Best Cereal Dispensers

Updated June 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Pros
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

52 Models Considered
26 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
180 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for Best cereal dispensers

For some people, cereal isn’t just a breakfast choice, it’s a way of life. Whether you have a favorite cereal or your cabinet is home to a diverse collection of them, one thing is for sure: you need to store them appropriately so they remain fresh.

That’s where cereal dispensers come in handy. Not only do they offer an airtight seal for freshness, but they’re designed to be space-savvy. Switching to cereal dispensers also keeps kitchen clutter to a minimum because you’ll have fewer bulky, unsightly boxes hanging around on the counter. Another reason to invest in cereal dispensers is that their well-designed spouts make it much easier to pour the cereal into your bowl and control the flow.

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Cereal dispensers can also be used to store small dry snacks, such as crackers, croutons, mini pretzels, nuts, puffs, or popcorn.

Key considerations

Save space

It’s difficult to fit lots of cereal boxes inside cupboards or pantries, let alone oversize varieties. Cereal dispensers, on the other hand, have space-saving designs that seamlessly fit inside these areas. When placed on counters, cereal dispensers have a tidy appearance, especially when they match other kitchen storage items.

Retain freshness

Cereal dispensers, unlike cereal boxes, offer an airtight seal that ensures the cereal stays fresh. Many designs are equipped with a silicone or vacuum seal, and others snap or twist closed. Not only do these seals keep cereal from becoming stale, they can also prevent it from becoming soggy if your house has a tendency to be humid.

Ease of use

Many people choose cereal dispensers for their ergonomic designs. From contoured sides to handle bases, they’re much easier to hold and pour than cereal boxes. However, all-plastic dispensers can be somewhat slippery to hold, so some cereal dispensers even have textured areas or silicone nubs for improved grip.

Variety

Slimline tub: The most popular type of cereal dispenser is the slimline tub, which is essentially a tall, skinny version of a typical food container. It holds anywhere from 1.5 to 8 quarts of cereal, but those around 4 quarts are the most common. As far as the lids go, many of them have slots or mouths that are exposed when you press a button or slide back the cover.

Pitcher: This style of cereal dispenser is essentially a slimline tub with a pitcher-like handle These dispensers tend to be larger, holding between 4 and 8 quarts of cereal. There isn’t much variation when it comes to lids; they usually have an opening that’s exposed when you flip back the top.

Gumball machine: Some cereal dispensers draw inspiration from gumball machines. Rather than rely on a pouring mechanism, these unique designs dispense cereal when you turn a crank or wheel or press a button. While they have a much larger footprint than slimline tubs or pitcher-style dispensers, these designs are a fun and functional way to store and portion out cereal.

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Did You Know?
Many pet owners use cereal dispensers to store dry food, such as kibble, bird seed, and small treats. They’re ideal for home use, and they’re an easy way to bring a couple days’ worth of food on a trip.
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Features

BPA-free

Most cereal dispensers are made at least in part with plastic components, and many of them are now BPA-free. This information is clearly marked on the packaging and sometimes stamped on the plastic itself. If it’s not listed on the packaging, you can contact the manufacturer directly, and it should be able to tell you which type of plastic was used to make the cereal dispenser.

Maintenance

Only some cereal dispensers can be put in the dishwasher. Even if they can, certain parts of the dispenser may require hand-washing, such as the lid components, because many of them have spring mechanisms or hinges. No matter how you wash the cereal dispenser, keep in mind that it must be completely dry before you refill it or you’ll end up with soggy, moldy cereal.

System

You can buy a cereal dispenser on its own or invest in one that’s part of a kitchen organization system. Many consumers who opt to leave frequently used containers on the counter choose the latter, because it keeps the counter looking tidy and organized. For these, you can simply purchase the matching cereal dispenser that goes with your current system or invest in a set that includes a dispenser.

If your new cereal dispenser still has the label stuck on it, you can remove it with rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover if you don’t have a chemical solvent or glue remover on hand.

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Accessories

Cereal bowls: Sweese Fluted Cereal Bowls
These 26-ounce porcelain cereal bowls by Sweese are stackable as well as dishwasher, microwave, and oven safe. Besides being the ideal size for a serving of cereal, they’re also popular for soup and ice cream.

Kitchen storage system: OXO Good Grips Airtight POP Container Set
Keep your dry foods visible and fresh with this airtight kitchen set from OXO. Cereal, pasta, rice, and beans stay dry and organized in these BPA-free containers with easy-to-open pop-top lids.

Cereal dispenser prices

Cereal dispensers range in price from $10 to $60, mostly depending on the quality of construction and the type of lid.

Inexpensive: Budget-friendly cereal dispensers cost $10 to $15. For this price, you’ll only get one or two dispensers, usually with flip-open lids.

Mid-range: Spend $20 to $35 and you’ll find sets of better-quality containers with more efficient sealing mechanisms. These are often made with thicker, more durable BPA-free plastic.

Expensive: If you’re willing to invest $40 to $60, you can find a set of three to five high-quality cereal dispensers. There are also several gumball machine-inspired dispensers in this price range.

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Did You Know?
Given their height, some people use cereal dispensers to store arts and crafts supplies like colored pencils, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, and even fabric remnants.
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Tips

  • Invest in cereal dispensers for your RV. Cereal has a shelf life of 6 to 8 months if kept in an airtight container. If you enjoy RV trips throughout the year, invest in a set of dispensers to ensure your cereal remains dry and fresh on the road.
  • Turn your counter into a self-serve breakfast station. Add a set of cereal dispensers to keep everyone’s breakfast options organized and within reach so they can help themselves.
  • Date the cereal to track freshness. When you recycle the box, you might not remember the cereal’s expiration date. Every time you refill the cereal dispenser, affix a piece of masking tape to the bottom with the expiration date and the date you filled the dispenser.
  • Add cereal dispensers to your registry. As you add kitchen essentials to your wedding registry, be sure to add a couple cereal dispensers. Believe it or not, you may end up using them more often than many other gifts.
  • Refill the cereal dispenser in the sink. A cereal dispenser is pretty tall when sitting on the counter, making it somewhat cumbersome to fill. It’s better to place it in the sink to fill it. It’s easier to reach, plus the sink will contain any spills.
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Always make sure the lid of the cereal dispenser is completely closed, or you may end up with a mess next time you try pouring cereal into a bowl.

FAQ

Q. How many cereal dispensers should I buy? I only use one or two types of cereal at a time.

A. It’s a good idea to invest in as many dispensers as you’ll regularly use, though you should aim to have a spare one just in case. In the event you expand your cereal assortment, or if one of your dispensers breaks, you’ll have another one on hand.

Q. What’s the best cereal dispenser for someone who has difficulty opening lids and jars?

A. For those with dexterity concerns, a gumball machine-inspired dispenser is ideal. Rather than fiddling with a lid, you can simply crank the wheel to dispense cereal. As no pouring is involved, the likelihood of a spill also decreases.

Q. Can I store food other than cereal in my cereal dispenser?

A. Yes, and many people invest in several cereal dispensers to store their most commonly used dry foods. Pasta, rice, beans, and even flour and sugar can be stored in cereal dispensers. In the event you change the dry staples, be sure to clean the dispenser thoroughly to avoid cross contamination.

Q. How long do cereal dispensers last?

A. If you take good care of them, cereal dispensers can last up to a decade. With that said, it’s usually the lids that end up breaking. Those with pop-top, flip-up, or hinged opening mechanisms are reliable and durable, but daily use can take a toll on them after a few years.

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