Battle of the BPA-free Sippy Cups

We've all heard about BPA in everything. We now know that not only is it found in our Nalgene bottles, but also in our canned foods, and even in our sweet babies bottles and sippy cups.

As a concerned mom, when I found out about this, I immediately wanted to throw out all the plastic in the house and replace it with anything I could find that seemed to be safe. Problem was, figuring out what was out there, how to choose between the different options and was it really worth the ludicrously high price tags that seemed to accompany everything that wasn't dangerous for us? 

I decided to do my research. I've spent the last 4 or 5 months gathering BPA-free sippy cups (a few I bought myself and most were generously given as samples by the companies). I have two expert testers, namely Abbie (4) and Caden (21 mths) who have gladly tested them out for your benefit. :) Now we're ready to share with you what we've learned!

For those wanting more info on BPA in general, here are a few links of interest for you:
Bottles, sippy cups and BPA- oh my!

Bisphenol-A (wikipedia)

Consumer Tips for Avoiding BPA

BPA is Toxic at Low Doses

And now, on with the battle of the sippy cups!

Klean Kanteen


Ease of use: 9

Few pieces, simple to put together and take apart.

Ease of cleaning: 8

The spout comes apart so easily, and all the pieces are dishwasher safe. After a while, the spout eventually got some mold spots on it, so I had to replace it, but the replacements are available at most stores and weren't too costly (they're made by Avent).

Practicality: 7

It occasionally leaks a little, if not kept upright. Because it is completely stainless steel, when it is used for a cold drink, it sometimes becomes a little bit too cold for children's hands. Also, it looks great and we all found it visually appealing, but the 100% stainless steel design means that when (not if, but when!) it gets dropped on a hard surface, it will dent or scrape. Still functions, but doesn't look quite as pretty anymore. Also, as the child gets older, the sippy top can be replaced with a screw on or sport top, which makes it a versatile option.

What my kids thought of it: 8

Both kids really enjoy using this one, although I think sometimes they don't like the feel of the metal on their hands. They like it's spout the best (the same spout as the Avent Magic Cup), but given the choice between this one and the plastic cup, they'll usually pick the plastic, although they will pick this one over the other cups.

Cost: Silver $10.95, Colored $12.50-$19.99

**(this cost and all of the others are based on the current price at Amazon.com
)
**

My overall rating: 8.5

This is a cup that I like to like. I feel good about supporting the company. I like that it contains little plastic (except in the top/spout). I like that when they're done with the sippy style cup, we can simply buy a new type of lid. I wish the all-metal design was a little more practical, and that it didn't hurt so much to fork out the money for one of these (or stress me out each time I think I've lost it!).

** Thought they're not quite the same cup, for a much cheaper version of this cup (yes, Klean Kanteen, I know they're not the same as your cups!), check out The Tickle Trunk, which specializes in affordable stainless steel products for food and drink! You'll need to buy your own spouts to add on to it as they don't come with spouts, but the cup looks and functions virtually the same.


Sigg

Ease of use: 5

Very difficult for even my 4 year old to open and close the spout. I usually had to help her do it, otherwise it wasn't closed all the way, which resulted in leaks. My 1 1/2 year old found it difficult to drink from, and could not open/close the spout at all.

Ease of cleaning: 7

The top comes off quite easily, and only comes apart into two pieces (though I had a hard time figuring out how to separate the two when I first got it). It seemed to do fine in my dishwasher, although once I noticed a bit of a crack in the aluminum on the bottom and wondered if that was from the heat? Luckily it didn't affect the lining or the seal, and the crack was pretty superficial. To wash by hand, you'll need a thin bottle scrub brush, as the neck of the bottle is very narrow.

Practicality: 6

It's a really nice size and doesn't get as cold as the stainless steel cups do. I like that it has the flip lid for when I put it in my diaper bag. But it wasn't terribly practical in that I constantly have to help Abbie with it, and worry about whether it has been left open or not.They do come in several different sizes, 10 oz, 13 oz and 20 oz. We have the 13 oz, and it's a perfect size for my 4 year old, but a bit too big for my 1 1/2 year old.

