Best Storage Containers

There are some consumer products in the world that certain individuals will never see a need for. Then, on the contrary, there are those products that are all but impossible to live without. It is safe to say when you talk about storage containers, they fall in the latter. You see, especially when you are dealing with food, they are essential to have around your home to either organize items or keep leftover food fresh. But, it is important to note that not all models will be suitable for food as if they are plastic, they need to be BPA free and airtight for optimal freshness and safety.

Utopia Kitchen
  • Utopia Kitchen
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Includes 18 pieces
  • Oven and freezer safe
  • Price: See Here
Glasslock Oven-Safe
  • Glasslock Oven-Safe
  • 4.9 out of 5
    Our rating
  • FDA approved
  • BPA free
  • Price: See Here
Rubbermaid
  • Rubbermaid
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • OnePress seals
  • Oven safe to 425 degrees
  • Price: See Here

10 Best Storage Containers

 

 

Utopia Glass Set

Utopia kicks this list off and they present to you their 18-piece set of clear glass durable containers. For most food storage purposes, this set is the be-all and end-all.
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Items Included
There are nine containers and nine lids that make up this set; hence, this is an 18 piece set. But, there are different sized pieces so that is a plus.

Sealing Efficiency
Even though some buyers have noted the lids can be hard to get on and off, when on, they provide an airtight and watertight seal to keep all contents fresh.

Durability
Instead of traditional plastic, this set is made of highly durable borosilicate glass. In addition to this, the lids are made of polypropylene and will withstand the test of time.

Safety
On top of being safe to store in the freezer, these are also rated to handle up to 400-degree heat making them suitable in the oven. Also, each piece is BPA free.

Ease of Cleaning
If you do not have a dishwasher installed in your home, you can simply wash these with soap and water.

Overall
About the only small issue here is that the lids can be difficult to get on and off at times. Yet, this 18-piece set is ideal because of its airtight and watertight seal, durable nature, and freezer safety.
Pros

Both oven and freezer safe

Includes 18 pieces

Made of durable glass and polypropylene

Cons

The lids can be difficult to get on and off

Glasslock Oven-Safe

No, you are not experiencing déjà vu. It just so happens that this next entry is eerily similar to that of the number one model on this list. In fact, it essentially is just a slightly less expensive version.
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Items Included
In total, much like the last set, there are 18 pieces that comprise this set. There are various square, rectangle and circular pieces of different sizes that are included.

Sealing Efficiency
As with the last model, the lids on this set can be hard to seal. But, their leakproof and airtight design will keep all your food fresh that is inside.

Durability
Outside of the durability of the glass design, it is also clear so you can easily identify what is inside of each container. Just as before, the lids are made of plastic, as well.

Safety
As the glass that was used for this set is made of limestone and other natural components, it is BPA free. Plus, they can all be stored in the freezer or used in the microwave or oven.

Ease of Cleaning
Thanks to the fact that these are odor-free and stain-proof, they are very simple to clean when the time comes.

Overall
As many models seem to experience, once again, it can be difficult to lock the lids. When you do eventually get them locked, though, the airtight seals are sure to keep your food fresh.
Pros

Set features many different shapes and sizes

Can easily identify how much food is left

Both BPA free and FDA approved

Cons

Several users claim the lids can be difficult to lock

Rubbermaid Easy

When you see Rubbermaid, you automatically assume greatness. They have established themselves as one of the most recognizable brands in the industry so it is no surprise to see them land on this list.
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Items Included
As with most sets, Rubbermaid includes a plethora of different shapes and sizes to account for several different types of food. All in all, this is a 22-piece set (including the lids).

Sealing Efficiency
Rubbermaid designed their lids with a OnePress seal and this is a rubberized seal that will keep your food fresh and one that will also prevent leaks.

Durability
Along the same line as the other two models so far, Rubbermaid designed their set with tempered glass bases and plastic lids. This is an ideal combination for function and durability.

Safety
Thanks to the tempered glass bases, each piece of this set can be used in ovens (no warmer than 425 degrees) and also microwaves.

