johnradi 8:07pm, 30 May 2006
Does anyone know of alternative Mr Bento style thermoses or food jars? I've been doing some googling and ebay searching but haven't hit on the right search words just yet... Bento's are the only thing popping up - I know there must be some other brands out there...
.ams PRO 12 years ago
Alternate Lunch Jars include Tiger and some non-brands that you can find sometimes at Asian markets.
Biggie* Posted 12 years ago. Edited by amanky (admin) 11 years ago
The Nissan Stainless Thermal Lunch Tote (JLN1400X) that's almost identical to the Mr. Bento is available on Amazon (plug in the model number). Sold by Thermos.

My photos here:

Buy here:
johnradi 12 years ago
Thanks! I'll head over to my asian grocery - I'll bet I find a selection there...

Lamascus, any feedback on the alternative containers? (I see you have a few). Do you think the Bento is hands down the best, or each has its purpose?
Biggie* 12 years ago
I'd say it depends on your needs. I took apart a number of knockoffs and the Mr./Ms. Bentos in the store, and thought the Zojirushi and Nissan Stainless products were about equal in quality (both Japanese, not surprisingly). I haven't checked out the Tiger jars in person, but construction looks pretty good (if not as stylish).

The interior containers in the Chinese jars aren't as nice (i.e. no special soup bowl, so you'd want to reinforce it with plastic wrap under the lid when packing soupy dishes). They do retain heat well enough for my needs. That said, the Chinese knockoffs were all under $10, so you could pick up different size lunch jars without feeling much pain. Basically I got both jars at my local Asian discount store for the price of one Mr. Bento.
.ams PRO 12 years ago
My husband has a Tiger lunch jar, and it's definitely not as well made as Mr. Bento. The containers are also distinctly smaller.
Biggie* 12 years ago
I just checked out a Tiger jar in person today, and agree with your take, .Ariel.
melmcwey 12 years ago
Nuttin' beats the Bento! ;)
ficbot 12 years ago
I got a Mr Vito or My Vitro or whatever it's called today! I am so excited. I can take soups to work now!
meteoramayne_26 12 years ago
Hello, I'm new to the food jar craze sweeping the nation, but I am familiar with Zojirushi. Anyway I was looking for some information about the Classic Stainless Lunch Jar (SL-XA20), which is also made by Zojirushi. I know it's bigger than the Mr. Bento, but I was wondering if it's actually better, besides just the size factor. I'd be getting it for my dad if that makes any difference. Thanks in advance, any replies would be greatly appreciated.
janetcinnc 12 years ago
We have a Mr. Bento and a Classic. They hold about the same amount, total, but they have different internal storage containers. The Mr. Bento has 4 containers, a soup bowl (9.5 oz), a main bowl (15 oz), and two side containers (10 oz & about 7 oz). The Classic has only 3 bowls: soup (9.5 oz), main (26.7 oz), and one side bowl (13.5). The main bowls are not water-tight.

I originally thought the Classic would be better for my husband because of the bigger bowls, but the Mr. Bento also holds plenty of food and allows me to give him a little more variety in his foods at lunch.

The Classic also does not come with any kind of carry bag. It has a strap that connects directly to the stainless jar, and there are two holders on the outside that secure the chopstick case. That means the classic won't allow you to send along any extras like a spoon or fork or napkins or a drink. It also means it's more easily scratched - which I hate as much as I hate scratches on my car!

You can see pictures of them by going to

I know I sound like a Zojirushi salesman, but I'm really just a die-hard fan. I love all of these lunch jars. We even have a Ms. Bento for our daughter.
meteoramayne_26 12 years ago
Thanks for the information Janet, there really are a lot of choices out there. Honestly though, anything would be better than the crappy cooler thing my dad is currently using. Before the cooler he was using this old-school Zojirushi (I call it the brown monster) I wish I could find pics of it, that thing was like a tank.
nicoteena 12 years ago
I don't think this will be very helpful, but I saw an American version of Mr Bento at my local Sears. I can't find it online, unfortunately, and I don't remember the brand name. But I thought I'd let you guys know in case you want to check out a Sears or something.
ginalamb 12 years ago
Nicoteena, was it the Gaunaurd Thermal Lunch Caddy?
nicoteena 12 years ago
I saw that one when I was looking for the one I was talking about, but as far as I can tell, it's not the same. The one I'm talking about may be made by the same company, though, but it's more like a classic Zojirushi jar, with 3 inner bowls.
oange Posted 11 years ago. Edited by oange (member) 11 years ago
I just went on a searching binge for Mr. Bento alternatives as the price point seems exorbitant to me.

I found everyone has their own name for their product; aka insulated vacuum stainless steel ss lunch jar tote thermos flask container.

Thermos Nissan Wide Mouth Food Jar JLN1400x, is out of stock most everywhere. However, available and at a good price($30)!! (I do not have any affiliation with them and just ordered one so I can give feedback on service once I get it) .

