UPDATE, 2-17-09: We no longer recommend the new version of the FUNtainer straw bottle (shown here as Hello Kitty). Please read our detailed concerns about the NEW version straw bottle.
A little over a year ago, we compared our beloved FUNtainer straw cups with Thermos' Foogo straw cups.
While the FUNtainer and Foogo look much the same and both function well in daily use, their inner assemblies were really different. In the spring a new generation of FUNtainers started appearing on the shelves. These new FUNtainers can be easily identified by their oval push-buttons.
We picked up a new Hello Kitty model at Target for around $15. All the Target offerings were licensed characters (Dark Knight Batman, Pirates of the Caribbean, Speed Racer, and Barbie). We're not that into licensed characters here, so we chose one we could give to our niece who needs (straw cups for school) after testing.
It turns out that these new FUNtainers innards are more like the Foogo on the inside. The old short straw on top of the lid has been replaced by a through-the-lid straw assembly that I absolutely love. The two new silicone pieces are so much harder to lose in the dishwasher. There's also no chance of top straw removal by a very persistent young infant or toddler (unless they manage to take off the entire screw-on lid which would be quite a feat).
The new version has a silicone disk with an integrated straw that pushes up through the screw-on lid. The lower straw attaches to the silicone disk rather than the plastic screw on lid. Left images show the straw assemblies on the old (blue) FUNtainer versus the new (pink) one. Right image shows the assembled FUNtainers from below. One of the best aspects of the new assembly is not having to clean the very small opening where the straws attach to the screw-on lid.
I really like this new FUNtainer design, but the plastic seems to have changed. We didn't have any problems with breakage on our old FUNtainer lids at all despite over a year's worth of regular (rough) toddler use, but the Hello Kitty lid was already cracked (though I didn't notice) when I took these comparison pictures.
After pre-washing the Hello Kitty FUNtainer, I filled it and heard a sharp snap when screwing on the lid. The new lid seemed to close normally even though hinges was visibly cracked. Unfortunately any sideways pressure on the lid now allows it to pop open. So, I called Thermos (1-800-831-9242) and they're sending us a replacement lid. Others have reported similar problems with cracking FUNtainer lids in 2008, so I'm not sure the new screw-top lids are as strong as their predecessors. With Thermos' prompt customer service response, I suspect that they will soon remedy this if it is a manufacturing defect or shipping introduced problem. If you want to avoid the potential lid hassle though, the Foogo appears to have no changes in the plastic screw-top lid.
Like the first generation Funtainers, the new versions come with a bagged replacement upper and lower straw assembly tucked inside. Additional replacement straws can also be purchased for a nominal fee through Thermos' toll free number.
The only change I can find in the Foogo since its introduction in 2007 is cosmetic. As far as I can see, the current Foogo (pink) is identical to the original version (blue) except the plastic disk inside the upper straw assembly is now clear rather than the color of the screw-on lid. This makes the disk slightly harder to find in soap suds. The Foogo's lid remains a 4 part straw assembly (upper straw, inner disk, lower straw, & screw top) opposed to the 3 part assembly of the FUNtainer (upper/lower straws, & screw top). For dishwashing simplicity I prefer the new FUNtainer straw cups.
The lower straws of the FUNtainers and the Foogo seem to be identical- which simplifies assembly when you own a variety.
It doesn't look like many of the new style FUNtainer straw cups are available online at this point. Amazon presently shows no lids with oval buttons nor does Thermos' own site. Friends have reported seeing the new styles in big box retailers like Target, but their online stores aren't showing any offerings. Keep watching though, I suspect the next generation will soon be widely available online as old stock sells out.
All in all, when the lid issues get straightened out, this new Funtainer promises to be a great retooling of an old favorite.