So you are looking for the best cups for your toddler, but are unsure where to start or which to choose? It’s not your fault if you’re stuck! With so many options out there, this one vs. that one, it’s easy to become flustered from information overload. My goal with this post is to explain a few different popular options of toddler cups along with their features and benefits. After that, I’ll explain what I believe to be the best based on facts – stainless steel toddler cups!
The Best Cups for Toddlers
Most options on the market have always been made from plastics. They are easy to clean and generally pretty durable. However lately the modern world is seeing the dangers associated with plastic chemicals (i.e. BPA) and realizing these aren’t the best cups for toddlers.
Studies have shown that even these plastics will leach other harmful chemicals into beverages.
For a lot more information on this topic, click here to view our post that’s the real “How To” on identifying harmful plastic.
When searching for the best cups for toddlers, plastic is not your best choice.
With all the great plastic alternatives we can choose from, let’s just ditch these plastic cups once and for all.
Glass Cups for Toddlers
Glass cups for toddlers are a nice option for bypassing plastic issues.
They are clean and free of harmful chemicals, dishwasher safe, and can handle temperature rather well.
The strong downside to glass however is that it’s a heavier material and breakable.
Glass drinking cups might be better as the children get a little older and more careful.
When it comes to normal glassware and young kids/ toddlers, I’d look for something else.
Something worth looking into, however, is tempered glass cups which are much more resistant to impact than regular glass.
Bamboo Cups for Kids
Like other Eco-friendly cups, bamboo cups for kids are free of BPA and Phthalates.
Because they are made from natural bamboo, you can feel comfortable knowing these won’t leach any chemicals into your child’s beverages.
They are naturally recyclable because of their material so they won’t hurt the planet either
Rather than glass, the bamboo cups won’t shatter if dropped which makes them safer for children than glass.
The only issue with any bamboo cup is that there’s no guarantee of how much abuse these will take without breaking.
The natural bamboo although a tough material, can still crack if dropped repeatedly.
Similarly to glass, these may be better as your children get a little bit older and more careful.
Stainless Steel Cups for Toddlers
Ahhh and here we have it – stainless steel cups for toddlers, what I believe to be the absolute best!
Stainless steel has become one of the most commonly used materials in kitchens and for good reason.
304-grade stainless steel, which is what these cups are made from, is a high corrosion-resistant type of steel.
It can withstand lots of use with food and beverages and all the frequent washing that comes with it and remain “brand new like” for years.
This is why the majority of cooking utensils, pots/ pans, and metal containers are made from this material.
Stainless steel is highly desired in children’s cups because it is a super Eco-friendly and highly durable, unbreakable material.
It contains no plastic or any of those chemicals at all for that matter.
It can be cleaned very easily including in the dishwasher, it will not stain, will not rust, and best of all, WILL NOT BREAK!
This also makes it a very popular option for dinnerware and especially children’s plates. Click here to view our review post on plastic-free kids plates!
These cups are somewhat of a hybrid between the last two – possessing all the strengths of glass and bamboo, but none of the weaknesses!
And when it comes to strengths, stainless steel cups have all the other options beat.
The only “downside” of stainless steel cups is that the steel will get warm or cold depending on the temperature of the contents inside.
We know from reviews of our very own stainless steel cups, that some families enjoy this feature of stainless steel because it will help keep cooler beverages like juice and milk, colder for longer!
A simple way around this if you’re concerned, is to go with a double-walled stainless steel cup.
This usually means it’s two layers of steel, separated by a small space inside, between your hands and beverage.
With this design, the cup will generally stay more temperature neutral!
Now that you know why these cups are the best option for your kids, I want to share with you some key features to look for when choosing stainless steel cups for your toddler.
These features make all the difference between having a good or bad experience with this plastic alternative.
Identifying the Best Stainless Steel Cups for Toddlers
Make sure it’s 304-Grade Stainless Steel
I mentioned earlier “304-grade stainless steel” as being great steel for these cups.
What I’m getting at here is this – some other grades of stainless steel are less acceptable for drinking cups.
Not all steel is created equal.
Occasionally cup manufacturers will produce their stainless drinkware from other steel’s like 201-grade, for example.
This is stainless steel that appears very much similar to 304-grade, but is cheaper due to it’s lower nickel content.
It is actually slightly harder steel, making it a better choice for certain applications like furniture.
Where 304-grade shines is in corrosion resistance.
It has a higher chrome content than 201-grade, resulting in better resistance to corrosion, pitting, and rusting.
This is especially important when we’re putting liquids in our cups.
Cups made from 201-grade steel are likely to rust and can become hazardous to kids, while 304 grade is perfect for drinkware.
Companies may produce their cups from lesser quality steel to save money upfront.
This is why you need to make sure to see “304-grade (or 18/8-grade)” when choosing stainless steel cups for your toddler.
Check for Electro-polishing
Electro-polishing is a process done to the insides of stainless steel cups and bottles that will further improve corrosion resistance, removes any contaminants, micro-cracks, pits, or any other surface imperfections of the steel.
It also prevents any metallic tastes from entering your child’s beverage which CAN happen without this polishing.
Many times, lower quality steel cups won’t have this done and you’ll find that those cups tend to rust and pit over time.
The reason some sellers of these cups neglect this part of the process is that it costs extra money and lengthens production time.
Others might just not know enough about the process to realize how crucial it is.
But we believe any company, especially one producing products for kids, should and MUST take every step possible for the safest product.
This is why in our cups, which you can find by clicking here, we take every step possible to craft you the best cups on the market.
When browsing stainless steel toddler cups, use the above image to check if they’re electro-polished or not.
You can see how our cup, on the left, has a smooth – even texture.
This is from the polishing which has smoothed out and removed any impurities on the surface.
On the right side, is a steel cup without electro-polishing.
With these, you’ll notice the ripples and uneven texture along the inside of the cup.
This is the remnants of the machining process which crafts the cup in the factory.
It’s important that this is polished smooth like the first image – this will seal and prolong your cups for a lifetime of use!
Conclusion on Stainless Steel Toddler Cups
The main takeaways here are this:
1. Decide first the material of the cup you are looking for. For this article, we’ve focused on plastic-free alternatives and more specifically glass, bamboo, and stainless steel. We chose stainless steel as the winner.
2. When searching for your new steel cups for kids, keep in mind the grade of steel used – look to see “304 (18/8) grade stainless steel” in the product description.
3. Also, check if the inside of the cup is electro-polished or not. You can tell by referencing the above image to the product images of whatever you find.
These are basic guidelines that will make sure you are getting the highest quality and safest stainless steel toddler cups out there. Not many people are aware of these things, but now as you browse the market, you’ll be much more prepared to make the smartest choice for your family!
P.S. If you haven’t guessed by now, the stainless steel cups featured throughout this post are our brand’s product. We sell these through Amazon.com and they even include 4 silicone spill-proof lids! You can check them out by clicking here!
Disclosure: The products mentioned in this post were researched and discovered to be some of the best in their market. I did this as a resource for you in case you wanted to further explore that particular product/ brand, without doing the tedious research. I may receive a small commission if you purchase through those links at no cost to you.