Of all the gifts I got for our wedding, my set of lidded glass containers is the item I use the most. Good airtight containers are so versatile.
In this article, I’ll discuss some of the specifications to consider when shopping for airtight containers. Then I’ll take a look at some of the top-rated options available to buy. Feel free to skip right to the shopping by clicking the links in the table below for the latest prices and reviews of my choices.
Table of Contents
- Uses for Airtight Containers
- Shopping for Airtight Containers
- The Best Airtight Containers
- Your Perfect Airtight Containers
Uses for Airtight Containers
If you store any food in your home, good air tight containers are a must. They have so many uses and benefits:
1. Critter Protection
Meal moths and other critters have a knack for finding their way into dried goods. Sometimes, the food you buy already has some things inside (ew, I know, but it’s true!). Airtight containers should keep the bugs out.
Here’s some more information about what can be in your pantry…
2. Fridge Storage
Airtight containers ensure that leftovers, prep-ahead meals, and other refrigerated foods don’t take on fridge flavors.
A mass of bags and boxes of foods turns into a mess in your cupboard. A system of uniformly shaped or stackable containers keeps everything tidy and easy to find.
Open shelving has become very popular, and pretty containers full of pantry staples look so inviting on a shelf in the kitchen. Even if your food is tucked away in a cabinet, the nice feeling you get from how tidy everything looks will inspire your cooking.
5. Going Waste-free
If you have a good bulk shop nearby, buy staples such as flour, salt, pasta, cereals, etc, in bulk, and then store them in your containers. This cuts down on the amount of waste generated by your home, and will likely save you money.
Shopping for Airtight Containers
Here are some of the factors to consider when shopping.
I love glass. It doesn’t stain or scratch, it cleans easily, and there’s no concern of chemicals leaching. Plastic is light, durable, and often stackable. Stainless steel or ceramics work well if you need something opaque, like for coffee or spices on an open shelf (though these are harder to find).
Soft plastic, rubber, or silicone create the airtight seal. Sifting through other buyers’ experiences is a helpful way to judge a particular brand’s airtightness.
Also, consider your climate and intended use as some not technically airtight containers still work beautifully for storing dry goods in most climates.
3. Ease of Cleaning
Food storage containers need to stay clean. Look for ones with a wide mouth and fewer components.
If you’re tight on space, look for containers that can be stacked together or packed in tightly. Rectangular or square containers are better than round ones in this regard.
5. Availability of Sizes
Storage containers with many size options allow you to customize a whole storage system.
The Best Airtight Containers
Here are my picks!
These are the containers that regularly come up on blogs and in discussions of the best airtight storage containers. Note that Rubbermaid does not label these airtight, but they are often compared to other airtight containers.
They’re made of a clear, hard Zylar plastic that resists stains and odors and is BPA-free. There are measurement marks on the sides, and the simple modular design of this line allows for easy stacking and organization in your cupboards. They come in 5, 10, 16, and 21-cup sizes; this link is for an 8-piece set that contains one of each (plus the lids).
Cooks appreciate that these containers fit a measuring cup, are very airtight and sturdy, have interchangeable lids, and offer a good range of sizes. Owners also note that the rectangular design of these containers maximizes shelf space and makes things easy to see.
Few people have any negatives to note about these. Just a small handful found they didn’t seal tightly enough. Another complaint is that the lids can be staticky, which is especially annoying if you have pets.
These containers by OXO are super popular. They feature a clear BPA-free plastic and a unique lid that removes the air from the container with the “pop” of a button.
There is a large variety of sizes featuring a stackable, squarish design with rounded corners for easy pouring. This set contains one each of 2.1, 1.5, 0.3-quart containers, and two 0.9-quart containers (with their lids). As such, these are smaller containers than some other available sets, but there are larger pieces available.
Here they are in action:
Many reviewers loves these containers and feel they’re worth the price. Owners like the modern look. Most people have found these containers do help to seal out bugs and keep food fresher.
There are some recurring complaints, though. One is that the containers can shatter if dropped. Some people have found that food can get sucked into the locking mechanism because the lid sits down into the container about an inch.
Other people note issues with the shape. The way the top protrudes out means that empty space is created between the containers. The square designs also mean that you may have to place containers in front of one another, making things harder to see.
LockandLock makes a large variety of sizes of containers that are useful for both pantry storage and taking food on the go. The lids have four click down locks with a silicone ring around the inside for air and water tightness. They are BPA-free, microwave-, freezer-, and dishwasher-safe.
This particular set contains:
- 2 x 0.90 qt. square containers
- 2 x 0.30 qt. rectangles
- 2 x 0.50 qt. rectangles
- 1 x 1.3 qt. rectangle
LockandLock makes a variety of larger and smaller containers, including round containers, so it could be a comprehensive storage system.
