Best bento box

Lunch Boxes

In Japan, people garnish their bento rice with an umeboshi, or pickled Japanese plum, to help keep it fresh.

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Which bento box is best?

Bento boxes are a great option for anyone that likes to pack food at home to take on the go. These handy little lunch boxes originated in Japan and are known for holding a few different types of foods due to their compartmentalized designs. 

Bento boxes are an excellent option for packing a healthy lunch to take to the office, school or even on a day hike. The top pick, the Zojirushi Mr Bento Stainless Steel Lunch Jar, is a testament to the versatility of the Japanese bento box. 

What to know before you buy a bento box

Differences from lunch boxes

Most American-style lunch boxes are simple in their design and typically only feature one compartment. They rely on the use of containers to keep food separate and safe while on the move. 

However, Bento boxes are different in that they come with compartments and dividers built into the box. Bento boxes keep food from mixing in transit, and most will even have compartments for soup. 

Bento box styles

While all bento boxes share the universal element of a neat organization, there are a few different types on the market. 

 Single-tier bento boxes

The main two types of traditional bento boxes are stackable and single-tier bento boxes. Stackable bento boxes will come with a few different tiers that can be stacked and secured together with a strap. Single-tier bento boxes are usually a bit larger and come with many different compartments and dividers to accommodate different foods. 

Modern vs. traditional

Keka Japanese Bento Lunch Box

Modern bento boxes and traditional bento boxes don’t differ too much and are both great options. Modern bento boxes, like the Zojirushi, offer more features, whereas more traditional bento boxes, like the Keka Japanese Bento Box, excel in their simplicity and functionality. 

What to look for in a quality bento box

Material and design 

Perhaps the most important thing to consider when purchasing a new bento is the material used. Traditional Japanese bento boxes usually use bamboo or wood, but nowadays, it’s more common to find stainless steel or plastic bento boxes. Stainless steel is easier to clean and won’t stain or hold smells. Plastic is more lightweight but can be tougher to clean. 

The designs of bento boxes can range from quirky to traditional to simple. Some bento boxes prioritize form over function, while others are strictly designed to get your meal from point A to B. 

Size 

Bento boxes can vary in size but bear in mind that they hold smaller portions of food. This makes them an excellent option for anyone watching their portion sizes. 

Most bento boxes may not even have enough room to fit a full-sized sandwich as they carry foods such as sushi, rice and onigiri. 

Durability 

The material of your bento box will also impact its lifespan. Stainless steel bento boxes are by far the most durable, as plastic bento boxes can wear out with washing and repeatedly being heated in the microwave. 

How much you can expect to spend on a bento box

Basic bento boxes start at around $10 but expect to pay anywhere from $20-$50 for quality bento boxes that are leak-proof and more durable. 

Bento box FAQ

Is my bento box safe to use in the microwave? 

A. Most bento boxes, even the plastic ones, are safe to use in the microwave, but always double-check your specific bento box. Some plastic microwave-safe bento boxes may warp if they spend too much time in the microwave. 

How long will my bento box keep food fresh? 

A. This will depend on many factors, but generally speaking, bento boxes are great for keeping food fresh for around 24 hours. They carry enough food for lunch on the go. If you need to preserve food for longer, they are easy to store in the fridge, thanks to their small design. 

What’s the best bento box to buy?

Top bento box 

Zojirushi Mr Bento Stainless Steel Lunch Jar 

Zojirushi Mr Bento Stainless Steel Lunch Jar 

What you need to know: This authentic stackable Japanese bento box comes with a sleek stainless steel design. 

What you’ll love: The Zojirushi is great for keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold, thanks to the stainless steel jar. The stackable bowls are all microwave-safe and can hold more significant portions of food. 

What you should consider: Be sure to clean the containers thoroughly after every use to avoid any lingering food odors. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Top bento box for the money

Bentgo Classic Stackable Bento Box 

Bentgo Classic Stackable Bento Box 

What you need to know: This two-tiered bento box is stylish and comes in an array of colors. Great for both kids and adults. 

What you’ll love: The Bentgo Classic can pack plenty of food and comes with several compartments despite its small size. 

What you should consider: You may have some problems with wet food leaking out so take care not to slosh it around too much while on the go. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Worth checking out

Bentoheaven Premium Bento Box 

Bentoheaven Premium Bento Box 

What you need to know: This stylish bento box comes with customizable portion dividers and sauce cups to take your sauces and salad dressings on the go. 

What you’ll love: The bento comes with a robust seal to help keep food from spilling out. It also comes with flatware and chopsticks. 

What you should consider: The elastic strap may stretch out over time. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

 

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Addison Hoggard writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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