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Comparison of Metal Lids and Tattler Lids (Reusable Lids)

Given the current canning lid shortage, I decided to update this comparison of Jarden Metal Lids and Tattler Reusable Canning lids. We'll talk about some background information, how to use reusable lids, concerns, and recommendations.

Comparison of Metal Lids and Tattler Lids

I sent email questionnaires to both Jarden and Tattler. Jarden representative Judy L. Harrold, Manager, Consumer Affairs, responded quickly. We also arranged a phone interview.

Tattler declined to comment, so I pieced together information from their website and other online sources.

Jarden Ball metal canning lids
Jarden Ball metal canning lids

Jarden Metal Lids (Ball and Kerr brands, as well as others worldwide)

Jars and lids have been manufactured under the Ball brand name since 1885. Today, the closures are manufactured by Jarden Home Brands. Newell Brands purchased Jarden Corporation in 2016.

The two-piece caps using plastisol compound were introduced in the 1960’s and replaced two-piece caps having a latex sealing compound. All of the Jarden lids and bands are produced in their plant in Muncie, IN.

What are metal canning lids made from?

Jarden Home Brands manufacturers home canning lids using tin coated steel with an epoxy coating (to prevent corrosion) and plastisol sealant. The lids are BPA free since 2013.

Jarden metal canning lids
Underside of Jarden metal canning lids

What safety testing has been done on the metal canning lids?

In-house scientists conduct ongoing quality and performance tests on bands and lids. They audit the integrity of incoming raw materials, monitor production runs against design specifications, and they conduct pack tests on the closures for shelf-life tests.

Ball brand and Kerr brand lids are used by the USDA and affiliated universities when conducting heat-penetration tests in the development of safe home canning guidelines.

Heat penetration tests were conducted by Jarden Home Brands working with university and independent authorities for the development of safe home canning recipes. Their closures stand up to this stringent testing protocol.

What support does Jarden offer to home canners?

Jarden Home Brands offers direct to consumer support services via 800#, email, Facebook, and written correspondence. We have an informative website at It includes step-by-step videos, FAQs, and recipes to help the home canner experience successful results with each canning project.

Our Consumer Affairs staff has successfully completed the Better Process control School, works closely with our in-house scientists, and has nearly 50 years experience behind them.

Tattler Lids - Reusable Canning Lids
Reusable Canning Lids – Tattler Lids

Tattler Reusable Canning Lids

Loren Stieg, a tool and die maker, invented Tattler Reusable Canning lids in 1976, during a shortage of metal canning lids.

The Daily Sentinel shares the story:

The lids, designed for water-bath or pressure canning, are made of an injection-molded, food-grade plastic and fitted to a nitrile rubber gasket.

The name “Tattler” came about because Loren Stieg wanted them to make a sound when they sealed.

“They were going to make a noise and ‘tattle’ on themselves when they sealed,” Stieg said. “It just didn’t work that way and the design changed, but the name stayed.”

The Stiegs didn’t do much with the lids for 25 years. Then eBay and the Internet provided a willing market. This coincided with a burst of new interest in home canning and preserving.

Brad Stieg, who has a background working in materials management and logistics, decided to help his dad sell some of the inventory.

As all the lids manufactured in the 1970s started to sell out, Stieg knew he needed to start production again. The father and son incorporated in 2010 to resurrect the business.

What about Harvest Guard Reusable Canning Lids?

Harvest Guard Reusable Canning Lids was founded in 2019 by Brad Stieg, son of Tattler creator Loren Stieg.

Brad Stieg said, “I got back into the business to take care of the market the way I think it needs to be handled.”

A discussion in the Homesteading Today forum notes:

“In 2013 his son (Brad) forced a buyout, he thought he could buy out his father and run with the company that his father had built.

Loren managed to buy his son out in March of 2014 (much to his son's surprise). There was a 5 year non compete clause in the closing contract.

