Best Kids Water Bottles 2023


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Dec 24, 2023

Best Kids Water Bottles 2023

Finding the best kids water bottle means considering your child’s size and age

Finding the best kids water bottle means considering your child's size and age and what's developmentally appropriate for them in terms of capacity and design, too. Ideally, you’ll find a water bottle that they enjoy using, is easy for them to operate and doesn't leak. Of course, it's also helpful to find a durable bottle that can stand up to kids’ rough handling. That's why my top pick for the best water bottle for kids is the uber tough Yeti Rambler Jr. Its 12-ounce size is just right for most young children's hydration needs, while the durable stainless-steel frame and vacuum insulation keep drinks cold. Older children and teens may want to size up to something like a Hydro Flask Kids Wide Mouth or the Stanley IceFlow, while toddlers and preschoolers might prefer a lighter plastic option, such as the Contigo Kids Water Bottle, or the character prints on the value pick Thermos Funtainer Bottle.

The best kids water bottles are light enough for them to carry, easy to operate and durable.

An important factor in selecting a kids water bottle is to consider the style of cap or spout and how easy it will be for them to drink from it. Daniel Ganjian, M.D., a pediatrician at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California, recommends offering kids water around 9-months-old and to introduce it with a straw cup. "Water bottles with straws are the best to help with their oral motor skills and oral muscle development," he says. Introducing a straw cup early is a recommendation we’ve heard from speech therapists over the years, too.

Dr. Ganjian notes that a regularly filled water bottle can promote good health and hydration for kids early on, too. "I see kids come in all the time with constipation due to dehydration," he says. Making their water bottle accessible all day can ease this and other issues, the Dr. Ganjian comments. If your child likes the look of the water bottle, they’ll also be more likely to use it, he adds. (Hence all the cute prints on water bottles for tots and cool neutral hues on tween and teen picks.)

After reading about the best kids water bottles, you might want to stock up on more school and summer camp essentials like the best backpacks for kids and the best lunch boxes.


Materials: Stainless steel | Lid style: Flip-up straw/hard spout | Size: 12 ounces | Dishwasher safe: Yes

The Yeti Rambler Jr. is crafted from sturdy stainless steel, helping parents avoid plastic drinkware for their children if that's their preference. Speaking from experience, this water bottle can easily withstand drops (and even tantrum throws) without leaving a scratch or dent on the exterior. Double-walled vacuum insulation ensures drinks stay cold, no matter the weather. The straw top is easy for small fingers to flip up and down, and the whole thing goes in the dishwasher, making it easy to clean. I also appreciate that there are just three parts—bottle, straw, lid—without the added insert that you’ll find in some kids water bottles like the Thermos Funtainer bottle. The wide handle is easy for little ones to grip. Another nice feature: The bottle doesn't sweat, so you don't have to stress about it getting your bag wet.

What the parents say: My 3-year-old and 6-year-old use their Yeti Rambler Jrs. daily, and we’ve never had an issue with leaks. The Forbes Vetted parenting editor reports the same and has at least half a dozen at home. With a range of exterior shades available, kids can choose "their" color, and even customize it with stickers and monograms if shopping from the Yeti site directly. Worth noting: This water bottle weighs nearly a pound and is made for ages 3 and up, so if you have a young toddler, shop elsewhere.


Materials: Stainless steel | Lid style: Pop-up straw | Size: 12 ounces | Dishwasher safe: Yes

The Thermos Funtainer bottle for kids is one of the more inexpensive picks that still comes with all our favorite features, including stainless-steel construction, a straw top and plenty of fun prints and bright solid hues. At just 6.4 ounces in weight, the Funtainer bottle is simple for even smaller children like toddlers and preschoolers to tote around. The vacuum insulation keeps drinks cold for up to 12 hours, while its tough exterior makes it ideal for stashing in backpacks. A push-button lid reveals a hidden pop-up straw that can be removed for easy cleaning by hand or in the top rack of the dishwasher. A snapping sound lets your child know the lid is secure when hydration time is over, minimizing the odds of an unsecured cap that leaks.

What the parents say: The Forbes Vetted baby and kids gear editor reports she has bought more than a dozen of these 12-ounce Funtainer bottles over the years for her three children and they hold up well. "The kids love the designs and lightweight feel. I’ve found the straw is a bit gentler and easier to drink from compared to sport tops, especially with younger kids," says editor Rose Gordon Sala. "The only thing I don't love about these is the extra silicone insert that helps attach the straw. It's just one more piece that I’d rather not have to fuss with or wash."


