Ziploc 3-compartment Lunch Containers vs. EasyLunchboxes

by on May 7, 2010 · 47 comments                       

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How do Ziplocs and EasyLunchboxes compare? Price vs. quality.

How do they compare?


11/15/13  Beth Bluestocking shares her observations via a side by side comparison.

7/28/13 Blame it on the Bento compares EasyLunchboxes with warping Ziplocs (great pics)

8/14/12 – Angie reports on how EasyLunchboxes have held up after a year of steady use. EasyLunchboxes are sturdy and do not warp, even after a year of steady use.

10/26/11 -  Bento Bloggers compare EasyLunchboxes to Ziplocs and others. Click HERE to read.

Aug. 8, 2011  - (You can see her own pics of the other brand warping ) A HELICOPTER MOM … I could tell immediately that the Easy Lunchboxes are a much better quality. The containers and the lids are clearly thicker and sturdier than the cheaper version I previously tried. I love them! From a 5-star review posted on our Amazon store: May 12, 2011: “Yes, they really are worth it” …I’ll address what I’m guessing is likely to be the most common question/gripe . . . Yes, they are certainly worth whatever-multiple-of-the-cost of those nationally available ones (whatever name-brand you choose). These are different! …They may be inexpensive enough that your blood pressue won’t spike if/when your child loses one at school, but they are most certainly not ‘take and toss.’ You’ll know that the moment you hold one; they’re heavier, thicker, sturdier. We have had ours for a few weeks shy of a year now, and they still look/work like brand new. No stains, no etchy shadows, no warping at all (not the bodies, not the lids). I’ve never hand-washed them, they’ve been run through the dishwasher every time. April 8, 2011 Visit Biting the Hand That Feeds You for another comparison with Ziploc. Aug. 23, 2010: Please visit Extraordinary Life and read what an outside reviewer concluded in her very own comparative study of ours and those by Ziploc. Great videos included!

The Original Post:

Lunch box packing for three kids is a chore and, although I’m passionate about sending them to school with a healthy meal, I was annoyed by the myriad of single item containers and baggies I was using to get all the food into each lunchbox.  As the self proclaimed “Queen of Efficiency”, not to mention “Solve a Problem Queen”, I took a leap, almost a year of preparation, and designed a 3-compartment, two-piece container to hold the majority of a lunch.  I called it an EasyLunchbox. I launched my company in late November, 2009. So here I am, about six months into successfully running my new business, when I do my bi-monthly Target run, and in the aisle with the lawn clean up bags I was after, I am surprised to see that a new 3-compartment reusable container has come on the market. It’s the same shape as an EasyLunchbox . (This configuration was nowhere to be found when I came up with the idea early last year. Believe me – I checked).  They cost less than an EasyLunchbox. Now how do I compete with that? Oh wait, maybe they’re competing with me?  Yea, right. Have they even heard of an EasyLunchbox? Who knows. Their cardboard packaging prevents me from being able to tell what the quality of these babies are like, so I add them to my cart and take them home for an examination and a little healthy challenge competition.

In the Lunch Container Category …drum roll please… Ziplocs vs. EasyLunchboxes:

(Both brands were washed in our dishwasher) Big Brand reusable containers warp in the dishwasher   EasyLunchbox containers don't warp in the dishwasher


EasyLunchboxes save you money because they last a lot longer.

Ziploc vs. ELB question answered on our Facebook Wall

Here’s what some of our reviewers have said:

SURVIVING MOTHERHOOD I have purchased a ziploc version of these lunch boxes at the store BUT Kelly’s version is BPA free AND it’s so much of a better quality after comparing the two. The ziploc version is pretty flimsy and not as nice.

NEVER JUST A HOUSEWIFE “The plastic in the pics looks similar to the somewhat flimsy plastic used in those throwaway plasticware containers but instead it’s some of the most durable plastic I’ve seen in reusable storage containers!”

ANOTHER LUNCH “… let me assure you, the EasyLunchboxes are nothing like the disposable containers you are familiar with. They are very sturdy and not bendy at all and simply a really good product I feel good about endorsing. :)”

LUNCHBOX LIMBO “At first glance on the website, I was expecting the plastic to be a little on the flimsy side. They remind me of the … cheapy ‘take to a potluck and who cares if it comes back’ containers. But they are not.  They are much sturdier than I expected them to be.”

