In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

The Best Sippy Cup Review

Friday June 1, 2018
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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 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 14 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

$27.99
at Amazon
See It

Volume: 9 oz | Body: Stainless Steel
Insulated
Heavy duty wide silicone spout
Versatile with straw & nipple 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.

However, the Kiki is somewhat expensive. The bottle and spout require the use of special brushes which increases cleaning difficulty and time. 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

$14.99
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 a lid that opens with the push of a button revealing an easy to drink from straw. This bottle's pop-open cap keeps the straw clean and provides leak-free functionality that isn't possible without the lid. 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 acceptable and most little ones will be able to hold it in time and with practice.

Read review: Thermos Foogo

3

Best Hard Spout


Klean Kanteen Kid Classic Sippy


Editors' Choice Award

$23.95
at Amazon
See It

Volume: 12 oz | Body: Stainless Steel
Cap cover
Healthy steel body
Versatile spout options
Hard spout can cause injuries
Cold drinks sweat
Bottle brush to clean

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 years.

The canteen 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, it can make a great travel sippy.

Read review: Klean Kanteen Kid Classic Sippy

4

Best Value Insulated Hard Spout


Munchkin Click Lock Insulated


Best Value Award

$7.50 each (in 2-pack)
(6% off)
at Amazon
See It

Volume: 9 oz | Body: Plastic
Insulated
9+ months
Fast flow
Plastic body
Hard spouts can cause 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 characters. We like that this cup has few parts to keep track of, a wide mouth that is easier to clean, and a fast flow that will keep little ones happy 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 Soft Spout


Avent My Sip n Click


Best Value Award

$3.75 each (in 2-pack)
(25% off)
at Amazon
See It

Volume: 12 oz | Body: Plastic
Soft spout
Volume markings on the cup
Easier to clean
Snap-on lid
Plastic body
Chewable spout

The Avent My Sip n Click is a simple, budget-friendly sippy with few parts that are easy to clean. The body has volume markings on the side and a keep clean snap on attached lid. This cup has a soft spout which decreases the potential for injuries, and the cup is dishwasher safe. It is lightweight, easy to carry, and leak-proof (with cap in place) making it a transportable choice for the diaper bag. The Sip n Click is compatible with other Avent sippy parts, so the spout can change as your baby's needs change.

The Sip n Click is BPA-free, but like all plastics, it could potentially leach chemicals into contents which gives us pause. This cup isn't insulated, and the protective cap isn't removable from the bottle, and some testers didn't like drinking with the cover in their face. Also, it leaks somewhat with or without the cap, so we don't consider it to be a leak-proof option. If your little one doesn't mind some cap management and you don't mind a little spilling, then this soft spouted sippy could be the right choice for your family.

6

Best Value Straw


NuSpin Kids Zoomi Straw


Best Value Award

$8.95
(11% off)
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 good for thicker liquids like smoothies or shakes.

This cup requires a straw brush for complete cleaning. There is still the 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 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 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 suitable option for your child.

7

Best Cup Trainer


Munchkin Miracle 360 Stainless


Top Pick Award

$14.99
at Amazon
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 makes children feel grown up. 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 children may not like carrying it. The 360 is more expensive than plastic options, but we think using steel over plastic is worth the added cost for peace of mind. Some users report 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 made with plastic materials.

8

Best for Infant Transition from Bottle


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 it could potentially leach chemicals into contents according to some studies. It 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 cup for prolonged periods, it could be a sippy younger toddlers really like.

9

Best for Infant Transition from Breast


MAM Starter Cup



$11.08
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 children first learning to drink by themselves, and the spout is firm enough to withstand new teeth.

We aren't big fans of plastic in general, and users report the spout is difficult 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 could be a potential contender.

10

Great Low Leak Solution for Infants


NUK Learner



$6.25
(22% 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. Users remark that the spout has disappointing flow rate and more than one little one got frustrated with how much effort it takes to draw liquid from the spout. However, if you want a straightforward leak-free sippy for younger children, it is an easy to hold option good for children six months and older.

