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By: Hayley Moore

Health officials recommend that we hydrate by drinking at least 8 cups of water a day. To reach this goal, many people find a reusable water bottle helpful when hiking, cycling, at the gym, or during daily commutes. However, given the many different types of water bottles on the market, it can be difficult to choose the best one for you. if you’re about to invest in a world of reusable water bottles, consider the following list of factors.

Why Buy A Reusable Water Bottle? 

Top Three Reasons:

It helps the Environment
We’re living in an environment conscious world. Stop and think for a moment. How many plastic water bottles have you just thrown away without thinking twice, bottles that crowd landfills that create pollution, just in their production? Buying a reusable water bottle lessons your impact.

It Costs Less
How much do you pay for a pack of water? Save yourself the money in a short amount of time by just buying a reusable one. If you are buying plastic ones, essentially you are throwing away money.

It’s Healthy
Tap water is as healthy as the water in plastic water bottles. Tap water is constantly being tested on numerous government levels, but there are rare cases such as the crisis in Flint, Michigan, where tap water is not safe. If you’re still worried, reusable water bottle brands may have filters attachments that you can purchase separately. It can cost you a minimal amount and then, unlike water from a bottle, you know that you are drinking filtered water. May brands may include the filter with the bottle, saving you the time and money making an additional purchase.

 

Things to Consider Before Buying a Reusable Water Bottle

Buying a reusable water bottle may seem like an easy task. However, multiple factors may increase your inclination to reach for a reusable water bottle.

Do You Want a Collapsible or Rigid Water Bottle?
When your space is limited, and you can’t afford to carry a lot of extra weight, collapsible bottles work well. When empty, roll them up and pack them away, making them great for long walks to and from classes or on multiple day hikes.

In comparison, rigid bottles typically insulate better and easier to drink from than a collapsible water bottle.

How Do You Want to Access Your Drink?
Do you want to be able to drink the water quickly at all times or are okay with taking your time using a screw cap to open and close your bottle?

Quick Access vs. Screw Cap:
Quick access caps such as straws and the stand push pull caps allow for quick, one-handed access to your liquids. They can affect how often you drink from your bottle. Since they take less time and effort in comparison to a screw cap, you may drink more water throughout the day. Disadvantages to quick access caps include the added parts of the bottle, parts that may break or heighten exposure to germs. Be prepared for the possibility of replacement parts and more time cleaning.

Screws Caps have a smaller chance of failing and are easier to keep clean. They hold a seal better, so you won’t face leaks. However, screw caps mean you may not drink as frequently because it may feel like a bit more of a hassle. The caps have a habit of getting stuck as well, and if you have issues opening the tops to an everyday item, you won’t use as often, won’t be as hydrated. 

Narrow vs. Wide Mouth:
The size of the water bottle’s mouth does matter.  A narrow water bottle mouth is easier, spills less frequently, and won’t splash on your shirt.  However, wide mouth water bottles fill and clean quickly, are often compatible with water filters. Some wide mouth water bottles have tops to help with the obvious spill problem, but often, you purchase a separate lid.

What Kind of Beverages Will You Have in Your Bottle?
While more expensive, for both hot and cold liquids, choose an insulated bottle because they won’t sweat when filled with cold drinks, making them great for throwing into your pack. . Most will keep hot liquids hot for 6-7 hours and cold liquids cold for over 24 hours.

Are You Okay With Drinking from Plastic?
Some consumers worry about drinking from plastic bottles, as harmful chemicals from the plastics might seep into liquids that are stored in them. If you have any of these concerns, choose metal or a glass bottle.

Can You Afford Multiple Bottles for Your Needs?
You may find yourself wanting to purchase a glass or metal bottle for everyday use, but reserve a plastic bottle for outdoor recreational activities. Insulated bottles may be your best option for hot beverages and non-insulated for working out at the gym. Water bottles vary in price. If you realize that you may need different types of water bottles, read recommendations below for a strategy that will afford you the best brands for your bank account.