Approximately 5 years to the day his “son” presented and marketed Harvest Guard, a knock off of Loren Stieg's original canning lid.”

reusable canning lids
Underside of Tattler reusable canning lids

What are Tattler lids made of?

From the Tattler website:  We utilize an FDA and USDA approved, food grade product known as Polyoxymethylene Copolymer (POM) or Acetal Copolymer.

The rubber rings (gaskets) are made from a food grade nitrile rubber and contain no latex.

What safety testing has been done on the lids?

From the Tattler FAQ page (now removed from the site):

Our customers state they have used the lids and rings for as many as 20 years.

Last summer (2010) we conducted a test using 14 lids and rings. The test materials were product we found in storage since 1976. They were used in both water bath and pressure canning tests over several weeks. All were reused 14 times without failure.

What support services does Tattler offer to home canners?

Tattler has a facebook page, phone number and email.

How to Use Tattler Lids

Tattler reusable lids come in wide mouth and regular lids. The plastic lids and rubber seals are used in combination with standard metal rings.

To use, prep your canning jars, inspecting for cracks and nicks.

Wash, rinse, and sterilize the mason jars. Scald the lids and rubber rings and leave them in the hot water until ready to use.

Fill jars as directed by recipe. Wipe any spills from jar rim, and screw on the lid.

From the Tattler website:

To get the correct tightness, place the jar on a counter top or other smooth surface, then place your index finger on the lid.

Tighten the ring on until the jar begins to spin on the counter top (or other smooth surface). This is the perfect tightness for processing!

Process according to safe canning guidelines.

Once the process is completed and the jars are removed from your canner, let the bubbling die down (approximately 4-5 minutes).,

Place a towel over the still hot jars (for safety) and finish tightening the metal bands. Let your jars cool naturally to room temperature.

Remove the metal band and lift the jar slightly by the lid. It should be well sealed.

Do not use Tattler lids with alcohol, strong acids, chlorine or strong sunlight. These will break down the plastic of the lids.

Concerns about Tattler Reusable Canning Lids

There are three primary concerns about Tattler Lid – formaldehyde, seal failure, and air trapped in the headspace.


The Natural Canning Resource Book notes concerns about Tattler Lids:

“Tattler lids are composed of polyoxymethlylene copolymer, an acetal copolymer. …

(The author's father, a chemist) noted that the copolymer is made from a trimer of formaldehyde called trioxane and other compound variations. Formaldehyde is a highly-toxic substance long known to be carcinogenic.

Some of the secondary additives are also potentially dangerous to human health and the environment.”

The book continues to give detailed evidence of uncombined formaldehyde in the lids.

From the Tattler website:

Many questions have been asked about the existence of formaldehyde in Acetal Copolymer. While it is true formaldehyde is present in trace amounts, research proves it is only released at very high temperatures.

Heating our brand of acetal copolymer above 460 degrees F (238 C) should be avoided.

Here is my concern:

Most of the formaldehyde is bonded and can only be released at extremely high temperatures. But could those trace amounts of unbonded formaldehyde shed into your food with normal canning use?

Risks should be minimal for home food preservation. The food inside the jar is not normally in contact with the lid.

Higher Seal Failure Rates

I noticed a significantly higher failure rate than standard canning lids, both during and after processing.

Though several studies of Tattler lids were proposed, I found results for only one.

In 2014, a University of Georgie grad student, Geetha Sivanandam, tested three types of canning lids – metal, plastic and glass. Three types of food (tomatoes, apple, and carrots) were tested under different conditions.

All three types of lids produced acceptable results, but only traditional metal lids produced 100 percent seal rate during processing and storage.

Retained Oxygen in the Headspace

Elizabeth L. Andress, Professor and Extension Food Safety Specialist from
The University of Georgia notes that there may be quality issues due to retained oxygen in headspace.

Because you finish the seal on Tattler lids when you tighten them, you don't know if all the oxygen is out of the headspace.

With metal canning lids, the vacuum creates the seal.

I suspect this was the problem with this moldy jam canned using Tattler lids.