LUNCH BOX xobobox “The plastic is quite sturdy and rigid….I have sent ours through the dishwasher a dozen times or more and the plastic remains undamaged and unwarped.”

And I got this nice email from a mom:

“I gave my daughter (age 7) the Ziploc container in her lunch box one day and she requested to have your containers again because the Ziploc lid was too hard to get off. I also tried the cling plastic wrap on the wet fruit section of the lunch box and it’s working to keep the liquids where they should be. All is good again in lunchville! LOL thanks!!!!” – JL

UPDATE 7/23/14 (pic courtesy of Mommy & Me Lunch Box):

Warp Test - EasyLunchboxes vs. Ziploc compartmentalized food containers

When products are similar, we tend to go for the cheapest one (I know I usually do). But it’s not just the price that’s matters, it’s the quality. EasyLunchbox containers are sturdier and will last longer than these thinner ones, saving you money in the long run. So in this case, let me be bold enough to suggest – we beat our competition in both price and quality.

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1 Jill May 17, 2010 at 4:18 pm

The lid on the disposable one cracked after 2 times in the dishwasher for me. I’m sure it was partially because the way my daughter tugs on it when she opens it. The ELBS lids just aren’t as flimsy, and I don’t think we’ll have that problem.

2 Kelly Lester May 18, 2010 at 11:41 am

Thanks for sharing your experience with the other brand Jill.

3 Bambi October 18, 2010 at 9:14 pm

I have to say I haven’t seen the new Ziploc ones, but if they’re anything like the small ones we have now at home I Won’t be spending the (probably $3) to get a pack. The ones I have at home have been used a few times and washed in the dishwasher on the top rack. The lids will warp and if you dare try to put them in the freezer, Look Out, if you take them out and accidently drop them (you’re screwed) We’ve had multiple ziploc containers end up in the trash because lids have cracked when trying to get them open. My kids love the EasyLunchBox. They saw them online before I ordered and said, “Oh mommy, look Lunchables”!!

4 Kelly Lester October 18, 2010 at 9:23 pm

Thanks so much for your comment and for sharing your experience with the other brand here Bambi! Coincidentally, I tossed out a Ziploc container tonight that I had stored some leftover chili in from dinner a couple of nights ago. Heated it up, and was eating it out of the container and noticed chili leaking on my table. I found a slit down the side on one of the corners :( These containers are certainly low cost and handy, but it’s true, they don’t last too long.

5 Jerry January 3, 2011 at 7:33 pm

Rubbermaid have been selling the exact same shaped 3 compartment trays for donkeys years. My grandma had one in her house, now in our garage, and we’ve had it at least since 2007. I take it they’re quite popular in the USA. Also, the Rubbermaid TakeALong.

6 Kelly Lester January 3, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Rubbermaid does not currently sell a 3-compartment container like mine.

7 Len February 2, 2011 at 1:19 am

Commenting on the Take Along containers: they’re terrible. We bought a pack from Walmart, and the lids were hard to snap on, let alone off. The tugging left the lids warped. Needless to say, they’re just sitting in our cupboard.

8 Ludicrous Mama May 16, 2011 at 11:46 am

I totally forgot about re-heating the disposables! Yikes! That cuts their limited shelf-life in half! I tend to pack things that I won’t have to re-heat, since the park generally doesn’t boast a convenient microwave! But there’s been no damage to my ELBs when I pack a lunch for the hubby for him to re-heat (usually restaurant leftovers. I’m not really an avid “cook,” and a PBJ and flower-shaped cheese just doesn’t “do it” for him.)
The single-compartment disposable ones don’t seem to be as hard to open, but the 3-compartment one is a frickin’ nightmare! At least when new. Maybe after it’s all warped and ill-fitting, then it’s easier.
I got my moms group to get together on a big ELB order with me, and they all LOVE their boxes! I’m saving my last discount code to do another group order, now that they’ve had a chance to use them and realize that they’ll need more than 4 boxes total for 2 kids, unless they enjoy doing dishes!
Ludicrous Mama is the cool author of..I Heart Faces Photo Challenge – Flower PowerMy Profile

9 Kelly Lester May 16, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Thank you so much for adding in all that info! Really appreciate your very informative comment …. If anyone wants to see Ludicrous Mama’s fabulous lunches in my containers – check out her ever growing collection of pics right here:
Kelly Lester is the cool author of..“The Best Mom” is not a Title I Earn Every dayMy Profile

10 Jenn July 21, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Do the EasyLunchboxes fit in any smaller cooler bags? OR do you find that the bigger bag works well enough for school lunches?

