Bento box review: The all-stainless steel LunchBots Quad

As I have written here before, I am a big fan of the LunchBots line of all-stainless steel bento boxes. (They actually call them ‘food containers’, but they are a great size for bentos.) Here’s an in-depth look at one of the latest offerings, the LunchBots Quad, as well as some of the pros and cons of the LunchBots boxes in general.

Here’s how the LunchBots Quad looks when it comes to you. The lid is available in three tasteful colors: lime green as shown here, sky blue and all-stainless (a shinier stainless than the box itself), all sporting the LunchBots logo. The box feels very solid and durable. I’ve owned another LunchBots box for about 4 years now, and after many uses it looks as good as new.

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The Quad unit has for evenly divided units. The dividers are fixed in place. The total capacity of the box is about 700ml, a great size for a lot of people. Two-part Duos and three-part Trios are also available on their site.

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What makes the LunchBots containers different from other stainless steel bento boxes is that they are totally plastic or silicon free. have leakproof liners around their edges. The Lids are quite tight-fitting.

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As an experiment, I tried filling the box to the brim with water that I colored a bit by adding some soy sauce. If you turn the box upside down, the water does start to leak out immediately, showing that it is not leakproof.

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And if you turn it sideways, it definitely does leak. So, you should not use the LunchBots boxes for very liquid food like stew, or food that has a lot of sauce.

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Another slightly annoying problem that is shared by all metal boxes: if you have very hard water, as we do have here, water stains will show up very quickly on the shiny surface. The solution to this is to try to dry off your stainless steel containers as soon as they are washed, and to occasionally give them a wipe with vinegar.

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Here’s the Quad in action. The 4 equal compartments make packing food quite easy. Clockwise from top left I’ve packed some steamed broccoli and a cherry tomato, some Pan Fried Lemon Chicken Nuggets (or as some readers who’ve tried and loved them call them, “Maki Nuggets” ^_^); tri-color bell peppers simply sauteed in olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper, and some plain rice. That’s two vegetable compartments, one protein and one carb. A pretty good balance for someone watching their weight, like me! Note that I’ve chosen foods are not likely to leak. Ther was some moisture around the sauteed bell peppers that came out of them as they cooked, but I drained it off as I packed them into the compartment.

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The green things decorating the top of the rice are thin slices of broccoli stalk, that I just steamed together with the broccoli florets. I think they look like little abstract flowers.

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Best Uses, Pros and Cons

The LunchBots containers are very attractive and well made, and are totally plastic or silicon free. If you are concerned about the amount of plastics in our environment, and want to stay away from them for your lunch containers, LunchBots are a great solution.

Pros:

  • All-stainless steel means they should last for a long time with proper care, and won’t break if you drop them (though they may dent a bit).
  • The base is dishwasher safe (handwashing is recommended for the lid)
  • Plastic-free
  • Attractive design
  • Good quality

Cons:

  • No plastic/silicone sealing elements means they will leak; not suitable for watery or sauce-y foods
  • Not microwave-safe
  • Multiple colors, but just one design

Special discount for JustBento readers!

LunchBots has kindly offered a 10% discount and free shipping to the U.S. and Canada to JustBento readers! This offer is valid for one week from the time of this review. Just order from the LunchBots and use the coupon code JUSTBENTO . LunchBots containers are also available on Amazon.com and Amazon UK (Amazon UK doesn’t have the Quad yet, but the Duo and Trio are available).

(Disclosure: This product was supplied to JustBento by LunchBots for review. I was not compensated in any way for the review, and the opinions expressed are my own.)

For more bento recipes, ideas and tips, subscribe to Just Bento via your newsreader or by email (more about subscriptions).

And visit our sister site, Just Hungry for great Japanese home recipes and more.

14 comments

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Re: Bento box review: The all-stainless steel LunchBots Quad

Oh wow! It is very tempting, but I cook frozen vegs as I need them...single person...dog doesn't need the veggies as I do. (LOL) Having said that, I do cook fresh at times...more in the summer. My dilemma is that I have a number of plastic containers that are useful for small quantities. I will have to ponder this...quickly!

Re: Bento box review: The all-stainless steel LunchBots Quad

Oh boy: bento box reviews! I'm glad that manufacturers or stores are recognizing that you have a very extensive following and want you to review their products. You provide a disclaimer, and we know we'll get an honest review from you. You go, girl!

Because of you, I own a Mr. Bento and a white Idea lunchbox. I love them both and use them for different size lunches.

The most leakproof containers, my opinion, are the Lock and Lock boxes from Korea, available in many, many different sizes. While I use them mostly in my kitchen and refrigerator, I have also carried foods in them in a soft insulated carrier, with ice packs when necessary.

You've caused a Bento revolution around the world, your book is a winner, and the recipes on the sites are interesting and mostly doable. (Asian pear and cucumber is my latest favorite.)

Please keep it up -- and get well.