Some sites suggest increasing headspace by 1/4 inch when canning with Tattler lids to reduce failure rates. This may increase the risk of retained oxygen.

Ball metal canning lids and Tattler lids
Ball metal canning lids and Tattler lids

Comparison of Jarden Metal Lids and Tattler Reusable Canning Lids- Which is Better?

I prefer the metal canning lids, but many people prefer the Tattlers.

The metal lids are unmistakably sealed, and easy to use. I don't have to worry about damaging the lids when they are pried off.

If I need to leave when a pressure canner is cooling down, I know the jars will seal. I can take them out as soon as I get home, instead of waiting to screw down the lids.

I appreciate the time, money and effort spent by Jarden Home Brands on testing product safety. They also have many years of experience and a dedicated customer support team.

The primary advantage of Tattler lids is that they are reusable. They cost more upfront, but should last for many years. With standard metal lids out of stock, Tattlers and Harvest Guard may be your only choices for home canning.

You may want to practice canning some water to get the hang of using reusable canning lids.

Either lid paired with quality home canned goods is a better choice than heavily processed grocery store foods.

Where to Find Metal Lids

Metal lids are sold out at many retailers, but Lehman's still has American made bulk canning lids in stock. You can order the lids here.

Use Code TAKE5 to Take $5 off orders of $75+ at Lehman's.

More on Home Food Preservation

We have dozens of recipes and home food preservation guides, all listed on the Recipes and Kitchen Tips page.

Related Articles

Originally posted in 2012, last updated in 2022.

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  1. Very informative post! Thank you! Thought I would add to the discussion in case it is helpful to someone else. 🙂

    I just started canning last year after putting it off for years because of wanting to avoid the metal lids. I have had extreme health problems and chemical sensitivities for several years now so just haven’t trusted the metal lids. I researched a lot and ended up buying a few boxes of Tattlers last year. I only used them for water bath canning and I maybe had 1 seal failure. All in all I was very pleased and loved using them. That said, it was my first experience canning so I had not developed habits with using the metal lids. I believe some failures may be attributed to that possibly.

    This year I am delving into pressure canning and, again, am researching lids. I did my first batch last weekend using Ball canning lids. I am very sensitive and can detect tastes and smells that others can’t… and I could taste something unpleasant in my beans after pressure canning. 🙁 The lids may be BPA free… but I still don’t trust the materials and after that experience am hesitant to use them. I have been researching Weck jars and even the le Parfait jars as well. I may try Tattlers in the pressure canner … at this point I will probably trust the safety of them over the metal lids after my own experiences.

  2. Just threw away the tomatoes I canned in October using Tattlers. They did not keep the seal. What a waste! I will never use those again.

    1. Sorry you lost your tomatoes. That’s the most frustrating thing to me about the lids. The seal looks good, but then fails in storage. I’ve never had that happen with metal lids.

    1. It’s generally a good idea to rotate your canned good yearly anyway, but I’ve had some of the lids on jars for over two years with no issues. (Heck, the last of the massive batch of pickled jalapenos are still waiting to be used up, and I think they are five years old. No seal failure or signs of corrosion.)

      I think the company just wants to protect themselves from people coming back with ten year old jars of canned goods saying, “Your lid didn’t protect my stuff.” The 18 month window also keeps them in line with National Center for Home Food Preservation guidelines for pantry rotation.

  3. Thanks Laurie for sharing a great information. When I open a jar I take the lid off carefully so as not to damage it and then check the rubber and the inside of the lid and if it is marred I pitch it, but if it looks good I wash it and store it with my stash to reuse next season. In this way I reuse them multiple times, I don’t keep track of how many times one gets used.

