The 7 Best Reusable Water Bottles for School

Quench their thirst with a top-notch (and super-cute) reusable water bottle.
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Updated May 22, 2023
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Image: Kohl's
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The best way to keep your kid hydrated, alert and energized throughout the day? Give them some good ol’ H2O—especially when they’re spending the day learning or en route to extracurriculars. Reusable water bottles for school aren’t just a staple in every preschooler or kindergartner’s backpack, they’re also something every little one and their siblings can feel ownership over. Whether the bottle’s got their name written in permanent marker or personalized on a printed label, it’s theirs and they’ll use it and (hopefully) never let it out of their sight.

But not all kids’ water bottles are created equal, so you’ll want to ensure your child’s container meets all their needs before they find a place for it in their backpack. Need a bottle that will hold up in their lunch box for most of the day? Buy a spill-proof canteen that won’t leak all over their belongings and have them in tears upon pickup. Have a mini who won’t even consider taking a sip unless the contents are ice cold? Opt for an insulated flask that’ll keep their water glacial and extra thirst-quenching for the bus ride home. Below, read more about what to look for in a kids’ water bottle and where to buy one, along with our picks for the top kids’ water bottles on the market today.

What to Look for When Buying Kids’ Water Bottles

When you’re on the hunt for reusable water bottles for school, you’ll definitely want to keep a handful of features in mind to ensure they’ll not only make it through the school year, but stay in good shape to last through the summer and beyond. With that said, there are several key purchasing points to guide your search. Look for kids’ water bottles using BPA-free and food-grade materials—which prioritize health and safety for little ones and give parents peace of mind and then narrow your scope to reusable bottles that are:

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  • Easy to clean. When your little one is bringing their reusable water bottle to school every day (or at least a few times a week), cleanliness and hygiene are important—particularly in daycares, preschools and even kindergarten, where germs are flying around everywhere and young immune systems aren’t operating at peak performance yet. That’s why an easy-to-clean bottle is game changing. Bottles with tight nooks and crannies aren’t preferable because mold can grow there. If your kids’ water bottles can be put through the dishwasher, great, but if the manufacturer advises hand-washing-only, make it easy on yourself.
  • Leak-proof. Every bottle is sure to leak a little bit every once and a while. But bottles with lids or openings reinforced with leak-resistant seals will probably be your best bet.
  • Durable. Your two best options for bottles to stand up to your little one’s lifestyle are stainless steel and plastic water bottles, and each offer specific benefits. Stainless steel is super robust and resistant to scratches, scrapes and dents, so it can withstand some accidental drops and carelessness. BPA-free plastic bottles are also pretty durable, thanks to impact-resistant/shock-absorbing design features that won’t shatter. Plastic also has the benefit of being lightweight, which makes sense for toddlers and preschoolers who usually hand anything heavy over to mom or dad. Both options are solid choices for kids, but plastic usually wins for affordability, while stainless steel proves more durable.
  • Insulated. Who else has argued with their kindergartner over the temperature of their drinking water? It happens! If you’re deciding between an insulated and non-insulated reusable water bottle, always go with the insulated pick. An insulated—and even more precisely, a double-wall vacuum-insulated—kids’ water bottle keeps water colder for much longer. So whether you’re picking them up from school and heading to the park or beelining straight to a tee-ball game, you can be sure they hydrate with something very refreshing. The best insulated water bottles for kids also feature a sweat-free exterior, which provides a more comfortable grip for tiny hands.
  • Kid-friendly features. If your youngster can’t figure out how to even use their water bottle or isn’t impressed with its aesthetics, then the chances of them actually drinking the water inside are slim to none. So when you’re buying reusable water bottles for school, prioritize picks that promote spill-proof mechanisms, simple flip or sip spouts, playful designs or colorful patterns and ergonomic shapes/comfortable sizes that fit well in small hands. User experience is a big deal with children’s products, so anything that makes your tiny keep coming back to their water bottle (because it features their favorite character, or has a cool button-press pop-top or a wide mouth that they can easily fill on their own) and fosters their independence is a worthwhile attribute.

Where to Buy Kids’ Water Bottles

Thankfully, it’s not a hard task to find kids’ water bottles, as they’re available at most online retailers and department stores, outdoor recreation/sporting goods destinations and specialty children’s sites. We just happen to love the following retailers for the wide assortment of brands they have on offer and the wealth of information you can learn from their honest customer reviews and testimonials.

