Best Sippy Cup
There's a lot to love about the Pura Kiki including the stainless steel insulated body and silicone sleeve and spout. The Kiki is a durable, quality sippy with interchangeable spouts that grow with your child, giving you many years of possible use. This sippy is easy to use, drink from, and highly leak-proof.
Unfortunately, the Kiki is somewhat expensive, making it less optimal for those on a tight budget. The bottle and spout require the use of special brushes, which can make cleaning more time-consuming. However, despite these flaws, we believe the effort and price are worth it for the years of potential use and the great versatility of this healthy, eco-friendly steel sippy.
Read review: Pura Kiki Vacuum Insulated Toddler with Sleeve
The Thermos Foogo is a child-friendly cup with an easy-to-close connected lid that opens with the push of a button, revealing a straw that is ready for drinking. This bottle's pop-open cap helps keep the straw clean and provides leak-proof functionality that isn't possible without the lid as the straw lacks a leak-proof valve (ADA approved). Unscrew the top, and the Foogo has a wide mouth for easy filling and cleaning, as well as a durable, healthy, insulated, steel body. This insulated straw sippy comes in various colors and patterns, including popular licensed characters like Batman and Paw Patrol.
The straw for the Foogo requires cleaning with a straw brush, and children with chompers can potentially bite through the straw if unmonitored while sipping. This absent-minded chewing could result in a potential choking hazard. It is also on the heavy side and could be more challenging for tiny hands to hold. However, if you check the straw regularly, we think the extra cleaning step is straightforward, and most toddlers will be able to hold it with minimal practice.
Read review: Thermos Foogo
The Klean Kanteen is a stainless steel bottle with a hard spout and clear plastic cover. Much like the Pura Kiki, there are various interchangeable spout options for sale so that it can grow with your child for years of potential use. This bottle is easy to hold, doesn't leach chemicals, and is durable enough to last for several years.
The Kanteen is not insulated, so cold drinks "sweat" and can get surrounding items wet. The hard spout could potentially cause injuries related to falling while drinking, and the shape of the bottle is difficult to clean (with various hard to reach nooks), so it is best to use only with water. Despite these issues, the bottle is healthy steel, no insulation makes it lighter, and the narrow top is easier for smaller hands to grasp. So, if you don't mind a little condensation and you use safe sipping while sitting practices, then the Kanteen makes an excellent to-go sippy.
Read review: Klean Kanteen Kid Classic Sippy
The Tommee Tippee Insulated Sipper Tumbler is a plastic cup with a "rim like" hard spout. It is lightweight but feels durable and "nicer" than some other plastic options while still presenting a budget-friendly price. While the spout is not soft or flexible, it is covered with a softer material and has a lower profile, making it more mouth-friendly than hard spouts that stick up from the lid. This cup has an easy to drink from a two-part valve system that keeps it from leaking during regular use.
The Tumbler is BPA-free plastic that can potentially leach chemicals into contents like most plastics. The cup has no cover to keep it clean. It has a hard spout that could cause injuries if children fall while using it, and the valve system will take more time to clean. Overall, it is a useful sippy cup that works well with little effort. If you want an insulated, quality sippy that is lightweight and easy on your wallet, the Tumbler is one to set your sights on.
The NuSpin Kids Zoomi Straw is a different take on the sippy with a silicone straw that locks in place when you close the lid. This cup is easy to clean and assemble with no nooks for bacteria, and the straw is valve-free, which is better for avoiding dental decay. Valve-free straw cups are also ideal for thicker contents like smoothies or shakes, making this a more versatile choice than much of the competition.
This cup requires a straw brush for adequate cleaning, and there is a concern about plastic coming in contact with liquid; some users remark it gives water a "plastic" taste. Additionally, it may not be leak-proof, which may impact on-the-go use, throwing it into a diaper bag, or situations where a spill would be tough to clean or stain. Users report that liquid can come out of the straw when it is upright, so preventing a mess may be challenging. Also, the straw is soft enough that little chewers will quickly destroy it if allowed to chomp. But, if you use this cup with water to avoid stains, don't mind the plastic body, and you're hoping to help dodge dental decay, then it could be the right choice for your little one.