  4. Thanks for the update to this post. I recently read another post reviewing the reusable lids. They dont sound too great to me. That person had quite a high percentage of seal failures. Now I know you likely will not recommend this because it doesn’t “go by the book.” Back in the 70s when there was a lid shortage my mother learned that you CAN reuse the Ball lids and she has done so ever since, and I have also. So that is 40+years of testing it and it works! I honestly cannot imagine having to buy all new lids every year for the several hundred jars that I can! That would be costly! When I open a jar I take the lid off carefully so as not to damage it and then check the rubber and the inside of the lid and if it is marred I pitch it, but if it looks good I wash it and store it with my stash to reuse next season. In this way I reuse them multiple times, I don’t keep track of how many times one gets used. If they seal I have never had a problem of the seal not keeping because it was reused. There are always a few that do not seal and then I will just put it in the fridge to use in the next week and I pitch that lid. But I have a low percentage rate of those thst do not seal -much lower than some are having with the plastic reusable lids. BTW, I have also had a few new lids not seal. When I have used all my saved used ones then I always use 10-12 boxes of new ones yet also
    Just thot I would put this out there so it can maybe help someone. If you have been throwing them away you can start now to keep the ones as you open your jars, so that you don’t have to buy as many new ones .

    1. Yeah, I can’t recommend that since it goes against the manufacturer guidelines. If someone did want to do it, those products with short processing times (10 minutes in a water bath canner, for instance) would be more likely to be able to be reused with better results.

  5. Thank you for the chemical warning information in the article. It is hard to find this type of info and risks posed – certainly companies are not forthcoming.

    The BPA free may be just another scam to get us to buy replacements for everything only to find later that the chemicals used instead (BPS, etc) are equally bad or even worse. Much more is known about the danger of these chemicals now and here is a link about a recent study that alarmed even the scientists doing the study:”BPA isn’t just in bottles — a new report is sounding the alarm over receipts“.

    I no longer trust what corporations say about safety and their commitment to customers, as it seems to always be followed by “we had no idea it was poison…” or “it was an unforeseen failure of XYZ that discharged these toxins into drinking water and vital wildlife habitat.”

    Scotch guard, Teflon, fire retardant furniture, glyphosate, and thousands of other products were claimed to be ‘perfectly safe for humans’ over he years (as was smoking!) right up until the proof of deadly risks became so overwhelming they could no longer be hidden from the public. Public health agencies and the EPA have been captured by industry and nobody on the public payroll is looking out for us anymore. We’d be completely stupid to keep trusting their blanket assertions about safety.

    1. Very little research has been done with respect to long term, low dose exposure on all these chemicals, so only time will tell. I try to pick “less bad” options, but even that choice ins’t always clear.

      I read about the BPA in receipts some years ago in the book “Green Barbarians“. It’s amazing how many places with encounter chemical exposure in our every day lives. Just yesterday, I read results from another study that indicated that Teflon-like chemicals (Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)) used in “easy glide” dental floss were migrating into gum tissue and the bloodstreams of users. It never ends.

      1. I found out about the floss issue a few months ago and dug out the old waxed type I had in a drawer. Going to collect all the Glide containers and give them to Costco, etc, along with a piece of my mind for selling it. Researchers have linked Autism with chemicals and there have been some scary incidents reported in Hawaii, where big ag companies have test fields next to homes and schools. Spraying has resulted in medical emergencies sending many of the kids to hospital and causing emergency closures, along with huge increases in linked diseases. Locals successfully got a ban in place, only to be betrayed at a higher government level.

        1. Estimates suggest there are between 25,000 and 85,000 different man-made chemicals in use today. They find dozens of toxins in umbilical cord blood, so babies are getting dosed before they are even born. It’s one heck of science experiment.

      1. As we are now into this global pandemic for 2020, vacuum sealing has taken off like gang busters. Dehydrators and the Food Saver vacuum jar sealing tops are completely sold out for the first time in company history. AND, in this era, good luck finding ANY metal lids. Thus, the search is on for substitutes. Can the Tattler lids vacuum seal ???

        Additionally, Ball has CLEAR plastic lids that ‘should’ vacuum seal, but finding those is obscure too. And lastly, Berry Plastics Globally has plastic lids for jars.

