Best Canning Jars of 2021
The Weck Mold Jars feature a timeless design from a well-repudiated lineage of high-quality German glass. Known for their three-piece glass lids with carrot-colored rubber gaskets and metal clips, these jars offer a superior seal with the ability to stack jars for easy storage. And while the price tag may be higher than some, we find that the investment is worth it if you're an epicurean explorer that prefers a high degree of function in their culinary instruments. While it may be harder to find replacement parts, Weck has an extensive variety of jars in their lineup that all feature compatible lids, seals, and clips.
Coming in a pack of six, these jars have a capacity of 19.6 fluid ounces and feature a straight, tapered wall without a should, so packing a breeze. Furthermore, the ultra-wide mouth of the jar makes for easy retrieval of the contents after canning. Cleaning all the various pieces can become tedious, but the fact that they are reusable makes up for it. In order to safely use these jars in a pressure canner, you'll want to invest in some extra metal clips out of the gate, as it is recommended by Weck that three clips be used on each jar under pressure (the set only comes with two for each jar). Overall, the Weck jars are a very high-quality set for canning that is versatile and has great longevity.
From the well-known name brand that is probably already in your pantry somewhere, the Kerr Wide Mouth Quart Jars are a classic staple in the kitchen. These square-sided quart jars are highly functional and quite affordable, making them a go-to option for folks that do lots of food preservation and need an army of jars on hand at a moment's notice. At their price, the quality found in this model is tough to beat.
The wide mouth design is handy for larger preserves like peach or apple slices. Furthermore, the lids and bands are a universal fit with other wide mouth jars, so brand compatibility isn't a concern. The 32 ounce vessel has volume markings on the side, so you can monitor fullness as you pack. Because of their square sides, a standard 22 quart pressure canner can accommodate seven of these jars at a time, and they fit snugly on a shelf together. If price and utility are your primary concerns, we suggest that you consider the Kerr Wide Mouth Quart Jars.
If you're hardcore into jam and preserves, or perhaps looking for a set of jars to make gifts with, may we suggest the Verones 8 oz Jelly Jars. These quilted glass jars fill a classic half-pint niche in canning culture. And as an added bonus, this pack comes with stickers and a marker for labeling all your tasty preserves. The quality and form of these jars is difficult to differentiate from other name-brand models.
Boasting a total of 24 individual jars, this pack is enough to process a gallon and a half of your favorite food preserves. And while their smaller design lends to jams and jellies, they can also be used for other canned vegetables, sauces, or salsas. The two-piece lids are a universal fit with other regular mouth jars, and appear to create a reliable seal. And while the jars are designed well at a reasonable cost, the glass is not quite as thick as others, leaving us to believe that longevity is maybe one of the only concerns. Overall, our testers found the Verones to be the lineups' best option for jelly and jam jars.
Hands-down, our testers' favorite quart option were the Le Parfait Familia Wiss Terrine jars. WIth a 110mm opening and a vertical wall all the way up to the rim, these vessels were much easier to pack and empty than any other similar size in the lineup. Hailing from a French brand, the preferred unit of measurement for this model is milliliters. And though the American imperial quart of 32 ounce is a quick-math conversion for a metric liter found in the Wiss Terrine, these jars are in fact larger than a quart and can hold more than standard american jars.
Our testing proved that the larger capacity and totally round construction meant that only four of the Wiss Terrines were capable of fitting in a pressure canner, as opposed to the standard 5 quarts. However, the bonus capacity is nearly enough to make up for it. These jars also differed from other models because the two piece lid comes with a fully "capped" screw top instead of the traditional ring-style lids. The result is a more precise seal and components that don't warp or wear out as easily. The tradeoff is that these are the most expensive jars in this lineup. If you're willing to pay the price per jar for higher quality and better function, definitely consider the Le Parfait liter Terrines.