Sporting a design similar to a regular cup, the Munchkin Miracle 360 Stainless is an easy-to-love sippy that allows children to practice drinking without the mess. This innovative sippy allows toddlers to drink from all sides of the cup, thanks to its 360-degree drinking edge and silicone valve system. It does require sucking, making it different than a regular cup, but we think its grown-up feel is noteworthy and attractive for little ones. We appreciate its insulated, vacuum-sealed stainless steel body, which is easy to clean and it keeps liquids cooler than non-insulated contenders. The sippy comes with a lid to keep the edge clean and limit spills. It is also leak-proof, simple to assemble, and one of our favorite options with a reduced risk for injury or dental decay.
The 360 has a few downsides to consider. It is more expensive than plastic options, but we prefer using stainless steel over plastic and think the extra cost is worth the peace of mind. Also, stainless steel is heavier than plastic, so younger toddlers may not like holding and carrying it. The lid and valve on the 360 can be challenging to clean. Some users report that the lid can get stuck and contents spew out if you drop the cup, so it isn't as hardy as other steel options or 100% leak-free. Despite these factors, we like this spoutless cup and believe it is an excellent trainer cup that is virtually spill-free.
The Avent My First Transition Cup is a good first sippy with a soft nipple spout and fast flow to encourage little ones to keep drinking. The soft handles make this cup easy to hold, and its smaller plastic size keeps it lightweight. The parts are interchangeable with other Avent cups and bottle parts, and it also comes with a next stage soft spout for when your baby is ready to ditch the nipple.
Plastic is not a material we prefer, even those with BPA-free plastic. According to studies, many plastics still potentially leach chemicals into their contents. This Avent requires a bottle brush to clean, and the spout can suffer potential damage by children with teeth. However, as long as you monitor the spout and avoid consuming contents that have sat in the container for prolonged periods, we think this cup is a good option for younger toddlers transitioning from bottle to cup.
If your baby is still learning to master their coordination, consider the MAM Starter Cup, a small plastic option that is lightweight and features soft-grip handles. The soft spout helps prevent injuries, and the cap keeps it clean when you toss it in the diaper bag. We like the simple design that is straightforward to assemble and clean. The size and shape are great for younger toddlers learning to drink by themselves, and the spout is firm enough to withstand developing teeth.
We aren't big fans of plastic in general, and users report the spout can be challenging to drink from with slow flow. Little ones could chew the spout, so you'll need to check for damage as chompers sprout. If you are looking for an economical transition sippy that you can travel with, this MAM is a contender.
The NUK Learner is a small, easy to hold sippy with a soft silicone spout that decreases the potential for injuries. The spout is good for bottle transitions and is completely leak-free. The cup has a fun pattern and only a few parts making it easy to clean and assemble.
The cup body is BPA-free plastic, but we still have reservations about plastic holding consumables as studies indicate that many plastics still leach chemicals into their contents. Users remark that the spout has a disappointing flow rate, and more than one little one got frustrated during testing with how much effort it takes to pull liquid from the spout. However, if you want a straightforward leak-free sippy for younger children, it is easy to hold and suitable for children six months and older.
Read review: NUK Learner
The OXO Transitions Straw cup is a cool cup with a rotating lid that keeps the straw clean and prevents leaks. This cup has removable handles and volume markings on the side to keep track of how much your child drinks and makes it a good transitional cup for younger toddlers or older babies. The soft straw spout is good for preventing injuries, and the valve is easy to drink from, while the straw helps move liquid past the teeth for less chance of dental decay. This cup is easy to hold and works well on-the-go.
The OXO is BPA-free plastic, but it could still potentially leach chemicals into its contents like most plastics (according to studies). The straw requires a unique brush to clean, and the valve is not an American Dental Association preferred straw type. Also, for kiddos who tend to chew, this straw may not be the best. With that said, if you don't mind spending slightly more time handwashing, are not concerned about plastic, and your child isn't a chewer, then this straw cup is an excellent lightweight option to keep little ones hydrated away from home.
