Pros & Cons of Stainless Steel Baby Bottles [Safer Choice?]

Balint Horvath, PhD

Writer, parent, and veteran of baby feeding battles.

Updated:

Recent years have seen parents becoming more aware of the materials their baby products are made of. This is especially relevant when it comes to whether they opt for glass or plastic bottles. In an attempt to completely avoid BPA exposure, many parents are opting for stainless steel bottles. Are these types of bottles safe? What are the pros and cons of stainless steel bottles?

Fortunately, stainless steel baby bottles are completely safe to use. Aside from being durable, they don’t contain any BPA or Phthalate, eliminating BPA leaching as you may find in older plastic bottles. Furthermore, stainless steel bottles are 100% recyclable, grow with your baby and are easy to clean.

Key takeaways

  • Stainless steel bottles are a safe alternative to plastic and glass
  • They’re BPA and toxin-free–eliminating chemical leaching
  • You can easily use stainless steel bottles for breast milk, water and formula
  • Most stainless steel bottles are insulated, keeping the liquid inside fresher for longer
  • While not available in all stores, stainless steel bottles can easily be ordered online
  • These durable bottles won’t break or crack and easily grow with your baby, later becoming sippy cups
  • The main real drawback to stainless steel bottles is that they shouldn’t be used for fruit juice as the acidity in the juice may lead to chemical leaching

Is a stainless steel bottle good for your baby?

Unlike plastic bottles, there is no risk of toxic chemicals leaching from stainless steel bottles. Furthermore, stainless steel bottles also stay warmer longer, which means you’ll easily be able to keep milk or formula warm (or cold) if there are no heating facilities available when you’re out. 

Are stainless steel baby bottles safe?

Parents looking to avoid plastic and glass bottle options will be delighted to know that stainless steel baby bottles are completely safe. Since they’re BPA-free, non-toxic and considerably more durable than plastic bottles, they’re a much safer alternative to traditional bottles. Since stainless steel bottles are 100% recyclable, they’re also an environmentally friendly option. 

Can you put breast milk in a stainless steel baby bottle?

Yes! Stainless steel bottles can easily be used for breast milk. This includes breast milk that has been freshly pumped as well as any that has been refrigerated. 

Can you put formula in a stainless steel baby bottle?

You can put formula in a stainless steel baby bottle. The main reason for this is that stainless steel bottles are more hygienic, which in turn means the milk or formula is less likely to be exposed to bacteria

What not to put in a stainless steel baby bottle?

While stainless steel may seem perfect in every possible way, it’s important to know that there are a few concerns about putting  certain liquids into it. Breast milk, formula and water can all easily be used in a stainless steel bottle – in both hot and cold variations. 

However, be wary of pouring fruit juice into your steel bottles or cups. This is because fruit juice is an acidic liquid which may cause some metal leaching to occur, especially if the juice stands in the bottle for a few hours. It might be a good idea to opt for a small glass or BPA-free plastic bottle for juice. 

Pros of stainless steel baby bottles

  • Easy to clean
  • Won’t break if dropped
  • No chemical leaching
  • Durable
  • Can be used with both hot and cold water/milk/formula
  • 100% recyclable

Most brands can easily transform into a sippy cup.

Cons of stainless steel baby bottles

  • Can leach metals from the bottle
  • Lead concerns
  • More expensive than plastic or glass bottles
  • Opaque walls
  • Can be hard to see the measurement markings
  • Shouldn’t be used with acidic fruit juices
  • Can dent easily when dropped
  • Can’t be microwaved

Stainless steel baby bottles vs glass

How do stainless steel bottles compare to glass bottles? Let’s compare their key differences. 

Glass

As many parents become more aware of the dangers of BPA and other toxic chemicals leaching into milk and formula, glass is becoming the material of choice. Furthermore, glass bottles are easy to clean and sterilize and don’t retain odors or stains. 

Stainless steel

Unlike glass, stainless steel won’t break, crack or chip if dropped. The stainless steel variants are also more lightweight. A negative about the stainless steel options is that you can’t see how much liquid is in them from the outside. 

Stainless steel baby bottles vs plastic

Another common question parents often ask is, “How do stainless steel baby bottles stack up to their traditional plastic counterparts?” 

Plastic

The most alarming reason parents are moving away from plastic bottles is the BPA and Phthalate content found in older bottles. 

While all new plastic bottles are advertised as being BPA and Phthalate-free, recent studies have shown that even these bottles can have a certain degree of chemicals leaching into the milk, formula, water or juice. One of the side effects of constant exposure to BPA is genetic and hormonal disruption. With this in mind, many parents are eagerly searching for plastic alternatives. 

