Whether you’re hiking in the mountains, working out, or having a busy day in the office, the best water bottles can make a huge difference to your hydration levels. As opposed to single use plastic bottles, they are sturdy, resilient, and functional, and come in many different shapes, sizes, and designs. What’s more, they don’t contribute to plastic pollution, and can serve you well for years to come.
“Many of us have several water bottles gathering dust in our kitchen cupboards. Pick a water bottle that meets your needs, and you enjoy drinking from, and you’ll have a much better chance of staying hydrated.” — Elliot Hansoon, personal trainer and founder of EH Coaching.
Humans need water to survive. Our bodies are around 60% water, and we use this precious liquid to power up thousands of our vital internal functions. It helps to deliver important nutrients to all our cells, improves digestion, maintains a healthy temperature, and lubricates joints.
Water is also essential to our fitness progress. When we exercise, the sweating keeps the temperature of our bodies stable. As we lose a lot of water during workouts, we need to ensure that we top our hydration levels up before, throughout and after a workout to boost our energy levels and prevent muscle soreness.
Many of us struggle with drinking water. But staying hydrated is a lot easier when you have your own reusable bottle to hand. Here's our tested round-up, to suit every budget and need.
The best water bottles we've tried
YETI has a rep for making robust quality products that are high performing and built for everyday use. We’re pleased to say this is no exception with the YETI Rambler 26 oz. bottle with chug cap. Made from stainless steel, the double walled vacuum bottle is designed to keep drinks hot or cold.
The YETI Rambler gets an impressive five out of five stars on Amazon, with 92 percent of users giving it 5/5. One reviewer said: “This bottle follows me everywhere. Ice will still be there after 24 hours.” Negative reviews cited issues with the cap being “cumbersome to unscrew and drink”, while another said plastic residue from the lid affected the taste of the water.
It comes with a screw lid and carry handle, and a chug cap – or drinking spout – that has a steady water flow. We like that the lids are all interchangeable among the other Rambler bottles, that range in size from 12 to 64 ounces. It is also dishwasher-friendly, which seems to be a rarity when it comes to insulated water bottles. The Rambler’s wide mouth also means it is really easy to wash by hand, or put ice cubes into without having to crush them up first.
It’s slightly heavier and bulkier than your average water bottle, compared with other hiking style ones, and it’s not cheap ($99 / £99), but if you want something that looks as good as it performs, then this is a great choice.
The Takeya Actives Insulated Bottle not only looks good and boasts a sweat-free grip that makes it perfect for gym use, the double-wall design of this 18/8 stainless steel bottle will keep your drink cold throughout a workout and beyond (24 hours in fact).
88% of users on Amazon have given this bottle a 5 star rating with it scoring 4.8 out of 5 on average across the board. Positive reviews praise the bottle's ability to keep drinks cold and say it's ideal for everyday hydration. "It doesn't sweat! No ring of water on my table, the surface isn't slick with condensation four minutes after I fill it," said one. Another satisfied customer said: "The lid of this bottle is very well designed." Negative reviews cite problems with the lid becoming moldy and occasional leaking.
It's slightly heavier than some similarly designed bottles, but has a wide handle that makes it comfortable to carry.
A removable color-coordinated silicone base is included (not standard with all water bottles) that will protect the bottle from bumps and dents and help keep it in place when sat in cup holders or on treadmill trays.
The bottle's lid is also insulated meaning moisture won't collect around the narrow drinking spout and a great addition is a lid hinge lock which prevents it from flapping back and hitting you on the nose when drinking. Unscrew the lid and the wide mouth allows for easy cleaning or adding ice. You don't need to hand wash this bottle either as it's suitable for cleaning on the top rack of the dishwasher
If 18oz capacity isn't large enough, there are other sizes to suit your hydration needs, including 24oz, 32oz, 40oz and 64oz.
The popular Hydro Flask Standard Mouth is the ideal companion when heading out on hikes and this larger-sized bottle will keep you hydrated during the day with water that stays ice cold for up to 24 hours.
The Hydro Flask Standard Mouth bottle has gained an average overall score of 4.8 out of 5 on Amazon and an impressive 96% of customers gave it a rating of 4 stars or above. One reviewer mentioned that "there is no weird taste transferred by the bottle," and another rated the bottle for its solid construction and pleasing texture. Negative comments focused on how the bottle dents and scratches easily.
