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10 of the best open cups, straw cups and sippy cups for babies and toddlers

Moving your baby or toddler on to drinking from a cup or beaker? Here's everything you need to know, and the very best products to make it easy.

Best cups for babies and toddlers

Along with weaning comes another fun but daunting task: introducing your baby to drinking from a cup. Whether they’re breastfed, bottle fed or a bit of both, your baby will be used to the comforting and familiar feel of a nipple or teat, but you will eventually need to wean them off that sucking action. Giving them small amounts of water with their meals in the early stages of weaning will help them get used to drinking from a cup, making it easier for them to move to one full-time as they get older and drop milk feeds.

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We’ve tested every cup in this list with babies and toddlers between the ages of 6 months and 2 years, to find the cups that kids and parents really rate. We looked at ease of use and cleaning, special features, design and quality, and how good they were at avoiding leaks. We also considered how each cup would work in terms of oral and dental development.

Best cups and beakers at a glance

  • Best first free-flow cup: Tommee Tippee Essential Free Flow First Cup, £16.47 for 4 
  • Best cup for convenience: Munchkin Miracle 360 Trainer Cup, £6.50
  • Best easy-grip open cup: Baby Boosa My 1st Cup, £9.50
  • Best cup for reducing spills: Doidy Cup, £3.99
  • Best cup for night time: MAM Fun To Drink Cup & Glow Handles, £8.99
  • Best cup for simplicity: Babycup First Cups, £8.99 for 4
  • Best cup for learning to drink through a straw: Munchkin Click Lock Weighted Flexi-Straw Cup, £7.50
  • Best cup for a more sustainable option: Bamboo Bamboo Baby Sippy Cup, £9.99
  • Best free-flow straw cup: Tum Tum Tippy Up Free Flow Sippy Cup, £9.99
  • Best transitioning cup: MAM Trainer Cup, £7.50

What types of cup are there?

There is a huge variety of cups on offer, from trainer cups through to open cups, sippy cups, straw cups, weighted cups and spill-proof 360 cups. Each one suits a different age or situation. Here are some key things to look out for.

What to look for when buying a cup or beaker for a baby or toddler

Age suitability – Most cups will have a recommended age range which may help guide your decision, but remember a simple open cup is fine from 6 months and many of the special features and functions of other cups are not necessary (they’re just useful).

Spout material – Trainer cups often come with a soft spout similar to a bottle teat but with a larger hole. These are handy in the very early stages as they’ll feel familiar to babies. However, you’ll want to move to a hard spout, a straw cup or (ideally) an open cup as soon as you and your baby feel comfortable.

Valve vs Free-flow – Free-flow means the liquid flows out of the cup or spout without needing to be sucked, and this is preferable. However, many cups designed for weaning babies and those under 1 have a valve to control the flow of liquid. They’re easier for your baby to use (and less messy) but they won’t teach your child to drink “correctly”. If you’d like to use a valve at the start, perhaps look for one that can be removed later, turning a sippy cup into a free-flow one to extend its life span.

Spill-free designs – “360” or spill-free cups look like a regular open cup but have a special lid with a rubber stopper in that prevents any spills. These are brilliant for ease of use and they’re popular with parents, but the lid is essentially a valve: your child will learn to sip but it’s still not quite the same as an open cup. Again, it’s best to consider these as an occasional or training option.

Straws – A lot of modern toddler cups have straws, and many dentists and speech therapists now recommend these alongside open cups if you need something more convenient, usually from around 9 months. Look for one with a short, fairly solid straw.

Handles – Many trainer cups and starter cups have handles, and a lot of babies will find these easier to grab and use at first, but do bear in mind it is another piece to wash and sterilise. There’s no real developmental issue here: drinking vessels come in all styles for all ages, but it’s a good idea to make sure your child has some cups without handles too, just like most adults will use a mixture of mugs and glasses.

