• Hydro Flask 12 oz Kids Wide Mouth

  • CamelBak eddy+ Kids 12 oz Bottle, Insulated Stainless Steel

  • How We Tested

  • What You Should Know About Kids Water Bottles

  • Other Kids Water Bottles We Tested

  • More Articles You Might Enjoy

Our Favorite Water Bottles for Kids of 2021

  1. Best Overall

    Hydro Flask 12 oz Kids Wide Mouth

    Pros

    • Lightweight

    • Dishwasher safe

    • Durable

    Cons

    • Expensive

    • Silicone sleeve fills with water

    Skip to the full review below
  2. Best Value

    CamelBak eddy+ Kids 12 oz Bottle, Insulated Stainless Steel

    Pros

    • Bite-valve

    • Cool looking

    Cons

    • Not dishwasher safe

    • Difficult to clean

    Skip to the full review below
Hydro Flask
Credit: Reviewed / Lisa Lawrence

The Hydro Flask is durable and easy for kids to use.

Best Overall
Hydro Flask 12 oz Kids Wide Mouth

If you want a bottle that is durable, colorful, and can be dishwasher cleaned without a care in the world, the Hydro Flask is your water bottle. The flip straw is easy to use and the straw strikes a nice balance of being hard enough that kids won’t chew through it, while not being so dense that you feel like it will knock out your teeth. The loop handle is well-positioned both for easy grasping and for when you need to hook the bottle onto a backpack. And it’s a bottle that kids just like. From the mouth of a discerning six year old, “I do like the bottles with the pictures on them, but this one just looks really cool. I like how bright the colors are.”

We like that there aren’t any tiny parts to worry about, so washing is a breeze. It’s recommended that all parts be washed on the top shelf of the dishwasher, and while we won’t recommend that you wash this on the bottom shelf, it seemed to hold up fine when we accidentally did so. It’s hard to find a cool-looking water bottle that can stand up to a heavy dishwasher cycle, but the signature powder-coated exterior makes the bottle durable enough to withstand both a hot power wash and any drops it might encounter. During our many times using this bottle in real-world scenarios, it remained completely leak free. It’s also well-insulated, claiming to keep water cold for up to 12 hours. We tested it in a 100-degree car for one hour and found the water to be nice and cold and even a little bit of ice remained.

The only drawback to this bottle—beyond its nearly $30 price point—is that the silicone “boot” sleeve that keeps it from slipping and protects it from major drops, does fill with water when it goes through the dishwasher cycle. The boot has a little hole in the bottom for drainage, but it takes a bit of work to get all of the water out once it fills up. You can, of course, just remove it when you wash your bottle, but it’s a little bit of a pain to slip back on. While it is a bit more expensive than most, this bottle is backed by a lifetime warranty. So far we haven’t read any reviews that complain about any structural issues, or the usual problems facing stainless steel water bottles like rusting or mold, but should they occur, Hydro Flask will replace the bottle.

Pros

  • Lightweight

  • Dishwasher safe

  • Durable

Cons

  • Expensive

  • Silicone sleeve fills with water

Camelbak
Credit: Reviewed / Lisa Lawrence

Camelbak offers a budget-friendly option.

Best Value
CamelBak eddy+ Kids 12 oz Bottle, Insulated Stainless Steel

The CamelBak Eddy kept water cold, was completely leak-free, comes in an array of fun designs, and has an intuitive bite-valve that kids love. That being said, it’s recommended the bottle itself be hand-washed to maintain the integrity of the graphic designs. The manufacturer wouldn’t recommend this, but the designs have held up well on our top washer rack so far. It’s also recommended, for both this bottle and the non-insulated version, that the bite valve be removed and deep cleaned on occasion. There are reports that after removal the bottle tends to leak. While that was not our experience, it’s something to keep in mind.

Pros

  • Bite-valve

  • Cool looking

Cons

  • Not dishwasher safe

  • Difficult to clean

How We Tested

The Tester

Hi, I'm Janelle Randazza. For many years I helped cast some of your favorite reality TV shows, including "Project Runway", "Bar Rescue", and "Naked and Afraid" before I took time away to raise our son. Prior to that I was a newspaper reporter in the Boston area and I wrote a book about the perils of social networking sites.

