October 21, 2014 6:22 AM   Subscribe

I need to know about the most badass tupperware-type stuff. Right now we have a mixed "collection" of mason jars, to-go containers, Talenti gelato jars, and the occasional thing that's actually meant for the job, but who knows where the hell the lid for it is.

For Christmas, I would like to wake up early, throw away all the shit in the tupperware cabinet in our house (into a box to donate/recycle), and then surprise my family with the ULTIMATE REUSABLE FOOD STORAGE SOLUTION.

I know there's Tupperware brand and then there's a billion imitators. I want to know what's worked for you. It would be helpful if it's something that seems like it's going to stick around on the market, so that when the dishwasher eats a container or lid, we can replace it with something that matches (so that it will nest properly). Space in our kitchen is limited.


I need it to be sturdy.
I need the lids to seal completely (I throw this stuff in a pannier on my bicycle every day, so leaks aren't allowed).
Nesting. Need to have an easy way to store all the various sizes and their respective lids, so if it's not really stackable it's not going to work for us.
Prefer plastic (again, on a bicycle), but glass will do. We have some (Reynold's maybe?) glass bowls with sealing lids that are awesome. Somewhere.

I don't know what the budget will be. Let's say $200, but I can spend more if it's worth it.

What else do you need to know about this situation to make your recommendation? What is going to whip my kitchen into shape?
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints to Home & Garden (39 answers total) 57 users marked this as a favorite
I'm perfectly happy with these. I do put them in a plastic bag if they are traveling. My husband prefers these because they force him to pay attention to making sure the lid is on properly.
posted by cestmoi15 at 6:33 AM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

We have a lot of Sistema stuff. It doesn't leak, and the tubs seem to last forever. We've been buying bits and pieces of theirs for years, and it seems to be sold internationally (including the US).
posted by pipeski at 6:33 AM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

I need the lids to seal completely

I am hardly the expert on tupperwares and these don't nest at all which is just, auuughghhrhrr, but the seal on the Lock and Lock tupperwares is amazing. Like, I can put hot brothy soup in it, close it, throw it in a bag without a care, and there is no soup that spills out. None. (At least in my experience.) Every other container I have (and I have a lot of different kinds) has leaked, especially in the hot expanding steaming soup scenario. But not these.

I'm at a place in my life where I don't really have a need for tupperware so I've been out of the tupperware buying game for a while, but when the need does arise, I ignore all the other ones I have and stick to the Lock and Lock.

But like I said. They don't fucking nest.
posted by phunniemee at 6:34 AM on October 21, 2014 [6 favorites]

I'm extremely fussy about food storage containers and am always looking for a better mousetrap. But so far, I've been very happy with the Sistema containers. They have held up very well - no clips have ever broken - and seal tightly with a reassuring "snap" sound. Plus they go through the dishwasher (on the top rack) nicely. I would steer clear of the round containers, though, and just stick with the squares and rectangles.
posted by DrGail at 6:38 AM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

In my opinion, there's only one real answer to this, and that is: actual Tupperware. I've used a bunch of imitations and while some are quite nice, nothing comes close. For example, I do like Rubbermaid's rubber seals (they're very easy to take on/off) and they nest nicely - but they leak. Tupperware on the other hand:

- never leaks
- nests nicely
- is very durable
- has a lifetime guarantee

The only thing is, it's expensive. It's an investment. But remember: lifetime guarantee. As long as you've followed the care instructions (e.g. some Tupperware containers aren't microwaveable), if anything goes wrong with it, it's replaced for free (and yes I have done this; it's not just lip service). I have Tupperware containers I've been using for 16+ years and they still look fantastic and work perfectly.
posted by yawper at 6:39 AM on October 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

I recently threw out all of my containers and replaced them with this style, which looks like it's the same thing as Lock & Lock, as recommended by phunniemee. They're great. The seal keeps liquid inside, and the clips keep the lid on tight. I cycle with mine shoved sideways into a messenger bag.
posted by neushoorn at 6:41 AM on October 21, 2014

