In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

The Best Sippy Cup Review

Wednesday October 23, 2019
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Looking for a great sippy cup that doesn't leak? It can be more difficult than you think, and we feel your pain. With so many different types of leak-proof cups, it can be hard to tell a transition cup from a toddler option, let alone which ones are genuinely leak-free. We researched over 50 competitors using the knowledge acquired in our previous leak-proof cup testing, hands-on testing with current finalists, years of parenting, and online reviews from users. We've highlighted and ranked 13 cups based on leakage, ease of use, the health of materials and more. No matter what you're looking for, you'll find an excellent cup in this lineup.


1

Best Overall


Pura Kiki Vacuum Insulated Toddler with Sleeve


Editors' Choice Award
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$23.74 each (in 2-pack)
(5% off)
at Amazon
See It

Volume: 9 oz | Body: Stainless Steel
Insulated
Wide silicone spout
Versatile accessories
Heavy
Expensive
Bottle brush to clean

There is 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 make cleaning challenging and time-consuming. However, despite these few cons, we still 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

2

Best Straw Sippy


Thermos Foogo


Editors' Choice Award
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$9.91
(34% off)
at Amazon
See It

Volume: 10 oz | Body: Stainless Steel
Insulated
Durable
Silicone straw
Heavy
Multiple parts
Special brush to clean

The Thermos Foogo is a child-friendly sippy with an easy to close connected lid that opens with the push of a button revealing a straw that is easy to use. This bottle's pop-open cap keeps the straw clean and provides leak-free functionality that isn't possible without the lid as the straw lacks a leak-proof valve. Unscrew the top, and the Foogo has a wide mouth for easy filling and cleaning, and a durable, healthy, insulated, steel body. This insulated straw sippy comes in a variety of colors and patterns, including popular licensed characters like Batman and Ninja Turtles.

The straw for this cup requires a straw brush to clean, and children with chompers could potentially bite through the straw, creating a possible choking hazard. It is also on the heavy side and could be hard for little hands to hold. However, if you check the straw regularly, we think the extra cleaning step is manageable, and most little ones will be able to hold it with a bit of practice.

Read review: Thermos Foogo

3

Best Hard Spout


Klean Kanteen Kid Classic Sippy


Editors' Choice Award
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  • 5

$18.45
at Amazon
See It

Volume: 12 oz | Body: Stainless Steel
Cover
Healthy steel body
Versatile spouts
Potential hard spout injuries
Cold drinks sweat
Requires bottle brush

The Klean Kanteen is a stainless steel bottle with a hard spout and clear plastic cover. Much like the Pura Kiki, there are a variety of spout options so it can grow with your child for years of 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 will "sweat" and 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, so it is best to use only with water. Despite these issues, the bottle is a healthy material, the lack of insulation makes it lighter, and the narrow top is more comfortable for smaller hands to hold. So, if you don't mind a little condensation and you use safe practices for sipping while sitting, the Kanteen makes an excellent travel sippy.

Read review: Klean Kanteen Kid Classic Sippy

4

Best Value Insulated Hard Spout


Munchkin Click Lock Insulated


Best Value Award
$4.00 each (in 2-pack)
(50% off)
at Amazon
See It

Volume: 9 oz | Body: Plastic
Insulated
Inexpensive
Fast flow
Plastic body
Potential hard spouts injuries
Hard to clean spout

The Munchkin Click Lock Insulated is a budget-friendly insulated sippy cup that comes in a variety of designs, including popular licensed characters. We like that this cup has few parts to manage, a wide mouth for easy cleaning, and a fast flow that will prevent frustration and encourage hydration.

The Munchkin Click Lock is BPA-free plastic, but some studies indicate that plastic can still leach chemicals into contents, so it isn't an ideal material. This bottle has a hard spout, which increases the risk of potential injuries if little ones fall with the spout in their mouth. Also, the spout has a narrow crevice that requires a small straw brush to properly clean. However, if you are looking for an economical, insulated sippy, then this could be the one you've been searching for.