Ease of Cleaning
These are dishwasher-safe for those who have that luxury. But, for those without it, they still clean up fairly easily and do not retain odors like plastic.

Overall
In a world that is filled with tons of glass Tupperware, it is safe to say that this set from Rubbermaid is one of the best. Their safety, airtightness and build quality is proof enough for that.
Pros

Oven safe to 425 degrees

Features OnePress seals

The lids snap onto each other for storage

Cons

The lids can be hard to seal

Can be heavy to move around

Popit Set

Popit Set
While this is another multiple piece food container set, this one is not made out of glass. Instead, it is made of dishwasher-safe and BPA free plastic to ensure your food is safe to consume.
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Items Included
There are eight individually sized containers that come with this set (with the other eight pieces being the lids). The sizes range from three ounces all the way up to 47 ounces.

Sealing Efficiency
Popit designed each one of the pieces with premium quality. As such, an airtight seal is promised for each and every one of them.

Durability
Though the plastic seems solid in general, one buyer noted that the hinges that seal the lid are generally weak. As such, be wary to not close them with too much force.

Safety
On top of being both FDA approved and BPA free, each plastic container is also microwave safe and freezer safe.

Ease of Cleaning
The removable seal helps to clean these more deeply. Of course, they are all dishwasher-safe and can simply be washed in that manner.

Overall
Granted you are careful when snapping the lids shut, to protect the hinges from damage, you can enjoy arguably the best plastic set that has ever been known to mankind.
Pros

They are microwave, freezer and dishwasher-safe

Features eight different sizes

Designed with airtight seals

Cons

The hinges seem weak

Some users note that the sizes are quite random

Rubbermaid Brute Tote

Rubbermaid Brute Tote
Up until now, every entry has been a kitchen set. However, while this next model is still rated to work in overall food handling and processing, it is a tote and can also be used for general storage.
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Items Included
This is not a set and indeed, the Brute is merely a tote. But, it can hold up to 53 liters of items. As some have noted, though, the lid is deep and does reduce the internal space.

Sealing Efficiency
The lid on this unit will snap tight but removing it proves to be a difficult task. You may want to keep food inside that is already sealed.

Durability
As Rubbermaid points out, they designed their Brute with commercial-grade materials. In addition to this, they have reinforced the bottom to enhance the durability and strength.

Safety
Per NSF/ANSI standards, this tote can still be used in the food handling and processing field. So, you could ideally use it to store food if you so choose.

Ease of Cleaning
When you do need to clean this tote, it has been specially designed with rounded corners to ease the process.

Overall
As a tote, the Brute is as good as it gets. Of course, if you are primarily looking for a means to store dry food or refrigerated items, this is probably not going to be for you.
Pros

Features a reinforced bottom for strength

Has integrated handles for carrying

Crafted of high-density polyethylene

Cons

The lid reduces usable internal space

The lid can also be difficult to remove

Kitchen Safe

Kitchen Safe
Now, this one is certainly intriguing. The Time Locking Container was featured on Shark Tank and is designed to assist people with temptations as it can literally lock itself.
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Items Included
The lone container included is actually designed with a timer. After you place a tempting food inside, rotate the button to set the timer and then it will not open until the timer reaches zero. Also, the timer can be set from one minute to 10 days.

Sealing Efficiency
Sealing is not the issue here but, let’s address a bit of a design flaw. Perhaps a code should be entered before you can lock it as if you accidentally lock it for a long time, it can’t be opened until that time has passed.

Durability
As opposed to typical models, this is made of much thicker and more rigid BPA free materials. Let’s just say that sturdiness and durability are far from concerns.

Safety
No need to worry about safety here as this has been designed with BPA free materials.

Ease of Cleaning
Some buyers have noted it malfunctions after being in a refrigerator so only dry foods should be stored inside. As such, cleaning should not be much of an issue.

Overall
Even though this design is flawed a bit, one can’t deny how intriguing it really is. When you are trying to fight off temptations of specific food items, this can be fantastic.
Pros

It was featured on Shark Tank

The interface is easy to learn

Made of BPA free materials

Cons

The design is flawed and if you accidentally lock it too long, you can’t get inside

Bellemain Acrylic

Bellemain Acrylic
Bellemain’s canister set is a little different than the other models on this list and on top of the fact that they designed their pieces out of acrylic, they are canisters, to begin with.
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Items Included
There are four different canisters that come with your purchase and each is a different size. The smallest measures 22 ounces and the largest 65 ounces.