Rubbermaid nests better than Lock & Lock, but as phunniemee said, NOTHING seals liquids better than Lock & Lock, not even Tupperware. Most Tupperware containers will nest pretty well, and they have a caddy-type-thing that you can put all your lids in to save space and not lose them. I love my Tupperware, as it's better-looking and seals in freshness while not absorbing any odors, better than any other brand. But Tupperware isn't an all-around solution. Some containers will leak, while others are perfect for sandwiches. My kitchen has all 3 brands, for different things.
posted by Koko at 6:43 AM on October 21, 2014

The Sweethome has done some intensive investigation.
posted by you're a kitty! at 6:48 AM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Mostly I'm on the Lock&Lock bandwagon, though I hate the lack of nesting (curse you, tiny cabinets!). I'd also like to suggest the Ziploc twist top containers. I picked some up in the grocery store and like them so much I've gone back and bought several more in both sizes. They stack, they completely seal, I've used them in the fridge, in the freezer, thrown them in my bag full of soup and walked to work. Not a drop leaks even when they flip upside down for the whole commute. Downside? The plastic feels pretty cheap. Not as sturdy as the Lock&Lock or Tupperware, but I haven't had a problem with them.
posted by carrioncomfort at 6:50 AM on October 21, 2014

THESE from Ikea. There are only two sizes of openings, so the lids always match, but a bunch of volume choices (not as many online as in store). They seal completely and also vent, and you can put them in the dishwasher. Plus cheap, so win all around.
posted by Mchelly at 6:55 AM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

These Rubbermaid containers are awesome. I've had them for like 6 years. I'm sort of an evangelist for them. They seal extremely well and they're stackable.
posted by early one morning at 6:57 AM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

During the great panty moth invasion of 2010-11, I did mega-research on the most air-tight solution possible, and it was Lock & Lock. This stuff is sturdy beyond belief, durable, and completely leak proof. However, mine doesn't seem to be nesting, maybe there are some versions of it that are.
posted by nanook at 7:01 AM on October 21, 2014

How about glass? I love my Pyrex with the plastic (rubber?) lids. Not the locks ones, those don't last very well. However, the rectangular ones aren't always airtight. The round ones are.
posted by Neekee at 7:16 AM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

My s.o. recently did a round of research on this and came to the Glasslock conclusion.

They are glass, but that was a plus (no BPA, microwavable). I'm thrilled with their non-leakiness (I had some plastic Rubbermaid before) and stacking ability.
posted by wintrymix at 7:16 AM on October 21, 2014 [3 favorites]

Oxo Locktop

Super sturdy. Hard sided. Doesn't leak AT ALL (even when I submerge them, filled with meat, in a cooler full of water - no leaks in or out). Clear, so you can see what's inside, even from the top. Pieces nest very nicely, and they are designed in such a way the same shape lid fits multiple size containers. I also like that they're really nice looking, and stay that way even after lots of abuse, so if I'm bringing something for a potluck I feel like I can just open the container and put it on the table.
posted by anastasiav at 7:30 AM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

I loooooooooove Reditainer stuff. These are basically takeout containers, but they're great as tupperwares because:

1. You can buy a ton of the same kind really cheap, which solves the stacking problem.
2. They hold up very well and don't seem to leak.

I personally bought a bunch of the 16 oz deli containers and the rectangular black ones. The deli containers hold 2 cups of food, which makes them perfect for lunch leftovers (ie, a cup of rice/quinoa/other grain plus protein and veggies, or a cup and a half of soup). The rectangular black ones are great for storing leftovers, or for a lunch that is more an assortment of different things.
posted by lunasol at 7:30 AM on October 21, 2014 [5 favorites]

At our house, we went the cheap route and got a bunch of the Gladware containers in a lunch sized portion for most of our leftovers. They seal well and they're cheap so we just buy more if they break. The only issue is that they get especially brittle in the freezer so bits of it tend to shatter if we drop a frozen one.

The key to it is that they are all exactly the same so I never worry about finding the right size container and then tracking down the one lid that fits, I just fill up containers until everything is put away. Since they are so cheap and they nest so well, we were able to buy a TON of things and they still don't take up much space.

