We are getting lots of questions, especially in store, about the difference between the Planet Box and the Lunchbox Cinco.
I will highlight some of the key features and let you know why we prefer the Cinco.
Our family acquired a Planet Box (The Rover) several years ago when we were first looking at stainless lunch options. At the time it was the only option available for a full size bento system. Lunchbots did have their smaller bento containers, but they are not substantial enough for entire lunch.
Overall we do prefer the Lunchbots Cinco and I'd like to share those reasons with you:
1) Size. For me bigger isn't always better. The Planet Box leads in terms of size (dimensions). It is 10 x 7 x 1.5". It holds approximately 4.5 cups of food. The Lunchbots Cinco is 8 x 6 x 1.75 and holds approximately 4 cups of food. BUT due to the odd shape of the compartments in the Planet Box, I do find I am able to fit more food into my Cinco than in my Planet Box.
The Planet Box size is a disadvantage for us for several reasons. The Planet Box does not fit into a majority of easy to find or well known lunch bags. I know this doesn't seem like a huge deal, but after 2-3 months of use our Planet Box lunch bag became stinky, gross and mouldy. I had to find a new bag within 6 months because I could not bare the smell. It became challenging to find a bag that would easily fit the size of the container along with a water bottle and extra containers. The Cinco has a lovely shape that fits in almost any lunch bag (I have yet to find one that it does not fit in). We especially love our Dabbawalla bag that is machine washable, insulating and easy to carry! It also has excellent space capacity. It also fits easily into any of our So Young Lunch bags (the Lunch Bag, the Small Cooler and the Large Cooler). There is less room for additional items when the Cinco is placed in the Small Cooler and Lunch Bag.
Another disadvantage that I want to talk about with size of the Planet Box is the fact that the Planet Box lid is fully attached. Meaning that once you open your planet box it takes up a fairly large footprint on your counter or child's desk at school. For some kids this may not be problematic (especially in Kindergarten when they are sharing small tables). I found it especially hard to pack multiple lunches using the Planet Box because of this factor. I like to line up all FOUR of my lunch boxes (not including my own...eeek!) and if I had four planet boxes there would be no room left on our counters for anything else. The Cinco lid fits beautifully underneath the container and takes up much less room, making packing lunches more convenient.
2) Acessories. The Cinco comes on its own without any accessories. This can be a major advantage if you do not require the additional accessories. Perhaps you have your own leak proof container, your own waterbottle or lunch bag. It can also be an advantage if you want more than what the Planet Box offers. For instance, the Planet Box has one large seal proof container (FYI - they were not seal proof 4 years ago. This is a new feature!). If you want to send two seal proof items you are not able to. With the Cinco you can use the two large compartments paired with our Kids Konserve 5oz container and send along two separate sealed items (such as yogurt and applesauce OR applesauce and pudding). You can also include a small dip container the same as the Planet Box.
3) Lunch Bag. I will talk briefly about the lunch bag system again. The disadvantage I see with the Planet Box is that most of their lunch bags are not able to include many extras. So if you wanted to send along a thermos or larger extra container there is limited space capacity within the bag. The other disadvantage of the Planet Box bag compared to our Dabbawalla Bag is that the Planet Box lunch bag is not machine washable. This may not seem like a huge deal initially but when you are sending lunches with children who inevitably are not very great at putting lids back on properly or keeping items secure, you will get leaks (lots of leaks!). When we used our Planet Box lunch bag it was stinky, sticky and gross within 3 months of use. We had to replace by 6 months because I could not stand the smell. The Dabbawalla Bag is fully machine washable and has been in use with us for THREE years now!
4) Cost. While the Cinco itself may seem like a large investment, the Planet Box rings in much higher when you attribute the cost of the US vs CDN dollar as well as the shipping costs associated with Planet Box. The Planet box will cost you more than $140 if you want the Box and Bag, while the Lunchbots Cinco, leak proof container + Bag will bring you to $112.
Overall, while I do like the concept of the Planet Box and their innovative system we do prefer the size and functionality of the Cinco much better.
Look for our video soon!
Stay tuned for an overview of how we pack lunches and what items we include!