• Top 10 Best Bento Boxes for Adults in 2021 1
  • Top 10 Best Bento Boxes for Adults in 2021 2
  • Top 10 Best Bento Boxes for Adults in 2021 3
  • Top 10 Best Bento Boxes for Adults in 2021 4
  • Top 10 Best Bento Boxes for Adults in 2021 5

Top 10 Best Bento Boxes for Adults in 2021

Sick of your giant lunch box or bringing tons of separate containers to work for lunch? A bento box can make your lunch break more enjoyable and efficient! These Japanese-style food containers offer a way to separate your meal into compartments without having to bring a ton of Tupperware to work (and if you can't stand the thought of foods touching each other, we see you, and we hear you). They're also a great way to practice portion control!


There are a lot for sale online, but how can you tell if they're for kids or grown-ups? How can you find one that's appropriate for your adult life? Whether you want a typical Japanese lunch box, something for last night's leftovers, or one for soup or salads, we've found your perfect bento box. We even found one just for sandwiches, too! Check out our top ten list and buying guide for tips on how to choose and prepare your bento.

  • Last updated: 05-28-2021
  • 2,217 views
Table of Contents

Top 10 Best Bento Boxes for Adults

Not that there's anything wrong with a kawaii character bento, but these are specifically designed and chosen with the needs of adults in mind!

1

OzazucoBento Box

$16.98

Capacity3 compartments; 900ml
FeaturesRemovable dividers, includes fork and spoon/chopsticks, insulated carrying bag
MaterialsBPA-free food-grade plastic and wheat fiber
CareDishwasher safe, microwave safe
2

MonbentoMB Square Bento Box (Large)

$29.90

Capacity2 compartments; 1700ml
FeaturesCutlery set and bag sold separately
MaterialsBPA/BPS-free plastic
CareDishwasher safe, microwave safe
3

SkaterTwo-Tier Bento Bowl

$15.06

Capacity2 compartments; 560ml
FeaturesIncludes carrying bag
MaterialsFood safe plastic, 100% cotton bag
CareDishwasher safe, microwave safe
4

Fun LifeBento Lunch Box

$25.99

Capacity5 compartments; 1349ml
FeaturesRemovable compartments with individual lids, insulated carrying bag
MaterialsBPA-free food-grade plastic
CareTop rack dishwasher safe, microwave safe
5

SkaterBento Box Set

$17.99

CapacityTop container: 280ml, bottom container: 360ml
FeaturesRice press, removable dividers, carrying bag
MaterialsFood-grade plastic
CareHand wash only, no microwave
6

ZojirushiClassic Bento Vacuum Lunch Jar

$42.21

Capacity3 compartments (590ml, 414ml, 266ml)
FeaturesIncludes chopsticks with holder, spork, carrying strap and bag
MaterialsVacuum-insulated stainless steel
CareMicrowave safe inner containers
7

BentgoSalad Lunch Container

$14.99

CapacityBottom bowl: 1597ml, top tray: 590ml plus dressing cup
FeaturesIncludes fork, 2-year warranty
MaterialsBPA-free plastic
CareTop rack dishwasher safe
8

HomesponBento With Insulated Bag

$16.99

Capacity2 main compartments; 1300ml (including lids)
FeaturesRemovable carrying strap; includes metal spoon and chopsticks with holder, insulated bag with strap
MaterialsPlastic, stainless steel; bag: felt and foil
CareHand wash only, no microwave
9

JapanBargainThree-Tiered Bento Box

$27.49

Capacity3 compartments; 600ml
FeaturesIncludes chopsticks with cover, carrying handle
MaterialsPlastic
CareHand wash only, no microwave
10

EcozoiStainless Steel Rectangle Lunch box

$32.95

Capacity3 compartments; 1774ml
FeaturesLifetime warranty
MaterialsStainless steel
CareDishwasher safe, no refrigerator

