July 23, 2024

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The Best Reusable Food Storage Bags of 2022

The Best Reusable Food Storage Bags of 2022

For folks looking to reduce their waste in the kitchen (and beyond!) switching to reusable food storage bags is a convenient and eco-friendly solution. They can help cut down on discarded single-use plastic bags for storing leftovers, packing lunches, prepping produce and more. And they’re not just for storage: you can use them for packing toiletries—or even microwaving popcorn and cooking sous vide. 

We set out to find a bag that was fuss-free to fill, store, and clean—and resisted leaks, stains, and lingering smells. To do this, we rigorously tested a slate of models with different size ranges (from eight ounces and up to 1-gallon), materials, and designs.

The Winner, at a Glance

The Best Reusable Food Storage Bags: Durbl Reusable Silicone Food Storage Bags

Durbl Reusable Silicone Food Storage Bags

All three sizes of this silicone model were easy to fill and clean (they’re dishwasher-safe!), fit perfectly into a game of fridge Tetris, never leaked, and didn’t hang on to odors. 

The Tests

A reusable food storage bag that leaks? No thanks.

Serious Eats / Eric King

  • Leakage test: To see how leakproof each bag was, we filled each size (small, medium, and large) from every brand with 1/2-cup, 3/4-cup, 1 1/2 cups of blue-dyed water. We then held each over a tray lined with paper towels, inverting the bag for 30 seconds, shaking it vigorously for 10 seconds and then knocking each bag onto the paper towels five times, documenting any leaks. 
  • Filling tests: We filled each small bag with six ounces of blueberries, each medium bag with 8.5 ounces of strawberries, and each large bag with 2.8 ounces of stripped kale leaves cut into one-inch pieces. Then, we tested how well each medium bag fit a peanut butter and jelly sandwich—or used the specifically designated sandwich bag if the set featured one. 
  • Storage tests: All the bags were placed in the fridge to see how well they fit on the shelves or in the produce drawers, and whether their design (flat, stand-up, rigid, flexible) helped or hurt how efficiently they used up the space. 
  • Smells and staining test: We smeared a mixture of 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric and 1 teaspoon of neutral oil inside the medium bag from each set. After waiting eight hours, then hand-washing the bag, we smelled the inside and noted how stained the bags were, and how much they held onto the spice’s scent. 
  • Usability tests: Throughout testing, we evaluated how easy the bags were to fill and open and close.
  • Cleanup tests: Over the course of testing, we evaluated how easy each bag was to hand-wash with warm soapy water and a sponge, noting especially whether their crevices trapped debris and how well they stood up straight on a drying rack. 

What We Learned

Which Design Was Better: Stand-up or Lay-flat? 

Serious Eats / Eric King

The bags from Xomoo, ZipTop, and WinRock have an innovative, stand-up design. They were by far the easiest models to fill, with a flat base and wide opening. Plus, they can air dry anywhere you have space (no drying rack needed), as they won’t flop over thanks to their rigid construction and wide shape. Unfortunately, all three of these models also failed the leakage test, with Xomoo and ZipTop doing truly terribly. Even when held upside-down with no shaking, they trickled out water, with Xomoo breaking completely open when lightly knocked over. We also found that their wide bases took up a lot of surface area for not a lot of interior storage space. 

The other three models that stood up straight, but were differently designed, were the Durbl, Home Lux, and ReZip. The medium and large size of Durbl both stay up on their own, but you still have to hold the zipper open with your hand in order to fill them. Home Lux and ReZip, on the other hand, only stay upright if they are partially filled, which pushes out their bottom and gives them a base.

Our winner, Durbl, was a great compromise between the stand-up and lay-flat designs: slim enough to take up minimum surface space in the fridge, but also tall for maximum storage. They can lay flat, but have a rigid base and stand upright on their own when empty.

Which Material Was Better: Flexible or Rigid? 

