Best Baby Plate
The Sage Spoonfuls Happy Foodie is an all-around winner. The plate's material, non-toxic, FDA approved stainless steel, quickly advances this option to a top-rank spot. Plus, its durability will withstand the rage of toddlers, and we are confident this plate will last the test of time. It is also dishwasher safe (except the lid), making it easy to clean, a perk of convenience busy parents may appreciate. The manufacturer claims the stainless steel will not stain, rust, crack, harbor odors, warp, or break. It includes a plastic lid, and we think the set is great for mealtime at home, as well as picnics and camping trips, too.
The plastic lid is not dishwasher safe and requires handwashing, yet we think the task simple. Users report the lid lacks securement. While testing, we noticed the lid stays on, but liquid escapes when tipping the plate on its side. Knowing this, we think the plastic lid is best to cover food in a refrigerator and not necessarily as a lunch box. The plate does not feature suction or anti-skid material, which may or may not be a deal-breaker. Nonetheless, we feel that finding a durable, easy to clean plate that is non-toxic and healthy for your baby significantly outweighs minor drawbacks, including the lack of suction. If you feel the same, we highly recommend the Sage Spoonfuls Happy Foodie to you.
Make mealtime fun with the Bamboo Fox Suction Plate. Bamboo is a renewable resource; therefore, this plate is eco-friendly and a healthier option for your little one. The bamboo plate also features top-notch suction power—honestly, one of the best in the bunch, a feat we applaud. The suction base is removable for when your child outgrows it, and the plate comes in a variety of animals and suction base colors. This plate is not microwavable or dishwasher safe, and it requires handwashing with warm soapy water.
Bamboo is similar to skin, and the more it is exposed to elements, such as water, the more it becomes dry, eventually leading to cracking and splitting. Therefore, this plate will require some maintenance. An application of oil, like coconut oil, should be applied once a month to keep the material hydrated. Also, bamboo is not immune to drops like silicone and stainless steel, and we wonder about long term durability. When handwashing the plate, remove the silicone base to allow the product to dry in full. If not, trapped moisture can encourage mildew. We recommend this eco-friendly and healthy, non-toxic plate to those who do not mind some minor maintenance.
On a budget? Check out the Munchkin Splash Plate and Bowl Set, which includes two plates and two bowls made of BPA-free plastic. The set is durable, and the colors are vibrant. If pink and purple are not ideal, a blue and green option is also available. Also, we believe the plates and bowls are easy for little hands to carry. The plate offers three-sections with deep sides, and the bowl is deep, too, making it great for snacks, yogurt, and cereal. The set is microwavable and dishwasher safe, plus it has anti-skid material on the bottom to reduce slipping. For the sake of organization, we appreciate that the plates and bowls are easily stackable.
Although the set is microwavable and dishwasher safe, we suggest doing neither as high heat is not great for plastic. We understand that handwashing is not always convenient, but we think the task is relatively easy, plus avoiding high heat is worth the time expense. Also, users report that the plates and bowls easily scratch, and we suggest avoiding metal utensils. Although plastic is not a material we prefer, it is less expensive. We recommend this plate and bowl set to families with toddlers looking to purchase multiple plates and bowls without breaking the bank.
The ezpz Mini Mat is a mat, plus a happy-face plate rolled into one product, making this innovative design unique from the competition. It is food-grade silicone, free of BPA, BPS, PVC, and phthalates. This plate is compact and offers three-sections with portions on the smaller side. The top two sections hold 2-ounces, and the bottom holds 4-ounces. The suction feature decreases the chance of your little one tipping or throwing the plate. It is dishwasher, microwave, and oven safe (up to 350 degrees). Use this plate as early as six months of age, plus choose from a variety of colors. It comes with a reusable bag, making it easy to pack in a diaper bag or luggage for trips away from home. Also, ezpz's excellent customer service is noteworthy.
The suction power of this product is so-so. From our testing, if you pinch the plate's sides and pull up, it won't budge. A slight peel of the edge will allow enough air to enter, and the plate quickly lifts. Children are smart creatures and great observers, so it would not surprise us if your little one quickly figures out this trick. Also, some users report that the silicone retains a soap taste. This issue is a common complaint among silicone products. The manufacturer mentions that phosphate-free dishwashing detergents may cause water spots or unwanted smells and tastes. Adding vinegar to the wash cycle can help. We recommend this plastic alternative to families with babies ready for food exploration and those who need to practice using a plate because even if it drops, it will not break.
If you like this product but would appreciate a larger size, perhaps for a toddler, check out the ezpz Happy Mat as it offers the same design, but with a larger footprint and portion sizes.