The bottle is made from durable 18/8 stainless steel with a powder-coated outer that resists condensation, meaning the sides of the bottle will stay dry to touch. Honeycomb insulation controls the temperature of the BPA-free lid, meaning this will remain cool, too.
The bottle comes with a standard Flex Cap that you unscrew to drink, but if you don't enjoy swigging from a water bottle's mouth, you can buy Hydro Flask's Sip Lid or Straw Lid Cap which enables you to hydrate one-handed. What's more, you can build a bespoke bottle by choosing different coloured parts and customising it with text and graphics.
If you're a keen cyclist this may be the option for you.
80% of customers who purchased this bottle on Amazon gave it a 5 star rating with one reviewer saying: “I use these bottles in both summer and winter. There is no such thing as a great insulated cycling bottle. But these are the best I found.” Negative comments mention that the valve lock function is difficult to use with one hand and that it's much stiffer to squeeze than the non-insulating version of the Camelbak Podium.
The beauty of the Camelbak Podium Chill Water Bottle is that it's designed to fit in most bike bottle cages preventing rattles or ejections when out riding. It will also keep your drink cooler than other bike bottles thanks to its double-walled construction.
The flow spout is comfortable in the mouth, although you will need to squeeze both sides of the bottle to get the fluid out. When we just tried to suck, it was quite tricky. The self-sealing design of the valve prevents leaks or spills even without locking the nozzle – we shook the bottle for 30 seconds and didn't detect any spillage. However, there isn't a protective cap to protect against dirt or dust collecting around the mouthpiece but you can purchase a mud cap as an add-on if needed. Another draw is that the bottle can't hold a great amount of liquid, so, if like our tester, you're someone who tends to get quite thirsty, you might want to invest in a larger bottle.
The Camelbak Podium Chill comes apart for easy cleaning and it's fine to put this bottle in the dishwasher, provided it isn't at the highest temperature setting.
Reusable bottles rely on us filling them with tap water.
This bottle has scored an average of 4.6 out of 5 on Amazon with 90% of customers giving it a 5 star rating. “I was really impressed by how much better tap water now tastes. I have ditched bottled water entirely thanks to this,” said one reviewer after using the bottle. Other positive reviews commented that with this bottle you don't need to have a water filter jug at home and that the filter discs are easy to install. One dissatisfied reviewer said they disliked that you have to bite down on the mouthpiece to pull it up and another thought it lacked grip when wet.
However, this may not always taste to your liking, but with the easy-to-carry Brita Active Water Filter Bottle you can have fresh, pure-tasting water on the move thanks to its built-in filtration system.
The bottle has a replaceable carbon filter microdisk that removes chlorine and impurities from water while retaining calcium and magnesium so that you still get the health benefits of these minerals. One disk comes in the box and depending on your daily water consumption, it should last you around four weeks before it needs replacing.
There's a cap that protects the mouthpiece from dirt, although it's worth noting that this is fully detachable so there's a risk of it getting lost. The easy-grip bottle comes apart and can be put in the dishwasher, making it simple to clean after use.
We found that the Brita Active Water Filter Bottle cap can be stored on the bottom of the bottle when needed and can also be used as a cup, which makes it handy if you have kids or even pets that might need a drink on the go.
If you don't like drinking plain tap water, the Welly Traveler Infusing Water Bottle will appeal.
The bottle has gained a 5 star rating from 84% of users with customers leaving overwhelmingly positive reviewers. "The bottle holds enough water to keep you hydrated but the bottle isn’t so big that the weight is a problem for a day of walking and adventuring," said one happy customer. Negative reviews cite that the infuser section is too small and that having to remove it before drinking is frustrating.
Made from 18/8 stainless steel, natural bamboo, silicone and BPA-free plastic, this option also includes a removable infuser so you can naturally flavor water with fruit or herbs.
Drinks are kept cool for up to 24 hours thanks to triple-walled vacuum insulation and the bottle's sweat-free exterior stops it from slipping out of your hands. A loop cap that unscrews comes as standard or there's the option to buy an insulated flip cap if that's your preferred lid for drinking.
