Best BPA-Free Food Storage Containers For Baby Food and More

If you’re like me, you have a cabinet in your kitchen stuffed with a scratched and stained mess of Gladware, Ziploc, or Tupperware food containers and an even larger stack of lids that never seem to fit. I even remember telling myself to stick with one brand and three sizes, but after years of dinner parties, brown-bag lunches, and outdoor potlucks, entropy has kicked my butt. Add in the baby on the way, and I wanted to reset and replace with BPA-free (linked to cancer and hormonal disorders) containers and perhaps buy additional ones for storing baby food.

The creators of America’s Test Kitchen ran another test (like with the knives) of the major brands of plastic food containers including Gladware, Ziploc, Rubbermaid, Sterilite, OXO, and more. All were BPA-free and they used the rectangular/square 8-cup sizes. They froze them, put stinky food in them, microwaved them with chili, washed them repeatedly, submerged them in water to test for leaks, and more. Being frugal doesn’t mean just buying the cheapest thing out there, it’s about finding the best value for the price.

The winner? For plastic food containers, the winner was Snapware MODS (update: now “Snapware Airtight”) which featured good performance across all categories. However, the reviews on this 38-piece set of Snapware Airtight for $40 shipped at Amazon.com seem to be worsening over time, and look at the pictures the constructions does look slightly less “beefy”. I did find a cheaper 20-piece set for $15 shipped at Wal-mart that may be worth trying out. It may be better to recognize that most of the better performing containers use the kind of seal that Snapware uses with snap-down “wing” flap, silicone gaskets, and a lid with full wraparound ridges.

For glass containers, the winner was Kinetic Go Green Glasslock, which is also sold under Glasslock by Snapware. Made of microwave-safe tempered glass, this type of container seems to be enjoying a comeback due to all the concerns about microwaving plastic. I have to say, it does sound like a great idea as long as you don’t drop things a lot (like me). Freezer safe. Add in that airtight lid, and I’m sold.

The main drawback beside fragility is the additional cost. You can buy their 16-piece set for $70 at Amazon.com including free shipping, although I’d rather buy a six-piece set of a medium-size for about $30-$40. All seem to have overall good reviews, and I also noticed that people seem to really love these cute Wean Green Wean Cubes Baby Food Glass Containers, which are also made by Glasslock (Snapware). Hopefully these can last a long time. Besides, there’s always that baby registry…

Comments

  1. Jackson Kline says:

    FYI, Snapware has renamed the “MODS” line to “Airtight”.

    http://www.snapware.com/questions

  2. Good study. Also, beware that most plastic containers are NOT made to properly withstand dishwasher temperatures without releasing chemicals. For baby food plastic containers, the safest washing method is hand washing. Time consuming but worth it from a safety standpoint.

  3. Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager says:

    Thanks for sharing the BPA – Free update. I definitely need to update my storage stuff. Thanks for the recommendations.

  4. When it comes to BPA free bottles, we love the Born Free products. They are a little more expensive, but have been happy with the product. You can get them in plastic and glass, which ever your choosing.

  5. Great article! Keep in mind that even BPA-free plastic containers still leach “BPA-Like” chemicals. Granted, that didn’t make me totally boycott plastic, but it’s something to keep in mind.

  6. Costco has 18-pieces (9 containers) glass Snapware for about $30. I think the price actually came down to $24 one time.

    Overall I’m pretty happy with this set; however, one side of one of the lids no longer closes. It’s still functional, but I don’t think it’s leak-proof anymore. The set is about 1 year old.

  7. Jonathan says:

    I’m not a huge fan of the snapware. The flaps wear and brake off over time. My set is less than 1 year and the wear shows. I’ve also noticed that with plastic storage the plastic materials are not totally inert: they stain with certain foods and bond with oil (they maintain greasy residue after washing). For this reason I stick with modest sized glass containers with as few moving parts(flaps) as possible. I like the Pyrex blue lid containers.

  8. @Jackson – Thanks! The new Airtight line seems to be of lesser construction just based on looking the pictures, but also has worse reviews. I wonder if they tried to cut costs and cut quality as well.

