Glass Drinking Straws: The Ultimate Guide
If you follow Pinterest or any healthy food blog (and who doesn’t?), you’ve probably noticed glass straws gracing every green smoothie and homemade iced latte.
They photograph beautifully, and are an unexpected addition to food photography.
But, these tools are more than just food blog fads - there are plenty of environmental and health benefits to using them instead of your traditional plastic straws.
Why Use Glass Straws?
In general, it’s a good idea to use straws in your everyday life, especially if you have young children - using a straw instead of a sippy cup in a child’s early life may help them develop articulation and clarity of speech.
But, glass straws especially are a good move - for you, your family, and the environment.
Most traditional straws, which might come with your cold soft drink or hot tea, are made from plastic, which has been shown to correlate with an increased risk of cancer. This risk is compounded when combined with heat, as warmer temperatures cause more compounds to leak out into food.
Even BPA-free plastics can add hormone-altering substances into the foods and drinks you and your family are consuming. Because glass doesn’t contain these harmful substances, you eliminate this risk when switching from plastic to glass straws.
The other benefit of glass straws is that they are far more environmentally friendly. Traditional plastic straws are one-time-use, and cannot be recycled, so they wind up in landfills and our oceans. While one individual straw doesn’t create an environmental disaster, it’s the scale that creates an issue - in the United States alone, over 500 million disposable plastic straws are used and thrown away every year. Because you can wash and reuse glass straws, you won’t be contributing to the waste that comes with disposable plastic sippers.
Are Glass Straws Safe?
For some people, the idea of a glass straw brings about images of cracking and shattering.
However, most modern glass straws are made from borosilicate, which makes it shatter-resistant, break-resistant, and usable in cold and hot temperatures. Borosilicate is the main ingredient in Pyrex products, which you might recognize as the material your vintage coffee pot and your grandmother’s Pyrex casserole dish.
In addition, to be extremely durable and tolerant to temperature changes, borosilicate is also non-porous, which means bacteria from your smoothie or milkshake won’t get stuck in the glass and make you sick.
Additionally, it’s hypoallergenic, so they’re safe for even people with allergies and sensitivities.
What to Look for in a Glass Straw
While the glass straws listed above are our favorites regarding quality, value, and added details, you may come across other options at your favorite online store or shop. When shopping for your own glass straws, there are just a few things to consider before you make your purchase.
The first, and most important, is the material the glass straw is made from. Always choose a straw made from that strong material borosilicate - this ensures that the straw won’t crack or shatter while you’re drinking from it - even chipping could be dangerous, and cause you or your children to ingest small pieces of glass - simply no good! Durable borosilicate will also allow you to use your straw in both hot and cold foods, making it a versatile tool in your kitchen.
Next, you’ll want to consider the vessel you’d usually use with your straw. Do you tend to use a straw in a short coffee mug, or are you simply never seen without your oversized tumbler? Be sure to choose the right sized straw for your favorite cup. A straw that’s too short will disappear into your drink, while a straw that’s too long will roll along the rim and make for a more difficult drinking experience.
In addition to the size of your vessel, you’ll also want to consider the viscosity of your typical beverage, which is where the diameter, or width, of the straw, will come into play. A more narrow straw will do for thin beverages like iced tea, lemonade, and water, but if you’re looking for a glass straw that can slurp up a thick smoothie or malt, you’ll need something that’s a little wider.
If you drink a combination of these drinks, it may be a good idea to keep a few straws of different diameters on hand, so you aren’t in a situation where you need to turn back to traditional plastics because you don’t have the right size glass straw.
- Fun Details
Lastly, look for small details in the straws that allow you to express yourself and your culinary voice. A straight, clear glass straw communicates classy, refined, and healthy, while straws with a slight bend, a little color, or small designs can communicate a fun, quirky personality behind them.
Most of these details don’t have any effect on how well the straw functions, but they are a fun way to incorporate a little fun into your day.
Our Favorite Glass Straw Brands
So, you decide you want to make healthier choices for your family and for the planet - but which straws should you stock your kitchen with?
Here's our choices for the best glass straw brands so you can sip green.
Hummingbird Glass Straws
Each pack of Hummingbird bent straws contains four 9” x 9.5mm straws and a small brush you can use for cleaning.
Handmade in the United States from Pyrex glass, the straws are shatter- and break-resistant, so they’re extremely safe to use while drinking.
They have a slight bend for easy sipping.
The straws are easily cleaned, but the cleaner comes in handy in case a piece of fruit or greenery gets stuck inside.
The straws can even be used for cold and hot beverages so that you can replace all the plastic straws in your life, from your coffee at breakfast to your dessert smoothie.
What We Love
These straws are super easy to clean, either with a simple rinse or a trip through the dishwasher. Because they’re easy to clean, you’ll use them more often, and won’t be tempted to turn to plastic-based replacements.
Some reviewers note the opening of the straw is a little too narrow to drink especially thick smoothies and milkshakes through. While it’s good for very thin beverages, this isn’t the straw to turn to for your malt.
