The Best Transition Sippy Cup Review

Transition sippy cups can help babies feel independent and keep parents free of messes related to spills.
Trying to find the right transition sippy cup for baby? Once your infant starts moving on to solid foods, water will become a very valuable part of their diet as well. This milestone will likely encourage the beginning of your search for the best sippy to serve as a transition from bottles, and/or breastfeeding, into the world of leak-free cups. We initially looked at 32 top cups, specifically designed for babies from the ages of 4 to 9 months, and hand-picked 14 cream of the crop cups (say that three times fast!) to go through our tests. The transition cups were tested in metrics such as leakage, ease of use, eco-health, ease of cleaning, and eco-health. Most of the cup designs were quite similar, but a few rose above the crowd either for being unique or for being made of materials that are more eco-friendly. In the end, our in-house tests, along with a cadre of tiny testers, narrowed down the cups that stood out from the competition.

Read the full review below >

Test Results and Ratings

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Analysis and Award Winners

Review by:
Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz

Last Updated:
August 25, 2017

Update — August 2017
Our Best Value award winner, the Gerber Graduates Sip & Smile has been replaced by it's sister product, the Fun Grips Soft Spout Trainer cup. Read more about the new cup in the review.

Best Overall Transition Sippy

Pura Kiki Stainless Sippy

Pura Kiki Stainless Steel Sippy 11 ounces Editors' Choice Award

(9% off)
at Amazon
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The Pura Kiki Stainless Sippy won the coveted Editors' Choice Award. The Pura Kiki is a good transition cup choice for parents worried about the eco-healthy properties of their child's cup, as well as, parents who used the cup for a bottle when baby was younger. In addition to earning the highest out of all the transition cups we tested, this cup also won high regard for using stainless steel; a material generally considered safer than other competition in this category. The stainless steel body does not leach chemicals, and its narrow silhouette makes it easier for little hands to hold, while the silicone sleeve helps prevent dropping, and it fits in almost all cup holders. In addition, we felt the silicone mouthpiece was similar to the bottle nipple, and required similar suckling styles that babies would be familiar with. The only problem we had with this cup, was the overall weight when full. It might be difficult for smaller or weaker babies to hold without dropping on their faces, which would not be fun for parent or baby.

Read review: Pura Kiki Stainless Sippy

Best on a Budget

Gerber Graduates Sip & Smile

NUK's Newest Version: Gerber Graduates Fun Grips Soft Spout Trainer. We found the newer version to be even easier to drink from and more leak resistant than their prior version Sip and Smile. Best Value Award

$4.30 each (in 2-pack)
(39% off)
at Amazon
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The Gerber Graduates Sip & Smile earned our Best Value Award in this review. This is an economical cup, that is readily available and easy to find in most stores. It was one of the lightest cups tested and the built in handles made it very easy for children to grip and use on their own. The mouthpiece was easy to drink from meaning this might be a good option for children who have a difficult time sucking. However, the mouthpiece was stiffer than the silicone spout on the Pura Kiki, making the possibility of injury more likely if a child were to fall with it in their mouth. Our main dislike for this cup is that it is made of plastic. Although it is top rack dishwasher safe, parents may want to consider washing all the components of this cup in warm soapy water by hand in order to avoid the potential for possible leaching that can happen when plastics are exposed to heat. As far as ease of cleaning goes the Sip & Smile ranked fairly high, because it was easy to assemble and didn't have very many parts to clean. Given its cheaper than average price, this cup may be a good choice for travel as you likely won't feel too badly if you lose it.

Read review: Gerber Graduates Sip & Smile

Best Insulated Transition Sippy

Thermos Foogo Phase I Insulated

Thermos Foogo Phase I Insulated Top Pick Award

(24% off)
at Amazon
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The Thermos Foogo Phase 1 Insulated is a great insulated cup for parents concerned about eco-health, who might also be looking for the ability to retain the temperature of liquids in the cup. This cup had a great eco-health score, and was fairly easy to use and clean, making it a good all-around cup. The main drawback to this cup was similar to the Pura Kiki, in that it was heavier than most of the other cups we tested, and it might be hard to hold for longer periods. However, unlike the Kiki, it did have handles that made it slightly easier on baby overall.