1. Tommee Tippee Essential Free Flow First Cup, £3.99

Best budget buy

Type: Free flow | Capacity: 190ml | Spout: Hard, flip-up spout | Handles: Yes | Valve: No | Spill-free: With spout flipped down

This classic, affordable design is not just a hit with parents but with childcare professionals too: this is the cup my son drinks from at nursery, and it’s become one of our go-tos at home too.

It’s a simple two-piece design with grab handles and a flip-up spout built into the lid. The spout is made from hard plastic and it’s free-flow, so it encourages babies to learn how to drink properly. It will be messy in the early days as water pours out of the spout easily, but as it only holds up to 190ml the damage that can be done is minimal.

This simple cup is so popular among parents you only need to refer to “the Tommee Tippee cup” and people will know what you mean. Home tester Laura said, “We tried SO many different cups and the best one for us for water is the free flow Tommee Tippee cup. Easy to drink from and nice size for small hands. Also the action is more like a regular cup than straws or sucking.” Readily available in supermarkets and online, it offers an easy and relatively mess-free way to introduce babies and toddlers to a cup. Plus, it’s dishwasher-safe with no tricky parts to clean.

Pros: Affordable, free-flow, easy to clean
Cons: Doesn’t hold a lot of liquid, not leak-proof with the spout up

Available from: Amazon (4-pack), Waitrose and Tommee Tippee

2. Munchkin Miracle 360 Trainer Cup, £6.50

Best for convenience

Type: 360 | Capacity: 200ml | Spout: None, spill-free lid | Handles: Yes | Valve: Rubber lid | Spill-free: Yes

Munchkin has been the driving force behind the popularity of spill-free 360 cups, and this classic trainer cup, suitable from 6 months, is designed to teach children a sipping action without the mess. However, the rubber part of the lid does have a lot in common with a valve and most dentists advise that the 360 cup is not used as your child’s only cup, as it doesn’t quite teach the correct way of sipping in the same way as an open style.

However, there’s a reason it’s so popular. For us, it offered a really easy and convenient way for my son to get used to the action of sipping from the edge of a cup (rather than a spout or teat). I found once he’d mastered the 360 cup it was easier to teach him to drink from an open cup, although we still get plenty of spills! MFM home tester Heather also felt these cups were “a good starting point for moving onto open cups after.”

The 360 cups are well-made and easy to clean, with just 3 parts that are all dishwasher safe. They come in lots of colours and prints, and as your child gets older, you can swap to larger cups in the same range without handles. We really like the stainless steel one as slightly more sustainable option.

Pros: Great for teaching to “sip” without mess, easy to take care off
Cons: Not as good for teeth/development as an open cup

Available from: Amazon, Kidly and Boots

3. Baby Boosa My 1st Cup, £9.50

Best for an easy-grip open cup

Type: Open cup | Capacity: Around 150ml | Spout: No | Handles: Yes | Valve: No | Spill-free: No

You’d be forgiven for thinking Baby Boosa’s modern, minimalist baby and toddler accessories might be a case of style over substance, but this cup doesn’t just look good, it really delivers when it comes to practicality too. It’s a really well thought-out design that my son preferred over any other open cup we tried.

The reason for that was twofold: firstly it has handles, which he favours even now as a 2 year old. But it’s also made from a soft, matte silicone which has just the right amount of grip to help tiny hands keep hold and reduce spills. The capacity is relatively small, but that helps your child feel like this is their ‘special’ cup, and you’ll probably find in the early days that you only want to put a small amount of water in the cup anyway.

It’s dishwasher safe, easy to keep clean and looks a bit different to your usual brightly-coloured baby products. You can choose from a number of muted shades that match the brand’s bibs, bowls and other weaning items.

