THE BEST STRAW CUPS FOR TODDLERS OF 2019
Choosing the right straw cup for your toddler might as well be an Olympic sport. As the mom of two kids, I know the costly and time-consuming search all too well. There are various straw cup models on the market, so how can you be sure which one is the absolute best for your toddler? If your little one is ready to transition from a bottle or sippy cup to a straw cup and you have no clue where to begin, welcome. You’ve come to the right place.
I spent roughly four weeks examining 12 popular straw cups for toddlers—with the help of my 15-month-old son, of course. The two biggest factors I took into consideration throughout the testing process were leakage and cleanliness. After nearly 30 days of testing, the very best straw cup for toddlers is the OXO Tot Transitions Straw Cup with Removable Handles (available at Amazon for $9.99). What makes this cup so great? The six-ounce straw cup is made from sturdy, durable plastic while still being lightweight enough for tiny hands to hold, it’s simple and easy to take apart for cleaning, and, most importantly, it doesn’t leak (yes, really).
However, the OXO Tot Transitions Straw Cup isn’t the only impressive straw cup for toddlers that we tested. Other brands we inspected offer useful features like insulation, bottle straps for when you’re on-the-go, and silicone bumpers to prevent damage to the bottom of the cup. Wondering which other models are worth it and which ones aren’t? Keep reading to find out what we love—and don’t love—about each straw cup.
Here are the 12 best straw cups for toddler’s we tested ranked, in order:
- OXO Tot Transitions Straw Cup with Removable Handles
- Nuby Clik-it FlexStraw Cup
- Pura Kiki Stainless Steel Insulated Straw Cup
- Philips Avent My Bendy Straw Cup
- Skip Hop Stainless Steel Little Kid Straw Bottle
- Thinkbaby Thinkster Ultra Polished Stainless Steel
- The First Years: Take & Toss Spill Proof Straw Cup
- Dr. Brown’s Baby’s First Straw Cup
- Thermos Funtainer
- Nuby Thirsty Kids Flip-it REFLEX
- Boon Snug Straw with Cup
- Munchkin Click Lock Any Angle Weighted 2 Piece Straw Cup
Of the 12 straw cups we tested, the OXO Tot Transitions Straw Cup with Removable Handles is our top choice for several reasons. For starters, this is the only cup that didn’t exude any liquid during our drop tests, nor did it leak when left on its side for over 12 hours. It also survived more than a few significant tosses from my toddler without a single drop of liquid escaping. As lame and unexciting as it makes me sound, I was actually sad to stop using this cup during the testing process because of how well it worked.
The six-ounce straw cup also has many appealing features that both parents and kids alike will appreciate. The OXO Tot Transitions Straw Cup has removable handles that don’t slide around during use and there are measurement marks on the exterior of the cup, so you can easily keep track of how much your toddler is drinking.
Another perk? The straw comes in two easy-to-clean pieces that are simple to take apart and wash. While you could toss the entire cup and all its parts in the dishwasher, I found that it was more effective (and required minimal time) to clean the straw parts with a small bristle brush.
Finally, another factor that set this straw cup apart from other similar options we tested was the build quality. Some of the plastic cups we tested were easy to bend by squeezing the center, however, the OXO Tot Transitions Straw Cup did not bow at all. The cup feels like it’s constructed of strong plastic, and, if you’re looking for an eco-friendly option, it’s made without BPAs, phthalates, and PVC.
My only complaint about this bottle is that, at first, my son had a hard time figuring out how to make liquid flow from the straw. That’s because the spill-proof straw doesn’t dispense any liquid unless contracted—a win for parents who want to toss this in their purse or bag without worry. I’m happy to report that it’s been smooth sailing for my son ever since the first few sips.
At around $8 for two cups, the Nuby No-Spill Cups with Flex Straw are the best value straw cup for toddlers we tested. The cleaning process is a cinch since there are only four parts to wash, including the cup itself.
Similar to the straw set up on the OXO Tot Transitions Straw Cup, liquid only comes out of the Nuby No-Spill cup when pressure is applied to the straw. There were a few small leaks here and there when liquid pooled up in the upper portion of the straw, but overall, this 10-ounce cup is a pretty safe bet if you’re looking for an affordable straw cup with minimal leaks.
We also loved the hourglass design, which is made from BPA-free plastic, as it makes it easy for little hands to grip and sip. To sum it all up: This cup isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty dang close, especially for the money.
We tested a total of three stainless steel bottles and the Pura Kiki won us over for several reasons. It’s thoroughly insulated, so you don’t have to worry about milk spoiling or water going warm after a few hours if you forget to put it in the refrigerator. The bottle features a soft, non-toxic, silicone spout that’s gentle on developing palates.