Read review: NUK Learner

11

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 nice removable handles and volume markings on the side to keep track of how much your child drinks. The soft straw spout is good for preventing injuries, and the valve is easy to drink from while the straw helps move sweet drinks 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 all plastic (according to studies). The straw requires a unique brush to clean, and the valve is not the preferred type of straw by the American Dental Association. It 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 when away from home.

12

Lightweight Insulated with Edgy Graphics


Tommee Tippee Insulated Sipper Tumbler



$3.99 each (in 2-pack)
(56% off)
at Amazon
See It

Volume: 9 oz | Body: Plastic
Budget-friendly
Lightweight
Insulated
Plastic body
Hard spouts can cause 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 retaining a budget-friendly price. While the spout is not a soft spout, it is covered with a softer material and has a lower profile making it more mouth-friendly while drinking than hard spouts that stick up from the lid. This cup has a two-part valve system that keeps it from leaking during regular use.

The Tumbler is BPA-free plastic which can potentially leach chemicals into contents like all 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 great 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 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.


13

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
Straw brush to clean
Not leak-proof

The Housaavy Stainless Straw Cup with Lid has a plastic closable lid and silicone straw. The cup is easy to use and clean 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.

Cleaning this cup requires a straw brush, and the manufacturer discourages users from putting them in the dishwasher, 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



$16.00
List Price
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 with poor execution. We loved the concept of these soft, flexible, easy to transport lids that work with different cups. They essentially transform any cup into a sippy cup which opens the door to a host of possibilities. However, when we purchased and used the silicone lids, we found they didn't work as well as expected. 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 certain 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. Upon close examination, we also discovered 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.

The Avent My Sip n Click has a nice soft silicone spout that leaks at a regular pace. This cup is not what we would consider leak-proof. Even with the lid properly in place  the Sip n Click continues to leak.
The Avent My Sip n Click has a nice soft silicone spout that leaks at a regular pace. This cup is not what we would consider leak-proof. Even with the lid properly in place, the Sip n Click continues to leak.

How We Evaluated


After multiple sippy cup reviews and over 120 hours of testing, we understand the metrics most important for this kind of gear. 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 possible contenders before purchasing 14 sippy style cups. We tested them side-by-side in-house and with real little testers and parents. Comparing cups in this manner is a great way to determine how well each sippy will function in the critical metrics 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


Cups were compared to one another and ranked them from 1-10 for leaks where 10 indicates no leaking at all and 1 means it leaks like an ordinary cup. We used leak results from both sideways and upside down positions and cups with lids were scored with the lids in place. While little ones may not put lids on during use, most parents have greater concerns about leaks in a diaper bag, in the car, or on-the-go so we felt lids on was the way to go for scoring as parents are far more likely to replace a lid to avoid spills. The majority of cups in this review are leak proof enough to meet the needs of most parents when it comes to avoiding leak related messes. The chart below shows a comparison of the leak testing results.


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 very difficult 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 all of the sippy cups in this review for lead. The cups were tested inside the container, outside on the body, and on the spout or lid using an at homes test kit. While we had read reports about positive lead tests at hidden solder points on some water bottles, we did not have any positive test results 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.

Not all sippy cups are the same and some little ones found the attached cap on the Avent Sip n Click to be annoying.
Not all sippy cups are the same and some little ones found the attached cap on the Avent Sip n Click to be annoying.

Sippy Cup Buying Advice


Finding the right leak-proof cup may seem daunting with so much to consider. The perfect cup can minimize frustration for toddlers and parents by limiting leaks, being easy to drink from and clean, and offering healthy materials for your child's developing body. We'll take you through the different types of cups, and discuss which features we feel are most important.

Are plastics safe? While plastics are now BPA free, that doesn't mean they aren't a potential health concern. To find out why we aren't big fans of plastic, please read our related article, Are Plastics Safe for Baby Bottles and Sippy Cups?.

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.

Why Get a Leak-Proof Cup?


