With obesity a real problem in the U.S., you don’t want to encourage your toddler to drink too many calories in the form of milk or juice. Water is a perfect solution for staying hydrated without adding too many calories or sugar.
If you want something that will last through their childhood instead of the cheap sippy cups they like to carry around, keep reading to find out which the best water bottles for kids are.
That way, you won’t have to worry about constantly replacing their bottles because the ones on this list will hold up for the long run.
Quick ComparisonOur Top Kids Water Bottle Picks of 2020 Read Full Reviews
What’s Wrong with Disposable Water Bottles?
Disposable water bottles are convenient, widely available and you don’t have to worry about cleaning them after use.
But they’re also a complete waste of resources — that includes your money and the materials used to make them.
These bottles won’t break down for 450 to 1,000 years (1) — that’s an awful lot of waste that could have been avoided. Last year, around 50 billion plastic water bottles were used in the U.S. alone, and the majority weren’t recycled either — they just went straight into the trash.
What’s worse is that when we throw these bottles away, we might as well be tossing our hard-earned money in the garbage along with them. Not only are they a waste of money, but they’re also a waste of natural resources like gas needed to transport them all over the globe.
Environmental issues aside, if you think that bottled water is the safer, healthier option, think again. Bottled water isn’t any better than the water you’ll get out of your faucet at home (2).
When Should Kids Start Using Water Bottles?
You can start introducing water bottles at a very young age — around the same time you teach your child to start drinking from sippy cups. They may not become a water bottle pro overnight, but if you’re patient, they’ll get the hang of it.
If you’re using a water bottle that early for your child, you may want to give careful consideration to what type of material you the bottle should be made of. You can choose:
- Stainless steel.
What Type of Material Is Best?
There are pros and cons to each type of material. Some parents still don’t trust plastic since the BPA scare, and they wonder what frightening chemical will be next to get banned out of the plastic products they’ve trusted for years.
But stainless steel and aluminum water bottles also have drawbacks. Stainless steel is pretty heavy for a child to lift and it can do some serious damage to toes if a baby drops it while trying to take a drink.
Metal bottles have also caused some freak accidents — some kids have gotten their tongues stuck inside when they try to get the last drops out of the bottle. When that happens, the tongue is difficult to get out because a vacuum is created (3).
Glass bottles are easy to break, and no parent relishes the idea of their child having to walk through or around broken glass.
You’ll have to weigh the risks involved with each type of material and decide what’s most important to you to figure out which kind of bottle is right for your child.
Choosing the Best Water Bottle for Kids
Choosing a material is the first decision to make, but there are some other considerations as well.
- Weight: If you want your baby to be able to lift the bottle without help, steer clear of glass and stainless steel. Plastic is the lightest option here.
- Cost: Stainless steel and glass bottles are both pretty pricey. Plastic ones are usually the cheapest.
- Durability: Plastic bottles aren’t made to last forever — that’s why the price tag is so low. Aluminum will last longer than plastic, but generally not as long as stainless steel or glass.
- Design: If you want a bottle that appeals to your child with their favorite cartoon characters, you need to be aware that this will shorten its lifespan. Kids usually don’t want to use anything too babyish as they get older.
- Capacity: If your child goes on a lot of road trips or is outside a lot sweating up a storm, you might want a water bottle that holds a greater amount of liquid.
- Spout: A soft straw spout is best for your toddler to learn with, and it won’t accidentally hurt their developing teeth. A softer spout is also a good idea for younger kids who like to walk around while they drink. If they trip and fall, a soft spout won’t do much damage to their gums, roof of the mouth or teeth.
The Best Kids Water Bottles of 2020
A practical, nice-looking water bottle is something that kids love using as much as adults do, and will spare you from adding extra waste to landfill. Once you’ve given some thought to a bottle your child will want to use, take a look at our favorite picks below.
1. CamelBak Kids Water Bottle
If you don’t relish the idea of sending juice boxes in your child’s lunch because you don’t want them to have the empty calories, the perfect solution is a small water bottle. You’ll want one that won’t take up much real estate in the lunchbox, so there's still enough room for food.
This charming bottle is small enough to fit in a lunch box without hogging too much space. It won’t spill in your child’s lunchbox either, ruining their lunch.
Plus, kids will love all the different colors and designs they can get, from unicorns to dragons.
Recommended for kids from ages 3 to 8, this has a redesigned cap and valve to give your kids a faster flow rate than their older versions, so your child won’t get impatient waiting for their drink.
- Dishwasher safe.
- BPA- and BPS-free.
- It uses a bite valve for a drip-free experience.
- Some parents complained that the tubing in the bottle fell out of place repeatedly.
- Mold may collect in the spout.
2. Zulu Torque Kids Water Bottle
The easiest way for your child to drink from their water bottle might be with a straw. Kids love straws, and they're often made of a softer material, so your baby won’t be injured if they happen to jab the straw against the roof of their mouths.
These modern-looking water bottles hold 12 ounces, and they do it in style with a silicone sleeve over the plastic bottle.
They have a locking flip lid with a soft straw that won’t hurt the top of your baby’s mouth, their lips or their teeth if they happen to fall while walking around and drinking.
Although it’s made of plastic, it is BPA-, phthalate-, and PVC-free.
Even though you can’t put this in the freezer to chill your water, the top is big enough to fit ice cubes in if your baby prefers cold water.
- You can put this in the dishwasher.
- The straw is big enough that your child will be able to get enough water out without having to suck too hard.
- It’s hard to break this bottle, even if you drop it.
- These are fairly expensive.
- If something happens to the straw, they don’t sell replacement ones.
