10 best water bottles for kids 2021
05 May 2021
Most children need at least one reusable water bottle for nursery, school, sports or general outdoor activities. Here’s our pick of the 10 best water bottles for kids.
A good kids' water bottle is a must as soon as your child is regularly drinking water, and you'll likely try out different bottles as they grow and develop.
There are many types of bottles to choose from – from ordinary swig bottles to ones with straws and retractable mouthpieces, and they’re now made in a variety of materials including plastic, silicone and lightweight metals.
Of course, the main thing you need to be sure of is that the bottle will hold enough water and won’t leak. Most parents know only too well the misery of emptying a sodden schoolbag and drying reading diaries and letters home on the radiator.
A reliable, non-leaky bottle is worth its weight in gold so it pays to do a bit of research and choose a decent model that your child can use easily.
Here are the 10 best kids’ water bottles for 2021.
1. Best water bottle for lunchboxes: CamelBak Eddy Kids' Water Bottle
“CamelBak are the best. My son’s had his for three-and-a-half years and it doesn't leak, even if you turn it upside down.”
“CamelBak bottles last forever, can go in the dishwasher and you can buy packs of replacement spouts.”
The sturdy CamelBak Eddy comes in lots of different designs and has a really good flow so that children get a decent mouthful of water each time they drink. As the top flips up, a straw appears, which makes this bottle simple to use.
We think it's a great lunchbox addition as it's leakproof when closed and spill-proof when open, which means sandwiches won’t get soaked and kids won’t lose their drink if they knock the bottle over at lunchtime.
All parts of the CamelBak Eddy are dishwasher-safe so it's easy to keep clean. It also has a carry handle that makes this water bottle easy for children aged three and upwards to carry themselves.
- BPA- and BPS-free
- Bite valve to prevent dripping
- Fits into a lunchbox easily
- Has a carry handle
- Will need thorough cleaning to prevent grime and mould
Price: £14.72Buy now from Amazon
2. Best budget water bottle for kids: Sistema Twist 'n' Sip
“I love Sistema bottles. They really are leakproof and my son with a weak grip (dyspraxia) is fine undoing and then doing them up.”
The Sistema bottle is ubiquitous for a reason: it’s an easy bottle for kids to use at an absolute bargain price.
If your child finds it hard to undo fiddly caps, this bottle is the ideal solution. To raise the mouthpiece for drinking, simply twist the lid to open then twist it again to close. Provided they do it properly, there'll be no leaks in sight.
The BPA- and phthalate-free bottle has a bit of squeeze in it so is unlikely to crack if dropped, like some hard plastics, but it does feel flimsier than other kids' water bottles made of stronger materials.
That said, you can put the Sistema in the freezer for cold drinks on hot days, and microwave it without the lid on if you want a warm drink (though it won’t keep it warm afterwards).
For cleaning, Sistema recommends you extend the pop-up sipper to the open position and clean the bottle in the dishwasher – or handwash it thoroughly and then place it in a sterilising solution for five minutes to remove any lurking germs. There are videos showing you how to take the lid apart on the Sistema website.
And, while we all want our reusable water bottles to last as long as possible, at under £4 you won’t be too distraught about having to replace it when your child inevitably loses theirs.
- Budget price
- Easy to undo and grip
- Twist 'n' Sip lid provides a more hygienic way to drink
- Lid can be tricky to clean
Price: £3.49Buy now from Amazon
3. Best leakproof water bottle for kids: Contigo Swish Autoseal Water Bottle
“Contigo all the way! We all use them here.”
“Try the Contigo Autoseal bottles. They close automatically and I haven’t noticed any effect on the bottle contents.”
This clever little bottle can be used one-handed and automatically seals shut between each sip so it can be used for sports or during playtime without fear of spillage.
When it comes to capacity, the Swish it holds 500ml and, while a smaller size is available for younger children, you'll appreciate the extra volume this bottle offers if you have an active tween or teen.
The Swish is available in six bright colours, which means the bottle is less likely to get lost, and it has a clip-on handle that allows it to be attached to the outside of a backpack when on the go.
All in all, we think the autoseal is a really useful feature, particularly for children likely to drop or knock over a bottle.