Does your toddler need a leak-free cup, or can they move on to a regular cup without this convenience product? Leak-proof cups, are not necessary to bridge the gap between bottle drinking and acquiring the skills to drink from a cup. In fact, some argue it can delay a child's desire or ability to master the skills for ordinary cup usage. Plus, leak-free cups, in general, carry an increased risk of potential injury when not used correctly (the most significant threat is a toddler tripping with a hard spout in their mouth). So why would you want to consider using a leak-proof cup with your child?
  • Hydration—Leak-proof cups offer a useful way to help keep children hydrated, without the mess and concerns of a regular cup.
  • Transportability—Leak-proof cups are easy to transport.
  • Convenience—A convenient way to give children some independence without worrying about a mess.
  • Bridge—These cups work in conjunction with regular cups acting as a nice (though not necessary) bridge between bottle and real cups.

Most parents appreciate the convenience of limited spills, transportability, and durability. So, while it is essential to help children master the skills necessary to use cups, a leak-proof cup can be useful for parents looking to 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 approximately 1 ER visit every 4 hours in the United States. These injuries are primarily a result of improper use by children who are moving with spouts in their mouth. When the child falls, the spout can cause facial or palate lacerations. It is best to have your toddler sit while 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 for babies 4 months to 9-12 months depending on the cup. They usually hold less than 8 oz, have softer spouts, handles, and are lightweight.
  • Toddler Cups— have a typical age range of 12 months to 3 years old. They normally hold 7-12 oz and are thinner with a contoured or longer design.
  • Kid Bottles— are for children over the age of three. They hold more liquid, are often insulated, and have sport type spouts, hard spouts with straws, or flexible straws. These cups are not always "spill proof.".

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. It is important to consider their differences and how they impact daily use.

Materials


Leak-proof cups can be glass, stainless steel, plastic, or silicone. Some cups are made entirely of plastic, but most of the cups use a combination of materials. Different components also dictate a cup's longevity and cleanability. The materials can potentially impact toddler health, so it is important that parents understand the benefits and drawbacks of each material.

The Munchkin Miracle 360 has a cup-like edge that helps little ones with skills necessary to drink from a regular cup.
The Munchkin Miracle 360 has a cup-like edge that helps little ones with skills necessary to drink from a regular cup.

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 of the cup; there is nothing intrinsically harmful about them. Stainless steel is easy to clean and often comes in insulated varieties that keep contents cold. There is some evidence that suggests that stainless steel may allow the nutrients of breast milk to cling to the insides of the cup; this is something to consider if you plan to use the sippy for feeding, but since most toddlers are no longer drinking breast milk, this isn't a big deal. Stainless steel is an excellent option as a healthy alternative to plastics cups. It is also eco-friendly, and extremely durable so toddlers can use the cup for many years instead of only several months.

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 insulated, and some toddlers may have difficulty holding them. Ability isn't as big of a concern in toddler stages as it is in the transition cups, but it might be something to consider if your little one has limitations that make holding heavy items difficult. The Pura Kiki, Klean Kanteen Kid Classic, Munchkin Miracle 360 and Thermos Foogo are all stainless steel with a variety of spout types from straw to soft spout to 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 often use plastic because it is inexpensive, lightweight, versatile, and user-friendly for toddlers and parents alike. These cups come in different body styles and graphics, and their lower prices mean less cause for distress if they go missing. However, plastics have some health concerns that we think parents should consider when they choose which leak-proof cup is right for their child. See our article on Are Plastics Safe for Bottles and Sippy Cups? for more information. In our opinion, cups with bodies made of steel or glass are better options for many reasons, even outside the plastic conundrum. The Munchkin Click Lock is the top-ranked plastic option in this review with a leak-proof spout and insulated body it is an economical, easy to lift option.

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


The valve, straw, spouts, or sleeves are often silicone. In general, medical grade silicone does not have much exposure to contents and is considered a safe material to use in children's cups. Silicone allows spouts and valves to be more flexible and mouth friendly than their plastic counterparts. Also, silicone spouts are less likely to cause injury to children who fall while using the cup. It is worth noting, however, that some preliminary studies indicate that silicone can break down when heated, so we recommend hand-washing.