    @thuy – I just read that Snapware will replace any broken lids on either Airtight or Glasslock containers:

    “What do I do if the latch on my Glasslock® lid breaks?
    Snapware® guarantees that all Snapware® products shall be free from defects in material and workmanship. If you do have a latch that breaks we would be happy to replace it for you.
    Please email us or call (800) 999-3436.”

    I don’t know how easy the process is.

    @Jonathan – Thanks for the feedback. The flaps do seem like a weak point over time. I have some larger Pyrex containers that I also have used for years and like them.

  9. JustMe says:

    My favorite is Corningware’s Grab It with a plastic cover. I’m not sure if they’re made anymore, but you can still find them online and from various stores that may still have some inventory. The best part, they’re easy to pick up, and the lids work perfectly. They can go in the oven, microwave, refridgerater, freezer, and dishwasher. Great for leftovers.

  10. If you are looking for something to store baby food specifically the best/easiest thing to do is freeze it in a silicone tray like green sprouts silicone freezer tray then pop them out and store them in Ziploc bags in the freezer. Defrost in a glass container.

  11. I’ve had my rubbermaid plastic servin’ saver containers for over a decade and only now are some of them starting to go (mainly the one corner of the lid where they are opened the most); they’ve been to Africa and Australia with us. I also like the sterilite plastic containers I bought quite a few years ago as well. I use them for garden stuff when they are no longer good for food.

    I hadn’t thought about BPA content though but we don’t have a microwave and I’ve always hand washed my dishes so hopefully that makes it okay. Maybe just using them for fridge and freezer storage and hand washing and not pre-heating prolongs the life of them.

  12. I really love my pyrex sets and if you watch slickdeals.com for a while you will find huge sales on them often. Actually, that probably goes for a bunch of the products outlined here.

    I switched to all glass (mostly) when I figured out that any meal I sent to daycare with my child was going to be microwaved inside the container it came in. Sure, I could have told them not to, but I figured there were also lots of other good reasons to do it. And pyrex doesn’t break every time you drop it.

  13. Heather says:

    Strong work! I don’t know if you’ve come across this website, Z-recs, which reviews a lot of kid’s toys and stuff for safety. I’ve come across a lot of good information there.

    I do worry that BPA is going to be just one of a lot of things that leach out of plastic, that is not good for us to eat, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

  14. loved the first time parents looking into baby food storage already :) as a mom, i actually don’t microwave anything in plastic. i don’t care what kind of plastic. plastic is plastic is plastic. when i had my first baby, i did what everyone else did and bought BPA free plastic bottles. but after using them for a year, the bottle really started to “show” its true self. i honestly regretted it. i threw them all out and bought all brand new glass bottles for my second baby. now i can sterilize the bottles in boiling water and not worry about what chemicals are getting into my baby’s tummy!

  15. One big downside of the glass containers is that they are so much more bulkier than Ziploc or Gladware, and they don’t really stack. Add to that my clumsiness, and we ended up using mostly plastic containers. But as a non-parent I can afford to be a bit more cavalier about these things.

    But I do use several mason jars of various sizes and find them very practical, and because they’re taller than the square containers, non-stacking is less of an issue.

  16. I take glass containers to work daily to store and microwave food in. I never microwave in plastic. I find I only need 5 or 6 containers to last me the week (given the frequency of dish-washing). If you have TJX store like HomeGoods nearby, you can find glass containers at steep discount – either individually or in sets. I have seen Kinetic Go Green there as well as other types.

    For food I will only keep cold, I have no problem using plastic. BPA leaches at higher temperatures. The only times my containers see that is in the dishwasher and there is no food in them at that point.

    I too have used the large Snapware set from Costco and am already having some lid latches break in about 6 months. It’s good to know they will replace these.

  17. I am a mother of twins and I could not live without the Wean Meister freezer pods. I loved their modern design, but they were super functional! The whole tray is silicone, including the lid, so no freezer burn. They have 9 pods, so 9 meals, each 2.5oz. These trays are BPA free and use a grade of silicone that is actually higher than the FDA grade, making them safer for babies. The food pops out very very easily, which was a huge problem with some other brands. You can get them here: http://www.nurturedsprouts.com

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