Read review: Thermos Foogo Phase 1 Insulated

Honorable Mentions

Tommee Tippee First Sips

Tommee Tippee transition sippy lid is interchangeable with the bottle lid in this line
Tommee Tippee transition sippy lid is interchangeable with the bottle lid in this line
The Tommee Tippee First Sips is a good transition choice for parents that used the Tommee Tippee line of bottles, or for the baby who prefers a squatter, more rounded cup. The Tommee Tippie actually scored second place in our tests overall, but failed to earn an award simply because it wasn't as cheap as some of the other cups we tested. This cup was easy to use, easy to clean, and scored above average for eco-health and ease of cleaning.

While this cup might not have been as cheap as the Gerber Graduates Sip & Smile, it did prove it was a real contender by scoring higher than the Sip & Smile, and it still had a better than average price, compared to the other transition cups we tested. This cup is easy to find online and in stores.

Read review: Tommee Tippee First Sips


thinkbaby transition sippy
thinkbaby transition sippy
thinkbaby The Sippy Cup Stage C is a nice plastic cup for parents looking for a lighter weight cup, but also want more information on what the cup is made of. Unlike the other plastic cups we tested, the thinkbaby plastic transition cup offers a lot of information on the company website about what is not found in their plastics. So while they don't say exactly what is in their plastic, parents looking for a plastic cup might just feel warmer and fuzzier knowing that this company is considering the notion that other plastics besides BPA can be harmful, and they are trying to do something about it. The thinkbaby was a leak-proof cup, that was easy to clean and fairly easy to use. Plus, it had a fairly high eco-health score for a plastic cup.

Read review: thinkbaby The Sippy Cup Stage C

select up to 5 products
Score Product Price Our Take
Editors' Choice Award
Worth the higher price, healthy materials, easy to use and clean
Nice plastic cup that works well and never leaked
Best Value Award
Great sippy cup for an economic price
Top Pick Award
Nice insulated stainless steel cup, but a little on the heavy side
High-scoring with a nod to eco-health, but difficult drinking
Interesting design, hard to use
Interesting handle design that was easy to clean but hard to drink from
Lightweight economical cup that was difficult to drink from
Not a bad cup, but all things being equal we prefer its stainless steel brother
Uninspired low scoring cup, might be okay for AVENT bottle users
Uninsipired plastic sippy with harder to drink from valve
Economical, ordinary cup but difficult drinking
Simple basic sippy, that would be nice if it were easier to drink from
Could have been a good cup if it had the old valve style

Analysis and Test Results

If your head isn't already spinning from the sheer number of products out there for your little one, then determining the perfect sippy cup may just be the moment you scream "uncle!" There are so many cups, that the task of choosing a good one may seem daunting. Selecting cups at random, just to get out of the store, often leads to a major letdown once you get home and try them out. The cheapest, most colorful, or well-known brand name may be appealing, but it may not be the best choice in the end.

The name "Transition Cup" refers to the age period from 4 to 9 months, when a baby will be ready to transition from strictly bottle and/or breastfeeding to using a cup. Spills can be an inconvenient and frustrating issue, resulting in the use some kind of spill-resistant cup by most parents. As we will detail in this review, and cover more fully in our corresponding article, How to Find the Best Transition Sippy, all the various Leak-Free Cups are grouped into three stages for different age groups. In this review, we focus on the Transition cups, the youngest age tier.

Types of Sippy Cups

The original leak-free cup was created by an engineer named Richard Belanger. He was tired of cleaning up after his baby who was just learning to use an ordinary cup properly and was suffering from the same pitfalls all babies have suffered from throughout time, they all spill their cups. What might surprise you, is that he invented the cup in 1988, which really wasn't that long ago (or are we dating ourselves?).

Belanger created a simple cup with a valve that prevented the backflow of liquid and thereby helped the cup avoid spilling its contents when not used properly. At first, the family just kept it at home and made the cups themselves, but in time, Belanger was able to sell his creation to Playtex, and the no-leak cup was officially born sometime in the early 90s.

While the leak-free cup of yore may vary from the cups, or transition cups we know and love today, it certainly paved the way for the plethora of products you now find lining the baby aisle shelves. We wonder if Belanger ever thought his simple leak-proof cup was going to make it this big.

