One of my mom friends recently messaged me: “Oscar is starting full-time school and he needs a lunch box. I want something easy to clean and it needs to be under $30.” Of course, I quickly messaged back with a handful of my favorites. And it got me thinking that you might also need some affordable lunch box options for back-to-school time.

I’ve tested dozens of lunch boxes — both for myself and with my two kids — and these are my five favorites for less than $30. Bonus: They are all dishwasher-safe.

1. Bentgo Kids Lunch Box, $28

This is the lunch box I suggested for my friend. It will be easy for her kindergartener to open, and the interior compartment comes out for cleaning. I recently saw these on sale for even less at my local Target, too.

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Buy: Bentgo Kids Lunch Box, $28

2. Yumbox Original Leakproof Bento Lunch Box, $28

The Yumbox Original is incredibly light for its size. And my kids love the small spot for treats. Pro tip: You can use a dry-erase marker to leave notes under the clear interior compartments.

Buy: Yumbox Original Leakproof Bento Lunch Box, $28

3. LunchBots Medium Duo Snack Container, $22

It’s no secret that we love the LunchBots of all sizes for being light and made of something besides plastic. The Duo is a perfect size for a sandwich and a side, and ideal for tweens and teens to use.

Buy: LunchBots Medium Duo Snack Container, $22

4. Kinsho Bento Lunchbox for Kids, $18

This new-to-me lunch box is another bento-style container that is easy to open and clean. I like that it has a spot for utensils inside the lunchbox because my daughter never seems to be able to find the fork I pack in her lunch bag.

Buy: Kinsho Bento Lunchbox for Kids, $18

5. EasyLunchboxesBento Lunch Box, $14 for four

EasyLunchboxes are my favorite pre-school and elementary lunch boxes — you get four for $14, so you won’t be totally miffed if your 5-year-old loses or breaks one right off the bat. Plus, you can pack and stack these lunch boxes in advance.

Buy: EasyLunchboxes 3-Compartment Bento Lunch Box, $14 for four

Do you have a lunch box to add to this list? Let us know in the comments below.

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