5

Best Value Straw


NuSpin Kids Zoomi Straw


Best Value Award
$9.95
at Amazon
See It

Volume: 8 oz | Body: Plastic
Silicone straw
Spill-resistant lid
Valve-free
Not leak-proof
Requires a straw brush
Plastic body

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 to fester, and the straw is valve-free, which is better for preventing dental decay. Straw cups without valves are also good for thicker liquids like smoothies or shakes, making this a more versatile option than some of the competition.

This cup requires a straw brush for complete cleaning, and there is still a concern about plastic coming in contact with consumables, and some users remarked it gave water a "plastic" taste. It is not leak-proof, so it isn't a good choice for on-the-go use, throwing into a diaper bag, or in situations where a spill would be hard to clean or can stain. Users report that liquid can come out of the straw when it is upright, so preventing a mess is harder than you think. Also, the straw is soft enough that little chewers will quickly be able to destroy it. However, if you use this cup with water to avoid stains, don't mind the plastic body, and you're hoping to help prevent dental decay, then it could be a useful choice for your toddler.

6

Best Cup Trainer


Munchkin Miracle 360 Stainless


Top Pick Award
$15.00
List Price
See It

Volume: 10 oz | Body: Stainless Steel
Cup-like edge
Few parts
Grown-up feel
Expensive
Harder to clean

The Munchkin Miracle 360 Stainless is an easy to love sippy that has enough in common with a regular cup that little ones will get some practice in without the mess. This cup works from any angle with a valve system built into the edge. It requires sucking to work, making it different than a plain cup, but the design provides that grown-up feel little ones might like. This cup has an insulated and healthy stainless steel body that is easy to clean, and it comes with a lid to keep the edge clean and limit spills. The 360 is leak-proof, simple to assemble, and one of our favorites with a reduced risk for injury or dental decay.

The lid and valve on the 360 can be harder to clean, so it works best with water. The cup is heavier than plastic options, so younger toddlers may not like carrying it. The 360 is more expensive than plastic alternatives, but we think using steel over plastic is worth the added cost for peace of mind. 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 cup and the lack of spout. We think it encourages children to use real cups while keeping your space virtually spill-free, which is why it won a Top Pick award for a cup-like experience.

For a lighter, less expensive but similar option, take a peek at the Munchkin Miracle 360 Plastic sippy that is similar in design but uses plastic materials for the body.

7

Best for Infant Bottle Transition


Avent My First Transition Cup



$6.99
(13% off)
at Amazon
See It

Volume: 5 oz | Body: Plastic
4+ months
Soft spout & nipple
Handles
Plastic body
Higher price
Valve spout

The Avent My First Transition Cup is a great 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 the plastic smaller 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.

This bottle is BPA-free plastic, but many plastics still potentially leach chemicals into contents according to studies. This Avent requires a bottle brush to clean, and the spout can suffer potential damage by children with teeth. However, it is a good transition option from bottle to cup, and as long as you monitor the spout and avoid consuming contents that have sat in the container for prolonged periods, it could be a sippy younger toddlers like.

8

Best for Infant Transition from Breast


MAM Starter Cup



$6.58
(6% off)
at Amazon
See It

Volume: 5 oz | Body: Plastic
4+ months
Soft silicone spout
Leak-free
Plastic
Harder to drink from

The MAM Starter Cup is a small, lightweight, plastic sippy with 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 budding 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.

9

Great Low Leak Solution for Infants


NUK Learner


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$5.98
(25% off)
at Amazon
See It

Volume: 5 oz | Body: Plastic
6+ months
Soft silicone spout
Easy-grip handles
Plastic
Difficult to suck from

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

10

Good Introductory Straw Cup


OXO Transitions Straw



$9.99
at Amazon
See It

Volume: 6 oz | Body: Plastic
9+ months
Removeable handles
Soft straw spout
Harder to clean
Interior valve
Plastic body

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 the American Dental Association preferred straw type. The straw can also succumb to little chewers, making it a poor choice for kids who tend to gnaw on their sippies. If you can live with a little more clean up time, aren't worried about plastic, and your child isn't a chewer, then this straw cup is an excellent lightweight choice that keeps little ones hydrated away from home.

