When it comes to storage containers for food, there are two main materials to choose from: plastic or glass. Many people are moving away from plastic because, even though there are “microwave safe” models, studies show they still leach plastic and chemicals into food, which nobody wants.
There are three major brands that come to mind with glass storage containers: Pyrex, GlassLock, and Anchor Hocking. The problem here is that all three brands are incredibly similar, making it difficult to pick out obvious differences between them. However, on very close inspection, you’ll find that each brand excels in one or two areas that the other brands falter in. In short, they’re all great brands to choose from, but your preferences will dictate which one is best for you.
All three of these brands have built up quite an arsenal of products. Ranging from different sizes to multiple shapes like circles, squares, and rectangles, along with package deals where you get several containers at once for a discount. However, both GlassLock and Anchor Hocking are behind Pyrex in this regard.
Pyrex has been around for many years, and is probably the most well-known brand out of these three (much like with Xerox and copies and Band-Aid with adhesive medical strips, people call most glass containers a Pyrex, just to show you how powerful this brand is).
Pyrex has dozens of products and packages to choose from. Not only can you find the exact size and shape that you want, but they also offer a ton of different colors. You can even get mutli-colored lids or glass with designs on it.
Tightness and Locking
Here’s a simple question: why do you seal away food? Obviously, so that air and other contaminants can’t get to it. So, you definitely want to choose a product that can keep your food properly locked away until you’re ready to open and consume.
All three brands not only excel at tightness and locking, they all have products dedicated to extra protection. Pyrex has the Ultimate and Snapware lines. The former has thicker and stronger lids, while the latter uses small plastic snaps that really keep the lid affixed.
GlassLock’s products all have similar snaps, so you get this level of protection with all of their products. However, Anchor Hocking edges GlassLock out just slightly with their level of convenience. Some people don’t like the snaps. They can be a pain to lock, and sometimes it hurts your fingers to unlock them.
Anchor Hocking’s TrueSeal line uses a thicker lid that snugly fits the top and has a lip that you can pull to easily remove the lid when you’re ready. While none of the brands really beat the other in terms of tightness, Anchor Hocking is just slightly better when it comes to convenience since this is easier to use and it won’t ever hurt your fingers.
Something has to be said for consistency. All three of these brands offer different lines and products, but which one is most consistent in terms of benefits? Anchor Hocking has one of the smaller product lines, but you can choose between Classic lines, TrueSeal and various others ones that each have slightly different benefits.
Pyrex is the king of variety, but that also creates problems when it comes to consistency. You could easily get lost looking through all of their products before you find one with the benefits that uniquely suit your needs.
GlassLock, on the other hand, basically has the same exact features and benefits regardless of which product you choose. All of their products have the snap lock lids, are microwave, oven, and refrigerator safe, and they are BPA free. Instead of looking for features or benefits, you’ll just be looking for the right size and shape. That makes shopping a lot easier and ensures that you know exactly what you’re getting.
There are a few reasons to choose glass over plastic, and safety is definitely one of them. Aside from the lack of chemical leaching, glass is also thicker and more durable. However, there are also a few caveats. Glass can break if dropped, but everyone knows that. What you may be worried about is exploding.
The truth is that if glass is mishandled during heating, there is a small chance that it might explode and shatter. Before you freak out and swear off glass, know that this is incredibly rare and you can easily stop it from happening with the right preparation.
Unless there is a defect in the glass, the only way it’s really going to explode is if there is a rapid change in temperature. This can happen if you take a glass container right from the freezer and throw it into an exceptionally hot oven, or vice-versa if you dunk the hot glass into cold water or ice. This shocks the glass, causing it to quickly expand or contract, which may result in an explosive shatter.
Now, to calm you down, let it be plainly said that all three of these brands resist these temperature changes very well and very, very rarely ever explode. You should still err on the side of caution, but you should be perfectly fine as long as you give the glass some time to adjust to the new temperature.
Which is Best for Me?
As stated above, this is so difficult because all three brands offer exceptional products with multi-variety, amazing safety and have features that people love. However, each stands out in at least one regard.
If you absolutely dread going through product after product just to find the features you’re looking for, then GlassLock is the best. Almost all of their products have the same features, and they’re often the ones you’re looking for anyway.
If you want a storage container with extra security but also a fair bit of added convenience, then Anchor Hocking’s TrueSeal line is a godsend. It’s so easy to use, and you never have to fiddle around with those little plastic lines.
Lastly, if you love the idea of going through a bunch of products and need to find that exact container that fits your size, shape and color needs, then Pyrex offers an exceptional number of products.