Types of Bottle Materials 

Plastic. Metal.  Glass.  Advantages and disadvantages arise for each, and your selection should be based on what you are looking for in a bottle.

Plastic
Plastic bottles have a bit of versatility. They can be rigid, collapsible, clear or colorful, or even formed into fun. While incredibly cheap to make, plastic is not 100% durable.

Plastic water bottles can be great for extended backpacking, especially in cold weather. Collapsible plastic models function as water reservoirs that pack well and the rigid plastic bottles are insulated enough to avoid freezing.  ON a cold night, a plastic bottle filled with hot water will provide extra warmth in your sleeping bag. If you’re traveling through airports, they are easy to grab and use, especially in collapsible form.

The pros and Cons:
Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • More durable than glass
  • Less expensive
  • Huge variety in design
  • Translucent for better water management
  • Able to freeze water inside

Cons:

  • Potential Health Concerns
  • Less durable than metal
  • Uses non-renewable resources to produce 

Metal
Metal is a wonderful conductor of heat, but it can be hit and miss for a metal water bottle. For one, it can be great in the state of emergency or when you’re need of cookware. They will keep your liquids hot or cold thanks to their insulated options regardless of the outside temperature.  However, hot liquids can be too hot, so if you’re planning on throwing this type of bottle into your sleeping bag, think again.

Metal water bottles durability can vary. Most of the time the steel bodies survive falls on hard surfaces. However, they can bend rather than break. In the event that you do drop a metal water bottle, you are risking breaking your cap, especially a plastic one.

Pros and cons of Metal:

Pros:

  • Most durable material, and therefore most reliable
  • Generally accepted as posing no health risks
  • Lighter than glass
  • Can double as a cooking vessel in a pinch
  • Dishwasher safe

Cons:

  • Heavier than plastic
  • Possible metallic taste
  • Prone to dents

Glass
Drinking from a glass bottle makes the water taste so much better and fresher. Additionally, ecofriendly glass beats plastic.

If you’re considering buying a glass bottle, you’re probably extremely worried about the durability. Will this break more easily than other options? The answer is yes and no. Depending on where you drop the bottle, depending on what kind of protection is around the glass bottle, you may find it very resilient.

Pros and cons of Glass:

Pros:

  • No health risks
  • Tastes great
  • Transparency allows for easy management of water consumption
  • Dishwasher safe

Cons:

  • Heaviest material
  • Fragile
  • Cannot use with extreme temperatures

 

What Water Bottle Should You Buy Then?

Too much information? Not sure which criteria to consider? I’m here to help you narrow down the choices from thousands of water bottles to the following five.

Contigo Purity 20 oz

Contigo

Price: $15.00

Pros: Plastic free, doesn’t affect liquid taste   Cons: Uncomfortable to use, fragile, and heavy

Manufacturer: Contigo

Overview
At first glance, the Contigo Purity water bottle is a very pretty water bottle. It is a 20 fluid ounce glass bottle with a stainless steel screw cap. It appeals to those who want to go to the gym as opposed to going out and hiking in the great outdoors. The glass bottle combines great looks with a plastic free product. You’ll have to decide whether loss in functionality matters to you.

Ease of Use

The Contigo Purity has a very straightforward design– an unattached stainless steel cap, glass body, and a silicone sleeve. Its lanyard resembles a bracelet more than a typical lanyard which works for the bottle by hand, but not for attaching it to a pack. The narrow glass mouth offers ease of drinking but is still wide enough to fit most ice cubs. Additionally, the silicone sleeve gives the bottle a very comfortable grip. While pretty, the grinding sound/feeling when screwing it on and off can annoy you. The metal attachment point for the lanyard rubs against your skin if you are not careful when placing or removing the cap. Finally, the top-heavy construction makes it wobbly. The bottle does pass leak tests, but the website suggests placing the bottles containing liquid in bags to prevent accidental opening. Not a convincing leak test.