Serious Eats / Eric King

If a bag is too rigid (like the models from Xomoo and ZipTop) you can’t shove them into a crowded vegetable drawer—they’re just not flexible enough. On the other hand, super-flexible bags like SPLF, W&P Porter, and HomeLux were hard to air dry because they would slump or flop over, trapping leftover water inside. Our winner, Durbl, was flexible enough to squeeze into tight spaces, but also structured enough to stand up straight in the fridge or on the drying rack. 

Opt for Silicone, Not Plastic

Despite the fact that the only two plastic models, SPLF and ReZip, prevented any leakage when most of the silicone models failed, we still say the better material for reusable food storage bags is silicone. Neither of the plastic models we tested were microwave-safe, while all of the silicone models were. The silicone bags were all heat-resistant, with some safe up to 400°F and 425°F, meaning you can use them to pop popcorn in the microwave, reheat leftovers, or even cook sous-vide. If that’s not enough, the plastic bags also stained the worst (turning the bag completely yellow) and held onto odors the easiest when smeared with the turmeric-oil mixture. 

However, Staining Was Inevitable

Unfortunately, almost all of these models failed our stain test. After we smeared the bags’ interiors with a mixture of turmeric and vegetable oil, then let them sit for eight hours before thoroughly washing, all but one were left stained a bright, highlighter yellow. And as mentioned previously, the plastic bags SPLF and ReZip stained the worst, by far.

The Criteria: What We Look for in a Good Reusable Food Storage Bag

Serious Eats / Eric King / Grace Kelly

After testing, we found that the best reusable food storage bags have a few things in common. First, and perhaps most obvious, they do not leak. Bags with no leakage benefitted from a zipper design that was more advanced than three interlocking strips of silicone (which was the case with most of the offerings). Second, we found that bags made of plastic held onto smells and stains the worst, and aren’t dishwasher- or microwave-safe. That’s why we recommend silicone as the better material for these kinds of bags. We loved bags that were the best of both worlds: rigid enough to stand upright while being filled or while in the fridge but not too rigid that they were hard to open or force air out of. Plus, they had to be flexible enough to fit into tight spaces like kitchen or produce drawers, but not so flexible that they would just flop over when partially full or inverted on a drying rack.

The Best Overall Reusable Food Storage Bag: Durbl Reusable Silicone Food Storage Bag

Durbl Reusable Silicone Food Storage Bags

What we liked: In many ways, this bag is the best of lay-flat, stand-up, rigid, and flexible storage bags. It’s slim enough to fit into tight spaces in the fridge, but tall enough to still provide a good amount of storage. And its squared-off shape means you could also lay it flat, if you wanted. It’s rigid enough to stand up straight while in storage, taking up a sliver of valuable surface area, but flexible enough to bend into a produce drawer, for instance. 

Importantly, it aced the leakage test, remaining completely drip-free when turned upside down, shaken, and knocked onto the counter. The only other silicone bag to achieve this was the HomeLux, which had a separate slider rod that held together the closure. And, the front silicone panel is clear, so it’s easy to see what’s inside. 

Of course the fact that it’s temperature resilient up to 400°F—and oven-, microwave-, and dishwasher-safe—is fantastic. And it was the only bag that, after washing out the turmeric-oil mixture and allowing it to dry, didn’t retain any smell. Cleaning is also made much easier by the fact that the inside of these bags doesn’t stick together like the HomeLux, SPLF, or W&P Porter lines. The Durbl bags stood straight up when on the drying rack, where other models slumped down or flopped over, trapping water inside. 

The small bag was fairly easy to fill, and although it doesn’t stand up or stay open on its own, you can still hold it open with one hand thanks to the sturdy zip. The medium “sandwich” bag stands up on its own, has a wider opening than the other similar sizes, and perfectly fit both the smaller and bigger peanut butter and jelly sandwich without smushing. 