There's an aesthetically-pleasing range of bottle designs to choose from including terrazzo and leopard print and it's also available in 12 oz and 28 oz sizes. Plus, your purchase will support a good cause with Welly donating 1% of bottle sales to clean water projects around the world.
If you're looking for a durable plastic bottle to use every day, the Camelbak Eddy+ is a great value option.
There are 4,329 global ratings of this bottle on Amazon with 82% of customers giving it a 5 star rating and only 8% of people rating it 3 stars or less. "One thing that I particularly like is how the carrying handle is so wide," said one satisfied customer. Others praised its ease of sip. Negative reviews mentioned that the flip up straw can be stiff to lift and that it can be difficult to get a decent flow of water without biting down hard.
It's made from 50% recycled material that fights against odors and stains which are common bugbears when using a plastic bottle, plus there are six colors to choose from.
The Eddy+ holds 32oz of water that's delivered through a drink straw that you flip up and bite to release liquid. The straw's value is designed to prevent leaks when closed and spills when open but does need a strong bite to get a satisfying drink.
The only downside of this larger-sized bottle is that it's too big to fit in standard cup holders. If this is a dealbreaker, you may want to go for one the smaller sizes in Camelbak's range of Eddy bottles.
We found that for longer hikes, the Camelbak Eddy is a great size to keep you hydrated and can fit easily into a stretchy backpack bottle holder. The bite-to-drink feature is also useful when on the go, as it saves losing water to leaks.
S'well is the 'original' stainless steel bottle and this non-toxic, non-leaching and BPA free reusable is a bestseller for good reason.
On Amazon, there are 9,826 global ratings for the S'well bottle with 94% of reviewers giving it a rating of 4 or 5 stars. One customer said that she loves its slender design and the fact that it's absolutely leak proof and another went as far as saying this bottle changed her life. Dissatisfied reviewers complained that the bottle wasn't worth the cost and several commented that it dents and scuffs easily.
With a stylish design (that's been frequently copied) it's available in an array of eye-catching colours and prints and three standard sizes of 9 oz, 17 oz and 25 oz. But that's not all. The S’well bottle boasts tripled-layered vacuum-insulating technology with this largest size keeping your drink cold for an impressive 48 hours, all while remaining moisture-free on the exterior.
It comes with a standard screw cap meaning you have to stop to take a sip, but the wide mouth is comfortable to drink from and also large enough to drop in ice cubes. To customise your bottle there's the option to buy accessories such as a sports cap for one-handed drinking, or a soft silicone handle for a more comfortable carry.
The one downside of this popular pick is that it isn't suitable for the dishwasher, but you may be willing to overlook the hassle of hand washing this for a high-performing bottle that doubles up as an attractive accessory too.
The Klean Kanteen Classic is a popular water bottle choice.
On Amazon, customers have given this bottle an average score of 4.6 out of 5 with 81% of reviewers awarding it 5 stars. Positive reviews mention no spills, no breakages, and that it can go straight into the dishwasher when dirty. "You really can't go wrong for the price. It's perfect!" claimed one happy user. Several negative reviews mention a whistling noise that occurs when drinking from the sports cap.
This is mainly because it can withstand the demands of an active lifestyle as well as being lightweight even when full.
The chip-resistant coating protects against bumps and bashes, so is great for outdoor activities and although this bottle isn't insulated, ice can be added to the 1.75 inch opening by unscrewing the lid. A narrow profile means it fits in most cup holders in cars and on exercise machines and strollers.
There are 10 colors/designs and four sizes in total to choose from and it comes with a sports cap with flow mouthpiece that can be removed for easy cleaning. Other compatible caps available to buy include a carry loop cap and a sippy cup cap for kids.
The Thermos Intak Bottle – also known as the Thermos Hydration Bottle, is a great value option for the gym or your commute to work and can be tossed in a bag without the worry of spillages.
Customers on Amazon have given the Thermos Hydration Bottle an average score of 4.6 out of 5 with positive reviewers rating it highly for ease of drinking and its ability to not leak. 78% of customers gave it 5 stars commenting that it is great value as well as being easy to hold, however negative reviews mention the lid can be fragile and the lock pin is prone to breaking over time.
The leak-proof lid opens with the press of a button and for peace of mind there's the addition of a locking ring mechanism to prevent it popping off in a bag. A narrow spout means drinking from it while walking isn't a problem and the whole lid screws off so you can easily add ice or fruit to your water.