Taste
Typically, drinking from a glass bottle provides the purest taste. The Contigo Purity is fresh and crisp. However, when testing it with flavored drinks, the Contigo does carry over a little trace of the scent and the taste if you only hand wash it and refill with plain water. Though if you clean it again with baking soda and vinegar, you will not run into this problem.

Durability
The Contigo bottle’s thick silicone sleeve is decent protection for the glass bottle. I was surprised that it survived a drop test on the bottle. However, the stainless steel cap does not protect the bottle at all. If dropped on the cap, the bottle will shatter completely. Glass has the threat of easy breakage.

Ease of Cleaning
It takes about one minute and thirty seconds to clean the bottle using a bottlebrush, warm water, and soap. The sleeve can be removed for cleaning, but it doesn’t need to happen. Being plastic free and non-insulated, the bottle is also dishwasher safe if you aren’t in the mood to hand wash it.

 Weight
The bottle weighs 18.5 ounces when empty and is the lightest glass? bottle I’ve reviewed. However, compared to the other types of bottles reviewed here, it weighs the most, especially when filled.

Best Applications
If you want a completely plastic free bottle to use at work and home, choose the Contigo. I wouldn’t recommend taking this for rigorous outdoor activity though. You could if you really had no other bottle, but it would have a greater chance of getting damaged.

Value
The Contigo Purity bottle costs $15. That may seem pricey, but if you attend to environmental concerns, it may become worth the price because you’re not adding to the plastic problem.

Other Versions & Accessories
The Contigo Purity only comes in the 20-ounce size and does not have alternative caps. You can purchase replacements for the lanyard and cap. You can also buy the Contigo Brush Kit, which includes 3 brushes suited to clean a variety of bottles.

Conclusion
While the Contigo Purity would not be a bottle of choice (out of the five reviewed) for use because it would need to prove more durable, it remains a nice option for those who want an affordable, plastic-free bottle.

CamelBak Eddy .75L

CamelBak

Price: $15.00

Pros: Durable, one-handed access to liquid. Cons: Difficult to clean, tainted taste, slow water flow, heavy at times

Manufacturer: CamelBak 

Overview
The CamelBak Eddy is the only water bottle I’ve reviewed with a flappable bit valve and internal straw. The 25 fluid ounce bottle comes with a plastic body, cap, the valve and straw. When you drink from the bottle, you need to bite, suck and drink. The design of the water bottle allows for spill-free, quick access to water, is great for every-day single-handed use and for light workouts..However, a few drawbacks may lead you to choose a different bottle.

Ease of Use
The CamelBak Eddy body is narrow enough to fill cup holders in cars and bikes. its straw makes one-handed drinking easy without tilting your head. The cap is strong enough to trust, so you will not need to worry about any spilling incidents. The straw valve works by biting it and sucking the water through the straw. You may or may not like this feature. The biggest issue though is the flow of the water. Small sips are easy, but big gulps aren’t. I felt that I had to work more for my water than what I normally needed to.

Taste
This water bottle’s taste is one of the biggest weaknesses. The silicone bite valve gives off a taste of rubber, even if you have washed it multiple times. It also retained the flavor of flavored drinks, even after a thorough washing.

Durability
The durable CamelBak Eddy bounces off the concrete and only suffers minor scratches when dropped. The story changes with the cap, valve, and straw. I found that after a time the straw started to pop out of the bottom of the cap and the valve is vulnerable to breaking. Camelbak will replace these parts easily for no charge with the lifetime warranty, but the process can be a pain. 

Ease of Cleaning
This bottle took a long time to clean due to its multiple parts. Cleaning time came to about 3 minutes and 25 seconds, which is much longer compared to other bottles. In addition, the bite valve remains exposed in stowing and drinking positions. As a result, you may worry about bacteria and cleanliness with this bottle. 

Weight
The CamelBak Eddy only weighs 5.9 ounces, which is fairly light, but you would want to choose a lighter option for extensive walking. 

Best Applications
The CamelBak Eddy is a great choice for taking to work, light workout session, driving, or cycling. You can take quick sips throughout the day to stay hydrated. 

