10 Best Sippy Cups
Your little one is growing up fast. It feels like you were just in the midst of round-the-clock breast- or bottle-feeding, and now baby is showing signs that they’re ready to start drinking independently. This transition can be tricky (not to mention messy)—but a sippy cup can help! A sippy cup bridges the gap between needing a nipple and using a regular tumbler, which means less mess and frustration for you and baby. That said, as baby masters the art of sipping, spills are inevitable. (FYI: Your kiddo might also decide to chuck their cup across the room, so finding an option made with durable material is key.)
Ready to start your sippy cup search? Keep reading for expert tips on how to transition from the breast or bottle, plus our picks of the best sippy cups on the market.
How to Transition Your Child From a Bottle to a Sippy Cup
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), bottles should be phased out entirely between 12 and 24 months. However, it can take some time for kids to master the skill of drinking independently. Sippy cups can help during this period of adjustment.
Mona Amin, MD, a pediatrician and podcaster based in Miami, Florida, recommends introducing an open or straw cup once your child hits the six-month mark. If your child kicks up a fuss at first, don’t be discouraged! With time, patience and consistent use, your little one will easily pick up the necessary skills needed.
Before you begin the process of transitioning to a sippy cup, look for a few key developmental cues—like sitting upright independently—that indicate baby is ready. “If your baby has an easy-breezy temperament where they adjust quickly, you can cold turkey switch all bottles to cups,” says Amin. But be warned: This tactic may not work for everyone. A more gradual approach would be to replace one daily bottle with a cup, starting with the lunchtime feeding, advises Amin. It’ll take a bit more time, but, eventually, all baby’s drinks will be served in a cup, whether they’re having water, breast milk or cow’s milk.
It’s important to note that a sippy cup shouldn’t be used as a pacifier to comfort your child. What’s more, don’t send your child to bed with a cup or bottle.
Different Types of Sippy Cups
Sippy cups come in all shapes, sizes and materials. From durable plastic beakers and food-grade silicone mugs to temperature-regulating stainless steel cups, each type has its own benefits and drawbacks. But the main sippy cup types on the market can be broken down into five distinct categories: hard spout, soft spout, flat top, open-top and straw. Keep reading to discover the pros and cons of each option.
Flat top: Flat top sippy cups—aka 360 cups—are a great option for kids transitioning away from the bottle or breast. The innovative spoutless design allows your child to drink from any angle. The rim is sealed to prevent spills, but once your child raises the cup to their mouth liquid will begin to flow freely. Monin recommends using a 360 cup for the first 6 to 12 months.
Straw: This type of cup has a sealed rim to prevent spills and comes with a built-in straw for young toddlers to drink from. In most cases the straw is removable for easy cleaning. Monin is a big fan of straw cups, as they encourage oral muscle development that can help with advanced speech patterns. “They also promote sipping versus sucking, which is an important mature jaw movement pattern,” says Monin.
Open top: An open top sippy cup is essentially a regular cup, the only major difference is that it’s small enough for little hands to grasp. Some open top sippy cups also have suction bases and are made from child-friendly (read indestructible) materials like silicone. Alongside flat top and straw cups, this type is one of the best options to promote healthy oral development.
Hard spout: Cups with a hard spout are typically made from firm plastic, which toddlers won’t be able to chew through. Spout cups are sealed to prevent spills. However, as this type encourages a sucking motion to drink (rather than sipping), they’re not recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA).
Soft spout: This type of sippy cup has a soft spout—usually made from a flexible plastic material—which closely resembles a bottle teat. Soft spouts are gentle on teething gums but can prolong the weaning process since they mimic bottle feeding. According to Monin, soft and hard spout sippy cups encourage an immature tongue-thrust pattern, which allows liquid to pool around the teeth leading to an increased risk of cavities.
Whether you’ve finally managed to ditch the bottle or are only getting started on the transition, the wide array of sippy cup options can be overwhelming. But the truth is: the best sippy cups are ones your picky toddler will actually use. To help out, we’ve whittled down the list to a few tried-and-tested options.
Best 360 sippy cup
First up on our list of the best sippy cups is this Best of Baby award-winning tumbler by Munchkin. The spoutless design supports healthy oral development and double handles help baby grasp the mug independently. The best part? Your child can drink from anywhere along the 360-degree rim, which seals instantly when your little one stops sipping—meaning it’s practically spill-proof (hooray!).
- Dishwasher safe
- Baby can drink from any edge
- Self-sealing rim prevents spills
- According to reviews, the cup may leak if baby dumps it upside down or throws it on the floor
Buy it: Munchkin Miracle 360 Trainer Cup, $14, buybuyBABY.com
Best baby sippy cup
Moving on from the bottle or breast can be a major learning curve—for parents and infants. To make things easier Nuk created the learner cup. It has a soft silicone spout that’s gentle on sensitive gums and two anti-slip handles that can be removed once your little one outgrows them. It also includes a vent to prevent baby from swallowing air, which can lead to burping and gas. Although you may eventually want to move onto a spoutless design, this is the best sippy cup for a baby in the early stages of weaning.
- Dishwasher safe
- Spill-proof spout
- Air vent to prevent gas
- Removable anti-slip handles
- Some parents report that their child chewed through the silicone spout
Buy it: NUK 5 oz. Learner Cup, $9, buybuyBABY.com
Best sippy cup to transition from bottle
An infant trainer cup with a straw is another dentist-approved option. However, most straws aren’t spill-proof, meaning they can get messy. Luckily, OXO has come up with a solution. This clever tumbler has an almond-shaped spill-proof straw that conforms to baby’s mouth. As soon as your kiddo’s lips touch the straw a valve opens for easy drinking, and the hinged cap closes to create a leakproof seal. Think straws are only for big kids? This sippy can be used for babies as young as 4 months old. It’s also BPA-, phthalate- and PVC-free, with a dimple in the lid to make room for your baby’s nose. Genius!