What we didn’t like: The openings on the bags could be bigger. The peanut butter and jelly sandwich caught slightly on the zipper, causing just a little bit of shredding. And with the blueberries, strawberries, and kale leaves, we had to hold the opening wide to fit a hand and ingredients inside. Occasionally, because the zipper had more crevices and folds (which provided a secure seal) than similar models like WinRock, Xomoo, and ZipTop it took slightly longer to close and ensure it was fully pressed together. This more advanced seal also made cleaning the zipper a bit of a task. The corners near the seal tended to gather debris. 

In the stain and smell test, it stained pretty much the same as the other clear or white silicone bags, which was disappointing but not enough to not recommend it.

Key Specs:

  • Materials: Silicone
  • Closure style: Interlocking silicone strips
  • Design: Small bag: flat-lay; medium and large: stand-up 
  • Microwave- and heat-safe: Yes
  • Package includes: 1 half-gallon, 2 sandwich, and 2 snack bags
  • Care instructions: Dishwasher-safe or wash with warm, soapy water; do not turn inside out

Serious Eats / Eric King

The Competition

Silicone models

  • Homelux Theory Reusable Silicone Food Storage Bags: This model is certainly the runner-up to Durbl, thanks to its performance in the leakage test (no drips at all). We also liked its closure. Instead of a zipper, it had a slider bar that created an airtight seal. These bags stand up and stay open on their own if they have been filled about a quarter to a third of the way full. This is so their bottom base can pop out (they otherwise stay flat, which is great for when in storage!). The silicone bag is microwave- and dishwasher-safe, and while the slider bar isn’t microwave-safe, it can handle dishwasher temperatures below 176°F. Their major drawback is their flexible silicone structure, which flops over when sealed and not totally full, or when turned upside down on a drying rack. This does make them easier to fit into jam-packed produce drawers, though. 
  • Stasher Silicone Reusable 4-Pack Bundle: This model performed okay in the leakage test, dribbling only slightly when shaken upside down. It fell behind from having a too-small opening—shredding sandwiches and making cleanup a pain. It did not stand up or stay open on its own, but we would still recommend this one before the ZipTop, Winrock, Xomoo, and W&P Porter models.
  • WinRock Reusable Silicone Food Storage Bag: With a similar design to both Xomoo and ZipTop, this model outperformed both in the leakage test, but still did leak when inverted and shaken. WinRock was very easy to fill and also better at staying closed when filled all the way to the top—where the other two popped open.
  • ZipTop Reusable Silicone Food Storage Bags: By standing up and staying wide open all on its own, this model was a delight to fill (also to clean and air dry!). They are clearly built to be stored upright, but that doesn’t excuse its leakage when inverted, shaken, and knocked over.
  • Xomoo Reusable Food Container Silicone Bags: Also sharing its design with ZipTop and WinRock, these bags were easy to fill, but they leaked. This model comes with a specified sandwich bag, however the zipper caught on the sandwich and shredded it. 
  • W&P Porter Bags Bundle: These lay-flat bags also featured a clear front like our winner, which was nice. They did, however, leak when shaken upside down—and then completely broke open and flooded the counter with blue water. While these bags were easy to hold open and fill, and were nice and slim, they were too flexible and didn’t stand up straight, which made them tough to dry. 

Plastic models


What’s the best way to get stubborn stains off reusable food storage bags?

For oily foods like tomato sauce, scrape the bag out as much as possible and rinse with hot water until there’s just a layer of grease left behind. Take a paper towel or two, place them in the bag with a drop or two of dish soap. Fill the bag with hot water, seal it, then shake it vigorously. If the stain is still there after washing, most of the companies behind the silicone models recommend setting the bags out in direct sunlight, which will “sun bleach” them. 

How can I get rid of my reusable bag’s smell? 

No matter how many times you wash it, sometimes a reusable bag will always smell like the popcorn you made three weeks ago. For times like this, Durbl recommends soaking the bag in a mixture of one part water and one part vinegar. Then, rinsing with warm, soapy water and allowing to air-dry.