Kids lead busy lives. We set out to find a water bottle that could withstand every activity from school to sports and beyond.
Published Oct. 8, 2019.
We love our favorite glass and plastic water bottles, but at 22 to 24 ounces they’re definitely adult-sized. Kids’ smaller hands require smaller bottles, and many manufacturers make water bottles designed for them with kid-friendly features such as straws for easier drinking, leak-proof caps that prevent spills, and protective sleeves to protect against breakage.
We wanted to find the best water bottle for kids. To do that, we gathered and tested nine water bottles made specifically for kids, priced from about $5 to about $30 and made from BPA-free plastic, stainless steel, and glass (many with silicone add-ons). For each of the water bottles, we held them upside down and shook them to check for any leakage; drank from them; filled them with green smoothies and let them sit, unrefrigerated, for three days to see if the bottles stained or retained any odors; and dropped them repeatedly onto the ground. We also had eight kids, ages 8 to 13, open and close the bottles, drink from them, and drop them onto the ground.
Water bottles often get thrown in backpacks and sports bags, so a basic requirement for any good water bottle—kid-size or not—is that it’s leakproof. Fortunately none of the bottles leaked when we shook them vigorously, both when completely full and partially full.
So, we decided to kick things up a notch. We filled the bottles with water, placed them on the counter, and dropped them onto the hard floor of our test kitchen three times, with the bottles facing rightside up, sideways, and upside down.
The water bottles were surprisingly durable: none of them sustained enough damage to render them unusable, though there were some spills and dents. One of the bottles had a sippy cup-style lid, and small drops of water spurted out through the opening when we dropped it. A plastic water bottle’s lid popped off when we dropped it upside down, sending the water all over the floor. Both stainless steel water bottles dented a bit. And while the glass water bottle didn’t shatter, its plastic cap broke in half the first time we dropped the bottle (the company does sell replacements online). Our favorite water bottles did not leak, and even had locks that ensure their spouts didn’t accidently open upon impact.
To find out how easy the kids’ water bottles would be to clean under even the grossest of circumstances, we filled the bottles with green smoothies and left them sit at room temperature on the counter for three days—simulating a bottle forgotten in a backpack or locker over a weekend. We then emptied the bottles...
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