- Easy to grip, even one-handed
- Dishwasher-safe (top rack)
- Autoseal prevents spills
- Larger size too big for younger children
Price: £17.99Buy now from Amazon
4. Best insulated water bottle for kids: Thermos Funtainer Straw Bottle
You know you can rely on Thermos to keep hot things hot and cold things cold. The Thermos Funtainer food jars are beloved by Mumsnetters for providing hot packed lunches and – good news! – this ultra-hygienic stainless steel Funtainer Straw Bottle is just as good.
It keeps drinks cool for 12 to 13 hours and is reassuringly difficult to break, both inside and out. It works well for younger kids as well as older ones, with a hygienic straw that pops up as you open the lid, and a lid and straw that come apart easily for cleaning.
We like the flip-up carry loop, which makes this bottle less likely to be dropped, as well as the fact that young toddlers can easily use the push button to access the straw – great for building independence.
The Thermos Funtainer Straw Bottle is available in several designs and replacement lids are available to buy should you need them.
- Durable – double stainless steel interior and exterior
- Vacuum insulation technology to keep drinks cold
- Five-year guarantee
- Straw is tempting for chewers
Price: £13.49Buy now from Amazon
5. Best metal water bottle for kids: Klean Kanteen Insulated Classic Sport Water Bottle
“Klean Kanteen bottles are expensive, but indestructible.”
“We have a Klean Kanteen. It's great! They do insulated and non-insulated versions and different tops and colours.”
Klean Kanteen are the Rolls Royce of water bottles. They’re pricey, so you won’t want your child to misplace theirs, but they do last a lifetime, which makes them worth every penny.
This Insulated Kids Classic Sport model holds 355ml and comes with a sports cap complete with a dust cover and loop. While the sports cap isn’t totally leakproof, you can also purchase a loop cap or sippy cap separately, both of which are.
The stainless steel bottle is powder-coated in a chip-resistant paint, which keeps it looking as new as the day you bought it, and the bottle is insulated with special climate-lock technology which keeps drinks cool for up to 40 hours (and hot things hot for up to 12 hours).
Because it’s compatible with all Klean Kanteen classic lids, it grows with your child, and you can choose the lid and spout that suit you best – although we'd recommend the soft silicone sports spout with a valve for easy drinking.
The Klean Kanteen Insulated Classic Sport is available in various very appealing colours and sizes, and the looped lid makes it simple to carry – you could also attach it to a bag with a keyring clip if you wish.
- Handwash only
- Sports cap isn’t 100% leakproof
Price: £22.95Buy now from Klean Kanteen
6. Best eco-friendly water bottle for kids: One Green Bottle Stainless Steel Curvy Bottle
“We have a One Green Bottle for the toddler. She has the 330ml size which is a perfect size for younger children.”
This curvy, sustainable stainless steel 350ml bottle from One Green Bottle is a top choice for any eco-conscious kids and parents.
It's made from sustainable materials, is delivered in cardboard no-plastics packaging and, for each bottle purchased, One Green Bottle reclaims 25 plastic bottles from the ocean.
It’s recommended that you handwash the Stainless Steel Curvy Bottle with a bottle brush and straw brush, which is a little fiddly. That said, if you’re only using it for water, it will generally just need a good rinse.
We like that this bottle is really easy for little hands to use – just lift the spout to access the straw and close it to seal. It's guaranteed leakproof too, which will be music to most parents' ears.
The bottle isn’t insulated so won’t keep things cold, but that does make it very lightweight. We're recommending the smaller size, but larger styles are available and you can buy this model in lots of fun colours as well.
- Toddler-friendly size
- Excellent eco credentials
- Replacement caps available to buy
- BPA- and BPS-free
- Not recommended for use without supervision if your child chews bottle caps
- Not recommended for dishwasher use
Price: £12Buy now from Amazon
7. Best silicone water bottle: Smiggle Silicone Roll-Up Water Bottle
“I’ve always gone for Smiggle.”
“The Smiggle roll-up ones are great. The number of times in the first couple of years I had to buy new bottles as they had been dropped and cracked… I wish I’d known about these earlier!”
This genius water bottle from Smiggle scrunches down and rolls up when empty so it takes up less room in a bag than most water bottles.
It’s made of soft silicone, so there’s no danger of it cracking when dropped on the floor of the playground, and the flip-top spout is easy to use and clean. The stretchy silicone strap can be used to carry the bottle and then to secure it when rolled up.
The bottle also has a carabiner clip to attach it to a school backpack and it has a large capacity, carrying up to 600ml, which means it won’t need refilling too regularly.
