. Sized for younger children. Backpack clip. Well-insulated. 

Warranty 

A manufacturer’s warranty is available, but you must request it. 

Wildkin Lunch Box Heroes

Wildkin Insulated Lunch Box for Boys and Girls, Perfect Size for...

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The Wildkin Lunch Box Heroes lunch box has emergency vehicles design on a light blue background. The lunch box in environmentally friendly and is free of dangerous PVC, BPA, and phthalates. It coordinates with other products in the Wildkin line of products. 

The is lightweight, compact, and has two zipper pockets. One pocket is for food containers; the other is a small one in the front. It is spacious enough for bento boxes and other larger containers. 

Pros

  • Durable
  • Interior mesh pocket and water bottle loop
  • Fun design 
  • Bento box fits inside

Cons

  • No backpack clip
  • Exterior fabric dye can bleed
  • Can develop mold on inside stitching

Key Features

Large enough to fit a bento box. Interior pocket and water bottle loop. Well-insulated. 

Warranty 

No warranty. 

Wildkin Lunch Box Butterflies

Wildkin Kids Insulated Lunch Box for Boys and Girls, Perfect Size for...

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The Wildkin Lunch Box Butterflies lunch box is from the Wildkins line of products and has butterflies over a light blue background. This lunch box is large enough to hold a bento box or several smaller food containers. 

It is free of dangerous materials like PVC, BPA, and phthalates. It has an interior mesh pocket, an exterior zipper pocket, and a comfortable handle. 

Pros

  • Free of dangerous materials like PVC, BPA, and phthalates
  • Fun butterfly design
  • Water bottle loop and mesh pocket on the inside
  • Coordinates with other Wildkin products

Cons

  • Can develop mold on the inside 
  • Light color gets dirty easily
  • No backpack clip

Key Features

Cute design. Large enough to fit a bento box. Interior pocket and water bottle loop. Well-insulated. 

Warranty 

No warranty available. 

MIER Double Decker Blue Lunch Box

MIER 2 Compartment Kids Small Lunch Box Bag for Boys Girls Toddlers,...

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The MIER Double Decker Blue Lunch Box lunch box is one of the biggest ones on our list. It has two carrying straps, with the top strap or with the detachable shoulder strap. The lunch box has two sections with zipper closures. They both can hold large food containers. 

The lunch box is insulated and has PEVA lining, which is durable and easy to keep clean. Its blue pixel-design is excellent for kids of all ages. 

Pros

  • Two big sections can hold a lot of food
  • Can be carried cross-body style
  • Handles are reinforced 
  • The bottom section is meant to hold cold food

Cons

  • No backpack clip. 
  • Fabric is not as durable as other brands. 
  • Too big to fit in a backpack. 

Key Features

Two big sections. Two different types of handles. Easy to clean. 

Warranty 

No warranty is available. 

Keeli’s Kid’s Lunch Box Unicorns

pink unicorn lunch box

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The Keeli Kid’s Lunch Box Unicorns has a whimsical unicorn, diamond, and rainbow pattern over a pink background. It comes with a sandwich cutter shaped like a pair of hearts. This lunch box is made of 600D polyester with an insulated lining. The interior tabs keep containers and food items in place.

Pros

  • Large lunch box with space for a bento box.
  • Free of BPA, PVC, Phthalate, and Lead 
  • Dedicated utensil slots
  • Elastic water bottle loop

Cons

  • No backpack clip. 
  • No machine washable. 
  • Too wide to fit in some backpacks. 

Key Features

Fun design. Utensil slots. Safety tested. 

Warranty 

A manufacturer’s warranty is available, but you must request it. 

Bentgo Kids Brights Orange

Bentgo Kids Brights – Leak-Proof, 5-Compartment Bento-Style Kids...

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The Bentgo Kids Brights Orange lunch box is a durable, leak-proof option for children in preschool and early elementary school. It is made of food-grade materials and is free of BPA and other dangerous materials. It has two latches and children have no problem opening and closing them while at school. 

While these are easy to clean, they do not have handles, so most parents put them in a soft-sided lunch box each day. 

Pros

  • Leak-proof and durable
  • Latches are easy to open and close
  • Five compartments for main dish and sides
  • Microwave-safe

Cons

  • No handle
  • Small
  • Needs a soft-sided lunch box for carrying

Key Features

Five compartments. Durable. Easy to clean. It comes in other color combinations. 

Warranty 

Two-year manufacturer’s warranty. 

JINX Minecraft Creeper Block Lunch Box Green

JINX Minecraft Creeper Block Insulated Kids School Lunch Box, Green,...

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Kids love Minecraft, and the JINX Minecraft Creeper Block Lunch Box Green is a perfect lunch box for your builder. JINX, the creator of Minecraft, makes this lunch box and it features a brand patch prominently on the front. 

It’s made of nylon and polyester and is easy to clean and fill with food. It is insulated well, so food stays cool. The zipper pulls have the Creeper face on them. Minecraft fans of all ages love the look of this lunchbox. 

Pros

  • Cool Minecraft design
  • Roomy and fits plenty of food
  • Durable 

Cons

  • No backpack clip
  • Zipper can break
  • Exterior material stains easily

Key Features

Minecraft design that kids love. Durable and roomy. 

Warranty 

No warranty available. 

PackIt Freezable Classic Lunch Box Spacemen

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The PackIt Freezable Classic Lunch Box Spacemen lunch box has an astronaut theme print over a black background. Instead of insulation on the inside, it has freezable gel in the walls of the lunch bag. All you have to do is put it in the freezer overnight, then fill it with food in the morning. You do not need extra cold packs for this lunch box. 

It has a large zipper opening and a buckle that allows you to clip it to a backpack. It’s free of all dangerous materials like PVA, BPA, phthalates, lead, and formaldehyde. Even though the lunch box is a bit heavier than other models when it is frozen and full, the convenience of having an all-in-one product makes up for the added weight. 

Pros

  • Freezer gel lining
  • Backpack clip
  • Made from safe materials 
  • No cold packs needed

Cons

  • Heavy because of gel lining
  • Stiffens with gel is frozen
  • Water bottle pocket is too small 

Key Features

Freezer gel lining. The black background is easy to keep clean. Fun spaceman design. Backpack clip.

Warranty 

A manufacturer’s warranty is available, but you must request it. 

Thermos Novelty Lunch Box Firetruck

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The Thermos Novelty Lunch Box Firetruck lunch box is shaped like a red fire engine. It even makes a firetruck noise! It is free of PVC and has PEVA linings to keep food cold. It has a zipper closure and a padded handle. It has the Thermos brand isotec premium insulation to keep food cold for a long time. 

Pros

  • Recognizable Thermos brand
  • Fun design
  • Well insulated
  • Comfortable handle

Cons

  • No backpack clip
  • No water bottle holder
  • Not easy to keep clean on the inside

Key Features

Fun fire truck shape. Comfortable handle with long-lasting insulation.  

Warranty 

No warranty is available. 

Final Verdict 

If you have to buy one lunch box, the Under Armour Fractal is the best choice. This lunch box is durable, attractive for both boys and girls, and it has a hard shell lining on the inside. The hard shell makes it easy to clean, and it keeps food from being crushed. 

However, if you like an easy-to-clean, removable liner, the Bentgo box is a good choice, too. Since it does not have a handle, you will need a soft-sided box to carry it. The PackIt Freezer Gel lunch box is a good choice to carry the Bentgo box, especially since the box is easy to keep cool and it has the convenient backpack clip. 

Last update on 2021-12-05 at 03:45 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API