Pros: Teaches correct sipping technique, great for teeth
Cons: Messy in the early stages, expensive

Available from: Baby Boosa

4. Doidy Cup, £3.99

Best for reducing spills

Type: Open cup | Capacity: 200ml | Spout: No | Handles: Yes | Valve: No | Spill-free: No

The Doidy Cup offers another clever way to introduce an open cup while reducing spills. In the words of home tester Laura, who used this with her 6-month-old daughter, “it is great for training her to drink from an open cup, it’s slanted so you don’t need to tip quite as much.”

Home tester Sammy was also a fan, saying, “We really liked the Doidy cup as an introduction to an open cup for our boys. The handles are easy to grab and the angled design means there’s less spills.” Home tester Elle added, “We started with a Doidy cup and absolutely loved it…[my daughter] learnt to drink from it within a week or so at 6 months old.”

The slanted design means that your baby doesn’t have to tip the cup up as far to get to the liquid, meaning they have a little more control as they’re learning their limits. You’ll still need to keep a cloth at hand, but if you’re already overwhelmed by the mess of weaning, this might help a little. My son took ages to learn to sip without pouring water all over himself, the table and the floor, but this cup minimised that.

The one-piece design is easy to clean by hand or in the dishwasher, and it’s affordable and available in lots of different colours.

Pros: Affordable, teaches correct sipping movement
Cons: You will have to clean up a lot of spills!

Available from: Amazon, Jojo Maman Bebe and Uber Kids

5. MAM Fun to Drink Cup & Glow Handles, £8.99

Best for night time

Type: Hard spout sippy cup | Capacity: 270ml | Spout: Yes, hard | Handles: Yes, removable | Valve: Yes, removable | Spill-free: With valve | Awards: Gold – Cup / beaker, MadeForMums Awards 2021

If you do want to try your child on a spouted cup, the convertible elements of this MAM cup make it a really good contender. The spout is hard, which won’t encourage sucking in the same way as a soft spout or bottle teat. There’s also removable valve inside, which means you get the choice as to whether you use this as a free-flow cup or a sippy cup.

The cup has removable glow-in-the-dark handle, designed to make it easy to spot at night (although you shouldn’t leave anything in the cot with a child under 1, even a bottle). I gave it to my son in his cot one night when he was ill and dehydrated at around 14 months, and he’s refused to sleep without his water ever since. With the valve in place we’ve found it to be completely leak-free. We take it out if he ever uses the cup during the day.

Home tester Rihanna, who tested it with her 11-month-old daughter, said, “It’s made life a lot easier and my daughter very much struggled holding bottles by herself but she’s seemed very much more comfortable when holding and drinking from it.”

Pros: Convertible design, spill-proof with the valve in
Cons: Even without the valve, a hard-spout sippy cup is not the best for teeth/development

Available from: Amazon and MAM

6. Babycup First Cups, £8.99 for 4

Best for simplicity

Type: Open cup | Capacity: 50ml | Spout: No| Handles: No | Valve: No | Spill-free: No | Awards: Silver – Cup/beaker, MadeForMums Awards 2021

They may look like shot glasses, but these tiny little open cups are actually designed for the youngest members of the household, and our home tester Nikki confirmed they are “really good for small hands.”

Proving that sometimes the simplest design is the best, these shrunken versions of an adult cup are great for teaching babies to sip slowly. Home tester Laura, mum to an 18 month old, said ” my child enjoys drinking from them and often drinks more than from a normal beaker which she seems to give up on. They are easy to clean, stack and store and look great at the dining table.”

Home tester Charlotte is also a fan, saying “they are the perfect size for my 17month old, comfortable to hold with both hands to drink. Also the right size to drink from, other open sip cups I’ve tried do spill everywhere as soon as you lift the cup at an angle.”

The tiny plastic cups are made from recyclable plastic and are dishwasher-safe, with markings of 10ml all the way up the side to help you track how much water your child has drunk / poured down their top. They will be messy, but with only a small capacity there won’t be too much cleaning up.

