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When it’s time for your baby to transition off the breast or bottle, it can feel like a hard-to-swallow reminder that your baby is growing. It’s a bittersweet milestone, and you might be experiencing flashes of them going off to college. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of joy-filled memories to make before that day comes.
Right now, your little one is ready to take on a new skill! That’s cause for celebration, one that deserves the best sippy cup to help them achieve it. We’ve rounded up some of our picks for the best sippy cup by age and feature.
- Best leak-free sippy cup: Nuby No-Spill Super Spout Grip N’Sip
- Best versatile sippy cup: Munchkin LATCH Transition Cup
- Best transitional sippy cup: Tommee Tippee First Sips Soft Transition Cup
- Best eco-friendly sippy cup: DOIDY Cup
- Best soft-spout sippy cup: NUK Learner Cup
- Best straw sippy cup for babies: ZoLi Bot Straw Sippy Cup
- Best spoutless sippy cup: Munchkin Miracle 360 Trainer Cup
- Best sippy cup for toddlers: First Essentials by NUK
- Best straw sippy cup for toddlers: Nuby No-Spill Cup with Flex Straw
- Best affordable sippy cup: The First Years Take and Toss Spill-Proof Sippy Cup
- Best spout-lid sippy cup: Zak! Designs Toddlerific Perfect Flo Toddler Cup
- Best insulated sippy cup: First Essentials by NUK Seal Zone Insulated Cup
- Best open-top sippy cup: Reflo Smart Cup
Sip without spilling — that’s the mission of all sippy cups. It’s a cup that allows your baby to learn how to drink out of a real cup without the risk of spilling (something we know you know they’re good at).
Depending on the type of sippy cup you buy, it will generally have some combination of handles, a spout, a straw, and a lid to help your little one hone in on their motor skills of holding a cup and learn how to take a drink without dumping it down the front of their cute outfit.
You can choose from a few different types of sippy cups:
- Soft spout. These are the closest to a bottle, containing a nipple spout that still allows for sucking. They can be used to transition your baby to latched tops or open tops by allowing them to first get used to holding and gripping the cup and its handles.
- Hard spout. Hard-spout sippy cups encourage your child to transition from sucking to tilting and sipping. It’s best to introduce it after they’ve mastered the soft spout.
- Straw. Straw sippy cups, as you may have guessed, employ a straw rather than a spout. They can be harder to clean. They still encourage sucking over sipping, but may help your child get used to holding a cup on their own.
- No spout. These sippy cups are spoutless with a flat top (sometimes referred to as 360 cups). They allow for water to flow from all edges of the cup opening to resemble the action a real cup while still using a lid. They typically lack any no-spill valves, and that’s a good thing. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) notes that bottle feeding and breast feeding as well as repeated use of no-spill sippy cups (because of the way they mimic bottle feeding) after 12 months is associated with early childhood caries.
- Open top. Once your child has the spoutless sippy cup down, you can transition them to open tops. These are regular open cups but smaller and less breakable than the nice glassware in your cupboard.
The type of sippy cup that’s best for your baby depends on their age, their ability to hold a sippy cup on their own, and how easy the cups are to use — and to clean. Here’s what we considered when choosing the best sippy cups.
- Company reputation and transparency. Our integrity team vets products for impending lawsuits, harmful materials, and more. You can learn all about Healthline’s detailed vetting process here.
- Materials. All of the sippy cups included are made from BPA-free plastic and other safe materials.
- Price. We included options in various price ranges.
- Customer reviews. We combed through customer reviews to choose sippy cups that come highly rated by other parents.
- $ = under $5 per 5-ounce cup
- $$ = $5–$8 per 5-ounce cup
- $$$ = over $8 per 5-ounce cup
Here are our picks for the best sippy cup by age:
Younger babies are still learning to master their coordination, so easy-grip handles and soft spouts are key features to look for in a sippy cup for babies ages 4 to 6 months.
Cup use at this age is optional. It’s more about practice and less about actual drinking. Babies should always be supervised while using a cup or bottle.
Best leak-free sippy cup
The plastic construction is BPA-free and comes in a variety of bright colors. The cup can hold a full 8 ounces of liquid. It’s also an affordable option.
This cup gets high marks from customers because it’s easy to clean, durable, and leak-free — at least when the top is screwed on correctly.
Some say it isn’t the best choice for children with teeth because they can bite through the silicone spout.
Best versatile sippy cup
All materials in this plastic cup are BPA-free and screw apart for easy cleaning.