If you need prompting to drink more water, there are handy volume markings on the side of the bottle and the lid has a dial tracker so you can monitor your intake. Although there's a good range of colors to choose from, a possible downside is that this water bottle only comes in one size. However, most people will find that the 24 oz capacity is more than enough to stay hydrated on-the-go until the next refill.
If you have serious hydration goals, the Aquafit 1 Gallon Water Bottle is the bottle to help you reach them.
This product has 6,796 global ratings on Amazon with an overall score of 4.7 out of 5. "It's nice to see how much water I actually need to drink without having to refill," said one reviewer. Negative reviews from dissatisfied customers mention that the straw lid can be leaky and that the bottle will crack and break if dropped.
This large capacity vessel holds 128 oz of liquid so that you don't have to worry about refills and there's also a time marker on the side to track how much you drink and ensure hydration levels are topped up from morning 'til night.
Two lids are included, a spout lid and a straw lid, along with a carry strap. A large handle makes it easier to lift when drinking, however, this bottle is obviously very large, so we didn't find it the most convenient option for taking to the office, since it took up most of our bag! For home working, however, it was a life saver and meant we didn't have to keep getting up from our desk to refill our glass.
There are eight colors to choose from and each water bottle comes with a brush for cleaning as this bottle isn't dishwasher-friendly.
Dubbed ‘the world’s first self cleaning bottle’, the LARQ PureVis has a rechargeable LED in its lid that uses UV-C light to sterilize itself and kill bacteria and odor-causing germs. To activate, just press the button on the top of the list to blitz 99.99 percent of pollutants and bio-contaminants in the water, including E. coli. The bottle also self cleans every two hours.
The LARQ PureVis gets 3.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon, with 55 percent of users giving it top marks. Positive reviews praised the bottle for being sturdy, well-built and keeping water cool for hours. One negative review said their bottle smelt of rubber after putting hot water in it, and another cited issues with removing the lid.
Let’s be honest, anything that requires less cleaning is a win from me, so I’m very happy with this bottle. LARQ still recommends you give it a wash occasionally but it’s good not to have to worry about that so much.
You don’t even need to charge it that much – once a month should do it – and you can enjoy fresh tasting water without that nasty musty smell bottles that tend to develop over time. It’s more expensive than regular reusable water bottles, but if clean water is important to you, then it’s a good investment (and think of the money you’re saving on purification filters). It’s also undoubtedly the most stylish water bottle on the market today.
How do we test water bottles at Live Science?
All of the products in this guide have been tried and tested by the Live Science team. Our testing takes into account the size of the water bottle, cost, ease of use (e.g. if the lid is easy to drink out of), portability, and whether the bottle lives up to any specific claims. For instance, if it claims to purifier tap water, we note if we can taste a difference. Finally, we check online user reviews to see what people think, and we test for any persistent problems or defects that we read about, including leakage.
As per our testing policy, we fully disclose all our findings in our reviews.
Which is the best water bottle for you?
Water bottles used to all be pretty similar. Now, as people have moved away from drinking from disposable bottles, demand has grown for reusable bottles in different sizes and with specific features, depending on what they’re going to be used for. The water bottle you take to the gym may be different from the one you would choose for your daily commute. So, before deciding which water bottle you’re going to buy, have a think about how and where you will be using it.
It’s tempting to decide you don’t need to spend much on a water bottle, but it can be worth investing in something well made that will last almost indefinitely. Prices range from a wallet-friendly $10 to $50 for a stylish bottle that’s insulated to keep your drink at exactly the right temperature. Spend more and you should find your water bottle will have a longer life. It may also come with features that prevent leaking and breakage, should you accidentally drop it. If you’ve decided you’re going to buy one of these top end water bottles, then make sure you shop around for the best deals to get the most bang for your buck.
With a lot of information to digest when making your purchase, we’ve broken down the features and specs you need to bear in mind when choosing the right water bottle for you:
Material: Always opt for BPA-free if you’re buying a plastic bottle. "Repeated BPA exposure from plastics has been linked to disruption of hormones, brain/behavior problems and many other side effects," warns Hasoon. While heavier than BPA-free plastic, stainless steel is also a popular option. High-quality, food-grade stainless steel is a great choice for a water bottle that’s both durable and non-toxic.