Materials: Stainless steel | Lid style: Flip-up straw/hard spout | Size: 12 or 20 ounces | Dishwasher safe: Yes

At $30, this Hydro Flask option is the most expensive water bottle on our list. But the bottle has plenty of features to help ensure your child will be using this container for years. The bottle is made from 18/8 professional grade stainless steel to help it last and double-walled insulation to keep things cold. It's similar to some of our other stainless steel water bottle picks, but this one does offer a 20-ounce model, and we love the ring-style handle that makes it easy to pick up. A perforated flex boot protects the bottom of the water bottle and makes it a bit grippier; the powder coating prevents marks and chips. The whole thing is dishwasher safe, and there are optional replacement tops should you need one.

What the reviews say: Reviewers says this water bottle is easy for kids to drink from and keeps things cold. It has a 4.8 out of 5 with around 3,500 reviews on Amazon. "Love this one for my kiddo," wrote one. "We recently moved to the great state of Florida and with it being warmer I wanted to make sure she drank enough water AND that it wasn't in a plastic bottle getting super hot in the car. This has worked out perfectly!"


Materials: Plastic | Lid style: Flip-up straw/spout | Size: 14 ounces | Dishwasher safe: Yes

These water bottles have a patented "easy-clean" lid that's free of grime-trapping nooks, and it's easy to unhook the straw when it's time to wash up. The bottle is also incredibly easy for little hands to open—it springs free with the touch of a button. (Just be warned: A few water droplets may spray in the process.) The built-in handle is comfortable to grip, making it easy to tote around and unscrew the lid as needed. This water bottle is designed for ages 3 and up as are most of the others on this list. If you have a younger tot, you may want to consider another water bottle, such as the Munchkin Stainless Steel Straw Cup that's made for ages 18-months and up and features handles on either side and a flip-top to prevent spills.

What the parents say: The Contigo kids water bottle has been a hit with toddlers in my family for years. My now-9-year-old used them when he was a tot, my 6-year-old loved them and my 3-year-old currently uses hers at preschool. They’re affordable and keep things simple from the easy open to the dishwasher safe cleaning.


Materials: Stainless steel | Lid style: Sport cap | Size: 12 ounces | Dishwasher safe: Only the non-pattern bottles

Elementary school kids can be a tricky bunch. When they’re younger, kids are often OK with whatever you hand them to drink from for the day. But, as they move up grades, they tend to want a more adult-like water bottle. This option from Klean Canteen is a good compromise between a more todder-like straw top and something you unscrew (which leaves your child vulnerable to spills). The sport cap slides up and down for quick drinking, while the narrow width allows this bottle to easily fit into backpacks and lunch boxes. The patterns are even a little more "grown-up," from whimsical strawberries to lifelike drawings of tigers to a plain brushed stainless exterior. The only downside? All the pretty patterns are supposed to be hand-washed.

What the reviews say: Reviewers love the stainless-steel design and slim feel of this water bottle. One happy reviewer wrote: "These small water bottles carry just the right amount and are more comfortable for small hands. They also are a great fit for the water bottle holders on their bikes! They provide an excellent alternative to plastic or water bottles with lids that are easily lost." Some reviewers do complain that the sport top is hard to open; others say it's easy.


Materials: Stainless steel | Lid style: Sport cap | Size: 30 ounces (20 ounces also available) | Dishwasher safe: Yes

We all know that older kids need more water, but they might also have longer days or more sports and other activities, which is why a bigger bottle starts to make sense as they enter middle school. The Forbes Vetted team already loves the Stanley IceFlow for its practical design and proven ability to keep things extra cold for long periods of time. The IceFlow also works well for kids, because of the flip-top lid to prevent spills, built-in straw and easy-to-grip handle. If you have an older child or just an especially active one, you might consider the 30-ounce IceFlow. Just keep in mind that it is big at about 1.5 pounds and nearly 10 inches in height. It comes in additional sizes, including 20 ounces, which might work better for a younger child.

What the parents say: Sala recently purchased this popular Stanley water bottle for her 10-year-old who had started to complain her current 12-ounce water bottle just wasn't big enough. "The IceFlow still has the sport top and straw that flips closed to make it portable for her," explains Sala, "and I like that we just doubled the water capacity for her. She has a long day with after-school activities, so I feel good about packing this into her backpack. I think she feels a bit more grown up carrying it, too."


