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Are Stainless Steel Food Storage Containers Worth the Premium Price? (Life Without Plastic Review)

image Fifteen dollars for a bowl with a lid strikes me as expensive. I’m a frugal (cheap!) girl, and I had a hard enough time going from the “4 containers for $2 minus a $1 off coupon” Gladware to the “4 containers for $6-8 and no coupons” Pyrex glass dishes.

I have to say I was intrigued and skeptical when I got to test out Life Without Plastic’s stainless steel containers. I didn’t think there would be any validating points to spend so much.

I’ve since been convinced.

(See my 2022 Life Without Plastic review, too!)

Why Stainless Steel Beats Glass

  • It can go right on the stovetop. Since I more or less gave up the microwave about a year ago, I use my toaster oven and my stovetop more than most folks. Guess which one is faster? The stovetop kicks the toaster oven’s behind, but I hate dirtying the extra pot sometimes. You do know how I feel about dishes, right? I LOVE that these stainless steel dishes can be plopped right onto the stove and voila! Lunch is served.
  • The kiddo factor: non-breakable. I know Maria Montessori would have me give my toddler glass dishes all the time and just teach her to use them properly. We Kimballs are clumsy people, unfortunately.
  • Kiddo factor no. 2: easy to open lids. My son has trouble with the plastic lids on glass containers, and he’s almost five years old. He thinks the latches on the stainless bowls are as good as a toy.
  • Lightweight. Especially when you’re packing something you’ll have to carry, stainless steel over glass is a wondrous thing.
  • No plastic at all. I’m not terribly worried about the plastic lids on Pyrex glass containers, but I’ve heard from many other bloggers and commenters who are. Here’s the solution – there’s zero plastic in the stainless steel containers, so no chemical leaching concerns.

Why Stainless Steel and Glass BOTH Trump Plastic

  1. Please read Beth Terry of Fake Plastic Fish’s fabulous guest post about the dangers of plastic food storage containers. Glass and stainless have no health concerns.
  2. My favorite part, they’re not only dishwasher safe, but they dry all the way and don’t drip all over your other clean dishes because of their little nooks and crannies, like plastic containers do. Because you KNOW how I feel about dishes!
  3. Both can go in the toaster or conventional oven, right from the fridge. Nice – another dishes saver.

A Few Drawbacks

I’m not getting a reputation for balanced reviews for nothing. Here are the reasons I still love my glass storage containers, too:

  • Stainless is pricey. However, I’m comforted by the fact that it will last forever and never break (see clumsy Kimball comment above).
  • You can’t see through them. Once you get enough leftovers going in the fridge, this could be an issue. But hey – Tupperware was all opaque back in the day, too, and everyone still bought them!
  • They can’t go in the microwave. For me, this is not a problem, but I understand that many people rely on the microwave for leftovers both at home and at work. You’ll want a balance of glass and stainless steel for various purposes.

Other Fun Products

The most important products that Life Without Plastic carries, in my opinion, is the glass baby bottles (no longer available) and child sippys. We need to protect our littlest ones from any potential plastic leaching as much as possible, and if you can’t breastfeed (or if you pump), please seek out a plastic-free bottle option. My friend with twins didn’t get to test it, because her girls were already too big for the nipple size (I forgot to specify; make sure you remember!). It will be put to good use by someone soon though!

klean kanteen water bottle for toddlers I didn’t get one of these for review, but I have to give a shoutout to a product we use almost every day: our diaper bag staple is a 12-oz. Klean Kanteen with sippy spout. If you are prone to leave liquid in a bag for more than a few hours (ahem, maybe like a few days like me), you really need to avoid those plastics, which leach chemicals over time and with heat.

I also got to test out the stainless steel hot meal container, which is an awesome product for anyone trying to avoid the microwave AND avoid plastic, because you can heat up your food properly on the stovetop in the morning and have a hot meal at lunchtime. This is the modern-day version of the classic soup thermos that construction workers are often portrayed with. It’s shorter and wider, more like a traditional bowl.image

After my daughter broke two glass dishes off her highchair tray in one week, I changed my mind about switching her to glass drinking glasses. I *cringe*  actually use little bitty plastic ones. I was just saying before I revisited the Life Without Plastic site that I wished someone made lightweight, stainless steel cups for little ones. Well, duh, Katie – they do.

Disclosure: Life Without Plastics supplied three products for my review and two for you, but in no way did they influence my opinion or require a positive review. This post also contains affiliate links to Life Without Plastic. See my full disclosure statement here.

I’m well known for honest, thorough product reviews…

reviewed and recommended

…and you can always tell a real family has run these products through the gauntlet.

