Plastic straws are out, reusable straws are in. More and more people are ditching plastic straws because they are proven to harm the environment. Over the years, several versions of reusable straws have entered the market. From bamboo straws, glass straws, metal straws, and the new addition to the family — silicone straws.
Among these choices, metal straws and silicone straws seem to be in a never-ending battle. After exhausting all possible answers, the results are in. Both silicone straws and metal straws are great alternatives to plastic straws. However, silicone straws are slightly better overall when it comes to thermal conductivity and versatility. Read on to find out how we came to this conclusion.
Reusable Straw Side-By-Side Comparison
|Made from silicon material that is safe to use without any possible chemical leaching
||Made with food-grade and medical-grade material that does not contain harmful chemicals
|Resistant to heat and cold temperatures making it ideal for hot or cold beverages
||Can be used in hot and cold drinks but extra precaution is needed when sipping hot beverages to avoid burns or sores
|Comes with bristle cleaner to get rid of stubborn dirt
||Comes with pipe cleaner that can get on the insides and corners of the straw
||Sleek and elegant looking
|Food particles may stick easily because of the rubber material
||The slippery finish makes food particles easily removed or washed
Pros of Using Silicone and Metal Straws
Silicone and metal straws have been gaining quite a stable fanbase because of the advantages they offer. Here are the pros of using these two reusable straws.
Safety - It’s a Tie!
Both silicone straws and metal straws are made from non-harmful food-grade materials. Compared to plastic straws that contain BHA, BPS, Phthalate, Lead, Cadmium, Mercury, PBBs and other harmful chemicals, these reusable straws are designed with safety in mind.
In 1979, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved silicone dioxides as a safe food-grade material to be used in various cooking and drinkware. This is why you may have noticed pots or baking equipment made of silicone out in the market. Since silicone straws are made with stable materials, no chemicals will leach into your drink despite being exposed to varying temperatures.
On the other hand, high-quality metal straws are known to resist oxidation and corrosion. This means that despite using it for several years, the stainless steel will remain intact leaving no chemical leach on your drinks.
In this category, both straws won the safety tag award.
Thermal Conductivity - Winner: Silicone Straws
The silicon material used in silicone straws is known to have heat and cold resistant properties. The thermal conductivity of silicone is relatively low compared to other materials. This is the reason why this reusable straw can be used even in high or low temperatures.
Metal straws made with high-quality stainless steel can also be used when consuming hot and cold beverages. However, extra precaution is needed since metal straws tend to transfer the heat or coldness of the drinks to the straw.
Both silicone and metal straws feature thermal stability. Having said this, these reusable straws can maintain their shape and structure despite exposure to varying temperatures. So whether you want to sip a brewed coffee, hot choco, or slushie, both straws can be used. Just be extra careful when using the metal version.
Although we love metal straws, silicone straws are the rightful kings when it comes to this category.
Versatile Structure - Winner: Silicone Straws
Another advantage of silicone straws is their flexible structure. These straws have bendable necks that you can adjust according to your desired length. The flexibility of silicone straws also means that you can cut them to fit even the smallest openings of bottles or different types of glasses.
If you are not fond of bending the straws or cutting them, do not worry. Silicone straws are sold in various sizes that can fit any type of container. For a 24 oz container, a 10.5 inches silicone straw will fit best. For a 20 oz tumbler, you can use a silicone straw with an 8.25 inches length. Whereas, for larger bottles with a 30 oz size, the suggested length of the silicone straw is at 9 inches.
Compared to silicone straws, metal straws have a hard texture. But, this type of reusable straw is still an ideal tool because it comes in various shapes and sizes. Just like silicone straws, this reusable straw comes in handy because of its sleek and slim figure. Make sure to prepare a pouch or cloth napkin to keep them safe while not being used.
We declare silicone straws as the winner for the most versatile structure category.
Cleanliness - It’s a Tie!
Because of the soft and flexible properties of silicone straws and the hard texture of metal straws, people think that they are quite hard to clean. But, this is not the case.
Both straws can be washed in the dishwasher with hot or cold water. If you want to soak them in hot water to thoroughly get rid of leftover debris, you may do so. They will not melt, so there’s no need to worry. Silicone straws and metal straws also have their own pipe cleaner that can go inside the deepest and dirtiest part of the straw. No more gunk and germs on your drink.
In this category, both reusable straws are clear-cut winners. They are just really easy to clean.
Fun Factor - It’s a Tie!
These reusable straws vary in color. However, both of them will surely catch the eye of the people around you because of their uniqueness. If you love anything colorful, silicone straws will surely make you happy. Perfect for kids, you can purchase this reusable straw in any color you want, from solid reds to mixed hues.
On the other hand, the sleek and solid silver color of metal straws makes it an elegant piece of drinking tool to have around. This reusable straw usually comes in its natural color but some manufacturers have found ways to incorporate pigments such as pink, green, and red to make it even more aesthetically pleasing. Don’t worry, the added colors are not that bright so you can still bask in the shining and shimmering tones of your metal straws.
Each person has their color preference, so we’ll declare this category as a draw.
Cons Of Using Silicone Straws and Metal Straws
Silicone and metal straws are loaded with benefits but they also have a couple of cons you should consider.
Not See Through
One of the disadvantages of using silicone and metal straws is that you cannot see the inside which is especially useful when you are consuming hot beverages. You may suddenly take a big sip and burn your mouth because you can’t see the flow of your drink.
To prevent this from happening, try to feel the liquid inside the straw. If you think it is already near your mouth, slowly sip it in. Do not play with hot drinks while using these reusable straws as the liquid can directly go into your throat and hurt you.
These reusable straws are non-biodegradable. Once you throw it in your trashcan, it will take several years before it decomposes. And when it does, it cannot go back to nature and be reused again. However, silicone straws and metal straws are still better than plastics because the latter break down into harmful toxins and chemicals.
Plastic straws are definitely cheaper than any reusable straws. But, using them every day for every drink you consume can equate to a larger sum. When you do the math, you will know how many dollars you could have saved if only you have a reusable straw around.
These good quality stainless steel straws and silicone straws are priced at a higher amount. It is quite a lot at first purchase. But imagine how many years will these reusable straws last — 5 or 10 years? That is like spending $1 in a whole year.
Both silicone straws and metal straws are great choices for a plastic-free household. After listing down every pro and con, we declare silicone straws as the rightful winner for this comparison of the best reusable straw.
If you're looking for nifty ways to clean your reusable straws, check out this post. Are you team silicone straw or team metal straw? Leave us a comment below.