Jessica is a web writer and webmaster. She writes about many topics and has a passion for learning new things.
I am insanely curious. So much so that I just had to know who makes the best plastic storage containers. I buy more of these than most people because I give out leftovers to the younger family members on family dinner night. To find out if I was really getting the best deal for my hard-earned money, I bought a few of each brand and tested them out. You'll find that Ziploc turned out to be the best value and the best product (but Gladware put up a good fight).
Stackable Containers Stacked Up Against Each Other
I tested four brands of plastic storage ware containers to learn how three popular brands stood up to everyday wear and to see if a generic brand would do as well. The name brands tested were Rubbermaid, Gladware, and Ziploc.
I performed three tests:
- rough handling,
- freezer to microwave,
- and residual staining.
After each test, I looked at the containers to see how they fared after dropping, extreme temperature change, and residual staining from spaghetti sauce after running through the dishwasher.
- In the drop test, I put 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce in each container and dropped them from a height of three feet. I wanted to see if the lids would leak or hold tight.
- In the freezer to microwave test, I put the containers with spaghetti sauce into the freezer for three days. I then transferred the containers straight to the microwave and heated them on high for two minutes to see if they would warp or crack.
- I then ran all the containers through the dishwasher to see if they held residual stains, and if so, to what extent.
During the drop test, Gladware and Ziploc did very well. The contents did not leak out with the rough handling. I was surprised to see how poorly the Rubbermaid container did. The sauce crept between the lid and seal. While it did not fully escape, I wouldn't want a thinner liquid in this container in my lunchbox. The generic brand did very poorly, with the sauce splattering out onto the floor. While the lid did not come off the container, it failed to contain all of the sauce.
Best: Gladware & Ziploc
Worst: Generic & Rubbermaid
In the freezer to microwave test, the lids were checked for brittleness and all were flexible enough to stand up to the cold. In the microwave, the Gladware and Ziploc products did well, with no warping of the plastic from the heat. The Rubbermaid container lid rippled significantly in the microwave and the container warped at the base. The generic brand lid showed some minor rippling, but the container portion stood up well.
Best: Gladware & Ziploc
After running the containers through the dishwasher, all showed some residual staining. However, some of the containers had significantly less staining than others. The Glad product did best, and the Ziploc container held onto only slightly more residue. The generic brand stained surprisingly little, but the Rubbermaid container held onto stains badly.
Best: Glad (Ziploc a very close second)
When compared with the price of these products, Ziploc came out on top. The Ziploc containers performed nearly as well as Glad, but came in a four-pack. Glad’s comparable containers were sold only in threes for about the same price. The Rubbermaid containers surprised me with their poor performance, given the national recognition of this brand. While the generic brand came in an eight-pack and performed well for most of the tests, the leakage issue was an unacceptable problem.
Best Value: Ziploc
Based on these findings, I'll be getting Ziploc from now on.
Nate on December 14, 2015:
I know this is an old post, but thanks for taking the time to do these experiments! Batteries of scientific tests are like my love language, so I'm glad other people do this sort of thing :) I've had a mediocre experience with Rubbermaid containers as well.
Jessica Bosari on March 14, 2011:
@jesse - LOL! Yeah, I did this when I was just starting my online writing career. I didn't have a lot of work then! As for splatters, it's all good. I have to clean anyway, don't I?
@nenylorien - sorry, no cross section coming. I actually have a life now...and a lot more clients!
nenyalorien from Philippines on March 14, 2011:
Hey, this has been one VERY helpful post! I was in need of sources for an article on food containers and this really helped a lot. :D
Have you tried testing Tupperware? I'm wondering if Tupperware lives up to its hype. Looking forward to seeing a cross-section experiment using Glad and Rubbermaid as well!
jesse (again) on September 21, 2010:
What was the name of the generic brand? (and I know I spelled speghetti wrong in my first comment. I'm not an avid blog posting person, so I am not going to lose sleep over it :)
jesse on September 21, 2010:
You have too much time on your hands. How clean is your kicthen now from dropping containers with speghetti sauce on it?