Pros: Teaches correct sipping technique, small size for small hands
Cons: Will need refilling frequently, messy at the start

Available from: Jojo Maman Bebe, Amazon and Baby Cup

7. Munchkin Click Lock Weighted Flexi-Straw Cup, £7.50

Best for learning to drink through a straw

Type: Weighted straw cup | Capacity: 200ml | Spout: Soft straw | Handles: Yes | Valve: Yes | Spill-free: Yes

Straw cups can be really useful to have alongside more traditional open cups, and the smart design of this weighted cup is great for teaching younger babies how to use them. This model is suitable from 6 months but you may find it takes a little while for your baby to get used to using it, and it really came into its own for us at around 12 months.

The weighed design means that the end of the straw stays in the water whatever position they’re holding the cup in, so your child can drink from any angle. MFM home tester Kayleigh said her children “haven’t really been able to grasp tipping their cup to drink from it when little,” but said of this cup, “[my daughter] is 8 months old and has been happily using hers since she was 6 months with no hint of a struggle.”

The flip-top design keeps the straw safe and secure and makes the bottle leak-proof. I’ve had no issue with leaks provided I’d put all the parts together properly.

There is a valve, which means it takes some quite strong sucking to get liquid up and through, but the straw is better for teeth than a spout and my son really liked this cup even though he had to work to get the liquid out.

On the downside, it’s one of the hardest to keep clean: the cup comes with a tiny brush to poke up and down the straw to get into all the little parts, and the lid has lots of crevices to get into. I found for this reason I only ever used this cup for water, and never for milk.

Pros: Spill-proof, easy to use and kids love it
Cons: Does have a valve, difficult to clean

Available from: Amazon, Tesco and Asda

8. Bamboo Bamboo Baby Sippy Cup, £9.99

Best for sustainability

Type: Open cup | Capacity: 150 ml | Spout: No | Handles: No | Valve: No| Spill-free: No | Awards: Bronze – Cup / beaker, MadeForMums Awards 2021

If sustainability is high on your list of priorities, Bamboo Bamboo’s baby cup could be right up your street. It’s made mostly from bamboo, with just a small amount of silicone used for its cute drip-detail rim, which provides a softer cushion for your baby’s mouth and teeth. Our home testers loved that little detail during bouts of teething.

The design itself is eye-catching, and this is an open cup so it represents the best design for oral health and your child’ development. MFM home tester Ashleigh, who tested it with her 7-month-old daughter, said, ” I love that it’s biodegradable and good for the planet. I love that it’s naturally anti-bacterial and anti-microbial. The design is lovely, simple yet stylish. It’s handleless and open design which is good for not constantly buying new cups as they grow.”

Bamboo is a sustainable choice, but it does require a little more care. This cup can’t go in the dishwasher, and you’ll need to rub it with coconut oil about once a month. This keeps it supple and extends its lifespan (make sure you do follow this advice, otherwise Bamboo wood can split really quickly).

Pros: Sustainable, looks great, open cup is great for teeth
Cons: Not dishwasher safe, and requires special care

Available from: Amazon, Bamboo Bamboo

9. Tum Tum Tippy Up Free Flow Sippy Cup, £9.99

Best for a free-flow straw cup

Type: Straw cup | Capacity: 200 ml | Spout: Straw | Handles: Yes | Valve: No| Spill-free: With lid on

This cute-looking cup has a weighted straw without a valve, so it’s great for the teeth, but with the lid down it’s still leakproof which makes it a bit less messy during the early months of weaning.

MFM home tester Tasha raved about this cup saying “the straw is weighted so they can drink from any angle, there’s no valve so doesn’t require them to bite down on it, it doesn’t leak, is really sturdy (ours is regularly chucked off the high chair onto a stone floor) and it doesn’t negatively impact jaw development.” MFM home tester Casey added, “My little one never took to a bottle and we tried so many cups to get him to drink out of. [We] found the biggest success was the Tum Tum weighted straw cup.”

