When I was in school I don’t remember kids water bottles being a big deal. Parents would put a disposable water bottle or juice box in their kid’s lunchbox and send them off. At the end of the day, they’d throw away the containers and pack a new one for the next school day.
I think it’s safe to say the way parents look at kids water bottles has evolved a great deal over the years. Today, parents take the time to do research and find the best water bottles for kids. They’re looking for quality, affordable, convenient, eco-friendly and reusable water bottles. With all the choices available, it can seem like a daunting task to narrow down all the options. You can find everything from glass to stainless steel to plastic options. Which are the best? What features should you look for? How much should you pay? We’re here to answer those questions so your child’s next water bottle will be the perfect choice and stand the test of time.
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Features to consider when choosing the best water bottles for kids
Use these features as a starting place for determining the most important features you want in a water bottle.
1. Leak Proof – Because it will be used for a child, having a leak-proof water bottle is very important. Remember that children will carry their lunchboxes around in their backpacks or hands without a thought of anything inside spilling. Their water bottles should be able to handle being tossed around inside without leaking and getting everything else soaked.
2. Safety – Harmful chemicals can leach from certain materials and enter the food or drink that they hold. It’s important to know what material a water bottle is made from. The FDA has set guidelines in place to keep consumers safe. Most manufacturers will let the consumer know the safety of the material they’ve used, but you can always check the FDA website for current symbols and standards to be sure.
Always check to be sure any product of your child’s that will come into contact with food is made from food-safe material.
3. Insulation – Wherever you’re going, you’ll probably want your child’s water bottle to be insulated. If you fill their water bottle with cold water and take it with you for a stroll at the park, you want it to stay cold after hours of play. If it’s used to hold warm cocoa on a cold winter day, you’ll want it to keep the cocoa the perfect temperature. An insulated water bottle helps to regulate the temperature of the liquid inside and keep it just right until kids are ready to drink it.
4. Size – Deciding the right size water bottle for a child is a personal choice but one you’ll want to consider before purchasing. Consider:
- Lunchbox size -Will the water bottle will be kept and transported in the lunchbox?
- Child’s hands and size – Younger kids may do better with water bottles made smaller for their hand size while older children can carry larger bottles. Also consider how heavy the bottle will become once filled with liquid.
5. Ease of Use – This goes along with size. Will it be easy for your little one to grip a larger bottle when at school? Do they have the muscle strength to hold it properly when it’s full? Does it require a lot of coordination to press buttons and do things “just right” in order to get the water out?
6. Color/Design – The last thing to consider is the design of the water bottle. While not important to some kids it can make a world of difference to others. Try to choose a favorite character or color. It may make them even more excited to drink water, which is a plus!
Once you’ve made sure all the features you need are present, compare the prices of different water bottles that are similar. Kids water bottles can cost you anywhere from $5 for a basic bottle to $100 for something that is fancy and has a lot of extra features. You may be tempted to buy the cheapest bottle you see, but don’t skimp on important features for the sake of price. Things like safe material and being leak proof are essential, while design may be something you might not want to spend extra for. The best way to save on the cost of kids water bottles is to not be distracted by all the fancy trappings that you don’t need. Stick to the essentials and you’ll be fine.
Benefits of using a reusable water bottle
Why do you need to use a reusable water bottle for kids anyway? Why not just get those cute little mini water bottles you see at the store and pack one of those in their lunch boxes every day?
There are several reasons you should consider getting a reusable water bottle for the little one in your home.
First, consider the cost. Even the priciest water bottle on the market will turn out to be a better investment than buying disposable water bottles again and again. In the long run it will actually be cheaper. A good quality bottle can last for years before you will have to replace it. Spending a bit more upfront can be better down the line.
Also, consider the environmental impact. Using a reusable water bottle will help keep more plastic bottles out of the landfills.
How to properly care for kids water bottles
Follow these steps to maintain the life of your child’s water bottle:
- Always check the manufacturers recommendations for proper washing guidelines.
- Wash water bottles daily with warm soapy water.
- Use a straw cleaning brush to clean straws and other hard to reach areas.
- After washing, let water bottles completely dry before replacing cap to prevent mold from growing inside due to trapped moisture.
- Inspect straws periodically for small tears and replace accordingly.
- Remember each bottle is made differently and should only be used as directed. Some water bottles can only handle cold liquids, etc. Check the manufacturers recommendations for proper use.