The Housaavy Stainless Straw Cup with Lid has a plastic closable lid and silicone straw. The cup is easy to use with a wide mouth and quick cleaning. This cup has large diameter straws that work well for smoothies and shakes, plus prevent it from being leak proof. However, the lid can close without the straw, and the cup body is insulated. We like the healthy materials and the simple design that make this cup a tester favorite, especially if you need an excellent option for thicker liquids.
Cleaning this cup requires a straw brush, and the manufacturer discourages dishwasher use (as do we), so you'll need to devote more time to handwashing. The cups are not leak-proof, primarily when you use the straw, so it is a poor choice if you want an on-the-go cup or a 100% leak-proof option. However, suppose your family enjoys smoothies or shakes. In that case, this silicone straw cup is an excellent choice without concerns about valves or hard spout related injuries.
Not Recommended: Poor Quality and Function
Healthy Sprouts Silicone Sippy Lids
The Healthy Sprouts Silicone Sippy Lids is a cool concept but, unfortunately, has poor execution. We loved the concept of these soft, flexible, easy to transport lids that work with a variety of cups. They can essentially transform any cup into a sippy cup, which opens the door to a host of awesome possibilities. However, when we purchased and used the silicone lids, we found they didn't work as well as we hoped. Little ones and adults found them difficult to drink from, even after making the adjustments described in the directions. We also had trouble getting the lids onto most of the cups (all cups were the sizes indicated in the instructions), and while we never made a mess, it was a hassle and resulted in at least one lid tear. Also, after taking a closer look, we found that one of the lids came with a nick in the rim, making it prone to tearing. While these lids were leak-proof in our tests (just don't squeeze the spout), the defects and durability issues make them a no-go in our book.
Why You Should Trust Us
Leading our sippy cup roundup is founder, Dr. Juliet Spurrier, a board-certified pediatrician and mother of two. Dr. Spurrier uses her education, background, and mommyhood experience when choosing cups for the review. She placed a strong emphasis on health and safety for each product choice and helped develop the testing measures we use to compare the products. The team also includes Wendy Schmitz, Senior Review Editor and mother of 2. Wendy uses her training in the scientific method to systematically conduct leak testing of each cup and in the creation of subsequent scoring and ranking. Wendy and Dr. Spurrier created our first sippy review and testing methods in 2014, and have been instrumental in choosing and testing these products ever since. With over 200 combined hours of researching and testing over 40 cups in the past five years, they have unmatched experience with all things sippy.
After multiple sippy cup past reviews and over 120 hours of testing, we understand what is most important in this gear type. We specifically chose each cup in this review from our research results from over 50 potential contenders. The cups were purchased and tested side-by-side for leaking potential, assembly difficulty, and particular cleaning concerns, including the number of parts or required brushes. The sippy cups were also given to tiny testers to determine which options were the easiest to use, the most appealing, and could stand up to the typical toddler on-the-go day.
Comparing cups side-by-side is a great way to determine how well each sippy functions compared to the competition.
Each cup is compared to others through side-by-side comparison and ranked from 1-10 for leaks. Contenders with no leaks earn a 10, and those that spill similar to a regular cup receive a 1. We use test results from sideways and upside-down positions. Cups with lids are tested with lids in place. Since little ones are unlikely to put the lids back on, most parents have greater concerns about leaking in a diaper bag, car, or on-the-go, so we tested with lids on as parents are more likely to replace a lid to avoid spills. The majority of our review's products meet most parents' needs when it comes to avoiding leak messes.
Some of the cups are 100% leak-proof, no matter what we tried to do to produce leaking, like the Nuk Learner and the MAM Starter Cup. However, it is important to note that these cups are often also challenging to drink. For this reason, you should consider purchasing from a retailer with a generous return policy, in case your little one can't get the cup to work. Breastfed babies may find these options less challenging as they have been using stronger sucking techniques than bottle-fed youngsters.