There are other reasons why plastic is no longer the material of choice when it comes to baby bottles. Some of these include the following:

  • Plastic bottles aren’t 100% recyclable – some have zero recycling components, making them not environmentally friendly
  • Some types of plastic start retaining odor and even staining after several uses
  • Many types of plastic bottles can easily crack or scratch after significant use
  • For the most part, plastic bottles serve a single purpose for a specified time only
  • Plastic bottles have to be used quickly after warming as they cool down rapidly

Stainless steel

Stainless steel is light years ahead of traditional plastic in just about every aspect. Aside from being BPA and toxin-free, they are also more durable. Additionally, they are 100% recyclable. Since stainless steel bottles grow with your baby, they can easily be used as sippy or normal cups after your baby is done with them. The only drawback stainless steel has over plastic is cost and availability. Plastic bottles are readily available and considerably cheaper. 

Stainless steel vs glass vs plastic

It’s always easier to do an accurate comparison when you can compare all the options side by side. With that in mind, I’ve drawn up a comparison table to highlight the key differences between stainless steel, glass and plastic. For more on plastic vs glass baby bottles, I dedicated a separate article and here you can read about the differences in terms of being able to recycle them.

FeaturesStainless SteelGlassPlastic
SafetyBPA + toxin-freeBPA and toxin-freeDespite being BPA-free, there’s always the risk of some release of microplastics 
CostMost expensive optionMore expensiveMost affordable option
SizeAvailable in different sizes that can transform into sippy cups as your baby growsVariety of sizes in some brandsVariety of sizes available in all brands
DurabilityVery durable, won’t scratch or dent if droppedCan shatter if droppedWon’t break, but may crack or scratch after a long period
Easy to cleanWide necks make it easy to cleanVery easy to cleanEasy to wash, but easily stains
MeasuringMarkings are on the outside of the bottle but since you can’t see through the bottle, the measuring can be a learning curveCan easily be measuredEasy to see through to measure-markings on the bottle
Can it be sterilizedCan easily be sterilizedEasy to sterilize and cleanCan be sterilized, but odors may remain
Odor absorptionDoesn’t absorb odors and also doesn’t stainDoesn’t absorb odors or stainsAbsorbs odors
AvailabilityNot all stores sell stainless steel bottles–might have to order inlineNot all brands have glass options available–might require online orderingReadily available in most leading brands and can easily be found in all stores selling baby products
Ease of useMost options are lightweight for easy handlingHeavy – can be difficult for your baby to holdLightweight – easy for babies to hold and grasp
Anti-colic optionsSome brands do have anti-colic options–might have to order onlineOnly certain brands have anti-colic options in glassMost brands have specific anti-colic options available
RecyclabilityRecyclableRecyclableNot all types recyclable

How to pick the best bottle for your baby

There’s one thing that you will learn very early in your new role as a parent. And that is that your little one will not always enjoy your bottle or pacifier choice. In fact, you may have to try several bottle options before finding the one that your little one likes. If that’s the case, how should you go about picking the best bottle for your baby? 

Here are a few tips to consider. 

  • Buy a few different options before settling on one specific brand or material type
  • Always buy BPA-free as well as Phthalate-free bottles
  • Where possible, look for glass or stainless steel alternatives
  • Buy at least bottle for reflux in case your baby suddenly shows colic symptoms
  • Choose bottles that are easy to clean and sterilize
  • If you prefer glass, opt for shatter-resistant options
  • To make cleaning and sterilizing easier, opt for dishwasher and microwave-friendly options 

Best stainless steel baby bottles

If you’re sold on the stainless steel bottle idea, the next challenge is to find the best bottle in that category. Fortunately, there are a few popular choices to consider. I’ve listed a few of the more common options. 

Pura Kiki 11oz/325ml Stainless Steel Infant Bottle

If you want a stainless steel bottle that’s all about simplicity, then the Pra Kiki is worth looking into. One of the most impressive features of this bottle is that it has zero plastic parts. That means, both the bottle itself and the nipple collar are made from stainless steel. Therefore, there’s absolutely no risk of milk or formula coming in contact with any plastic, eliminating potential BPA exposure. 