What my kids thought of it: 7

They love the look of it! It's definitely a gorgeous cup (and there are so many adorable designs and colors), and my daughter was so excited when it arrived in the mail! Despite the difficulty with the spout, she still doesn't mind using it. I don't even bother with it for my son, as he can't open it and finds it a little more difficult to drink from.

Cost: $19.50-$21.99 for most designs

My overall rating: 6

Though this was the one I was fairly excited about, it actually disappointed me the most. Additionally, I am not satisfied with not knowing exactly what the liner is made out of, considering the bottle is made with aluminum (which is toxic). They claim that it is absolutely non-leaching, and it may well be, but the problem is that I just don't know enough about it. It seems to be quite a hush-hush secret, that silly old liner, and I just have this thing with wanting full disclosure regarding the things I am buying for my kids. Call me crazy.


Foogo (by Thermos)

Ease of use: 8

My one complaint with this cup is that sometimes it's hard to get the two top pieces properly lined up so that it screws on correctly. It usually works, but is sometimes finicky and takes me a minute or two.

Ease of cleaning: 8.5

Though the lid has 4 components, it's not too time consuming too take apart and put back together. It's easy to wash, and I found it one of the easier ones as far as getting the spout thoroughly clean so that mold doesn't build up.

Practicality: 9.5

It's a really nice size for little hands, with the double handles that make it easy for young ones. What I loved the most about it is that it has the safety of stainless steel, but the handles and the top and bottom are covered in plastic, so the cold metal is never touching the kid's skin. The colors are also nice and bright, and I find it appealing to look at. It doesn't leak much either. It also comes in a handle-less version, for those who prefer it that way.

What my kids thought of it: 7.5

This was my area of sadness. Though this cup had so many great features, my kids didn't really go for it as much as I thought they would. They'll use it, but they don't tend choose it when asked which one they want. However, both the 1 1/2 and 4 year old will drink from it without an issue, which is great, and they do like the colors on it.

Cost: $11.95

My overall rating: 9

It may not have been my kids favorite, but nonetheless, it's a great cup! It has so many perks, works well for little ones and somewhat older ones. Cleans easy, travels well, not plastic, easy to hold. Overall, I think this is a good choice.


Born Free

Ease of use: 8

Depends on how you want to use it. If it's for a younger child, there is a special two-part attachment to help reduce air bubbles, as well as an optional double handled piece, all in addition to the regular two-part lid and spout. However, I usually ditched the special attachment, as well as the handles, and then it was a simple two piece deal, which made it easy to put together and take apart.

Ease of cleaning: 7

It's easy to put in the dishwasher, but I recently discovered that despite being washed in the dishwasher or being scrubbed in hot soapy water, it has developed mold spots on a sort of hidden inside ring that I didn't notice right away. Most of the plastic spouts do seem to develop mold eventually, but I guess this inner portion is not cleaned thoroughly by regular dishwasher use, so now I need a replacement spout. As well, the opening on the top is bottle-sized ao you need a special scrub brush to do it by hand.

Practicality: 6

This was one of my least favorite spouts. It has a funny opening cut out of the plastic (rather than open holes with a stopper attachment, like most sippies), and the kids found it especially hard to suck out of when we first got it. Neither of them seem to really love the spout- maybe it's a bit awkward of a shape or difficult to get a very steady stream of liquid? I think the idea is that the kids shouldn't have to suck as hard, which can create uncomfortable ear pressure build up. Also, because it's just a slit that allows kids to drink from it (not a controlled, vacuum style spout), leaks are inevitable. It doesn't leak like crazy, but you definitely have to keep an eye on it.

What my kids thought of it: 6

They don't really love it. They'll use it, but I think the spout really turns them off. My son loves his cups of raw milk, but when they're in this cup, he doesn't tend to even finish them.

