Welcome to a week of kids’ water-bottle reviews! I have been asked countless time which are the best reusable water bottles for kids and I just don’t have a straight answer. The perfect water vessel would be unbreakable, it would never, ever leak, let alone flood your handbag, it would be a breeze to clean, completely non-toxic and ultimately recyclable should it wear out.
With the help of a new Australian store specialising in reusable products called, funnily enough, Reusable Etc, I have selected five kids’ water bottles that I think come as close to perfect as you can get. We’ve been using them for a few months and have reviewed them for safety, useability, leakage, endurance, ease of cleaning and waste.
As with my review of reusable coffee cups, there it no clear-cut best option that I’m going to recommend because your ultimate choice depends on your kids’ ages, how and where they use the bottle and how they transport it. I find it useful to have more than one option for each kid, you might be looking for The One that fits your needs. Either way, I’d love your feedback, particularly if you’ve used the bottle we’re talking about!
So let’s get on with it. First up, a Lifefactory water bottle review.
Lifefactory glass bottle with straw cap
Yep, it’s glass… Lifefactory bottles are made from the same kind of glass as wine bottles and are encased in a silicone sleeve. There are three lid options: a wide mouthed screw-top, a flip-top and the straw. My almost five-year-old has been taking it to kindy and daycare and he loves carrying it around by its handle. The 350ml bottle costs $39.95 and comes in grown-up sizes in a fabulous range of colours. Check it out here.
Safety: Glass is one of the safest materials available for holding food and drinks and won’t leach any chemicals into the water, even if it gets warm (note: you cannot put boiling water in this bottle, nor can you freeze it). Another great advantage of glass is that it is taste neutral so won’t affect the taste of the water.
The straw inside the bottle is medical-grade silicone, while the lid and mouthpiece are polypropylene (plastic). This means the actual part going in his mouth is plastic, but the material is BPA, BPS and phthalate free.
Useability: My four-year old finds it easy to open the lid and refill the bottle, and quickly worked out that the straw needs to be completely opened to draw any water. The flow is good, although sometimes there are a few air bubbles to suck out. Crucially, both the cap itself and the straw are easy to close (see below).
Leakage: Lifefactory doesn’t claim its bottles are leak-proof, and if you close the straw, hold the Lifefactory bottle upside down and give it a little shake, you’ll get a few drops of water falling out, so I’ve been careful to put it upright in the school bag, or in the side pocket. With the groovy handle, it’s easy to carry separately too. The fact that you can only get a full flow of water when the straw is completely open means we’ve had only a couple of leaks when the bottle was lying down on the car seat or upended in a bag.
Endurance: Glass and kids seems an unlikely combination, which is exactly why I wanted to try the Lifefactory bottle. I tested it under normal use, so haven’t dropped it off the balcony or anything like that. The bottle has tumbled out of Alfie’s bag a few times and rolled down one step onto tiles and it’s still standing. The silicone sleeve is very effective in buffering the glass from any surfaces it may encounter. I checked with the educators at kindy and day care and both were completely fine with Alfie bringing the bottle. As one pointed out, it used to be all glass bottles 20 years ago and they didn’t have the advantage of a silicone sleeve.
The mouthpiece of the straw is a little scratched after a couple of months of use (replacement caps are available to extend the life of the bottle) but there’s no other wear and tear. The sleeve still looks brand new.
Ease of cleaning: Past experience means I would usually avoid something with components such as a straw because they are harder to clean. But the great thing about this bottle, and unlike most stainless steel bottles, is that you can put all the parts into the dishwasher (there’s no need to remove the sleeve). You can also use something like this to clean the straw and mouthpiece. As for the bottle itself, the wide mouth makes it really easy to clean with a bottle brush or just a cloth and soapy water.
Waste: Lifefactory bottles are made from container glass, so the glass component could be recycled in your kerbside bin so long as it wasn’t broken. Silicone is more durable than plastic and extends the life of the bottle, it is also said to have a lower carbon footprint than plastic.
The verdict: While I am in love with the look and feel of this bottle, plus the enhanced safety of glass from a toxins point of view, I still have concerns about it getting broken or lost—especially at such a premium price. That said, I have no doubt the price reflects the quality of the materials.
Kids’ water bottle reviews:
- Kleen Kanteen sports bottle
- Foogo insulated leakproof bottle
- Eco Vessel Twist
- Kid Basix Safe Sporter
Do you use a Lifefactory water bottle? Would you?
Disclosure: Reusables Etc is an affiliate of Down to Earth Mother and provided the Lifefactory water bottle for review.