This straw cup is the most expensive one we’ve tested, but it’s worth the $26 price tag if you’re looking for a non-toxic, vacuum-insulated bottle that feels like it’s going to last a while. The interior of the nine-ounce bottle features measuring marks, so you can keep tabs on how many ounces of liquid your toddler is consuming. Despite being made of mostly hefty stainless steel, it’s still lightweight enough for small toddlers to use with ease. One special feature we really liked is the exterior silicone sleeve that helps keep condensation at bay and helps keep the cup from becoming dented when thrown on a hard surface. (However, the bottom portion suffered several dents during our drop tests. Pura Kiki sells a bottom bumper for an additional cost.)
Be warned, though, this bottle will leak if you’re not careful. While no liquid managed to leak during our overnight tests, small amounts of liquid tended to gather in the top portion of the straw after my son took a drink. When he threw the bottle, the liquid left in the top portion of the straw sent more than a few droplets flying all over the room. The saving grace here is the stretchy silicone cover that’s easy to pull on and off. As long as that’s in place, you don’t have to worry about leaks.
Where to Buy
How We Tested
Hi, I’m Rachel Murphy. But, most of the time, I’m better known as “mom” to my son, Arlo, age 15 months, and my daughter, Reese, age 6. Ever since I became pregnant with my daughter over six years ago, I’ve spent countless hours researching children’s products, searching for the best options for my family. So, rest assured you’re in good hands (because I don’t want a leaky straw cup any more than you do). When my son turned one earlier this year, his pediatrician advised us to ditch the bottle, bypass sippy cups altogether, and opt for a cup with a straw. I knew the routine well, having done this exact thing with my daughter nearly five years prior. But, given the large time gap, I was curious to see if there were any new or improved straw cups for toddlers. In my previous experience with toddler straw cups, one of the biggest design flaws I can remember is the leakage. So, this time around, I’m on a quest to find out which straw cup for my son is going to cause me the least amount of headaches and messes to clean up.
My toddler and I spent the better part of July testing 12 different straw cups that are suitable for children between the ages of 12 months and 36 months old. To identify which cups to test, I researched the top straw cups from well-known kids companies like OXO, Boon, Skip Hop, and others, and combed through Amazon, looking for recommendations from other parents on well-rated straw cups for toddlers.
We didn’t take it easy on these cups, either. My son loves to throw things, particularly his bottle during mealtime. We tossed bottles full of milk and water across the room, dropped them from waist height onto hard tile floors, and shook each cup vigorously from side to side to see if any liquid (and, in some cases, how much liquid) escaped from the cup.
Cleaning is another pesky problem with toddler cups and an important factor in determining which of these straw cups for toddlers reigns supreme. There are so many tiny parts, especially with straw cups. Much like a water bottle you’d take to the gym, most of the straw cups we tested have a minimum of two straw pieces, so it’s not always as simple as tossing these bad boys right into your dishwasher. All but two of the cups required a bristle brush for a thorough cleaning. But, some of the cups do come with their own cleaning tool, so at least you don’t have to shell out extra cash for an additional product.
We took other essential details into consideration, too, like how easy it is to seal and unseal each straw cup, affordability, the construction of each bottle, portability and storage, and any special features.
What You Should Know About Straw Cups
Special cleaning tools may be required
If you’ve ever cleaned out your water bottle or maybe you have reusable straws at home, then you already know the importance of thoroughly cleaning the straw piece. Bits of food can get stuck on the interior of the straw and come up the next time you take a sip. The same can happen with straw cups for kids, that’s why it’s a good idea to keep a set of bristle brushes on hand. Some straw cups for toddlers that we tested included the cleaning device, while others did not. Even so, it’s good to have more than one at home in case it becomes lost or breaks.
Opt for a cup with a soft spout, if possible
Hard spouts may cause harm to the inside of a toddler’s mouth if they fall forward when drinking from the cup. For developing gums, it’s best to choose a softer spout that is less likely to cause damage in the event the child inserts the spout too quickly into their mouth or falls face down while holding the straw cup.
Straw cups are made from a variety of materials
When it comes to the design of the straw cup, you’ve got options. The cups we tested are primarily made from stainless steel or BPA-free plastic. You’ve probably seen the words “BPA-free” across several children’s products you’ve purchased over the years, so what does it mean? Bisphenol A, more commonly called BPA, is a chemical used to produce polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins, according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Although the Food and Drug Administration deems BPA as safe, the organization banned BPA materials from being used to make baby bottles and sippy cups in 2012 and 2013.