All the Sippys a Stage

This photo shows a variety of transition sippy cups; note that Pura Kiki (pink sippy on right) is pictured here with silicone nipple. For transitioning  either a softer Pura Original Spout or firmer blue XL Sipper Spout can is substituted.
A variety of Toddler Sippy Cups
Kids Water Bottle Review Contenders (Klean Kanteen Kid Sports Bottle not shown)
The photos above are of Sippy cups in every stage. From left to right, they are Transition cups, designed for age 4-9 mos, Toddler cups, for 9 mos to 3 yrs, and Kid bottles, for 3-6 yrs.

No-leak cups are organized into different developmental stages defined by age ranges. The features of the cup consider the developmental factors related to each age grouping. Knowing the recommended age range for each cup can aid in pinpointing the correct cup stage for baby.

Transition Cups
Tommee Tippee is a good example of a transition sippy; smaller volume size  softer spout  dual handles  and debris cap. This brand has a transition sippy lid which is interchangeable their Closer to Nature bottle  Best Value award in our Best Baby Bottle Review.
Transition cups are geared toward babies 4 to 9 months of age; they usually include a soft spout to protect sensitive baby gums, two handles for easier griping, and are smaller so baby can easily manage the cup on their own.

Toddler Cups
Good example of a toddler sippy; larger volume  no handles  grip silicone sleeve  and harder spout.
Toddler cups aim to fit the needs of children 12 months to 3 years old. These cups can have either soft or hard spouts or even straw mouthpieces. The cups normally have a shape contoured for little hands and easy gripping (many no longer sport handles), and they can generally hold between 7 to 11 ounces. Take a look at our review, Best Toddler Sippy Cups, to see our ratings of the 21 most popular, and highly rated leak-free cups on the market.

Kid Bottles
Typical kid water bottle; larger volume  straw spout  and clip loop.

Kid bottles are perfect for children from 3 to 6 years of age that lead an on-the-go lifestyle. They usually feature even larger volume capabilities, of 10 to 15 ounces. Kid bottles are often insulated with the thought of longer days at school, camp, and outdoor activities in mind.

Sippy Cups of Any Stage

Sippy cups are definitely not a requirement for teaching children to drink correctly from an adult cup. Some specialists even believe that it can delay a child's ability or desire to use a real cup. Leak-free cups of any kind are merely a convenience, that we feel can serve a purpose when used in a limited conscious manner, that does not inhibit a child's natural interest in mastering the skill of drinking from a normal cup.

Hey, What's that Cup Made of? Focus on Materials

Pura Kiki is a nice stainless steel sippy option
Thermos Foogo Phase I Insulated
The Sip and Smile has a stiffer hard spout with what looks to be a soft silicone lining for baby's gums.
Lifefactory Glass Sippy with silicone sleeve and hard spout
Leak-free cups are manufactured from a wide range of materials: silicone, glass, plastics, and stainless steel. Every substance comes with its own pros and cons. It is essential to take a look at the traits of each material before deciding which one is best for your child. It may be more difficult to find the eco-healthier variety of cups, than some of the plastic cups we tested, but we believe the additional effort is worth it and not too difficult if you are able to order them online.


The Nuby Click-It is a typical plastic transition sippy.
Compared to the other options we tested, plastic is relatively lightweight, this making it easy for little ones to pick up, carry around, and bring up to their mouths with relative ease. Plastic won't easily break like glass can, and it won't get banged up and dented the way stainless steel does. Because of these nice attributes, the majority of transition cup bodies are made using BPA-free plastic, with a variety of mouthpiece types, and valves made from plastic, and/or silicone. Unfortunately, some studies suggest that even "BPA-free" plastics can still have the potential to leach chemicals in a similar way to the old BPA plastic.

We've written an article on this topic you might be interested in, Are Plastics Safe for Baby Bottles and Sippy Cups?

Stainless Steel

Pura Kiki is a stainless steel transition sippy that has internal volume gradations. There is zero plastic in this sippy cup.
Stainless Steel is certainly one of the heaviest options for transition cups, which might make it harder for very little ones to pick it up or use it immediately with ease, BUT stainless steel does NOT chip, leach, shatter, or break. These attributes made steel superior to plastic and glass. Stainless steel is usually easy to clean and does not leave any unusual flavor in its contents. You can even feel good about putting it in the dishwasher unless it is painted.


