Best Baby Plates
The Sage Spoonfuls Happy Foodie is hands down, an all-around winner. It is non-toxic, FDA approved stainless steel, and its material alone quickly advances this plate to a top-rank spot. Its durability will withstand the rage of toddlers. It is dishwasher safe (except the lid), making it easy to clean, which is an excellent perk of convenience for busy parents. Plus, it is a healthier option than plastic. The manufacturer claims the stainless steel will not stain, rust, crack, harbor odors, warp, or break. It comes with a plastic lid, and we do not doubt that this product will last the test of time, making it a great companion for future picnics and camping trips when your little one is older.
The lid is not dishwasher safe; however, we suggest handwashing plastic anyway. Users report disappointment regarding the lid's lack of securement. IN our tests, the top stayed on. But, if you tip the plate on its side, liquids do escape. Therefore, we suggest that the lid is most suitable for times when covering the food is needed, such as in a refrigerator, not as a lunch box, where it has a higher chance of tipping. Last, the plate does not feature suction or anti-skid material on the bottom, 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 baby greatly outweighs its minor drawbacks, including the lack of suction. If you feel the same, we highly recommend the Sage Spoonfuls Happy Foodie to you.
The Bamboo Fox Suction Plate is bound to make mealtime fun for your little one. Bamboo is a renewable resource making this plate an eco-friendly and healthy alternative to plastic. Choose from a variety of animals and different color bases. It is not microwavable and dishwasher safe; instead, it requires handwashing with warm soapy water. Most notably, the suction power is one of the best in the bunch, and it is removable for when your child outgrows it.
Bamboo requires some maintenance. It 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. To re-hydrate, an application of oil, like coconut oil, should be applied once a month. While testing, we found no signs of cracking, but cannot speak to long term use. Also, bamboo is not immune to drops like silicone and stainless steel. When handwashing the plate, remove the silicone base to allow the product to dry in full. If not, trapped moisture will encourage mildew. We recommend this eco-friendly and healthy, non-toxic plate to those who do not mind some minor maintenance.
If you're looking for a dining set 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, easy for little hands to carry, and the colors are vibrant. If pink and purple are not ideal, a blue and green option is also available. The plate offers three-sections with deep sides, and the bowl is deep, too, making it great for snacks, yogurt, and cereal. It is microwavable and dishwasher safe, plus it has anti-skid material on the bottom. The plates and bowls are easily stackable.
Although this dining set is microwavable and dishwasher safe, we suggest using 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 dining set to families with toddlers who are looking to purchase multiple plates and bowls without breaking the bank.
The ezpz Mini Mat is a mat and happy-face plate rolled into one product, making this innovative design unique among the competition. It is made of food-grade silicone that is free of BPA, BPS, PVC, and phthalates. This plate is compact, and it 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. But, 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.
The colorful Re-Play Divided Plate comes in a 3-pack and is made in the USA from FDA approved recycled milk jugs that are BPA, PVC, phthalate, and melamine free. It is dishwasher and microwave safe. They are easily stackable and feature deep sections and high sides, which can help children scoop food. It does not feature suction or anti-skid material on the bottom, but the plate is sturdy and durable if an accident should occur.
The manufacturer states these plates are microwave safe. However, they continue to mention on the website that they do not recommend it, mainly due to the possibility of staining and hot spots in food. Plus, they state the plate should not be in the microwave for longer than 20 seconds. Our stand is that plastic should never experience high heat from a dishwasher or microwave to reduce the chance of chemicals entering food. From testing, we found this product to be easy to wash by hand and relatively quick. If you appreciate a product that is 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 a great 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 the 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 will 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. From our testing, we worry about the flexibility of the plate, and if the dish bends too much, runny food could run out at the fold. Plus, 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 on-the-go.
The Bumkins Silicone Grip Dish is 100% food-safe silicone that is 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. While testing, we found the plate's suction power to be mediocre and note 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 an adorable plate that is sure to attract your little one's attention. This 100% food-grade silicone plate 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. It features a suction base that will help the dish stay put if an accidental tip occurs. 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, it can transition from refrigerator or freezer to the oven or microwave.