I’m a mom to a rambunctious and highly opinionated six-year-old. He is the foil to all of my assumptions in life, so his highly vocalized opinion plays a large part in my product testing. He also drops everything and usually breaks, chips, or nicks something when trying to help, so if you want something rugged we are the family to consult.

Related content

A perfectionist at heart, I always think I’m doing this parenting thing wrong and am always searching for evidence-based ways I can do better. My reviews and articles are influenced by my burning need to dig deeply into every bit of research on a subject, and try to come out as an informed and (whether my kid agrees right now or not) fun mom that makes childhood safe and exciting. Time will tell if my kid thinks I even came close.

The Tests

Contigo
Credit: Reviewed / Lisa Lawrence

We put each water bottle through vigorous testing.

There is a lot that can be subjective about water bottles. Before testing, we conducted informal polls in numerous online parenting groups and ended up with approximately 30 respondents, whom we asked to list the top three must-haves in a water bottle. Overwhelmingly parents were looking for a bottle that was, first and foremost, easy to clean. As one respondent answered, “I can throw it in the dishwasher. I can throw it in the dishwasher. I can throw it in the dishwasher.” The second most important quality was that it be leak-proof. The third was that it holds up to cleaning, dropping, and the occasional gnawing on the straw. These bottles went through a wide array of testing, but we placed those points with the greatest emphasis during our scoring.

We were able to test these bottles over nearly a three-month period. This is significant because, if you read most online reviews, the honeymoon period with most water bottles typically ends about two months into the romance.

Beyond the dishwasher test, and our testing for insulation—which we did by leaving the insulated bottles filled with two ice cubes and two cups of water in a 100-degree car for one hour—were all conducted at the hands of a child. We tested to make sure that a kid was able to easily open and close the bottle and that it easily snapped shut. We then shook the bottle upside down and then turned it upside down for one hour.

Because we saw so many complaints online regarding children biting through straws, we conducted a “bite-test” where we analyzed each bottle's straws, mouthpieces, and bite-valves and tested their durability on kids that love to chew straws. We noted if the straw was bite-proof following two months of use.

What You Should Know About Kids Water Bottles

Insulated vs. Lightweight

With good insulation, like those with double-walled vacuum insulation, there does come a price. In general, non-insulated water bottles are made from BPA-free plastic and, while they are lightweight, they tend to not keep drinks cold—especially on summer days. If you are looking for a bottle that will keep drinks cold, look for stainless steel and look for bottles that say they are insulated. You will generally find those bottles weigh a few more ounces than the non-insulated kind.

Price

Let’s get real: Kids lose stuff. Many of the bottles we tested were around $25. There are definitely more affordable bottles available on the market. If your child is one to lose water bottles you may want to take price point into consideration.

Size

If you get a bottle that’s too big to fit in the water holder of your child’s lunch box or backpack, you’re probably going to need to put it in the lunch box or backpack itself. All of our bottles were tested against leaks, but there will always be a day where a bottle didn’t close all the way or wasn’t sealed properly. A water bottle on its side is going to leak. We recommend buying a bottle that fits in compartments or sleeves meant to hold water bottles so that it remains upright. All of the bottles we tested were able to fit in a standard car seat cup holder and in a backpack sleeve.

How Many Ounces it Holds

This is largely dependent on the age of the child. Smaller children can go all day with a 10 oz water bottle, but older kids and kids who are involved in sports will need something that holds a bit more. Our highest-ranking bottle only holds 12 oz, but we do have recommendations where you can buy versions of the bottles that hold a higher volume of water.


Other Kids Water Bottles We Tested

PlanetBox Capsule 11oz Water Bottle

This bottle was a fun surprise and came in at a very close second to being best overall, barely being edged out by the Hydro Flask. If you’re looking for a simpler design and have a preference for a chug-spout mouth piece, we highly recommend the Planet Box.

At first we thought the kids wouldn’t be into the design, but it turns out my son and his best friend both loved it. They said they liked how shiny it was, “It looks like a real rocket ship ready to take off! The rocket-shaped cover protects the spout from any dirt or debris and the button-latch closer was easy for even little testers to use. We also especially liked the ingenious soft silicone chug-spout. Because of its wide-mouth it’s super-easy to clean and there are no little pieces to take apart and deep clean—every piece goes in the dishwasher and there are no crevices for dirt or food to get trapped in. I’m sure an occasional scrub to the mouthpiece might be called for but—two months in—our test bottles still come out of the dishwasher sparkling clean.