**Side note- When sending me this sippy cup to try out, Born Free was kind enough to also send me two of their bottles, as well as two pacifiers. Though I had never really used a bottle with either of my kids (going straight from breast to cup), I didn't think much of it. I decided to try giving one to my son, though, just for the sake of reviewing it. I was so surprised to find that he fell in love with it, even at nearly 18 mths old (and never having used a bottle before, ever!). These are fantastic bottles, if you're looking for BPA-free but not wanting to use glass!

Cost: $10.99

My overall rating: 6.5

I wish that I liked this cup more than I do, but it just didn't do a whole lot for me. If my kids don't love it, it's hard for me to love it. The fact that it does leak makes it less desirable to use (it does come with a separate plastic, snap-on lid, but I find it impractical to use). It's a relatively affordable option, though, especially for those looking to stick with plastic, and the removable side handles for little ones is a nice feature that I haven't seen on any other cups.


Avent Magic Cup

Ease of use: 9.5

This is the simplest of the cups I tried. It has the least amount of pieces, which I must admit, makes it very handy. It's also a really nice size for my kids to hold and use, both my son and daughter.

Ease of cleaning: 9

Again, because of few pieces, this one is a snap. The top is slightly narrow, but I can at least get a dish scrubbie in it pretty well, or else I toss it in the dishwasher. The lid and spout are simple to clean. It does have the issue of the other plastic spouts where mold builds up eventually (this just seems to be the nature of these BPA-free plastic spouts, unfortunately), but as with the Klean Kanteen, the replacement spouts aren't too costly and are readily available everywhere.

Practicality: 8

Very minimal leaking, handy size for little hands, not many pieces to lose. Overall, I like it a lot. My biggest issue with this one is that although I know that it's BPA-free, I still have these lingering doubts in my mind, since it's fairly cheap and made by a company that doesn't specialize in more natural products. Call me skeptical, I suppose. I'm sure that it really is BPA-free or they wouldn't be able to market it as such. As well, it looks like they now have some with optional handles, as well as some smaller (7 oz) ones for very young babies.

What my kids thought of it: 9.5

This might be their favorite. They love the bright blue (it comes in several colors, but that's what we have), they like that it's plastic and easy on their hands, they like the size and the spout. This one is often requested/fought over when I open up the cupboard.

Cost: $7.99 for a twin pack

My overall rating: 8.5

If you're not wanting to shell out the money for one of the more expensive ones, and are okay to stick with plastic, this might be the cup for you. It's definitely kid-friendly as well as wallet-friendly. Guess that makes it mom-friendly! Overall, I do like it and it gets a lot of use and love in our house, though I have others that I prefer more in an idealistic sort of way. :) 

There you have it, ladies! The result of several months of cajoling for free samples and trying to test them all out fairly (I know- what a hard life I have!).

Wondering about my overall top picks?

Plastic: I love the Avent Magic Cup. Especially if your budget is small and you don't mind that you'll eventually have to get some new spouts, I think this one is a real winner.

Non-plastic: For me, it's a bit of a toss up between the Foogo and the Klean Kanteen. The Foogo is just an incredibly practical, durable cup, so easy on little hands and it's pretty similarly priced to the Klean Kanteen. However, the Klean Kanteen holds a bit more liquid (yet isn't too big for a 1 year old), and has that great ability to grow with your child by switching up the lid, as well as having a spout that my kids seem to prefer just a bit over the Foogo. Hmmm… it's a toss up!

(As an aside, if you are thinking of buying one of these cups through Amazon.com, would you consider using this link to get to Amazon, in order to support this site? The individual product links weren't working for some reason, but you can use this link
instead. Thanks so much! :)

Care to weigh in with your own thoughts and experience with any of these sippies? What did you like about them? What didn't really work for you or your children?


About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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Comments

  1. It has been found that the key to learning about your type of eczema and treating your type of eczema is to get the proper diagnosis.

