So, where does that leave us straw lovers? Well, you could either use sippy tops like you find on top of coffee cups, or you could bring along your own, like the best reusable straw we tested, the FinalStraw(available at Amazon), or our best value pick, the SipWell Stainless Steel Drinking Straws (available at Amazon). While banning plastic straws is an environmentally friendly option, it's actually really hard to find a good reusable replacement.
Some taste too much like the material they’re made of, some aren’t made of a sustainable material, and then there’s the whole issue of actually remembering to bring your straw with you. Many aren’t easily portable, but carrying them along is essential for the no-straw movement or if you enjoy drinking with them around your home or office.
After testing reusable straws each day and drinking a ton of liquids in the process, we found some significant differences between each one in terms of usability and taste.
Here are the best reusable straws we tested ranked, in order:
Kitchen Up Silicone Straws & Stainless Steel Straws Bundle
California Straws Rainbow Colored Acrylic Straw Set
Buluh Organic Bamboo Drinking Straws
Zoku Pocket Straw
GoSili Straw Pack
Doboli Collapsible Stainless Steel Drinking Straw
Beginning as a Kickstarter that was backed by more than 38,000 people, the FinalStraw has really changed the reusable straw game. Not only does it have an incredible pun, but it’s really the only straw we tested that had a great balance of usability and portability.
The FinalStraw is made of stainless steel, but has silicone tubing that allows you to fold it up in a convenient carrying case. Although it doesn’t bend while you're using it, the silicone provides a more comfortable mouthfeel and taste compared to other metal straws.
The best part about The FinalStraw is that its carrying case attaches to your keychain. So as long as you can remember your keys, you can remember your straw. I was able to easily bring this straw to coffee shops, restaurants, and the office. Cleaning the straw is simple, too. You simply pull the brush out from the case and scrub away. It's convenient enough to even wash it in the bathroom of a restaurant.
While the straw itself only comes in silver and a psychedelic rainbow hue, the carrying case is available in six different colors with cheeky names like Porpoise-Ful Purple, Sea Tur-Teal, and Healthy Coral. The FinalStraw is pretty pricey for a straw. But it could be the final straw you need, so we think it’s well worth it for a straw that is actually portable.
As far as straws go, the Hummingbird Glass Straws are absolutely gorgeous and perfect for Instagram. The clear, glass material is stylish and will look good with whatever you are drinking. Its slight bent design makes it easy for sipping and its larger circumference makes it ideal for smoothies or frappes.
The glass also doesn’t get too cold when drinking iced drinks and is essentially tasteless, so it won’t change the flavor of what you are drinking. Like the other reusable straws, the Hummingbird comes with an easy-to-use cleaning brush and, because of its clear material, it's easy to make sure the entire straw is free of coffee and smoothie bits. Plus, since it's glass, it's dishwasher safe.
They're not the most portable items in the world, but you can easily toss one in your bag if you want to use it on-the-go. Despite being made of glass, I still found this straw to be sturdy and difficult to break, if handled correctly. At more than $20 for four straws, it’s a bit of an investment—but definitely worth it if you want to decrease your plastic use. Plus, you can recycle them, if you ever feel the need to get rid of them.
It should be noted that while the Hummingbird straws do seem durable, they are made of glass, meaning they are more susceptible to breaking and are probably not the best straws for young children. After performing some additional drop tests where we dropped the straw from hip height, we found that the glass straws stood up to landing on carpet and tile, but immediately shattered on concrete. Since we first published this guide, we've been casually using these straws and still have not had any issues with them breaking.
Although it didn't break the first time after dropping it on pour-on epoxy flooring, pieces chipped off after the fourth time of dropping it a row, so it will break if you continually drop it over time. "Glass may look perfectly smooth, but under a microscope, you'd see hundreds of imperfections. So the first time you drop it, the straw will look fine, but it's accumulated damage you can't see," explained Jon Chan, our Senior Lab Technician.
For a no-frills, daily drinking straw, look no further than the SipWell. These thin metal straws cost much less than our other favorites and perform just as well as other more expensive metal straws. They're easy to drink both water and iced coffee, and the metal taste isn't apparent while sipping. In fact, the metal material kept my iced coffee nice and cold and probably saved my teeth from staining. Although I was concerned about cleaning the straw's bent portion, as long as I stuck the straw brush through both ends it seemed to be fine.
While there's a lot we like about this straw, we don't recommend it for smoothies. Its thin design makes it hard to suck up the thick drink and the metal gets too cold, creating an almost burning sensation on your tongue.
