Pros: Easy to clean one-piece valve, input valve makes sucking easier.
Cons: Boring designs
When my firstborn was learning to use a cup, there was a new product on the market: Playtex's spillproof sippy cup! We used those through two kids, but somehow most of them had been lost by the time number three came along. When I went out to replace them, I wondered whether something better had come along, and decided to experiment with other brands of spillproof sippy cups. In the end, I have decided to return to Playtex as they still seem to offer one of the best cups around!
Other cups we tried and reviewed were:
Healthflow Big Kid Spillproof Sippy Cups
Gerber Fun Grips Spillproof Sippy Cups
What makes a good spillproof sippy cup?
After experimenting with multiple spillproof sippy cups, I have learned to look for the following features:
1. one-piece valve
multi-piece valves are virtually impossible to clean adequately.
2. air intake hole(s)
cups that lack air intake holes are more difficult to suck liquids out from, since it is hard for air to get back into the cup to take its place.
3. comfortable spout
cups with oddly-shaped spouts are more difficult for the child to suck from
How Playtex Spillproof Sippy Cups measure up
While the original Playtex spillproof cups featured a plastic valve with springs and rubber stoppers that was nearly impossible to clean, they have long since switched over to an easy-to-clean, one-piece silicone valve. (Anyone who is still using cups with the old valves can buy replacement valves separately most places where the cups are sold.)
Playtex spillproof cups are among the few spillproof cups to feature an air intake hole. They maintain their spillproof nature by having the valve cover that hole as well. The presence of an air intake hole makes the cups easier to sip from than many other spillproof sippy cups.
Playtex spillproff sippy cups have a comfortable spout that allows a natural sucking action.
Like all the cups we tried, these cups do a great job of resisting spills, whether the cup is tipped, dropped, shaken or banged. Since all the cups performed well in this regard, this was not a deciding feature for us.
All in all, these three features make Playtex spillproof sippy cups the best I have tried.
As a bonus, the newest Playtex spillproof cups feature a small plastic tab inside the cup's screw-on lid, near the air intake hole. The silicone valve can be held neatly in place between that tab and the cylinder of plastic where the part of the valve that protects the air intake hole would go. This is useful for when the cup is in the dishwasher or dryer rack to avoid loss without compromising cleaning/drying by inserting the valve into its usual holes in the lid.
The only thing I can possibly complain about regarding these cups is their lack of toddler-appeal in their designs. But frankly this has not been a big issue for us.
A few caveats
I'll close with a few caveats that apply to all spillproof sippy cups: These cups depend on air pressure differentials to keep the liquid in the cup. That means that they will not work on airplanes or other situations where air pressure is expected to drop, and they will not work with carbonated (pressurized) beverages. Don't ask me how I know these things... :)