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5 May 2022

Which food storage containers don't leak?

We put popular brands including Sistema, Ikea and Oxo through tough tests to check which were leakproof and durable
person putting lunch box into blue rucksack

Sick of lunch boxes that dribble into our rucksacks and spillages into our cool bags on summer picnics, we set out to find out which food storage containers don't leak. 

There are plenty of plastic food storage containers out there in the vein of the now less-available Tupperware, that claim to be leak proof. We tested six popular food storage containers from Ikea, Oxo and Sistema, putting them through a series of tough tests to see if our soups and salad dressings stayed put. 

Even though some say they are leak proof, our testing found that to not be the case. 

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How we tested for leaks

We filled each food container to capacity (minus 100ml, to ensure no water got on the locking mechanism) and carried out two leak tests.

  • Shake test - we held each container upside down and shook it vigorously for a full minute.
  • Travel test - we wrapped each container in kitchen roll, and placed them into their own plastic bag. These went in a rucksack, on a 30 minute commute (20 minutes walking, 10 minutes jogging).

Which food storage containers didn't leak?

As you can see from our test images above, some of the food containers had little accidents while out on their travels. In fact, after both tests, only three containers didn't spill a drop of water. Those were:

  • Ikea 365+ food container with lid (1 litre) – £3 available at Ikea
  • Lock & Lock rectangular storage container (1 litre) – £4.50 available at Dunelm
  • Sistema Brilliance leak-proof container (0.92 L) – £7.50 available at John Lewis

Then we tested durability

We all have butter fingers from time to time, so it's important a container full of food can survive being dropped without spilling its contents. 

We put all six containers through a tough durability test, dropping them from 1.2m a total of five times.  

Which food containers didn't break?

Only two survived the durability test intact. The others all cracked – in one case clean in two!

Even the two that didn't crack had their lids come off and leak some water. So while accidentally dropping these may still result in cleaning up a spill, you'll be able to use the container over and over again. The two that didn't crack were:

  • Ikea 365+ food container with lid (1 litre) – £3 available at Ikea
  • Sistema Brilliance leak-proof container (0.92 L) – £7.50 available at John Lewis

Just two containers didn't leak or break 

Editors choice: Sistema Brilliance leak-proof container

Cheapest price: £7.50 at Amazon, John Lewis & Partners

Capacity: 0.92 litres

Locking Mechanism: two clips with rubber seal

The Sistema Brilliance lives up to its leak proof claim, its durability means it will last you for years to come, and shows that more clips aren't needed to be more leak proof.

The container has holes under the clips, which act as steam vents when used in the microwave. If the clips aren't properly locked down, liquid could potentially pour out. However this didn't happen for us - indeed not a single drop got out of this food container in our shake or travel tests. 

While its clips came undone on one of the drops, the Sistema Brilliance was only one of two containers to survive our durability tests without cracking, and the impact resistant material meant it emerged without any visible dents or damage.

Editors choice: Ikea 365+ food container with lid

Cheapest price: £3 at Ikea

Capacity: 1 litre

Locking Mechanism: four 'snap-and-lock' clips with rubber seal

The Ikea 365+ range has a variety of sizes available, with different materials for the body and container tops. We tested the Ikea 365+ with a plastic body and lid. 

No matter how hard we shook it, no water came out of the container, and the kitchen roll was bone dry after the travel test.

It didn't crack after five drops, but the clips came undone on all the drops we carried out and it gained a few cosmetic scratches and dents to boot.

This container from Ikea is an absolute steal, and being microwave safe, would make the perfect lunch box to take your leftovers into work and reheat the next day.

Also need a leak proof flask to transport your drink? – read our Best vacuum flask reviews

The others food containers we tested

Ikea Pruta food container (set of 17)

Cheapest price: £4 at Ikea

Capacity: 0.15 to 1.8 litres

Locking Mechanism: press lid down, no rubber seal

Ikea says the Pruta food containers aren't 'spill proof and may leak'. We couldn't believe a product for containing food would actually say this, so we decided to test it for ourselves.

Fair play to Ikea for transparent marketing claims, as it turns out the Pruta really isn't leak proof.

We tested a 0.3, 0.6 and 1.8 litre from the set and they all leaked in the shake and/or travel tests. The lid fell clean off the 1.8L container when we shook it. Additionally, they all cracked in our durability test.

You get a lot of containers for your money, but don't use them as a lunch box to transport your leftovers – your bag may end up having more of your lunch than you.

Lock & Lock rectangular storage container

Cheapest price: £4.50 at Dunelm, also at Amazon

Capacity: 1 litre

Locking Mechanism: four 'snap and lock' clips with rubber seal

We couldn't get a drop of water out of this food container, so it lives up to its '100% air tight leak proof' claim.

Unfortunately the Lock & Lock container cracked wide open on the second drop. So if you have a tendency to drop things, go for one of our Editor's Choice picks. 

Oxo Good Grips Prep and Go leakproof container

Cheapest Price: £9.35 at Amazon, also at John Lewis & Partners

Capacity: 0.8 litres

Locking Mechanism: two clips and rubber seal

Oxo may be well-known, but our tests show a big brand doesn't mean you'll always get a leak proof food container.

The Oxo Good Grips did okay in the shake test, but leaked a lot in the travel test, soaking a large portion of the kitchen roll.

The container didn't do any better in our durability tests, splitting into two parts on the second drop.

If you want a great container, go for one of our Editor's Choice picks – they are cheaper, don't leak and didn't smash into pieces in our durability test. 

Sistema Klip it Plus square food container

Cheapest Price: £3.50 at Asda

Capacity: 1.15 litres

Locking Mechanism: two clips and rubber seal

Available in many sizes, and in multipacks, the Sistema Klip It Plus range claims to be leak proof, but weren't when we tested it. 

Water leaked from the corners in our shake test, and similarly leaked while being carried in a back pack.

It lasted a little bit longer on the durability test, but still cracked on the third drop. 

While the price may be attractive, our Editors Choice storage boxes didn't leak, and the Ikea 365+ is a similar price to this Sistema container. Go for one of them instead if you're looking for a new lunch box.

Read our best cooler bag reviews to find the bags that will keep the lunch in your leak proof food containers chilled for longer.