I'm not interested in why or why not to use a sippy. DS can drink from a cup with help, but I like having sippy cups too. We have a couple already and definitely do not like the NUK because we have a really hard time open/closing it. Another one we have (maybe Tommy Tippee?? can't remember) has a 2 part valve system so it's an extra piece to keep track of, but that's not a deal breaker. The Playtex insulated "click" ones are nice though I worry that the "click" will wear out and not seal properly anymore?
Are spouts/straws/lips better? I thought the lip would be better because it's more similar to drinking from a cup, but the only kind I find like that are the NUKs. I'm ready to get rid of bottles and he's fine drinking breastmilk and regular milk from a sippy.
How does he do with the valves? My DS could never figure them out, so we went straight to a straw cup. He couldn't figure out the valves on those either, so we went with Green Sprouts, which is a regular straw and not a leak-proof one. It took a little while to get him to stop dumping it, but now he does pretty well with it.
I do also have some of the EIO cups, but those are even worse about leaks than the Green Sprouts, since they're just a lidded cup with a hole for drinking (like a travel mug). But, they're glass, and much easier to clean than the plastic of the Green Sprouts.
No problem with valves, though I haven't tried any kind of straw cup yet. We took the valve out of one the other night because he seemed to need more water (he chews and chews food but has trouble swallowing) and he though that was great to turn over :(
I struggle with what sippy cup and/or straw cups to let DS use. Like you said he doesn't seem to get enough with the sippy cups. We use the Munchkin straw cups (9oz) the most, but he still has to work to drink from it. I tried giving a regular cup with a straw, but he tends to dump it.
That's totally normal at that age. My little guy is 2 and still does it when I'm not looking (since he knows he's not supposed to). If you limit the amount of water you give him at any given time, then he can only dump out so much. They do get over the novelty if you give them the time and space to dump it repeatedly - like after the meal leaving him in his chair and giving him a cup and water to play with. He's still really young, but in another few months, you'll be surprised at how far he's come.
Straw cups are nice to have on hand for smoothie, and I think they really helped my daughter learn to regulate the amount of liquid she could put in her mouth and swallow. There was a learning period where she'd often take too much and spit it down her shirt, or cough and splutter. We still use our Tilty cups a lot, and another favorite is a simple Tupperware sippy with a spout. It's small enough for her to hold in one hand, and the cup itself has a rounded lip that's great for her to drink from "open."
I should clarify, it wasn't that he has trouble getting enough water usually. It was that he couldn't swallow the food in his mouth ;) The solution to that is always lots of water for him, as we're trying to discourage him from random spitting out of food. So if there isn't any developmental reason to avoid certain types of cups then for us it just comes down to whichever is easiest for me to wash, as he doesn't seem to have a preference between what we have already (soft spout, hard spout, lip).
We use small camelbak bottles for our LO. Usually we take the straw out ans she tips them up to drink. She can drink out of a cup but the bottles are invaluable for when we're out or just playing around the house. They don't spill, the spout folds down to keep it clean and they come apart easily to wash.
The NUK and the Klean Kanteen sippy are our favorites. The Klean Kanteen one is a little pricy but it will be his regular water bottle when he's bigger, it seriously never leaks, and it is pretty darn tough
DD's 2.5, so she can drink out of a cup, but she can't pay attention to not spilling it when she's not drinking, if you KWIM.
I feel like our playtex insulators have started leaking pretty quickly. But we use them at night for DD's milk, so leaking is a big issue. They are totally fine during the day.
I also like the take n toss cups straw cups without valves because they are super easy to clean. We use disposable straws because I'm really paranoid about cleaning out reusable straws, spoiled from EBFing for 14 months. Good for yogurt drinks, smoothies, as well as water.
If you're looking for ease of washing, then I'd go with EIO. But you're going to have to put up with dumping for a little while until the novelty wears off. The EIO uses an 8 oz glass jelly jar (that you provide), and puts a lid on it - the lid is one piece, no nooks and crannies, and the jar is obviously easily cleaned. It comes with a protective sleeve to prevent breakage, but unless it's grimy, you can leave that on while washing. I hate having to deal with washing all the little pieces of the other cups.
We do also have Klean Kanteen sport tops, and DS does well with those. Bonus is those will age with him just fine. He never could figure out the sippy top, but he does well with the sport top. And those are pretty easy to clean too (although I wouldn't put milk in it - we only use them for water).
My son loves the foogo cup (http://www.amazon.com/Foogo-Thermos-Leak-Proof-Straw-Bottle/dp/B000O3JTDM) and I like that it's all BPA free and metal. BUT it is only leakproof if you close the top! If he turns it upside down with the lid open, it totally leaks. So I do still have to watch him when he has it. The only straw cups he has that don't leak are these: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002I42MM0/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_2?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B001QXCF0S&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0K8T2JJKG9WJKS9Z898R but I don't love their cheapness or plastic.
I've tried several with my dd and the playtex with the straw was her favorite
Easy to clean in the dishwasher and being insulated is nice so it doesn't sweat in the summer. Almost a year of use and the straw is in perfect shape
We love out Klean Kanteens. DD used the sippy spout (Avent spout) and then the sport top. DS uses the sippy spout. I love that they are easy to clean and leakproof. Our Foogo sippy got gross and mildewy (black inside the lid!). The Safe Sippy leaks.
We also have a plastic Tomee Tippee no leak cup that absolutey doesn't leak - http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3944043
It has the straw shaped spout but you tip it like a sippy, so I think it's a transitional thing.
DD can obviously use a regular cup, but I am so sick of spills with DS that I don't let him practice enough. Oops.
I bought DS a 'safe sippy' (I think this is the actual company/brand name but I am not sure. It is a stainless steel sippy, with silicone cover, plastic handles and a straw with a nipple/straw end on top. I bought it cuz I wanted the straw, but we never really used it. DS has always drank out of cups since he started solids, although he can also drink out of a open-topped cup or covered cup witha a straw now, too, at 2 years. The cup itself was really nice, but it did take more than the usual suction to get the liquid flowing.
I'm also a fan of the EIO. There is still some dumping from time to time, but it's still worth it.
Glass drinking cups at the table.
Sigg cups when we are out of the house and in the car.
But around the house these are by far my favorites: http://www.amazon.com/Gerber-Graduates-Starter-Handle-Horizontal/dp/B002UXQRMU/ref=sr_1_1?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1325617879&sr=1-1 . I like my kids to drink a lot of water during the day and most sippies require way too much effort. I remove the valves from these and they have a good amount of water that comes out. Yes, they spill a bit but not that much. Perfect balanace between good flow and not much spill.
We switched from a bottle to a straw sippy cup around age 1. We chose a straw sippy cup because a speech therapist we know recommended it. She said it helps form the adult mouth shapes for words better than the sippy cups without straws. We also encourage him to use a regular cup from time to time, but only when we're prepared for a mess.
So far my - really DS's - fave are straw sippy's like
They are pretty spill proof. The only thing is that if you drink anything with pulp - OJ, some lemonades - the pulp can clog up the straw.
The next favorite is a clear foogoo one.
DS loves drinking out of an open cup, but sometimes just tips too much.