Let’s talk about kids water bottles!
After raising two kids ourselves and interviewing hundreds of our parent readers, here are some truths no one tells you about kids water bottles.
- Most are NOT leak-proof. These are not sippy cups designed to keep liquid from spilling! If your child puts a water bottle upside down in a backpack, don’t expect it to be dry in there! Also: kids sometimes don’t screw on the lid or close the top correctly —and that causes leaks too! (Good news: there is one leak-proof bottle we will recommend in this article).
- Water bottles are for WATER! We’ve warned you—if you put any other beverage other than water, you could have a nasty bacteria/mold problem in short order. That’s because some kids water bottles have all sorts of nooks and crannies that can be hard to clean . . . especially if you put juice in there!
- Some younger kiddos may find water bottles frustrating. Example: the CamelBak water bottle we recommend in this article has a bite valve . . . you bite down on the valve to release the water. That can be challenging for some younger kids!
- Most kids water bottles are NOT insulated. They don’t keep water cold.
Ok, now that we’ve got the caveats out of the weigh, let’s talk about the best kids water bottles out there today.
We surveyed the readers of our parenting books (2.1 million in print!) to find parent favorites. Then we had actual kids try out these top recommendations. Here are the bottles that made the cut.
For best budget-friendly kids water bottle, we like this 2-pack of Contigo bottles best. Contigo is to kids water bottles what Apple is to smartphones—they are the go-to brand for most folks!
Here’s why this 2-pack is a winner:
What We Liked
• Works one-handed. That’s a big reason why our kid testers liked this bottle.
• 14 ounce size is just right—not too big or small.
• No straw or spout to clean. Kids press a button and drink from a valve—easy, once they get the hang of it!
• No straw to lose—that’s a big problem with other water bottles!
• BPA free.
• Dishwasher safe (top rack).
What Needs Work
• Younger kiddos find it hard to push in the lock to drink. Yes, these bottles are rated for ages 3 and up, but some of the youngest kids may find the push-button a challenge.
• Lid can be hard to clean. The inside of the lid has places that can be challenging to clean—there are little crevices in there where dirt (and then mold) can hide. Hint: this is why we only recommend water (not juice or soda) for these bottles!
• Contigo’s “autoseal technology” isn’t perfect—yes, these bottles can still leak if the lid isn’t secured tightly.