Pantry Storage Container Finder

We’ll show you how to choose the best storage containers to organise your pantry and keep food fresh.

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Uncooked groceries in glass jars arranged on wooden shelves of kitchen

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Best Pantry storage containers

Best Rated Pantry Storage Container: Sistema

Sistema took out the Finder Award for the best pantry storage containers. In particular, Aussies love the shape of the Sistema containers along with their material and durability.

Key facts about comparing pantry storage containers:

  • If your pantry is a disorganised mess, investing in a quality set of storage containers can help cut down on clutter.
  • Consider whether you want plastic or glass containers, and select containers with the capacity and shape to suit your storage needs.
  • You should also look for products that are microwave and dishwasher-safe.

What types are available?

Pantry storage containers are most commonly made of either plastic or glass. Each material has its own pros and cons.

  • Plastic. Plastic containers are affordable, lightweight and available in clear and coloured varieties. They're often also safe for use in microwaves, freezers and dishwashers. Some consumers do have concerns about whether or not plastic is BPA-free, which is an issue we'll address further down the page.
  • Glass. If you're worried about chemical leakage from plastic containers, you might decide to store your pantry items in glass containers. It's easy to see what's inside a glass container, and containers safe for the microwave, oven and dishwasher are available. However, glass is heavier, more expensive and can also break, so it won't be the right choice for every kitchen.

How to compare pantry storage containers

Shopping for pantry storage containers but don't know what to buy? Consider the following factors to ensure that you make the right choice:

Capacity

Check how much the container can hold when full. Capacities range anywhere from small, portable containers that hold less than 500mL, to bulk storage containers of 5L or more.

Shape and dimensions

Containers can be square, rectangular or round. They can be tall and skinny or short and flat. Consider what items you need to store, as well as the width and height of the shelves in your pantry.

Ease of use

Think about how you'll be using the containers on a day-to-day basis. For example, check how many clips are used to lock the lid in place. Are they easy to secure and release when you want to access the container?

Is the lid vented to allow you to release steam when heating the container in a microwave? If you'll be tipping cereal or some other ingredient straight from the container, is there a smaller opening to allow for easy pouring without removing the entire lid?

Microwave, dishwasher, freezer and oven use

Check the fine print to find out where and how it's safe to use a container. If a container is listed as microwave or dishwasher-safe, it's also worth checking whether this refers to the lid as well or the base only.

Ease of cleaning

Aside from being dishwasher-safe, an easy-to-clean container won't have any crevices or cracks where gunk or mould can accumulate.

Seal

A container that doesn't seal properly isn't going to be much good at keeping food fresh. Make sure the seal is leakproof and watertight, and check whether the lid can be secured with clips or simply by pushing it down onto the container.

Colour

Do you want a see-through container so you can quickly check what's inside and how much you have left? Or are you looking for containers that allow you to colour-code your pantry items, either with a coloured base or a coloured lid?

Storage when not in use

It's also a good idea to consider how much space the containers will take up in your kitchen drawer when not in use. Can they be "nested" inside one another to minimise their footprint? Do they have straight rather than angled edges so that they can make the most of the available space? There are also silicone storage containers available that can be collapsed flat for easy stacking when not in use.

Price

If you're on a tight budget, plastic containers are cheaper than their glass counterparts. Of course, prices also vary depending on the number of containers in a set and the capacity of each individual container. Buying a set of containers rather than building your collection one at a time will help you save money.


Do plastic storage containers need to be BPA-free?

From storage containers to baby bottles, many plastic products are proudly promoted as being "BPA-free". But what does this actually mean?

BPA is short for Bisphenol A, a chemical found in some plastics. Small amounts of this chemical can migrate into food from containers. But while some studies have raised concerns about the potential for BPA to be harmful to health, according to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), "the overwhelming weight of scientific opinion is that there is no health or safety issue at the levels people are exposed to".

You can find more information about, and links to, several scientific studies into the effects of BPA on the FSANZ website.


Storing your containers when not in use

If you buy all of your containers from the one brand, you may find that the same size lid fits containers with different capacities. This can be very handy if your kitchen cupboards and drawers aren't always a picture of organisational perfection.

Speaking of which, if your kitchen cupboards and drawers are filled with an assortment of mismatched storage containers and lids, check out some of the many handy storage hacks available online. From stacking lids in plate racks to dividing container types into separate bins, there are lots of simple ways you can keep things relatively neat and tidy.


Best Rated Pantry Storage Container award breakdown

Total Score Overall rating Value for Money Durability Shape Material
Progressive* 8.75 5.00 5.00 5.00 5.00 5.00
Sistema 8.23 4.51 4.39 4.37 4.55 4.41
Decor 8.21 4.50 4.26 4.40 4.46 4.32
Oxo* 8.19 4.50 4.17 4.33 4.33 4.33
Lock & Lock 8.14 4.50 4.18 4.57 4.36 4.29
Tupperware 8.07 4.46 3.90 4.48 4.44 4.34
Pyrex 7.92 4.32 4.02 4.40 4.28 4.30
Ball Mason* 7.87 4.25 4.25 4.50 4.50 4.75
Other 7.80 4.19 4.42 4.16 4.35 4.19
IKEA 7.79 4.18 4.26 4.22 4.32 4.16
Glasslock 7.62 4.00 3.90 4.40 4.20 4.20
Kmart 7.58 4.02 4.45 3.94 4.24 3.92
Primex* 7.54 4.00 4.00 4.25 4.00 4.00
Rubbermaid* 7.41 4.00 3.89 4.33 4.11 4.22
*Brand did not meet the sample threshold to qualify for the award
Data: Finder Retail Brand Survey, 2020, Kantar. Metric out of 5 stars unless indicated. Methodology and more info. Kantar logo

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