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Last Updated: Sep 9, 2020 @ 10:41 am.  Water beads! So much fun! Just add water and these sensory toys grow from a tiny bead to marble size. We tested several brands of water beads before picking these winners. Important safety note: these water beads are for kids age 3 and up.

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Best Water Beads Overall

MarvelBeads Water Beads Rainbow Mix (1 Pound Bulk), for Kids Sensory Play and Spa Refill, BPA & Phthalate Free

Fun! Take 4-6 hours to grow!
We loved this non-toxic, multi-color beads that grow to the size of a marble. Great sensory toy.

Best Water Beads Overall: MarvelBeads Water Beads

Let’s talk safety before get to our water beads recommendations. Yes, they are fun—but follow these safety rules.

These small beads grow to pea or marble size when you add water. They should only be used by kids age 3 and up and only with adult supervision. We recommend this as an outdoor activity. You should never use water beads inside in a sink or tub, as they can clog plumbing.

Why not use them indoors? Well, water beads can be hard to clean up—they are slippery, hard to sweep/vaccuum, etc. Take our advice: these are an outside toy!

Don’t soak beads in cold water and then suddenly add warm water. That can cause the beads to break. The water temperature should be consistent if you add more water.

Water beads take time to grow—4 to 6 hours. And sometimes longer.

Use distilled water to make the beads last longer.

MarvelBeads is our pick for best water beads toy. This package contains 20,000 multi-color beads. Here’s more on why we picked this brand:

What We Liked

• Colorfast.

• Take 3-6 hours to grow to full size.

• Biodegradable.

• Grow to the size of a marble. 

• Can be stored when wet in a plastic tub.

What Needs Work

• Beads can break. We didn’t sees any breakage in our tests, but we see some reports that the beads can break during play. That’s why water beads should be used under adult supervision at all times.

• Clear beads can be hard to see. Cleanup can be a challenge if you can’t see all the beads in a tub or play area!

Best Original Water Beads

Orbeez -H2Obeez Rainbow Pack–50,000 Orbeez Water Beads, Non-Toxic, Safety-Tested Kids Sensory/Tactile Toy. Refill for all Orbeez SPA items. Filler for Vases & Plant. Great for Wedding & Home Décor.

50,000 water beads!
We liked this brand, which help originate the water bead craze. These pea-size water beads come in a container with screw-top lid.

Best Original Water Beads: Orbeez Water Beads

Orbeez was one of the first brands of water beads and their container with 50,000 water beads is a good choice. We liked the plastic container with screw-top lid. Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Small quantity makes a lot of water beads! For some reason, these beads seem more numerous with just a small quantity.

• More beads in this container compared to other brands.

What’s Needs Work

•  Not biodegradable. 

• Pea size when enlarged. That’s smaller than other water bead brands.

Best Larger Size Water Beads

UMIKU Water Beads 50000 Soft Beads Rainbow Mix Water Growing Balls for Kids Tactile Sensory Toys Home Décor

About 20% larger than others
If you prefer larger size beads for filling a pool, for example, we’d go for UMIKU’s water beads. Good quality and easy on the wallet.

Best Larger Size Water Beads: UMIKU Water Beads

If you prefer larger size beads, we’d recommend UMIKU’s water beads. These grow to about a third of an inch in diameter and take about three to four hours to fully expand—that’s quicker than other brands we tested.

What We Liked

• Affordable.

• Great for kiddie-size swimming pools. The larger beads take up more space—hence you need fewer beads to fill a kiddie pool!

• Eco-friendly resin.

• Don’t break as easy as other brands we tested.

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing baby gear, including high chairs, 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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