Tiffin food carriers or tiffin boxes as they are more traditionally known, are a safe and efficient way of carrying and transporting hot food stuffs, whether that is a freshly prepared school lunch or an evening meal post a gym workout.
Check out our winner below and then read further about our top 5 tiffin boxes.
ONE TO AVOID!
Insulated Lunch Tiffin
Bento Lunch Box
With Indian tiffin containers, you primarily have two options:
- Traditional stainless steel
- Plastic lunch box with stainless steel inner
Seeing the word ‘plastic’ might initially scare off mums concerned about food touching the maligned material. However, this is not the case. The Indian lunch box is made of food grade plastic with the inner being made of stainless steel. The materials used are non-toxic and carry no taste.
Our awesome guide gives our recommendations of the 5 best tiffin food carriers available on the market. As you’ll see, our favourite ones are the stainless steel types (much like when we preferred stainless steel spice boxes), but some plastic ones are actually better for keeping in the flavours and aromas.
1. Pyramid Tiffin (3-Tier) by Indian Tiffin
This Pyramid Indian Tiffin has three sections of differing sizes and an extra strong closing mechanism.
The top two compartments are a little on the small side if you want to put bulkier foodstuffs like Nan bread in them. It's best to cut the bread down to size!
- Pyramid style stacking system for ease of storage
- Dishwasher and freezer safe
- Strong locking mechanism - prevent leakage
The height of the tins are 5.5cm, 6cm and 6.5cm, so there's plenty of head height. Some criticisms are that the clamps can be a little hard to adjust, so make sure your fingers are dry when using the clamps.
2. Zebra Stainless Steel Food Carrier
This strong but stylish lunch tin is sturdy and traditional. Great for adults and children alike. Furthermore, it is suitable for picnics and gatherings with family and friends.
We're not massive fans of the fingers shaped carrying handle. It can get a little painful if carrying it on long journeys.
- Stackable lunch box
- Features a secure carrying handle
- Stainless steel construction
3. 2-Tier Box for Kids by Life Nutritionist
This lunch box is compact, solid and sturdy. It has a really nice arched handle for ease of carrying. With two compartments, it has excellent insulation performance.
A recent update means that the food should be kept better. It did have initial complaints that it wasn't doing a great job, but the heat retention capability has improved according to our customers.
- Even though it is only 2 compartments, it has a 1080ml capacity
- Stainless steel, durable and claims to be rust-proof
- Small hidden cup at the tope between the handles - storage for extra chillies or herbs
4. Stackable (3 Tier) with Bag by Mr.Dakai
Comes with three large round bowls with each bowl having a capacity of 0.7 litres. Also comes with an adjustable shoulder strap to help with carrying the tiffin box.
Be careful not to overfill as it does tend to leak a little bit of you're a bit overzealous with your sauces. Don't fill too much and you'll be fine.
- Multipurpose - can be used to store cold food items as well as hot
- Has durable clips with block buttons on each side of each compartment
- Comes with a shoulder strap
5. The Square Bento Box by Monbento
This really cool looking bento box is also a tiffin box in our eyes. It can fit big meals into the compartments and the 100% leak proof guarantee means you can put your soups, curries or gravy in once compartment and breads or fruits in the other and there is no chance of leakage according to the manufacturer. A bold claim!
It is priced at the higher end of the spectrum, but makes a really cool gift for someone that likes to prepare their hot meals at home.
- Really nice design to fit into your bag or worktop
- 100% airtight thanks to its internal lid
- The lunch box is BPA free
Important Features of Indian Lunch Boxes
Another feature that you need to look out for is leakage.
We’ve gone through quite a few lunch boxes where even the lightest of commuter jostling has ensued curries and gravy leaking onto laptops and notebooks. This isn’t normally the best start to a Monday morning in the office.
Check that the lid has a really good fastening design and the lid does actually close properly with no hot air escaping.
A final point is the handle. There is really no need to have a handle design that is too unconventional.
A curved or arched handle which is convenient to carry is a basic design principle that doesn’t require innovation. We’ve seen some grill shaped handles or rectangular handles which just aren’t comfortable!
Which is better - stainless steel lunch box or a plastic one?
Firstly, it’s quite obvious that a product made out of purely stainless steel will last a lot longer than other lunch boxes made out of less durable material.
They won’t stain, are much easier to clean and will not wear out as quickly as other materials.
Stainless steel lunch boxes are also completely free of BPA and other toxins that are sometimes found in plastic based materials.
Let’s not forget that steel is timeless and the clean finish means that it is not susceptible to stylistic preferences over time i.e. it won’t go out of fashion.