Whether you’re bringing lunch to work in an old takeout quart container, storing leftovers after a big meal in a matching set of snap-top plastic bowls, or packing a dish for a potluck dinner in oven-safe glass, food storage solutions are a necessity in every kitchen. They come in all shapes and sizes, all materials and price ranges, and the options can be overwhelming. That’s why we set out to find the top contenders in the world of food containers.
We asked our readers what they look for in food storage containers, and, in a poll of over 100 readers, we found that having BPA- and BPS-free materials for food storage is the most important factor, followed closely by leak-proofing and durability. Least important qualities to our readers are whether or not their containers are oven-safe and the price of food storage solutions.
After learning what was most important to our readers, we chose a series of tests that could help us determine which food containers deserve a spot on your shelf. Here’s what we tested:
Test 1 — The Lean Test
How many times have you placed your lunch flat at the bottom of your bag at the beginning of your commute, only to arrive at work with the container on its side and salad dressing leaking all over everything? All that ends after the lean test, during which we placed each of the containers on its side for 10 minutes. Although some of the containers spilled liquid everywhere during the ten minutes, not all did; the best in this category included Snapware with a Pyrex bottom, the OXO LockTop container, and the Ball glass quart jar.
Test 2 — The Shake Test
Imagine you’re running to catch the train and the soup you packed for lunch is bobbing along for the ride. You hope nothing spilled, and now you’ll know for sure. With help from the edit team at The Daily Meal, we shook each of the containers continuously for 3 minutes to see which were leak proof even under continual motion. Some of the best in this category included Glad To-Go Lunch (both the container and the attached dressing container were sealed tight), Cook Pro, and Anchor TrueSeal.
Test 3 — The Drop Test
The best way to find out if you’ve got a winning container is if you can drop it out of the fridge without losing any of last night’s dinner. We dropped these containers from about 3 feet into a ceramic, flat-bottomed sink. Because we didn’t want to have to clean up glass shards or replace the sink, we dropped all glass containers from the same height, but onto a lightly carpeted area. We don’t think this affected the results too much, and hope you don’t mind us not throwing glass around the office.
We also kept in mind how easy is it to attach and remove the seal of each container, based on often-slippery and messy kitchen hands. As for determining which containers were BPA-free, freezer-safe, microwave-safe, oven-safe, and dishwasher-safe, we took the word of the food storage companies. We also took note of qualities like stackability, and extras like clear windows for easy identification, fill lines, and aesthetics. Pricing is based on whatever size container is closest to one quart, and gathered from either the company website, a company rep, or an average price based off of nation-wide retailers like Walmart or Amazon.
Find out how your favorite food storage containers stacked up.
26. Thermos Dual Compartment Food Jar
Soup, salad, and reusable spork live together in these dual-sided containers from Thermos. Perfect for days when you’re out of range of a microwave or refrigerator, the insulated side keeps hot food hot for up to five hours (even when stored in the refrigerator) and the other half keeps cold food cold for up to seven hours. Convenience will cost you: neither side is microwavable nor dishwasher safe, and the price is more than we wanted to spend on a container. ($29.99)
25. Bentgo All-in-One Stackable Bento Lunch Box