Hard spouts are the next step in the transition process for babies who have transitioned successfully from the bottle using a soft-spout cup. The Playtex Insulator Cup rarely leaks, reviews say, making it ideal for toddlers who frequently throw and shake sippy cups. However, Insulator Cups are not ideal for younger babies or those first transitioning, because the height and weight make them difficult for younger tots to handle. Parents say the insulated walls help maintain cooler beverage temperatures, even when used outdoors in warm weather. Opinions are mixed on ease of cleaning. With just three pieces (cup, lid and internal valve) that are top-rack dishwasher-safe, some parents say it's a breeze, although those who hand-wash these cups are likely to say it's tough to clean the crevices of the lid and valve. The internal valves tend to wear out over time, which may contribute to some leaking after months of heavy use. Replacement valves are available but can be difficult to find in stores.
Playtex Insulator Cups come in a handful of designs, such as Mickey Mouse and Toy Story themes, as well as some non-character patterns. The Playtex Insulator Straw Cup (*Est. $5) is identical in design but has a straw in place of a spout. If you prefer a straw cup, the Funtainer Straw Bottle by Thermos (*Est. $11), made of stainless steel, is also favorably reviewed.
ZRecommends.com rates and reviews the Playtex Insulator Cup as part of its directory of sippy cups, which includes an overall rating, a safety confidence rating and a list of any ingredients of concern. TheShoppingMama.com also recommends the Playtex Insulator Cup based on personal evaluation. Beyond this, we consulted parent feedback on Amazon.com, ToysRUs.com, Diapers.com and Viewpoints.com, where a combined total of more than 150 reviews are found.
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1. Z Recommends
Sippy cups from dozens of manufacturers are evaluated by ZRecommends.com editors. Only models personally tested earn an editors' rating, while other listed products are assigned a confidence rating (an indicator of how safe the cup is deemed overall) and a price index. The Playtex Insulator Cup earns a perfect 5-star editors' rating and a high confidence rating.
Review: Sippy Cups, Editors of ZRecommends.com
More than 120 parents rate the Playtex Insulator Cup, saying their children love these cups and they don't leak. Some say it's tough to clean, with an interior valve and inner cup lid to work with. A few owners say they wish the color and pattern section was larger.
Review: Playtex Insulator Spill Proof Cup Reviews, Contributors to Viewpoints.com
More than 20 owners contribute to a near-perfect average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5. Parents love the fun designs available and the ability to keep beverages cooler in this insulated cup. A large majority of parents say the Playtex Insulator Cups rarely leak.
Review: Playtex Insulator Cup, Contributors to Amazon.com
Nearly 10 owners review the Playtex Disney Insulator Cup in the "Cars" theme, contributing to an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5. Parents say these cups don't leak and can withstand much abuse from toddlers.
Review: Playtex Disney Insulator Cup, Contributors to Diapers.com
About 20 owners weigh in with comments on the Playtex Insulator Cup (girls' design), contributing to an average rating of 4 stars out of 5. Another 14 owners post reviews of the boys' design. Parents say the Playtex Insulator Cup is nearly leakproof, although the inner valves tend to wear down over time, causing leaks, and disassembly for cleaning can take several minutes.
Review: Pack Playtex The Insulator 9 oz. Spill-Proof Cups -- Girls (Colors/Styles Vary), Contributors to BabiesRUs.com
TheShoppingMama.com names the Playtex Insulator Cup the best sippy cup for toddlers and preschoolers, with a larger capacity and built-in insulator walls to keep the extra beverage cool. Marsh Lord notes that the hard spout doesn't provide a smooth transition for most babies directly from the bottle.
Review: Best Sippy Cups, Kate Marsh Lord, June 2010