11

Lightweight Insulated with Fun Graphics


Tommee Tippee Insulated Sipper Tumbler



$3.51 each (in 2-pack)
(61% off)
at Amazon
See It

Volume: 9 oz | Body: Plastic
Budget-friendly
Lightweight
Insulated
Plastic body
Potential hard spout injuries
Must clean 2-part valve

The Tommee Tippee Insulated Sipper Tumbler is a plastic cup with a "rim like" hard spout. These sippys are lightweight but feel 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, which makes 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.

You MUST remove the valve parts and clean them separately to avoid mold or bacteria build-up. This two-part valve system is how the cup is designed and is not a health hazard if you follow the directions.


12

Great for Smoothies


Housaavy Stainless Straw Cup with Lid


Top Pick Award
$8.50 each (in 2-pack)
(47% off)
at Amazon
See It

Volume: 8.5 oz | Body: Stainless Steel
Can be a regular cup
No valve
Silicone straw
Requires straw brush
Not leak-proof

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, but also 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 a great option for thicker liquids.

Cleaning this cup requires a straw brush, and the manufacturer discourages users from putting them in the dishwasher (as do we), so you'll need more time to clean. The cups are not leak-proof, especially 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, if your family enjoys smoothies or shakes, this silicone straw cup is an excellent choice without concerns about valves or hard spout related injuries, which is why it won a Top Pick for smoothies award.

Not Recommended: Poor Quality and Function


Healthy Sprouts Silicone Sippy Lids



$15.79
at Amazon
See It

Volume: Not Applicable | Body: Silicone
Versatile
Easy to transport
Healthy materials
Difficult to use
Manufacturing defects
Tearing on first use

The Healthy Sprouts Silicone Sippy Lids is a cool idea 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.

We tested each sippy cup for potential leaks in both the tipped sideways position and when held upside-down. While a slow drip may not be a deal-breaker  gushing liquid might be.
We tested each sippy cup for potential leaks in both the tipped sideways position and when held upside-down. While a slow drip may not be a deal-breaker, gushing liquid might be.

Why You Should Trust Us


Our sippy cup roundup is led by our 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.

We specifically chose each cup in this review from our research results from over 40 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 sippys were also given to tiny testers to determine which options were the easiest to use, the most appealing to testers, and could stand up to the typical toddler on-the-go day.


How We Evaluated


After multiple sippy cup past reviews and over 120 hours of testing, we understand what is most important in this gear type. We evaluated each cup for ease of use and cleaning, materials, eco-friendliness, potential lead content, and of course, leaks!

The Munchkin 360 has multiple parts to assemble and clean to create the leak-proof edge little ones like. Cups with multiple parts could take longer to clean or assemble depending on the parts and tools required to clean them.
The Munchkin 360 has multiple parts to assemble and clean to create the leak-proof edge little ones like. Cups with multiple parts could take longer to clean or assemble depending on the parts and tools required to clean them.

Analysis


We considered over 50 potential competitors before purchasing more than 15 sippy style cups. We tested the cups side-by-side in-house and with little testers and parents. Comparing cups like this is a great way to determine how well each sippy functions compared to the competition.

While the Healthy Sprouts lids only dripped a little on their own when held upside down  we suspect more than one curious toddler will quickly figure out that the spout can spray if you squeeze it.
While the Healthy Sprouts lids only dripped a little on their own when held upside down, we suspect more than one curious toddler will quickly figure out that the spout can spray if you squeeze it.

Leakage


Each cup is compared to the others and ranked from 1-10 for leaks where 10 is no leaks at all and 1 spills like an ordinary cup. We use test results from sideways, and upside-down positions and cups with lids are tested with lids in place. While little ones are unlikely to put the lids back on, most parents have greater concerns about the cups leaking in a diaper bag, car, or on-the-go, so we tested with lids on as parents are likely to replace a lid to avoid spills. The majority of cups in this review meet the needs of most parents when it comes to avoiding leak related messes.


Some of the cups are 100% leak-proof, no matter what we tried to do to elicit liquid from the spout, like the Nuk Learner and the MAM Starter Cup. However, it is important to note that these cups were often also tough to drink from. For this reason, you may want to make your purchase from a supplier 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.

