Review summary: Bento box or laptop style lunches for waste-free lunches are popular, but used to freak me out a bit, because I worried about spills. However, when Cedar and I got the chance to review PlanetBox last year we found out that overall PlanetBox is a handy and fun way to pack a waste-free lunch, without the dreaded spills and few cons.
Use: All-in-one reusable lunch kit. Helps eliminates the massive waste caused by school lunches.
Cost: It depends on what you buy. The complete PlanetBox kit is $59.95-$80. If you only need a PlanetBox, without the bag and extra containers, it’ll run you roughly $30-$40. I suggest the Complete set though, if you need an entire lunch system.
The PlanetBox Complete comes with…
- A stainless steel PlanetBox
- 1 set of PVC-free magnets
- 1 big and 1 little dipper made with stainless steel
- Insulated Oeko-Tex standard carrying bag made with 100% recycled material
PlanetBox Complete pros:
- This lunch kit eliminates school lunch waste.
- The bulk of the kit is made with food-safe stainless steel that won’t leach toxic chemicals.
- PlanetBox products are also free from lead, vinyl/PVC, phthalates, bisphenol-A (BPA) and other harmful or toxic substances.
- Cedar’s been using his PlanetBox on and off, interchanged with his Citizenpip kit, for almost a year, and everything, including the containers and bag are in great shape.
- When your child is done with your PlanetBox it can be recycled at your local recycling program or you can send it back to the company, and they’ll recycle it for you.
- The main lunch box and extra containers are dishwasher friendly and the bag is easy to wipe down.
- The latch on the PlanetBox lunchbox is designed for 3 year old hands and older to close and open by themselves. Cedar also didn’t have any trouble opening and closing the Big and Little Dipper containers
- PlanetBox holds a surprisingly large amount of food. Cedar is ten, very active and always, “Starved to death.” I tend to send him enough food to school to cover lunchtime and two small snacks. Using the PlanetBox and carrying bag, I’m usually able to get all that food in there. Although once in a while I send an extra bag along for oddly shaped items, like a container of yogurt.
- I was worried about food merging from one compartment to the next. However, food placed in PlanetBox compartments stays put on almost all occasions.
- I like not having to hunt down a million lids when I’m packing Cedar’s lunch. You fill the main lunch box and close the lid. This is a big time saver.
- For added fun, PlanetBox comes with fun designer magnets that can be used to decorate the box. These magnet sets are also interchangeable and available in many wonderful designs that kids will love. You can see some of the magnet design choices in the slideshow below the cons section.
PlanetBox Complete cons:
- The main food compartment in PlanetBox is pretty small. As you can see in the pictures I’ve posted above, the compartment fits a large bagel perfectly, but sandwiches made with normal sized bread is tricky. In our case it’s not a huge deal, because Cedar’s not a big sandwich fan, but most kids are. To make a sandwich fit, you’ll need to use small bread slices or cut the bread down (save the scraps for homemade croutons).
- This lunch kit does not include a reusable water bottle.
- There’s nowhere to put a container of yogurt or a whole pear, orange or apple. Because PlanetBox is flat, it’s hard to add round foods to your child’s lunch. For example, my store doesn’t always have bulk organic yogurt in stock, so we’ll buy small containers. They don’t fit well in this lunch kit. I have to send a second smaller, insulated lunch bag with Cedar if I pack him non-bulk yogurt.
- Along the lines of the above issue, ice packs of a normal size don’t fit in this lunch bag. You’ll need to invest in a few flat ice packs in order to maintain proper packed lunch temperatures.
- PlanetBox and the dipper containers are not insulated to keep food hot or cold. Also you CANNOT microwave them – it’s super dangerous to microwave metal. If you send hot foods or microwave-ready foods, you’ll need some additional microwave containers, such as EasyLunchboxes Bento Lunch Box Containers or glass food storage containers .
- Dipper containers cannot be used for broth/liquid based soups. If you send soup or excessively saucy items in your child’s lunch, you’ll need a decent leak-proof thermos.
- Cedar’s dad doesn’t like the flat style. He says it can make it hard to pack foods – but really, you just need to be a little creative and it’s fine. I don’t mind the shape at all, but, just as an FYI, some parents may not like the flat design.
No spills with this cool lunchbox:
My biggest worry with a laptop style lunch was spills. I had this image in my head of Cedar excitedly opening his lunch and then dumping all the food out. Thus far though, Cedar hasn’t spilled at all. He’s old enough to understand that you need to lay the lunchbox flat, then open the latch.
As for the design, Cedar LOVES it. He said, “Wow, it’s like my own laptop lunch!” Cedar thought the magnets were a fun idea, but he doesn’t actually use them much. I guess that’s a take-it-or-leave-it feature in my opinion, though I do think younger kids would like it. Plus, if you’ve got more than one child, the personalized magnets help tell lunches apart.
Cedar’s school friends also loved this lunchbox and gave it a thumbs up for being cool.
4 out of five little trees. I think PlanetBox makes it easy to pack a nice waste-free lunch. Cedar seriously loves the design and all his friends think the lunchbox is hyper cool, which helps when you’re sending a packed lunch. I do think the set is best suited to kids under the tween stage, but I know some adults like this box too, for lunch or snacks at work, so…
I almost took away another half point because this bag lacks the ability to hold more than one or two ice packs. I can fit two small ice packs in if I try, but overall, I wish the bag was a bit roomier so it could hold more ice packs or an apple. That said, if you’re interested in a good laptop style lunch kit, PlanetBox is a great one to try. It’ll last forever, cuts down on lid and container issues and is fun for kids besides.
How to buy:
Lead image ©PlanetBox / other images ©Jennifer Chait