11 Kelly Lester July 25, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Hi Jenn,
Our containers will fit in other coolers, but they are best carried upright. Our coolers allow you to pack other items like a water bottle and ice block as well as additional snacks without straining to fit stuff. My daughters have used this system for school lunches since elementary school and I know many other families w/younger kids use it as well.
If you still want to purchase something smaller, just be sure that the inside measures a bit larger than our container 9.38″ x 6.1″ x 2″ . But they really do function best when carried upright in ours or similar. 8/29/11 update to this comment: Please visit this post HERE and you can read what I wrote about other coolers that might work for you.

12 Linda August 29, 2011 at 6:37 pm

Hi, I wanted to let you know how much I love your lunch boxes!
I have started making dinners in them. In my family we all work different hours and only see each other on the weekends and I’m not much of a cook. Ok I’m lazy…
What I have been doing is buying freezer stuff at Trader Joe’s and I make tv dinners with the containers. I put everything in while it’s still frozen, put them in the frig. Then when my family comes home they can stick one in the microwave for two to three min. And dinner is done. I put veggies in the middle size compartment and and one of their rice dishes or mashed potatoes in the smaller one. I’ve even put frozen berries and granola in one compartment to make a cobbler like dessert and no staining!
Oh and I also take them to work for lunch.
My family is eating better and I’m happy!
I have three sets.

13 Kelly Lester August 29, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Hi Linda – this is BRILLIANT.
I’m a HUGE fan of Trader Joe’s too. It always amazes me that when I shop there I always leave feeling happier than when I got there – I think it has to do with their wonderfully helpful and friendly staff and of course, the healthy, yummy products. That store is just a big WIN)
I think it’s great that you are able to use my containers and their food and put together great meals for your family to eat when needed! Thank you for sharing this terrific idea! Whether you use pre-packaged food or make your own, families with crazy schedules can benefit by having their own dinners packed and ready to go. Much better than hitting the drive-through. Love it!!!

14 Amy April 13, 2012 at 9:37 am

This post made me think of something my dad used to tell me.
“You only cry once when you pay for quality.”
I just ordered a set and am looking forward to sending my daughter off to school with a plant based, whole-food diet. I too, normally go for the cheapest. But I also wanted BPA free – you don’t get that for cheap! Keep up the good work!

15 Kelly Lester April 13, 2012 at 10:51 am

Thanks so much for your purchase and your nice comment Amy. Love your dad’s sage advice! I hope you enjoy using my EasyLunchboxes for all your packed meals :)

16 Bobbi July 21, 2012 at 7:29 pm

She speaks the truth! EasyLunchboxes are the BEST! I use them everyday and put them in the dishwasher everyday. They are sturdy, warp free, and fabulous. 100% worth the 3 extra bucks or whatever it is. They don’t smell like plastic and there are no little parts to lose. My family of five gives ELBs two thumbs up and Kelly Lester a fist bump for making them :)
Bobbi is the cool author of..Batman BentoMy Profile

17 Kelly Lester July 21, 2012 at 9:31 pm

Thanks for the endorsement Bobbi!!! So appreciate that :) And I love your BATMAN BENTO! How fun is that?!

18 Amanda August 5, 2012 at 3:11 pm

I saw your boxes about the same time saw the ziploc ones in our local store. I wanted to try getting lunches made daily since we Homeschool in hopes of smoother days. I bought the ziplock for trial and the lids split very easily with use. I want to buy yours and give it another go. Eventhough hubby is out of work I am saving my pennies! I do have a request, any chance you will have a larger size cooler bag or set of 6 for those larger families?
BTW I love your hairstyle, is your hair naturally curly or straight?