Without the straw  the Housaavy Stainless Straw Cup with Lid is relatively leak proof with the lid closed. The leak is certainly slow enough to avoid a spill if a tipped cup is caught relatively quickly.
Without the straw, the Housaavy Stainless Straw Cup with Lid is relatively leak proof with the lid closed. The leak is certainly slow enough to avoid a spill if a tipped cup is caught relatively quickly.

The straw style cups are more likely to leak with the Housaavy Stainless Straw Cup with Lid leaking the most when the straw is in place. However, it still leaks less when it falls over than a regular cup giving parents time to right the cup before it spills its entire contents or creates a giant mess. The Thermos Foogo, on the other hand, hardly leaks at all on its side with the lid open, but leaks significantly held upside down with the lid open. This activity could be fun for little ones who figure it out.

We tested parts of each sippy cup in this review for lead. None of the sippys in this roundup tested positive.
We tested parts of each sippy cup in this review for lead. None of the sippys in this roundup tested positive.

Lead Testing


We tested the sippy cups in this review for lead inside the container, outside on the body, and the spout or lid using an at-home test kit. While we had read reports about positive lead tests at hidden solder points on some kid's water bottles, all of our lead test results were negative for the sippy cups in this review. To be clear, none of the sippys in this review have solder points, and all of the areas tested were negative.

With so many sippy cups on the market  it can be difficult to know which options are best and why you might prefer one cup over another.
With so many sippy cups on the market, it can be difficult to know which options are best and why you might prefer one cup over another.

Sippy Cup Buying Guide


Finding the right leak-proof cup may seem daunting with so many considerations. The perfect choice can minimize daily frustration for toddlers and parents by preventing leaks, being easy to use and clean, and offering healthy products for your child's developing systems. We'll walk you through the kinds of cups, and review the features we think are the most important and why.

Are Plastics Safe?
While plastics are now BPA free, that doesn't mean they aren't a potential health concern as studies indicate there are a variety of chemicals in plastics that work as endocrine disrupters and create potential health concerns.

Related: Are Plastics Safe for Baby Bottles and Sippy Cups?

Why Get a Leak-Proof Cup?


Does a toddler need a leak-free cup, or can they use a regular cup without trying this convenience product? Leak-proof cups, are not necessary to acquire the skills needed to drink from a cup. Some even argue that using a sippy can delay a child's desire or ability to master ordinary cup usage. Plus, leak-free cups, often carry an increased risk of potential injury when misused (a toddler 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 provide a useful way to 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 more independence without worrying about them creating a mess.
  • Bridge— These cups can work with regular cups as a helpful (though not necessary) bridge between bottle and real cups.

Most parents love the advantages of limited spills, transportability, and durability. So, while it is essential to encourage children to master the skills required to use cups, a leak-proof cup can make life a bit easier.

Don't try this at home. Using cups while moving can lead to possible injuries as a result of falling while using sippy cups with hard spouts.
Don't try this at home. Using cups while moving can lead to possible injuries as a result of falling while using sippy cups with hard spouts.

Disadvantages

  • Potential Injury— Leak-proof cups are responsible for about 1 ER visit every 4 hours in the United States. These injuries are mainly the result of improper use by children who have a spout in their mouth while moving. When children fall, hard spouts can cause facial or palate lacerations. Therefore, best practices include having toddlers sit when using a sippy.
  • Increased Risk of Dental Decay— Given the spill-proof design, parents may be more likely to fill the cups with liquids like 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 avoid teaching children how to use regular cups if sippy options are available. Also, children might balk at practicing with regular cups when an easier option is available.

Transition sippy cups can help babies feel independent and keep parents free of messes related to spills.
Transition sippy cups can help babies feel independent and keep parents free of messes related to spills.

Types of Leak-Proof Cups


There are three common types of leak-proof cups. This review covers transition and toddler sippys.
A good example of a standard toddler sippy cup
  • Transition Cups— are typically for babies four months to 9-12 months, depending on the cup's design. They frequently hold less than 8 oz, have flexible spouts, easy-grip handles, and are lightweight (often plastic).
  • Toddler Cups— are typically for children between 1-3 years old. They normally hold 7-12 oz and are often thinner with a contoured or taller design.
  • Kid Bottles— are for children over the age of three and are not always "spill-proof." They have larger capacities, are often insulated, and feature sport spouts, hard spouts with straws, or flexible straws.