We also have some smaller ones for salad dressing and other small portions and I do occasionally wish we also had something larger to better fit leftover pizza.
posted by VTX at 7:30 AM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have the same Rubbermaid kit as early one morning & love it. The stackable part is a huge feature for me, I won't use containers if I can't find the lids easily.
posted by wwax at 7:36 AM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Came here to recommend Reditainer, but lunasol beat me to it! I just pitched most of my random plastic storage container mish-mash and went with quart and pint sized Reditainers. BLISS: they stack, they seal well (although I don't know how leak-proof they are), all the lids match, top-rack safe. My only wish is that they were a little more transparent so I could see more clearly what in them, but otherwise, I've been very satisfied.
posted by absquatulate at 7:48 AM on October 21, 2014

Lock & Lock seal great, but I have had the clips fall off. They don't last.

Honestly, I don't know if there's one perfect solution. Jars or other things with screwtops work best for liquids. For everything else, I like the Pyrex or Anchor glass containers when I'm keeping stuff at home, since they can go right into the microwave, though they're heavy and might chip. For things that are going to be taken out of the house, mostly I just buy the Rubbermaid Take-Alongs and don't worry about losing them and replace as necessary, because they're cheap and they work. They're clear so you can see what's in them, they seal fine, and they're a good size for me.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 8:32 AM on October 21, 2014

I use a combination of the Rubbermaid set linked above (for most things) and the glass lock&lock stuff also linked above (for liquids).

I love the rubbermaid set - they have a really good seal, although I wouldn't trust liquids in anything but snap-locking containers. I've transported (i.e. threw in a backback and carried around all day) things like yogurt and watermelon in the rubbermaids without leaks. The nesting is great even between different sizes, and the lids lock together (!!). Dishwasher/freezer/microwave safe, although I wouldn't push it too far with the microwaving. And I've already bought a second set ~3 years after the first, which seems to be identical, so it seems likely they'll keep making it for a while. I'll never go back to non-stackable containers - it makes a huge difference in the cabinet.

I haven't found better than the lock&lock glass containers for things like soup, and they work fine when new, but be careful as they get older because a few of mine leak now (I think the dishwasher did it, but who knows). They do stack a bit, at least some shapes, although they don't nest.
posted by randomnity at 8:39 AM on October 21, 2014

I use the Rubbermaid Premier (previously Stain Shield, I think) set. It's stain resistant (no orange residue from tomato sauces!), sturdy, seals well, nests well, BPA free and microwave, dishwasher and freezer safe. I've used them daily for years. They hold up very well, but I do find that after a few years of heavy use they sometimes crack. They do hold up better than any other tupperware I've ever used though, and for the price I'm fine with replacing them every 3- 5 years. I got a whole 30 piece set at Costco for about $30.
posted by geeky at 8:40 AM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have SnapWare glass, and they absolutely do not leak. I would imagine that the plastic ones are similar. The Rubbermaid Easy Find Lids are fine, but they're not going to hold liquids.
posted by cnc at 9:14 AM on October 21, 2014

My preferred food storage containers are a combination of lock & lock, locking-type glass containers, and the round ziploc twist top containers. (I also have a miscellany of other containers that I don't like as much)

1) Neither of the locking ones leak. Period. But they don't stack.
2) The ziplock ones are not 100% leak proof. I would not put soup in them and toss them in my backpack. As well, they are less durable. They tend to get brittle in the freezer and then break if you drop them. But they stack really well, and they're a really good size for lots of things.
posted by quaking fajita at 9:34 AM on October 21, 2014

Another vote for Glasslock. They're incredibly sturdy and never leak. I put them in the dishwasher and they hold up great and never get any ghost food smells or stains. Plus, I can reheat in them without concerns about heating plastic. I've thrown out all other storage containers and love these with no reservations.
posted by quince at 11:31 AM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

These Sterilite containers are our happy medium; more stackable than Lock & Lock, more liquid-tight than Tupperware, multiple containers per lid size with easy color-coding (there are colored tabs on the bases that match the color of the lids.) One rubber seal has broken apart in the ~3 years of heavy use they've had but no other damage. We've lost a few containers and after surveying the options, we're buying more of these.