Similar to other European brands, the Bormioli Rocco Quattro Stagioni jars offer a high degree of functionality and design components that favor more epicurean tastes. The Quattros are one fluid ounce larger than a traditional American pint, but more or less subscribe to the same design with squared sidewalls and a regular mouth lid. Though, they fit just as well into a traditional pressure canner compared to other pint jars.
Another standout component of this model are the one-piece screw top lids, which has a fully enclosed cap similar to but higher in quality than the North Mountain quarts. While more expensive to replace than standard issue bands (also compatible on the Quattros), these included lids are longer-lasting and provide an arguably more reliable seal. Plus, they're an eye-catching 'gold' instead of gray. If you consider food preservation an art as well as a science, then we'd recommend considering the higher price tag of the Bormioli Rocco Quattro Stagioni pint jars.
Registering a total capacity of 10 fluid ounces, the Kamota Jam Jars are actually larger than a standard pint. However, our testers found this model to be the favorable choice for smaller preserves like relishes, chutneys, and tapenades. The pear shape of these jars looks good on a pantry shelf and even features square sides to allow for easier packing into the pressure canner. And while they may not be as fancy as some others, they certainly live up to the task of large-batch food preservation.
Featuring the classic two-piece lids that have a screw top band, these jars provide a quality seal. Furthermore, these lids can be replaced with any standard regular mouth lid. The shoulder of this jar make it a little tougher to retrieve jams and jellies, but the overall larger size than a standard pint makes up for it. Plus, the price per jar is tough to beat. If you're looking for an economical and attractive option for canning smaller items, look no further than the Kamota Jam Jars.
The classic Ball Regular Mouth Quart Jar is a staple you'll find in nearly every kitchen. Born from aerospace technology, the Ball brand carries a lot of notoriety and hype with it. Our testers confirmed that this is indeed a quality jar, provided you can find some online or at your local provisions supplier. Because of their popularity, it is logistically very difficult to find Ball quart jars in the coveted wide mouth varieties. So for this review, we chose to examine the more readily available regular mouth quarts.
With volume ticks running up the sides and a squared-off construction, Ball jars are designed with the experienced canner in mind. And though the taper found on the shoulder of these regular mouthed jars will prohibit easy packing and retrieval, their overall functionality is on-par with other designer brands. If you're a purist that doesn't need any fancy bells-and-whistles to accomplish your canning tasks, then you may enjoy the no-frills economy of the Ball Regular Mouth Quart Jar.
Stout and reliable but nothing to write home about, the Anchor Hocking Pint jars are a good off-brand option that offer a simple and utilitarian design. Lacking some of the more traditional elements like marks in the glass or square sides, these jars still have a solid two-piece lid and band closure that was capable of providing a reliable seal without any guesswork. They even accept universally sized regular mouth lids.
These jars are a true pint at 16 fluid ounces, though their profile means they stack a bit differently than some pint glasses. For instance, we weren't able to fit as many of these jars into a pressure canner when compared to square-sided pints due to the rounded glass. However, our testers found this model to be an even-keel performer across-the-board, not showing distinct strengths or weaknesses. So, if you're looking for an affordable small jar, definitely check out the Anchor Hocking Pint.
At first glance, the Spanla Canning Set appears to have everything you need to have a successful round of canning in your home. There are a variety of sizes in the set and a brush for cleaning, and stickers for making labels. However, our testers found these jars to have pronounced drawbacks compared to other models. Firstly, the pack arrived with five of the 24 jars broken, and an additional two broke during canning, leading us to believe that the manufacturer cut some corners with a lesser quality class.
Additionally, the rings provided with these jars will pop the seal of the lid if you try to unscrew them. This may not be a deal-breaker for some, though many experienced canners prefer to remove the rings after preserving in order to get them back into circulation. Bottom line: there are better jars to put your jam in. Though, if you're looking for a variety of quilted jar sizes, in one convenient package, then you may be willing to look past the shortcomings of the Spanla Canning Set.