As you can clearly see from this top view of the sippy cups included in this review  sippy cups come in a variety of materials  shapes  sizes and spouts.
As you can clearly see from this top view of the sippy cups included in this review, sippy cups come in a variety of materials, shapes, sizes and spouts.

Key Considerations


Not all sippys are created equal, so it's important to consider the differences amongst them and how it might impact daily use.

Materials


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 cup's materials can potentially impact toddler health, so it is important that you understand the benefits and drawbacks of each material.

A straw cup is a good way to encourage cup practice with a spout style recommended by the ADA.
A straw cup is a good way to encourage cup practice with a spout style recommended by the ADA.

Stainless Steel


Food-grade stainless steel is a good option for leak-free cups. It does not leach chemicals, lead, phthalates, or other elements into the contents; there is nothing intrinsically harmful about this material. Stainless steel is easy to clean and frequently comes in insulated options that keep liquids cold. There is some evidence that suggests that stainless steel might cause breast milk nutrients to cling to the sides of the cup. However, this is only a concern if you plan to use the sippy for feeding, but since most toddlers are no longer drinking breastmilk or aren't relying on it for their primary source of nutrition, it isn't a big deal. Stainless steel is an excellent option as a healthy alternative to plastic. It is also eco-friendly and extremely durable so that toddlers can use the cup for many years.

While steel cups are heavier than plastic  the options in this review have design features that make them easier to hold like the narrow neck on the Klean Kanteen.
While steel cups are heavier than plastic, the options in this review have design features that make them easier to hold like the narrow neck on the Klean Kanteen.

On the downside, stainless steel can be heavy, especially if it is double-walled insulated, which means some toddlers might find them challenging to carry. Carrying ability isn't as big of a concern for toddlers as it is for babies and transition cups, but it may be important if your child has limitations that make holding heavy things challenging. The Pura Kiki, Klean Kanteen Kid Classic, Munchkin Miracle 360, and Thermos Foogo are all stainless steel with a variety of spouts including straw, soft spout, hard spout, and cup edge.

Munchkin Click Lock Insulated Sippy is a lightweight plastic insulated cup with a variety of design options.
Munchkin Click Lock Insulated Sippy is a lightweight plastic insulated cup with a variety of design options.

Plastics


Cups use plastic because it is inexpensive, lightweight, versatile, and user-friendly for toddlers and parents alike. Plastic cups come in a variety of body styles and graphics, and their lower prices mean less stress if they go missing or require replacement. However, plastic has some health concerns that we believe you should consider before choosing which leak-proof cup is right for your child. In our opinion, cups with steel or glass bodies are better choices for many reasons, even outside of any plastic safety concerns. The Munchkin Click Lock is the top-ranked plastic option in our review, and it sports a leak-proof spout and insulated body that is economical and easy to lift.

Related: Are Plastics Safe for Baby Bottles and Sippy Cups?

The Healthy Sprouts pull on lids are made entirely of silicone which is generally considered safe for use in eating materials and is soft which reduces the risk of potential fall-related injuries.
The Healthy Sprouts pull on lids are made entirely of silicone which is generally considered safe for use in eating materials and is soft which reduces the risk of potential fall-related injuries.

Silicone


Valves, straws, spouts, or sleeves are often silicone. In general, medical-grade silicone in these kinds of cups doesn't have much exposure to contents and is considered a safe material to use in children's cups. Silicone creates flexible and mouth-friendly spouts that are preferable to their plastic counterparts. Also, silicone spouts are less likely to cause injury if a child falls while using the cup. It is worth noting, however, that some preliminary studies indicate that some silicone can break down when heated, so we suggest hand-washing all parts to avoid complications.