Sealing Efficiency
Both a silicone gasket and a clamp ensure that a tight fit is ensured every time. But, these gaskets also tend to fall off easily.

Durability
These are made of non-breakable acrylic and interestingly enough, when they drop, they are advertised to bounce and not break. Do not push your luck with this, though.

Safety
No harmful chemicals will seep inside of the contents inside any of the canisters. This is because the construction is BPA and chemical free.

Ease of Cleaning
It is not advised to place these in the dishwasher and when hand washing it, it becomes somewhat difficult to dry them as the water tends to get stuck in the lid.

Overall
The four canisters that you receive within this set are great means to store all types of kitchen essentials such as sugar, flour, rice, etc. Plus, their acrylic nature better protects against accidents.
Pros

BPA and chemical free

The acrylic is non-breakable

Comes with four individual canisters

Cons

The latching mechanisms seem flimsy

Not that easy to clean

Iris Airtight

Iris Airtight
In your household, you may not be the only species (so to speak) that need fresh food. Do not forget about your pet/pets and to accommodate them, consider this model from IRIS.
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Items Included
IRIS includes only one airtight model with your purchase and if you have more than one pet, you may want to order a few of them. But, it does measure 47 quarts and can hold over 30 pounds of dog or cat food.

Sealing Efficiency
IRIS advertises their model with an airtight seal but as one buyer noted, the seal in the cover makes it difficult to achieve this airtight seal.

Durability
Even if this falls over, you are good to go. Because it is designed of plastic, you do not have much to worry about.

Safety
To ensure your pets are not eating any harmful chemicals, this model has been designed with BPA free plastic.

Ease of Cleaning
Probably the best way to clean this would be with a garden hose due to the size. In this manner, washing it is not too much of a hassle.

Overall
As some buyers have alluded to, it could be questionable to label this airtight. Still, the snap lock latches are designed to keep moisture out to prolong your pet’s food.
Pros

Comes with casters for easy mobility

The molded-in handles make pouring easier

Can fit into tight spaces

Cons

The seal of the cover has been questioned by some users

OXO Good Grips POP

OXO Good Grips POP
This next design is quite ingenious and while the build quality leaves a lot to be desired, the design as a whole does not. With the integrated button on the top, you merely push it down to achieve an airtight seal.
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Items Included
OXO manufacturers several different sizes for you to look through. What is nice is each one is specifically calibrated to store a certain household staple.

Sealing Efficiency
The sealing design of this is quite ingenious. To seal the unit, all you need to do is secure the lid and push the button down. To release it, push the button again.

Durability
As some users have reported, the composition of the plastic is not the best. It is a little too thin and even during shipping, some users have noted there has been damage.

Safety
All you really need to know about the safety of OXO’s containers is that they are made of BPA free plastic.

Ease of Cleaning
Even though the top can be difficult to clean, this is a dishwasher-safe model. At least, the silicone seal is dishwasher-safe and the other parts need to be hand washed.

Overall
The innovative and ingenious design of this model can’t be underestimated. It is just a shame that it could not have been built with enhanced durability, as it could have propelled it to another level.
Pros

Simply push the button for an airtight seal

Backed by the OXO Better Guarantee

Shaped to fit in any location

Cons

The plastic is quite thin

Sterilite Clip Box

Sterilite Clip Box
Perhaps you are not looking for storage containers just for your food. In this case, this next model is ideal for smaller items and even papers. Plus, you can choose the quantity and size.
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Items Included
While you can select the quantity and size you desire, this specific six pack comes in either small, larger, or mini sizes.

Sealing Efficiency
Although this is not ideal for food, the tight-clasping latches will hold this securely to the base.

Durability
As opposed to other top brands, the plastic makeup of these containers is a little more brittle and less forgiving.

