Metal Straws: Your Ultimate Guide
Metal straws are a versatile and robust alternative to plastic drinking straws, but navigating the market to ensure you end up with a safe and quality option isn't as straightforward as it may seem. We're here to help. Our comprehensive guide covers the following:
- Where to buy metal straws
- Metal Straws Safety
- Stainless Steel Drinking Straws
- Grades of Steel Explained
- Titanium and Silver Straws
- The Manufacturing Process
- Straight or Curved?
- How to Clean Metal Straws
Where to Buy Metal Straws
If you are a consumer you will probably be looking where to buy metal straws in small quantities and want a fast delivery. A local supplier (in the same country) or online is often the best option. Look for a reputable brand with reviews of service, a robust returns policy and active presence online. The idea is that you buy one pack that will last you a considerable amount of time, so don’t just opt for the cheapest straws around.
If you are wondering where to buy metal straws in a larger quantity - you may own a shop, restaurant or cafe - or perhaps you are getting married and want to provide your guests with a sustainable memory of the day. Ask a retailer if they provide a discount for larger orders (if they don’t already display bulk options) or look for a wholesaler (the people in the middle of manufacturers and retailers).
Large Bulk Orders
For wholesale metal straw and bulk orders (example - 5,000 straws+) you may consider going direct to the manufacturer (usually, they will be in China - as they oversee a huge amount of steel manufacturing).
You should sample the products to ensure quality and consistency. This could mean long lead times before the product arrives with you at your chosen destination. It usually makes sense to pay a slightly higher price for the product, but with the peace of mind of short lead times and quality control.
Buying from a retailer or wholesaler means much of the hard work has been done already. A lot of the problems you will face dealing direct with the manufacturer have already been solved.
If you do decide to deal direct with the manufacturer you should find one that will supply you without masses of plastic packaging. That is not as easy as you may think!
Are Metal Drinking Straws Safe?
If they are used in the correct way metal drinking straws are safe for most people. However, there have been reports of disabled charity groups highlighting they could be dangerous when used by people with certain disabilities.
If an individual can not manage reflexes or feeling, the hard and unforgiving nature of steel could cause serious injury. Biting the straw or choking are seen as the obvious dangers.
This is also true with young children, who shouldn’t use metal straws without supervision and a level of teaching / supervision.
It highlights how accustomed we have become to plastic straws when one of the main risks of using steel straws is biting them. After all, that’s what many people do to a single-use plastic straw.
- DON'T bite metal straws
- DO Supervise children’s usage
- DO Apply caution with hot drinks
- DO Beware of choking - don’t walk / run and drink
Verdict: Are Metal Drinking Straws Safe?
Taking all facts into consideration, yes metal straws are safe for the vast majority of people when used correctly and responsibly.
Steel Can Be Recycled Again and Again
Steel is the most recycled material on earth - in fact, it is recycled more than all of the other materials combined. The beauty of steel is that it can be recycled time and time again with no detriment to the end product.
Steel is used to make the vast majority of metal straws on the market. Stainless steel is usually the preferred choice, due to its corrosion and rust-resistant qualities.
Certain drinks and foods can be corrosive to steel, so food grade quality is an important consideration.
How Stainless Steel is Graded
You may notice a reference to 304, 316 or 18/8 stainless steel when searching for related products. We won’t get too technical with this, as all you really want to know is whether the straws are safe and if will they last.
304 is a common steel used to manufacture metal drinking straws - also referred to as 18/8 and 18/10.
These grades are classed as food grade stainless steel and are the most commonly used material for drinking straws.
Be wary of cheap imitations that substitute manganese for nickel. Although classed as food grade, they are not resistant to corrosion. This means they are not suited for this purpose and could even leach toxins, and a metallic taste, into your drinks.
Titanium and Silver Straws
Marketed as higher quality premium versions of drinking straws, titanium and silver straws have found their way into high end department stores and the beverages of some famous celebrities. If we are totally honest, having tried them, we have found no noticeable advantage to stainless steel straws - other than being slightly lighter and stronger. However, quality stainless steel straws will not come under anywhere near enough pressure in normal use to affect their shape. Silver straws are even further up the premium scale and sterling silver has certainly stood the test of time in terms of quality and durability. If you don't mind spending upwards of $200 for a single silver straw then who are we to argue. Personally, we'll stick to stainless and save ourselves the heartache of losing something so expensive!
How Metal Straws Are Made
Metal straws are made with a relatively simple manufacturing process. They originate from stainless steel tubing of different diameters and are cut to length. Then, they are cleaned and finished (especially important to avoid any sharp edges). Your straws should arrive polished and smooth at the ends. Cheap versions may not be finished as professionally and could be inconsistent in quality.
Straight or Curved?
In our experience it is handy to have both. Smoothies and juices can be easier with straight straws, as there’s no bend for any bits of fruit or ice to get caught in. Some people find curved easier when drinking cocktails and other soft drinks.
Sip With Style
Not only are metallic straws more sustainable but they also provide the chance to add a bit of style and individuality to your beverage. You can buy metal straws in a range of awesome colours - not just silver. Black, rose gold and rainbow are some of the most popular alternatives.
If you want to mix it up, we provide the chance to pick and mix the colours in your pack of straws.
*We recommend 6mm and 8mm metal straws in a mix of straight and curved. They should cover 99% of your needs*
This is probably a whole new world to you - who knew straws could be so complex?
Metal straws are typically available in diameters 6-12mm, with 6mm and 8mm being the most popular and user-friendly.
- 6mm - perfect for soft drinks and cocktails
- 8mm - An all-rounder - good for soft drinks, as well as smoothies and juices
- 10mm - good for smoothies and juices.
- 12mm - big diameter generally used for ‘bubble tea’
The majority of stainless steel straws on the market are 21.5cm long (8.5 inches approximately) - very similar to a typical single-use plastic straw.
Shorter and longer versions are available but this is a good one-size-fits-all straw.
How to Clean Metal Straws
Some packs of metal straws will come with a straw cleaner supplied. You may not need to use this regularly if you are able to rinse your straws after use.
Our straws are dishwasher friendly, so once you have used them at home or out and about you can pop them inside and they will be sparkling soon after.
If you are unable or forget to clean your straw quickly you may have to use the straw cleaner supplied. Simply push it inside the straw and slide it back and forth to effectively polish the inside of the straw and remove any stubborn impurities inside. Then wash with warm water and detergent.
Tip: Once you have finished your drink, a quick sip of water will help clean the inside of your straw out and prevent any impurities drying and becoming stuck inside.
Take Your Straws Anywhere
Most suppliers understand the fact that eco-conscious people want to take their straws out and about with them - so they will often include the option to buy metal straws with a case or without a case. Normally, these cases are made from a linen or hemp material that can house a range of straws with a cleaner inside and be reused time and time again (don't forget to wash this, too). The case complete with straws can then be kept in the car, gym bag, handbag or office draw until you need to use them. Don’t forget to pack them in your suitcase if you’re heading off on holiday, either.
Summary - Metal Straws Guide
- Look for food grade 304 steel or higher
- 6mm-8mm straws are good all-rounders
- 21.5cm straws (8.5inch length) are good all-rounders
- Check the straws are dishwasher safe
- Pay more for a high quality straw that lasts
- Find a supplier with short lead times and reliable quality
Want to buy metal straws? Check out the Nomad Genie range