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We all want to do our part to protect the Earth, and reducing plastic waste can have a huge impact on our carbon footprint. One way to cut down on plastic use is to switch to a reusable water bottle. It takes 17 million barrels of oil to make one year’s supply of bottled water, and while PET plastics are marketed as recyclable, 38 billion water bottles end up in US landfills each year. Even switching half of your drinks to a reusable bottle will make a huge difference. Not all of these products are created equal though, so how can you pick the right one for your needs?
Reusable bottles are most often made from hard plastics, glass, or stainless steel. Each one has its benefits and disadvantages, so explore different materials before you buy one for your beverage. The types of plastic used in a water bottle are important to note. Look for one made with BPA-free materials, as BPA has been linked to possible negative health effects. Though there are literally hundreds of options to choose from, the list below narrows down the best reusable water bottles available to purchase.
S’well Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle
This custom water bottle by S’well with dozens of gorgeous designs available is good for more than just looks. S’well features triple-layered vacuum insulation which is designed to keep your beverages hot or cold for hours, without leaving any condensation on the outside of the bottle. These fit into any cup holder, making them a great size for road trips. The narrow mouth bottle is just large enough to accommodate ice cubes. You can purchase a flip top lid accessory if you prefer not to have a screw top. This water bottle is not dishwasher safe, and the powder coating especially on the cap is prone to scratching and dents. You may end up paying for a design that will be destroyed after the first drop. If you prefer a wide mouth, this is not the bottle for you.
Brita Plastic Water Filter Bottle
Brita is a household name in water filtration, so it makes sense that they would manufacture a water bottle with a built in filter. This premium bottle is BPA free, and improves the taste of tap water. It is ideal for a customer who wants a way to avoid purchasing a water bottle, but wants to make sure their drinking water tastes as pure as possible. Though you can refill this lightweight drinking water bottle up to 150 times before replacing the filter, there are other brands with better filters available. One draw back of having a filter is that they can be pricey, and not always available if you need to change it out. It is also not meant to filter anything harmful, so only use it with municipal tap water. If you are looking for a filter that can remove viruses or disease-causing protozoa, stick to Katadyn.
The Hydro Flask is the Rolls Royce of water bottles, with one costing anywhere between $40-$120 USD. The Hydro Flask brand is popular within the VSCO girl subculture, a selling point for members of the millennial generation and Generation Z. They feature a powder coating which is dishwasher safe and durable, and the double wall insulation makes it perfect for hot and cold drinks. The flex cap is also insulated, keeping your beverage colder for longer. With a straw lid, it’s easy to sip your beverages, but you can purchase a flip lid (for an additional cost) if you prefer to drink one handed. Because of the wide mouth water bottle, it can be a tight fit for a cup holder. If you aren’t interested in the Hydro Flask logo, the high cost of this stainless steel bottle is a drawback, when there are other comparable products at better price points.
Contigo Autoseal Chill Vacuum-Insulated Stainless Steel
This stainless steel water bottle will keep your drinks ice cold for up to 28 hours. You can put ice in the water, seal it, and the ice will still be there a day later. The secret is in the vacuum insulation. The stopper prevents air from entering the water bottle stopping convection that would normally warm up your drink. The stainless steel water bottle is durable, and the protective spout lid cover protects the mouthpiece, making it perfect for hikes. A carry handle allows for easy transport, and it is even top-rack dishwasher safe. With all these features, the price remains low, and you can pick up a bottle for around $20 USD. The downside to this product is the lid is prone to harboring mold, so make sure you clean it well regularly with a small bristle brush. These should only be used for water, so avoid sugary drinks that might increase bacteria growth within the lid.
Nalgene Tritan Wide Mouth
Nalgene were all the rage in the 1990s, and remain popular today as one of the best screw top options because of their leak-proof practical design. They are a favorite water bottle of hikers thanks to their durability, and companies like Katadyn design their filters to fit right into the bottles. The Nalgene Tritan Wide Mouth 32-Ounce bottle features a large opening, making it easy to fill, drink from, and clean. You can throw ice cubes directly into the mouth of the bottle, or freeze the entire container. Nalgene no longer manufactures bottles with Bisphenol A (BPA), making it a completely safe alternative to single use plastics. They are fairly cheap at about $15 USD each, and come in a variety of styles and colors. A drawback of these bottles is that unscrewing the cap also unfastens the loop handle, so make sure you have a good grip of your bottle while drinking. This can create a problem for those in a kayak or canoe, where you need to be able fasten your bottle to your pack. You may also need additional accessories, such as a splash guard, to make drinking more comfortable. The wide mouth versions do not fit car cup holders. Don’t expect your bottle to retain its temperature very well. Once the ice is melted, your drink will warm up fairly quickly.
Embrava Best Sports Water Bottle
Embrava markets itself specifically as a sports water bottle, and this Embrava Best Sports model does not disappoint. This BPA free plastic bottle features a leak-proof drinking spout, with a hinge lock designed to keep the lid out of the way while drinking. The bottle is shatter resistant and durable enough that it can be tossed around in your gym bag or accidentally hit or dropped. One drawback is that its not safe in the dishwasher, which is a problem because a sports bottle is prone to bacteria and should be dishwasher safe. Some users report that the air hole in the mouth lid causes spilling when drinking. With no insulation, you may need to invest in a cooler to keep your drink cold on the field.
Takeya Glass Water Bottle With Silicone Sleeve
A glass water bottle is not always practical, but the Takeya Glass Water Bottle is a lot more durable than with its protective silicone sleeve. It is the best glass water bottle on the market. A stainless steel water bottle can sometimes leave a metallic aftertaste, making this one ideal if you prefer your water to taste as clear as when you poured it in. The bottle is heavy and does not have a flip cap, making it more ideal for a desk setting rather than sports.