With few redeeming qualities other than a simplistic design, the North Mountain Supply Quart Jars fell short of the mark in more ways than one. Sometimes, having a simple design bodes well for products that are supposed to offer utility. However, in this case, we think that you'd be better off going for a Ball or Kerr option as they are not only cheaper but have more useful designs.
Perhaps worth noting is that these jars can accept a universally sized regular-mouth lid. But the included one piece lids aren't very reliable — two of the twelve didn't produce a seal when pressure canned. While they are capable of holding a full quart of contents, the shoulder taper on these jars is more pronounced than others. If you're looking for quality and utility, we would recommend steering clear of the North Mountain Supply Quart Jars.
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 jars should work. With an abundance of veggies in his gardens and an insatiable curiosity for DIY food projects, Rob is always seeming to need more and more jars for his exploits. For this review, Rob used each model as he would in his natural environment—searching for strengths and weaknesses along the way.
After scouring the market and researching more than 60 different brands, models, and varieties of canning jars, we settled on the ten best for this comprehensive review. Canning jars, by and large, ascribe to certain standards and parameters in order to stay in line with food safety standards. However, there is a degree of variety among styles, designs, and implements that make each jar unique. For this review, we chose to examine a multitude of different styles, including some of the brands that you've come to know well.
Analysis and Test Results
All of the contenders in this lineup were subject to exhaustive, thorough, and rigorous testing through weeks of repeated use from our testers. Because a quality canning jar should last for seasons upon seasons of use in the kitchen and should be able to handle a variety of tasks. We placed a heavier weighting on the testing metric of seal in order to mind food safety. Other primary considerations were form, versatility, and longevity. We believe that all of these characteristics combined create a formidable canning jar.
To our testers, form denotes the overall shape, size, and style of each jar that was tested. There was a preference for wide-mouth models because they are easier to pack, vertical sidewalls because they are easier to unpack, and squared sides because they store better on a shelf or in a canner. Size was also a consideration, but less important to the aforementioned criteria. However, our testers were also cognizant to the fact that certain jars are intentionally designed to accomplish certain tasks.
The highest-rated model in this category was the Weck Mold Jar because of their totally straight sidewalls that are wider at the mouth than they are at the base. The result is a jar that is remarkably easy to pack as well as retrieve items from—whether it be your fingers or a fork. Similar to this design were the Le Parfait Terrines, which also have a totally vertical sidewall and large opening without shoulders. However, the deep profile of the Terrines weren't as easy for retrieval when compared to the Weck jars.
Other high-performers in the form metric were the Kerr wide-mouth quarts, Ball regular mouth quarts, and the Bormioli Roccos. And though the latter two models have more narrow, "regular-mouth" openings, all three of these jars feature square sides that enable you to fit more jars into a canner or store them more snugly in your pantry.
The underperformers in way of form were primarily the off-brand models that evidently paid less attention to design subtleties that improve overall function. Namely, the Verones, Spanla, and Kamota jam jars were functional but otherwise unimpressive, though due to their primary focus being jams and jellies, we cut them a bit of slack. Whereas the North Mountain Supply and Anchor Hocking jars lacked elements that we would've preferred, like a tapered shoulder or square sidewalls.
The seal is arguably the most important metric for testing canning jars since it ensures the freshness and safety of your preserved food goods. In order to gain comprehensive insight on each model's ability to produce a seal, we tested each model in both the water bath method of canning as well as using a pressure canner. Oftentimes, the intense conditions of a pressure canner can highlight weaknesses in the lid components and sometimes glass of each jar.
The jars with the highest scores in the seal category were (not surprisingly) the Ball and Kerr quart models. The lids of both these jars have a marginally wider strip of rubber when compared to similar styles. Ball and Kerr have more-or-less set the precedent for the two-piece lid design that incorporates a band to secure the sealed part of the lid. And while we'd like to imagine that other models that mimic their design can hold their own, none of knock-offs were able to match the 100% seal rate of Ball and Kerr.