The straw cups are more likely to leak with the Housaavy Stainless Straw Cup with Lid leaking the most with straw in place. However, it still leaks less when it tips over a regular cup, giving parents time to jump into action before the entire contents spill out or create a mess. The Thermos Foogo, on the other hand, hardly leaks even on its side with the lid open, but it leaks significantly upside down with the lid open. This leaking could be fun for little ones who figure it out.
We tested the cups in this review for lead inside the container, the outside, and the spout or lid using an at-home test kit. While we read reports about positive lead tests at hidden solder points on some kid's water bottles, all of our lead test results were negative on the cups in our review. To clarify, none of the products in our review include solder points, and all of the areas we tested were negative.
Sippy Cup Buying Guide
With so many considerations, finding the best leak-proof cup can seem daunting. The right choice can minimize frustrations for toddlers and parents by preventing leaks, being easy to use and clean, and offering healthy options for a child's developing systems. We'll walk you through the variety of cups, and review the features we feel are the most important.
While all the plastic cups we tested are BPA free, that doesn't mean they aren't a potential health concern. Studies indicate there are a variety of chemicals in plastics that work as endocrine disrupters and create potential health concerns.
Why Get a Leak-Proof Cup?
Do toddlers need a leak-free cup, or can they use a regular cup without utilizing this convenience product? Leak-proof cups are not necessary to acquire the skills to drink from a cup. Some experts even argue that using a sippy can delay a child's desire or ability to master ordinary cup use. Plus, leak-free cups can carry the risk of potential injury when misused (tripping with a hard spout in their mouth). So why would you want to consider letting your child use a leak-proof cup?
- Hydration— Leak-proof cups keep children hydrated without the mess of a regular cup.
- Transportability— Leak-proof cups are easier to transport.
- Convenience— A useful way to offer toddlers increased independence without mess concerns.
- Bridge— These cups can work with regular cups as a helpful (though not necessary) bridge between the bottle and ordinary cups.
Most parents love the advantages of limited spills, transportability, and durability. So, while it is essential to help children master the skills for cup use, a leak-proof cup can make life easier.
- Potential Injury— Leak-proof cups are responsible for about 1 ER visit every 4 hours in the United States. These injuries are typically the result of improper use by children who keep a spout in their mouth while moving. If children fall while drinking, hard spouts can cause facial or palate lacerations. Best practices include toddlers sitting when sipping.
- Increased Risk of Dental Decay— Given the spill-proof design, parents may be more likely to use the cups with milk and juice. The American Dental Association has concerns that increased exposure to carbohydrate drinks can potentially increase dental caries (aka cavities).
- Delay Using Real Cups— There is a small concern that parents will skip helping children to use regular cups if a sippy cup is always around. Also, children may balk at practicing with a regular cup when an easier choice is available.
Types of Leak-Proof Cups
There are three types of leak-proof cups. This review includes transition and toddler cups.
- Transition cups— typically for babies 4 to 9-12 months, depending on the design. They frequently hold 8 oz or less, have flexible spouts and handles, and are lightweight (often plastic).
- Toddler cups— typically for children between 1-3 years old. They usually hold 7-12 oz and may be thinner with a contoured or taller design.
- Kid Bottles— for children over the age of three and are not always "spill-proof." These have larger capacities, are often insulated, and feature sport spouts, hard spouts with straws, or flexible straws.
Not all sippy cups are created equal, so it's essential to consider the differences between them and how these could influence daily use.
Leak-proof cups come in glass, stainless steel, and plastic, with silicone parts. Some cups are entirely plastic, but most use a combination of materials. Different components also indicate a cup's potential longevity and cleanability. The materials can potentially impact toddler health, so we highly recommend understanding each type's benefits and drawbacks.
