Our Top Picks
When examined through our testing parameters, the standout performer was hands-down the Le Parfait Super Jar. This chef's-quality bail-top mason jar comes from a French brand that is known globally for making superior quality glassware since 1930. This jar has unsurpassed quality and function in almost every conceivable way. Boasting nearly three liters of total storage, the Le Parfait Super Jar comes with a hinged or 'bail-top' lid that uses a latex-free rubber gasket to create a watertight seal. This style of closure allows you to create a hermetic seal via a hot water bath or pressure canning. Aside from its versatility, the Super Jar has a high degree of overall quality in build and materials. If the 96 oz size is too big for your needs, not to worry — Le Parfait makes their Super Jars in a wide variety of sizes.
This style of jar can be a bit more difficult to clean, and the gasket is prone to collecting funk. Its size means it's may not fit in a standard dishwasher or fridge. And although the price tag is higher than some, we believe this is a prime example of getting what you pay for. With thick glass and heavy-gauge wire to fasten the hinged lid, we suspect that the Le Parfait Super Jar will be an asset for continued use in nearly any kitchen for many years.
Our testers were pleased with both the performance and price point of the Kingrol Wide Mouth Storage Canisters. This set of four mason jars has a total capacity of one gallon, or 32 ounces individually. We were fond of the square shape that allowed for easier storage in tight places like a cupboard or pantry. Additionally, the glass lids are removable (with a little bit of finagling) to be placed more easily into a traditional dishwasher.
Our main complaint with these jars is the bail wire, which can be bent easily, especially if you're removing the lid often. And while they may not be the most high-quality option in the lineup, we still believe they've got a great deal of utility, with one of the lowest per-ounce prices of the jars we tested. If you're looking for a cheap way to organize your pantry, then the Kingrol Wide Mouth Storage Canisters shouldn't be overlooked.
If you're looking for a vessel in which to ferment your garden goodies, then look no further than the Kilner Fermentation Set. Though it doesn't create a watertight seal and won't preserve food like the others, we feel that this jar performs so well at the task it was designed for that we would be remiss not to give it an award. Other models could reasonably create an anaerobic environment for fermenting, but this jar is designed specifically with lacto-fermentation in mind.
This set comes with everything you need to optimize an at-home fermentation station: a three-liter rounded glass jar, a rubber bung lid, two ceramic stones for submerging produce, and an airlock that allows gas to exit but doesn't let air into the jar. These design cues render the jar less useful in food storage applications and make it a bit more challenging to clean. However, the same cues bode extremely well for creating a user-friendly experience for even novice at-home fermenters. If you're in the market for a crock or vessel to create all kinds of lacto-fermented delicacies, then look no further.
If you prefer to enjoy your beverages out of mason jars as opposed to mugs or tumblers, then the Libbey County Fair Drinking Jar will be right up your alley. This model was designed with a fused glass handle so that you can enjoy both hot or cold drinks with ease. While it may not be the best option for storing or preserving food, this jar is a convenient addition to the kitchen arsenal; plus, we think the cottage-core aesthetic is super 'in' right now. With 16.5 fluid ounces of capacity, this jar is an ideal size for glassware that you would typically use for a table setting. The handle enables you to procure a firm grip even if your beverage of choice is hot — since glass has a high degree of heat transfer, we thought this was a very 'handy' feature.
However, it is less handy that this set of 12 jars does not come with any lids to seal the contents inside. Our testing showed us that traditional two-piece canning lids will secure these jars with no issue — but the seal isn't exactly stellar. Still, if you're looking for a mason jar to use specifically for drinks, we would highly recommend the Libbey County Fair Drinking Jar.
The Weck Tulip Jar comes from a long tradition of German glass manufacturers who have been producing this style vessel since 1895. This model is certainly a higher-end option that carries both a degree of form and function. Accordingly, it is expensive by comparison and has an overall more fancy (read: fussy) user experience. But this stylish and multi-faceted jar repeatedly showed its strengths to our testers, who ran it through a gauntlet of daily use scenarios.
Boasting a liter of total storage and an ultra-wide mouth, the Weck Tulip is highly functional for storing and preserving food. While it is only slightly larger in volume than a quart-sized jar, the large opening is a key differentiator that our testers found extremely useful when serving or packing the jar. Furthermore, the three-piece glass lid provides a flat spot on which you can very easily stack another Weck jar of practically any size. The drawback to this lid style is that they are fragile, and it is easy to lose the small metal clips necessary to secure them. We're willing to look past this since the gaskets allow this jar to be pressure-canned as well. If you value quality equally to function but don't much care about the price point, then we would suggest you look into the Weck Tulip Jar.