Dissimilar in design were the Weck canning jars, which used a glass lid, detached rubber gasket, and two separate metal clips to create a seal. And while this system was capable of producing a good seal, they are more finicky to deal with and are more prone to loss or breakage. Also unique were the lids found on the Le Parfait jars, which instead of using a ring incorporated a fully-capped closure to secure the lid in place during processing. These European models may be a bit odd or unfamiliar in style. But they were also able to provide a 100% seal rate.
The only one-piece lid we were satisfied with were the Bormioli lids, which had a wide rubber seal and could be used more than once. However, the North Mountain Supply quart jars had a lesser-quality unibody lid that didn't create a seal in two out of twelve jars. The Spanla jelly jars and Anchor Hocking pints also had lackluster performance when compared to some of the name-brand models.
In some cases, canning jars can be designed for a specific function. For instance, a "mold" jar or "terrine" is designed with straight but slightly slanted walls that allow you to remove the contents in a solid piece by 'plopping' it out when turned upside down. However, most of us aren't in the market for highly specified vessels for epicurean oddities. It stands to reason that when you purchase a canning jar, you'd like it to accomplish a variety of projects.
Undoubtedly the most versatile canning jar in this review was the Le Parfait—mostly due to to the fact that it was the largest volume and widest opening in the lineup, meaning it could be utilized for many different food items. The thicker glass on the Le Parfait also made it favorable for freezing. Also receiving notable scores for versatility was the Kerr wide-mouth quart jars, which are a good option for canning anything under the sun.
Our testers awarded a higher degree of versatility to the Spanla Canning Set versus the Verones jam jars, because the Spanla set had a variety of shapes and sizes. However, the Verones jars were of objectively higher quality. And although the Kamota canning jars are described as jam jars, we found their pear shape to be more conducive to small, diced or chopped vegetables that can be retrieved with a utensil other than a knife.
At the bottom of the versatility totem pole were the North Mountain Supply jars. Mostly because they have such a pronounced shoulder that certain items are difficult to remove from or pack into the jars, and additionally because they don't handle pressure or freezing very well.
Part of the reason that canning jars are so ubiquitous in the kitchen is because some of them can last for a super long time. Others won't make it past the first round of batch-processing in the pressure canner. While it's difficult to determine which models will stand the test of time, our testers paid close attention to elements like glass thickness and quality of components in order to differentiate which jars will be in it for the long-haul and which models are better for one-and-done batches.
Yet again, the Weck Mold Jars outshone the others in this category. They are constructed with the thickest glass out of the lineup. But what we do know is that these jars are capable of withstanding lots of wear and tear — even if the lids are breakable, they will provide more uses before needing to replace them, unlike traditional lids which are inadvisable to use more than once.
Our testers were also fond of the durability found in the Bormioli and Le Parfait canning jars, which also had notably thicker glass than some other models. Furthermore, both of these brands feature more robust metal on their lids when compared to the others fashioned in a similar style. It's also safe to say that the Ball and Kerr jars will give you lots of repeated use provided that you take good care of them and replace the lids with each new round of processing.
Glass vessels don't always last, though they ought to with proper care. That is why our testers weren't impressed with the Spanla Canning Set, because several jars arrived broken and some were even damaged in the pressure cooker. While we can understand that shipping is rough on glass, there is no reason that a well-designed canning jar should crack under pressure. Other short-lived jars include the North Mountain Supply and Kamota jam jars, both of which seem to have dubious quality.
Whether you're preparing a small batch of artisanal jams or you've got a bushel of apples to put away for winter, we've got you covered when it comes to canning jars. We hope this in-depth review has provided some insight to the nuanced features that can be found in your next ideal food preservation vessel. Although there is a staggering amount of brands and varieties to choose from, there is a straightforward path to finding a quality jar that will suit your needs. Now that you've read this analysis and gained perspective from the trials and testing performed by our review team, we hope that you feel empowered to make the right decision for your next purchase. Happy canning!
— Rob Woodworth