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Food storage containers—if chosen carefully—can extend the life of a restaurant meal, keep food from spoiling, and bring your lunch to the office. They’re also great for weekly meal prep if you’re trying to kick your delivery habit. Picking the best food storage containers can be tricky, thanks to a glut of options. They come in various shapes and sizes: rectangular boxes, circular bowls, and even bento boxes for entire meals. You can also choose from glass, plastic, or even metal containers. Some work better for hot versus cold meals, and others are not ideal travel companions. Choose the wrong one and you could end up with a backpack full of spaghetti and lunch from the vending machine. Here’s how to pick the best food containers for your pantry, refrigerator, or lunchbox.

How we chose the best food storage containers 

We considered dozens of models and evaluated each based on price, versatility, durability, and expert reviews. The best food containers shouldn’t leak, and their material should be best suited for the food you’re storing. For example, a glass container is great for liquids like soup because it won’t stain as easily as plastic and can be heated up directly in the microwave. Plastic containers, on the other hand, are easier to transport to work and weigh less, so they’re easier to tote. We also considered the variety within each set because even the best containers won’t get much use if they can’t handle your culinary creations—whether you’re a grillmaster or a vegetarian

The best food storage containers: Reviews & Recommendations

We could find the best options at every price point by considering the aforementioned factors—materials and durability—along with others, like whether the storage containers were microwave- or dishwasher-safe.

Best overall: Rubbermaid Brilliance Glass Storage Set

Brandt Ranj / Popular Science


Why it made the cut: This durable glass set can fulfill the needs of an entire household thanks to its smart variety, making it our pick for the best foot storage containers overall.


  • 18 pieces
  • Glass containers
  • Freezer-, microwave-, oven, and top-rack dishwasher-safe.


  • Range of shapes and sizes
  • Can be used in both the freezer and oven
  • Lids are BPA-free


  • Glass is a little heavy

Food storage containers typically have one job: keeping leftovers fresh, but Rubbermaid’s Brilliance Glass Storage Set can be used for so much more. The solid-feeling glass containers can also be used to cook food or reheat food in both the oven and microwave. Rubbermaid offers its containers in a wide assortment of configurations, but we like the 18-piece set as it serves most needs—from reheating lasagna (worked better than we expected) to keeping small portions of herbs fresh for longer periods (another success).

Our favorite feature of these containers is their sturdy construction. Yes, the largest glass container is a little harder to move around when it’s full than a plastic one would be, but the improved durability is worth the tradeoff. The lids BPA-free plastic lids on these containers snap on at two points, while a rubber strip around each one ensures a perfect seal. This keeps oxygen from getting in (extending the life of your food) and odor from getting out. In our experience, smelly foods like fish were contained, while chopped-up vegetables lasted a few extra days before they could be used in a stir fry or eaten raw.

We’re big fans of efficiency in the kitchen, and the largest container in this collection saved us a lot of time because it doubles as a cooking vessel. While baking dishes like mac & cheese we were able to cook, serve, and stow our meal in a single container. Rubbermaid says you can safely use the glass part of these containers in temperatures up to 450 degrees fahrenheit—which covers most recipes. If you don’t mind modifying your recipes, you could even use the larger containers in this set for single-serving pies or banana bread.

Clean-up was similarly simple: soap and water in a sink did the trick. Dishwashing also worked if you have the luxury of that appliance in your place. Rubbermaid’s Brilliance Glass Storage Set is our new go-to recommendation if you want a container set ready to keep your food fresh and ready whenever you need it.

Best for meal prep: C Crest 5-Pack Glass Meal-Prep Containers

C Crest


Why it made the cut: These sturdy glass containers have compartments for every part of your meal. 


  • 5-container set
  • Glass
  • Microwave-, oven-, freezer-, and dishwasher-safe


  • Meal prep-friendly
  • Leak-proof
  • Easy to clean


  • A bit heavy
  • Lids should be cleaned separately

These bento box-style containers are the best food storage containers for meal prepping made to keep your pre-prepared meals ready to eat all day. The larger compartment of each box can be used for an entree, while the two smaller sections can be used for sides. The design will help prevent your grapes from getting covered in salad dressing when the container gets knocked around in your bag. 

The containers can be used in the microwave, oven, and freezer, making them convenient to bring outside the house. While the lids are not microwave-, oven-, or dishwasher-safe, they have silicone seals to prevent leaks. Plus, the snap-locks further prevent spills.

They’re also easy to clean when you’re done eating. The lids’ silicone seals are simple to remove for detailed scrubbing, and the glass box is dishwasher-safe.

Best glass containers: FineDine 24-Piece Superior Glass Food Storage Containers Set



Why it made the cut: This is the most versatile pick on our list with a dozen containers in nine different sizes. 


  • 24-piece set 
  • Glass containers
  • Containers are dishwasher-, freezer-, and oven-safe


  • Variety of sizes
  • Safe to transfer directly between freezer and oven
  • Hinged locks


  • Container may get hot in the microwave
  • Lids are not dishwasher-safe

Got a big family? This glass set has plenty of options. You get two 12-ounce, one 21.5-ounce, one 35-ounce, two 11-ounce, one 17.5-ounce, one 27-ounce, one 21.5-ounce, one 32-ounce, and two 13.5-ounce containers, and lids for all of them. The transparent borosilicate glass allows rapid temperature changes without damaging the containers. The glass material also prevents staining and lingering odors.

The varying sizes in this FineDine set mean you’ll have a container for every need. (Thanksgiving leftovers, anyone?) The leakproof lids use a hinged locking system and rubber gasket to stay sealed and avoid spills. They’re also stackable for easy cupboard storage. 