Including a total of 30 individual pieces in the set, the Encheng Glass Jars are the standout choice for spice racks, arts and crafts projects, or small gift ideas. Though our testers didn't find much use for it, the package arrives with enough twine and tags to label the whole lot. These jars are super convenient for various small tasks around the house but are clearly not designed to tackle bigger food preservation or storage projects. Costing less than one dollar per jar, we thought that this set was of tremendous economy to the buyer — no doubt the lowest price-per-jar in the lot.
The opening is accordingly small compared to other jars, though our testers could get items in and out without much fuss. Compared to other jars, the Encheng glass and wire for the closure both seem notably thinner. We wouldn't suspect that such a small jar would come with robust accouterments — though it is worth noting that these jars will provide a far superior seal in comparison to your store-bought spice jars.
Earning the second-highest score overall, our testers were very pleased with the Kilner Square Clip Top Jar. Like other high-end models, it is evident that this mason jar was built with both aesthetic and function in mind. The design has a classic finish that would compliment any kitchen or pantry, and if that isn't reason enough to catch your interest, this model had some of the highest scores in both seal and versatility.
With a two-liter overall capacity, this jar had one of the highest capacities out of the lineup. Furthermore, you can find numerous sizes from Kilner in this square-sided design in order to custom suit your storage or preservation needs. Another compelling reason to purchase from this reputable brand is that you can always find replacement gaskets or lids should anything happen to yours. Accordingly, if you're serious about food storage and don't want to cut any corners in terms of quality, we encourage you to consider the Kilner Square Clip Top Jar.
At four liters total capacity, the Bormioli Rocco was the largest singular jar in our lineup, making it a promising prospect for anyone looking to store vast quantities of food in a single vessel. What's more, we found it functional for a variety of uses. The extra-large storage capacity and bail top lid make it a reliable performer for fermenting, preserving, or simply storing anything in a fancy container. The set even comes with several waterproof labels that can be used to quickly identify or time stamp your projects.
Despite the manufacturer suggesting that this jar is dishwasher safe, we had a hard time fitting it into a standard machine. It was similarly tricky to make space in the fridge or on a shelf for such a massive unit. The Bormioli is manufactured by an Italian brand that has long been known for making superlative glass products, though this jar is evidently designed for capacity and utility instead of showiness. Though if you're looking specifically for an extra-large jar, this one is tough to beat. We'd recommend opting for the two-pack option since the extra doesn't wind up costing much more.
The ComSaf Airtight Canisters are a solid economy option; this is the lowest cost per ounce of all the bail top jars in the lineup. And while it isn't the most high-quality option in this review, it has enough handy features to look past some of the shortcomings in function and craftsmanship.
Similar to other more expensive models, this set of three jars have square sides, allowing you to fit them snugly next to each other. If you're looking to outfit the entire pantry, there are two different sizes (34 and 78 ounces) to choose from to suit your needs. The primary disadvantage to the ComSaf jars is that the bail top lid and rubber gasket don't create a snug enough seal to be watertight, though it appears the seal is solid enough for dry goods like grains and pasta.
At first glance, the ZENS Glass Canister Set looks like something you'd see in an HGTV studio kitchen. The tall, narrow design of these jars appears both modern and chic, and its slim profile was easy to tuck away in the pantry. These jars have a simple lid that's very easy to remove and secure.
We can't say that this was our favorite 'mason jar' of those we tested. While the lid was capable of creating a solid airlock to keep food items fresh, it was evident in our testing that it was not designed to keep liquids at bay. Though, with lots of sizes and combos to choose from, ZENS may just be the call if you're looking to deck out your kitchen with high-end looking glassware for storage purposes.
The Paksh Novelty Jar has an aptly suited name; we believe this model is the best option for nonfood items. Though it could prove useful in making kombucha or sun tea due to its very large size, we were left with the impression that there are better options out there for handling projects that involved foods and specifically liquids. Plastisol, found in this jar's lid, has been deemed food safe but still has many skeptics.
