The Best Plastic Food Storage Containers

Rubbermaid Premier Food Storage With Tritan Plastic

Our Top Pick for 2016: Rubbermaid Premier Food Storage With Tritan Plastic
Read our full review.

See it on Amazon for $26.74*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Too expensive? See our budget pick.

When you cook, there will always be a need for a food storage container to handle leftovers, lunches, and meals prepared in advance. Most people end up picking out a random pack of plastic containers off the shelf, and having to replace them in a few weeks. Avoid this by doing the research and pick out some durable, long-lasting containers the next time. Here are a few of our best picks to help you get started.

Table of contents

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Premium Quality Plastic Containers
StainShield Resists Stains
Ideal For Daily Meal Prep
Sturdy Design
Easy Find Lids
3 Separate Compartments
100% Leak Proof
Clear Shatterproof Plastic
Great For Diet And Portion Control
Microwave, Freezer & Dishwasher Safe
Bases And Lids Nest Inside Each Other
Snap-lock Lids
BPA Free Food Saver
BPA Free
Freezer Safe

*Price at time of publishing and may not reflect current pricing.

#1 Gold pick (Winner): Rubbermaid Premier Food Storage With Tritan Plastic

Rubbermaid Premier Food Storage With Tritan Plastic Gold Pick

View it on Amazon for $26.74*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-gold-winnerKeep your leftovers longer with the well-known name brand, Rubbermaid. Their Premier Food Storage Line is part of a slew of changes the manufacturer has made to their products. Most noticeable in the Premier container are the new Tritan plastic and the Easy Find Lids. Tritan plastic is BPA free, which means that it’s not made with bisphenol A. In fact, it’s not made with any bisphenols. This may be a relief for those who are concerned about the potential health effects of BPAs in their food storage containers. Research has found that these chemicals may interfere with the endocrine system and may act as Estrogen or Androgen mimics. Many people have made a point of avoiding plastics with BPA in them as a result.

This plastic is also impact resistant, stain and odor resistant, and durable. It’s even listed as being freezer, dishwasher, and microwave safe. The Easy Find Lids are a recent change in the classic lid design by Rubbermaid. These red lids are designed to snap into one another’s bases so they stack neatly and won’t be lost. Theoretically, you won’t need to go searching through the drawers looking for loose lids anymore. These lids are very flexible and feature two lips along their undersides that slide over the top edges of the container bases. This creates a tighter seal to help keep your food fresh. The lids and the bases are also designed to nest inside one another for convenient storage.

Rubbermaid has a wide range of Premier containers available for purchase. You can purchase a low, wide 1.25 cup container, a boxy 2 cup container, a low, wide 3 cup container, a boxy 5 cup container, a boxy 7 cup container, a low, wide 9 cup container, or a low, wide divided container for serving sliced veggies. There is also a petite .5 cup container for dressings and sauces. You can save money by purchasing a 42 piece set of Premier containers in multiple. This set provides 5 each of the .5 cup, 1.25 cup, and the 3 cup containers and 2 each of the 3, 5, and 7 cup containers. It also comes with 21 of the Easy Find Lids. There are other bulk packs of containers with between 20 to 60 pieces and some include the larger container sizes. This is definitely a great option for those who like to have a container available for any amount of leftovers. When the plastic containers are not enough, you can upgrade to the glass containers. These are made with tempered glass and are considered oven safe up to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

A Good Housekeeping review gave the Premier line four out of five stars. The containers were found to be leak proof when shaken or turned upside down, but the reviewers found that they weren’t completely airtight. Good Housekeeping picked these containers as the best option for those planning to pack their lunch from home and noted that the containers didn’t stain much when they used them to heat food in the microwave. Customers who purchased these products liked how well they held up to years of use. They reported that the Premier line was able to withstand the microwave, dishwasher, and freezer exactly as advertised. Those that didn’t like the line noted that some of the containers did crack before they felt the natural lifespan passed. However, these products are still plastic, no matter how durable and may be more likely to break than another material, such as glass. Plus, it’s easy enough to find a replacement container in the specific size needed from Rubbermaid. Others reported that they missed the old black lids which Rubbermaid has again made available when choosing color options.

#2 Silver pick (Runner-up): Popit Little Big Box Food Plastic Containers

Popit Little Big Box Food Plastic Containers

View it on Amazon for $24.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-silver-winnerAnother option to check out when looking for a quality set of food storage container is the Popit! Little Big Box. This brand of storage containers is quickly gaining in popularity and becoming a known brand name. These containers are designed with square, rectangular, boxy, flat, and round shapes. You don’t need to force food to fit the shape of the container. Instead, the container is made to fit your food. The lids also feature a set of clamps that snap into place over a lip on the containers for a very secure hold. These clamps along with a flexible rubber seal around the top edge of every container is part of what make the Popit! line 100 percent air tight. The rubber seal is also removable to make cleaning easier. This manufacturer also boasts that their products are freezer, dishwasher, and microwave safe (when you open the lid before heating). They are also BPA Free.