If your child prefers a divided plate, the colorful Re-Play Divided Plate may fit your needs. This plate is made in the USA from FDA-approved recycled milk jugs, free of BPA, PVC, phthalate, and melamine. The plates easily stack, and feature deep sections with high sides, helping children scoop food. The plate does not feature suction or anti-skid material, but it is sturdy and durable if an accident occurs. Also, it is dishwasher and microwave safe.
While the packaging claims the plates are microwavable, the company's website says, and we agree, that microwaving is not recommended, mainly due to staining and hot spots in food. We don't know why there is a discrepancy among information; regardless, we don't like microwaving food for babies. If you appreciate a product made in the USA, do not need suction or anti-skid material, and are okay with using plastic, then the Re-Play Divided Plate could be an excellent fit for your needs.
Are you looking for a plastic alternative? The Kiddiebites Flexible Plate is a winner. Made in the USA, this product is 100% food-grade and medical-grade silicone. It is free from BPA, BPS, PVCs, lead, cadmium, and phthalates. Kiddiebites is dishwasher and microwave safe, plus it can withstand the heat of sterilization. It does not feature suction, but that's not a deal-breaker as the silicone provides traction on tables or high chairs. Multiple plates will easily stack. The soft, pliable material makes it easy to roll and pack in the diaper bag or luggage for mealtimes away from home. Also noteworthy, is Kiddiebites fabulous customer service.
Something to note, cutting food with a knife on this plate can permanently damage the silicone. Also, silicone can retain oil residue on its surface, and this can cause white spots and an undesirable soapy taste. Kiddiebites suggests avoiding dish soap that contains essential oils, anti-bacterial agents, and moisturizers as these oils can stick onto the silicone material and cause build-up. Users report that the wall angle can be awkward for some children to scoop food. In our opinion, this plate is incredibly flexible, and if the dish bends too much, runny food can run over the fold. Plus, we believe the lack of sturdiness may make it tricky for younger children to carry. We recommend this plate to families who value investing in an American company or appreciate an easily packable dish for life on-the-go.
The Bumkins Silicone Grip Dish is 100% food-safe silicone free of BPA, PVC, phthalate, and lead. It is durable and slightly heavier than the other silicone contenders. It is a microwavable and top-rack dishwasher safe product, or wash it by hand if you prefer. The flat edge brings the dish closer to your child, and it offers three deep-sections. The top sections hold 5-ounces, and the bottom section holds up to 9-ounces.
It is essential not to cut food on this plate as it will harm the silicone material. Compared to other contenders in our review, the plate's suction power is mediocre and not noteworthy. Users report it can hold a soap taste, which is a common complaint with silicone products. Although this plate would work for a baby, we recommend it to families looking for a silicone plate with portion sizes that best suit a toddler's appetite.
The Kirecoo Owl Plate is sure to attract your child's attention with its bold color and owl design. This 100% food-grade silicone plate features a suction base, and the material is free of lead, phthalate, PVC, and BPA. It is suitable for children ages six months and up, and it is available in three colors: blue, green, and pink. Either wash the plate with warm soapy water or place it in the dishwasher on the top rack. Since silicone can withstand low and high temperatures, this plate can transition from refrigerator or freezer to the oven or microwave.
Avoid cutting food on this plate. It can permanently damage the silicone material. Users report that the Kirecoo has weak suction. While testing, we noticed the plate's suction power to be adequate, but not outstanding as it could easily slide around on the table's surface. Suppose reliable suction power is not your top priority, and instead, you appreciate the fun owl design, bringing a pop of color and cuteness to the dinner table. In that case, we recommend this kid-friendly plate.
The First Essentials by NUK Tri-Suction is a plate for children as early as six months. This plate is BPA-free plastic and is dishwasher and microwave safe. It is lightweight and should fit on any highchair tray. It offers three suction cups underneath with easy-release tabs to help prevent messes and spills.
The NUK has a few downsides. The plastic feels low-quality and flimsy, causing us to worry about long-term durability. Users report the tri-suction is weak and lacks strength, and we agree. While testing, the NUK is easy to lift, and we think a baby will effortlessly do the same. Of all the products in our review, the NUK is one we would not jump to suggest, but it will get the job done. We only recommend this plastic option if you are willing to sacrifice suction power and quality for a low-cost item due to a strict budget.
Why You Should Trust Us
Led by a pediatrician and mother of two, the BabyGearLab team has been testing gear since 2013 and holds an incredible amount of experience and knowledge. Conducting our review is Molly Bradac, Senior Review Editor, and Nanny with over 14 years of experience. So, when it comes to mealtime and dishware for babies and toddlers, Molly is the perfect expert to help guide your search. We purchased each product in our review, and each contender experienced hands-on testing and a side-by-side comparison to evaluate performance.
