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11 best toddler cups and beakers for learning to drink independently

Encourage your little one’s development (minus the mess) with these easy-sip designs

Zoe Phillimore
Monday 20 December 2021 13:33
<p>Choose from soft spouts and straws to 360-degree valve cups for spill-free sipping </p>

Choose from soft spouts and straws to 360-degree valve cups for spill-free sipping

Weaning a baby is a messy but often fun affair. And it’s a real milestone in your baby’s life too. As well as teaching them how to eat, you will need to teach them how to drink too.

The NHS’ Health Choices guidelines for weaning recommend you offer water to your child during mealtimes from a free-flow or open-valve cup. This means your baby won’t have to bite or put any extra effort into drinking while they learn how cups work.

Once they’ve mastered sipping from free flow cups, you might want to move your toddler onto something a bit more grown up. There are plenty of different cups on the market, from traditional straw-in-bottle affairs to bite valve straws, which are a bit more difficult to master.

There are also spouts and straws, as well as 360-degree valve cups. And some bottles are even insulated to keep the drink at the right temperature for longer.

How we tested

We tested more than 20 toddler cups over the course of two months, with two very active and determined (read: “messy”) toddlers. We zeroed in on whether the cups were spill free, whether our kids enjoyed using them and therefore were inclined to drink more and whether they are dishwasher proof. Indeed, they were washed daily, so we also looked at how the materials fared under considerable use, and gave extra kudos to cups that were eco-friendly or had a longer lifespan too.

Read more:

The best toddler cups for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Tum Tum tippy up cup: £8.99, Hippychick.com
  • Best metal bottle – Klean Kanteen kid classic sippy bottle: £16.95, Kleankanteen.co.uk
  • Best insulated bottle – Beaba stainless steel straw cup: £15, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best for bedsides – Litecup: £10.50, Hippychick.com
  • Best for versatility – Skip Hop sip-to-straw cup: £18, Uberkids.com
  • Best first cup – Tommee Tippee essential free-flow first cup: £3.99, Tommeetippee.com
  • Best soft-spout cup – Vital Baby hydrate easy sipper with removable handles: £5.49, Vitalbaby.com
  • Best cup with 360 rim – Munchkin wildlove miracle 360 sippy cup: £14.99, Munchkin.co.uk
  • Best eco-friendly cup – Eco Rascals bamboo cup: £9.90, Ecorascals.co.uk
  • Best for cute design – Done by Deer happy dots spout cup: £5, Kidly.co.uk
  • Best for older toddlers – B.Box insulated drink bottle: £22, Kidly.co.uk

Tum Tum tippy up cup

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10.

Our toddlers were immediately drawn to the cute little bear face and flippy lid on this cup, while we were immediately drawn to the spill-free element on it, and how easy it was for our toddler to use. It’s small enough for little hands to lift even when full, and it has integrated handles. Thanks to the weighted straw on this cup, our little one was able to suck up their drink even if they tipped the cup upside down. Great if they’re just getting to grips with the idea of straws. We also appreciated that most of it was dishwasher safe.

Klean Kanteen kid classic sippy bottle

Best: Metal bottle

Rating: 9/10

These bottles are smart and eco friendly – and for that we loved them. They come with a sippy spout, with cover for toddlers who are just getting to grips with the whole drinking thing. Once they’ve mastered that then you can progress to a sport cap if you like. Indeed there are loads of compatible caps, so you’re sure to find one that works for you.

The bottles are hardwearing – they’re made from BPA-free stainless steel – and the colour doesn’t chip or fade, no matter what you throw at it. The new, slimmer profile on the bottle means it’s easy to chuck in a bag and go, and we really liked the range of funky and colourful designs these come in. At 355ml, these bottles will likely be suitable for your child all the way through childhood, and it’ll last that long too.

Beaba stainless steel straw cup

Best: Insulated bottle

Rating: 8/10

The fact that this cup is virtually plastic free is a big eco-friendly tick for us. Out of all the many, many cups we tried this was one our toddlers were most drawn to – they just loved using it. The handles make it easy for little hands to grasp, and the flippy lid is appealing for them too. It also makes it spill free – so long as everyone remembers to shut it before chucking it in the bag. The bottle is double walled, which makes it insulated – handy if you’re out and about and want to keep a drink icy on a warm day.

Litecup

Best: For bedsides

Rating: 8/10

Now here’s a bit of genius – a cup that’s also a nightlight. Turn the light on at the bottom of the cup, and when it senses dim light the cup glows subtly. This solved an issue for us, of our kids waking up when they’re thirsty and calling us in to reach their drink that is approximately 5cms from their faces (ahem!). The cup also has a 360-degree spout, so your child can sip from any side they want to. With a 330ml capacity, this cup holds enough to keep even the thirstiest kids hydrated.