- Large 600ml capacity
- Easy to transport – can be rolled up after use
- Dishwasher-safe on top shelf (remove metal parts)
- Silicone bottle attracts dirt and fluff
- Not suitable for under threes
- Recommended for use with water only
Price: £12Buy now from Amazon
8. Best kids' water bottle for nighttime: SIGG Kids' Water Bottle
“We’ve used SIGG kids' bottles for years with no leaks. Very robust too – they are full of dents from being dropped, but are still going strong.”
“DD and I have tried lots and we've ended up with SIGGS, mainly because the sports caps can be taken apart for cleaning and the seals are replaceable.”
The glowing moon on the top and front of this 0.4L SIGG water bottle means it’s always easy to spot in the dark, making it an ideal choice for nighttime use.
The leakproof top screws tightly onto the bottle to prevent spillages and the glow cap flips up to reveal a mouthpiece to swig from.
The cap, top and mouthpiece come apart for easy cleaning and you can buy replacement parts for this bottle to make it last longer. Made from a single piece of lightweight aluminium, it won’t weigh down a backpack either.
- Very lightweight
- BPA-free, food-grade aluminium
- Glow-in-the-dark design
- Not dishwasher-safe
- May dent a little if dropped
Price: £13.99Buy now from Amazon
9. Best water bottle for toddlers: Skip Hop Zoo Straw Bottle
“We use these Skip Hop ones. Love them. Easy for kids from two upwards and still good for my five-year-old.”
This does-what-it-says-on-the-tin kids’ water bottle is a basic but brilliant buy. Skip Hop has selection of designs to suit a variety of tastes, from unicorns to giraffes to dinosaurs and beyond.
The straw flips down to be sealed securely under a flip-top lids (no leaks here), and the top of the 325ml bottle is lovely and chunky so it’s easy for little fingers to open and shut, helping to ease the transition from a small sippy cup for children aged 12 months or older wanting to feel more grown up.
While the inclusion of a straw may make this bottle a little trickier to clean, it can easily be popped in the dishwasher. It also comes with an extra straw and a handy Velcro strap so that it can be attached to lightweight buggies, bags and toddler car seats.
- Flip-top lid keeps bottle sealed and straw clean
- Comes with a Velcro strap
- Extra straw included
- Dishwasher-safe (on top rack)
- BPA- PVC and phthalate-free
- Some parents report that it's not 100% leakproof
- Can be fiddly to clean
Price: From £5.40Buy now from Amazon
10. Best water bottle for older children: Chilly’s Water Bottle
“The Chilly's bottles don’t leak. Plus, the water tastes nice!”
Chilly’s bottles are definitely a game-changer in the water bottle market, keeping things cold for 24 hours and hot for 12.
The food-grade stainless steel bottles have double-wall insulation and a simple twist-to-open lid with a small opening for spill-proof drinking.
It’s a lot of cash to splash for a young child and it doesn’t have any of the non-spill features that some bottles aimed at younger children have, but for children who have outgrown kids' water bottles, this is a great option – and we’ve never known one to leak.
If you have a tween or teen who’s insistent that nothing but a tatty, reused Evian bottle is socially acceptable, a Chilly’s might just convince them. They come in hundreds of fun colours and designs, and the bottle can even be personalised with their name on it.
- Excellent designs
- Available in three sizes
- Doesn't leave a metallic taste in your water
- Slightly bulkier than other water bottles
- Not so suitable for small children
- Handwash only
Price: From £15Buy now from Amazon
How to choose the best water bottle for kids
There are several things to think about when buying a kids' water bottle. Firstly, go for a good brand. There’s a bit of engineering in a decent reusable water bottle so you’re better off with a brand that specialises in that. Secondly, think about the type you want. Your choices are essentially plastic or metal, but you'll also find a few silicone options out there too.
Also consider which type of mouthpiece you want. Generally speaking, younger children who love using a sippy cup will fare better with straw bottles or bottles with a mouthpiece that they can suck water out of – ones that are also spill-proof are a bonus. Older children might, understandably, find anything spill-proof to be babyish, so you may want to opt for a more adult bottle here.
Finally, think about purpose. Will it have to fit into a lunchbox or a small bag? If it’s for sport, you may want a bottle that’s easy to grip and drink from on the go.