Popit! containers are marketed for more than use in food storage. They can be used to store office supplies, like rubber bands and paper clips, or to whole an entire box of cereal, box included. The manufacturer also suggests using the air tight containers to keep your personal items dry in the bathroom, or anywhere there is water, such as poolside. Some containers even have divided compartments to help keep small items separate from one another. The manufacturer states that these might even be useful for geocaching enthusiasts. However, they are still plastic containers and may not stand up to being stacked under rocks or buried under a lot of dirt.

The Popit! Little Big Box provides a selection of 8 different square containers including, the .46 cup container, .84 cup, 1.14 cup, 1.9 cup, 2.4 cup, 3.5 cup, 4.6 cup, and a 5.9 cup size containers. There is just one of each container, but this box makes a great starter set for those interested in the Popit! Brand. The sizes included in the box are storing leftovers, or packing lunches. For instance, the .46 cup container can hold a large serving of dressing for a salad and it’s airtight, so it won’t spill.

Customers who have purchased the Popit! product like how airtight it is and reported that the clamping lids were actually faster and easier to remove than they expected. Some reported that the odor of chopped onions and garlic were also well-contained. Customers found a variety of extra uses for their food storage containers. They took the containers on boating trips, even with liquid foods inside, and reported no spillage. They also used them to divided up several meals at once for a diet and the air tight seal kept those meals fresh. Those who didn’t like the product reported that the box came the lid clamps already damaged or that the clamps broke after a few uses. However, some of those customer reported getting replacements free of charge when they contacted the company. They also complained that the containers inside the Little Big Box were too small.

#3 Bronze pick (3rd place): HomeNative Meal Prep Containers

HomeNative Meal Prep Containers

View it on Amazon for $24.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-bronze-awardWhen you need a set of food containers primarily for packing lunches or meal prep ahead of time, consider HomeNative Meal Prep Containers. This line of plastic containers is very similar in appearance to what you might get from a takeout place. However, they are made with more durable plastic so can last through repeated uses and washing. HomeNative states that the plastic is BPA Free and microwave safe, so you can heat your food still in the container. They are also freezer safe for long term storage of prepared meals. These are also listed as top shelf dishwasher safe. However, HomeNative recommends that consumers hand wash the containers to ensure their longevity. Some people who use these containers and reviewed them online stated that they wash them in the dishwasher on a low heat setting and the containers are able to withstand it. HomeNative states that these products can withstand temperatures up to 482 degrees Fahrenheit.

The containers are flat rectangles with clear locking domed lids so you can see at a glance what is inside. The dome also helps keep food from getting compressed. If you want to pile up a lot of food, this also allows you to get that little bit extra into the container. The manufacturer designed them to help keep food insulated to prevent it from getting warm or cooling off too quickly, if you decide to keep hot foods in the containers.

This particular product is a package of seven containers divided into three food compartments with lids. You can get plenty of food into each 36 ounce container. The main compartment holds 18 ounces, and the two smaller compartments hold 9 ounces each. Serve a hearty meal with two side dishes or make a salad with dressing and a small dessert for a treat. The stackable containers fit neatly into the fridge, freezer, or a lunch bag. HomeNative also produces a two compartment and a single compartment container so you have some flexibility in options.

Customers who reviewed the containers found them to be very convenient for planning out meals ahead of time, especially when it came to staying on a special diet. They liked how well the containers fit into their bags to take to school and work. They also reported having used the containers for at least several weeks without problems, but some did report taking extra care to hand wash or avoiding the microwave. Those that disliked the HomeNative containers felt that they were too thin and broke or cracked too soon. They did note that the snap lock lids were good for relatively dry foods, but these are not airtight. They will not prevent liquids from leaking out if the container is tilted. If you like to pack soups or other saucy foods, it’s important to keep the container flat during transport to prevent any spillage. HomeNative’s website does offer a full warranty allowing customers to contact them for a Free replacement or refund. This helps offset potential concerns about the product cracking or not living up to expectations.