Food-grade stainless steel is an excellent choice for leak-free cups. It does not leach chemicals, lead, phthalates, or other elements into the contents; there is nothing intrinsically unhealthy about steel. Stainless steel is easy to clean and frequently comes in insulated varieties to keep liquids cold. There is some evidence that suggests that breast milk nutrients may cling to the stainless steel. However, this possible occurrence is only a concern if you use the sippy for feeding instead of hydration. Since most toddlers are no longer drinking breastmilk or don't rely on it for a primary nutrition source, it isn't a big deal. Stainless steel is an excellent, healthy alternative to plastic. It is also eco-friendly and durable so that toddlers can use the cup for several years. We'll say cheers to that!
On the downside, stainless steel is heavier than plastic, especially if it is double-walled insulated, which means some children may find steel options more challenging to hold and carry. Keep in mind, a cup's weight may not be as big of a concern for toddlers as it is for babies. Still, it is a factor to consider if your little one has limitations that make holding heavy items more challenging. The Pura Kiki, Klean Kanteen Kid Classic, Munchkin Miracle 360, and Thermos Foogo are all stainless steel options with different spout types, including straw, soft spout, hard spout, and cup edge.
Plastic is inexpensive, lightweight, versatile, and user-friendly for toddlers and parents alike. Plastic cups come in various styles and graphics, and their smaller prices mean fewer worries if they get lost or broken. However, plastic has potential health concerns that we believe you should consider before deciding on which leak-proof cup is best for your child. We feel cups with steel or glass bodies are better choices for several reasons, outside of plastic safety concerns. The Tommee Tippee Insulated Sipper Tumbler is the top-ranked plastic choice in our review; it's leak-proof and features an insulated body that is economical.
Valves, straws, spouts, or sleeves are typically silicone. In general, medical-grade silicone in cups doesn't have much exposure to contents and is considered a safe material for children's cups. Silicone spouts are flexible and mouth-friendly compared to their plastic counterparts. Also, silicone is less likely to cause injury if a child falls while drinking. However, we feel it is worth noting that some preliminary studies indicate that some silicone can break down when exposed to heat, so we suggest hand-washing to avoid this.
The number of cup parts can determine how often you use it. Therefore, it is essential to consider the parts that make up the whole. How easily the parts fit together, and how challenging they are to keep clean, are the primary reasons to look at parts. A cup with only a few parts that snap together is more desirable than a cup with four or more parts. The majority of cups will get easier to assemble with time, but the number and complexity of the parts is an issue when cleaning or misplacing them.
There are a variety of spout types, including hard plastic, soft silicone, straws, and cup-like edges. Each spout has positive and negative attributes.
- Hard Spouts --Hard spouts are usually plastic and have no "give." They are durable and chew-resistant but are the primary cause of sippy injuries.
- Soft Spouts — Most soft spouts are silicone, mouth-friendly, easy to clean, and usually easy to use. Soft spouts are less inclined to cause serious injuries.
- Straws — Straws are typically valve free and soft (with decreased injuries). The ADA and most dentists prefer a valve free spout because it requires less sucking and straws to move the liquid to the back of the mouth, which can decrease dental decay occurrence.
- Cup-like Edge — Cup edges work from any angle and have a leak-proof valve incorporated into the edge that requires sucking to drink. The benefits are a cup-like experience, decreased risk of injury, and an experience that could lead to ordinary cup use. The Munchkin Miracle 360 has a cup-like edge with this style valve.
Valves are a critical part of any leak-proof cup. The valve is the component that prevents the cup's contents from spilling out but still lets toddlers draw liquid out when drinking. The American Dental Association (ADA) prefer toddlers to use regular cups instead of leak-proof products. They advise choosing valve-free options (not leak-proof) and recommend limiting sugary liquids (juice, soda, milk, etc.) to avoid dental decay. For more information about early dental concerns and training cups, see this ADA article. However, most parents desire a leak-proof cup to avoid messes. We agree that safety and exercising the proper oral hygiene by using a regular cup is essential; however, we suspect parents are unlikely to forgo a sippy. The Housaavy Stainless Straw Cup with Lid in this review doesn't have a valve and meets the criteria preferred by the ADA. The straw design on the Thermos Foogo also aligns better though it does have a somewhat leak-free valve inside.
