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The Playtex Training Time Straw Cup is definitely a no-leak sippy cup earning a perfect score in our leak tests. But sadly, whether or not a cup leaks means very little if the cup is hard to use. In our tests this cup was difficult to suck on; it was hard for even an adult to master. Given that the cup had a straw (a feature that seemed to make sucking easier in most cups, and the ADA likes), it was sort of a surprise. If you couple the hard sucking valve, with the poor eco-health score, and awkward one handle grip, it all added up to a cup we just weren't that fond of.
Update — January 2017
Playtex has updated their line of Times sippy cups and now calls it the Sipsters line. All the cups in the new line are sorted into age-dependent stages. The main improvement made to the cups is that all lids can now be interchanged between cups of different stages. The Anytime Spout Cup is now the Sipsters Stage 2 Spout Cup and now features a double-sided handle rather than a single sided.
Our Analysis and Test Results
Playtex Training Time Straw Cup is a BPA-free plastic cup with a no-leak valve, and attached straw. It is made with Playtex's Twist 'N Click technology that they claim is spill-proof, break-proof, and leak-proof; Playtex feels so strongly about the claim, that they even guarantee it. It has a one-sided, removable handle grip intended to help babies transition from bottle holding to cup holding.
Above is a photo of several Playtex sippy cups.
In general, we did not like much about this cup. The only category this cup scored well in was leakage. No matter what methods we used, this cup absolutely did not leak; whether is was on its side, or tipped upside down and shaken vigorously, we could not get the cup to give up even one drop of water. All great attributes for a sippy cup whose main purpose is to not leak. Compared to other cups in our tests that did leak, Playtex did well in this category.
The cup was also lightweight compared to the other cups in our tests, especially the stainless steel and glass options we reviewed. This means that babies may find it easier to hold the sippy for longer periods of time. However, the decreased weight also means that this cup is made of plastic, something we are not wild about.
Overall, this cup scored lower than any cup we tested. Earning a 53 of 100 score, it left little for us to like, and more for us to dislike than the average cup. Given the popularity and availability of the Playtex brand, we were a little surprised to discover that the cup had so little to offer.
We disliked the valve in this cup. The valve is the primary component of a leak-proof cup; it should prevent leaks, but allow ease of drinking, and the ability to control the flow of liquids for a constant and predictable amount. Playtex recently changed their valve design, and in our opinion, not for the better. While the cup most certainly did not leak, the only metric this cup did score well in, it was also very difficult to drink from, earning a score of 2 of 10 in this metric. The previous model of cup, with the old valve, was much easier to drink from, and was also leak proof which made us wonder why the new valve? For both of the Playtex cups we reviewed, the old valve version was preferred, scoring an average 8 for ease of use compared to the new valve in both cups that scored a 3 on average.
We also didn't like the one handled grip. It is hard to discern why the design only includes one handle, but the one handle made the cup somewhat difficult to hold or navigate to the mouth when full of liquid and fairly heavy for little hands. The handle is removable, but then the cup might be even harder for little hands to hold as it has no texture or grip factor on the outside of the cups.
This cup also scored low for eco-health. Not only was it made of plastic, and not the preferred steel or glass, but Playtex failed to offer full-disclosure on what kind of plastic it was made of. Beyond saying it was BPA-free, they offered no specific information on what else may or may not be in the cup. However, before we call out only Playtex for this slight, it is important to note that very few manufacturers offered up this information and it is possible that until consumers demand the details, they won't. In addition, the harder to drink from spout meant this cup did not come close to meeting the ADA's preferred guidelines for a no valve cup. While a no valve cup is what they suggest, we felt that a cup that required less sucking would be better than one that required more. So while this cup was a straw cup, a spout style the ADA prefers, it had a difficult to use no-leak valve.
In short there wasn't much to like about this cup. Beyond its obvious capability to hold liquid and failure to leak, the cup was nothing to rave about. Given that other cup options are available that offer better ease of use and cleaning, and higher eco-health scores, we could not bring ourselves to recommend this cup. Perhaps if Playtex had kept their old valve we would have had something to like about this cup beyond the fact that it doesn't leak.
If the eco-health metric isn't your top concern, but perhaps budget might be, you might want to look at our Best Value winner, Gerber Graduates Sip and Smile. This transition cup was easy to clean, easy to use, and scored a 10 of 10 in all leak tests. It earned an impressive 79 of 100 overall, the highest of any plastic cup in our tests.
Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz
Honest, objective reviews. Led by a Pediatrician.
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