Customers like the adaptability of this cup. The handles can be removed as your child gets more skilled at holding a cup. You can also use Munchkin bottle nipples when necessary.
Others critique the cup’s flow, calling it “restrictive,” and explain that the handles snap off too easily when in use.
Best transitional sippy cup
The Tommee Tippee First Sips Soft Transition Cup holds 5 ounces of liquid and is made for babies 4 months old and up. Its plastic construction is BPA-free and it features a soft silicone spout that encourages a “natural cup drinking action” by dispensing liquid at an angle.
You may use bottle nipples or the included sippy top that comes with the cup, lending to its versatility.
Reviews are mixed, but those who like it tout its ease of use. People who don’t like it explain that the top is hard to screw on and off the cup, which can make it difficult to use without it leaking.
Best eco-friendly sippy cup
While it may look unusual, the DOIDY Cup is an open-top cup that can be used, under supervision, by children as young as 4 months old. Its slanted shape was designed 40 years ago and is made from food-safe, BPA-free high-density (HD) polyethylene.
The main advantage with this cup is that it helps teach the youngest children to drink from a rim, not a spout. Parents like that it’s all one piece and simple to clean.
This type of cup is sure to be quite messy for babies and, as a result, isn’t a good choice for on-the-go drinking. It’s also more expensive than many of the other options.
As your baby continues transitioning to cup use, the options get more varied and include:
- spout cups
- spoutless cups
- straw cups
The variety you choose is up to you and your baby.
Since the cup may be too heavy for your little one to hold with just one hand, cups with handles are helpful at this stage. And even if a cup has a larger capacity, resist filling it to the top so your baby can maneuver it.
Continue to supervise your baby using a cup until they are at least 1 year old.
Best soft-spout cup
The NUK Learner Cup comes in 5- or 10-ounce sizes and features removable handles for your growing baby.
It’s appropriate for babies 6 months old or over, and it’s made from BPA-free plastic. The cup has a soft silicone spout that has a special vent to prevent baby from swallowing too much air.
Parents share that this cup is easy to handwash and that the travel piece that comes with the cup prevents leaks when it’s tossed in a diaper bag. Others say their babies had trouble getting milk out of the cup, even when sucking very hard.
Best straw sippy cup
The ZoLi BOT Straw Sippy Cup is suitable for babies 9 months old or over. It features a weighted straw, so your little one can get liquid no matter how the cup is oriented.
The plastic is BPA-free and can be handwashed or run through your dishwasher for cleaning. You can also purchase replacement straws.
Parents who like this cup say that it’s simple to assemble and that the handles are easy for babies to hold.
On the downside, babies may bite through the straw (something to pay attention to).
It can also be difficult to screw the top on correctly, making it prone to leaks. The cup can also leak if the straw becomes damaged from biting or normal wear and tear.
Best spoutless sippy cup
The Munchkin Miracle 360 Trainer Cup is an affordable option. The unique spoutless construction allows babies 6 months old and over to simulate drinking from an open cup without the spills.
It’s also streamlined with only three main pieces and top-rack dishwasher safe.
Some parents complain that, while the cup is spill-proof, their smart babies figured out they can pour the liquid by simply pressing on the center of the top.
Toddlers have mastered more dexterity with their hands, so many may graduate from handles at this age. Cups with a curved or hourglass shape can help little hands grip and hold.
Best for toddlers
The economical First Essentials by NUK Fun Grips Sippy Cup (previously sold as Gerber Graduates) is made in the United States from BPA-free plastic.
The two-part design is simple and the hourglass shape is easy for toddlers ages 12 months and older to grab.
This cup features a 100 percent spill-proof, leak-proof, break-proof guarantee. You may wash this sippy cup either by hand or in the dishwasher.
On the negative side, some reviewers say the cup’s base is too wide and that it doesn’t fit easily into standard cup holders or diaper bag pockets.
Best straw sippy cup
Nuby’s No-Spill Flex Straw Cup is a popular choice for toddlers who prefer straws to spouts. The silicone straw has a built-in valve to prevent spills and leaks, and it’s sturdy enough to stand up to occasional biting.
While this 10-ounce cup doesn’t have handles, it does feature a contoured design for little hands to grip and is made from BPA-free plastic.
The straw does require a “squeeze and suck” action to get liquid through the valve, and some tots find this difficult to master. That said, many parents share that the protection the valve provides is worth the extra effort.