The build of this bottle also makes it easy for little kids to hold, which is a good thing because there isn’t a handle with this one. We feel like the lack of handle is an oversight in the design: the bottle works well as an accessory in a lunch box and it fits well in backpacks and car seats, but my son is always tired of needing to grip it on walks and hikes. A loop makes for an easier hold and it allows for attaching the bottle with a carabiner to the outside of bags that might not have a pocket for holding a bottle. Overall though, we liked this bottle and if you don’t like straws, if your child prefers chug-spouts, and if you want a bottle that seals up tight to prevent spills, this is a good choice.

Pros

  • Cool chug-spout design

Cons

  • No handle

  • Leaks if not closed properly

Contigo Kids Autospout Straw Water Bottle with Easy-Clean Lid, 14 oz.

The two biggest winners for this bottle are its innovative straw and its washability. The straw really is impressive. We love that it flips open at its base for easy cleaning. It also closes in on itself to protect the mouthpiece from drops in the dirt or in the sandbox. And kids love the easy, one-finger, button-press release that allows it to pop open with a satisfying snap.

The other thing the lightweight, BPA-free plastic version has going for it is the designs are cool and they are the only water bottle that has fun designs that are completely dishwasher safe. The plastic of this, however, felt slightly less durable compared to the Camelbak. Whether or not you choose the Contigo vs its closest competitor, the Camelbak, really depends on which mouthpiece you prefer.

Pros

  • Cool straw feature

  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Plastic

  • Less durable

EcoVessel Frost

Although it didn’t end up walking away with the awards, we really enjoyed our experience with this bottle. The Frost was one of the best insulated of the bunch—making it great for camping trips when you need to keep water cold in more challenging environments. It’s lightweight, and it is one of the best-looking stainless steel water bottles around. The handle has a rubberized grip to minimize the bottle slipping through little hands, which we can see as being a major draw. We also liked that the hard straws have a rubberized coating, protecting teeth when they accidentally get knocked by the mouthpiece. The only drawback of this bottle was that the vessel needs to be hand-washed. Since the designs are one of the major draws of this bottle, throwing it in a dishwasher and watching all of those beautiful colors disappear would be a crime.

Pros

  • Attractive

  • Rubberized handle and straw

Cons

  • Difficult to clean

CamelBak eddy+ Kids .4L Bottle

The CamelBak Eddy kept water cold, was completely leak-free, comes in an array of fun designs, and has an intuitive bite-valve that kids love. That being said, it’s recommended the bottle itself be hand-washed to maintain the integrity of the graphic designs. The manufacturer wouldn’t recommend this, but the designs have held up well on our top washer rack so far. It’s also recommended, for both this bottle and the non-insulated version, that the bite valve be removed and deep cleaned on occasion. There are reports that after removal the bottle tends to leak. While that was not our experience, it’s something to keep in mind.

Pros

  • Lightweight

  • Cool designs

  • Easy-to-use bite valve

Cons

  • Prone to leaking

Contigo Kids Autospout Straw Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle with Easy-Clean Lid, 13 oz.

The CamelBak and the Contigo were, quite frankly, neck-in-neck, but the ever-popular Contigo lost points for leaking. We tested three times and each time, if the bottle is left upside down (as can happen in a backpack) leaking can occur around the press button for the flip-top mouthpiece release.

In spite of this, if you are going to be vigilant about keeping your bottle upright, or have a backpack and lunchbox with side pockets that ensure a bottle stays upright, this is still a very good bottle. The leaking wasn’t excessive and we’d be remiss if we didn’t praise the very cool straw design that allows for easy cleaning and the mouthpiece to be fully covered when closed. Additionally, the Contigo, while utilitarian in its design, can go right in the dishwasher without a second thought. Interestingly, while it was probably the most bland-looking of all the bottles, my son loved the flip-top enough that the overall look didn’t bother him. From his point of view, “It’s boring to look at but it’s the coolest bottle to use.” The straw itself is rubberized, which kids seem to like, but it has a hard interior so we don’t anticipate anyone will be biting through this mouthpiece any time soon.

It’s worth it to note that these bottles made between April 2018 and February 2020 were recalled. We reached out to Contigo and they said this, “You can rest assured Contigo puts consumer safety and quality first…. Previously, the Contigo kids cleanable water bottle’s clear silicone spout found on the lid may have detached in some cases. There were no reported injuries, but out of an abundance of caution, Contigo reannounced the recall in February 2020.”