When I review a type of item, I try to review a LOT of different brands! From over a dozen reusable sandwich bags to over 120 natural mineral sunscreens, I’m your girl for straight-up info about natural, real foodie items you’re considering buying.

Click here to see more product reviews and you’ll also love my resources page, with REAL products that have passed my rigorous testing enough to be “regulars” in the Kimball household, plus some other comprehensive reviews. Updated at least once a year to boot the losers and add new gems!

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.
Category: The Reviews

51 thoughts on “Are Stainless Steel Food Storage Containers Worth the Premium Price? (Life Without Plastic Review)”

  1. I didn’t realize the variety of stainless steel containers out there. I do love pyrex, but I think that is b/c it reminds me of my grandma.

  2. I would love to win these. I’ve been trying to find some stainless steel containers locally for school lunches.

  3. I switched from plastic in my husband’s lunch box – oh no, I just realized his lunch box is plastic : ( Hmmm…

  4. Yes I am definitely trying to go without plastic bottles; I would love to have this set of stainless steel.

  5. I have tried for years to use less plastic. I have stainless steel mixing bowls and great supply of pyrex..I only use the gladware etc. for kiddos pretzels and fruits and veggies for lunches in an effort to use less baggies. I cant send them glass. I think my next baby step will be cutting boards.

  6. I have a long way to go before I am plastic free. My older children are resisting going green, which it too bad, considering it’s their generation that will suffer the most from our over use of the dreaded stuff.
    .-= Kristen´s last blog ..Scotch Seas: Recipes from Long Ago =-.

  7. I know this isn’t ‘new’, but a tip is to always keep reusable canvas bags in your car for shopping. I’m always amazed at how little they put in a plastic bag and how much the reusables hold in comparison!

  8. What interests me the most at LWP, is the water dispensers. I love keeping filtered water cold in my fridge but didn’t have a good way to store it.

  9. I’m currently in the process of eliminating plastic! I’ve purchased lots of Pyrex, but I don’t have any stainless steel items!

  10. I am trying to use less plastic everyday. We have been buying glass containers whenever I see them on sale. I have not tried stainless, but would love to give it a go.

  11. Say no to plastic straws! I say no to them in restaurants and bring my own stainless steel mug with me for any take out drinks. They aren’t necessary, and can cause gas bubbles in the gut anyway. If you must have a straw, get a glass one. 🙂
    .-= Angie´s last blog ..Menu Monday (on Tuesday) =-.

  12. I would love to get some metal plates for use outside. We cookout all the time with our friends, and still have some plastic plates that I use for that, just because I don’t want to loose a glass one. And they have been dropped quite a few times, so my worry has been validated!
    .-= Angie´s last blog ..Menu Monday (on Tuesday) =-.

  13. I would love these! I’m trying to convince my roommates to stop heating their food (in plastic) in the microwave! I’ve bought my own Pyrex to help decrease this issue.

  14. I’ve been working my way towards less and less plastic in the house. My latest favorite is using wide-mouth mason jars for leftover storage. But, I’m loving the idea of the stainless steel cups….
    .-= Deanna´s last blog ..Walnut Squares =-.

  15. angie tschopp

    Last year I decided to commit to elimiating plastic from my home. I started with the kids lunch boxes. Stainless steel water bottles, stainless steel food containers for sandwiches, wax paper bags for snacks and bamboo lunch bags. The kids thought is was awesome because if was different. We now use glass containers for staorage. While I was working away I did not notice that my children were really watching and learning. It was not until my six year old started hauling recycling home that he was collecting after lunch each day from his class mates that I realized my efforts where making a difference in my childrens lives. Then my oldest son started bring home trash he was finding in the creeks and roadside when he was out exploring nature to sort and recycle. They have encourage our family to adopt a highway to clean. Now they too are recyclers and have found their own voice for our planet. I am a very proud mom.

  16. Doggy bag containers are the one area I’m still really struggling with. Just wondering if anyone’s encountered any friction about bringing your own take out containers?

  17. Wendy (The Local Cook)

    I would SO love to win these! I’m still at the thinking-about-replacing plastics stage.
    .-= Wendy (The Local Cook)´s last blog ..Food & Faith Challenge: Where does your food come from? =-.

  18. My recent accomplishment thanks to KS is my sourdough starter and favorite recipe is the whole wheat sourdough crackers – SO GOOD!

  19. I loved the mental picture you gave of unloading the top of the dishwasher of the plastic-ware! I hate the water left behind as well and am gradually going plastic free.

  20. I’ve been phasing plastic out of my kitchen, slowly, as I find replacements. One thing I’ve had trouble with is portables. I have a stainless water bottle, and some glass we use at home for leftovers and such. But what about taking snacks/lunches, say, to the park? Especially if they’re wet? *shrug* Still workin’ on it 🙂 I sub to your blog in my greader!