Compare the Best Bento Boxes for Adults

Image
1
Ozazuco Bento Box 1

Ozazuco

2
Monbento MB Square Bento Box (Large) 1

Monbento

3
Skater Two-Tier Bento Bowl 1

Skater

4
Fun Life Bento Lunch Box 1

Fun Life

5
Skater Bento Box Set 1

Skater

6
Zojirushi Classic Bento Vacuum Lunch Jar 1

Zojirushi

7
Bentgo Salad Lunch Container 1

Bentgo

8
Homespon Bento With Insulated Bag 1

Homespon

9
JapanBargain Three-Tiered Bento Box 1

JapanBargain

10
Ecozoi Stainless Steel Rectangle Lunch box 1

Ecozoi

Name

Bento Box

MB Square Bento Box (Large)

Two-Tier Bento Bowl

Bento Lunch Box

Bento Box Set

Classic Bento Vacuum Lunch Jar

Salad Lunch Container

Bento With Insulated Bag

Three-Tiered Bento Box

Stainless Steel Rectangle Lunch box

Features

A Narrow Bento That's Comfortable to Carry and Fits in the Work Fridge

A Huge, Professional-Looking Bento Box

A Small Bento for Carb Lovers

A Practical Daily Lunchbox That's Easy to Use and Care For

A Balance of Function and Beauty

Keep Your Soup Hot Until Lunch With an Insulated Container

We Can't Imagine a More Perfect Salad Lunchbox

A Bento That Encourages You to Eat a Balanced Meal

Find Zen-Like Calm on Your Lunch Break

A Durable and Eco-Friendly Metal Bento

Price$16.98$29.90$15.06$25.99$17.99$42.21$14.99$16.99$27.49$32.95
Capacity3 compartments; 900ml2 compartments; 1700ml2 compartments; 560ml5 compartments; 1349mlTop container: 280ml, bottom container: 360ml3 compartments (590ml, 414ml, 266ml)Bottom bowl: 1597ml, top tray: 590ml plus dressing cup2 main compartments; 1300ml (including lids)3 compartments; 600ml3 compartments; 1774ml
FeaturesRemovable dividers, includes fork and spoon/chopsticks, insulated carrying bagCutlery set and bag sold separatelyIncludes carrying bagRemovable compartments with individual lids, insulated carrying bagRice press, removable dividers, carrying bagIncludes chopsticks with holder, spork, carrying strap and bagIncludes fork, 2-year warrantyRemovable carrying strap; includes metal spoon and chopsticks with holder, insulated bag with strapIncludes chopsticks with cover, carrying handleLifetime warranty
MaterialsBPA-free food-grade plastic and wheat fiberBPA/BPS-free plasticFood safe plastic, 100% cotton bagBPA-free food-grade plasticFood-grade plasticVacuum-insulated stainless steel BPA-free plasticPlastic, stainless steel; bag: felt and foilPlasticStainless steel
CareDishwasher safe, microwave safeDishwasher safe, microwave safeDishwasher safe, microwave safeTop rack dishwasher safe, microwave safeHand wash only, no microwaveMicrowave safe inner containersTop rack dishwasher safeHand wash only, no microwaveHand wash only, no microwaveDishwasher safe, no refrigerator
Link

How to Choose a Bento Box for Adults - Buying Guide

One thing many people are worried about when choosing a bento is the size. You may also want to consider the shape, materials, care instructions, and if it's leakproof.

Look at the Size and Shape

The size and shape will determine how much and what kind of food you can fit in your bento. The shape also affects how easy it is to carry.

Choose the Size Based on Metric Capacity

Choose the Size Based on Metric Capacity

You may want to get the length, width, and height measurements of a bento, particularly if you like to bring sandwiches for lunch. However, Japanese bento sizes are based on a volume-to-calories ratio. One milliliter of bento capacity equals one calorie of food. (The metric system is pretty cool sometimes, isn't it?)


The Japanese government's nutrition standards recommend about 600 milliliters for women and 900 for men for lunch, although they actually break it down further by height and BMI. Japanese portion sizes may be smaller than you're used to, but this can give you a guide to start with.