  2. Stephanie,

    I just linked to this page from Kitchen
    Stewardship, a post on changing to BPA-free drinking containers throughout the family. Thanks for doing the great research and testing! :) Katie

  3. My son has an insulated cloth holder for the Kleen Kanteen. It makes it much easier to hold onto! My mother bought it as a gift, but it might be from the kleen kanteen website itself. Worth the investment!

  4. When my oldest was 5 months I heard about the scare of BPA in bottles. I was working part time and pumping, so something like that concerned me because she was using bottles 3 days a week. I had to do something and fast because I knew there were plenty of toxins that would seep into her tiny body without my help. At the time the only thing that I found locally was Born Free. Not only was it BPA Free, but it also has the pressure valve in it that would help with preventing ear infections. I was sold, my sister at the same time picked up a sippy cup for her son and did experience the same issues you have noticed with the leaking. Yes, they do leak, but I however started my daughter off with the training cups instead of the full out sippy. I feel this has helped some because the flow is very open on the sippy, but not as much on the training cup. She still uses them to this day and I think the thing that made me love them even more was when I did go to purchase the sippy cups I came to learn that the nipples will also fit on the bottles. So, I now have tons of sippy and bottles, all transposing with one another. The stores sell the nipples for both sippy and bottles separately and I have purchased extras.
    My two year old still uses the “training” nipples instead of the big girl sippy nipples just because of the flow. As for the valve, I have to say I LOVE them still. She has never had an ear infection and although that might not be the only preventing factor. I do pay my respects that it has helped.
    What can I say, I LOVE my born free everything. I guess my view of the dripping sippys was better to think they don’t have to suck so hard to get their liquid out likewise the pressure doesn’t hurt them.

    As for cleaning…I did purchase the Born Free brand cleaning wands because with the little wand you can clean every crevice well. I put all the plastic pieces in the dishwasher and hand wash all of the silicone items. These have worked for me for over two years now and I still appreciate them.

    Like I said to begin with, this was the only bottle I found at the time and possibly if I tried something else I might think they are easier than Born Free. But I love what I have and have learned how to work with them so that they can benefit me the most. My son uses the bottles when I have a sitter and will most likely follow the path with the sippys as well.

    Thanks so much for your research, it is (as always) fun to read what you have learned and have to say. :)

  5. I’ve been trying to decide which sippy cup to buy my daughter and this was really helpful. Thanks!!

  6. My son is 22 months old and we have a Foogo straw bottle (taller and slimmer than the sippy cup you have reviewed above). He’s been using it for about 2 months and it is the only cup we have. That’s right. We have ONE cup. That way, we wash it between uses and it never gets gross in any way. I absolutely love it and have joked about getting myself one. It fits in all cup holders (car, high chair, diaper bag) really well. I’m not sure how different sippy cup-sucking and straw-sucking actually are, so there might be a certain age at which the sippy cup is easier, but if your toddler is okay with a straw, I would definitely recommend this one!!

  7. I have used the Foogo too and had mildew issues like Amanda did. We used it exclusively for milk and didn’t always get it cleaned the same day so that could be why. One thing we did notice is that the milk in the Thermos part stayed cold out of the fridge, but milk would get caught between the valve and the sippy spout and that would get kind of gross if the cup was left out for awhile.

    We love our Klean Kanteen. My daughter wasn’t fond of the sippy spout until I cut a slit in the valve so she could get the water out a little bit faster. She’ll probably switch to a sport top soon.

    Also, the Nuby sippy cups are great and they’re BPA free. I love that they have fewer pieces than most (the valve is built into the spout rather than being a separate piece).

  8. Thank you for sharing , I use Nubby almost exsclusively
    here is an interesting article on nubby

    http://thesoftlandingbaby.com/2008/01/09/which-nuby-bottles-and-sippy-cups-are-really-bpa-free/

  9. Thanks for the comprehensive review! We have the Klean Kanteen and Foogo sippy cups and bottles. I got a KK sippy for my four year old to keep by his bed because it won’t spill and doesn’t seem like a baby cup. For infants and young toddlers, I prefer the Foogo…the size is easier to hold, and the softer spout seems better for little ones. In fact, I’d probably say that the Foogo is my favorite for under 2, and the Klean Kanteen my favorite for older children. I like that the KK lids can be removed and the bottle used as a regular cup (my boys like to do this to get the “last sip” out!). However, they do get scratched and dented more easily than other cups!

