Last Updated: Sep 8, 2020 @ 10:32 am.

Teething can start as soon as six months for babies—and it's no picnic. To the rescue, teethers and teething toys provide relief and comfort. We tested 17 different teethers with babies cutting their first teeth and toddlers cutting molars. Here's what we found works best.

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Best Cooling Teether

Classic toy with cool gel
We liked this teether for those looking for a cooling option—the non-toxic gel in the keys stays cooler than other teethers. Note: can't freeze, only refrigerate.
$3.77

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Best Cooling Teether: Nuby Ice Gel Teether Keys

As parents have known for generations, cool or cold items can soothe a fussy baby who’s teething. But here’s the rub: most teething toys are made of silicone plastic, which is great at providing textures for chewing . . . but lousy at cooling. That’s because silicone rapidly warms up . . . even when removed from a freezer.

Our top pick for best cooling teething toy is the Nuby Ice Gel Teether Keys—it stays cooler than other teething toys because the keys themselves are filled with a non-toxic cooling gel Nuby calls PurICE.

In our testing, we found this teether (when placed in a refrigerator for one hour) stayed cooler four to five times longer than regular silicone teethers.

So what are the pros and cons of this teether? Here’s a look:

What we liked

• Multiple teether surfaces. In our testing, we found the more textures, the happier teething babies were. Each key of this toy have different surfaces.
• Easy to grip design. We like the key ring of this teether, which makes it easier for older babies to hold.
• Best cooling design.

Flaws we could live with

• Not the easiest to clean. No, you can’t boil this teething toy to sterilize it when you first get it. You also can’t put it in the dishwasher. That basically means hand washing it from time to time.
• Can’t freeze it. This teether can ONLY be put in a refrigerator, not the freezer. Some parents in our testing group preferred teethers that can be frozen.
• Not the best for young or smaller babies. The large size of this toy makes more appropriate for older teethers. For safety reasons, the keys can’t be removed from the key ring . . . which means your baby must hold the entire toy, which is bulky.
• Must watch for holes. If baby’s teeth puncture the keys, the gel that keeps the toy cool can leak out. While this isn’t a hazard, it is a mess that doesn’t smell pleasant. Like all teethers, this toy should be replaced every month or so BEFORE it wears out.

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Best Basic Teether

Affordable, soft design that can be frozen or chilled
Our testers loved this teether—basic but gets the job done! 100% silicone with multiple textured surfaces. This teether is easy to grasp with a nubby “fish tail” end.
$3.88

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Best Basic Baby Teether: Nuby Silicone Teethe-EEZ Teether

Compared to other options we had toddlers test, we liked Nuby Silicone Teethe-EEZ Teether’s multiple teething surfaces—the bristles, the bumpy tail, handle ridges, etc. Shaped like a fish, we like this teether’s simple design.

What we liked

• Soft. You’d be surprised how many hard plastic teethers are out there—by contrast, the Nuby Teethe-EEZ is more comfortable for teething babies, based on our testing as well as feedback from pediatricians.

• Can be frozen or chilled. 

Affordable with carrying case. The simple design makes this teething toy affordable and the carrying case is nice for travel.

• Dishwasher safe. Yes, can you throw this in a dishwasher but do NOT boil it in hot water to sterilize.

Flaws we could live with

• Bristles attract dirt. While the Teethe-EEZ teether’s bristles are great for teething, they also attract dirt and hair—especially when dropped on carpet. So it will require a bit of cleaning from time to time.

• Few gender neutral options. This teether comes in pink, blue or green. It would be nice if there were more gender neutral colors.

• Doesn’t stay cold. Silicone is a great material for teethers, but it quickly warms up. We see a few complaints from parents that this teether doesn’t stay cold long, even when taken from a freezer.

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Best Pacifier-Style

Easy to hold, cute design, but somewhat harder to chew on
Loved this Instagram-worthy teether! So cute, yet soft and textured. Our baby testers loved the handles and bright colors. Critics note it is a bit pricey.

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Best Pacifier-Style: RaZ-Berry Teether

No, this isn’t a pacifier—it’s a pacifier-style teether. The RaZbaby RaZ-Berry teether looks pretty much like its name. In our testing, parents told us their teething babies love the bumpy texture and the easy-to-hold design. Here are some more pros and cons.

What we liked:

• Easy to clean. Yes, it can be sterilized in boiling water.

• Easy to hold ring, shaped like pacifier. The familiar shape/feel of a pacifier makes this easy for teething babies and toddlers to get the concept.

• Instagram ready. Yes, it is super cute.

Flaws we could live

• Texture is too hard for some. Yes, the Raz-Berry teether is made of BPA-free silicone—but the design is more stiff than other teethers, in our testing. Some babies don’t like that.

• Large size. For younger teethers, this teether’s large size may not work well.

• Must be replaced every month or two, says the maker. But this is true for most teethers—they just wear out. And for safety’s sake, you must replace them to avoid having them tear or break off in a child’s mouth.

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Easiest to Clean Teether

Easy to grip handles
Loved this Instagram-worthy teether! So cute, yet soft and textured. Our baby testers loved the handles and bright colors. Critics note it is a bit pricey.
$4.99

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Easiest to Clean Teether: Infantino Good Bites Textured Carrot Teether

What we liked:

• Soft. The silicone carrot also has different textures on each side and baby can chew the leaf and stems too.

• Easy for baby to hold by the stem handles.

• A snap to clean. Just a quick wash in warm soap and water is all you need to clean it.

Flaws we could live

• Can’t be sterilized in boiling water.

• Not freezable.

• Heavy. Smaller babies (around 4 months) may have trouble holding it up by themselves. We recommend it for 6 months and up.

Top 3 Questions on Teething

Our sister book, Baby 411, has extensive advice on teething. Here’s an excerpt from authors Denise Fields and Dr. Ari Brown that looks at parents top 3 biggest teething questions:

Q. When do baby’s teeth come in?

Around six to 12 months old. There are some kids whose teeth come in earlier or later, though. Universally, the first tooth to erupt is a bottom, middle one. The rest come in randomly.

Q. How many teeth should my baby have at his one-year birthday?

When it comes to one-year olds, teething varies widely. Some babies have several teeth at their one-year birthdays, others may just have one. Don’t worry if your child only has one tooth at his first birthday and his other friends have more than that. Your baby’s doc is looking for at least one tooth that is in the midst of eruption or has already erupted by the first birthday. That means your baby’s tooth development is okay. If there are more teeth than that, terrific. If not, no worries.

Q. How can I tell if my baby is teething?

Babies who are teething have a lower coping threshold and trouble settling down. But, they usually forget the pain of throbbing gums when they are busy playing. As a doc, I think I have heard it all when it comes to symptoms blamed on teething—from runny nose, diarrhea, and fever, to sleep disruption. Teething pretty much gets blamed for everything and is usually responsible for nothing.

Your baby is allowed to have a cold virus AND teething . . . or acid reflux AND teething. It’s a good idea to check things out and not just blame every problem on teething.

First-year molars come in somewhere between 12 to 18 months, even if the more central teeth are not in yet. And yes, these do hurt more than the others when they start to erupt.

Don’t be fooled when your baby starts pulling on his ears—it’s most likely not an ear infection. Look in his mouth. It’s often the jaw pain from the molars that causes the ear pulling. It will save you a trip to the doctor.

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing baby gear, including teething toys since 1994. We do hands-on testing—we buy the products with our own money and evaluate with an eye toward safety, ease of use and affordability.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Baby Bargains is your independent and unbiased source for expert baby gear reviews.

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