Re: Bento box review: The all-stainless steel LunchBots Quad

Actually I've had to turn down way more product review requests because...well, I don't want the site to just become product reviews, and I'm trying hard not to take on too much at the moment. If everyone enjoys the reviews though I'll try to do a bit more. ^_^ Next week I have some cute accessory type things...stay tuned!

Re: Bento box review: The all-stainless steel LunchBots Quad

This review is very timely! I started bento-ing with the new year and have been happy with my Mr. Bento. But as time goes on, I can see the limitations of the Mr. Bento and have been looking for something more horizontal. Plus I don't always need all four containers in the Mr. Bento; I bought it to pack breakfast, lunch, and two snacks. Some days I only need lunch, some days I only need breakfast. So I've been looking for something new.

This fits the bill of what I want in all ways except one: I'm concerned about the leakage. I wouldn't pack very soupy or saucy items in it (I have my Mr. Bento for that), but whatever I do pack in it has to withstand some serious movement. I put my lunch in my backpack, which goes on my motorcycle and then on the subway. The lunch is packed in the same compartment as my work clothes, my papers, and anything else I'm taking in. Electronics go in a different compartment just in case. Whatever I pack gets jostled six ways to Sunday. If I put something like overnight pickles* into my bento, will I then end up with vinegar on my dress shoes?

That was one reason I bought the Mr. Bento. I figured if something managed to escape the container seals, it wasn't going to escape the big jar.

* The overnight pickles has become my favorite bento filler. It's cheap, easy, quick, can be done in advance, and very tasty! Thank you for providing the recipe and the variations.

Re: Bento box review: The all-stainless steel LunchBots Quad

Screw it! I'll just use my existing Mr. Bento for anything I think will leak. I can also wrap the Lunchbots in a regular plastic bag like I used to do with my lunches. That gives some protection against leaking. This fits my needs in all other ways and I like the idea of stainless steel vs. plastic. One lunchbot order coming up!

Re: Bento box review: The all-stainless steel LunchBots Quad

Just got them! They look and feel great. I bought one of their sets - quad, trio, uno. Each box is a little smaller than I expected, but that is a good thing for portion control.

Re: Bento box review: The all-stainless steel LunchBots Quad

It's official: I love them. I've been using them all week. The size still looks small to me, but I know that is American portion distortion that I need to just get over. When packed full, I can have a complete and satisfying lunch. Today I fit miso tofu nuggets, quinoa, overnight pickles, and carrot kinpira into one Lunchbot. I need to pack a second for breakfast or snacks, but that's okay. I wanted these for when I don't need to bring in food for the whole day. The lid stays on tight, even bouncing around my backpack. No leaks!

Re: Bento box review: The all-stainless steel LunchBots Quad

First, HOORAY for "Maki Nuggets"!!!! ;-)

I have a LunchBots Eco that I got for doing a bento workshop last fall. At first I didn't care for it because it was just so darn big and I had a hard time filling it enough to keep things from shifting. The dividers in this model would probably help quite a bit with that. Anyway, after a week or so it became one of my all-time favorite boxes. It doesn't fit in my son's lunch box so I get to use it all for myself! :D

Also, I do like seeing product reviews - especially products that are pretty reasonably accessible like this one!

Hope things are looking up for you guys..... have a good weekend!

Re: Bento box review: The all-stainless steel LunchBots Quad

I just bought mine today. I can safely say that this is a good choice for me. I like colder foods in the spring, summer, and autumn because everything is fresh. I have tried doing bento off and on when I get excited but I am trying to get into a habit of making all of our lunches. My son starts school this fall and after the whole "pink slime" thing came out this week in the news, I think I will definitely be doing more packed lunches. Thanks for giving this box a test run. I am interested to see how it stands up.

:)

Re: Bento box review: The all-stainless steel LunchBots Quad

I finally broke down and splurged on LunchBots because of this review! I had been coveting the Trio (and now the Quad!), and today I ordered a set of three - a discounted set featuring a Blue Trio, Green Quad and Stainless Uno - and I cannot wait for them to arrive.

Re: Bento box review: The all-stainless steel LunchBots Quad

I could never say no to more product reviews. :)

Love Mine!

I bought the Duo on Amazon about 9 months ago and it is amazing! I use it probably 4-5 days per week. The height is perfect for silicone muffin cups, so they have worked great especially if I do have a flavor that I want to keep more separate (I also use them if I bring something that I'd like to heat up a little). It's been very reliable. I've always handwashed the lid and haven't had any issues with the color coming off.

I'm constantly complimented at work for how organized my lunches look. I would hightly reccomend it!

Re: Bento box review: The all-stainless steel LunchBots Quad

Thanks for the review... I'm trying to cut back on plastics myself :) LunchBots has a thermal line that is leak proof btw!

Re: Bento box review: The all-stainless steel LunchBots Quad

Wow, very very trendy and cool and pretty. I want them! I am going to get them for my kids' lunchboxes. Thanks for the great reviews.

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