Features

  • Made from medical-grade stainless steel
  • BPA, plastic and toxin-free
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Lightweight–0,16kg weight makes it easy for your baby to hold
  • Compatible with vented nipple types
  • Available in 4 fun colors–aqua,pink swirl,rose,slate
  • Durable–won’t break or crack if dropped
  • Scratch-resistant
  • 100% recyclable
  • Leak-proof
  • Insulated–keeps milk from spoiling
  • Can easily be used as a first sippy cup
  • Ideal for babies aged newborn to toddler
  • Boasts a silicone grip that makes it easy for the baby to hold

Klean Kanteen Kid Kanteen

Klean Kanteen has long been a firm favorite among parents who prefer the safety of stainless steel bottles. 

Features

  • Constructed from durable high-grade 18/8 stainless steel 
  • BPA and toxin-free
  • Features a slow-flow nipple
  • The wide neck with a 2,12” opening that makes cleaning, pouring and filling simple
  • Compatible with all types of Klean Kanteen Wide caps
  • Boasts an electropolished interior which means the bottle won’t retain or impart odors
  • Stain resistant
  • A nifty dust cover ensures that the nipple doesn’t get exposed to dust or bacteria between feedings
  • Lightweight–item weight is 0,09 kg

Ultimate Stainless Steel Baby Bottle

One of the more popular stainless steel baby bottle options is without a doubt the one from the Ultimate brand. 

Features

  • Made from medical-grade stainless steel with no welds, or scratches
  • A scratch-resistant outer coating that doesn’t easily dent
  • BPA, PVC, and Phthalate free
  • Easy to clean–dishwasher safe (always place on the top rack)
  • Boasts thermal technology with double wall that regulates milk temperature
  • Ergonomically designed with a removable handle to make holding easy
  • Features a durable, natural flow, food-grade silicone nipple that’s both soft and flexible
  • Nipples are available in different flow sizes suitable from newborn to maximum flow levels
  • 100% recyclable
  • By adding the sippy cup and toddler straw, the bottle easily grows with your baby
  • Leak-free
  • Available in six fun colors–sapphire blue, snowflake white, seafoam green, petal pink, rose gold and ruby red

Munchkin Cool Cat Stainless Steel Straw Cup

If you’re looking for a stainless steel cup with a cute factor that your little one will love, then the Munchkin Cool Cat stainless steel bottle may be worth looking into. 

Features

  • Ideal for both boys and girls aged 18 months and up
  • Boasts a leak-proof seal–be sure to align the sealing ring pull tab inside the lid with the corresponding gap
  • Easy to clean and also dishwasher safe
  • BPA and toxin-free
  • Its insulated, double-walled feature keeps drinks cool for up to 15 hours
  • Features a flip-top lid that makes it easy to open and close
  • Easy grip handles make it easy for your little one to hold and manage
  • Available in four fun colors–purple, pink, blue cat +elephant, blue cat
  • 8-ounce capacity

Stainless Steel Baby Bottle Comparison Table

Here’s a comparative table to see how the top stainless steel bottle brands compare in their key features.

FeaturesPura Kiki 11oz/325ml Stainless Steel Infant BottleKlean Kanteen Kid KanteenUltimate Stainless Steel Baby BottleMunchkin Cool Cat Stainless Steel Straw Cup
Size1 oz5 oz/9 oz9 oz8oz
ColorAquaPinkSwirlRoseSlateGreen Sapphire blueSnowflake whiteSeafoam greenPetal pinkRose goldRuby redPurplePinkBlue cat/elephantBlue cat
Special featuresSilicone gripLeak-proofInsulatedWide neckDust coverLeak-proofEasy to remove the handleFlip top lidEasy gripLeak-proof
Age groupNewborn to toddlerNewborn to toddlerNewborn to toddlerFrom 18 months onwards
Recyclable100%100%100%100%

Since stainless steel bottles aren’t clear, you might be wondering how you’ll measure the milk or formula you’re putting in. Watch this informative clip from OrganicKidz to see just how easy it is to measure milk or formula when using a stainless steel bottle. You’ll also see how diverse just one bottle can be!

Final Thoughts

If you had any doubts about using stainless steel bottles, I hope this post has helped resolve them. It’s clear that stainless steel bottles are not only safe but may actually be the better option for your baby. In addition to cutting out the BPA factor, you’ll also be preventing more plastic from ending up in the environment. It’s a win-win all around!

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Author

I’m Balint, founder of this site and a father (and dad) to a baby-turned toddler. I found the world of babies so fascinating that I started a blog dedicated only to that topic. By the way, I studied physics, engineering (PhD, MSc), and therefore I do a thorough research when I write about something. Since it’s a blog, of course I also write about my personal experiences.

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