Recently I conducted an experiment to find the best insulated water bottle for adults. The test was enlightening and I found that spending more money doesn’t always equate to a better bottle.
With summer looming, I decided to take on another experiment. This time I wanted to find the best KIDS insulated water bottle. The qualifications are: one that is durable, doesn’t leak, is easy to clean, fits in a car cup holder, and is simple for kids to use.
I polled my audience on Instagram to get their recommendations, and ended up with 23 of the most popular, highly-rated insulated kids water bottles on the market.
These are the water bottles I tested, with price and unfilled weight.
I filled each water bottle 2/3 of the way with ice and to the top with cold water. After 5 hours, I was super impressed that most were still between 30-35 degrees. The 3 that didn’t pass the temperature test were the plastic Camelbak, Zak, and Klean Kanteen water bottles. After the fact, I realized that the Klean Kanteen I purchased wasn’t the insulated version.
Next, I did several rounds of testing for leakage. That’s a HUGE consideration with kids water bottles in particular. Kids are tough on water bottles. They get thrown around, dropped, carried around in backpacks and lunch boxes, and need to be able to stand up to harsh treatment.
I tipped the water bottles on their lids and monitored condensation and leakage from the lids. Then I placed the water bottles upside down in a backpack with toys and blocks and jumped on a mini trampoline, threw it up in the air and shook it around.
The leak test really narrowed down the options. More than half of them leaked, but the ones left were some great options.
I wanted to make sure a young child could open and close all the water bottles, so I had my 5-year-old do just that. There were a couple that were a little more tricky, but he was ablate figure out all of them.
There were also several different types of lid structure. The hard straw insulated water bottles are the easiest to clean. Most of the spout water bottles had a lot of nooks and crannies and were difficult to clean and had the potential to grow mold.
The soft straw insulated water bottles took a little practice to figure out how to clean, but weren’t too difficult.
There could be some variation in cup holder sizes, but most of these kids insulated water bottles fit well into mine. The Yeti, Contigo and Zulu didn’t fit all the way down into the cup holder. The Takeya and Hydroflask had a harder time fitting because of the silicone boot, but if you remove that, they fit great.
Taking all of those tests into consideration, I was able to narrow it down to the best 2 kids insulated water bottles. But before we get to that, here are some honorable mentions that I would absolutely purchase.
The Takeya insulated kids water bottle hits all the check marks. It keeps water and ice cold for an extended period of time, it doesn’t leak under rough circumstances, it’s easy to open and close and clean, and it fits in a cup holder (depending the cup holder you may need to remove the silicone boot).
The little details that took the Takeya to the number 1 spot are that it came with a silicone boot (which helps protect the bottle from dings and scratches) and it has a textured silicone ring around the lid (making it easier for little hands to screw on and off).
The Snug insulated kids water bottle was one I hadn’t heard of before this test. But it rose to the top when it proved to be well-insulated, leak-proof, easy to open and close, has a lid that completely covers and protects the straw when closed, and fits into a cup holder.
The Snug and the Thermos were SO close. The Snug won out because I liked the ring handle on the Snug and it was a few dollars cheaper.
I hope you’ve found this insulated water bottle experiment informative! If you have any additional tips to add, I’d love to hear them in the comments. I also have videos taking you step-by-step through this experiment on my Instagram page in the Water Bottles highlight bubbles.
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