Maxam Stainless Steel Vacuum Food Container
(at amazon, cheaper on ebay). Includes a drink thermos that attaches and knife and fork. If my math is correct it should be about 828 ml of food and 1 cup or 236 ml of drink. For comparison Mr. Bento is 1.8 ml of food. Around the same price, unfortunately at amazon, although, ebay has for $24 (search for flask)

Tupperware Meal Solutions To Go Pack
Not stainless, but an insulated zipper bag that holds 1 microwaveable food container, and two smaller containers.

There are also cute stackable indian tiffens to place in an insulated bag. Chinese two tier lunch containers are great but these are not insulated. And there are Mr Bento knock offs; BLG Lunch 2.0L, Tiger, etc. And, the Fit & Fresh line, but, I wants me some STEEL.

I like the bento box put out by Thermos which is a like a more classic lunch-box and kid friendly. Insulated zipper bag with a 300ml rice bowl that fits into a stainless sleeve, and two microwaveable 160ml containers. Cute handle on top with a slotted pocket for chopsticks or utensils. Japan Souvenir has them on ebay.
kastelling Posted 11 years ago. Edited by kastelling (member) 11 years ago
Definately check out your local asian grocery store. I got my second one that way- it's not quite as well made as mr bento, and it has three larger bowls instead of four smaller ones. But I like it quite a bit!
oh_hello 11 years ago
I just got the Tupperware system on eBay for less than $20 shipped.
The containers are standard tupperware, not insulated, but the bag is insulated. I've never tried putting hot things in to see how it holds the heat though.
ysetiawa 11 years ago
zojirushi mrbento is worth the investment. i have mine for over 4 yrs, it still works beautifully. :)
ficbot 11 years ago
I saw Mr. Bento in person for the first time today in Chinatown. That thing is massive! And expensive! I do love my Mr. Vitro for soups, but I have been wanting one with individual containers like the Mr. Bento as I think it would be easier to wash. So I was thrilled to find THREE over brands while I was there. I finalyl settled on the "Thermos Freshtyle" jar which has three inner containers. I will post pics later. The one thing that worries me is, the instruction manual is all in Chinese. It has several pictures with arrows and urgent-looking exclamatory messages on it. I don't read Chinese. I am not even 100% sure it IS Chinese. When I post my photo set, I'll post pics of the manual. If anyone can read it, they can feel free to let me know what it says :)
stvcr Posted 11 years ago. Edited by stvcr (member) 11 years ago
I bought my Thermal Food Jar yesterday after being whipped up into a frenzy by all the lovely pictures in this group. It's not a Mr Bento, rather a Bernar Inox (from Spain). It has 3 containers not 4 which I can see may cause me problems later. Total capacity 1.5L. Cost €18 ($26).
Here it is.

The containers all have nice feeling screw-on lids and are a good size to hold in one hand while eating. There is a cutlery container which slots on the side, with a pretty cheap looking fork and spoon inside. No bag to carry it all in either. Is the main body supposed to be watertight? In case you wanted to just use it for 1.5L of soup. Mine isn't, dribbling water out as I pre-warmed it this morning.

No pics of my first meal, but I made rice with torn up grilled chicken and green beans. Rice was cooked (badly) this morning and put straight in the container, while the other two were prepared last night and nuked a bit this morning before packing. After 4 hours 15 mins, I opened it up for lunch. The rice was still a decent temperature, but the other two dishes needed another nuke to get them up to speed.

So why did I buy it? I'm microwaving stuff just as before, and it's bigger than the containers that I would have taken previously. It did make me cook something more interesting than normal just to use it, so if that keeps up then it will be worth it. Plus to have the cooler effect in summer will be nice. It gets pretty hot where I am, and I'm loving looking at all the pictures here of lunches and little plastic containers. This is what the internet was made for - porn in all its forms.
great rifle [deleted] 11 years ago
I've seen a Mr. Bento of sorts that have 2 containers (one is a very good size) and it was under $20. I've seen these in Brazilian/Portugese markets in my area. That might be worth peaking at...and those stores are fun!
bmrifksu Posted 10 years ago. Edited by bmrifksu (member) 10 years ago
Burl Wood says:

thank you for useful information janet
janetcinnc 10 years ago
you're welcome, bmrifksu
mxhashim 10 years ago
Forgive me - no picture but a quick note. Ichiban kan's website has a picture of a thermal lunch kit (similar to the one biggie often has in her shots of the half moon containers and main round container) that, when asked where it might be on their website, they said was not a big seller in their stores and that they don't actually have that product. THey would respond to interest though, so if you are interested in a thermal kit (which I can only imagine is much cheaper than zojirushi, tiger or nissan), PLEASE let them know!

Thank you.

Back to the beautiful photos.
mxhashim 10 years ago
They are now taking a poll for 6 more days to decide on interest in a thermal food jar.
alosander_bambazia 10 years ago
all your comments are very helpful and useful

thank all of you

commented by Canon SX10
snappiness 10 years ago
I recently found my Zojirushi Ms Bento at a local Asian market for $25. Worth checking locally before paying shipping!
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