Teenie Greenie Wide Straight Glass Straws
Teenie Greenie straws come in packs of four, and each straight straw has a fun colored rim so you can keep track of whose smoothie is whose, or just to add a little fun to your day.
Each straw is made with a shatter-resistant Pyrex glass, which makes it strong and durable, even through daily use.
These straws can be used to consume hot, cold, and frozen beverages, and are 9” x 12mm to accommodate thicker liquids.
Each pack comes with two convenient nylon cleaning brushes. When you’re done with your drink, you can pop the straws right in the dishwasher for easy and effortless cleaning.
What We Love
The straws are expertly packed, so they reach your home without any cracks or chips. Additionally, the nylon brushes are perfect for scrubbing any stray bits out of the straw, as each brush works over more than half of the straw - no dirty parts left in the middle!
Since there is no way to choose which colors you want to receive, some people have received duplicates of the same color, which can be frustrating if you choose colored straws to differentiate between different people’s beverages.
Hiware Bent & Handmade Glass Straws
Hiware straws come in packs of four and have a slight bend in them to ensure easy drinking.
The straws are 10” x 10mm, making them long enough for even larger cups, and are durable and shatter-resistant as they are made from borosilicate glass tubing, the same glass used to make Pyrex products.
They are lead-free and can be placed in the dishwasher for easy cleaning.
he straws come with a one-year limited warranty - though, it’s unlikely you’ll need to use it. The one-millimeter wall thickness of the glass makes for an extremely strong and unbreakable straw.
What We Love
The size of these straws is perfect for everyday use - they fit perfectly into tumblers, and work well with thin or thick beverages. The ability to put the straws in the dishwasher and not experience any breaking or chipping is a huge plus as well.
Some reviewers noted that the packaging on these was not enough to keep it safe during shipment - their straws were cracked upon arrival.
GINOVO Reusable Bent Glass Drinking Straws
Ginovo’s glass straws are the perfect choice for people who like to express themselves through every last detail.
Each set of six comes with straws in fun colors like red, green, blue, and gray, so you can have a little fun with your drink, or tell one person’s drink apart from another.
The shatter-resistant glass means maximum safety while you’re sipping on everything from iced tea to hot cocoa.
The straws have a slight bend, and measure 180mm x 8mm, making them better for thinner beverages instead of thick or frozen smoothies.
The straw sets come with two convenient cleaning brushes, both of which are at least half the length of the straw so that you can remove any lingering bacteria from your straws.
What We Love
No boring clear glass here! We love the vibrant full-straw color of these sustainable sippers. With fun colors like red, green, orange, pink, and blue, there is an option for everyone and a full rainbow in your drawer adds a little fun to your day.
These straws are the perfect length for mason jars and shorter glasses, but they are a little on the short side for tumblers. Keep these for your coffee cups and rocks-glass-sized vessels.
Hummingbird Sipping Springs
Slightly bent, the Hummingbird Sipping Springs glass straws have a small, colorful detail - the colored banding at the bend of the straw. The springs are available in soft, feminine colors like red, green, and purple, and are nine inches long.
Each straw is made in the United States from the same strong, durable material that Pyrex vessels are made from, meaning they are shatter- and break-resistant.
The straws are also easy to clean - they are safe to put in the dishwasher, but also come with a convenient brush cleaner, to help scrub away any bacteria or buildup that doesn’t get washed away by a quick rinse of water.
What We Love
The colors of these straws are just beautiful, and the tint on the banding is a small, subtle detail that helps you express your personality and keep track of which beverage is yours. The coloring isn’t too bright and is a nice, subtle, feminine coloring.
Some purchasers have noted that the coloring chips off from the ribbed part of these straws after use - the straws still function properly, but the removal of the color takes away from some of the fun and personality of the product.
How to Clean Glass Straws
Because glass straws are meant to be multi-use - sometimes for years and years - it’s important to learn to clean them well, so they don’t accumulate bacteria between uses.
For the easiest cleaning experience, rinse your straw under warm water the moment you finish drinking your beverage. This will prevent the residue from drying inside the straw and getting stuck on the glass, which can make it harder to clean and increase the risk of bacteria. Allow the warm water to run through the glass completely, and use the small brush cleaner that usually comes with these straws to remove any stuck-on food.
Most borosilicate straws can be placed in the dishwasher, so after you’re finished rinsing, place your glass straw in the silverware basket. This will ensure the straw is totally sparkling clean, so it’s ready for next use!
Good for Sipping and Sustainability
Glass straws are a good investment for many reasons. From a health perspective, the use of glass instead of plastic means fewer harmful chemicals leach into drinks, even in hot temperatures like coffee and hot chocolate.
From an economic perspective, glass straws are an investment up front, but you’re not paying to replace them. A well-made glass straw can last for many years, even through regular, daily use for everyday beverages.
Lastly, and perhaps what packs the biggest effect, is the environmental impact of making the switch from plastic to glass. With over 500 million disposable straws thrown away annually in the United States alone, even one person’s replacement of plastic straws makes a huge impact regarding how much gets thrown into landfills.
Overall, glass straws are a safe, sustainable way to keep your family - and our planet - healthier.