Other Straw Cups We Tested
This was a very close second to our best overall pick, but I found myself wishing it had a few added features that other cups have. The 7-ounce, Philips Avent My Bendy Straw Cup we tested comes with handles that aren’t removable, however, for an additional cost, Philips sells an almost identical version without handles if your child would rather hold onto the cup itself.
Another area where this cup fell short: No measurement lines. This one probably isn’t a make or break for most parents, but the marks are helpful for parents who are keeping a close eye on how much milk, water, or other liquid their toddler is drinking.
As compared to our favorite straw cup for toddlers, the Philips Avent My Bendy Straw Cup feels thinner and less durable, but still a great option for everyday use for most families. If you’re looking for a cup with minimal leakage, Philips Avent gets the job done pretty well. While it didn’t leak during overnight tests, liquid sometimes managed to escape with when we pulled back the built-in cover.
The straw pieces need to be cleaned with a small bristle brush, but the rest of the cup can be tossed into the dishwasher. One thing we really liked is that the straws are wide, making for fast cleaning. All in all, my toddler gravitated toward this cup (and it’s fun dinosaur-inspired design).
Skip Hop is known for its fun and fashionable kid’s products, and the stainless steel Skip Hop Kids Water Bottle With Straw is no exception. If you’re looking for an insulated cup that holds a lot of liquid, the Skip Hop Stainless Steel Straw Cup is a great choice. It comes in fun colors featuring bright and cheery cartoon animal designs, and the silicone sleeve keeps condensation from becoming a slippery problem for tiny palms.
The bottle comes with a carrying strap that’s attached underneath the lid, so you can attach it to backpacks, strollers, or just as a different way to hold the bottle. My toddler preferred to carry the bottle around without the attachment, but it only takes a second to remove the strap (and you’ll want to do so before cleaning to avoid getting it wet.).
Although this bottle didn’t leak while left on its side overnight, it didn’t do so hot when my son tipped it upside down and began to shake it. Water went everywhere, leaking from a very tiny hole in the mouthpiece and we had a tiny mess on our hands. However, we didn’t notice any leakage during our drop tests. So, as long as your toddler doesn’t flip it upside down and shake it, you should be in the clear.
I really wanted to love the Thinkbaby Thinkster Ultra Polished Stainless Steel straw cup since the cup portion is plastic-free, but it fell short in several key categories. First of all, since the bottle doesn’t come with a sleeve, like on the Pura Kiki or Skip Hop stainless straw cups, the condensation makes for a slippery mess after a while.
Secondly, there’s no way to tighten the handles to keep them in place. My toddler eventually became frustrated by this and, ultimately, disinterested in using the cup altogether. However, the straw design does a great job of preventing leaks during our drop tests, but, sometimes I noticed a small puddle of milk or water on the floor underneath the bottle. Although this didn’t happen every time, it’s worth keeping in mind.
Another bummer was the cleaning process. The lid is easy to screw and unscrew from the base, but the straw parts required some serious tugging before they popped out. For this reason, it was also a struggle to reassemble the straw parts and ultimately, not as easy as other cups we tested.
These cups are intended for toddlers ages 18 months and up, and while my son is just three months shy of that, he had no trouble at all using these cups. In fact, my envious six-year-old thought they were “so cool” and decided to join her little bro in testing them. We love these cups because they’re affordable and you can use them with kids of all ages.
These cups really do live up to their “Take & Toss” namesake because they are ideal for filling on the go when you’re eating out, on vacation, or at the park. The design is very similar to kid’s cups you’d get at a restaurant. However, Take & Toss cups aren’t great for throwing in the diaper bag when filled up with liquid since there’s no way to cover the straw. That said, for the most part, the lid stayed in place when we threw these cups on the ground and they didn’t leak overnight. We did have a few times where the lid exploded off if it hit the floor the right way, which sent liquid everywhere.
One concern I have is the hard plastic straw. Most of the other cups we tested have soft, bendable straws, but I do worry what might happen if my little one was to fall forward with a firm straw like this one in their mouth. Another hang up about this cup is the assembly. It’s easy to take apart, but, after filling it with liquid, make sure to put the lid on first and then the straw. If you place the lid on with the straw, liquid shoots straight up out of the straw and makes a bit of a mess. It’s an easy fix, but something to be aware of if you plan to use these straw cups.
Overall, the Take and Toss cups are great for travel or storing in the diaper bag for those times when you forget your child’s usual drinking vessel.
