Monday, February 28, 2011

Pyrex Liquid Measuring Cup: Cool Gear

What is the best liquid measuring cup in the kitchen? The right measuring cup has many attributes: easy to handle and to store, easy to read, easy to clean, precise, long lasting markings, can go to the microwave or the freezer without damage, hard to break... We are putting together a full length review to determine the answer - but, so far, the iconic Pyrex measuring cup does not disappoint, collecting excellent user ratings and very few pans. We collected more than 200 user reviews on Pyrex measuring cups. What do users say?

Durable and well made

Pyrex tempered soda-lime glass has excellent resistance to stress shattering and good resistance to thermal stress. Users are pleased with durability: "a great product that will last forever, some of my pieces are over 25-30 years old", "This thing is made to last", "durable", "it's durable", "well made product", "durable and hard wearing", "Made from a heavyweight glass, these are very sturdy. I would have gone as far as to say 'virtually indestructible', but my wife somehow dropped ours and shattered it a couple of weeks ago. As soon as it happened, I was here ordering a replacement","well constructed", "this thing is made to last", "made very, very well", "durable, long-lasting, thick-glassed measuring cup. I've had it for years", "they are very durable", " and has a high tolerance for temperature", "thick, sturdy glass [...] made in USA", "I've dropped it a few times in the sink without any damage. It's sturdy Pyrex you can expect to use for years", "measuring cup is made very well","very durable, won't crack when hot."

While tempered soda-lime glass is durable, it can break, and will break if exposed to strong temperature contrasts: "exploded in my microwave yesterday."

Easy to measure and read

The first duty of a measuring cup is to measure. Users report, in general, that Pyrex cups measure well, and that the measure is easy to read: "measures great", "easy to read while you are measuring liquids",   "thick walled with red letters that are easy to read","measures liquids accurately", "accurate","clear markings", "the markings are clear and haven't worn off","measurements are accurate", "easy to read markings", "well marked", "thick walled with red letters that are easy to read", "I have had one many years and I can still see the numbers"," red lines are rather easy to see", "measure quantities in either cups or milliliters; this is great for recipes that have measurements in either type of unit","I've had it for years, and the writing hasn't come off. The writing is easy to read", "lots of measurements (metric and imperial) on the side","accurate measurements, easy to read", "label is very clear","measurements are easy to read forwards, backwards, upside down (wait, what?) and in any other way you can think of","red measurement markings are well defined and easy to read. They also don't fade over time"

A small number of users complain of having the imperial measurements on the counterclockwise side of the handle, while the metric measurements are on the clockwise side: " made for lefties: the handle is positioned so that if you hold the handle by your left hand you get metric measurements instead of English", "I am a right-handed American who uses Cups as a measuring unit. When I am pouring something into the measuring cup, I hold the cup in my left hand and pour with my dominant right hand. That means that the scale I need is on the opposite side of the cup." Other users disagree.

Another few users complain of inexact measures, while others disagree:
- "this is a great cup, except for one little thing: the measurements are wrong! 1 cup, according to this measuring cup, is actually closer to 7/8 cup. I have compared it to older PYREX measuring cups (2 cup and 4 cup sizes), as well as to a variety of other measuring cups. The other measuring cups are all consistent, both Pyrex and non-Pyrex. But the measurements provided by this 1-cup Pyrex cup are consistently too low."
- "this Pyrex Prepware 1-Cup Measuring Cup is a joy to work with. The measurements are dead on. I cross checked each measurement with 6 other measuring cups and spoons from various other makers and rest assured the Pyrex Prepware 1-Cup Measuring Cup is very accurate. If you want to measure things whether to cook, bake, or if you just like to measure things as a hobby like I do, this is the product."


Users report that Pyrex measuring cups can be used in the microwave oven: "great to use in the microwave for melting butter, chocolate, etc", "Sometimes I will microwave in it, and it is fine for that as well","microwave safe", "[go] in the microwave", "can go from microwave to the fridge and everywhere in between", "microwavable."

Easy to clean and  dishwasher safe

Numerous users reviews report that Pyrex measuring cups are truly dishwasher safe, with not a single dishwashing issue reported (as opposed to older models of Pyrex cups, where there are reports of washed-out markings). Users rate the cups easy to clean: "dishwasher safe and very easy to clean", "will not stain", "easy to clean", "go in the dishwasher fine", "easy to wash", "dishwasher safe and very easy to clean. Will not stain", "glass is easy to clean","I had searched high and low for a microwaveable and dishwasher safe measuring cup. The only cups I found were only one or the other but not both. This cup is both. Very useful. We use it daily","does real well in the dishwasher."