#4 Budget pick (Best cheap): Rubbermaid Easy Find Lid Food Storage Container

Rubbermaid Easy Find Lid Food Storage Container

View it on Amazon for $19.48*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-cheap-budget-pickRubbermaid is back for the last item on this list, the budget option are their Easy Find Lid containers. These are not a part of the Premier line. They are just the standard plastic container with the new Easy Find Lid. If you are looking for something that will hold securely to the base and stacks neatly to keep the lids from getting lost, these may be a good option. Like the other Rubbermaid products, these are BPA free, dishwasher safe, freezer safe, and microwavable. Super clarified bases allow you to see through the container to identify what’s inside more easily. The flexible lids feature two lips that slide into place over the top edge of the base to provide a secure hold and help prevent leaks. These are also made in the USA.

This particular product is a 42 piece set of square containers and lids. The set includes 5 each of the .5 cup, 1.25 cup, and the 2 cup containers, and 2 each of the 3 cup, 5 cup, and 7 cup containers and 21 Easy Find Lids. Rubbermaid also produces other container sizes that consumers can purchase individually or as part of a different set. They have package sets ranging from 20 pieces up to 60 pieces in size. There are also a few smaller value packs with two or more containers in them when you want to try out this product before investing in the bigger sets.

Consumers who rated the Easy Find Lids highly liked that they were mostly water tight. They also really liked how neatly the containers stored in the cupboards due to their locking bases and lids. Many found that the containers did well in the microwave and didn’t get discolorations or food grease on them. Others found that their containers had a tendency to warp in the microwave. There may be a difference in quality level between some batches that caused these containers to not be able to withstand heating in the microwave. Another reviewer noted that the instructions recommend stirring food and turning the container frequently while heating in the microwave, since these appliances can have hotspots.


Pre-purchase considerations

Durability

Since consumers are looking for a product that they can reuse over and over again, durability is an important consideration. Otherwise, old take out containers would suffice for food storage. The best quality brands feature containers made with thicker plastic, which may also provide a less qualitative feeling of heft. The plastic should be shatter proof, microwave proof, dishwasher and freezer safe. Consumers will end up using these containers to store food in all kinds of situations, from long-term cold storage to rapidly reheating it in the microwave. The material really needs to be able to withstand those kinds of conditions. Eventually, the plastic will wear out and need replacing, but durable containers that are well cared for should be able to last for months or years.

Sizes

It is important to have the option of being able to store food efficiently so you need a selection of containers of different sizes. Many brands, such as Rubbermaid, offer containers from sizes as small as .5 cup up to 14 cup or more. This makes it convenient to store leftovers or prepare part of a large meal in advance without having to use multiple containers or try to force the lid onto an overly full container. You’ll also find that brands, like HomeNative, have containers that are specially designed to use for meal prep or other purposes. These containers feature dividers to keep different foods or items separate. You can pick up a bulk pack with multiple containers of different sizes, or just one or two sizes for specific use.

Safety

There is a concern that some plastics can leach unsafe chemicals into food which can harm people. BPAs and other bisphenols may act as estrogenics and androgenics that interfere with the body’s endocrine system. As a result of this potential concern, many brands have started producing plastic containers that are BPA free, and some, such as the Rubbermaid Premier line, are completely bisphenol free. This way consumers can enjoy their meals with less concern about what kinds of chemicals they may also be eating from using plastic food storage containers.

Cost

There is a cost factor involved in picking out food storage container. The best, highest quality containers are glass with loads of features, but they also tend to be the pricier products on the market. The cheapest options are made from thinner plastic and may not have many features. The ideal for most consumers is somewhere in the middle with a durable plastic container that resists damage and leaking. The silver or bronze choices can fill most consumer’s needs from meal prep to storing leftovers without breaking their budget.

Conclusion (Wrapping it up)

No one wants to have to mess around with plastic wrap and foil when they can easily store food in a convenient lidded container. These above brands are among the most affordable and available options for food storage. Consumers who what the best brand tend to seek out Rubbermaid, which has a good reputation and great customer service. In fact, there are two Rubbermaid products on this list of the best containers. For packing lunches and preparing meals, the HomeNative container is a great design. These flat containers feature dividers for side dishes and a domed lid to keep from smashing food. If you are considering using your containers for more than just food, turn to the Popit! line. These containers have a wider variety of sizes and shapes, and market themselves as useful for storing small office supplies and other items too.

Discussion and comments

We want to know what you think. Do you own any of the products we discussed? Which did you buy and how did it work out for you?

Do you know of an even better product?

Comment below and help your fellow consumers make the right choice. Over to you!

Resources

  1. Premier, Rubbermaid
  2. The Good Housekeeping Institute, Rubbermaid Premier, Good Housekeeping, March 13, 2013
  3. Basic Plastic FAQs, Eastman6
  4. Little Big Box – By Popit! (8 Plastic Container Set / Food Saver Set) Review, Sweet N Bake
  5. Popit!, Popit! USA
  6. Easy Find Lids, Rubbermaid

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