Avoid cutting food on this plate as it will permanently damage the silicone material. Users report that the Kirecoo has weak suction. During testing, we felt the plate's suction power is adequate, but not outstanding, and it can easily slide around. With that said, if you do not worry about reliable suction power and you appreciate the fun owl design, then we recommend this kid-friendly plate.
The First Essentials by NUK Tri-Suction is a plate for children as early as six months of age. 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
The BabyGearLab team has been testing gear since 2013 and holds an incredible amount of experience and knowledge. Leading this review is Molly Bradac, Research Analyst. When it comes to mealtime and dishware for babies and toddlers, Molly is the perfect expert to help guide the search. She has over 14 years of experience as a nanny, so take advantage of her advice and expert recommendations. Each product in our review experienced side-by-side testing for material, ease of cleaning, and more to find the best in the bunch.
Analysis and Test Results
Each product in our review underwent lots of use and washing to emulate everyday real-world use and to compare performance.
Of all the materials in our review, stainless steel is the best, like that in the Sage Spoonfuls Happy Foodie. It is durable, designed to last, and it will not harbor stains or odors, nor require ongoing maintenance. It is dishwasher safe, making it easy to clean, plus there is no need to worry about chemicals entering baby's food. One downside is that it is not microwavable, but given all the positives, including the health and safety benefits of stainless steel, we find this drawback to be incredibly small. Also, since we don't recommend microwaving plastic, anyway, this isn't a drawback to only steel. The next best is bamboo, like the Bamboo Fox Suction Plate, which is a renewable resource and non-toxic. It is slightly demanding in terms of maintenance. It must dry thoroughly to prevent mildew, and it is prone to cracking. We understand that both stainless steel and bamboo may be a splurge, but we believe in choosing 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 as high heat from the microwave and dishwasher can increase the chance of chemicals releasing into food. Therefore, we highly suggest handwashing rather than the dishwasher and we recommend avoiding the microwave. Silicone products, like the Kiddiebites Flexible Plate and Bumkins Silicone Grip Dish, is a healthier alternative than plastic because it can tolerate high heat, and it eliminates 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
There is no doubt that a dishwasher saves time and adds convenience; however, not all products in our review are dishwasher safe, like bamboo. Plus, high heat is not ideal for plastic, even BPA free plastic. The Sage Spoonfuls Happy Foodie is the easiest to clean. It is dishwasher safe, except for the plastic lid, which needs to be washed by hand. For plastic products, like the Re-Play Divided Plate and the Munchkin Splash Plate and Bowl Set, we highly suggest handwashing these items with soap and warm water. We understand that they are dishwasher safe, but the friction and high temperature of the dishwasher can break down the plastic and potentially cause chemicals to leach. Silicone is dishwasher safe, but regardless of the cleaning method (hand or dishwasher), it is susceptible to retaining an unwanted smell and taste from dishwashing detergent. Some manufacturers say oil residue from dish detergents with anti-bacterial agents, oils, or moisturizers, leave a soapy taste behind. Others say phosphate-free soap is to blame. We recommend checking to see what the manufacturer suggests and checking soap ingredients. If this problem occurs, try rubbing fresh lemon on the plate or using a vinegar and water mixture to remove the oil. Bamboo plates, like the Bamboo Fox Suction Plate, you will need to wash by hand. It is essential to remove the suction base and let the product dry thoroughly to avoid mildew from growing. Also, bamboo needs a monthly application of oil, like coconut oil, to keep the bamboo in excellent condition.
You may be interested to read: Are Plastics Safe for Baby Bottles and Sippy Cups?
Unfortunately, the strongest suction power will not keep a determined child from lifting a plate and throwing it onto the floor. But, it will help aid in anti-slipping, anti-knocking, and perhaps give you extra seconds to react to your little one's decision to pick up and toss a plate. Our testing shows that the surface in which you are using the suction will significantly influence performance, with the best results on smooth, non-porous surfaces.
The Bamboo Fox Suction Plate has mighty suction power, whereas the First Essentials by NUK Tri-Suction did not. There are products in our review that do not offer any suction feature, like the Sage Spoonfuls Happy Foodie or the Re-Play Divided Plate. The Munchkin Splash Plate and Bowl Set is the only product that offers anti-skid material on the bottom.
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 you 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