Dr. Brown’s is well-known for their Natural Flow baby bottles that have won a slew of awards from popular children’s websites, so I was eager to test out Baby’s First Straw Cup. The 9-ounce, BPA-free cup is easy to hold, comes with removable handles, and a weighted straw to ensure your toddler can drink up every last drop.
However, during our overnight tests, a small pool of water seeped out. We also noticed that when the bottle is full, liquid sometimes emerges from the straw. One benefit this cup offers is that it comes with a bristle brush to help clean all the nooks and crannies in the lid and straw parts. This cup is a fine choice for those who feel a loyalty to the Dr. Brown’s brand, but there was nothing terribly remarkable or memorable about this cup.
Where to Buy
We had high hopes for the 12-ounce Thermos Funtainer, given its 4.5-star rating from more than 5,600 Amazon customer reviews, but this bottle was a big ol’ mess.
This bottle had the most leakage when left on its side overnight. The waterworks don’t stop there. While only a small amount of liquid escaped during our drop tests, the flood gates open almost immediately once we shook the Funtainer from side-to-side. The locking lid is a nice feature, but we think this cup is better suited for older toddlers who are less inclined to throw or play with it.
Additionally, despite being one of the larger straw cups we tested, it’s still petite enough to store in the cabinets without taking up a large footprint. We also liked that the bulk of the straw cup is made from stainless steel, making it a good option for those looking to live a more plastic-free life. Overall, the Funtainer feels very solidly built and like it can withstand everyday wear and tear.
At the start of the testing process, the Nuby Thirsty Kids Flip-it REFLEX was my immediate favorite. It’s larger than most other straw cups we tested, however, the middle portion of the bottle has a rubbery texture, making it easy to grip. It’s very lightweight, has a soft spout, and, like the Thermos Funtainer, holds 12-ounces of liquid. Most of all, my toddler really enjoyed using this bottle. Maybe it was the bright green color and cactus design, but he took a real interest in it.
While liquids can easily pass through the straw without much effort, the design on this bottle is flawed. Now, before I proceed, I want to give the disclaimer that this cup, in no way, claims to be spill-proof when the cap cover is not in place. I learned that first hand as my son turned the cup upside down and doused himself in water on the way to the grocery store one afternoon. It’s just as big of a mess as you’re imagining it to be. I’m not saying I don’t expect some liquid to leak, but the fact that he was able to empty the full 12-ounces in less than 10 minutes is impressive—and troubling if the bottle were to get left open on its side.
The bottle didn’t leak when we had the no-spill cap on, but the cap didn’t always lock the first time around. It took some extra effort, on occasion, to seal it shut. Additionally, the cleaning process was pretty seamless, until we got to the mouthpiece. While the straw popped out with no problem, it took me several tries to pop the mouthpiece out of place before I could clean it. This one definitely took more effort to clean than other cups we tested.
Much like The First Years: Take & Toss Spill-Proof Straw Cups, the Boon Snug Straw with Cup isn’t great for schlepping around when full of liquid. But, it’s great to fill up for your toddler to use when you’re out and about or eating a meal at the dinner table.
This cup utilizes a plastic cup base and a flexible, silicone cover for the top. The coolest feature about this cup is that the silicone cover stretches to fit most cup sizes (up to 2.5-inches to 3.75-inches diameter). This gives you the option to bring just the lid and hard plastic straw with you and use it when you’re out and about, so your child can easily drink from any cup without making a big mess. And, the entire cup can be tossed in the dishwasher, so cleaning is a breeze.
To my surprise, this cup didn’t leak when left on its side overnight or during drop tests. However, it’s not perfect. My son had an easy time pushing down on the silicone topper, which resulted in water erupting from the straw. While it was a fun time for him, it was a mess for me. He also enjoyed pulling the straw in and out of the cup top. For this reason, we think this cup works better for older toddlers who are less likely to remove the straw for fun.
The biggest benefit of this cup is that it has a weighted straw, just like the Dr. Brown’s Baby’s First Straw Cup. This feature allows your toddler to tilt the cup in almost any direction while still being able to drink from it. I found this bottle required more effort to clean than the others because of the tiny straw parts. However, it did come with its own cleaning brush and can be placed on the top rack of the dishwasher, which is a big help for expediting the sanitation process.
The cup is made from BPA-free plastic, although it felt flimsy when compared to our best overall pick. I made the mistake of not properly locking the lid before handing it to my son, which almost instantly prompted a big mess. The cup doesn’t leak when you turn it upside down and only leaked slightly when left on its side overnight. My biggest recommendation to anyone using this cup: Make sure you turn the lid until you hear the click sound. Even if it feels secure, keep tightening the lid. Doing so ensures it’s actually locked into place and doesn’t just look like it. Lesson learned.