19 Kelly Lester @ EasyLunchboxes August 5, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Hi Amanda – LOL. Thanks for the hair compliment! My hair is naturally wavy. It sort of goes where it wants to go and where that is, I never know. Although I do spend time with a blow dryer, it never looks the same an hour later… As for a larger size cooler – no plans at this time for that. You can fit up to 3 of them in one of my cooler bags. I do have some smaller dip/sauce containers coming out in about a month. These will be handy to fit into the large compartment of my ELB container :) It costs quite a bit up front and with warehouse storage to come out with new products, so I have to move forward with that slower than I’d like. I’d love to add more items to my line and I appreciate your request for the larger cooler. Adding it to my running list! If you’re able to try my EasyLunchboxes soon, get free shipping on Amazon if you live in the USA (some restrictions apply).

20 Leah August 12, 2012 at 6:07 pm

We LOVE our EasyLunchboxes! My son started Kindergarten last year and I really didn’t want to send so much waste with him every day, like zip top bags and paper lunch bags. I found EasyLunchboxes and they’ve been a great solution! In addition to school lunches, we pack snacks or meals in them whenever we’re going to be in the van near mealtimes. It saves us from running through a drive-through, plus I know that my kids will only have one container to hold on their laps, so less chance of spilling! I’ll be buying more soon when our next son starts school!

21 Kelly Lester August 12, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Thanks Leah! I appreciate your lovely feedback and I’m so pleased to know that my ELB’s are making your life easier :)Look for some new leak resistant, small dip containers coming out in a few weeks…

22 Bella August 14, 2012 at 5:56 am

I had a quite different experience. The “easy” lunch box lids fell off when completely empty and were unsuccessful for me. The Ziploc containers have lasted for quite awhile, did not warp, and actually seal. If the “easy” container lids actually sealed or even stayed on the container, I would prefer them. I did read the directions, I did NOT put anything liquid in them. Just didn’t work for me.

23 Kelly Lester August 14, 2012 at 6:04 am

Hi Bella – Not sure when you purchased, but there was one shipment quite a while back that had some container lids that were not manufactured properly and indeed, were a bit loose. Please feel free to email me and let me know more about your order. Thanks!

24 JoAnne January 18, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Kelly, we are currently using the Ziploc containers, but would like to upgrade to the Easy Lunch Boxes. I have read reviews describing the higher quality of the product, but I wonder how the sizes compare. Do you have the measurement comparison? I would love to be able to keep using the boys’ current insulated lunch bags.

25 Kelly Lester January 18, 2013 at 9:34 pm

Hi Joanne – the sizes are pretty near identical. The pull tab on the Ziploc sticks out a tiny bit more though. I don’t think you’ll have any trouble switching to my ELBs. The measurements of ELBs are: 9.38″ x 6.1″ x 2″ Compartment capacities: Large section – 2.5 Cups, Smaller section – 3/4 cup, Smallest section- 1/2 cup. The inside of the largest compartment is approx 4.5″ x 5″ inches and 1.75″ deep.
Thanks Joanne!

26 Michelle February 23, 2013 at 11:40 am

How does it work when you want to heat up part of the lunch? For example: you want to heat up pasta, but don’t want the fruit and veggies in the microwave? I love the product and would like to try but I do not feel like emptying out the other sections each time I go to the microwave. Any suggestions? Thanks!

27 Kelly Lester February 23, 2013 at 9:44 pm

Hi Michelle – You can bring the cold part of your lunch in one container and the intended hot part in another, and just heat that one container in the microwave at lunch. Or if you have say, spaghetti in the large compartment and grapes and carrots in the other, put the grapes and carrots in silicon muffin cups that you could lift out, before heating just the pasta.
OR – BRING a THERMOS with the container of food you’d like to eat warm.
I often send my kids to school with a thermos of pasta or soup in the bag, along with the container. By lunch time, whatever is in the thermos is warm, but not hot, my kids tell me. They are happy with it :)
Here’s what I do: I heat up the core of the thermos with boiling water for a few minutes (to help it stay hot longer) and heat the soup or pasta super hot. Pour out the boiling water and replace with the food. Put 2 small ice blocks (for balance) in the bottom of the cooler, put the container on top of the ice blocks (that keeps the cold away from the thermos) and put the thermos on top of the container.
Put 2 small ice blocks (for balance) in the bottom of the cooler, put the container on top of the ice blocks (that keeps the cold away from the thermos) and put the thermos on top of the container. Hope that helps!