Perhaps it was dubbed a 'novelty' jar due to its obscenely large volume and profile, and perhaps that is what you are looking for in a non-bail-top jar. But when compared to the other contenders, the Paksh just couldn't offer the same performance in terms of seal and ease of use.
Why You Should Trust Us
As a self-proclaimed 'cottagecore' enthusiast and oddball recipe collector, lead tester, Rob Woodworth, has a natural proclivity for anything food-related. Furthermore, his propensity to ferment or preserve the abundance from his gardens has left him with strong feelings about how certain vessels should work. If it's not kimchi or tepache that he's brewing up, then you can bet he's getting busy with some other bizarre DIY project that may likely require a stout glass repository that will be put to task. For this review, Rob used each jar as he would in his natural environment, searching for strengths and weaknesses along the way.
After scouring the market and researching more than 70 different brands, models, and varieties of mason jars, we settled on the eleven best for this comprehensive review. While there are myriad varieties of glass mason jars on the market, we chose to examine vessels that were specifically designed to aid in storage and kitchen organization.
Analysis and Test Results
Each model in the lineup was subject to the same rigorous tests and standards devised by our team of experts. A quality mason jar should have a wide opening for easy use and a stout seal that keeps air out and liquids in — the seal is non-negotiable. Furthermore, a good jar should be easy to clean, store, and re-use. Lesser quality material will deteriorate over time as they get exposed to heat or acidic foods, so it is also worth examining each jar's construction and constitution. We spent days using each contender under various conditions to test the parameters below to determine which were best.
Volume & Form
In this metric, we chose to examine not just the total size of each jar but also the shape and overall form. This is because some jars are created small for a reason, while others have specific design cues that enable a particular type of use that may be beneficial for one reason or another. Also important to form is the taper or profile of each jar. "Shouldered" jars help to keep the contents submerged in liquid, while straight-walled jars allow the user to more easily pack or remove the contents. While there is an immense amount of variety available to the consumer, most jars follow these same basic principles in shape.
Bigger isn't always better, but if that's what you're into, we would highly recommend the Le Parfait Super Jar, which is not only very large in total capacity (three liters) but also has one of the most secure lids out of the group. Also tipping the scales in the heavyweight category are the Bormioli Rocco and the Paksh Novelty Jar. We would recommend the Bormioli if you're serious about preservation since it comes with a locking gasket as opposed to the screw-top lid of the Paksh.
Aside from sheer volume, several models impressed us with intuitive designs that lent themselves to an overall better user experience. Most notably, the Weck Tulip Jar had a very high degree of ergonomics, with an ultra-wide opening and flat glass lid that allows you to stack them atop one another. Sporting an extruded glass handle, the Libbey County Fair jars were the crowd favorite for beverages or any kind. And the highly-specialized Kilner Fermentation Jar was the clear winner for making lacto-fermented oddities of all sorts.
Middle-of-the-road contenders for volume and form included the Kilner, Kingrol, and ComSaf jars, all of which have square-sided construction that allows you to maximize space in the pantry. Of these options, we believe that the Kilner is of the highest quality, but the price is similarly high by comparison to the others. The lowest-rated jar in this category was the Encheng, which may prove useful for certain tasks but lacks the heft for any sort of serious storage.
What good is a mason jar if it is unable to keep the contents fresh? We weighted this category more heavily than others because we believe that a quality seal should be a paramount consideration when your intention is to store or preserve food. Granted, not all of the contenders in the lineup were designed explicitly for this particular function. However, those exceptions were few.
Yet again, the standout performer in this category was the Le Parfait, which has a spring-loaded bail top lid with heavy-duty wire and a high-quality rubber seal, which renders the jar impervious to gas exchange and leakage. The Kilner and Bormioli had similar designs, which also created air and watertight seals—they only lost a few points because the bail wire was not quite as stout as the overall winner. These top three models all had bail-top designs with metal wire and rubber gaskets that provide a reliable seal. Furthermore, these types of jars can also be used in canning food items.
Both the ComSaf and Kingrol boasted bail top designs as well, though our testing proved they weren't able to provide as secure of a seal compared to the aforementioned models. We believe this is due to the type of rubber used for the gasket on the lid. Whereas the Parfait and Kilner had thick, grippy rubber seals, these jars had a clear silicone rubber gasket that could sometimes slip out of place and was noticeably thinner compared to our award-winning models. It is also worth noting that the Encheng also utilized a spring clamp or bail top closure. However, the diminished size of bail wire and rubber gasket left us with the impression that these jars are better suited for keeping herbs fresh versus actually preserving food items.
