As more of us reintroduce commuting and in-person work days to our weekly routines, one part of the day is changing dramatically: lunch time. Without a fully stocked fridge, personalized pantry, and endless set of tools we had at our disposal while working from home, many of us are falling victim to expensive takeout—or, worse, boring packed lunches—for the work day.
Enter: Bento boxes. These compartmentalized lunch boxes have gained popularity all over the country in recent years for encouraging more freshness, food diversity, and imagination into on-the-go meals. They've become especially popular when it comes to efficiently preparing kids' school lunches.
Thinking about investing in one for yourself? We've scoured the internet for the most highly reviewed products and narrowed it down to 11 of the best bento boxes you can shop online right now.
Here are some of the most highly rated bento boxes you can buy online.
The recommendations in this guide are based on thorough product and market research by our team of expert product reviewers. The picks are based on examining user reviews, product specifications, and, in some limited cases, our experience with the specific products named.
Best for Cold Foods
Cool Gear Expandable Bento Box
The Cool Gear bento box is our Kitchen editor's go-to pick for kids' (and personal) lunches. It features a freezable tray, so it doubles as an ice pack that keeps food cold for up to four hours.
That’s housed in an expandable container that can fit up to 6.5 cups of food, which translates to a good sized salad. Plus, there are three additional compartments with removable containers that are great for snacks, dips, and more.
This Japanese-inspired box features a stylish bamboo lid, wooden utensils (including mini chopsticks), two screw-top sauce jars, and two dividers to keep food separated.
Both levels in this box are spacious, and each features a silicone seal to ensure that no spillage occurs while traveling. It's also dishwasher safe (aside from the bamboo lid) and easy to keep clean over time.
This two-layer box is roomier than most, with several compartments and unique features that make bringing lunch to work more of an excitement than a chore.
The bottom container of the box features enough space to house five cups' worth of food, from sandwiches and salads to grains and protein. The top emphasizes variety, with three separated compartments that are great for keeping diverse foods separated.
There's also a small compartment between the two layers for provided utensils and two slim sauce containers that are great for dressing, sauces, dips, or small snacks like nuts. The entire box is leakproof, BPA-free, and dishwasher and microwave safe.
Packing soups or sauces for lunch on the go always feels like a risk. That's why Modetro released this highly-rated airtight bento box that's built for liquid foods. It features three compartments that are totally leak-proof and can store soup that won't spill into other sections or—worse—into your work bag.
It also comes with an insulated lunchbox-style carrying bag that's freezer safe and easy to carry along to work or school.
This box does boast "portion control" sizing, though, so be wary that it won't fit as much food as others.
For anyone looking to ditch plastic, food-grade stainless steel might be the alternative you're looking for.
This clever bento box features a double-decker-style format with an added small container that's perfect for snacks you want to keep separate from fresh food.
Stainless steel is great as a toxin-free option that won't break like glass, but be mindful that its material means you can't put it in the microwave. It's also not leak-proof, so it's better suited to dry foods.
This budget-friendly bento box has almost 15,000 positive reviews on Amazon for its great value, spacious compartments, and dishwasher capabilities. It features three separated compartments with two added trays to stack even more food, plus a screw-top container that's great for yogurt or salad dressing.
One downside? The color choice for this box always varies, so there's no way to select your favorite color.
It's tough to argue with almost 40,000 positive reviewers: This popular container may just be the perfect match for on-the-go salads.
It features a spacious bottom layer for grains and greens, plus a top layer with three different sections—plus a dressing container—that comprises enough space for 4 cups of fruits, veggies, and toppings. It also comes with a reusable fork and airtight lid to keep transportation easy and mess-free.
Made of eco-friendly wheat fiber and designed with three layers for plenty of versatility, this bento box is a solid choice for environmentally conscious consumers.
Each compartment is decently small—at only seven inches long and 3 inches wide—but with three stackable sections, they work well for anyone who prefers a variety of snacks over largely portioned meals.
The box also comes with utensils that are conveniently stored separately in the top section of the box.
If layers are at the top of your list on your hunt for bento boxes, the Wagindd model might be your best bet.
It features four separate stackable containers: two larger, main-dish sized boxes at the bottom, and two smaller snack-sized boxes that fit side-by-side above them. It also comes with built-in utensils and a handle at the top to make travel a breeze.
This single-level bento box keeps things simple but organized. It offers a decently large capacity of almost six cups, separated into three sections. (You can also opt to remove the partitions for larger, single-portion meals.)
The top, translucent lid houses a reusable fork and spoon so you never have to worry about utensils on the road. This bento box is also conveniently dishwasher, microwave, and freezer safe.
Designed with traveling in mind, the Mincoco bento box comes with an insulated lunch bag, a separate jar for sauces, and stainless steel utensils.
The box itself includes four separate compartments, where you can choose to include the well-fitting sauce jar or pack that separately. The lid snaps into place with four latches, and it includes a compartment for utensils, as well as a handle on top for easy traveling.
The term "bento" actually derives from the Chinese Southern Song dynasty slang word Biandang, which translates to "convenience."
Bento boxes have been popularized throughout Japan since the 13th century, and are now used by people beyond those borders to conveniently transport food during busy days.
So what's the difference between bento boxes and a plain old lunch box? Bento boxes typically have several layers and compartments built in, so you can pack everything from fresh produce to marinated protein to dry crackers together in one box—while they all stay separated.
The idea behind bento boxes is to prioritize fresh ingredients and nutrition while minimizing waste (goodbye plastic sandwich baggies!). A traditional Japanese bento box meal will include all of the nutritional staples: carbs (like rice or noodles), protein (like meat or fish), and produce (like pickled veggies or fresh fruit). And there's plenty of room for creativity!
What To Put In A Bento Box
A good bento box can and should be as versatile as your diet. The built-in compartments can help house a variety of meal types so that packing lunch never gets boring.
Some obvious go-tos: A sandwich with chips (that won’t get soggy), or dinner leftovers from the night before. But try to think outside the box (no pun intended).
Think: cheese and salami with baby carrots and hummus, a salad with salmon and dressing on the side, or steamed rice with tofu and veggies packed separately. Some bento boxes will even leave room for snacks, dessert, or a small breakfast—making it perfect for long days at the office.
Monica is Reviewed's senior Kitchen & Cooking staff writer. A graduate of Emerson College, she's had her work published in The Boston Globe, Culture Cheese Magazine, Modern Luxury, and more. In her spare time, you can find her making coffee, flipping through magazines, or falling down a TikTok rabbit hole.
Our team is here for one purpose: to help you buy the best stuff and love what you own. Our writers, editors, and lab technicians obsess over the products we cover to make sure you're confident and satisfied. Have a different opinion about something we recommend? Email us and we'll compare notes.