3. Nalgene Tritan Grip-N-Gulp Bottle
If you envision spending half your free time cleaning up the messes your child makes from their leaking water bottle, relax, you have better options. You can get a leak-proof bottle that won’t drive you crazy every time your child decides to tip it over.
This water bottle holds 12 ounces and comes in more than a dozen vibrant colors to choose from, some of which have fun designs if your child prefers those.
The plastic used to make these doesn’t contain BPA, and the smooth mouthpiece should feel comfortable against little mouths.
This is tough enough to stand up to the rigorous use a toddler will put it through. And since it’s spill proof, you won’t need to follow your toddler from room to room mopping up little puddles.
- It’s affordable and dishwasher safe.
- This bottle is small enough for your toddler’s hands.
- Made in the U.S.
- The spout doesn’t close.
- Some parents said this bottle is hard for their toddler to get much liquid out of without getting frustrated.
4. Thermos Funtainer 12 Ounce Bottle
You can’t protect your child from everything, but you can protect them from germs with this hygienic water bottle.
The key feature is the special pop-up straw. It’s hidden beneath a cover, so it can’t be grabbed by germy hands or exposed to dirt, dust, or whatever else your child may have gotten into.
When it’s time for a drink, your child just needs to press the button. The lid will open and the straw will pop up. If your child is the rough and tumble sort and always getting into messes, this water bottle will help keep the germs away.
It’s made of stainless steel, holds up to 12 ounces of liquid, and can keep your child’s favorite liquids cold for up to 12 hours. We also really like that it has an integrated carry handle so smaller hands can keep a good grip on it.
These can be used at a young age, and kids love how the cover pops open with a button.
Editor's Note:Katelyn Holt RN, BSN, BC
- Hygienic push-button lid protects the straw from nasty germs and exposure.
- Stainless steel thermos system keeps liquids cold for 12 hours.
- Integrated carry handle is perfect for little hands.
- You’ve got a lot of different parts with this bottle, so there’s more to clean and children might lose the pieces if they take it apart.
5. GO Bottles Stainless Steel Insulated Bottle
If your child loves their water cold, you’re going to need a little help to keep it the perfect temperature. An insulated water bottle will be able to keep water and drinks at the temperature they want for several hours.
Your toddler won’t be able to break this, no matter how hard they try! There’s a no-slip cover to help their little hands hold on more securely, which is great for parents who worry about their child’s toes getting smashed by a falling bottle.
You can’t use this for hot drinks, but it does an excellent job insulating your cold drinks, and can keep ice cubes solid for 24 hours.
It has a straw to drink from, and comes in some bright, fun colors to interest your child.
- It won’t leak.
- This bottle keeps your drink cold for up to a day.
- It’s easy to clean.
- More expensive than others on the market.
- It holds 24 ounces, which is a bit much for smaller children.
6. Anature Stainless Steel Water Bottle
Stainless steel water bottles are great for parents who want to use a material that's been considered food-safe for generations. They’ll be pricier and heavier than many other bottles, but they’ll give your child years of use.
These are brightly colored and hold 9 ounces, which is just the perfect amount of liquid for a child. Plus, since there aren’t any childish characters on these bottles, so they’ll still be cool enough to use as your child grows up and gets pickier.
This double wall bottle is vacuum insulated, which means it will keep the water cold all day. If you want to change it up a bit during the winter and use it for hot chocolate on a cold day, it’ll keep your drink hot for around 10 hours.
- You won’t get that annoying metallic taste to your water.
- It won’t sweat on the outside of the bottle, so you don’t have to worry about your child forgetting to use coasters on your nice tables.
- It’s small enough that a child will be able to hold it.
- It doesn’t use a straw but has a screw off lid, which might be less convenient.
- It may be a little heavy for some toddlers.
7. Contigo AUTOSEAL Trekker Kids Water Bottles
Children are always on the go! Whether they’re shuffling about with you or starting to fill their lives with school, hobbies, and friends, you want to keep them hydrated while preventing spills.
That’s one of the reasons we appreciate this on-the-go water bottle. It has a special sealed lid so it’s both leak- and spill-proof, preventing accidents, small and large.
Your child can use it clumsily without fear as they learn to drink from a water bottle, but it can also end up rolling around in the car or dropped on the ground without liquid bursting everywhere. It’s even designed to fit in the cupholders of your car.
This is also a great option for active kids because it can be used with only one hand. If your child loves to walk and play outdoors, they can carry and use this water bottle without stopping.
- Leak and spill proof, so you can take it on-the-go without fear of accidents.
- Fits perfectly in the cup holders of your car.
- Features a one-handed drinking system.
- There isn’t a straw or spout, so younger children may struggle to drink from it.
8. Hydro Flask Kids Sippy Water Bottle
Developing fine motor skills is an important part of growing up. Your little one has been grabbing and reaching for things from the very start, and they especially love it when they can hold things on their own. Unfortunately, many water bottles are too big or slippery for little hands.
This special no-slip water bottle aims to help children get a good grip and stay hydrated. Its smaller size is perfect for a child while still holding 12 ounces of liquid. The double-wall vacuum insulation and stainless steel material keeps the liquid cool for up to 24 hours.
Our favorite features, however, are the unique powder coat finish and silicone boot. The powder coat is designed to give your child extra grip when they’re holding the bottle. The silicone boot provides added protection and traction when your child sets it down.
We love this water bottle for younger children who still need a bit of extra help.
- The smaller size is ideal for young children and their little hands.
- With the powder coat finish, your child can get a good grip.
- Keeps liquid cool for up to 24 hours.
- Because it’s smaller, children at sporting events or activities will run out of water quickly.
What About You?
Moms out there, what kind of water bottle do you and your munchkin prefer? Which do you think is the best water bottle for kids? Did we miss anything in our reviews? Let us know in the comments!