  10. We have only used the Klean Kanteen and we really like them except that I have had trouble with the sippy’s leaking. I’ve recently gotten the sports caps and my kids are able to drink out of them pretty well without making a huge mess but I still have to open and close them.

  11. We like the Take n’ Toss by Playskool sippies too. BPA free according to the company, cheap enough that if one gets sat on and cracked or lost you don’t cry, and my daughter has a harder time watering the dog with them. :)

    In fact I also use the little tupperware-type containers, spoons, and plates from Take n’ Toss when we’re at church potluck or something and she needs her own dishes.

  12. Thanks for the info… I’ve been meaning to swap out our plastic sippy cups but just haven’t gotten around to it. Your info is helpful and I’m off to find a few new cups to purchase. Thanks!

  13. We use the kleen kanteen one. We got it with the sippy part but my daughter wanted to be “like us” and we have the big ones with the screw lids, so she wanted that and quickly learned to drink from it like a glass. I like that with the screw lid it won’t leak, however with the avent part it would. For a long time we used this at supper instead of a regular glass since she would drop the regular glasses. Now we just use it while we are out, and use mugs for her at meal times.

    I haven’t tried any other sippys except one we had that was #2 plastic before all the BPA info came out, but we got rid of it because I didn’t really want to use plastic anymore, and it was hard to clean, causing mold issues all the time. It wasn’t one that you have reviewed.

    The only major issue I have had with any of the kleen kanteens is that DO NOT leave them in your car in cold weather…I mean freezing weather. Ours froze solid, and one blew the top off, and now the top (metal screw part) is all squished in, although thankfully still works without leaking. The bottom also popped out making it rounded so it wouldn’t stand up anymore, but my husband figured he had nothing to lose and banged it in with a hammer, and although its dented, it works great. The small sippy although also frozen solid seemed to bulge out but recovered to normal somehow. We often left our old plastic water bottles in the car and never had this issue, however obviously the bottles themselves weren’t good and we got rid of them. So don’t let these freeze! Mine were by accident left in the car overnight.

  14. I think I shared with you about the Subzero Stainless steel bottles at Walmart for 5 bucks. They have the smaller kids size with the sport top too. They don’t leak at all which is important to me. I did have them sit overnight with vinegar/water mix due to a metal taste. The vinegar took care of it though. I also received a Starbucks SS water bottle for my birthday. I love the mouth on this one. The lip on the Subzero is rough and I don’t like drinking from it but the spout is great.

    I haven’t gotten into sippy cups yet with Eli, him being only 4 months. I was given a Born Free sippy cup that I will try when the time cones. I am pretty sure it’s the one that got moldy for you…we’ll see. Bonus it was free :o) so no biggy if it doesn’t work. I do have a glass bottle which I will use at some point. For now it’s just mommy milk for baby.

    Oh and yesterday at Willowbrook I saw Klean Kanteen being sold. I didn’t have time to stop and check prices. It was the kitchen store right outside of Sears across from Payless. Thought you might want to check it out next time your there.

    Enjoyed the chat yesterday!