Several of the cups have multiple parts to assemble and clean  like the two-part valve mechanism of the Tommee Tippee shown here. Failure to properly clean all parts on any cup could lead to a build-up of bacteria or mold growth.
Several of the cups have multiple parts to assemble and clean, like the two-part valve mechanism of the Tommee Tippee shown here. Failure to properly clean all parts on any cup could lead to a build-up of bacteria or mold growth.

Parts


How many parts a cup has can determine how often you use it. Therefore, it is important to consider the individual parts that make up the whole. How intuitively and easily the parts fit together, and how difficult they are to clean, are the main reasons to focus on parts. A cup with only a few parts that snap together is preferable over a cup with four or more parts. Most cups get easier to assemble the more you do it, but the number and complexity of parts is still an issue when cleaning or potentially losing them.

This silicone straw aligns closer to the ADA preferred style of spout with a straw that shuttles liquids past teeth and a valve that doesn't require excessive sucking.
This silicone straw aligns closer to the ADA preferred style of spout with a straw that shuttles liquids past teeth and a valve that doesn't require excessive sucking.

Spouts


There are a variety of spout types, including hard plastic, softer silicone, straws, and cup-like edges. Each spout has positive and negative attributes to consider.

The Klean Kanteen Kid Classic has a hard spout that works well to prevent leaks but should only be used when seated or stationary to avoid potential injury.
The Pura Kiki has a soft silicone spout that is both leak-proof and easier to drink from than similar silicone spouts.
The Munchkin Miracle 360 has a cup-like edge that helps little ones with skills necessary to drink from a regular cup.
  • Hard Spouts --Hard spouts are typically plastic with no "give." They are durable and resistant to chewing. However, they are the primary source of sippy related injuries.
  • Soft Spouts — Most soft spouts are silicone. Silicone is mouth-friendly, easy to clean, and typically easy to use. Soft spouts are less likely to cause serious injuries.
  • Straws — Straws are usually valve free and soft (with fewer injuries). The ADA and most dentists prefer a valve free spout because it moves fluid to the back of the mouth, which could potentially decrease the occurrence of dental decay.
  • Cup-like Edge — Cup edges are usable from any angle and have a leak-proof valve that requires a sucking action to drink from. The benefits include a cup-like experience, less risk of injury, and an experience that could progress to using an ordinary cup. The Munchkin Miracle 360 has a cup-like edge with an integrated valve.

The Munchkin Click Lock has an internal valve inside the lid to create the leak-proof function parents want  but the valve requires children to suck in a way that the ADA believes could lead to a potential increase in dental decay if used with sugary drinks.
The Munchkin Click Lock has an internal valve inside the lid to create the leak-proof function parents want, but the valve requires children to suck in a way that the ADA believes could lead to a potential increase in dental decay if used with sugary drinks.

Valves


Valves are an essential part of a leak-proof cup. The valve stops liquid from spilling out and still allows toddlers to extract liquid when sucking. The American Dental Association (ADA) prefers that toddlers use ordinary cups instead of leak-proof options. They advise choosing valve-free cups (not leak-proof) and recommend limiting sugary liquids (juice, soda, milk, etc.) to avoid dental decay. For more information about early dental issues and training cups, see this ADA article. However, most parents want a leak-proof cup to avoid messes. We agree that safety and exercising proper oral hygiene by using a regular cup is important; we suspect parents are unlikely to skip buying leak-proof cups. The Housaavy Stainless Straw Cup with Lid in this review doesn't have a valve and meets the criteria preferred by the ADA.

Hard spouts like the one found on the Klean Kanteen should only be used when sitting or standing still.
Hard spouts like the one found on the Klean Kanteen should only be used when sitting or standing still.

Safety Considerations


Parents should be aware that leak-proof cups can present 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; they are NOT a developmental milestone or a requirement for learning how to use a cup. Some specialists even feel they can delay a child's ability to use or interest in real cups.

Soft spouts and straws  like the one found on the Thermos Foogo  are preferable styles according to the American Dental Association.
Soft spouts and straws, like the one found on the Thermos Foogo, are preferable styles according to the American Dental Association.