Materials: Plastic | Lid style: Flip-up straw/spout | Size: 12 ounces | Dishwasher safe: Yes

At just 4.6 ounces in weight, the plastic Camelbak Eddy is one of the lightest, least expensive and easiest to use kids water bottles on the market. It also comes in a ton of fun designs, including dinosaurs, unicorns, sports themes and sharks. All of these features make this water bottle ideal for preschoolers and kindergartners. This 12-ounce bottle uses the special CamelBak bite valve to make it easy for kids to get water, while minimizing spills. The straw gently flips down when it's not in use and the bottle's handle is easy for little fingers to grip. When the day is done, simply unscrew the lid and put the whole thing in the dishwasher.

What the parents say: Don't mistake the low cost for low quality. It's crafted from durable BPA-free plastic and, it's worth noting, the CamelBak Eddy in my home has been passed down through three kids. This kids water bottle also has a 4.6 rating out of 5 on Amazon with more than 41,800 reviews. Some reviewers suggest it can leak, but they appreciate the lightweight feel and cute designs.


Materials: Stainless steel | Lid style: Flip-up straw/hard spout | Size: 14 or 16 ounces | Dishwasher safe: No

Takeya has built up a name for itself in the water bottle world, and its kids models are worthy of the same praise. Its stainless-steel kids water bottles comes in 14 or 16 ounce sizes, offering a bit more capacity than your average 12-ounce kids bottle, and yet, it still feels fairly lightweight, weighing under a pound at ‎11.7 ounces so easier to carry than some of the heavier bottles on this list. Its tough powder-coated stainless steel exterior helps it to resist dents and scratches, and the thoughtful silicone bumper at the base protects your table from scrapes. The straw lid also has a little lever that small fingers can grip for easy opening and closing, and the loop handle gently flips up and down.

What the reviews say: Amazon reviewers have given this kids water bottle a 4.7 out of 5 stars and 85% of them selected five stars. "Yes, it truly is leak-proof. It also keeps water cold for hours," wrote one happy parent. "Both of my kids love these water bottles for school."


Materials: Plastic | Lid style: Screw cap | Size: 32 ounces | Dishwasher safe: Yes

Nalgene's classic wide-mouth water bottle holds an impressive 32 ounces of fluid and has a large enough opening to easily toss in ice. Its size and wide mouth makes it ideal for older kids and teens, but it's light enough for anyone to carry. Ounce and milliliter markers on the side help your child keep tabs on how much they’re drinking throughout the day, while the attached cap has a long enough strap to quickly loop around a backpack strap or bag handle. Your kid can choose from a range of simple color combinations to find the look that feels right. The brand says the bottle is dishwasher safe, but its lack of nooks and crannies and wide mouth opening make it a cinch to hand wash.

What the reviews say: Older kids and teens particularly love to customize these classic and dead simple water bottles. They won't keep drinks cool (unless you freeze them ahead), but they hold enjoy liquid for their full school day. A recent reviewer wrote: "I love Nalgene!! I have so many. You can find almost any color you desire. Bought this one to add some of my stickers too. Always recommend! Great brand, great quality, they take all the beatings from out on a hike, drops on the pavement, and abuse from the kids. Long lasting, never have had any issues!"

To choose the best water bottles for kids, I spoke to parents to get their insight on the bottles they love most, including some of the team at Forbes Vetted. I’ve also included my personal experience testing some of these water bottles in real-life with my children and weighing which are worth your money and which might not deserve a spot in your cart. As a mom of four kids, ranging in age from 1 to 10 years old, I have nearly a decade's worth of experience with kids’ water bottles, along with firsthand knowledge of which bottles don't leak or break. I also spoke with pediatrician Ganjian to understand which features he prefers in kids water bottles. Lastly, I read deep into online reviews for additional feedback and considered elements like ease of use, capacity, materials and, of course, cost.

This article is frequently reviewed and was last updated in June 2023.

Our top choice of water bottle for most kids is the Yeti Rambler Jr. It has a durable stainless-steel frame and vacuum insulation to keep your child's water chilly for hours.

However, the best type of water bottle depends on the age of your child and their individual preferences, Ganjian says. In general, you want a bottle that will hold enough water for your child's hydration needs, but not so much that they have trouble lifting the container—around 12 to 14 ounces tends to be best for younger children. If your child is fussy about water temperature, consider a vacuum-insulated water bottle to help keep drinks cold.

It's generally recommended that younger kids have a straw top water bottle—this style helps with oral muscle development in small mouths, Ganjian says. But as your child grows, their needs and preferences change—many older children no longer want a straw top. "For kids that are school-aged, I recommend a water bottle that has the least amount of parts," Ganjian says. "Otherwise, mold can grow between them." While screw tops are convenient for older children, they come with a risk of spills. Just make sure your child can handle the responsibility before purchasing one.

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