Advantage of glass again plastic

Many user reviews focus on the advantage of Pyrex measuring cups against plastic measuring cups. They outline the advantages of using glass to measure oily substances, the easier clean-up, the ability to heat liquids inside the cup, and the fact that glass provides a neutral, clean surface while plastic can leach chemical substances: "[it] is GLASS and is definitely higher grade than most measuring cups", "measuring oil in a plastic measuring cup is not a good idea, most of the oil will stick to the sides, not with the Pyrex glass","Since it's glass it's extremely easy to clean","Because it's glass, I warm up liquids in it in the microwave", "Have you ever tried to measure a cup of oil in a plastic measuring cup? Sure, it works, but I hope you have half an hour or so to get the oil off the plastic. It's an annoying waste of time and gallons of running water", "the gold standard of measuring cups. All that other plastic stuff in my kitchen is junk compared to it", "The reason for the review is comparing with the plastic ones, glass ones are far better. #1 - It's easy to clean. Even if you use it to measure oil, glass cleans a lot better afterwards. #2 - The glass is very thick, you can call it heavy duty. Bumping it on the counter or against pans, it won't just break. #3 - The handle holds comfortably & the cup has a pouring mouth", "I like glass it is pure does not hold stains and it does not give off any gases", "Cleans up easier & quicker than the plastic ones. Nothing seems to stick to it","safe from chemical worries like plastics and odor and stain resistant","If I am measuring solids then I use a stainless steel or plastic set but if I am measuring liquids then glass is the only way to go, especially when I need to heat up in the microwave","I love how this measuring cup is made out of glass (unlike my other one, which was made out of plastic). Now I could put oil and other solutions without hesitation", "since it is not made of plastic, it will not disintegrate over time and leave microscopic particles of of plastic and chemicals in your food like plastic cups will."

Easy to hold and pour

Most reviewers are pleased with the handle and with the way the measuring cups pour: "pours great", "has a spout and a handle for easier pouring","lip works perfectly well in my applications.  ", "I like this measuring cup because of this comfortable handle and pouring mouth", "easy to hold","it pours very well, comfortable to handle", "spout and a handle for easier pouring", "handle is comfortable", "good handle and spout",""handle is quite comfortable"

Some users, however, are unhappy with the spout. There are some who suggest Anchor Hocking cups as having better spouts, while others suggest that both brands are equally poor: 
"I got this to replace a similar Anchor Hocking 1-quart measuring cup, because that one pours so poorly. Unfortunately this one is no better", "the pouring lip is too narrow and too shallow. You have to pour very slowly to prevent spilling liquids. Anchor Hocking makes one that has better markings, is easier to read, and has a wider and deeper pouring spout. It is also less expensive", "does not pour well", "this measuring cup doesn't pour well at all", "pouring anything more viscous than water out of the spout creates, at best, unpredictable results. Sometimes I can pour perfectly (if slowly) and sometimes the contents just run down the side and come off the bottom of the cup."

After examining pouring complains, we suspect that pouring issues, when they happen, occur primarily for viscous liquids other than water. Other users agree with us: "if you google teapot effect, or coanda pouring, this is actually a very old, well known problem, with a few known solutions, one of which is to pour your fluid against a stirring rod, or spoon."

Similarly, few users prefer a closed handle, but others prefer the modern open handle, which also allows stacking: "my only complaint is the 'open' handle. I have trouble holding on to the cup when it's soapy. A 'closed' handle (welded on both sides) would be easier to hold on to. A benefit of the 'open' handle is the ability to stack the cups",  "the way the handle is designed is awful. On the current design, you can't get a firm, solid grip because the handle only goes half way down. The old version's handle was like you would find on a coffee cup - the top and tip were attached to the cup part. You knew you had a good grip. Also, if your hand is not completely dry and clean, the cup can very easily slip out of your hand", "one reviewer writes that the handle isn't good enough but I have no complaints in this department. It's sturdy; but if you really want a closed handle that is welded on both sides you will have to look elsewhere."