One of the classiest looking items on this list is the Groshe Venice. These beautifully designed glass bottles with a sleek profile come with a matching silicone sleeve to protect the bottle. The renewable bamboo cap is stylish and eco friendly. Everything except the cap is dishwasher safe. The mouth is wide allowing you to add ice, and this bottle can double up for messy beverages like smoothies because it is easily cleaned. These containers won’t retain any after taste, so go ahead and use them for juice or even tea. A sturdy silicone strap makes these easy to hang on to. The downside of a glass bottle is that it lacks vacuum insulation, and condensation will develop so you will need to wipe off any water. Silicone sleeve should be left on at all times to avoid breaking the glass.
Klean Kanteen Classic
Klean Kanteen has a reputation for being a family run company who haven’t sold out to bigger investors, allowing them to keep the original integrity of their merchandise. The Klean Kanteen Classic is made of stainless steel, and is lightweight and durable. They have plenty of color selection, so you can find the right one for you. It has a wide mouth, but fits in most cup holders. They are great for a day use bottle, but probably not the best choice for camping or a long hike. The drawbacks of this stainless steel design are the lack of double wall insulation, so it won’t keep your drinks cold for longer periods of time. Though Klean Kanteen makes insulated versions, they are pricier and heavier than the classic. Though you can buy spout lids for these, they are an extra accessory.
Studies show that water bottles with a bite valve may increase the amount of water users drink. CamelBak is known for their hydration backpacks, but the CamelBak Eddy is the perfect size for daily use and comes with a flip top lid. Though the CamelBak is dishwasher safe, the spout lid must be cleaned regularly to avoid all the bacteria that can build up, similar to a straw lid. Don’t use this for any liquid other than water, as the lid can retain some of the taste and smell of other beverages. Some people also dislike the sensory aspect having to use their teeth for their drinks.
Which One Should I Choose?
The best over all pick is the Contigo bottle. Its durable design and solid double wall insulation make it the best water bottle available. While Hydro Flask is a close runner up, the cost is not justifiable when there are other bottle options available in the above picks at a lower price point. If you are a customer who prefers a glass bottle because of the aftertaste of the steel, stick with the Takeya bottle. If you prefer a wide mouth, and want to avoid stainless steel, try the Nalgene bottle.
What is an eco friendly water bottle?
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary officially defines eco friendly as not environmentally harmful. A bottle is eco friendly if its environmental impact is less than that of a single-use plastic bottle. If you use your bottle regularly rather than buying single use, you are making a positive environmental change. While switching all of your drinks to a sustainable container would be ideal, even switching half can make a worthwhile change.
How much plastic is saved by using reusable water bottles?
Americans use on average 50 billion water plastic bottles per year, or 13 per month, of which only 23% are recycled. By using a reusable water bottle, you are potentially saving 156 plastic bottles per year. You will be keeping all of that plastic out of landfills and oceans by switching to a sustainable option.
Can you freeze reusable bottles?
You can absolutely freeze reusable bottles. Make sure your water bottle is rated for the freezer (most plastic or glass bottles are freezer friendly), and leave enough room within the bottle when you fill it to allow the water to expand. Stainless steel won’t do well in the freezer, and any vacuum seals may be damaged preventing you from insulating your drinks properly. Remove the lid or cap from your bottle before freezing to make it easy to reattach.
How to decorate a reusable water bottle?
Part of the fun of a reusable water bottle is that they can be customized to your personality. You can buy a bottle with a design you already like, or purchase stickers specifically made for bottles that will stand up to washing. If you buy a stainless steel container, you can even have it engraved for a personal touch.
Are reusable bottles allowed on airplanes?
According to the TSA, you can bring an empty water bottle of any size with you through airport security, and fill it once you have cleared the checkpoint. If you are boarding a plane outside of the USA, double check with the transportation authority of that country.
How long should you keep a reusable water bottle?
These containers be kept indefinitely, or until it begins to show signs of wear. Test the lid regularly to ensure it remains water tight to avoid accidental spills. If your water bottle has any cracks, scratches, or leaks, the integrity of the bottle is compromised and it will be easier for bacteria to grow. Recycle your old bottle, and move on to a new one.
How to clean reusable water bottles?
Your water bottle should be cleaned at least once per day to avoid bacteria growth. Use a soft bottle brush to reach deep into the bottle and a mild dish detergent. Dry your bottle as best as you can with a clean dish towel, and leave it to air dry fully upside down with the cap off. If your bottle has developed a smell, you can also use a mixture of half water, half vinegar, and let it sit overnight to kill any stubborn bacteria. Make sure you wash the cap, and any reusable straws that you use with your water bottle.
Are plastic reusable water bottles safe?
Plastic reusable bottles are very safe, assuming you are using the right type. Single-use water bottles are often made from PET, which can break down and cause bacteria growth or even chemical leaching at some temperatures. Pick a water bottle that is BPA free, and hand wash the container and lid. Do not allow your bottle to overheat, for example in a hot car or microwave, which may cause leaching. You can also read here about the different types of plastics, and what they are meant to be used with.
How to dispose of reusable water bottles?
If your bottle is damaged, it’s time to dispose of it and replace it with a new one. Most reusable bottles can be recycled or used for scrap metal depending on the material. If you have a plastic bottle, double check the Resin Identification Code (RIC) on the bottom of the bottle to determine what type it is, and then refer to your local municipality’s website to see where you can recycle it. The lid may need to be thrown out if it is a different material from the bottle.