Be aware that leak-proof cups can be a potential hazard to children. Between 1991 and 2010, approximately 45,000 pediatric injuries presented to ERs were a direct result of using sippy cups. Leak-proof cups are only a convenience item and are NOT a developmental milestone or a requirement for learning how to use a cup. Some specialists feel they can even delay a child's ability to use or interest in real cups.
So, given the popularity of leak-proof cups, and their ability to keep children hydrated without the mess, what should parents do? The following are best practices, as outlined by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the ADA:
- To avoid injury, children should be stationary, preferably sitting
- To avoid Early Childhood Caries (dental decay), cups should only contain water, NEVER sweetened or carbonated beverages
- To avoid the complications of dental decay and dentition formation, toddlers should only utilize a leak-free cup for short periods
- Offer children a real cup whenever possible
It is critical to consider spout design and ADA concerns. However, we still feel that sippy cups can have a place in your baby gear collection, at least on a limited basis. As long as your toddler practices with a standard cup, a sippy can be a useful addition to your parenting arsenal to keep things clean. Some of the options in this roundup have a hard spout, so you should only let children use them while sitting down or stationary to avoid potential injuries. You might also consider using them only with children who've mastered standing and walking just to be safe.
How to Choose the Best Sippy Cup
Once you determine if you need a transition cup, or a toddler sippy (based on age), then you are ready to narrow the cup field. Considering key features can help you choose the best option for your child and goals. All of the options we recommend in this review are good, but depending on your needs, one is likely a better fit.
First, Health, and Materials
Health is a crucial matter to us at BabyGearLab. Whether you want to or not, everyone comes into contact with chemicals in their ordinary lives, and some of them are unhealthy. Toddlers have sensitive developing systems that could suffer more consequences from exposure to unnecessary chemicals because they are still growing. Thus, we strongly believe in limiting their exposure when and where possible. There are more concerns surrounding materials in sippy cup bodies than any other variable when it comes to chemical exposure. Given health concerns and cup durability, we feel materials are a natural place to start the cup selection process. We believe stainless steel has the most to offer with the least amount of drawbacks. The Pura Kiki and the Thermos Foogo have been award winners multiple times in our leak-proof cup reviews in large part due to their stainless steel design.
Next, Ease of Use and Cleaning
Cups need to be easy to use, or little ones will quickly lose interest. Tiny tots frequently choose cups based on the color or characters. However, if it turns out to be hard to use, they will move on to less visually stimulating choices that are easier to drink. While ease of cleaning, eco-health, and leak-proof are essential characteristics to parents, if your child can't work the cup, they aren't going to use it. If your sippy isn't easy to clean or assemble, you aren't likely to fill it because who wants to spend extra time cleaning complicated cups. These factors are why many cups gather dust or make their way to the trash. While most of the cups require a bottle brush for cleaning, some also necessitate a straw brush for a thorough cleaning. Using special brushes isn't a deal-breaker, but taking the additional time or having lots of parts might be. Most families have a bottle brush leftover from the baby days, but a pack of straw brushes is an excellent addition to any kitchen.
One big reason why parents purchase a sippy is to avoid the potential mess of ordinary cups. A leak-free cup shouldn't leak, and we agree, which is why we test cups for leaks through side-by-side comparison with other competitors. Keep in mind, what type of liquid you use in your sippy or where you plan to use it can impact a level of acceptable leaking. For instance, if you are using a cup with water in your home, then you may only need to avoid significant leaking and a few drops escaping when the cup tips over is fine. However, if you're taking a sippy along in your diaper bag, any significant leaking is likely a deal-breaker.
The variety of sippy cups on the market can easily make you dizzy. Thankfully, our review breaks down the information and details you need to make your decision-making smoother. Before purchasing a sippy cup, consider the key features you are seeking. We are confident our lineup includes a top-notch cup for every child; plus, we don't recommend products we wouldn't use ourselves.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD, Wendy Schmitz, and BabyGearLab Review Team