Best affordable sippy cup
For a super affordable, on-the-go option, the First Years Take and Toss sippy cups fit the bill.
These colorful, BPA-free plastic cups are suitable for kids 9 months old or over, and they feature a valve-free design with spill-proof lids. The lids are also interchangeable with other Take and Toss products if you have other little ones around the house.
While these cups do have some advantages in terms of simplicity and affordability, they’re not the most durable.
In fact, some people who use them treat them like disposable cups, possibly lessening the savings over time. And several parents claim their tots outsmarted this cup in moments, spilling the contents out by easily removing the lid.
If they haven’t already, toddlers older than 18 months are ready to transition away from cups with valves that require hard sucking, like the action used when drinking from a bottle. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children should stop using the bottle between 12 and 24 months. Meanwhile, the AAPD recommends eliminating the bottle and no-spill sippy cups by the 12-month mark to reduce the risk of childhood caries. That’s because no-spill sippy cups (sometimes called no-valve sippy cups) essentially work like bottles with a different shape and design.
For this reason, when you’re not out and about, be sure to offer your toddler time with a plain, open-topped cup. This will help them learn sipping technique. And once your child has mastered the open cup, it’s best to put sippy cups away for good.
Best spout-lid sippy cup
The Zak! Designs cup can be used by babies as young as 9 months old, but its handle-free design is better suited to toddlers. It features a spout lid with an adjustable flow for up to 9 ounces of liquid.
You can wash this double-wall, BPA-free plastic cup in your dishwasher, but it’s not for use in the microwave.
This cup is insulated, spill-free, and easy to clean. Some parents complain, though, that the valve to control the flow breaks easily or that the cap cracks when dropped.
Best insulated sippy cup
This cup from NUK (previously sold as Gerber Graduates) has a layer of ArcticWrap insulation that’s intended to keep liquids cold for up to 6 hours.
Its spoutless rim design is great for older toddlers who have graduated to open cups but still need spill protection on the go.
The BPA-free plastic can be handwashed or run through your dishwasher for cleaning.
People who recommend this cup say it has exceptional protection against leaks. Other parents say the lid cracks after only a couple months of use and that the spill-proof feature makes the cup difficult to open.
Best open-top sippy cup
Reflo Smart Cups are award-winning, open-top cups that are often just the right size for small hands. You can start using these cups with kids as young as 6 months old, but they’re more suitable for toddlers ready to train for an open cup.
The secret? A special clear “lid” of sorts nests inside the cup to help slow the flow of liquid if the cup is tipped over.
Parents say this cup is great for children who may not be able to use a sippy due to a cleft palate or other medical issues.
This USA-made cup also gets high marks for slowing the flow of liquid enough so kids don’t choke. The special lid may get displaced easily, however.
There are so many types and designs of sippy cups available that it’s easy to become overwhelmed. To keep it simple, here are the most important features to look for when choosing what and what not to spend your money on.
- Materials. If designed with plastic (which many are), ensure it’s BPA-free. A scientific review by the
Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiologyconcluded that BPA exposure is associated with increased likeliness of anxiety, depression, and hyperactivity. Other commonly used safe materials include silicone (though you might have to replace these more often if your baby is teething) and stainless steel.
- Leak-free design. Children are messy; no secret there. So leak-free and leak-resistant features are ideal. However, it’s important to remember that the ADA recommends transitioning to no-valve sippy cups to help your child learn how to sip.
- Easy to clean. Some sippy cups are dishwasher safe, others aren’t. But because sippy cups can be a breeding ground for bacteria, it’s still idea to pre-wash with a bottle brush and scrub out all the little crevices. Some parents prefer sippy cups with straws, but those can be more annoying to clean as well. You may choose to skip the straw design if you prefer a sippy cup that’s easier to clean.
Still have unanswered questions? Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about if and how to use sippy cups.
Do dentists recommend sippy cups?
The ADA recommends avoiding sippy cups that have no-spill valves. Otherwise, you may be inadvertently prolonging bottle use because sippy cups with no-spill valves still require children to suck instead of sip. Prolonged use of bottles (or in this case sippy cups that act like bottles) can lead to tooth decay, so it’s best to transition to the flat top or 360 sippy cups as soon as possible. The AAP also advises against putting juice in sippy cups at all because it can lead to tooth decay.
AAP recommends children are off bottles by 24 months of age to prevent tooth decay. Bottom line: Sippy cups with leak-proof valves can be used to help your baby get used to the feel of a holding cup, but limit this to a brief training period only. It may be messier, but their teeth are better for it.
