Which plastic food storage container is best?

Reusable plastic food storage containers are an excellent method of storing leftovers, portion controlling and meal planning with no negative impacts on the environment like disposable plastic food storage containers. They’re easy to wash, easy to reheat and come in all manner of capacities and shapes.

The best plastic food storage container is the Rubbermaid Brilliance Plastic Food Storage Containers, 14-Piece. This 14-piece set includes seven containers with matching lids made from Tritan plastic, strong enough to mimic glass.

What to know before you buy a plastic food storage container

Strengths of plastic

Plastic has a few key strength points, which set the material apart from other materials like glass. The biggest strength is the simple fact that they’re far cheaper to manufacture, which leads to lower costs for consumers. They’re also much easier to manufacture into non-standard shapes and many available sizes and capacities. They also tend to be the most durable material in food storage containers as they’re all but impossible to break, although especially sharp foods or objects might puncture them.

Weaknesses of plastic

The biggest weakness of plastic is its propensity for absorbing enough remnants of foods to stain the material and leave unpleasant odors. Some plastic food storage containers also use BPA-based plastics to save costs, BPA being a potential health hazard. Finally, plastic food storage containers have the largest chance of leaking liquids, especially with looser fitting or non-secure lids.

What to look for in a quality plastic food storage container

Lid

There are two main types of lids for plastic food storage containers: snapping and latching.

Snapping: Snapping lids are the most common lid type but least secure. Snapping lids are secured by pressing down until the lid seals around the container, and while they are usually airtight, they are not leakproof.

Latching: Latching lids are a little more expensive but much more secure. They use two or four individual latches which snap into place along the edges of the plastic food storage container and make said container airtight, leakproof and resistant to popping off if dropped.

Storage

Plastic food storage containers have the potential to take up a large amount of your storage space if they aren’t stackable. Stackable plastic food storage containers and lids slip one on top of the other to greatly reduce the storage space taken. It’s highly recommended to prioritize this feature if you have limited storage space. 

How much you can expect to spend on a plastic food storage container

Plastic food storage containers rarely, if ever, come individually packaged, so the cost to look for is usually dollars/cents per piece. Food storage containers made of plastic typically cost from 25 cents to $5, although more-expensive plastic food storage containers are available. Most plastic food storage containers cost 75 cents to $2 each.

Plastic food storage container FAQ

How can you prevent or limit foods from staining plastic food storage containers?

A. There are a few steps you can take to limit, but not prevent, how certain meals, like those tomato-based or turmeric-containing, tend to stain plastic food storage containers. One option is to give a light spray of cooking oil into the plastic food storage container before adding your foods. Another is to avoid microwaving these foods as the microwaving process can exacerbate staining. The only way to prevent stains is to use a non-plastic container like glass. 

Are plastic food storage containers safe to microwave?

A. Yes, plastic food storage containers are microwave-safe, but they aren’t microwave-proof, which means that continued subjection to long or intense periods of microwaving will cause the plastic to degrade faster than normal and potentially warp. This won’t happen overnight or from one microwave session, but you may want to transfer foods into/onto a truly microwave-safe dish first.

What’s the best plastic food storage container to buy?

Top plastic food storage container 

Rubbermaid Brilliance Plastic Food Storage Containers, 14-Piece

Rubbermaid Brilliance Plastic Food Storage Containers, 14-Piece

What you need to know: The plastic used in these Rubbermaid plastic food storage containers is so strong and hard, they mimic glass.

What you’ll love: The Tritan plastic mimics many qualities of glass, like its hardness and translucency but doesn’t include the chances of breaking when dropped or subjected to a hard impact. The included lids provide a leak-resistant and airtight seal by latching on two sides of the containers.

What you should consider: These plastic food storage containers don’t hold up well to long or intense microwaving, and odors tend to absorb into the plastic.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top plastic food storage container for the money

Rubbermaid 2063704 Easy Find Plastic Food Storage Containers, 42-Piece

Rubbermaid 2063704 Easy Find Plastic Food Storage Containers, 42-Piece

What you need to know: The amount of plastic food storage containers in so many sizes that come in this huge package makes it one of the most value-intensive offerings.

What you’ll love: The plastic of these plastic food storage containers are entirely BPA-free. The included lids close tightly for an airtight seal, and some of the lids include vents that can be opened during microwaving. An even larger 60-piece version is also available.

What you should consider: Some plastic food storage containers are small enough not to have much use, plus intense periods of microwaving can warp the containers’ shape.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Popit! Plastic Food Storage Containers, 16-Piece

Popit! Plastic Food Storage Containers, 16-Piece 

What you need to know: This is a plastic food storage container set with an alternative sealing method.

What you’ll love: The four-sided latch lids fully seal the plastic food storage containers making them fully airtight, leakproof and impossible to burst open if dropped. These strengths make them a superb choice for taking foods on the go as they can easily resist the rigors of travel.

What you should consider: The four-sided latched lids can be difficult to close, which is exacerbated by the plastic of the containers sometimes warping from intense microwaving.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Jordan Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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