Value
For $15 I would expect more from a water bottle when it came to functionality. Still, the straw will encourage you to drink more water. 

Other Versions and Accessories
CamelBak Eddy’s also come in a .6L bottle and 1L bottle that cost between $12 and $14. It is the exact same bottle, just in larger or smaller form. The CamelBak Antidote Reservoir accessory allows you to fill easily from a wide mouth opening and has a great bite valve design. You can get this for around $30. The CamelBak Cleaning Brush Kit allows for cleaning inside both the reservoir and hydration hose. This is important if you are using a hydration drink mix inside the reservoir. It costs only $10. If you’re really not a fan of the straw and bite valve you can buy the Chute Cap screw cap that can make your water bottle leak proof for only $7.

Conclusion
If you like drinking from straws and bite valve, you’ll enjoy this bottle. Still, be warned that it may be more difficult to access bigger gulps of water, and your water will become tainted easily. If you don’t routinely clean your water bottles, I would not recommend it. The CamelBak Eddy is easy to drink from when out and about.

Vapur Element 1L

Vapur

Price: $14

Pros: Lightweight and easy to use.  Cons: Short life span and tainted taste

Manufacturer: Vapor

Overview
The Vapur Element, a fantastic water bottle for when you’re on the go, comes with a plastic carabineer with a metal gate to attach to packs. This lightweight bottle is collapsible to allow it to form to spaces when filled and folds up to the size of sunglasses when empty. It’s stiff enough to drink from easily and still feels like you’re drinking from a bottle.  While some drawbacks in flavor retention and longevity exist, the cons don’t outweigh the pros. 

Ease of Use
This is a unique and surprisingly easy bottle to use, proving that collapsible water bottles are a great option. When empty, it folds up easily and can be slipped into a pocket. The flip top is small and allowed me to drink from it on the move. The wide mouth fit most ice cubes as well.  The bottle passed the leak test, and I was surprised as to how well the flip cap stayed on the spout. However, I wouldn’t swear that it wouldn’t ever pop.

Taste
The Vapur Element didn’t have a flavor first out of the box, but it retained a strong soap taste that remained for several refills. Even after soaking it in baking soda and vinegar, the soapy taste stayed

Durability
Since this water bottle is so flexible, the Element is able to absorb impact forces. Even if you drop it, you will only get minor scratches on the cap. However, its flexpoints probably will weaken. I would estimate that the water has about around a year life span depending on frequency of use.

Ease of Cleaning
A generic bottlebrush is able to squeeze through the opening of the Element, making cleaning possible. You will need to rinse it several times though to remove the soap after taste, so in total the average cleaning comes to around 2 minutes and 11 seconds.

Weight
Overall, the Element weighs only 1.5 ounces. The next-to-nothing weight gives you an excuse to bring heavier items on your next trip because you won’t even realize you’re carrying it. 

Best Applications
The Vapur Element makes a great water bottle option for travel. If flying, you can essentially dump it, fold it up, and slip it into your personal item. It forms perfectly to the space of your bag as well. Perfect for daily commutes, workouts, cycling, and on single-day rec sessions, you could also rely on it as a back up water reservoir on multi-day backpacking trips.

Value
Only costing $14, the Element is a great value, well worth they money, if you are looking for a collapsible bottle for any situation.

Other Versions and Accessories
You can also buy the Element in a .7L option that can be more convenient for the workplace. The Vapur MicroFilter is a lightweight water filtration system that can be put inside of the bottle. It costs $35.

Conclusion
Even though collapsible, the Element wasn’t floppy. Ease of use and weight make it the perfect bottle for travel and other activities, despite the possible shorter life span.