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 and pieces a cup has can make or break how much it gets used. It is, therefore, important to consider the individual parts because the parts make up the whole. How intuitively and easily the parts fit together, and how difficult they are to clean, are the primary reasons to focus on parts. A cup with just a few parts that snap in place is better than a cup of four or more parts. Most cups get easier to assemble over time, but the number of parts is still an issue when it comes to cleaning or the possibility of 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 different kinds of spouts including hard plastic, softer silicone, straws, and cup-like edges. Each spout type has attributes parents should 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 usually plastic and have no "give." They wear well over time and are resistant to chewing and drop damage. However, they are the primary source of sippy injuries.
  • Soft Spouts — Most soft spouts are silicone. Silicone is mouth friendly, easy to clean, and usually easy to use. Soft spouts are less likely to cause injuries.
  • Straws — Straws are usually valve free and soft (with fewer injuries). The ADA and most dentists prefer a valve free spout because they move fluid to the back of the mouth, which could lead to less dental decay.
  • Cup-Like Edge — Cup edges are usable from any angle, but they still have a leak-proof valve and require sucking. The benefit is a cup-like experience, less chance of injuries, and an experience that could lead to a regular cup. The Munchkin Miracle 360 has a cup-like edge with an integrated valve. Little ones do need to suck, but they get the look and feel of an ordinary cup edge.

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 integral part of most leak-proof cups. The valve prevents liquid from exiting on its own, but still allows toddlers to drink when suction is applied. The American Dental Association (ADA) prefer that toddlers use a regular cup. They advise parents to choose valve free cups (not leak-proof) and prefer that parents limit sugary liquids to avoid dental decay. For more information, see this ADA article. However, many parents still want a leak-proof cup. While we agree about being safe, exercising good oral hygiene, and using regular cups, we think parents are unlikely to toss their leak-proof cups. The Housaavy Stainless Straw Cup with Lid does not 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 result of sippy cup use. Leak-proof cups are a convenience item; they are NOT a developmental milestone or a requirement for learning to drink from a cup. Some specialists even feel they can delay a child's ability, 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 at a table
  • To avoid complications related to dental decay and dentition formation, toddlers should only utilize a leak-free cup for short, defined periods, like snack or mealtime
  • Parents should offer children a real cup whenever possible

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.

It is important to consider spout type, their drawbacks, and the ADA concerns. However, we feel there is a place for sippy cup use on a limited basis. As long as your toddler practices using a regular cup, sippys can be a useful tool in your parenting arsenal. Several of the options in this review have a hard spout, so children should only use them when 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 if you need a transition or a toddler sippy (based on your child's age), you are ready to narrow the field. Answering a few questions will help you find the right cup. All of the products are good, but depending on your goals, one may 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. We all come into contact with chemicals, and some of them are bad for us. Toddlers have sensitive developing systems that could be impacted by exposure to unnecessary chemicals; we like to limit exposure whenever possible. There is more of a delineation in performance and concerns with materials used in sippy cup bodies than any other variable. Given health concerns and durability, we feel this is a natural place to start the 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 children will lose interest. Tiny tots choose cups based on color and graphics. However, if a cup is hard to use, toddlers quickly move on to less attractive choices. While ease of cleaning, eco-health, or leakage are important, if toddlers can't get the cup to work, it won't get used. If the sippy isn't easy to clean or assemble, then you aren't going to use it because no parent wants to spend their limited time cleaning or assembling cups. These factors are why some cups end up gathering dust or in the trash. While most of the 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 might be.

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 one thing a leak-free cup shouldn't do is leak. The main reason for using a sippy is to avoid the mess that comes with an ordinary cup. Each cup in this review was tested for leaks, and their results can be seen in the leakage chart above. Depending on what you plan to put in your sippy, or how you plan to use it, different levels of possible leaks may be acceptable.

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 stand with wide-eyed bewilderment in front of a shelf of sippy cups, think about their characteristics and which are the most important to you. We feel there is an option for everyone, no matter what attributes are important to you. We've found great options that encompass the priorities most parents share with enough variety 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