In contrast, the ZENS Glass Canister provided a good seal without a screw top or bail top design. Instead, this jar uses a series of silicone rings that provide a solid seal when pressed firmly into the top of the jar. Our testers found this type of closure very easy to use, though it didn't prove to be as watertight as the bail top models. The Weck Tulip Jar also had a non-traditional seal, utilizing a glass lid, a removable rubber gasket, and two small metal clips that kept everything in place. This type of closure looks very fancy and is useful in pressure canning but won't produce a watertight seal unless the jar is under vacuum.
Bringing in the rear for seal rating were the Libbey County Fair Drinking Jars and the Paksh Novelty Jar. While they can accommodate any regular mouth canning lid, the Libbey jars come with no lids of their own to speak of. Theoretically, the screw top design could provide a vacuum seal if pressure canned, but these jars are not rated for such preservation. And while the Paksh Novelty Jars provided an airtight seal, our tests determined that their one-piece metal lids were not watertight.
Ease of Use & Versatility
We chose to examine user-friendliness in an umbrella category that included ease of use and overall product versatility. And while we aren't fond of one-trick-ponies, we also recognize that sometimes, a highly-specified kitchen implement has its place in the arsenal. Thusly, we designed our tests to inspect elements like how easy the jars were to clean, how well they could be packed away into a refrigerator or pantry, and how many different ways we could see each model providing value to the user.
Overwhelmingly, our testers rated the Libbey County Fair Drinking Jars most highly in this metric. And while it may seem that these vessels are intended for only one particular function, it is substantially easier to drink out of a jar that is designed explicitly for that use. We not only enjoyed hot and cold beverages out of these jars, but we also found them useful in ladling and measuring while cooking; the handles really provided quite utilitarian. Furthermore, these were objectively the easiest jars to clean and store.
Other versatile models included the Kilner Square Clip Top and the Weck Tulip, although the latter was not quite as user-friendly when securing a good seal. We found that the metal clips that come with the Weck jars were easy to lose on a marble countertop; we believe that you would likely want to purchase extra clips since they do not remain attached to the jar when not in use. Although they couldn't hold as much in comparison, we also found the Encheng to be highly versatile in the realm of smaller objects—loose hardware, cotton swabs, and fresh herbs. The Le Parfait Super is another example of a jar that provides a wide range of utility but is a little bit trickier to clean due to its size.
Durability & Longevity
For a glass vessel getting repeated use, we considered longevity to be a primary concern for most users. Furthermore, it isn't just the glass that will need to prove durable in the long run. Lids, rings, and built-in components would also need to stand up to abuse to receive a favorable score for our testers.
Undoubtedly, the most durable and burly jar in this lineup was the Le Parfait Super Jar, receiving another top score in this metric. The thickness of the glass was unsurpassed in this jar in addition to its heavy-gauge bail wire and thick rubber gasket. Also proving to have burly glass and elements that will last through repeated use were the Bormioli and Kilner mason jars. Although they didn't have as thick of glass as the Super Jar, it is evident that they were constructed to last. We can't say as much for non bail-top jars.
Including thick glass but questionably thin and easy-to-lose metal clips were the Weck Tulip Jars. There is little reason to doubt that these jars won't stand the test of time, but an avid user would be wise to buy replacement clips and gaskets ahead of time just in case. Other contenders that offered a considerable amount of durability were the Libbey and Zens mason jars. Despite each of these jars lacking a screw-on lid, our testers felt that they were capable of performing day-to-day tasks without any overt risks of damage.
Among the least stout jars in this review, the Paksh, Kingrol, and ComSaf models had noticeably thinner glass and closures of dubious quality. They probably won't pose any issues in the short run, though we suspect they will get fatigued over time and not provide a quality seal. And at the bottom of the durability totem pole were the Encheng spice jars. They may serve some purposes very well, but their small size and low quality left our testers with the impression that they are somewhat disposable.
Regardless of the type of projects you're into or what you've got cooking up in the kitchen, we hope that this comprehensive review has provided some guidance on the best jars to use for the task. With a staggering amount of variety out there, it can be deceivingly difficult to find the perfect jar for your needs. Armed with the insight gained by our team of testers, you should be able to weed out the duds from the best-in-show jars that are currently available on the market. Stay fresh!
— Rob Woodworth
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