Safety
These storage containers are really designed for household items and such. It may not be wise to store food inside them as the plastic may or may not be BPA free.

Ease of Cleaning
Truth be told, you probably will not need to clean this model. If you do, though, it can be easily be done with soap and water.

Overall
While you can’t merely recklessly handle these boxes as they may receive damage, they are very useful and well designed to account for smaller items around your home.
Pros

An ideal solution for storing household items

Very easy to clean, if need be

Comes with multiple containers

Cons

The handles should lock down better

The internal dimensions are smaller than the actual dimensions

Criteria Used For Evaluation

What You Need

Probably the single most important question you need to answer before you go diving blind into this buying process is what you need to store. Most of the entries on this were focused on food and in this case, what types of food do you need to be stored? Are you simply just looking for a means to store your leftovers in the fridge? Or, perhaps you want larger containers to hold bulks of food. Whatever the case may be, you need to tailor the size and shape of the units to your needs. As seen throughout this list, they come in various shapes and sizes and sometimes come in sets.

As will be explained more in-depth later, leaving a ton of excess space inside the container when you store it can actually be a detriment. So, there is no need to invest in giant versions if you are merely looking to store small amounts of food. Yet, the opposite can be true for many people. Only you know what you need; always remember that.

How Well It Is Sealed

Let’s just say that if the food did not need to be properly sealed, then you literally use just about anything to store it away. However, the exact opposite is true because food’s greatest enemy is the air. If you do not keep your food inside of an airtight contraption, then it is going to dry out, it will absorb odors, and (when in the freezer) will become freezer burnt. In other words, the shelf life will become greatly reduced. The answer then becomes to pay attention to the airtightness of a specific container. But, how do you do that?

Well, it all comes down to how well the lid seals as this is either going to prevent air from coming in or the opposite. While the debate between glass and plastic will be touched on later, it seems that glass models with tight lids do a superb job of keeping air out, most of the time. This is important because even though most sellers advertise their product with airtightness, it is not always the case.

Build Quality

Okay, now is the time to assess the difference between glass and plastic containers. In this section, let’s focus primarily on the build quality and durability. When it comes down to longevity, glass is the clear favorite. The primary reasoning for this is with plastic, such as polycarbonate, it is going to break down over time from overuse and overexposure to higher temperatures. Also, it will typically begin to develop scratches and discoloring. On the other hand, glass can be reused time and time again and poses no threat. Also, it can handle hot liquids and foods for years upon years and will not sacrifice its durability or shape.

But, glass is not foolproof in this case. The one major area where plastic holds the advantage is when accidents occur. When you drop plastic, the worst that will happen is a potential mess. With glass, this is a bit more extreme. Depending on the fall and the landing surface, glass can shatter and break in an instance notice. With kids running around all the time, be careful if you go with glass.

Their Safety

When you talk about any product that is associated with food, you must talk about safety. This is especially true in this case as most people are aware of the potential issues with plastic. The issue is that even when plastic is designed to be BPA free, it can still pose potential threats. One such instance is if you microwave it. Doing this is not recommended as not only will plastic melt if left inside too long, toxic chemicals can also migrate into your food during the process. With glass, though, the surface is non-porous and can handle the higher temperatures without warping or melting.

But, back to the issue with BPA, even when it is not present in plastic, other compounds such as BPS and BPF can be used. These can also pose issues to the way your cells function. Plus, with glass, you can easily store it in the refrigerator and freezer as it will not release any chemicals when it is frozen. When it comes to 100 percent safety, glass definitely holds the edge over plastic. But, plastic is still highly popular and is used in a wide range of food containers.

Ease of Cleaning

This is the last true plastic vs glass debate and once again, glass holds an edge. There are two primary concerns when it comes to washing plastic. One, it can release harmful chemicals at higher temperatures so dishwashing is not a recommended option (unless the manufacturer claims otherwise). Secondly, when they get stained, they absorb the stain it can be extremely difficult to get rid of it. These two issues are not at all problems with glass for two reasons. Firstly, as mentioned before, glass is non-porous and will not absorb stains or foods. Next, it is able to handle higher temperatures and will not release chemicals so most will be deemed dishwasher-safe.