With built-in handles and a choice of fun animal designs, it gets top marks from us for design, but the weighted straw style is a bit more difficult to keep clean and you’ll need the narrow brush to get into all the nooks and crannies.

Pros: No valve, weighted straw
Cons: Difficult to clean, expensive

Available from: Amazon, Hippychick and Studio

10. Mam Trainer Cup, £7.50

Type: Sippy cup | Capacity: 220 ml | Spout: Soft/teat | Handles: Yes, removable | Spill-free: With lid on | Awards: Bronze – Weaning and feeding product, MadeForMums Awards 2021

Although experts generally advise against cups with soft spouts – or at least using them for as little time as possible – there is a time and place for everything. When my son first started nursery, using this cup was the only way the staff could get him to drink his milk.

MAM’s trainer cup has been designed to be used by babies as young as 4 months, to help make the transition from bottles to cups as easy and smooth as possible. As home tester Ruth pointed out, “It’s just like the MAM bottles we use but for an older child,” and it comes with two teats: one is Mam’s fastest-flowing bottle teat, the second is a soft spout. If you have a bottle-fed baby you may find swapping to the spout is a good first step to moving to cups. Then you can graduate to a free-flowing hard spout once you feel comfortable.

Home tester Rachel, mum to an 8-month-old, praised this cup for its “cute design”, continuing,”it’s sturdy and well-made – it survived being dropped several times, and the teat didn’t spill. It’s easy to clean as it can be broken down into separate parts.”

Pros: Suitable from 4 months, an easy transition cup
Cons: Soft spout is not the best for teeth, lots of parts to wash

Available from: John Lewis, Boots and Amazon

How did we choose and test these products?

Our 10 of the Best lists are compiled by qualified and experienced parenting journalists. We rely on a number of sources, including our independent reviews, testing undertaken during the MadeForMums Awards, and feedback from our home testing panel and Top Testers Club. 

As well as collating feedback from our home testers and reviewers, all the shortlisted cups were also tested at home with my own son, allowing me to personally rate them for durability, easy of use, ease of cleaning, baby/toddler appeal, and value for money. We tested dozens of cups over a 12-month period to find the very best.

This list is not an ordered ranking from 1-10, instead it is a carefully selected group of tried-and-tested products, each of which we believe is best for a different situation or requirement. 

When should I introduce a cup?

The NHS and the British Dental Health Foundation recommend that you begin to introduce a cup at around 6 months – when your baby can sit up unaided – with the aim of weaning them off bottles (if you are using them) by around age 1.

An open or free-flow cup is recommended. This is because soft rubber teats and spouts encourage children to suck for longer periods of time, which means milk or other liquids can stay in contact with their teeth for a long time, potentially causing tooth decay. An open cup also helps encourage a sipping action, rather than a sucking one, which teaches children to control the liquid better and helps with the development of their orofacial muscles (which are also used for speech).

What should I give my baby to drink from a cup?

Babies over 6 months only need milk and water. When you begin the weaning process your baby will still be having lots of milk feeds, and it’s fine to serve both pumped breast milk or formula in a cup for these. Juices, squash, fizzy drinks, smoothies, flavoured waters and so on are not recommended by the NHS. You may notice that there are some juices and drinks marketed towards babies, but water is a much better option.

Once they are 6 months old, it’s absolutely fine to give your baby water straight from the tap. Before 6 months, breastfed babies shouldn’t need water at all, and formula-fed babies should only be given sips on very hot days or if they are constipated. Any water served before 6 months should be boiled and cooled before serving.

Hygiene is as important with cups as it is with bottles so, if you serve milk from a cup, all pieces should then be sterilised until your baby turns 1.

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About the author

Gemma Cartwright is Consumer and Commerce Editor at MadeForMums and a journalist with over 15 years experience in lifestyle, fashion, entertainment and tech. She is mum to a toddler who has very patiently helped her to test over 30 different cups for this article!