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The best lunch boxes for kids and adults

It’s easy to think that any old lunch box will do - until you have a yoghurt explode or your salad dressing makes a break for freedom. That's when you learn that there's a lot more to it than 'throw 'n' go'. Discover perfect portion sizes and make leaks a thing of the past with our roundup of the best lunch boxes to buy this year.

By Mumsnet HQ | Last updated Jul 14, 2021

Lunch box

Things to consider when buying a lunch box

Closure

You know the drill. You open your bag to stash your lunch in the fridge and it’s leaked everywhere. That, or you arrive at school to pick up a teary child with a very soggy school bag. Time to get a leakproof lunch box. According to Mumsnet users, they do exist – just look out for a box that locks or with sturdy closures.

Compartments

Do you like to bento? If you have a strict meal prep routine, you'll need a lunch box with compartments to help you get the most out of it. You could also get one to help make the kids’ lunches more structured and balanced.

Transportation

If your children like to carry their own lunch box, look out for one with a handle. And if you want a discreet way of carrying your lunch into work, why not try a chic lunch tote? They fit a surprising amount in, and you can separate your food into different containers.

Resilience

Be sure to get lunch boxes that can stand the test of time. While there are cheap disposable options out there, it’s much more cost-effective (and environmentally friendly) to invest in a few that clean up well and can stand being crammed into tight cupboards.

Kitchen storage

Are you a Tupperware hoarder? We know the struggle. You need lunch boxes to come in all shapes and sizes, but storing them can get messy. If that sounds like you, keep an eye out for stackable options – they could free up space in your kitchen.

1. Umami Original Bento Boxes

Chic and strong, these bento boxes from Umami will keep your food fresh and protected – meaning you can enjoy a delicious meal every day of the week. Made from BPA-free plastic, this set is split into two large containers (both 600ml) with each one divided into two compartments; perfect for separating your rice, veggies and meat.

The best thing about bento boxes is that they help you stick to your monthly food budget and could save you hundreds a year (as much as £2000), especially if you’ve got a bit too familiar with that café around the corner. Mumsnet users say they’ve helped them break bad habits and that, with these, there’s no reason why you can’t eat well and save money at the same time. Umami also offer a 100% money back guarantee if you’re not fully satisfied.

What Mumsnet users say

“I'm a big fan of a vegan lunchbox…I think that's how I discovered bento boxes. Putting things into little boxes inside the main box is the way to go.”

“I second the idea of a bento box – they come in loads of sizes and shapes.”

Price: £24.99

Buy now from Amazon

2. Sistema Slimline Lunch Box

If you’re after a simple, cheap and reliable lunch box, Mumsnet users say you can’t go wrong with Sistema. Designed for packed lunches, snacks and salads, this 2L BPA-free lunch box comes with a clip-locking system to stop leakage. It's also dishwasher, microwave, fridge and freezer safe.

They’re so affordable you can easily stock up and buy a few. Choose from several bright colour options and from a range of shapes and sizes.

What Mumsnet users say

“I've always been impressed with the Sistema boxes and drinks bottles. They're the only leak-free ones I've found!"

“My kids have Sistema boxes, with different compartments. They're easy to wash or stick in the dishwasher. Just carry them in a plastic bag, or inside a book bag if you like a handle.”

Price: £4.49

Buy now from Amazon

3. Lock & Lock Storage Containers

Another brand Mumsnet users can’t get enough of is Lock & Lock. Their lunch boxes might seem basic, but they're truly leak-proof and easy to clean. So if you’re after a lunch box that's affordable and gives you complete confidence that your food will stay secure, this brand is for you.

What Mumsnet users say

“I use Lock & Lock boxes, and they're brilliant. I've got some that are eight years old and still work fine.”

“We use Lock & Lock also – no leaks.”

“A vote for Lock & Lock here – I have loads of different sizes and always take my leftovers to work in them. I also often take chopped fruit and Greek yoghurt in a smaller one.”

Price: £8.46

Buy now from Amazon

4. Black & Blum Appetit Lunch Box

Fancy something a bit different? Try these Appetit lunch boxes from Black & Blum – their unique realise valve lid makes for easy opening, and they look undeniably stylish. On top of that, the wide silicone seal and two-clip locking system ensures that your food stays exactly where it is.

If you’re often on the go a lot and want to separate your portions, you’ll be glad to know that Black & Blum designed these lunch boxes to include a separate pot for sauce, an inner dish, a fork that doubles up as a knife, and an extra sauce-well hidden in the lid. They're also freezer, microwave and dishwasher proof, and made from eco-friendly material. Pricier than some other options, Mumsnet users say it’s still worthwhile having a couple around the house.

What Mumsnet users say

“These are lovely – mine is several years old and still going strong.”

Price: £18.54

Buy now from Amazon

5. BUILT Gourmet Getaway Lunch Tote

This lunch tote from BUILT comes highly recommended – with Mumsnet users saying that it allows them to transport their lunches easily and in style. It's available in six different prints and retails at just over £9.

Made from neoprene, these lunch bags will keep your food hot or cold for up to four hours (depending on how you like it) and can be thrown into the washing machine. With a long, soft handle, zip closure and expandable fabric, you can transport your lunch with assurance.

What Mumsnet users say

“When empty, it folds flat(ish) so you can pop it into another bag, and there are lots of colours available. Mine is quite different and frequently gets nice comments."

“I have a Built one too – purple dot for me. Highly recommend.”

Price: £30

Buy now from Amazon

6. Joseph Joseph Nest Lock 5-Piece Container Set

Keep your kitchen cupboards neat and tidy with this stackable set from Joseph Joseph. Thanks to their nesting design, these BPA-free lunch boxes are an excellent space-saving solution. Mumsnet users appreciate that the clips snap together securely, and that the bases are colour-coded for ease. They’re also airtight, freezer proof, and fully microwave and dishwasher safe.

What Mumsnet users say

“I love the Joseph Joseph nesting ones – they've changed my kitchen completely. Now we just have the one tub of tubs!”

“The lids click onto each other and all boxes and lids fit inside the biggest box and lid. Think of the space you'll save.”

Price: £30

Buy now from Amazon

Why you should trust us

In order to find the best products out there (be that school bags or handheld vacuum cleaners), we spend hours scanning the Mumsnet forums for what parents really rate.

We write about products that we feel offer the best value to most parents – the ones that our users would recommend to their own friends and family.

Prices correct at time of publication.