The 6 best kids' water bottles in 2021 for all ages

  • From preschool to college, all students need to stay hydrated to perform their best in school.
  • We picked the best kids’ water bottle for each school-age group, featuring easy sipping for preschoolers and durable bottles for college students.
  • You can also check out our guides to the best water bottles and travel mugs for more options.

Water bottles are a classroom staple — pretty much every student carries one. The right water bottle is leak-resistant, easy to use and refill, and often available in a variety of colors and designs. For our picks, we also considered durability, temperature retention, and how easy these bottles are to clean.

The majority of our picks are stainless steel because it’s a safe material to store water, and it helps keep water cold. However, some schools only allow water in clear bottles, so be sure to check school policy before you buy a water bottle for your child. 

I’ve combined my own experience with water bottles, my observations of my students’ water bottles, and in-depth research to bring you the best options for each age group. Many of these bottles are available in multiple sizes, so we picked the size we feel best fits the age group. 

Here are the best kids’ water bottles for school:

  • Best kids’ water bottle for preschool: Thermos Foogoo Straw Bottle
  • Best kids’ water bottle for elementary school: Thermos Funtainer
  • Best kids’ water bottle for middle school: Camelbak Chute
  • Best kids’ water bottle for high school: S’well Stainless Steel Water Bottle
  • Best kids’ water bottle for sports: Gatorade Squeeze Sports Bottle
  • Best kids’ water bottle for college: Hydro Flask Wide Mouth

Updated on 02/16/2021 by Lily Alig: We replaced our picks for preschool, middle school, and high school with our some of our top-rated bottles from our guide to the best water bottles.

The best for preschool

The Thermos Foogo Bottle is a great first water bottle for toddlers, with minimal leaking and an easy-grip shape.

Pros: Multiple sizes for 6 months and up, leak resistant, easy for little hands to hold

Cons: Not bottom-rack dishwasher safe

For kids just learning to use a water bottle, the Foogo is an easy and convenient introduction. There are three models of the bottle, starting with phase one for 6 months and ending at phase three (10 ounces) for 18 months and up. Each bottle is made from transparent, BPA-free plastic.

We especially love the phase three Foogo bottle for toddlers because the pear shape is easy to grip, and and the clear material allows adults to keep track of how much water kids are drinking. When playing outside or if they’re sick, tracking kids’ hydration is useful for many parents.

The pop-up cap and straw keep the water from leaking out, even after vigorous use by active kids. The Foogo bottle is top-rack dishwasher safe, but we recommend hand-washing to make sure there is no buildup where the straw meets the lid.

The best for elementary school

The Thermos Funtainer bottle doesn’t leak or sweat, and it appeals to young kids with fun designs incorporating colorful prints and their favorite characters.

Pros: Leak- and sweat-proof, fun designs, ideal size for young kids, easy to clean, keeps water cold all day

Cons: Bottle leaks if lid isn’t closed all the way

Thermos is known for keeping liquids well insulated, and the brand does not disappoint with the Thermos Funtainer bottle for cool liquids. It has a stainless-steel vacuum-insulated design to keep your child’s water cold all day at school. Because it’s sweat-proof, it’s less likely to slip out of children’s hands or get their schoolwork wet. 

The cuteness factor is huge for elementary school students, and this water bottle delivers with many different colors and styles, including popular themes like Frozen, superheroes, rainbows, and dinosaurs.

Structurally, the Funtainer is perfect for elementary school with a covered straw and flip-up handle. The lid not only keeps the straw covered and therefore cleaner, but it also prevents leaking when clicked shut. Plus, the handle can attach to lunch boxes and backpacks.

The best for middle school

The Camelbak Chute is inexpensive and dishwasher-safe, ideal for sometimes forgetful and messy middle-schoolers.

Pros: Inexpensive, many color options, no BPA

Cons: Not insulated

The straightforward design makes the Camelbak Chute the perfect water bottle for middle-schoolers. There are dozens of color options and seven sizes, allowing kids to make a classic bottle feel their own. We recommend the 25-ounce size for middle-schoolers so they don’t have to refill the bottle at school and it easily fits in a backpack.

The Camelbak Chute is great for school because it’s lightweight and has a loop on the cap that can be easily clipped to backpack straps. Additionally, the Chute is dishwasher-safe, so after a week of use, it can be tossed in with the rest of the dishes.

The BPA-free plastic material doesn’t keep water cold, but the wide mouth makes it easy to fill up with ice. Ultimately, we like this bottle more than most plastic options for being lightweight and easy to clean.

The best for high school

S’well water bottles come in unique designs and colors that high-schoolers will love, and they’re insulated to keep water cold all day. 

Pros: Keeps water cold, doesn’t sweat or leak, many designs to choose from 

Cons: Pricey, small opening makes it hard to fit ice inside 

S’well water bottles appeal to parents and teenagers for being as practical as they are stylish. The triple-walled structure maintains the temperatures of cold and hot liquids. There are three sizes, all with leak-proof tops, though none of them offer a straw lid.

You do have to hand-wash S’well bottles, but their simple shape and screw-on lid makes them easy to clean. The leak-proof top and sweat-proof sides keep the bottles safe when tucked into a bag, while the narrow design fits in most backpack side pockets.

S’well bottles are fairly heavy and expensive, but they do hold up even after years of use, making it our favorite plastic water bottle.

The best for sports

The Gatorade Squeeze Sports Bottle is exactly what every athlete needs to hydrate during practice and games without taking off their headgear. 

The Gatorade Squeeze Sports Bottle is the quintessential sports water bottle for good reason. It’s simple and cheap, but that’s exactly why it’s our top pick for sports. Kids can easily toss it into their bag, chuck it onto the sidelines, and use the squeeze function to share without having everyone’s lips touch the bottle. Since it’s so cheap, they don’t have to worry about losing it at a game or accidentally breaking it. 

The wide opening makes it’s easy to drop in a handful of ice cubes and fill it up. During practices or games that require headgear, the squeeze top allows athletes to quickly rehydrate and get back in the game without taking their helmet off.

There is a white line on each bottle to write your kid’s name to make sure the same bottle is coming home every night. 

Pros: Can squirt through headgear, easy to fill

Cons: Some people find that the bottle leaks

The best for college

The Hydro Flask Wide Mouth Bottle keeps water ice cold for 24 hours and coffee hot for 12, so college students can stay hydrated and energized.

Hydro Flask is a household name when it comes to water bottles, and they live up to the hype. When you’re on a college campus, days are so busy that you can easily leave your dorm or apartment while it’s still dark and return after the sun sets. The Hydro Flask Wide Mouth Bottle is designed to keep water cold up to 24 hours, so students can fill it up before they leave in the morning and have cold water all day. Add some ice cubes through the wide mouth in the morning, fill it up, and it’s set. 

We like that this is a simple bottle that is built to last, so it can take students well beyond their college years. It has a powdered coat that makes it easier to grip than many other stainless-steel options, and it also has a convenient carrying handle. The standard version has a screw lid, so students will drink out of the wide mouth opening, but you can also buy a straw lid or a flip lid. As with our other picks, there are multiple color options. 

Another reason we love this bottle for college students is that unlike many of the water bottle options out there, the Hydro Flask Wide Mouth Bottle can hold hot liquid and keep it hot for up to 12 hours.

Check out more of our water bottle and travel mug recommendations

  • The best water bottles
  • The best travel mugs

Check out our other back-to-school guides

  • The best school supplies for K-12
  • The best binder for school
  • The best online learning tools
  • The best online tutoring services
  • The best tech for college students
  • The best smart notebook
  • The best webcams

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