Reusable straws are a growing part of American life. As bans on plastic straws spread, along with conservation efforts to remove these one-use plastics from our oceans, more and more individuals are stepping up to find alternatives to these one-use plastics.
New kinds of straws have begun growing in popularity as people around the world are taking note of the impact that plastic straws have on our planet. However, with so many kinds of reusable straws including bamboo, sterling silver, stainless steel, silicone, glass, and titanium, it can be difficult to decide which reusable straw is the best for you.
Here’s a rundown of some things to consider when picking reusable straws.
- Which straws last the longest?
- Which straws are the most cost-effective
- Do reusable straws affect taste?
- How much cleaning does each straw require?
- Are there any safety concerns with reusable straws?
We will answer all of these questions and more as we review each type of reusable straw material and discuss both the pros and cons of several types!
As far as longevity goes, when handled correctly, glass straws can last quite a few years. The material is great for iced drinks as glass straws don’t get too cold and don’t affect taste either. Being a clear material, glass straws are easiest to clean simply for the fact that you are able to see any remaining residue from your beverages, taking the guesswork out of your scrubbing. In addition, many glass straws are dishwasher safe, making them a good option.
The thing with any glass object is that it is breakable and not precisely travel-friendly. A single drop to the floor may not immediately shatter your glass straw, but it will add small imperfections that will make it even easier to break down the line. Taking different flooring into consideration – such as wood, tile, carpet and even concrete, means a dropped straw may have a shorter lifespan.
As far as safety goes, I wouldn’t recommend a glass straw for young children as the risk of breakage – even by accident – is too high. I’d also not recommend traveling with a glass straw as the last thing you want is an accidental cut on your hand when reaching for your reusable straw only to find it broken.
When it comes to durability, longevity, and the most cost-effective option, our top pick is a custom set of stainless steel straws. Unlike glass, stainless steel reusable straws won’t break after being dropped and are travel-friendly. Many of these metal straws come with their own carrying pouch for easy transport, allowing you to bring your own straw to your favorite restaurants.
As far as taste goes, stainless steel straws don’t have any effect. Allowing you to thoroughly enjoy your beverage without worry. If you do find a metallic aftertaste, this means it’s time to replace your straws. Discarding stainless steel straws is easy as they are 100% recyclable.
Other metal straws such as sterling silver and titanium – while durable like stainless steel – more often than not come with a significantly steeper price tag. With similar durability, longevity and lack of effect on food and drink, it just makes sense to go with stainless steel.
Much like the glass straws, I can’t recommend metal straws for children. Not because of the breaking factor, but because of the sturdiness. Unlike plastic and silicone straws, metal straws have no bend to them, meaning there is a chance for younger children to harm themselves – or others – as they not only don’t yet know their own strength but may chew on metal straws and harm their teeth.
Good news for metal straws, is many come with the option of including a silicone tip to help with the teething on straws for us adults who have a texture preference.
When it comes to finding a reusable straw for kids we can’t recommend silicone straws enough. They are soft, flexible, chewy and tend to come with their own cleaning brush or squeegee to help remove any debris. Equally tasteless, silicone has some great reviews about their usefulness for both cold and warm beverages along with thicker beverages like smoothies and shakes.
Of course, there are different diameter sizes available so if silicone straws are your choice, be sure to look through all your options and decide on the best ones for your intended use.
The last set of straws on our list today is none other than eco-friendly reusable bamboo straws. While many reviewers dislike how most bamboo straws are not dishwasher friendly, there are in fact a few options on the market that have dishwasher safe bamboo straws.
When it comes to taste, many users note that bamboo straws add in their own flavor, making it known that you are using a naturally made straw rather than a synthetic one. One of the biggest noted cons about bamboo straws is their lack of long-term durability, as they are crafted from natural bamboo, long term submersion in liquids can soften them over time.
This means replacement will be needed more often than the other reusable straw options. Despite the cons, many reusable straw lovers swear by these naturally antimicrobial reusable straws.
When it comes to safety facts when looking for reusable straws—glass and metal straws are not good for small children. They can pose a safety risk and your best bet is squishy silicone straws. Some may recommend paper straws for children, but they can pose a choking hazard and are not reusable.
When it comes to warm or hot beverages keep in mind that glass and metal straws conduct heat and should be used with caution when drinking very hot drinks. Dentists also warn individuals who chew on straws to avoid glass or metal straws as they could damage tooth enamel. So consider getting a silicone tip if you choose a metal straw.
Ultimately, you may have to experiment with a variety of reusable straw materials to find out which reusable straw you prefer. There’s no way to know how comfortable you will be with new sensations—the stiffness, the weight, the texture—until you try it. Since reusable straws are inexpensive, it’s worth testing which kind suits you best.
The best part of all is that reusable straws make fantastic gift ideas. So if you know an individual who is on the hunt for some more eco-friendly options to reduce their carbon footprint, then consider purchasing a laser engraved reusable straw.
Take a look at my other articles about reusable straws:
- Everything You Need To Know About Traveling With Metal Straws
- How To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint With Eco-Friendly Straws