28 Tiffany L June 5, 2013 at 9:50 am

While I haven’t tried the Ziploc containers, I have had the Easy Lunchboxes for over 2 years and none of them have warped, stained, or been damaged in any way. They’re used several times a week for my 2 children and are always washed with the dishwasher. Because they weren’t very expensive, I really got them thinking “maybe they’ll last the school year”. I was expecting to toss them, but they still have a lot of life left in them. I got them as an alternative to our Laptop Lunchboxes (which are great and have lasted 5+ yrs so far). Sometimes I just don’t want to deal with all of the little compartments that come with the Laptop though. These are just easier to deal with some mornings. Definitely a winner in my book!

29 Kelly June 5, 2013 at 11:08 am

Thank you for the wonderful feedback Tiffany! I really appreciate your 2 thumbs up :)

30 A.B. June 5, 2013 at 10:07 am

I’ve been using my Ziploc brand ones for almost 2 years now and do not have any of the issues you’ve described above. I have also never had any leaking with them. Can I expect the same from ELB?

31 Kelly June 5, 2013 at 11:06 am

My hot dishwasher warped the Ziplocs the first time I washed them. My EasyLunchboxes do not warp and are much sturdier (evidenced in the above video). Some people have had them as long as 2-3 years with no breakage. I expect you’ll be pleased with them if you give them a try A.B.

32 A.B. June 5, 2013 at 11:19 am

My specific question was, are they leakproof like the Ziploc ones? I get that this is a ELB site (I ended up here becaues I follow ELB on Pinterest to get the great lunch recipes) and what I’m asking may be out of line but I get a great seal with the Ziploc ones and would expect the same if I upgraded.

33 Kelly June 5, 2013 at 11:26 am

Oh, sorry A.B. I missed your main question! A good one, and thank you for asking :) No, my ELBs are not the same in terms of leak-resistant like the Ziplocs. I try and make that really clear on my website FAQs as well as my Amazon product descriptions, as I don’t want people to be disappointed with their purchase. EasyLunchbox containers were not designed to be leak-free, they were designed to be easy-open. There is a trade-off here and a balance of priorities that is simply a personal choice. As the mom/manufacturer, my choice is to offer a product to address this need. I’m sure my EasyLunchbox System is not the perfect choice for everyone. But it does fill a price/quality/function void in the marketplace….
Feedback from another mom: “My 5 year old is at kindergarten all day with 20 other children, and the teacher already has 7 string cheeses, 12 yogurt cups, 14 applesauce cups, and 8 hot lunches to have to coordinate. My daughter is not able to open a normal “leak-proof” container (we’ve tried) and with this, she lifts the lid and is eating instead of waiting for the teacher to help her. This almost-leak-proof easy-to-open lunchbox was the answer. She loves it…”
Here’s a blog post about how to make the lunch containers leak-free:
Kelly is the cool author of..Make lunch for the week – pack ahead and save timeMy Profile

34 M.V. June 5, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Not available in Europe :( why not?

35 Kelly June 5, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Keeping up inventory supplies for US customers is a challenge at this point M.V. … But looking to expand in the future. We do ship worldwide via my website. I aologize for the inconvenience.

36 M.V. June 7, 2013 at 3:51 am

I totally missed that on your website! Only saw the amazon link. Thanks for pointing it out. Just placed the order :) It might take a while to get here but I’m really looking forward to receiving the package.

37 Kelly June 7, 2013 at 6:23 am

Thank you so much! I hope you enjoy using them :)

38 M.V. June 12, 2013 at 11:04 am

Wow that was fast! The lunchboxes arrived here in Amsterdam today :) Right in time for father’s day. Thanks again

39 j dev June 8, 2013 at 6:52 am

I’ve been disappointed in the durability of the ELBs — we’ve had several lid tabs snap off, one lid cracked, and a container cracked across the bottom of a compartment. They’ve been stored, washed (dishwasher), and handled just like the similar Ziploc containers, but the Ziplocs are still in fine shape. It’s a great concept, but I won’t be buying the more expensive ones again.