Choose the Size Based on Metric Capacity

Of course, this formula assumes several things: that you are an averagely active adult, you're not trying to gain or lose weight, and you don't plan to stuff your bento with French fries and jellybeans. However, these guidelines can help you not only to choose your lunch box but assist you with portion control.


In addition to the amount of food, a typical Japanese bento has a 3:2:1 ratio of starch, vegetables, and protein. It's not uncommon to pair that with some instant soup on the side and a cup of green tea! That's likely why some of our choices include a separate cup.

Shape Affects the Portability

Shape Affects the Portability

Bento were originally boxes, and rectangular shapes are still common. However, a rectangular, single-layer tray is harder to fit in a bag and not the easiest to carry. They are fun to eat from and offer a nice presentation for your meal, so if you take a car to work or school they're a suitable option.


If you commute by public transportation, look for something narrow that stacks and either fits in your work bag or comes in its own. Bikers, walkers, and those who use a backpack may want to look for stacking bowls.


You may want to put it into your work fridge, too, so check that you'll be able to unstack the trays in that case. Some use compartment lids as extra food trays, but that would mean some of your food is exposed after unstacking.

Get the Right Material for Your Lifestyle

Bento come in different materials, from durable and long-lasting to flimsy disposable ones. Even if you'll only use it occasionally, make sure it'll last!

Plastic Bento are Available in Many Sizes and Styles

Plastic Bento are Available in Many Sizes and Styles

Perhaps not surprisingly, most bento are made of plastic. Good ones are made of high-quality food-grade plastic that lasts a long time and doesn't get stained easily. Not all of them are dishwasher-, microwave-, or freezer-safe, so you may want to confirm those details before purchase.


The advantages of plastic bento are plentiful! They're lightweight, usually come with lids that seal tightly, and are available in a variety of sizes and designs.

Metal and Glass are Eco-Friendly

Metal and Glass are Eco-Friendly

Stainless steel bento are a good choice for those looking for something durable. They're not too heavy, and some come with gasket seals. Of course, they can't be microwaved. If you want to keep your food warm, or cold, you'd better make sure it's insulated.


Glass trays with compartments are oven, freezer, microwave, and dishwasher-safe. Their main disadvantages are their weight and the lid design, which usually has plastic clips that can be hard to use and prone to breakage. Some glass bento-type containers offer bamboo lids, which makes them a highly sustainable option.

Wood Is Traditional and Beautiful

Wood Is Traditional and Beautiful

Bento boxes have been made from wood since the Edo period in Japan. In addition to their aesthetic appeal, wood also helps to keep rice moist and delicious until you eat it! 


When choosing a wood bento, make sure that any coating is properly cured and won't leach into your food. Obviously, wooden bento boxes can require extra care to maintain and may not be microwave- or dishwasher-safe. 

Cheaper Plastics are Best Avoided

Cheaper Plastics are Best Avoided

You can find disposable plastic bento only suitable for one-time use. These are similar to the kind used for take-out foods in Japan. There are also more durable plastic trays with multiple compartments often called "meal-prep" containers.


Neither of these are especially good to use for a daily lunchbox; they're not very strongly made and are generally not pretty, but they can serve their purpose.

Check the Features of the Bento

There is a wide variety of bento styles to choose from, and they offer different features and add-ons which may sway your decision.

Lids Can Make the Difference Between a Great Lunch and a Soggy Mess

Lids Can Make the Difference Between a Great Lunch and a Soggy Mess

Since bento are by design meant to carry a variety of foods of all textures, you'd expect them to be spill-proof. However, you'd be wrong! Most bento are not leakproof, either between the compartments or overall.


You may be wondering why on earth someone would get a lunch box with compartments that leak. Well, Japanese bento foods tend to not be super watery or saucy. You'd certainly never expect to put soup in a regular bento; you'd get a Thermos for liquids.


And indeed, some bento come in sets with Thermoses. Others have a mix of tight-sealing compartments and more open ones. If a leakproof bento is your top priority, scour the reviews from real users before buying!