This is one of our favorite glass sets because of its ability to adapt to multiple needs, whether you need something small to bring for a post-workout meal or a large container for a dinner party. Its locking lids take away any stress of potential mess. Plus, it’s available in two colors: gray and blue.

Best plastic containers: OXO Good Grips Smart Seal Leakproof Plastic Food Storage Container Set



Why it made the cut: This set is convenient and compact. Containers can be stacked inside each other, and lids feature four locking tabs.


  • 16-piece set 
  • Plastic
  • Microwave-, freezer-, and dishwasher-safe


  • Locking lids
  • Interchangeable lids
  • Compact storage


  • Not oven-safe
  • Plastic may stain

This set has one of the widest ranges of sizes on our list. From 5.7-ounce containers that can handle some grapes to a 49.6-ounce container that can hold an entire salad, OXO’s plastic storage containers have you covered. 

On a practical level, these are designed to avoid leaks. The four locking tabs on each lid secure it in place against the containers, and a silicone seal helps further lock in food and liquids. Plus, if you have OXO’s glass containers, you can use the plastic lids from this set on the same-sized containers in the glass collection. 

We like these containers because they are easy to clean, store, and transport. And, if you need more, you can pick up the 20-piece, 28-piece, or 30-piece set.

Best portable: Porzu Bento Lunch Box



Why it made the cut: This set comes with everything you need to take it out for the day—utensils, a three-compartment box, and a bag. It’s sturdy and lightweight (and, honestly, it’s really cute). 


  • Four-piece set (one 1400 milliliter bento box, one fork, one spoon, and one carrying bag)
  • Plastic
  • Microwave-, dishwasher-, and freezer-safe 


  • Includes everything you need for a meal
  • Durable and shockproof box
  • Three colors available


  • Multiple parts are not dishwasher- or microwave-safe
  • Only one box

If you need a single container to bring your lunch to and from work, this may be the only one you need. Porzu’s 5.5-inch by 8.3-inch bento box has three compartments: one sizable enough for a main dish and two for sides. The inner tray is removable, so you can have a box with just one big compartment if you want. And the spoon and fork fit neatly inside the lid.

While the outer tray, cutlery, and lid are not dishwasher- or microwave-friendly, the compartmentalized tray can be easily heated up and washed. An elastic ring and snap-on lid keep food secure and prevent mess. It’s also lightweight enough that you can put the entire box in your bag if you don’t want to carry the provided bag in addition to the rest of your belongings.

Best budget: Rubbermaid Easy Find Vented Lids Food Storage



Why it made the cut: These containers stack neatly for easy storage with minimal cabinet space. 


  • 16-piece set (four 3-cup containers and four 5-cup containers, lids included)
  • Plastic
  • Freezer-, top-rack dishwasher, and microwave-safe


  • Splatter-free lid
  • Two size options
  • Durable material


  • Stains easily
  • Vent makes the lid more difficult to clean

This set of eight rectangular containers is both affordable and functional. The BPA-free plastic is safe for the microwave, freezer, and top rack of the dishwasher. The entire set weighs just over five ounces, making each container considerably lighter than a glass dish with the same capacity.

Each of the 3-cup and 5-cup containers comes with a vented lid to reduce pressure and prevent your food from exploding all over your microwave. They’re also easy to store, as the containers can be stacked together vertically, so they only occupy the size of one 5-cup container’s footprint.

Things to consider when buying food storage containers

What are you eating?

The food you store will affect the material you need for your containers. For example, if you are storing liquids like soup or messier food like casseroles, a glass container will be the better option, as it doesn’t retain smells or stains. You’ll also likely be able to easily microwave the container, making it better for hot meals. On the other hand, plastic containers are great for cold or dry meals, like sandwiches and chips. They’re also lighter than glass containers, making them easier to transport on the go. 

Do you need a set?

Some people only need one or two containers for sporadic use, but if you know you’ll use a food container on a daily basis, it’s better to look for a set. When selecting one, we recommend looking for those that offer varying sizes and shapes so you can cater to as many of your household’s needs as possible. It’s also useful to find a set that can be stacked together when not in use so you can maximize your cabinet space. 

Key features to look for

Lids that lock will help prevent spills, and those with rubber seals help further prevent leakage. In addition, having a food container that can be washed in the dishwasher also helps ensure you can use it as often as possible—after all, hand washing them every day can add up to an annoying chore.


Q: What is the best container for food?

The best container for food will prevent spills and keep your meal safe. In short, it should fit into your life seamlessly. Whether you choose glass or plastic will depend on what you plan to store (when in doubt, go for glass). If you’re paranoid about leakage, look for containers with secure snap-on lids.

Q: Are plastic food containers safe?

At the least, your container should be BPA-free. From there, you can look for those that can be used with multiple kitchen appliances (for example, the freezer and/or microwave). If you’re just going to store dry food, you should be safe with a plastic container.

Q: What food container is suitable for transporting food?

Containers with secure lids can be safely transported, but if you’re looking to make a trek just a little easier, we suggest using plastic or paper containers, as they’re more lightweight than glass. Plastic containers are even better, as they often have locking lids that keep your food from spilling out.

Q: How much do food storage containers cost?

This depends on their material and the number of pieces included in the set. You can spend as little as $15 and as much as $45 based on our recommendations.

Final thoughts on the best food storage containers

There’s more to a food container than meets the eye. Our favorite set is the Pyrex Simply Store Meal Prep Glass Food Storage Containers because they can cater to many needs for either a single or multi-person household. It’s stain-resistant, comes in multiple sizes, and can be easily stored, making storing your mise en place, meals, and leftovers one less thing to worry about.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.