Glass is an inert material that doesn't leach chemicals, similar to stainless steel. Unfortunately, it is breakable and it weighs much more than plastic. To circumvent this flaw, some companies such as Lifefactory include a silicone sleeve with their glass cups to avoid injury to babies should the glass break. That being said, glass cups can, and will, eventually break, even with a silicone sleeve. So caution should be taken when using glass cups, and babies should never be left alone with them.


The Pura has a silicone spout  inserts  and cap.
Experts are still undecided on whether silicone is truly safe. Some studies indicate that heat can cause silicone to deteriorate; so be aware that some cups include silicone in their mouthpieces or lids. For this reason, you should avoid putting them in the microwave and dishwasher.

Let's Talk Spouts

The transition mouthpiece designs are not as varied as that of the toddler cups, but there are still a few options to choose from. Most of the cups we tested in the transition category had soft spouts that were gentle on gums and an easier transition from bottle nipples.

Playtex soft spout and straw cup
Playtex soft spout and straw cup
Some of the transition cups had a stiffer spout, which usually had a thin layer of softer material surrounding it, so it was easier on gums. Harder spouts means increased chances for injury, because they do not "give" if a baby should fall on one while using it.

One of the transition cups we tested had a straw mouthpiece; this kind of mouthpiece was more common in the toddler cups than transition cups. It's likely that your dentist would recommend a straw cup as they decrease the amount of liquid that directly contacts baby's teeth. Although the straw cup in this transition review did not do well for ease of sucking, we still think straw type spouts are a good choice.

While we feel that the type of mouthpiece a transition cup has, and what it is made of, is important, we think that no matter which spout type you choose, that babies should always be encouraged to drink from ordinary cups whenever possible to gain important new skills.

A Word on Valves

The white plastic valve of the Gerber Sip and Smile can be seen here
The white plastic valve of the Gerber Sip and Smile can be seen here
Leak-free cups normally have a valve for the purpose of being leak-free. However, the American Dental Association favors bypassing no-leak valves entirely. They feel that leak-free valve cups:
  • Encourage the same type of sucking action as nipples, which is not a necessary skill past infancy.
  • That leak-free cup use could lead to failure of opportunities to learn how to master the sipping and holding skills necessary to use an ordinary cup.
  • Parents might increase the amount of sugary/carbohydrate liquids that children are offered in a day because the cups do not leak, which could result in dental decay.

In fact, the ADA suggests parents use leak-free cups only for a short duration, that they us cups without valves, and that parent encourage children to master the skill of controlled drinking from a real cup as soon as possible and then discontinue the product.

Sticking with a straw cup eliminates the issue of valves. They also reduce the amount of fluid that comes into contact with teeth, and they typically come with a lid that seals up the straw opening when the cup is not in use.

Safety First

The Sip and Smile has a stiffer hard spout with what looks to be a soft silicone lining for baby's gums.
The Sip and Smile has a stiffer hard spout with what looks to be a soft silicone lining for baby's gums.
First, be aware that no leak cups can present a potential hazard to babies just learning to toddle about . Cups should never be used while an infant is moving. Research indicates that a child enters the emergency room every 4 hours, on average, with a product related injury from improper cup use; lacerations to the face or palate are the primary injury reported. In fact, between 1991 and 2010, an incidence of 45,000 pediatric injuries presented to ERs as a result of sippy cup use, typically oral lacerations. So be careful when using leak-free cups, follow safe practice directions, and the ADA guidelines below.

Best Practices

The following are best practices for leak-free cup use, as directed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Dental Association (ADA):
Babies should be seated when using a sippy cup to avoid potential injury
Babies should be seated when using a sippy cup to avoid potential injury
  • Sippy cups are a tool to help young toddlers eventually transition to a regular cup. They are not meant to be used longterm. As such, it is recommended to offer children a real cup when possible to help them gain the skills necessary to transition permanently.
  • To avoid problems with dental decay and dentition formation, children should utilize leak-free cups for short, defined periods, like during a snack or mealtime.
  • To avoid injury, children should be stationary, sitting at a table, when using a cup.

Criteria for Evaluation

We considered several metrics while testing and evaluating each transition cup. Our primary categories were leakage, ease of use, eco-health, and ease of cleaning. These categories were further broken down into components relevant to the overall metric.

