Spend any time on our website or read any of our emails, and you’ll notice the verbiage we use to describe our water bottles and travel mugs: leak-proof and spill-proof.

“But wait,” we’ve had many confused friends and family members ask us. “Isn’t leak-proof the same thing as spill-proof?”

No and yes. Spill-proof is leak-proof, but leak-proof is not spill-proof. Unless it’s a kids product; then, it’s both leak-proof and spill-proof.

Have we confused you enough? Let’s break it down.

What Does Leak-Proof Mean?

Leak-proof means no drips and dribbles when your leak-proof lid is closed. Your reusable water bottle might get knocked around a little bit, but with a closed leak-proof lid, those drips stay where they’re supposed to — inside your water bottle.

What Does Spill-Proof Mean?

Spill-proof is a little different. Yes, it includes everything described above — all that great stuff about drips and drops staying inside your water bottle. But spill-proof also includes one very important distinction: unlike leak-proof water bottles (which stay open unless you physically close them), your water bottle automatically closes unless you’re actively pressing it down. So, the second you let go of that AUTOSEAL® button, it seals completely.

Imagine this scenario: You’re at your desk, drinking from your run-of-the-mill water bottle. You’ve left it open, and you knock it over. Instant disaster, right? Notes ruined, computer keyboard on the fritz, and maybe even damage to (gasp!) your cell phone.

With one of our AUTOSEAL® spill-proof water bottles, however, you knock over your water bottle and… nothing happens. Maybe it makes a loud noise when it falls over and embarrasses you a little bit, but nothing spills out (as long as you have the lid screwed on tightly, like we know you do).

In short: when a travel mug or water bottle automatically defaults to a sealed state, it’s considered spill-proof. When you have to physically close the travel mug or water bottle to seal it, it’s leak-proof.

Spill-proof water bottles vs leak-proof water bottles

Are Kids Water Bottles Leak-Proof or Spill-Proof?

Glad you asked! They’re both. Look, it’s a fact of life that kids are going to spill, and The Law of Spillage that we just made up states that kids are going to spill at the most inconvenient times possible. To help parents out, we added a spill-proof safety valve in all of our reusable kids water bottles. That little valve means that even if your kid holds their water bottle upside down, no water will spill out. Because all parents need that extra peace of mind.


Got any questions? Feel free to check out our Help section for other FAQs and information about our Limited Lifetime Guarantee. Happy sipping!

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  • Joanne ulbin

    Best water bottle ever !!!
    Wish I had two of them!!!

  • nell moore

    The Contigo kids collection is awesome. I have autistic grandsons that used to spill drinks but now with their Contigo cups, they never have spills. Their teachers love the Contigo. My blind son will not use any other cups. He has a collection of contigo mugs, and water bottles. They allowed him to get thru college with no spills on his computers even when the cup was tossed in the backpack with his laptop. Love our Contigo collection.

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