Lids Can Make the Difference Between a Great Lunch and a Soggy Mess

Also keep in mind the style and care instructions for the lids. Many bento seal using flaps that snap into place. Aside from metal bento boxes, most of these are plastic. The plastic will eventually wear and break over extensive use. When that happens, your only solution is to replace the whole bento.


For lids that have gaskets or silicone lids that seal tightly, even if the manufacturer says a dishwasher is okay, it's not recommended. The high heat can deform them enough so they no longer seal properly.


We advise handwashing for all bento lids to maintain the best seal. You should also remove lids before microwaving.

A Bento Doesn't Have to Have Built-In Compartments

A Bento Doesn't Have to Have Built-In Compartments

Compartments are what makes it a bento box, right? Not necessarily! Compartments are great if you hate having your tuna salad touch your apple slices, but they make a bento harder to wash


If you get one with fixed compartments, you're limited to what size foods you can fill it with. Some bento solve this by offering movable dividers, but these rarely provide a complete seal between areas.


Another option is to use portion cups. You can get reusable silicone ones or use muffin tin liners. These are not only versatile but can be decorative as well.

See if it Comes With Utensils

See if it Comes With Utensils

Some bento come with everything you need for lunch, except maybe a napkin! They might have chopsticks, a spork, or a full cutlery set. Be aware that they may not be full-sized, however, especially if you get a smaller bento which was designed for kids.


You can also buy a separate holder to add your own utensils or purchase a utensil set with a case. If the bento has a bag, you can throw them in there. If it has an elastic strap to keep it closed, try tucking them under that.

You May Want One With a Carrying Bag

You May Want One With a Carrying Bag

Some bento come with a carrying bag that's just the right size and has a matching design. Others offer an insulated bag to keep it warm or cool. Some even have bags with pockets for ice packs and utensils.


If you want to go full-on Japanese, get a furoshiki to carry your bento! This is a large, decorative cloth that can be tied in many ways. It was traditionally used to carry any number of items. Furoshiki-tying is an art form (it seems a lot of things in Japan are art forms) and there are books and online tutorials available.


Tying a furoshiki to hold a bento doesn't take a lot of skill, but will definitely up your coolness factor at school or work. Bento&co Kyoto can show you how:

Some Tips for Preparing Your Bento

Some Tips for Preparing Your Bento

You can fill your bento with anything that fits in there, but for healthy, balanced eating, try to keep in mind the 3:2:1 rule for starches, vegetables, and proteins.


A typical Japanese household will usually prep some foods, like sides, ahead of time. These can even be frozen in small portion cups until you need them. The bento is often left unrefrigerated and kept cool just with ice packs until lunch.

Some Tips for Preparing Your Bento
However, rice is always cooked in the morning and added to the bento. By lunchtime, it's at room temperature. Rice is often topped with an umeboshi pickled plum to prevent it from spoiling.

If the thought of leaving your rice out bothers you, or you don't have a rice cooker with a timer function, you can cook it the night before. You'll have to microwave it later though, because refrigerated rice can be unappetitizing.


A recent viral tip is to add a teaspoon or so of honey to the water when you cook your rice! It won't change the taste; it keeps the rice from absorbing too much moisture and reduces clumping. So, it will still be absolutely delicious when it's room temperature!

Get the Right Stuff to Make a Perfect Bento Lunch

Get the Right Stuff to Make a Perfect Bento Lunch

Need a sponge designed to get in the nooks and crannies of a bento box? Or some umeboshi to top off your rice? Check out the articles below to help you craft your lunch!

Summary

There's no time like the present to start eating healthier and actually enjoying your lunch break. When you have a beautiful bento filled with delicious treats waiting for you, the workday seems to go by a little faster.


Make sure to pick a box with functional materials and design features. The best part of using a bento? Your thoughtless co-worker can't steal it from the fridge - everyone will know it's yours!


Author: Susan Lucier-Ogawa


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