40 Kelly June 8, 2013 at 7:26 am

Hi J – I’m not sure how long you had your EasyLunchboxes, but cracks or breakage will happen eventually. In general, the ‘life expectancy’ of the containers and lids – my kids use them daily in our EasyLunchbox cooler bags, is anywhere from 4-12 months with no cracking. Honestly, they’re not indestructible. The Tupperware secret is something I have yet to crack… Mystery breakage has happened in our house too, but the majority of our containers are still going strong, many have lasted over a year. Some folks report that theirs are still going strong even after 2 years. We wash ours in the dishwasher daily.
If you have any left, here are my general care tips:
A tip for the lid- use the tab to lift the lid partly off the tray, but then grip more of the lid to make it easier to get the whole lid off, putting much less stress on the tab and the container itself.

Please pack your lunch container in our insulated soft sided cooler bag (or similar) to protect the edges during daily use.

For kids/backpacks: It’s best if not carried in a backpack with heavy books (even if packed inside a cooler bag). This may not be the case at your child’s school, but backpacks are often thrown on the yard in a pile, and I’ve seen how they can get stepped on.

Dishwasher: Do take care when loading them in and out. Avoiding the agitation between other dishes will help them last longer. Ours go in the bottom in their own “slot” every day against the left side of the bottom rack. I can fit 3 standing up tall, and I put the lids behind them. They have never broken there because they don’t bump around other heavy dishes. As long as you don’t wedge them haphazardly between heavy plates or pans they should be fine.

41 Jama February 26, 2014 at 6:23 pm

My son was born without the fingers on his left hand. When he started pre-school, they told me that I had to buy new lunch containers because he was not able to open the containers I was sending. I can’t even count how many containers I purchased from local stores, and every week, I would get a disheartening note from my son’s teacher telling me that he still could not open the container. When you only have one hand, something as simple as opening a container becomes an insurmountable obstacle. It broke my heart…and then I stumbled on EasyLunchBoxes. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t very hopeful. We had already tried so many others, with no success. When we received the lunch box, we practiced and practiced, but we had done this same routine before…I can still remember our first day of pre-school with EasyLunchBoxes. I went to pick up my son, and he ran to me screaming about how he opened his lunch box all by himself, and all his friends cheered for him. I did what any typical mother would do…cried…and then went home and ordered another pack of EasyLunchBoxes so we always had back ups! You brought a little boy confidence, and for that, we will forever be grateful! Now, can we talk about the possibility of creating heat-up containers, too???? We need something just a little larger than the dip containers :) Thank you, EasyLunchBoxes!!!!

42 Kelly Lester February 27, 2014 at 9:34 pm

Oh Jama! Thank you for sharing your son’s story with me!!! Wow. That is just beautiful. I’m just thrilled to know what a wonderful difference they’ve made in his (and your) life! as for some larger heat-up containers, I’m not adding any additional products at this time, but thank you for the suggestion :) Do you mean something that you could heat up small portions in? A lot of people use silicone muffin cups inside the ELB container. They either put a large one/main portion in there to lift out and heat up, OR smaller cups to hold cold items. They lift those smaller ones out before heating up the main compartment … but I do hope you find what you’re looking for. Thank you again for taking the time to write to me here :)

43 Jama February 28, 2014 at 3:23 am

We do use the silicone cups for cold items; however, the heat-up must be completely separate and self-contained. The school will only take the lid off to reheat the food. The container we use right now is circular, and about 4″ in diameter. It’s the perfect size, but my son is not able to secure the lid back on the container after it is heated. He was so frustrated. We finally figured out that he can put the empty container back into his EasyLunchBox and close that lid (which is so easy for him), and it is working, but I would still love to see a heat-up that he could actually try to close all by himself. Maybe one day :) Thanks, again! It may seem like such a minor thing, but EasyLunchBox has really made such an impact on my son!

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