Is a straw cup better than a sippy cup?
Some parents (and dentists) prefer straw cups to sippy cups with no-spill valves. The latter mimic bottles in that they allow smaller amounts of liquid at a time that can then cause sugars to linger on the teeth longer, which can lead to tooth decay.
You may still opt for a traditional sippy cup and simply avoid prolonged use — both in the sense that children should not be allowed to carry their sippy cup all day nor should it be used too long before transitioning to 360 flat lid cups.
Some professionals argue that straw cups might better support oral muscle development and speech development compared to sippy cups, though more rigorous scientific evidence is needed to support this. The thought is that sippy cups might slow down the development of oral muscles, and these same muscles that they use for speech.
Meanwhile, straw use may support oral and lip muscles they use to pronounce certain consonants. Again, more research is needed in this area.
How do I teach my baby to drink from an open cup?
One step at a time; that’s the key here. Demonstrate tilting and sipping action so they can see how it’s done, starting with just a little liquid in the cup at a time. Once they see you do it, hold the cup out for them to grab. Instead of putting it straight to their lips, give them the chance to grab it and bring it to their mouth on their own.
You can start your baby practicing their cup skills as early as 6 months old, but at that point, don’t worry about replacing breast or bottle feeding completely.
Know that every baby is different. Some take to it right away, others may shun it until they’re at least one. Some parents choose to skip the sippy cup altogether, introducing straw cups as early as 6 months and transitioning directly to open cups.
Make sure the spout is easy to suck liquid from by testing it yourself; some of the leak-proof valves are too effective and may be difficult to drink from, frustrating your little one.
How do I clean a sippy cup?
Sippy cups should be cleaned and sterilized often to prevent mold and bacteria growth. Here’s how:
- Rinse well with warm water and soak if necessary; the sooner the better so sticky liquids don’t dry and become more difficult to clean.
- Take the cup apart, detaching lids, straws, and other components.
- If your cup is dishwasher-safe, feel free to add them in. Manually washing any parts that aren’t dishwasher-safe. Use warm soapy water and bottle brushes to get in the nooks and crannies. Take special care with straws, using a narrow brush to ensure straws are completely cleaned out.
- Make sure all parts dry thoroughly before putting them back together and storing.
- To sterilize, use a microwave sterilizer or place parts in boiling water for at least 5 minutes. Again, ensure everything air dries completely before putting the cup back together and storing.
Yet another milestone in your baby’s life is the transition from breast or bottle to cup.
Sippy cups are a good option for bridging the gap between bottle and open cup because they prevent spilling while also giving your child more independence.
Your child may not take to the first option you present to them, but keep trying! The key to success is choosing cups that are appropriate for your child’s age and stage of development.
You may try a sippy cup with your child as early as 4 months old, but it isn’t necessary to begin the switch this early. The AAP suggests offering your baby a cup around 6 months of age, around the time when they begin solid foods. Other sources say to start the switch closer to 9 or 10 months.
Regardless, most sources agree that by the time your baby is 12 months old, you should be on your way with this important transition, aiming to switch completely by the time your child turns 2 years old, according to the AAP.
Here are some tips to help you introduce a cup:
- For younger babies, offer a cup with some plain water between regular mealtimes.
- For children 1 year or older, replace the midday bottle with a cup of your choice.
- Once your baby gets the hang of it, you may start replacing the morning or evening bottle with a cup.
- Resist letting your child crawl or walk around the house with a sippy cup all day long. Doing so may affect their appetite and cause dental issues, like tooth decay, if the sippy cup is filled with milk or juice.
- Good first beverages for cups include breast milk, milk, and water. Avoid fruit juice. Water is the best choice for in between meals and snack times.
- If your child doesn’t seem to do well with one type of cup, try another. Not all cups will work for all babies or toddlers.
- Transition away from cups that require sucking as soon as possible. In fact, the ADA explains that while it may not be as convenient, the “best” training cup for your child is one with no valve.
Overall, remember to be patient. Learning to use a cup is a skill that may take your little one some time to master. Don’t be surprised if it takes several weeks for them to figure out a new cup
Transitioning to a cup is another big milestone your baby will reach when they’re ready. Be sure to give your child plenty of opportunities to hone this new skill.
And if one cup doesn’t work, try another of a different design. Your pediatrician is a wonderful resource for any other questions you may have regarding weaning your child to a cup.