  • Amazon: Beyond the incredibly vast selection of reusable kids’ water bottle brands available on site, you can read thousands of reviews from parents who’ve been in your shoes—and can speak to which bottles are best. Best of all, Prime shipping guarantees your kiddo’s water bottle comes quickly. So whether they need an eleventh-hour bottle for field day or something a little more durable to accompany them on a field trip, they’ll have it just in time.
  • Backcountry: If you’ve been happy shopping for your own outdoor or active gear at Backcountry, count on being just as impressed with its merchandise for the tiny adventurers in your life. The site provides copious item descriptions, specifications and images to help give you the best visualization of products before you buy. Not to mention, the company has a reputation for amazing customer service, which is helpful in the event your kids’ water bottle isn’t all you hoped it would be.
  • Pottery Barn Kids: We’ll be fans of Pottery Barn Kids forever for the cute nursery and kids’ bedroom decor, but we also trust the retailer’s offerings from a safety perspective (everything the store sells has been put through rigorous product testing and safety scrutiny). So, not only will your tyke’s reusable water bottle be cute—hello PB-exclusive Disney collaborations—it’ll be safe, monogrammable and potentially even matched with their other school accessories.

The Best Reusable Water Bottles for School

Once you find the best kids’ water bottle for your tyke, you can relax knowing your child will stay hydrated throughout their adventure-filled days. Take a peek at seven of our favorites, from stainless steel sippers to push-button pop-up bottles personalized with your peanut’s name. Sip sip, hooray!

Overall best kids’ water bottle

Thermos Funtainer 12 Oz. Stainless Steel Kids’ Water Bottle
Image: Walmart
What We Love
  • Kid-friendly handle for easy carrying
  • Keeps water cold for 12 hours
Things To Consider
  • Some reviewers say the bottle leaks
  • Kids like to gnaw on the straw (but you can order replacement straws)
  • Straw parts are hard to clean

At the top of our list is this kids’ stainless steel water bottle by Thermos. We all know little kids love to explore, and thanks to this container’s hygienic covered straw, your little one can stay hydrated with fresh, clean water as they enjoy an adventure. What’s more, you can count on this vessel to keep water at your preferred temperature, making it an ideal choice for kiddos who need an ice cold sip after recess or a refresher following gym class. And with fun character designs that run the range all the way from the Avengers to Baby Shark, it’s sure to become a favorite item in your toddler’s lunch box!

Capacity: 12 ounces | Material: Stainless steel | Dishwasher-safe: Yes, top rack only

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Best toddler water bottle

Waterdrop Toddler Bottle Steel
Image: Waterdrop
Buying Options
What We Love
  • Integrated leak-proof valve helps minimize spills and drips
  • Bottle doesn’t absorb smells or taste metallic
  • Hygienic rubber cap keeps the spout clean
Things To Consider
  • Single-walled stainless steel is lighter, but provides less insulation than double-walled
  • Pricier option
  • 14 ounce size is larger (and heavier) than most of the bottles on our list

How adorable is this penguin-themed toddler water bottle? We love it for little siblings who want to be like their big brother or sister; they might be game to lose the sippy cup, but still hesitant about using a straw. That’s okay, though, because with this 14-ounce BPA-free stainless steel bottle, they can drink from a specially designed spout that’s the perfect size for their mouth. Don’t be surprised if moms at daycare start asking where you got your little chick’s too-cute water bottle—feel free to pass along deets that this penguin has friends wink wink.

Capacity: 14 ounces | Material: Stainless steel | Dishwasher-safe: Yes. However, Waterdrop says that strong detergents may cause the design to wear

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Best kids’ insulated water bottle

Hydro Flask 12 Oz Wide Mouth Kids’ Water Bottle With Straw Lid
Image: Dick's Sporting Goods
What We Love
  • Includes a straw cap that’s easy for little hands to use
  • Double-wall vacuum insulation keeps water cold for hours
  • Write-in name tag on the bottom of the bottle
Things To Consider
  • Some reviewers report leaking when the bottle is turned upside down
  • Carrying handle is on the small side
  • Boot makes it difficult to add the bottle to the mesh holder on the sides of a child’s backpack

If you’re looking for a reusable water bottle for school that can keep your kiddo’s drink fresh through to the end of the school day and right on into post-pick up playdates, this container is sure to check all the boxes on your list. The kids’ insulated water bottle comes with a perforated silicone flex boot for easy gripping. At the end of the day, simply place the vessel in your dishwasher so that it’s ready to go the next morning. How easy!