I’m Courtney Campbell, an e-commerce editor here at Reviewed, and I spend most days sifting through the best deals on the Internet for the best products out there. I’ve used reusable straws in my home for years—although I'm guilty of not bringing them to restaurants or coffee shops. After hearing about the ban on plastic straws, I was curious about what would be the best straw for daily use and whether or not they would be more portable to bring out and about.
The testing process involved drinking a ton of liquids. Each day I would drink a smoothie made of kale, frozen banana, cherries, almond milk, and chocolate protein powder (highly recommended), a large iced coffee with almond milk, and two cups of water using one straw. From there, I would note if I noticed the taste of the straw material and how easy it was to drink with the straw. Before testing and after each type of drink I would wash the straw with the included cleaning brush to see how easy it was to clean after drinking each type of liquid.
Other factors were considered when judging each straw, including its portability, sturdiness, and whether there were any special features or accessories that gave it an advantage. The straws chosen were made of stainless steel, glass, silicone, and bamboo—each of which was also considered in the rankings. And we made sure to include a mix of straight and bent straws.
Why Are Plastic Straws Bad for the Environment?
The movement against single-use plastic straws—like other environmentally harmful single-use plastics—started as an effort to protect wildlife and the environment by eliminating hard-to-degrade materials and reducing carbon footprints.
The movement against plastic straws, specifically, gained traction after a video of a sea turtle with a straw stuck up his nose—inhibiting his ability to smell and breathe—went viral. There was soon a wider conversation about the impact of these non-biodegradable materials that often end up in oceans and break down into microplastics, impacting the diets and wellbeing of fish (and thus, humans). Since then, several U.S. cities and companies have banned them, from New York City and Seattle to Starbucks and Alaska Airlines.
Which Reusable Straw Material Is Best?
There are several materials used to make reusable straws including metal, silicone, glass, and bamboo. Each has their pros and cons and there’s no perfect reusable straw, so you’ll want to choose one that best fits your lifestyle.
Metal: This is probably the most common material for reusable straws. It’s great for keeping liquids cold and easily shoving in a glass of ice, but it isn’t bendable, can sometimes have a metallic taste, and doesn’t have a good mouthfeel for straw chewers. Sometimes you’ll find a combination of metal and silicone tips, which alleviates some of these issues.
Silicone: Reusable straws made of silicone more closely resemble the feel of a traditional plastic straw. These are probably the best choice for children and can be used with hot or cold drinks. However, they’re not super sturdy, meaning it’s harder to get the last sip of whatever you’re drinking.
Glass: Glass straws are essentially tasteless, which makes your drink more true to taste and therefore more enjoyable. Unfortunately, they aren’t bendable and are more likely to break, which is not ideal for children or traveling.
Bamboo: Bamboo is the most sustainable material for reusable straws, but tends to have a “woody” aftertaste and you’ll need to replace them sooner than the other materials.
How to Clean Reusable Straws
While many reusable straws claim to be dishwasher-safe, it can be hard to imagine the residual fruit bits from a smoothie being fully removed by just tossing a dirty straw in your utensil rack. (Although if you're just using your straw for water, that's a different story.)
Luckily, most reusable straw sets you buy will come with a cleaning brush that's long and thin enough to clean through the length of the straw with its bristles. (Just make sure you get all the way in there—from both ends!) If your set didn't come with a cleaning brush, they're easy enough to find online. You can also try dental floss as an alternative, by using it to scrape all sides of the straw after soaking.
Other Reusable Straws We Tested
Klean Kanteen 5 Piece Stainless Steel Straw Set
This straw set from Klean Kanteen is ideal for anyone who likes the bendiness of a silicone straw, but the strength of a metal one. Each straw comes with a silicone tip, but the metal base makes it easy to jam into a cup filled with ice without it flopping around. It’s also pretty wide, which was great for sipping smoothies as well as water and iced coffee.
The straws were easy to clean as well. The silicone part detaches, making it easy to scrub the two seperate parts without worrying about any gunk getting stuck in between. The cleaning brush that came with the pack was tougher than other ones, which was initially more difficult to clean with, but it softened over time under hot water. These straws are also not very portable, but they’re great to keep around the home or office.
Not only are these silicone straws wide enough to make drinking a smoothie a breeze, they work great with both coffee and water as well. Plus, the silicone material is tasteless and bendable like a traditional plastic straw. These straws would be ideal for children because they’re soft, difficult to break, and come in a variety of fun colors.
In place of a cleaning brush, they also have a unique squeegee that you can pull through the straw to remove debris. This seems both easier and more accurate at cleaning the straws as it pulls everything through.