So, given the popularity of leak-proof cups, and their ability to keep children hydrated in a mess-free manner, 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 the complications of dental decay and dentition formation, toddlers should only utilize a leak-free cup for short periods, like snack or mealtime
  • Offer children a real cup whenever possible

It is essential to think about spout type, their drawbacks, and the ADA concerns. However, we believe that sippy cups have a place in your baby gear lineup on a limited basis. As long as your little one practices with a regular cup, a sippy can be a useful item to keep in your parenting arsenal. 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.

The Pura is a holdable  drinkable  eco-friendly sippy with a silicone spout that is leak-proof with a high flow rate for drinking.
The Pura is a holdable, drinkable, eco-friendly sippy with a silicone spout that is leak-proof with a high flow rate for drinking.

How to Choose the Best Sippy Cup


After you determine what type of cup you need, a transition, or a toddler sippy (based on your child's age), you are ready to narrow the field. Considering a few features will help you find the right cup. All of the products are good, but depending on your needs, one could be a better fit than another.

Despite being BPA-free  studies indicate that all plastic containers may have the potential to leach endocrine disruptive chemicals into the contents of the cup.
Despite being BPA-free, studies indicate that all plastic containers may have the potential to leach endocrine disruptive chemicals into the contents of the cup.

First, Health, and Materials


Health is very important to us at BabyGearLab. We come into contact with chemicals every day, whether we want to or not, and some of them are bad for us. Toddlers have extra sensitive developing systems that could be impacted by exposure to unnecessary chemicals because they are still growing; as a result, we like to limit exposure whenever we can. There are more concerns surrounding materials used in sippy cup bodies than any other variable when it comes to chemicals. Given health concerns and durability, we feel this is a natural place to start your cup selection process. We think stainless steel cups have the most to offer with the fewest drawbacks. The Pura Kiki and the Thermos Foogo have been award winners multiple times in our leak-proof cup reviews.

The Thermos Foogo requires a special straw brush to properly clean  but it is still easier than cups with more parts or difficult to clean spouts.
The Thermos Foogo requires a special straw brush to properly clean, but it is still easier than cups with more parts or difficult to clean spouts.

Next, Ease of Use and Cleaning


Cups should be easy to use, or your child will lose interest. Tiny tots often choose products based on color and graphics. However, if a cup is challenging to use, toddlers will quickly move on to less exciting choices. While ease of cleaning, eco-health, and leakage are important to parents, if your little one can't get the cup to work, they won't use it. If your sippy isn't easy to clean or assemble, then you aren't likely to use it because no one wants to spend their limited time cleaning or messing with complicated cups. These frustrating factors are why some cups end up gathering dust or in the trash. While most cups require a basic bottle brush to clean, some need a straw brush to ensure proper cleaning. Using special brushes isn't a deal-breaker, but excessive time or lots of parts could be. Most families have a bottle brush on hand from the baby days, but a pack of straw brushes is a great addition to any kitchen.

The NUK Lerner is 100% leak-proof but harder to drink from.
The NUK Lerner is 100% leak-proof but harder to drink from.

Last, Leakage


The most important thing a leak-free cup shouldn't do is leak. The main reason most parents buy a sippy is to avoid the mess that comes with an ordinary cup. We test each cup for leaks compared to the competition. Depending on what liquid you plan to put in your sippy, or how you plan to use it, different levels of potential leaking may be acceptable. Using your cup with water around the house? Maybe you only need the cup to withstand major leaking if tipped over, and a few drops escaping is fine. However, if you have formula in a diaper bag, significant leaking will be a deal-breaker.

We research a variety of possible contenders for our sippy cup challenge and found several options to suit the needs of almost every sipper.
We research a variety of possible contenders for our sippy cup challenge and found several options to suit the needs of almost every sipper.

Conclusion


Before you find yourself standing bewildered and bleary-eyed in front of a shelf of bright-colored sippy cups, think about their characteristics and what is most important to you. We believe there is a cup for every child, no matter which features are important to you. We found great options that capture the priorities many parents share with plenty of choices to meet most needs. We wouldn't recommend something that we wouldn't use ourselves, and in the end, our choices reflect what we would, and have, purchased for our children.


Juliet Spurrier, MD and Wendy Schmitz