Nalgene Wide Mouth 32 oz

Nalgene

Price: $11

Pros: Durable, can use water filters, light, measurements on side.  Cons: Spills easily, Loop is unreliable

Manufacturer: Nalgene

Overview
On campus, many people choose the Nalgene Wide Mouth, a top bottle on the market because its cylindrical body and screw cap, with a retaining strap, create a light and durable design that is easy to clean and  perfect for outdoor adventures. I could probably name 10 or more friends that own a Nalgene. The plastic body doesn’t affect the taste of the water, and in a bind, it can double as a measuring cup for cooking

 Ease of Use
The bottle’s simple design—its cylindrical body and cap with retaining strap allows you to take a gulp when you’re hanging off a cliff. The strap also makes it easy to clip the bottle onto your pack. This bottle has the widest mouth of the five I reviewed which has pros and cons. On one hand a wide mouth means an easy time filling the bottle, and you can take a large gulp when needed. However, the wide mouth can also be difficult to drink from and water has a tendency to splash down your body. If you’re moving around, chances are you’re going to get splashed. It also feels quite large in your hand. While not terribly uncomfortable to hold for most, if your hands are small, you may want to rethink this choice. Additionally, it won’t fit in a cup holder.

Taste
Even after leaving water in the bottle for 24 hours, The Nalgene Wide Mouth doesn’t taste like plastic. If you want to use the bottle for other liquids than water, you’ll be fine. Flavor retention is not an issue for this bottle at all. However, you still may be able to smell the flavored drink after washing, but it will not affect the taste at all. If you clean the bottle with baking soda and vinegar, the smell will disappear.

Durability
Despite dropping it numerous times, this strong bottle remains intact. It only really suffered a few minor scrapes and bounced around like a football before lying on the ground. Dropped from a significant, it might shatter, but there is a good chance that it will still stay intact.

Ease of Cleaning
The wide mouth and the cylindrical body makes it easy to clean. When timed, it only took 1 minute and 13 seconds to clean it. I would recommend hand washing with warm water and soap as oppose to putting it in the dishwasher to avoid the health risks with plastic

Weight
This is the lightest water bottle with a rigid body. While not as light as the Vapur Element, for plastic bottle, at 0.20 ounces, it doesn’t feel as heavy when full. 

Best Applications
The Nalgene Wide mouth is perfect for sports and recreational activities. Because of its popularity, many manufacturers have designed water filters and accessories to fit the bottle’s wide mouth and size. One would think you wouldn’t reach for a water bottle when it came to cooking, but the graduated measurements on the side are perfect when you need to measure for cooking when you’re outdoors on an adventure. Besides cooking, when the temperatures drop and you’re still a little cold, put some hot water into your Nalgene. Place it at the end in the bottom of your sleeping bag and you have a handy heater.

Value
The product is not only cheap, but also a great product. For only $11, you can have a great, durable water bottle that is large enough to have a lot of water when you need it.

Other Versions and Accessories
The Nalgene Bottles come in three different versions: a 16-ounce version that costs $9 and a narrow mouth bottle in both a 16-ounce and 32-ounce that costs $9 and $10.99 respectively. The Easy Sipper is a cap adaptation that makes it easier to use the Nalgene without it spilling. It costs $3.25. The Pillid Cap attachment is a mini-compartment that screws onto the top of the body of the bottle. It can store medication, small keys, or anything you want to store or hide. It costs $5. The Cool Stuff insulating sleeve costs $8.50 and will keep your liquids colder longer.

Conclusion 

If you’re okay with drinking from plastic and enjoy being outdoors, buy this bottle, a lightweight, easy-to-clean, durable bottle. Use it for cooking or for cold nights.

Klean Kanteen Original 27 oz

Kanteen

Price: $21

Pros: Durable, easy to use and clean, lightweight.  Cons: Narrow mouth version cannot use filters, metallic taste

Manufacturer: Klean Kanteen

Overview
Featuring a stainless steel body with a plastic cap, the Klean Kanteen Original 27 ounce is the perfect choice for daily use easy to drink from and to clean. The durable body will last you a long time even with knocks and drops and will not leak in your pack. As lightweight as a plastic bottle, the Kanteen is proof that not all metal water bottles have to be heavy in your backpack. If you were forced to choose one or two bottles, this bottle would be at the top of my list.

