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.)