        ULine has a sonic sealer for canning jars. It’s $300 as of this posting. The seals are like that on most food condiment bottles with the finger peel-off. Similar to the pill bottle non-tamper peel off. This too will work for dehydrated food storage.

        Otherwise, it’s very slim pickings.

        1. I haven’t tried vacuum sealing the Tattler lids. In theory they should work, and I have seen others use them online.

          Another option if you can’t get a lid that will vacuum seal would be to pop an O2 absorber and moisture absorber in any jar with a lid that seals well. Absorbers are still in stock, and that should accomplish similar results.

          1. Yes, we vacuum seal and use the Multisorb O2 to remove moisture too.

            I had found info on the Lehmans site about their reusable lids.

            Value pack of 24 lids
            Indefinitely reusable
            Use with pressure canners, water bath or vacuum sealers
            Use with standard metal bands
            Made of FDA and USDA approved materials
            Dishwasher safe and BPA free (see below for more info)
            USA made

            The formaldehyde issue should be nearly nothing when vacuum sealing as heat isn’t being used.

            You have a great article here. However, many of the links are now dead. If you ever choose to revisit this topic, please add it as a link to this topic for your readers to follow along.

            The Atlas-Mason jars were made from 1902 to 1964. And then under a trademark agreement, Borden with their Classico sauce uses the Atlas Mason on their jars. However, they were never certified for canning. BUT these work wonderful for vacuum sealing. There are an early Borden Classico jars with a thicker glass wall people used for water bath canning success. But the newer thinner wall works well for vacuum sealing only.

          2. We’re slowly working through updating posts, but this one has never gotten a ton of traffic so it’s not high on the list. Given the shortage of canning supplies this year, I should give it a once over. It looks like Lehman’s is sold out of their reusable lids at this time.

  6. I thankyou for your informative site, but now I’m unsure as to buy the Tattler lids I seen on sale for $6 a box. I was going to clean them out but now I’m not so sure.

    I too have been canning for years and have just bought a pressure canner, I have also seen what can happen when the Tattler lids explode while trying to tighten the lids after removing them from the pressure canner. The other thing is I have noticed too over the years how much thinner the rubber coating has become on the metal lids, compared to today. I always check them before use for bare spots on the rubber, thats how bad they are getting.

    Just a thought, but has anyone tried to combine the 2 ? Put a metal lid over a rubber ring ? Any chance something like this could work ? You don’t have to tighten lids after they come out and could hear it pop down, plus they could be both reused. Wishful thinkin …………I guess they are like the big Car companies, want you to keep on buying, so they don”t make them last.

    1. The Tattler lids have potential issues with retained air in the headspace due to lack of flexibility in the lid itself (because of the hard plastic). With the metal lids. the seal is formed as the vacuum is formed inside the jar, and the distinctive “ping” is a sign of that seal. The Tattler seal is formed when the user tightens the lid. It’s an inherent design flaw, and I think layering the lids would only make it worse.

      There is a level of protection in the single use lids, in that you are more likely to get a good seal each time because it is undamaged. Although they can’t be reused, they can be recycled. The jars can be reused for years, so for me it’s worth the investment in the lids.

  7. In the early 1950’s we sometimes used wax (paraffin or bee’s wax) to provide a barrier to the lid and extra seal. This provided a gas tight lump on top of the food. I wonder if this would help today for concerns expressed. I got to lick the spoon (treat for a kid making cake, pies, preserves)!

    1. Wax is no longer recommended. The reason is explained on the Center for Home Preservation website:

      “Paraffin or wax sealing of jars is no longer considered an equally acceptable choice for any sweet spread, including jellies. Any pinholes, shrinkage or cracks in the wax paraffin allow airborne molds to contaminate and grow on the product. In addition, leaks or holes in the paraffin can allow product to seep out during storage. Once on the surface, this seeping product will provide nutrients for molds to grow on the surface and enter into the jam or jelly in the jar.”