Pros

  • Cool straw feature

  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Leaks

  • Bland design

Yeti Rambler Jr. 12 oz Kids Bottle

Yeti is known for its hyper-insulated coolers that can keep food cold for days, so trust us when we say that Yeti knows how to keep things cold. The insulation on this bottle is excellent, the powder-coated exterior makes it hold up to any dishwashing cycle you can throw at it, and the wide mouth makes it easy for even small kids to refill with ice—which my kid could do all day long. We also liked that the chrome bottom takes the brunt of the impact when this bottle is dropped.

This is a beast of a water bottle and what it gives in performance it pays for a bit in weight. The Yeti was a strong contender for the top spot but was slightly edged out by the Hydro Flask because it’s a bit heavy for smaller kids. Even empty it came in at 14.7 oz, compared to other bottles that ranged from 7.5 oz to 9.8 oz. Add an additional 12 oz of water and, even though this bottle has a ring hook to carry it by, you’ll probably end up finding yourself taking responsibility for carrying it. Also, the placement of the hook is high, which may not seem like a big deal, but when a child is holding it like a cup so they can drink, the weight and the placement causes it to slip out of smaller hands.

That being said, it’s a great bottle overall that we’d recommend for kids over age 7 who might be a little more coordinated and for whom 5 oz of extra weight isn’t an issue.

Pros

  • Wide mouth

  • Sturdy handle

Cons

  • Heavy

  • Expensive

Nalgene 12oz Kids On-The-Fly Lock-Top

This leak-proof lid is a serious foil against spills. We also love the easy-to carry design, the lid that doubles as a handle, and the thin profile of this bottle—which makes it the easiest to throw in an average-sized purse or a small bag that your kid might take to the park. This isn’t the best bottle for younger kids, since the top can be a challenge for kids under age five, but for kids five and older this makes for a great bottle for a walk around the neighborhood or to throw in a bag for a quick trip to the park.

Pros

  • Lightweight

  • Cool design

  • Easy-to-close top

Cons

  • Difficult for little kids to use

Tommee Tippee Insulated Sportee Bottle - 2 pack

If you are looking for a solid water bottle that stands up to many, many drops, this bottle will solve all your problems. It has so much going for it. It’s remarkably insulated for a plastic bottle; it is ergonomically perfect for tiny hands and indents just right so they are less likely to drop it; the handle is just right so when they DO drop it, it stops it from rolling down the driveway. Best of all, the bite of the straw is almost indestructible. Little teeth can work out any teething stress on it and it will stay intact. There is nothing dynamic about the design but, for some reason, toddlers are attracted to it. Our tiny tester wasn’t even going to borrow the bottle, but he made a beeline for and wouldn’t give it back!

The only issue with this bottle, and it’s a pretty sizable one, is that you really need to disassemble the cap after every use to really get it clean. There is also a silicone piece in the top that needs to be replaced every so often. Even so, it’s a good sturdy bottle and our tester is now copiously using the word “no” as we ask for its return.

Pros

  • Bite straw never falls apart

Cons

  • Lots of little parts to clean

EcoVessel Splash

Like other EcoVessel bottles, this graphics on this one are ones kids clamor for. Similar to the Frost, the flip spout has a soft coating on the hard straws, which make it a good choice for kids who tend to gnaw a bit on mouthpieces. The comfort grip on the handle is a great feature and makes it easy for little ones to grasp and hold comfortably, making it good for long walks. We also like that the top can go right into the dishwasher for easy cleaning, though you do need to hand wash the vessel to maintain the vibrant and colorful design. The build is sturdy and the bottle holds up to dings and drops. The only drawback was this bottle tended to leak a bit when first turned over. It was only a few drops, and while it might not fully saturate a bag, it could get some items a little bit wet. Like some of the other bottles that leak when turned upside down, this may not be a main worry of yours. For my family, because our son tends to toss his water bottles into the bottom of his backpack, completely forgetting about upright bottle holders on the outside, a bottle that is completely leak free, every step of the way, is a non-negotiable.