Comparing old models with new

Few users complain that new models are somehow inferior to the old ones. Others, however, provide specific reasons why they prefer the new models to the old ones:
- "My original is tall and slender, with thick glass. The new version is short, wide and the glass is thinner. I don't know if this makes a difference, but my problem is thus: When pouring liquid, my new Measuring Cup DRIPS."
- "When my wife accidentally broke her old Pyrex 2-Cup measuring cup which she's had for at least ... 18 years [I replaced it for her] ... to my and especially her great surprise, this new exact replacement was better marked and thus easier to read and had an extremely cool light-green hue to it!!! It was truly better than the original it replaced!!!", "I replaced an older cup of this type with the new model. The measurements are much easier to read, and I like the handle better as it is open at the bottom, which, I think, makes it easier to use."
- "After 30 years of using the same Pyrex measuring cup, the markings were starting to wear and we had scratched the interior, so we decided to replace it with another Pyrex measuring cup [...] The design of the cup has changed little in 30 years. If anything, it is a little heavier. We are very pleased with it. "
- "I've had these Pyrex cups in three sizes (not the same ones, though they are very sturdy) for nearly forty years. I didn't check the other reviewer's comment about the handle, but -- in the old days the handle was closed on the bottom; when they redesigned the handle it allowed these cups to stack, as you mention, which was a very good thing. The other improvement made to these over time is the red markings; they were not dishwasher-hardy, back then, and everyone I knew had a Pyrex quart bowl with the markings entirely washed off. Still handy but not for measuring. "

Made in USA

Many users remark on the fact that Pyrex measuring cups are made in the USA.


Several users comment on the need for different measuring tools for dry and wet measures: "for measuring dry ingredients, you want a cup that fills to the top so you can scrape off the excess", "this is a liquid measuring cup. Why would you need this? Because using dry measuring cups to measure liquids (which are meant to be leveled off at the very top with a knife) almost guarantees spillage. This cup prevents that. Conversely, you can't level off dry ingredients in this, so only use it for liquids."

Multiple users comment upon the specific limitations of Pyrex glass, in particular upon the fact that it must not be used on the stove top: "this is both top and bottom dishwasher safe, microwave safe, and even oven safe, but not stove top safe."

The cups come in multiple sizes, and many users report that they own all, or many, sizes. Some indicate a preference for one size: "the 2-cup size is a nice balance; smaller and and easier to handle than the 4-cup, but more useful than the 1-cup size (especially when cooking for more than two)."

Statistics and user ratings

We gathered over 200 reviews from Amazon and Macy's on multiple sizes of Pyrex measuring cups. User ratings were an excellent 87%, giving us a 5% margin of error at 95% certainty.

Rumors and concerns

Internet rumors have circulated over the past several years, about Pyrex being manufactured in China, and about Pyrex having recently switched glass formulation from borosilicate glass to cheaper soda-lime glass. They have been largely, if not totally, debunked, although all US Pyrex products have indeed been made of tempered soda-lime glass since the 1980s.

More serious are recent allegations that Pyrex baking glass has been subject to sudden explosions. There are multiple reports over the net. Consumer Reports recently published some tests and showed that tempered soda-lime glass can shatter when used in contravention to the manufacturer's instructions, while some borosilicate dishes may not shatter, and requested consumer agencies to investigate these reports. To be clear, tempered glass products, in general, will shatter when subjected to violent temperature differences, such as when you take a baking dish out of a hot oven and put it in or on cold water. There still may be some issues affecting Pyrex baking dishes - although at this stage we are somewhat doubtful. In any case, these reports only minimally affect measuring cups, which are not, in general, subjected to wide temperature changes.

Conclusion: "recommended for use by"

Pyrex measuring cups are a kitchen icon, with a high reputation for durability, and very strong advantages over plastic measuring implements. They are easy to wash, dishwasher-safe and microwave-safe, and use highly visible markings. Most people consider Pyrex cups to hold well and pour well. The Pyrex web site is abominable and does not give you any way to peruse the different models available, so following are a few links. Pyrex measuring cups come in 1-cup, 2-cup, 4-cup and 8-cup sizes. Other Pyrex measuring cup models allow you to view measuring numbers from above, or provide a cup with a silicone bottom ring and/or a plastic lid, although they do not meet with universal user approval. We have no hesitation endorsing standard Pyrex measuring cups as excellent liquid measuring tools for general use in the kitchen.

Some more user comments: "I have owned this measuring cup for quite a few years and it is my favorite", "pretty much a requirement for anyone who cooks or bakes","accurate and durable", "you can't ask much more from a measuring cup", "If you can only own one measuring cup set, then this would be the one to get", "We've had one of these Pyrex measuring cups for years and love it. Other measuring cups don't even compare!", "durable and practical, "I use this cup for everything [...] this is just a must-have for your kitchen","A real simple item, but this one gets everything right at the reasonable price. Good buy","really nothing that could be improved upon, just a great, solid product", "Fantastic measuring cup [...] worth every cent! "

1 comment:

Alexander said...

Incidentally, I need measuring cups that will fulfill my need. By the way, what does make it different with others? I need help and more information before buying it. Thanks.

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