Ease of Use

Cups must be easy to use, or your child won't be interested in it. Some of the cups we tested were hard to drink from for adults so we can only imagine the difficulty a child might encounter. In-house testers were drawn to specific cups based on looks, shape, and texture, but if the cup was hard to drink from the babies quickly moved on to easier options, or grew frustrated. In general, the babies preferred cups they could easily hold, were fairly light weight, and were easy to drink from. While ease of cleaning, eco-healthy, or leakage might be important to parents, if a baby couldn't get the cup to work, or it was hard to hold, then it wasn't going to be used no matter how much the parents liked it.

The cups below were a few of the most difficult transition cups to use; each earned only a 3 of 10 for this metric. The Nuk Learner Cup, The Playtex Training Time Straw Cup, and Lansinoh mOmma.
NUK Learner Cup
Playtex Training Time Straw Cup


The one thing you don't want in a transition sippy cup is leaks. If leaking were the goal, you could just hand that baby a regular cup and let the party start. On the go babies and parents look to leak-proof cups to give them the freedom of hydration, without the frustration and hassle of spills. No matter where the cup is at the moment, everyone wants a cup that won't leak in your diaper bag, on the rug, or in the backseat of your car. Even if the leaking liquid won't stain, they might leave a bad smell, merit a quick clean up, or end with a thirsty child who has nothing to drink. We felt the most important metric was leakage, and if a cup did leak, by how much.

Given this, we tested each cup for its tendency to leak. The cups were put through several leak tests in an effort to illicit possible leaking. The tests helped us to determine which transition cups could hold their liquid, and which could not.

Ease of Cleaning

For the most part  the more parts a cup had  the harder it was to clean
For the most part, the more parts a cup had, the harder it was to clean
If a cup wasn't easy to clean, or take apart and re-assemble, then parents aren't going to want to use it; eventually it will end up in the back of the cupboard or a donation bin. We'd all love to think that the only thing that matters is whether or not the baby likes the cup, but honestly, if you hate using it, baby will never even see it. Convenience is paramount for most things in parenting; there is no reason to make life harder than it needs to be. This is why we feel it is important to find products that are easy to clean, as well as use.

Unlike the toddler cups, which varied more widely, most of the transitional cups had similar number of parts and assembly. However, the amount of time to assemble the parts varied. While most of the cups only required a basic bottle brush to clean, an item we assume most parents have at least one of, some needed a straw brush to ensure proper cleaning. Lower scores were given to the cups that required more cleaning tools, or that took longer to take apart or assemble.


When we consider products, eco-health is a very important element to us here at BabyGearLab. We feel that your baby will come in contact with loads of chemicals during their developmental years that could have a negative impact to their sensitive developing systems. Therefore, we feel it is important to limit as many harmful or unknown chemicals and components as you can. Considering the great impact of this, we rated cups made from inert materials, such as stainless steel or glass higher than those made of plastic.

The leak-proof cups we tested in the transition category were all made from either plastic or stainless steel. The mouthpieces, lids, and valves were generally made of a combination of plastic and silicone. We reviewed some of this in our What is that Cup Made of section above, but please review our How to find the Best Transition Sippy article and our Are Plastics Safe for Baby Bottles and Sippy Cups?.

This Thermos transition sippy was one of the few insulated cups in the transition category
This Thermos transition sippy was one of the few insulated cups in the transition category
In addition to what the cups were made of, the cups earned points for being insulated which helped keep the cup's contents fresher, and less likely to spoil by retaining a cooler temperature for a longer period of time.

Transition cups also gained points for adhering closer to the ADA guideline of not having a valve, or if there was a valve, then the least amount of required sucking the better. The one straw cup in this review, Playtex Straw Cup, also had a valve, so it did not qualify strictly as a straw cup; a "spout" type the ADA likes better than other styles.


This photo shows a variety of transition sippy cups; note that Pura Kiki (pink sippy on right) is pictured here with silicone nipple. For transitioning  either a softer Pura Original Spout or firmer blue XL Sipper Spout can is substituted.
This photo shows a variety of transition sippy cups; note that Pura Kiki (pink sippy on right) is pictured here with silicone nipple. For transitioning, either a softer Pura Original Spout or firmer blue XL Sipper Spout can is substituted.
With such a wide variety of transition cups out there, finding one that work well without being a hassle to clean or use can be difficult. Depending on what criteria is most important to you, weather it be functionality, eco-health, convenience, or price, we are sure that at least one of our top scoring cups will fill the needs of parent and baby.
Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz

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