I have one small LockandLock container, and I love it. I use it primarily for kids’ snacks, because it can roll around a backpack without leaking and it’s easy for little hands to open and close. I’ve had it for a number of years and it has held up well.
Other reviewers agree with me and find that these containers really do lock tightly. People also appreciate the large variety of sizes for both dry goods and leftovers.
The main complaints are about the silicone seal that can collect water or food. It does need to be removed periodically to clean, and this can be a bit of a pain. Some people also take issue with the semi-transparent plastic.
ClickClack is a New Zealand company that manufactures these well-loved storage containers. There is a range of colors for the tops, with a clear, BPA-free plastic base. The corners are rounded and the openings can accommodate measuring cups, etc. This set of 3 contains a 1-quart, 2-quart, and 3.5 qt. container, and ClickClack makes other shapes and sizes.
The defining features of these cube storage pieces is the easy open tops. The locking mechanism squeezes open with one hand. I find these containers attractive enough to store out on the countertop or open shelving.
Owners of these containers find them so easy to open, great for anyone with arthritis or loss of strength. Reviewers also appreciate the clear plastic for easy viewing. Other advantages are that these containers stack nicely, keep food fresh, and are able to nest when not in use.
The biggest complaint is that these can be difficult to clean. They say they are dishwasher safe, but the lids must be disassembled and dried carefully to avoid trapping liquid in between the layers of the lid. Another issue, common to this type of plastic, is that they can crack or shatter when dropped or banged.
I have a number of Glasslock pieces from my wedding, and after 8 years they are still going strong. I love them.
The tempered glass bottoms can go in the oven, freezer, fridge, and microwave. The plastic lids snap on with handles and seal with a silicone ring that can be removed for cleaning. They are air and water tight and leak-proof.
This particular set contains:
- 1 x 6.3 cup rectangle
- 2 x 3.5 cup rectangle
- 1 x 1.6 cup rectangle
- 1 x 3.3 cup square
- 1 x 1.5 cup square
- 1 x 3.1 cup round
- 1 x 1.6 cup round
- 1 x 0.7 cup round
These sizes and shapes are best suited for storing leftovers and “wet” foods. I also use them for make-ahead meals.
Most reviewers are as enthusiastic as I am—people find them easy to clean, they appreciate the ability to go in the oven and freezer, and like that they are glass and not plastic.
There are two primary complaints with these containers. One is that the rubber gasket rings sometimes come out and are difficult to put back in. While the glass parts can go in the dishwasher, I always wash the plastic pieces by hand to avoid warping and I haven’t had any issues.
The other problem some reviewers note is with the integrity of the glass. Some reviewers have experienced the glass breaking in the microwave, while others experienced the glass breaking out in shards from stacking empty containers. In the many years I’ve had these, however, I’ve never experienced these problems, so I wonder if there are either counterfeit items being sold or if the quality has gone down as the popularity of these containers has gone up.
Bormioli is an Italian manufacturer of glass products. These heritage-looking canisters come in a large range of sizes.
These glass canisters feature a classic design with a metal ring that clicks down and a rubber ring to create an airtight seal. I have these containers for storing dry goods on open shelves in my kitchen because they look great and keep all of my food very fresh. The opening is round, and the container is a rounded square, so they fit nicely together on a shelf, although they don’t stack.
Many shoppers who’ve purchased these jars say that Bormioli is the best brand for high-quality jars that feel substantial and have sturdy components. People also like that replacement rubber gaskets are easily available. Cooks find all sorts of uses for these such as pickling, dry goods storage, and other household uses.
Some reviewers have had issues with these arriving broken due to poor packaging. A small number of people found these weren’t as good quality as they were anticipating. Another issue is that some larger measuring cup sizes won’t fit in the opening.
Your Perfect Airtight Containers
There are a lot of different uses for airtight containers, and so the best option for you would depend on your needs.
If you are looking for dry storage, the Rubbermaid Premium Modular Container system regularly gets top marks for versatility and quality. I find the simple design means that they won’t be prone to failure or getting food or water stuck inside like some of the “fancier” types of airtight containers. But if you prefer glass or want something attractive for open shelving, the old-world charm of Bormioli glass canisters will work in a traditional or modern kitchen.
For on-the-go airtight containers, I’d choose LockandLock if plastic is more preferable, or Glasslock if glass is preferable. Both will give you a solid sealing lock in a good variety of sizes for carrying around snacks, leftovers, and even wet things like soup or yogurt.
Do you have a beloved airtight storage container system? Let us know!