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. Also, it is dishwasher safe (except the lid), making it is 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. Also, the plate does not feature suction nor 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 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. Also, the bamboo plate 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 oil application, 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 who are 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 among 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, which can help 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.
The manufacturer states these plates are microwave safe. However, on their website, they do not recommend it, mainly due to 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. Besides, we think this product is easy to wash by hand and relatively quick to do so. 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 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 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 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. Also, in comparison 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 an adorable plate that is sure to attract your child'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. If you do not worry about reliable suction power and 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 compare performance.
Of all the materials in our review, stainless steel is the best, like in the Sage Spoonfuls Happy Foodie. It is durable, designed to last, and it will not harbor stains or odors or 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 believe this drawback is 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, 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
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 recommend handwashing these items with soap and warm water. We understand that they are dishwasher safe, but the dishwasher's friction and high temperature 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 leaves 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, 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 oil application, 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. 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 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