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With all of the things we have to worry about these days, a little bit of convenience can’t be beat. That’s why plastic cups are still so popular, used for everything from backyard barbecues to conferences to dinner parties where you just don’t want to do the dishes (or glasses, in this case).
What You Need to Know About Plastic Cups
Durability: The best plastic cups are not only convenient, but they’re also a great alternative to glassware, which is often fragile, heavy and difficult to carry around. While plastic cups used to feel cheap and flimsy, the latest plastic cups are made from thick, durable plastic that can hold both hot and cold drinks with ease. That weird warping you used to get from thin plastic cups? Consider that a thing of the past. The best plastic cups these days can even be rinsed out and reused (if necessary), to go another round.
Safe for Drinking: We’ve found options that are BPA-free, making them safe even for kids to drink out of. The plastic cups on our list won’t melt, crack or leak, ensuring that your drink stays clean and pure.
Convenience Factor: Even if you are using regular cups, plastic cups come in handy in case unexpected guests show up or if you want to switch beverages. Take a marker and write your name on them too, so you never have to worry about mixing up drinks — or germs.
Versatility: When buying plastic cups, consider the occasion you’re using them for. We’ve found some colorful cups that are great for parties, picnics, pot lucks and themed get-togethers (say, for an at-home Tiki bar), and we’ve also listed some clear plastic cups that work well for more upscale gatherings (say, a wedding, baby shower or wine tasting).
And yes, plastic cups are great for game nights as well, whether your game of choice is “Flip Cup,” “Rage Cage” or classic cup stacking. Whether you’re serving drinks or stacking points, keep a couple packs of these disposable plastic cups in your cupboard or pantry and always be prepared (or have an excuse) to entertain.
1. Hefty Disposable Plastic Cups
You won’t find more reliable cups than these ones from Hefty. As the name suggests, these plastic cups are strong and durable, and suitable for both hot or cold drinks. Unlike cheap plastic cups, these ones won’t break or crack if switching between hot and cold temperatures (say, going from a coffee to a glass of iced water).
The cups hold 16 ounces of liquid and measure approximately five inches tall. Etched ridges on the side make them easy to grip and hold. The funnel-style shape and wide mouth make these cups easy to drink out of.
Made in the USA, this pack includes 80 Hefty Everyday plastic cups in four different colors. Keep a pack on hand for your next theme party (I.e. a luau or summer gathering) or break them out at your next dinner or get together — more colors mean more decorating ideas, and less chances that you’ll mix up your cup with someone else’s.
PROS: Super durable; can even be rinsed out and re-used if necessary.
CONS: Not intended for microwave use.
2. Crystal Clear PET Plastic Cups
The crystal clear design of these cups give them a more elegant look and appeal that works well for a variety of events. The rolled rim adds a subtle touch of sophistication while eliminating any sharp edges.
Because they are clear, these plastic cups are a great alternative to glassware, especially if you are outdoors or somewhere where the risk of having broken glass around isn’t safe. Let’s be honest: they’re more lightweight and more convenient too.
The cups come in a 16-ounce size and are made with a durable PET material plastic which is crack and fade-resistant. These cups are 100% BPA free, making them safe for kids’ drinks as well.
PROS: Rolled rim and see-through design are great for serving everything from wine to cocktails to soda.
CONS: Best-suited to cold drinks only.
3. AmazonBasics Disposable Plastic Cups
This set gets you 240 plastic cups in a bright red color. Great for parties, meetings and large gatherings, the cups hold 16 ounces of your favorite cold beverage and are made from a thick and resilient #6 plastic. The cups are lightweight but the plastic material won’t warp — even with ice inside.
What we like: the cups are stackable, for easy storage, and come wrapped in individual sleeves, for more hygienic carrying. They’re great for drinking of course, but work well for party games too.
These cups are available in red, blue or a translucent finish. Keep a pack of these around in your cupboards as they’ll always come in handy, no matter the occasion.
PROS: With 240 cups in each pack, this is the largest quantity on our list.
CONS: Cold drinks only. Best for one-time use.