Capacity: 12 ounces | Material: Stainless steel | Dishwasher-safe: Yes

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Best kids’ stainless steel water bottle

What We Love
  • Made from durable stainless steel that won’t peel
  • Double-wall vacuum insulation design
  • Can personalize if ordered on the YETI website
Things To Consider
  • Some buyers say that the mouthpiece is difficult to clean
  • Can leak if lid isn’t screwed on super tight
  • Popular colorways are more expensive

This kids’ stainless steel water bottle by YETI is perfect for little movers and shakers who need a more durable option. The toddler- and big-kid-friendly water bottle features a flip-up straw that can be easily accessed during backyard playtime (nature school parents, this one’s for you!), recess or any action-packed adventure that awaits. Better yet-i, this leak-resistant vessel can be trusted to securely hold H2O, keeping your toddler’s backpack (or your diaper bag!) dry, and the double-walled vacuum insulation totally lives up to the hype in terms of keeping water frosty-cold for hours on end.

Capacity: 12 ounces | Material: Stainless steel | Dishwasher-safe: Yes

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Best personalized water bottle for kids

Pottery Barn Kids Mackenzie Disney and Pixar *Toy Story* Water Bottle
Image: Pottery Barn Kids
What We Love
  • BPA-free and tested against strict FDA regulations
  • 13 styles of personalization
  • Large mouth fits large ice cubes
Things To Consider
  • Pricier option
  • Silicone straw and vacuum valve stopper are hard to clean

Why do we dig personalized water bottles for kids? Because the easiest way to ensure your child comes home with the right one is to buy one with their name on it. (And, let’s face it, custom products just feel a little fancier!) The Pottery Barn Kids 12-ounce bottles are made from food-grade stainless steel and are available in tons of fun, printed designs for kids—from hearts and stars to stripes and sharks. But an exclusive Disney-Pixar vibe? Well, let’s just say we love it from infinity to beyond! Adding personalization does cost an extra $15, but if it helps keep your little one’s bottle out of the school lost and found, then we consider it a win!

Capacity: 12 ounces | Material: Stainless steel | Dishwasher-safe: Yes

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Best kids’ water bottle with straw

IRON °FLASK Kids Water Bottle With Straw Lid
Image: Amazon
What We Love
  • Comes with a built-in handle for easy portability
  • Double-wall insulation makes the bottle sweat-free and keeps water cold for up to 14 hours
  • Bundled with 20 customizable name stickers/labels
Things To Consider
  • Colored printing is much lighter/low-res quality in real life, according to some buyers
  • Not dishwasher safe

When an adult water bottle has an average 4.8-star rating on Amazon from over 100K happy hydrators, you’d comfortably assume that the brand has chill bottles for the younger set too, right? Yes, us too! And guess what? We’re totally on target. This BPA-free and non-toxic stainless steel water bottle comes in tons of cute colors and creative, kid-friendly patterns (from tigers and trucks to mermaids and monsters). Plus, the leak-proof straw lid is easy for preschoolers and kindergartners to pop open when they want to drink and then push back down when they’re done with their sips. Consider spill prevention activated!

Capacity: Available in 10 and 14 ounces | Material: Stainless steel | Dishwasher-safe: No

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Best budget-friendly kids’ water bottle

Contigo Kids Trekker Autoseal Water Bottles
Image: Walmart
What We Love
  • Two for the price of one
  • Leak-proof and spill-proof design
  • Great color combos (some even available in 3-packs)
Things To Consider
  • Unique shape can be difficult to clean thoroughly
  • Plastic bottles don’t keep water as cold as stainless steel options do

Many of the best kids’ water bottles are actually super affordable—score! Take this two-pack of plastic toddler water bottles that retails for less than $15. Each container has a quirky-but-genius design that makes them easy to grasp and both leak- and spill-proof (as the product page notes, there is a difference!). It’s all thanks to the curved shape and the button that instantly unseals (then reseals) the lid.

Capacity: 14 ounces | Material: Plastic | Dishwasher-safe: Yes; top rack only

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How We Chose The Best Reusable Water Bottles for School

To help streamline your shopping and highlight the best reusable water bottles for school, we considered a list of criteria when sourcing products, including ease of use, method of cleaning, quality and durability, style, temperature regulation and, last but definitely not least, safety. We consulted the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for “Promoting Healthy Behaviors in Schools” and read user reviews to get the low-down on how these products work for families, never considering anything with less than an average four-star rating. And, of course, we leveraged our editorial team’s own familiarity with leading brands as well as our own experience as parents.

Interested in learning more about our editorial process? Read about how our team develops and reviews all articles here.

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