- Dishwasher safe
- Removable handles
- You’ll need to remove the straw for cleaning
- Some parents report that the flow of liquid is too fast
Buy it: OXO Tot Transitions 6 oz Straw Cup with Handles, $12, OXOTot.com
Best toddler sippy cup
Between being flung across the room in the midst of a temper tantrum and being gnawed on at mealtimes, sippy cups for toddlers need to be able to withstand a lot of wear and tear. Pegged as virtually indestructible, Re-Play sippy cups are made from hard, textured plastic designed for repeated use. The leak-free, silicone valve is easy to clean and all parts are dishwasher- and microwave-safe. Plus, all Re-Play products are made using recycled milk cartons. Eco-friendly and durable? We’ll take two.
- Dishwasher and microwave safe
- Made from recycled milk cartons
- Free from BPAs, phthalates, PVC and melamine
- Cups are compatible with Re-Play’s straw cup lids
- Hard plastic spouts may not be suitable for teething stage
- The cups are opaque
Buy it: Re-Play Toddler Feeding No Spill Sippy Cups, $10 for a pack of 2, Walmart.com
Best sippy cup with a straw
If baby’s used to drinking from a bottle this sippy cup from Munchkin is a great option. With easy-grip handles and a weighted straw, your little one can hold this cup like a regular bottle and drink from any angle. And, thanks to the flip top lid that locks in place, this pick is perfect if you need a cup to take on the go.
- Top-rack dishwasher safe
- Leak-proof guarantee
- Weighted straw lets kids drink from any angle
- Straw and valve must be cleaned with a brush
- Cup needs to be stored disassembled
Buy it: Munchkin Any Angle Click Lock Weighted Straw Trainer Cup, $8, Munchkin.com
Best stainless steel sippy cup
This stainless steel sippy cup is a real triple threat. It’s free from harmful chemicals, keeps beverages cold for up to 10 hours (or hot for up to 5 hours) and is super-durable to boot. The removable handles are easy to grip, and the slide top opening is totally leak proof. It also has a straw-top design that supports healthy oral development. This cup is suitable for use from 8 months on.
- BPA and phthalate free
- Removable double handles
- Stainless steel construction is scratch-proof, odor-resistant and durable
- Double-wall insulation keeps liquids cold for 10 hours and hot for up to 5 hours
- Hand-wash only
- The cup is opaque
Buy it: BEABA 8.5 oz. Stainless Steel Straw Sippy Cup, $19, buybuyBABY.com
Best silicone sippy cup
One of the best sippy cups out there, this pick from Lalo can be used in three different ways. Use the spout for babies that are used to a bottle, then transition to the flexible straw top before moving onto an open-mouth toddler cup. It’s made from FDA-approved non-toxic silicone. Bonus: Opt for a multipack to avail of a 5 percent discount.
- Dishwasher safe
- Three drinking modes
- Easy-grip double handles
- Free from BPAs, phthalates and lead
Buy it: Lalo Little Cup, $13, MeetLalo.com
Best spill-proof sippy cup
Empower your mini with these spill-proof sippy cups from Nuby. A squeeze and suck motion triggers the flow of liquid—meaning baby is in total control of how much liquid they get. The straw also has a built-in valve that only opens when your child sips from it, keeping spills and drips at bay. One possible downside? This cup doesn’t have handles meaning it may be harder for younger babes to use.
- Dishwasher safe
- Spill-proof straw design
- No handles
- Some customers report that it’s difficult to find replacement parts
Buy it: Nuby 3 Piece No-Spill Cup with Flex Straw, $9 for a pack of 3, Amazon.com
Best eco-friendly sippy cup
Searching for eco-friendly sippy cups for toddlers? Check out this pick by Green Sprouts Baby. The straw spout is made from a plant-based plastic that’s durable, lightweight and free from harmful chemicals. Meanwhile, the tumbler is made from glass with a shock-absorbing base and a reinforced outer shell that won’t shatter, even if your child chucks it off their highchair. It comes in two different sizes and a range of kid-friendly colors.
- Dishwasher safe
- Sustainable materials
- Drip-free spout and travel cap prevent leaks
- Cup must be taken apart for cleaning
- Heavier than other sippy cups
Buy it: Sprout Ware Sip & Straw Cup made from Plants and Glass, $20, GreenSproutsBaby.com
Best open-top sippy cup
Of course, you could teach your child to use a regular tumbler from the get-go, but then you’ll have be prepared for plenty of spills and splashes. Still, if you’re determined to transition straight to open-top drinking, go for this clever sippy cup by Ezpz. It’s made from soft silicone that won’t hurt sore gums and developing teeth, and is easy for small hands to grip. Other thoughtful design features—like a weighted base and a slanted interior—help kids master the skill of sipping. One thing to note is that this cup only holds a small amount of liquid, which means you might have to refill it more often. But once your tot is ready to move on, you can try out the Mini Cup, which holds 4 oz.
- Dishwasher safe
- Free from BPAs, phthalates and latex
- Weighted base reduces the risk of the cup toppling over
Buy it: Ezpz Tiny Cup, $12, EzpzFun.com
Mona Amin, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician based in Florida. She is also the host of the PedsDocTalk podcast. She received her degree from ATSU School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona, and completed her pediatric residency at the Bernard and Millie Duker Children’s Hospital in Albany, New York.