Then again, when it comes to hand cleaning most models, if they will fit in your sink, it can be accomplished with simple soap and hot water.

 

FAQs

Q:   Should You Wash Plastic Models Before Using Them?

Let’s not undersell that plastic models are still sufficient, as several fantastic models are on this list. But, in addition to everything else that was just claimed, there is also something else to be wary about it. Before you ever use any storage container that has plastic, you should always clean it beforehand. The reason for this is it is highly unlikely that they will be sterilized before you use them.

To err on the side of caution, hand-wash them (unless the manufacturer claims you can place them inside of a dishwasher) to ensure that any bacteria or harmful substances are gone.

Q:   Can Glass Model Go from the Freezer to the Microwave?

This really is an excellent question and it can be answered by assessing how glass really works. While glass is okay for both microwave and freezer use, you should not place it in the microwave directly out of the freezer. Glass should not go from one extreme temperature to another within a matter of seconds due to the physics behind it.

When you heat up a piece of cold glass, the frozen molecules within it will begin to agitate and awake. As the glass becomes warmer and warmer, the freedom of movement increases and it will quickly go from cold and hard to soft and warm. What you really want to do is only place them in the microwave if they are already at room temperature. The same can be said about storing it in the freezer as doing so when it is scorching hot is ill-advised.

Q:   How Do You Clean Stains off of Them?

This next question is only in regard to plastic models and there is a reason for it. Remember when it was claimed that stains can be a hassle to get out of plastic? Well, this is because plastic is going to absorb the stain. Meanwhile, glass does not and hence, this will never be an issue with glass. But, what happens if stain residues do get left on your plastic containers? Unfortunately, doing so is not as simple as scrubbing it with soap and water. Instead, mix a thick paste of baking soda and warm water. Then, take this solution and scrub off the stains with it.

Before you rinse, let it sit for the entire day. If the stain persists by the next morning, repeat the process until it is gone. In the future, to help avoid this, coat the plastic with either oil or non-stick spray before placing any food inside.

Q:   How to Remove an Accidental Vacuum Seal?

Right now, you are probably thinking how on earth you achieve an accidental vacuum seal. Well, while this is not the question, this can be accomplished by leaving the lid on and clamped while you microwave. If you remove your container only to find that the lid is all but pried shut, simply wait it out. You need to allow both the lid and the base to drop down to room temperature as eventually, you should be able to remove the lid. However, do not attempt to pry it open as this could damage the lid.

To avoid this issue, never microwave with the lid on. To avoid splatters, simply use a paper towel to cover the opening of the base. This will not only achieve the same task as the lid but will also not seal on afterward, piece of cake.

Q:   What to do With Mold?

Whenever you are dealing with leftover foods, mold is always going to be an issue. In fact, oftentimes you look for mold on your food to see if it is still good. The reality is mold is going to grow in damp conditions and needs moisture to do so. This is another reason why an airtight seal is critical as it needs to be watertight, as well. Well, if you do happen to get mold and it gets inside of your container, here is what you need to do.

You need to concoct a mixture of bleach and water. A good ratio to abide by is for every one liter of water you use, use roughly 55 milliliters of bleach. With this solution, pour it inside of the container and allow it to soak for around 30 minutes. From there, wash and rinse thoroughly.

Q:   How Long do Leftovers Last?

It is worth mentioning that if you use these types of containers for dry foods, they should last quite a long time if it is an airtight seal. But, the same can’t be said for refrigerated items. In this case, the food is not going to last very long even with an airtight seal. To be honest, if you know you will not eat whatever you place inside in less than a week, you should place it in the freezer if you can. But, what you need to do is prevent the formation of bacteria and mold. As you just learned, moisture is going to be the cause of this and thus, no air can come inside.

But, you also do not want a ton of excess space inside. The smaller and shallower the container, the faster it is going to cool down which also slows down the growth of bacteria.

Final Thoughts

This almost turned into a debate about glass and plastic but do not lose sight of the other important factors that were documented today. As you now know, a lot goes into choosing the right storage container. But, once you weigh the pros and cons of each model, you should be able to make an informed decision.