Pros

  • Rubberized handle and straw

Cons

  • Not dishwasher safe

  • Difficult to clean

  • Leaks

Simple Modern Summit Kids Water Bottle with Straw Lid - 14oz

With an array of sophisticated designs, your tween will graciously bring their water bottle to soccer practice with nary the roll of an eye. Even though you need to hand-wash the vessel on this bottle, the straw top is dishwasher safe and there are absolutely no small pieces to ever worry about.

This bottle comes in a wide choice of sizes, from 14 to 64 oz. We like having the option to size up depending on your child's needs and water consumption. We tried the 18 oz and, to be quite honest, I have co-opted the baby-shark-themed bottle sent for my son to test because it’s just such a great bottle overall. The straw cap makes it easy to drink from whether you are running on a field, riding a bus, or taking a walk. This is a great bottle for kids on the move and—because of the high capacity of water it holds—it’s our choice for older kids who want to look cool while conveniently—and consistently—hydrating.

Pros

  • Easy-to-clean spout

  • Large capacity

  • Cool design options

Cons

  • Hand wash only

S'ip by S'well - 10oz

Out of all of the bottles we tried, the S’ip kept our water noticeably colder than all of the other water bottles; it was the only bottle that still had ice after being in a 100-degree car for an hour. This bottle comes in really fun designs that appeal to small kids and big kids alike, and it is the only bottle we tried that keeps liquids hot, too—making this a good option for bringing hot cocoa to a campfire.

As much as we liked this bottle, however, we found the narrow mouthpiece a bit challenging to fill. Ice needs to be finessed in, hot liquids need to be poured VERY carefully, and it’s a tough bottle for smaller kids to fill from the refrigerator. We tried both the 10 oz and 15 oz bottles. The smaller size has an attachment so the screw-top lid never falls off or gets lost. It also makes it easier for carrying than the 15 oz.

Pros

  • Keeps water cold

  • Can also hold hot liquids

Cons

  • Hand wash only

  • Difficult to fill up

  • Prone to leaking

ZoLi Squeak

The Zoli Squeak has a textured powder coating that gives it a really nice grip for little hands, and the pop-cap keeps the straw nice and clean—even when dropped in a sandbox. It’s a great size that will fit into any bag and the sleek design makes it a great addition to any lunch bag or backpack that has an empty pocket just waiting to be filled by a water bottle. That being said, this has a silicon straw that is subject to gnawing little teeth. Unfortunately, this bottle doesn’t have a design that makes the mouth-piece of the straw easy to replace—so once it's chewed through the bottle is basically useless.

Pros

  • Slip-proof bottle

Cons

  • Straw can't be replaced

  • No carrying handle

Thermos Funtainer, 12oz

This is one of the most popular and affordable bottles on the market. It comes in at a great price point and is mainly dishwasher safe (though the cool printed versions tend to fare better over time if hand-washed); we’ve had my son’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and BB8 bottles for eight and 16 months respectively. The TMNJ bottle has truly withstood top shelf washing and basically looks brand new. BB8 is showing considerably more wear and tear, but would definitely hold up to a year of school.

We love a lot about this water bottle. It’s never let us down even in the heat of Los Angeles summers. Sadly, however, our issue with this bottle is a big one and one that doesn’t seem to be unique to my family. When asked about this bottle other parents I spoke with expressed concerns about the silicon straw. Kids love gnawing at it and at some point it needs to be thrown out and replaced when they’ve bitten through it. Once the straw is bitten through, it subjects the bottle to major leaks (we are talking a full inch of water at the bottom of my son’s backpack).

The major issue at hand, however, is safety. When my son was younger I had to pull pieces of the straw out of his mouth. It’s small enough, and there is a hole in it, so we don’t imagine this is a choking hazard, but I don’t love the idea of my child ingesting pieces of a silicon straw. If you go for this one, be judicious about checking your child’s straw daily and being on top of replacement straws. There are complaints online about replacement straws causing leaks, but we’ve had four Funtainers and have never had an issue.

Some versions of this bottle have a pop-out handle and some don’t. It’s a nice feature but, in my family, is rarely used.

Pros

  • Locking lid

  • It's made from stainless steel

Cons

  • Prone to messes

Meet the tester

Janelle Randazza

Janelle Randazza

Staff Writer, Parenting

@jandazzatron

Janelle Randazza is a writer/mother hybrid and taco enthusiast based out of Los Angeles, California.

See all of Janelle Randazza's reviews

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We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.

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