Capacity: The amount of liquid a water bottle can hold is one of the most important things to consider before splashing your cash. A smaller bottle will be lighter and more portable, but you’ll have to top it up regularly. A bottle with a larger volume may allow you to go all day without refilling, yet will be more cumbersome to carry. Large, insulated bottles will allow you to have a constant supply of cool water, but the downside of the largest bottles is that they won’t usually fit in the cup holders you will find in the gym or your car.
Lid choice: When choosing the type of lid you want, there’s a trade off between convenience and ease of cleaning. A screw off lid means you can drink from the mouth of the bottle, allowing you to easily take quite big gulps (if that’s your thing!). However, you’ll also need two hands to open it, so it’s not the best choice if you’re going to be using it in your car and trying to drive at the same time! A screw cap bottle is easy to clean though, which is a real bonus.
If you want a bottle you can use on the go, then look for one with a straw attachment or a mouthpiece that has a valve to prevent spillage. These types of bottles may have a flip cap to keep dust and dirt out, but they are a little trickier to clean.
The size of your bottle’s opening will have an impact on both cleaning and ease of use. With a wider mouth bottle you’ll be able to pop in ice cubes and fruit, while you’re less likely to get spillage while drinking on the move from a bottle with a narrower opening.
Ease of cleaning: If you have a dishwasher then a bottle that’s dishwasher safe should be more convenient. If you’ve bought a handwash-only bottle, or one with a narrow opening then it’s worth getting a bottle brush so that you can keep it pristine without any fuss. Sometimes bottles can start to smell a bit pungent, especially if you use them for fluids other than water. If this happens and a run through a dishwasher isn’t enough to get rid of the funk, then check the manufacturer’s instructions for how to deep clean it.
Extra features: If you love ice cold water then an insulated bottle is a no brainer as a non-insulated bottle will probably leave you with tepid water after a few hours on all but the coldest of days. Instead, choose a bottle that’s double- or triple-walled, as they will keep drinks colder (or warmer) for longer. Some insulated bottles can keep water cold for 24 hours or more. These kinds of bottles are particularly helpful if you live somewhere hot, or when refilling your water bottle often isn't possible.
If you find you get sweaty during your workouts, you’ll be glad to know that some of the best water bottles can "sweat-free" and condensation-resistant. This means that the body of the bottle won't get damp, making it less slippery and easier to grip. It may feel like an afterthought, but also check out the handle as well: Is it rigid or flexible? How many fingers can you pick it up with? Test a few handles out to see what feels right for you.
Elliot Hansoon is the founder of EH coaching and host of the Simply Fit Podcast. Over the past decade he has helped helped hundreds of people improve their health and fitness, and he has made it his mission to help people transform their bodies and ultimately their lives.
How much water should you drink?
According to personal trainer Elliott Hanson, as a rule, the average woman should consume 2.7 liters [11.4 cups] of water a day, and the average man should aim for 3.7 liters [15.6 cups].
"Bear in mind, this doesn't purely need to come from water — other fluids you consume during the day can contribute towards this total," he says.
What are the benefits of water bottles?
Ultimately, the role of a good water bottle is to help you stay hydrated and it’s worth remembering that our body cells need water to function properly.
"Mild dehydration can lead to lightheadedness, cramps, dizziness, reduced motor function and low energy," said Hasoon. "Severe dehydration can lead to much worse outcomes including heat-stroke, loss of consciousness and, in some extreme cases, death."
Drinking enough water while you’re working out is particularly important, Hasoon added. "Given that workouts are usually high intensity, technically demanding and can involve heavy weights, any amount of physical activity puts us in a position where we could severely injure ourselves if we don’t stay sufficiently hydrated, so I advise always having your water bottle with you when exercising."
If you find that you do get dehydrated sometimes, whether that’s due to working out hard or just not drinking enough, then you could consider adding electrolyte powders or tablets to your water bottle. Electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium, are needed to help your body maintain fluid balance, muscle and nerve function, regulate blood pressure, among many more things. Dehydration can lead to electrolyte imbalance so it’s something you should take seriously.
This article is for informational purposes only, and is not meant to offer medical advice.