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Best Kids Water Bottles 2023

Feb 15, 2024Feb 15, 2024

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. 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 our top pick for the best water bottle for kids is the super-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 the Hydro Flask Kids or the Stanley IceFlow while toddlers and preschoolers might prefer a lighter plastic option, such as the Contigo Kids Water Bottle.

The best kids water bottles are lightweight, easy to use, leak-resistant and durable. Our best ... [+] overall pick is the Yeti Rambler Jr. (center), a staff and reader favorite.

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 S. Ganjian, M.D., a pediatrician at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, recommends introducing water to kids around 9 months old using 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, Dr. Ganjian adds. Plus, he says, if your child likes the look of the water bottle, they’ll be more likely to use it. (Hence all the cute prints on water bottles for tots and the cool neutral hues on our tween and teen picks.) Based on staff recommendations and popular picks among parents, here the best kids water bottles for school, sports, travel and everything in between.


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 for easy cleaning. 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. The wide handle is easy for little ones to grip. Plus, with a range of exterior shades available, kids can choose their favorite color and even customize it with stickers and monograms (if you’re shopping from the Yeti site directly). Another nice feature: The bottle doesn’t sweat, so you don’t have to stress about it getting your bag wet.

What 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,” reports Korin Miller, author of this story. (Read her full-length review of the Yeti Rambler Jr.) Rose Sala, Forbes Vetted’s senior editor for baby and kids gear, reports the same and has at least half a dozen at home. Worth noting: This water bottle weighs nearly a pound and is made for ages 3 and up, so if you have a young toddler, you might want to opt for a lighter bottle.


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

The Thermos Funtainer Bottle is an inexpensive pick that still comes with all our favorite features, including a stainless steel construction, a straw top, and plenty of fun prints and bright, solid hues. At just 7.6 ounces in weight, the Funtainer bottle is simple for smaller children such as 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, either 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 parents say: Sala 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,” she says. The only ding, Sala notes, is the extra silicone insert to attach the straw, adding another piece to clean or fuss with.

Dick's Sporting Goods

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 with 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 picks, but this one does come in 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: “Purchased this for my kiddo, living in 105 [degree] dry heat during the day, and the ice cubes are not fully melted on day two,” notes a buyer.


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 Kanteen is a good compromise between a more toddler-friendly 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: “These small water bottles carry just the right amount and are more comfortable for small hands,” shares a reviewer. “They also are a great fit for the water bottle holders on their bikes!”


Materials: Stainless steel | Lid style: Sport cap | Size: 20 or 30 ounces | 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 makes more 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. It also works well for kids because of the flip-top lid that helps prevent spills, the built-in straw and the easy-to-grip handle. If you have an older child or 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 parents say: Sala recently purchased the 30-ounce Stanley water bottle for her 10-year-old who had started to complain her current 12-ounce bottle just wasn’t big enough. “The IceFlow still has the sport top and straw that flips closed to make it portable for her, and I like that we just doubled the water capacity. 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,” she says. Sala adds that it can be hard for her kids to open it to refill during the day, so it might be best to save this choice only for older kids or teens.


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 parents say: “The Contigo kids water bottle has been a hit with toddlers in my family for years,” says Miller. “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: 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 parents say: “Don’t mistake the low cost for low quality,” promises Miller. “It’s made with durable BPA-free plastic, and the CamelBak Eddy in my home has been passed down through three kids. Some Amazon 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 come in 14- or 16-ounce sizes, offering a bit more capacity than your average 12-ounce kids bottle. Still, it feels fairly lightweight, weighing just ‎11.7 ounces, so it’s easier to carry than some of the heavier bottles on this list. Its tough powder-coated exterior helps it 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: “I bought this bottle for my granddaughters, a 4-year-old and a 15-month-old,” writes a buyer on the brand’s site. “They love them. Easy to hold and easy to use.”


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. The brand says the bottle is dishwasher safe, but its lack of nooks and crannies and the wide-mouth opening make it a cinch to hand-wash.

Your kid can choose from a range of simple color combinations and older kids and teens particularly love to customize these classic water bottles. They won’t keep drinks cool (unless you freeze them ahead), but they hold enough liquid for their full school day.

What the reviews say: “You can find almost any color you desire. Great brand, great quality. [These bottles] 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!”

As a mom of four kids ranging in age from 1 to 10 years old, Forbes contributor and author of this story, Korin Miller, has plenty of personal experience with kids water bottles. Specifically, she’s learned which styles work best for different age ranges and which styles won’t leak or break, even with kids’ rough handling. We also tapped Rose Sala, senior editor of baby and kids gear for Forbes Vetted and a parent of two elementary school-aged children, for her favorite bottles among the dozens she’s accumulated over the years. Furthermore, we garnered valuable insight from Daniel S. Ganjian, M.D., a pediatrician at Providence Saint John’s Health Center, on what features and specific needs to keep in mind when choosing a water bottle for your child. Our team makes sure this article is frequently reviewed and it was last updated in August 2023—just in time for back-to-school season.

To choose the best kids water bottles, we asked parents which styles their families love most. We carefully considered these recommendations, then sought out crowd-pleasing favorites from other popular brands to offer even more options. From there, we decided which ones are worth your money by considering factors like materials, insulation, durability, washability and of course, cost. Lastly, we sorted through online reviews for additional feedback and considered elements like ease of use and leakproof design. Overall, we made sure this list was well-rounded and included quality picks to cater to various age ranges, lifestyles and price points.

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.

Want to stock up on more school and sports essentials? Check out more of our kid-centric best lists:

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