Ease of Use
This bottle and its cap are a breeze to use. However, unlike the Nalgene, the cap isn’t attached to the bottle. If you lose things, it might be a problem. However, you can clip it securely to a backpack on the cap.  The bottle’s mouth is another great part of this product—wide enough to fill easily and narrow enough to drink without spilling. While you wouldn’t choose it for running, you can still drink while in motion. The rounded bottle lip is quite comfortable to drink from, something that the rest of the bottles lacked. This bottle is extremely trustworthy. Thanks to the cap screwing into the inside of the bottle, it does the perfect job of preventing you from not attaching the cap properly. While it takes more time, the reduced risk of leaking makes it  totally worth it. 

Taste
When you have a metal water bottle, you’re going to risk having a metallic water taste. Unfortunately, this trend continued with this bottle. However, the taste isn’t as bad as what I have experience with other metal water bottles. If you really can’t stand any metallic flavor, this would not be your best option. I’m not someone who minds it, so it really didn’t bother me too much. Flavors did stay after a wash, but the flavor left after a quick cleaning of baking soda and vinegar.

Durability
The Klean Kanteen, while durable, does dent. The only weak point would probably be the plastic cap, but it still seems to be more durable than the plastic cap of a Nalgene. If you do end up dropping it and the bottom dents, use a rubber mallet and tap it a few times to allow it to sit evenly again. The cap gets a few scratches with use, but nothing major. 

Ease of Cleaning
This bottle was quick and easy to clean. Using warm water, a bottlebrush, and soap, it took only 1 minute and 21 seconds to clean. Klean Kanteen claims the bottle is dishwasher safe, but I wouldn’t suggest putting in in there for health safety concerns regarding metal and plastic. 

Weight
I expected a metal bottle to weigh more, and while a little heavier than a Nalgene, it wasn’t soo much that I felt like it would be a pain to carry it. Even when filled, I found myself having no issue with it at all. 

Best Applications
When I say you can use this bottle for anything, I truly mean that you can use this bottle for anything:  taking to work, going to the gym, sports teams, hiking, rock climbing, or anything you do in your daily life. Since you don’t have to worry about it leaking and its durable for anything, it would be great for any situation, including boiling water from a less than desirable water source.

Value
The Klean Kateen Original comes in at $20. While not as cheap as the other bottles I’ve reviewed, it provides you with the same amount or more utility, and has a good chance of lasting you a lifetime. 

Other Versions and Accessories
The Klean Kanteen Original also has an option to buy the bottle with a sports cap as opposed to the screw cap. It only cost $6 and is available in a variety of colors and sizes. However, it’s only a good option in you’re interested in this particular sports cap and you can buy the cap separately from the bottle.  The bottle also has a classic graphic bottle that is an artistic version celebrating the natural world in three different design costing $25. The Reflect is another similar bottle to the Original that costs only $30. With its mirror-finish, it’s a fancier and shiner version of an already great bottle. The Klean Kanteen Original bottle can is also available in an 18 oz40 oz, and 64 oz. The Steel Loop Cap’s handy loop is perfect for a D-ring or to make carrying easy with just one finger. The Bamboo Cap will make your bottle feel stylish with its sustainably harvested bamboo for only $12. The Stainless Swing Lok Cap gives your bottle a vintage flair with this top for only $15.

Conclusion
Out of all the bottles I reviewed, the Klean Kanteen is my favorite because the simple design offers high versatility with a lightweight material that really can handle anything. If you worry over water and plastic interactions, and the metallic taste won’t put you off, choose this bottle.. 

What Should You Buy? 

If you want my recommendation, I would suggest the Nalgene Wide Mouth 32 oz. or the Klean Kanteen Original 27 oz. Both are great durable and lightweight bottles, affordable, and will last you a lifetime. They also come with accessories to fit all of your personal needs. Having either of these reusable bottles in your arsenal, you’ll be ready for whatever outdoor adventure that awaits you.