For smaller amounts or snacks, I like these freezer jar containers. Also stackable and decently liquid-tight, although they surprised me by changing the style recently so now I have two different types, arrgh.
posted by tchemgrrl at 11:47 AM on October 21, 2014

Thirding Reditainer
posted by schoolgirl report at 3:56 PM on October 21, 2014

I love Lock and Lock, but I will say that I've had the gaskets come out and also mold can grow underneath said gaskets. Also no nesting. Rubbermaid Lock-its are cheaper and they nest. I haven't had them long enough to have an opinion on the mold or the gaskets, but I can state that they're almost as good as Lock and Lock when it comes to leakproofness (I've never had one leak anyway).
posted by elsietheeel at 5:56 PM on October 21, 2014

Fourth for Reditainer. I have transported soup in these things. Sometimes, when I know I'm going to jostle them or turn them at odd angles, I'll wrap them again with a plastic film to contain any droplets that ooze out. So far I've only seen the film get wet once, and I wasn't the one to close the lid on that one.
posted by d. z. wang at 8:59 PM on October 21, 2014

I hate the mess of miscellaneous storage containers, so I use only the containers that non-dairy margarine, chinese food (redi-tainer), and yogurt come in, plus canning jars for soup. A pox on whoever decides to change the shape and size of containers for foods I buy.
posted by theora55 at 9:43 PM on October 21, 2014

And I'll take your Talenti containers; they're a great size for freezing pesto.
posted by theora55 at 9:44 PM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Some of the Lock & Locks do nest! I went on a similar kick a few years ago and got a whole bunch of stuff. It was well worth it. These do, these do (my favorites), and these... oh, it seems you can search the site for "nestable" and get quite a selection. Though the large salad bowls nest and aren't in that list. We like those for storing soups and stews and stuff.

In short, Lock & Lock!
posted by houseofdanie at 8:00 AM on October 22, 2014

And re: mold and gaskets, eek, remove them and wash them between uses. They pop in and out.
posted by houseofdanie at 8:02 AM on October 22, 2014

Been pretty happy with the Snapware, mentioned upthread. It comes in glass or plastic. It seals. It nests. Lids fit multiple containers. I threw out my old nasty mismatched stuff (recycled some, kept a few for use as cat dishes) and now everything coordinates and works and is pretty. You can get it at Costco, which is how I ended up with it. But I've been very happy with it.

My husband: "I didn't know people just went out and bought new tupperware!" Yes, my love, it doesn't all have to be old reused butter containers from when Memaw sent you home with leftovers.
posted by emjaybee at 8:12 AM on October 22, 2014 [4 favorites]

Seconding Rubbermaid Premier, if you go plastic. I've tried other plastics and they all seem to warp, bubble or stain in the microwave but the Premier ones are still as good as new. They also store wonderfully as they're fully nestable and the lids lock together and can attach to the bottom of the container as well as the top. The lids seal very well; even if they don't lock, it's pretty hard for them to accidentally come off.

If I were buying again, I might investigate some glass containers as well, but I'd probably use them in addition to the Rubbermaid stuff instead of replacing them and use them more for cooking/reheating than anything else.
posted by Aleyn at 9:37 AM on October 22, 2014

I'm a Sistema girl. I've never had a leak yet.
posted by Sophie1 at 1:08 PM on October 22, 2014

Lock and Lock for sure. We "inherited" some by accident and it's my fave.

I have some Snapware from Costco and I hate it. It leaks and the snaps snap off.
posted by stoneandstar at 8:47 PM on October 22, 2014

Counter point: I have a few of the Sistema food-on-the-go things like the breakfast one and they all are miserably leaky. I liked the idea of snappy lids until I realized that the lid snapping doesn't actually mean anything abut the quality of the seal. I'll buy Sistema for dry goods again, but never for anything that needs to really not leak.
posted by anaelith at 4:31 AM on October 23, 2014

Oh disregard my disrecommendation for Lock and Lock above. I'm thinking of Snapware. It's Snapware that sucks.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 11:56 AM on October 23, 2014

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