For use at nursery or primary school, where your child’s water bottle is likely to be jostling for space next to others in one tray, a bottle with a hygienic lid that protects the mouthpiece means your child won’t be sucking on a bottle that's been rubbing shoulders with someone else’s germs.
What to look for in a kids’ water bottle
Mainly you want something robust that won’t leak and, ideally, a bottle that your child can use without supervision, though some will have a recommended age range. Safety features you’d expect to see are:
- BPA-free materials
- Mouthpieces that won’t come apart easily while drinking
- Leak-proof lids – according to children, it defies the laws of physics to keep a bottle upright in one’s bag between the ages of two and 12
You might also expect to see a handle or loop to carry the bottle if it’s not going in their bag, have grips to help them hold it when drinking and a fastening they can easily do themselves so they don’t have to ask an adult for help – twist openings and chunky caps both help with this.
Finally, look for a design they’ll find appealing. The main point of a water bottle is to ensure that they’ll get plenty of H2O, so a favourite cartoon character your toddler loves or a fashionable bottle your teen won’t be ashamed to take out of their bag is a good start.
Which brand of water bottle is best?
Cheap water bottles will certainly do the trick, but it may be worth spending a bit more on a known water bottle brand if you're looking for additional features.
Klean Kanteen, Thermos, Contigo, Chilly’s and Sistema are all renowned water bottle brands with plenty of choice to suit most families.
Why does my child need a reusable water bottle?
Mainly because it’s so much better for the environment to opt for reusable rather than non-recyclable plastic water bottles. There’s nothing like leading by example, so it’s worth investing in one for everyone in the family if you can.
A reusable water bottle also means your child will always have access to a drink. Kids get thirsty much more than adults, particularly when it’s hot or they’re very active, and many local businesses are now signed up to schemes offering free refills, so you'll never have to worry about running out of water when you’re out and about.
Most nurseries and schools will ask that your child brings their own named bottle and it’s a must for many sports and extra-curricular activities too.
They’re also great for bedtime as your child is much less likely to have a giant spill with a water bottle beside their bed than an open cup.
What is the safest material for water bottles?
Stainless steel is very safe. If you’re going for plastic, choose a BPA-free type.
What does BPA-free mean?
BPA stands for Bisphenol A, an oestrogen-imitating chemical that's used in the manufacturing of polycarbonate. It’s now understood to make its way into food in tiny amounts, which may cause some health issues (particularly in children), so is now banned in the manufacture of baby bottles by the European Commission.
It’s worth knowing that BPA-free doesn’t mean chemical-free, so if you feel strongly about that then a stainless steel water bottle will be the best option.
How do I clean my child’s water bottle?
Regular cleaning is key to keeping water bottles hygienic, so wash it every evening with hot soapy water, rinse well, and leave it to dry thoroughly with the top off.
You might find a bottle brush useful for getting right down to the bottom and, if your bottle is dishwasher-proof, pop it in the dishwasher afterwards for a really hot wash.
If the bottle has a straw and other small components, take it apart to wash it properly. It’s surprising just how much grime can build up over time. If you want to give the straw and other pieces a thorough clean, you can put them in a bottle steriliser or sterilising solution overnight.
What types of water bottle keeps water cold?
Metal bottles will generally keep cold drinks cold for longest, and some have insulating interiors that will do the job for hours at a time.
Some bottles can also be put in the freezer safely, which means your child will have a cold drink hours later.
Can you put other drinks in a kids' water bottle?
You can, but it does make them trickier to clean. If you’re confident you can clean your bottle thoroughly, then go for it, but we'd recommend avoiding milk, which can easily cause bacteria, and squash, which can be sticky.
How we chose our recommendations
When it comes to buying the best and avoiding expensive mistakes, we think the real experts are parents who have been there, done that and spent the money.
So we scoured Mumsnet’s forums for recommendations on the best kids’ water bottles, including the brands best avoided. We looked for information on which bottles worked well, lasted longest and were most indestructible, as well as any that disappointed on those scores.
Having done that, we researched safety features and the latest information about bottle materials to find out what the safest, most reliable products should be offering and checked that all the bottles on our shortlist complied with those standards.
We then looked at best buy lists across the internet and print media, finding out what other websites and newspapers had found in product reviews and researching what the most reputable consumer organisations such as Which? thought about the various products on the market. We also studied consumer reviews thoroughly.
From there we compiled a list of what we consider to be the top kids’ water bottles available, ensuring there was something for every age and every lifestyle.
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