Skip Hop sip-to-straw cup

Best: For versatility

Rating: 9/10

Firstly, we loved that this pack is a set of two cups. One cup is never enough for a toddler – they get chucked out of prams, have snacks mashed into them and if they’re anything like our toddlers, your kids will often have more than one drink on the go at any one time.

We really liked this cup for transitioning our toddlers away from baby bottles and working out how to use a straw. The clever flippy lid lets you select between a traditional straw and a softer spout, which kept our toddlers happy, whatever mood they were in. You can also slide both sides down to chuck it in your bag and go. There are also two handles to help little hands grasp the cup.

Would we say they’re absolutely leak proof? No. But they’re pretty decent. And they stood the test of time – we washed them, used them for milk and water and they fared really well.

Tommee Tippee essential free-flow first cup

Best: First cup

Rating: 8/10

No toddler home is complete without several of these falling out of a kitchen cupboard. These cups are the Ronseal of toddler cups – a stalwart of the toddler cup world, and for good reason. Simply fill and let your child tip and pour the drink into their mouths (or on the sofa, into the change bag – whatever their “delightful and curious” minds come up with). The free flow on these cups is better for kids’ oral development as they don’t need to apply pressure to release the liquid. Our little testers happily used these without any problems, and they wash well too.

The hard plastic spout does flip down to prevent any spills when not in use, and the handles are the perfect size for little toddler paws. We like that they’re a set of two. You’d be hard pressed to find better value for money.

Vital Baby hydrate easy sipper with removable handles

Best: Soft-spout cup

Rating: 8/10

The candy colours and friendly little cheetah (leopard?) on this bottle appealed to our toddlers, and it was often the most-fought-over cup in the cupboard. The soft spout was easy enough for them to use, although they did also enjoy just chewing it. And the removable handles made it easy for them to grasp. We liked the flip-top lid (so did the mini testers, to be fair) but it’s not going to hold out being shaken about in a bag without leaking, sadly. Every part of this cup is dishwasher safe, which is a massive tick for us.

Munchkin wildlove miracle 360 sippy cup

Best: Cup with 360-rim cup

Rating: 8/10

Our toddlers took easily to the 360-degree sippy lid on this cup. You just tilt the cup and sip the valve from any side. And we found it fairly spill free – unless dropped from a height onto a hard floor, but that’s to be expected. And yes, you can stick every part of it in the dishwasher – hurrah!

These particular cups from Munchkin are made from 100 per cent recycled and recyclable materials, which helps our conscience a bit. The sides of the cup are adorned with cute animals in sunshine shades – we loved our koala one (£8, Kidly.co.uk), and it made finding it in the cupboard easier too. The colours and design weathered well, even after countless cycles in the dishwasher. It’s also a nice touch that Munchkin have partnered with International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Whale Sanctuary Project on these cups, and have made donations to both organisations.

Eco Rascals bamboo cup

Best: Eco-friendly cup

Rating: 7/10

We found this cup really intrigued our slightly older toddler, and our school-aged child too. We liked that this meant children won’t necessarily grow out of this cup very quickly. And we appreciated the silicone lid, which allowed our toddlers to have a go with a proper cup and straw without any spills.

The cup is made from bamboo, which is a natural material that’s recyclable, biodegradable, grown and harvested without the use of pesticides. While we love this for eco reasons, it does mean you can’t stick it in the dishwasher or leave liquids in it for more than two hours.

Done by Deer happy dots spout cup

Best: For cute design

Rating: 7/10

Made from food-grade melamine, you can chuck every part of this simple cup in the dishwasher. We liked the subtle, modern print on the side – an oasis of calm in a sea of garish toddler plastic in our house. The spout is made from hard plastic, and our toddlers seemed to get on well with it.

It is free pour, and doesn’t come with a cover nor does it flip down. This means maximum mess with our toddlers, but your mileage may vary if your toddlers are a bit more careful. The chunky handles worked well for us, and it’s still a nice cup to have once your toddler has graduated to open cups, and you can remove the lid.

B.Box insulated drink bottle

Best: For older toddlers

Rating: 8/10

This insulated bottle worked well at keeping drinks cooler for longer, and our toddlers loved the sippy straw. Meanwhile we appreciated that it’s all dishwasher safe, and the metal bottle is both eco-friendly and durable. It lasted many toddler-chucking-across-the-room incidents.

The flip down lid closes with a satisfying click, and then pops open when you press the button on the front. Our mini testers loved this function, and we appreciated that it meant we could carry it in a bag spill free. However, this bottle is on the heavier side and quite large, so perhaps suited to slightly stronger or older toddlers.

The verdict: Toddler cups

We loved the Tum Tum cup, as it taught our toddlers how to use a straw with minimal mess or confusion. If you’re looking for something that will see your toddler through childhood, the Klean Kanteen cannot be beaten. And for those early days, all you need is a Tommee Tippee free flow.

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