Following these steps will help keep a good quality kids water bottle working properly for years to come.
Best water bottles for kids
Now that you know why the important features of a good water bottle for kids, why it is a good idea to have kids use a reusable water bottle and how to properly take care of it, you can feel confident knowing you can search and compare different options and choose the best one for your child’s needs. Here is our list of the 5 best plastic and stainless steel water bottles for kids.
Plastic water bottles
Contigo Autoseal Trekker
The Contigo Autoseal Trekker is a unique water bottle because it uses a one-touch button that kids can push while simultaneously tilting the bottle to drink. And you don’t have to worry about spills with this bottle because the valve auto seals when the button is released. It’s a great feature for little ones who forget to close the lids on their water bottles sometimes.
This kids water bottle is made from 100% bpa free plastic and is intended for ages three and up. It’s safe for the dishwasher (top rack only) and is spill proof and leak proof.
The one-handed push button makes it a smart choice and one of the best water bottles for kids.
Zulu Shorty Kids Water Bottle
The Zulu Shorty Kids water bottle comes with a silicone sleeve around it for impact protection against drops and falls. It includes a locking flip lid with a one-push button for easy opening and closing.
At 16 ounces, it is on the larger side, so you’d need to make sure it will fit in your child’s lunchbox before purchasing.
It includes an open-mouth design with no straw which is great for adding ice to keep drinks cold longer. What makes this one of the best water bottles for kids is that it also has a locking mechanism on the lid that keeps it from opening unintentionally. So no worrying about something accidentally hitting the button and drink spilling everywhere.
Stainless steel water bottles
Eco Vessel Scout Kids Stainless Steel Water Bottle
Recommended for ages 3 and up, the Eco Vessel Scout is a kids water bottle that comes in a variety of fun designs and features a flip spout with straw so there’s no need to tilt or tip the bottle-just drink!
The Eco Vessel is 13 ounces and boasts a lightweight design, perfect for younger kids who can’t carry anything too heavy. It is made with a single layer of stainless steel which means it is not insulated. It contains no BPA, phthalates, or harmful liners, so it’s a safe water bottle for kids. The straw is made from food-grade BPA-free silicone.
The Eco Vessel water bottle is intended to be used only with cold liquids, and should only be hand washed.
It’s also worth noting that the manufacturers do not claim that the Eco Vessel is leak-proof, however, many customers have said that that their kids water bottles do not leak (which is great!)
We believe the Eco Vessel Scout is a front-runner for best water bottle for kids because of all the fun designs it comes in! See all the fun Eco Vessel designs here.
Thermos Funtainer Water Bottle
The Thermos Funtainer is a great water bottle for kids for school or anytime. According to the manufacturer, it keeps cold liquids cold for up to 12 hours. So when it’s lunch time at school, kids will still have a nice cold, refreshing drink. It is not recommended for hot drinks.
The Thermos Funtainer uses a push button top which is great for keeping the pop-up straw protected until ready for use. It is made from stainless steel and uses a vacuum insulation technology that keeps liquids cold for up to 12 hours.
It’s 12 ounce capacity makes it the perfect fit for many lunchboxes and many reviewers have stated that it is leak-proof when closed properly. Some reviews also state that because of the stainless steel exterior, any designs on the Thermos Funtainer tend to scratch off quickly. To avoid this, try purchasing this water bottle in a solid color.
With it’s ability to keep liquids cold for 12 hours, the Thermos Funtainer is definitely one of the best water bottles for kids.
Klean Kanteen Kid Kanteen Classic Kids Water Bottle
For kids that like variety, the Klean Kanteen Classic might be the perfect fit. The Klean Kanteen line makes interchangeable lids that can be swapped from almost any other Klean Kanteen bottle to another (like this sippy cup or their classic sports water bottle. It’s perfect for a family with multiple ages.
The Klean Kanteen features double wall vacuum insulated stainless steel. It is leak proof and BPA, phthalate and lead free.
Because of the double wall insulation, the Klean Kanteen can keep hot drinks hot for up to 12 hours and it can keep cold drinks cold for up to 40 hours! This makes it a strong contender to be one of the best water bottles for kids. The loop cap can be used to hang the bottle on a backpack or you can pack the 12 ounce Klean Kanteen in a lunch box. It’s the perfect size.
By taking some time to do a bit of research up front, you can find the best water bottle for kids that, with proper care, can last for years to come.