  21. I love the wooden toys on Life Without Plastic. I just wish they weren’t so expensive!

  22. I subscribe via google reader. And, do these stainless steel bowls FEEL strange? I know its an odd question, but I actually dislike the way that stainless steel feels on my hand and especially on my fingernails.

  23. I keep toying with the idea of stainless steel water bottles, but I have one issue. I live in Phoenix, and I’m in the car all day (I know, heat plus plastic = bad). However, I’m afraid a stainless steel bottle would get so hot in the car that I would burn myself just trying to pick it up. Given that I burn myself on the seat belt buckle at least once every summer, I don’t think this is an unreasonable fear. Thoughts? So far I’ve decided to just be on the lookout for a Camelbak bottle that I like.

    1. Both my mom and MIL have separately found insulated wrappers/carriers for stainless steel bottles that look stylish and work great for cold beverages, and that would solve your problem. I wish I knew where they got them to tell you though!
      🙂 Katie

  24. I switched to Pyrex storage containers. After Christmas vacation we came back to discover our leftovers were growing things! Those plastic lids have never EVER recovered and I’ve tried everything. Not being able to afford another screw up like that I gave up my switch to glass.
    These sound like the perfect solution and I like that they can go right on the stove! Sign me up!

  25. We have successfully been using glassware for food storage for a couple years. My next step is the kids dishes and replacing my plastic bags with reusable, Living Without Plastic has some great options.

  26. I like the Children’s 3-Piece Green Frog Dish Set because it can travel without the worry of breakage. The bowl reminds me of my favorite ceramic soup bowl that just broke. Did you that ceramic doesn’t bounce when it falls from the cupboard?
    .-= Condo Blues´s last blog ..Fabkins Earth Day Giveaway! =-.

  27. I subscribe to your blog via RSS
    .-= Condo Blues´s last blog ..Fabkins Earth Day Giveaway! =-.

  28. One of the easiest ways we cut down on plastic containers is choosing items for our wedding registry wisely. My favorite serving dishes come with a glass lid and a plastic snap on lid for each dish. I use the glass most of the time and haven’t had to the need to purchase new ones in 13 years of marriage!
    .-= Condo Blues´s last blog ..Fabkins Earth Day Giveaway! =-.

  29. I recently bought a stainless steel water bottle, so I am pretty excited about that! Great way to avoid plastic!
    .-= Marcy´s last blog ..Shop special extended!!!!! {I love spring!!} =-.

  30. I subscribe in Google Reader.
    .-= Juliana´s last blog ..50% off sale this weekend! =-.

  31. I am reading these articles about plastic with interest. Thank you for this information!

  32. We have begun using the glass or ceramic items we have to put left overs in. We will not use plastic for those.

  33. Favorite recipe… well, I’m a newbie here, but I love the idea of a green smoothie!
    I have water kefir grains on the way, so we’ll see how that goes!! I love the help/idea posts on this blog, so I’ve been learning and reading tons!! Thanks for such a great resource!!!

  34. Oh, so we can send two? (I see other ladies have :)). I subscribe to you blog through a reader, and am so thankful to read your blog. It was recommended by two friends on separate occasions, so I knew I needed to check it out! Have a good day 🙂

  35. This is such an exciting giveaway! I really like stainless steel, and hadn’t realized the extremem benefit of being able to put s.s. containers straight onto the stove! Genious! Thanks so much for the info, the great recipes and tips, and the giveaway.

  36. Life Without Plastic ~ the product area is well organized… I love the lunch bots sets for kid lunches. 🙂

  37. talesofahummingbird

    what a fantastic post (all of the get rid of the plastics) series….i’ve been dying to hear what others are using instead of ziplock baggies and plastic storage containers. it seems that people are always talking about what NOT to do and what is BAD to do but aren’t always so helpful in giving you great options of what TO do instead. Thank you!
    .-= talesofahummingbird´s last blog ..monday, monday… =-.

  38. I looked all around their site….and didn’t see coffee mugs (the refillable to-go ones).
    .-= Jessica´s last blog ..Recyclable toys?! =-.

  39. … I recently read Nourishing Traditions, so I’m just starting to enter the big world of why processing is so terrible… I have plastic containers, but will be buying some canning jars in the next week or so to start switching over to glass.

  40. I like that Life Without Plastic is looking into Wood as an alternative!!
    .-= Jessica´s last blog ..Recyclable toys?! =-.

  41. Going plastic-free is hard, but we are slowly trying to make the switch!
    .-= Jessica´s last blog ..Recyclable toys?! =-.

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