This post contains affiliate links, which earn revenue for this site at no extra cost to you. See my disclosure policy here.
I’m kind of a container nut.
I don’t know what it is, but I just really, really love containers, especially if they’re beautiful and durable. I could seriously spend waaay too much money on them.
Because I’m a container fan, I’ve tried out quite a few different varieties, and so I thought it would be fun to put together a comparison/review post.
To-Go Ware Sidekick Stainless Steel Containers
I have several To-Go Ware sidekick containers, which I mainly love for lunch-packing purposes.
They’re fairly expensive, but they’re 100% stainless steel, which means they’ll last pretty much forever and won’t absorb any odors.
However, since they’re opaque, I prefer not to store refrigerated food in them, because if I can’t see what I have, I’m way more likely to waste it.
Spencer Stainless Steel
I splurged and bought a set of these when they were on sale at Pottery Barn Kids.
For the price, you’d have thought they’d be super-duper awesome, but I am sad to say that the lid on the smallest container has split in three places, and we’ve had this set for less than a year.
The other lids are holding up so far, and maybe that’s because with a bigger container, less stress is put on the corners during the opening process.
Still, I’m pretty disappointed in these, and I can’t exactly give them a hearty recommendation.
There are several different brands of these semi-disposable containers…I think Ziploc makes some too.
Because these aren’t designed to last forever, they’re not my first choice for food storage. However, they are WAY less expensive than glass or stainless steel, so if you’re on a limited budget and are looking for something less disposable than plastic wrap or plastic bags, these are a good first step.
They’re handy to have for divvying up leftovers after a large meal (I don’t want to send my stainless steel containers home with someone!) and I’ve also used them to freeze things like applesauce. You do have to be careful with these when they’re frozen, though, as they’re a little brittle and prone to cracking when they’re that cold.
The Gladware variety is BPA-free and recyclable, so when these reach the end of their useful life, you can at least recycle them.
Rubbermaid Food Storage
This is pretty much what I exclusively used when I got married and first had my own kitchen. It’s changed a lot since then, so I’m not really qualified to speak to how the quality of the Rubbermaid stuff is now. However, I’ve had my containers for well over a decade, and they’re holding up well.
They’re plastic, though, and they do have melting issues in the microwave. I mostly use mine for freezing purposes these days (like when I make applesauce or freezer jam.) As with the Gladware, though, you have to operate with care while the container is frozen, as it gets a little bit brittle.
Rubbermaid is very affordable, and since their containers are plastic, you might like these if you and your household are prone to dropping things on hard surfaces. 😉
Mason jars are especially great storage containers for things that are liquids. I use mine to hold my homemade yogurt, of course, but I also store leftover soup in them.
Ball makes some great plastic storage caps, which I dearly love (that’s the white lid in the photo), and if you have narrow mouth jars, you can use the lids from grated Parmesan cheese containers.
(I know. That isn’t very high-brow cheese, but my kids do love to sprinkle it on their pizza!)
And if you’re using the jars for storage and not for canning, there’s nothing wrong with just reusing a regular band and lid.
Pyrex Glass Storage Containers
I’ve saved these for last because they are pretty much my very favorite.
They’re glass with plastic lids, which means that I can see what they hold. For that reason, they trump stainless steel food storage for me.
Also, they come in a ridiculous array of sizes and shapes, which means I can use them for almost any food storage need.
I store leftovers in them, use them to pack Mr. FG’s lunches, take them to the store to buy packaging-free chicken, and store baked-goods in them.
I also love to use the small rectangular containers to store cheese once it’s been opened (as you can see in the photos in this post, I store ’em upside down so I can see what’s inside.)
Note: Anchor Hocking makes similar containers, but I’ve had terrible luck with their lids…they keep cracking, while my Pyrex ones have had almost no splitting issues.
If you’re looking to get into Pyrex storage, I’d recommend this 10-Piece Set Pyrex set as a great starter.
Since this isn’t a comprehensive post (I haven’t tried All Of The Containers In The World.), I’d love to hear from you. What food storage containers are your favorites?
Thursday 30th of May 2019
"...we’ll even put our morning coffee in a jar to go (they’re great for me, because as a pilot I have yet to find a cup that’s truly leak-proof in the face of takeoff and turbulence!"
I do have to chime in to say that NOTHING beats a Contigo Travel Mug for coffee-drinking on the go! I *especially* love the West Loop model, and many o' Contigo fans agree it's the best of all the various models of Contigo mugs out there.
Not only is it TRULY leak-proof (though you DO need to take care to put the lid on correctly to ensure it doesn't leak. But once you get the hang of screwing the lid on properly it's really quite easy to do, and the extra 2 seconds it takes to pay a bit more attention really pays off, and is WELL worth the many benefits offered in the long run!
My favourite features (and the main reason I think they knock the socks off of their competitors) is the ease of one-handed operation! So no fumbling or fussing to unscrew lids... and they also lock securely (also one-handed operation to lock/unlock very easily) to ensure the button (which is depressed while drinking) doesn't accidentally get depressed while being stored in a bag, purse, knapsack, etc!
(Though I believe the company advises to NOT carry them in bags -- noy without keeping upright-- but I think that's just to avoid issues or complaints from careless folks who don't bother to put the lids on correctly or remember to first engage the locking tab. I throw mine in my bag/purse all the time and have NEVER had an issue in all the years I've had my beloved Contigos!)
I really don't think your re-purposed glass containers can top *THAT* for coffee-drinking! (besides the fact that your glass container isn't double-walled or vacuum insulated to retain heat while also staying cool to the touch, thereby forgoing any need to carry around an old sock with you! :P
Can you confidently throw your glass jar of coffee into your gym bag or carry-on without any worry of leakage AND also drink from it single-handedly without having to remove the lid? I think not! Moreover: can you drink from your glass jar WHILE undergoing turbulence and NOT end up wearing your coffee?? I also think not! ;)
Though, admittedly, they may not be up your alley so much in terms of cost as it seems you generally prefer reusing containers originally meant for pre-packaging food products for sale. But I DO think the advantages by FAR outweigh their reasonable price tag!
And better yet if you have a Costco membership as they're quite inexpensive there compared to their regular retail counterparts... and also compared to other competitor travel mugs for that matter! (they're usually sold in pairs at Costco for roughly the same price they individually sell for in regular stores!)
And, no I don't work for Contigo! But I really do love them and think more people should try them! :)
Friday 14th of March 2014
Pyrex are my favorite as well, but Tupperware is a close second.
Thursday 13th of March 2014
I love the sistema made in New Zealand containers.
Saturday 8th of March 2014
What no mention of Tupperware?? My favorite is the old Ultra 21... Can be used in the freezer, frig, microwave, or regular oven. Great for saving space AND it has a life long guarantee.
Friday 7th of March 2014
I use the plastic Miracle Whip lids on my wide mouthed mason jars. Mayo lids would probable be the same size. I dislike reusing the canning lids & rings because they get rusty on me.