EcoTribe Stainless Steel Metal Drinking Straws, Set of 4
These metal straws are great because they give your water or iced coffee a refreshing chill while sipping. But drinking a smoothie with them is not ideal. In addition to the straw getting way too cold, it left a metallic taste in my mouth, which then ruined the flavor of my smoothie. At least the fuzzy cleaning brush didn't leave any fuzzballs behind.
The case it comes with is quite large and about three times the thickness of the actual straw, so it doesn't fit well in a small purse. While the case doesn’t increase the portability, it’s definitely more sanitary than tossing a straw in your bag.
The Greens Steel set comes with two wide straws and two curved straws, which provides a nice variety for your drinking needs. They're easy to sip with and a breeze to clean. There's nothing inherently bad about these straws, but similar to the other stainless steel straws, they get too cold when drinking a smoothie.
Kitchen Up Silicone Straws & Stainless Steel Straws Bundle, Set of 8
With six silicone straws, two metal straws, and three cleaning brushes, the Kitchen Up set has the most straws in the bundle. However, the plastic packaging counteracts the environmental reasons behind making this kind of purchase in the first place. They're also pretty thin, so they're not great for smoothies (but other liquids are fine). The bottom of each straw is also slanted, making it easy to catch every last drop of liquid.
The thing that's unusual about these straws is that they're designed to protect your teeth from coffee and wine stains. Despite this innovative idea, these straws are hard to use because of their thin, oval design. They are also almost impossible to drink a smoothie with. The small size makes it more difficult to scrub with the cleaning brush. Although they may not be good for everyday use, they will work best for the specific use of drinking hot coffee to protect sensitive teeth.
California Straws Rainbow Colored Replacement Acrylic Straw, Set of 8
There's nothing too special about this set of BPA-free straws. The plastic material is really bendable, and we found that they can break easily. Each individual straw is also packaged in a great deal of plastic, which seems excessive and counteractive to trying to preserve the environment. At 10.5 inches, they're extra long—making it uncomfortable to drink out of an iced coffee or water cup, but they'd make a good, cheap replacement for the straws used in tumblers.
Unless you like the taste of wood, I wouldn't recommend these bamboo straws. Although they’re made of the most sustainable material of the bunch, I couldn't stand the taste of them. In addition to the bad taste, coffee will for sure stain the wood. They also get weaker after sitting in water for a while, so you'd have to replace them after some time, which may lower the sustainability of the straw. Without the taste in mind, these straws are easy enough to use—just not one I'd want to use for a while.
The Zuku Pocket Straw has two parts: a collapsible metal base and a silicone tip. It also comes in a portable case, but it doesn’t come with any way to attach it to a keychain, which makes it easier to forget or lose. The collapsible component seems nice in theory, as it can be stretched to fit any sized cup. But I found this design allowed too much air into the straw and made the sipping much less seamless to the point that it was frustrating.
Its cleaning brush did fit into the case as well, so it is easier to clean when you’re on the go. But the difficulties with drinking negate any portability points.
The GoSili Straw is designed with children in mind and has three different sizes of silicone straws. However, I found that even the longest straw was too short for a tall glass, limiting who will actually benefit from using the straw. These straws were also quite floppy, making it difficult to get the last drops of iced coffee, and had a very prevalent plastic taste. This was the only set that did not come with a cleaning brush, so I resorted to using one from another set to make sure it was actually clean.
This was another collapsible reusable straw option that did not perform well. Again, the design of the straw allowed too much air to slip through disrupting the drink stream. It also had a horrible metal taste that made both iced coffee and water taste rancid. Although it’s a popular option on Amazon, I found it to be poorly made and I even bent the including cleansing brush upon attempting to pull it out of the container. This set also came with a portable container that can attach to your keys, but I’d much rather carry around a non-portable one than use these.
Courtney is an editor and shopper with a passion for finding the best things on the internet. She's a foodie and will talk about the latest batch of kombucha she's brewing to anyone who will listen. She has previously worked for Country Living, Woman's Day, and Our State Magazine.
Monica is Reviewed's senior Kitchen & Cooking staff writer. A graduate of Emerson College, she's had her work published in The Boston Globe, Culture Cheese Magazine, Modern Luxury, and more. In her spare time, you can find her making coffee, flipping through magazines, or falling down a TikTok rabbit hole.
Our team is here for one purpose: to help you buy the best stuff and love what you own. Our writers, editors, and lab technicians obsess over the products we cover to make sure you're confident and satisfied. Have a different opinion about something we recommend? Email us and we'll compare notes.