Analysis and Test Results
Each product in our review underwent lots of use and washing to emulate everyday real-world use and compare performance.
Plates are available in various materials, and each one holds pros and cons, and we considered this when ranking the competition. We believe stainless steel the best, and the Sage Spoonfuls Happy Foodie is the only product in our lineup made of this material. It is durable, designed to last, and will not harbor stains or odors or require ongoing maintenance. It is also dishwasher safe, making it easy to clean, plus there is no need to worry about chemicals entering food. One downside of this material is that it is not microwavable. Still, given all the positives, including the health and safety benefits of stainless steel, we believe this drawback is incredibly small. Plus, this isn't a drawback to only steel. We don't recommend microwaving plastic, anyway.
The next best is bamboo, like the Bamboo Fox Suction Plate, a non-toxic, renewable resource. This material is slightly demanding in terms of maintenance. For instance, it must dry thoroughly to prevent mildew, and it can be prone to cracking. Plus, it requires an occasional application of oil to keep the material hydrated. But, similar to stainless steel, we feel that the benefits of bamboo outweigh the drawbacks. We understand that both stainless steel and bamboo may be a splurge; however, we encourage selecting non-toxic products for little ones whenever possible.
Unfortunately, plastic and silicone have more significant drawbacks to consider. Plastic products, like the First Essentials by NUK Tri-Suction and Re-Play Divided Plate, are not ideal given the potential chance of chemicals leaching into food. We highly suggest handwashing rather than using the dishwasher for plastic products, and we recommend avoiding the microwave.
Silicone products, like the Kiddiebites Flexible Plate and Bumkins Silicone Grip Dish, are healthier alternatives than plastic because they can tolerate high heat, which reduces the worry about estrogen-mimicking toxins like BPA. It is also durable and will not break from drops and falls. However, it is susceptible to oil residue from dish soaps, causing an undesirable soapy taste. Ultimately, the decision will be up to you, and you will need to weigh out the pros and cons of each material.
Ease of Cleaning
We are fans of convenience, and there is no doubt that a dishwasher saves time. We believe the champ of this metric is the Sage Spoonfuls Happy Foodie. This stainless steel product is dishwasher safe, and although it comes with a plastic lid, handwashing is simple. However, not all products are dishwasher safe, like the Bamboo Fox Suction Plate, which uses bamboo. You will need to remove the suction base, wash this product by hand, and let the bamboo dry thoroughly.
The Re-Play Divided Plate and the Munchkin Splash Plate and Bowl Set are all plastic options, and according to their manufacturers, they are dishwasher safe. However, we believe a dishwasher's friction and high temperatures can break down plastic and potentially leach chemicals. For these products, we recommend handwashing with soap and warm water.
Silicone options, like the Bumkins Silicone Grip Dish are dishwasher safe, yet despite cleaning method (hand or dishwasher), it can retain unwanted smells and tastes, most likely from dishwashing detergent. We did not experience this while testing, but users mention this issue can occur. Some manufacturers say oil residue from dish detergents, such as those with anti-bacterial agents, oils, or moisturizers, may leave behind a soapy taste. Others say phosphate-free soap is to blame. Nonetheless, we recommend checking to see what the manufacturer suggests and checking soap ingredients.
You may be interested to read: Are Plastics Safe for Baby Bottles and Sippy Cups?
Even the most powerful suction will not stop a determined child from lifting a plate and potentially tossing it onto the floor. But, suction can be beneficial and provide anti-slipping properties. Plus, it may give you a few extra seconds to react to your tot's decision to pick up and throw a plate. While testing, we noticed that surface plays a significant role in a product's suction performance. For instance, we experienced better results on smooth, non-porous surfaces.
Of all the contenders in our review, the Bamboo Fox Suction Plate stands out among the competition, providing awe-worthy suction power. However, the First Essentials by NUK Tri-Suction did not leave us feeling the same. Although we recognize the benefits of suction, some products in our lineup do not offer this feature, such as the Sage Spoonfuls Happy Foodie and the Re-Play Divided Plate. The Munchkin Splash Plate and Bowl Set also lacks suction but offers anti-skid material on the bottom instead.
Mealtime is an opportunity for children to develop and strengthen self-feeding skills. Of course, each child will progress at different rates and ages. Whether your little one is beginning to explore food or have an experienced toddler, we are confident that our review and recommendations will guide you to a plate that will satisfy your needs and budget.
— Molly Bradac