  15. My son loved the Avent sippy cups to begin with (we started him with water in it when he was eight months old or so) but as he began to teeth more we found that the spout didn’t hold up as well. (Which is also one of the reasons we haven’t tried the Klean Kanteen – because we know that he chews the Avent spouts to bits! :)

    Our favorites, after much trial, is actually two that aren’t on your list. Nalgene now has a new BPA-free sippy cup, the Nalgene Grip & Gulp Sippy Cup, that is his hands down favorite (make sure that the one that you buy has a big sticker on it that says BPA-free. The original, BPA-included ones look similar and are sometimes on clearance at stores near to the new, BPA-free ones). It has a really durable spout and only now, after about a year of daily use, do we feel like we need to replace it (the spout specifically, because of him chewing on it, the rest of it is still great!) You can buy them at REI, online and several other outdoorsy-style stores (I’ve never seen them at, say, a Target). As a mom, I love the style because the spout is centralized on the lid (rather than directly off to one side) more so if he drops it in the dirt, it has less of a chance of getting the spout dirty, only the outside of the cup) plus it holds a lot of water (12 ounces), more so than most sippy cups, and he loves the little circular ring top on top for carrying it around.

    Here’s a link to REI – it’s only $8.95! We keep two to three of these around at all times.
    http://www.rei.com/product/776172

    Our second favorite is the Playtex “Sipster” cup which have been confirmed BPA free by Playtex and lots of green websites. What I love about them the most is that they are cheap and you can find them at any regular drug store or big store (like a Target) and they are easy to clean and durable. The lids and spouts are sturdy, we’ve never had a leak, unless because of user-error, and they last a long time.

    Both the Nalgene and the Sipster only have three parts, the cup, the lid and the seal, and all parts are top-rack dishwasher safe. Now that we’ve found our favorites, I’ve tried to ONLY buy these two varieties so I don’t have several different kinds of seals and cups floating around for ease of use.

    Now, if they could only make a stacking, BPA-free, leak-proof cup, I’d be thrilled!

  16. I have a Foogo for my daughter. I also have a munchkin brand one, which is BPA free. Not sure about the other ones I have, but I think they are BPA free because I wouldn’t have bought them if it didn’t say BPA free on the package. Anyway, I really like the Foogo and always get comments on what a cool sippy cup. My 11 1/2 month old daughter, on the other hand, seems to like it less. However, I am not giving up. I like that it is cool, so I feel like n the summer it will keep milk cooler. My daughter loves to throw it from the high chair and it holds up very well, but I agree, it can be tricky to get the pieces lined up correctly on the top.

  17. We find that the Take and Toss sippy cups from Playskool (I’m pretty sure that’s what they are called) work for us and the company claims no BPA. If you know something different, I’d love to hear it.

    Thanks!

  18. I have tried all of these except the Born Free one, and our favorite around here is the Klean Kanteen. My 23 month old uses the regular sport cap as opposed to the sippy. He never got into the sippys.

    I liked the Foogos for awhile, but they do not clean up well (we’ve left them with juice in them a few times for several days…) – they have moldy spots in the top that I cannot scrub out, soak out, or get out at all. Which I guess means they aren’t coming out, so probably not a big deal, but that’s the only thing I didn’t like about the Foogo. When my next little one starts on sippys, I’ll probably start with the KK or Foogo.

    Thanks for the thorough reviews, Stephanie!

  19. One of the little ones that I take care of used the Born Free cups. He was/is a chewer and the little slit in the spout got stretched out and chewed so badly that liquids literally “hemorrhaged” everywhere. It was a pain.

    His mom found some cheap BPA-free sippy cups at Target that have a hard plastic lid and spout that can’t be chewed. Those seem to work a lot better for him.

    Just my 2 cents.:-)

  20. We used the BornFree bottles with my son from birth until about 16 months old. He loved them and so did we! The sippy, however – OHHHHH I wanted to like it but I HATED that spout. Leaky. Hard for him to suck on. His favorite use for the BornFree sippy cup spout? Shaking a full bottle of water at his sister. He figured out how to squeeze the spout with his fingers to SPRAY HER and soaked himself and her. Not just once, either – because once he figured that out, the game was on. *sigh*

    That said, you might want to check out Nalgene’s offerings. As of last year they began offering a BPA-free version of their water bottles, not only for adults but also for the kids. I was just gifted with two of these from another blogger – I’ll let you know what we think of the spouts. So far my son has had a wonderful time playing with them – they are in the dishwasher now, so I’ll let you know how it goes once there is actually liquid in them. :-)

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