There’s been a rise in various different kinds of reusable water bottles in the market over the years as more people come to terms with the effects of throwaway bottles. In this guide, we will share some tips on choosing the best reusable water bottle.
We will look at the different options available, their pros and cons, what size to choose, the parts to watch out for and the best accessories you should consider.
Reusable Water Bottle
Using a reusable water bottle is one easy way of improving your health while keeping the planet safe. It’s a more sustainable solution to the effects that single-use bottles pose to the environment.
Here are some great reasons why you should choose reusable water bottles.
Minimizes plastic waste
Switching to reusable water bottles could help cut down the amount of plastic waste piling up in the environment. It’s estimated that most of the plastic wastes, roughly 12 billion metric tons, will end up in landfills rather than the recycling center by 2050.
In the US alone, about 35 billion plastic bottles are thrown away each year and 88% of them are not recycled. It’s a massive and unnecessary waste that does more harm than good. Reusable water bottles mean less need for single-use bottles and less trash that gets discarded in landfills.
Protects marine life
Up to 8 million tons of plastic escape into our oceans each year posing a serious threat to marine ecosystems. Scientists estimate that around 60% of all seabird species have ingested plastic and 1 million of them die every year from starvation due to plastic ingestion as they often mistake them for food. Thousands of sea mammals, marine turtles, and fish also get suffocated, entangled, and killed by these wastes.
It’s better for your health
A study by the State University of New York found microplastics in 93% of samples from the world’s popular bottled water brands. Other studies have found the presence of microplastics in commercial table salts.
We are ingesting them as we drink from the single-use bottles and from the salt and seafood we eat. Although scientists are yet to know the effects they have on our health, we can prevent them by avoiding plastic use as much as possible.
Investing in a reusable water bottle is cost-saving in the long term as you get to refill it for rehydrating on the go. On average, a single-use water bottle costs around $2 in the US. If you go through 13 bottles a month, that is $30 ($360 per year). A reusable bottle can cost from 5 -$50, while tap water costs about $0.005 per gallon. So, you could save up to $360 a year.
Types Of Reusable Water Bottle
Currently, there’s a wide range of reusable bottles in the market and to pick the best one you need to take some factors into consideration which include:
Whatever the purpose of getting a water bottle or place you will be using it; you would want to invest in one that’s sturdy and durable. Not something fragile, especially if you break things often.
Ability to Maintain Temperature
If your aim is to use your water bottle for both cold and hot drinks or to maintain your beverages at a certain temperature, you would want to go for an insulated stainless-steel model. It will be able to keep your cold drinks cold and your hot drinks hot.
Style and Design
Well looks aren’t everything, we know that – but if you are after something stylish or one that can stand out, then you may want to avoid plastic bottles because most are plain and blank. Insulated stainless-steel bottles come in a wide variety of colors, patterns, shapes, and designs – you can easily find one that appeals to your personal style.
Ease of Use
It’s important to pick a bottle that’s both functional and easy to use. The size, handle, mouth, and lid are some of the factors that affect how easy a bottle is to use. Check our parts of a water bottle section below for more details.
A water bottle that’s simple to clean is also important. Is it easy to take apart for cleaning, can it be placed in the dishwasher? These are considerations you need to take into account to ensure that keeping your bottle clean and germ-free won’t be a hard task.
Now that you’re aware of the ideal qualities to look out for, you’d want to keep them in mind as we delve into the various types of reusable water bottles available in the market.
Before that, you’d first want to consider when or what you will be using your water bottle for.
So, you’ve decided a reusable water bottle is a way for you, but what are you going to use it for? That’s the first thing that should inform your choice.
For example, you might want a water bottle for hydrating yourself at work or at the gym, or for travel or hiking outdoors. These activities require quality and durable insulated water bottle that’s functional in nearly any situation.
Additional factors come to effect if you’re after a bottle for a specific purpose or task. Tracking in the mountain or remote wilderness will require a lightweight bottle probably with a shoulder strap sling for hands-free movement. If you go for long-distance bike cycling, then you may need to get a bottle with a carabiner clip for hooking it to the bicycle frame or basket.
Once you know the intended use, next is deciding the bottle material type to go for.
Material Of Reusable Water Bottle
This section highlights the pros and cons of different reusable water bottles based on the materials they are made from. Plastic, glass, stainless steel, and aluminum are the main materials we’ll look at.
Plastic Reusable Water Bottles
Plastic is an extremely versatile material and as such, plastic water bottles are available in a variety of shapes, textures, and colors. They are good for everyday use like for taking to work, class, or running errands since they don’t weigh much. They are easy to carry around and extremely affordable which makes them a great option if you have a tight budget.
However, plastic water bottles, particularly those made from polycarbonate have been found to leach BPA (bisphenol A) into drinking water. This is an industrial chemical that poses many kinds of health risks including diabetes, obesity, asthma in children, and various types of cancers such as breast and prostate cancer.
They wear quickly too and are difficult to recycle hence are likely to end up in landfills once their usefulness comes to an end. They are not dishwasher safe and can as well develop an odd scent over time causing the water not to taste fresh. You should probably consider them as your last option or look for BPA-free plastic bottles
Glass Water Bottles
Glass bottles are sustainable and sleek which makes them great for long-term home or office use. There are no health risks associated with glass – it doesn’t leach chemicals into your drinking water, so there’s zero effect on it taste and safety.
Another advantage of glass bottles is that they are generally safe to clean in the dishwasher. They are not the best choice though if you live an active lifestyle, one that involves outdoor activities. Glass breaks more easily compared to other materials and it’s a lot heavier to carry.
You may need to get a sleeve of silicon or plastic casing to protect it from breakage or purchase a model made of shatterproof glass. The downside with shatterproof glass is that they are weightier than the other reusable water bottles due to their extra-thick glass design.
Stainless Steel Water Bottles
Single-walled stainless steel Bottles
A good stainless-steel bottle can last for years because stainless steel is an extremely durable material and also eco-friendly since it’s recyclable. It won’t break when dropped but it would definitely dent.
Unlike plastic water bottles, these ones are non-reactive hence don’t leach any chemicals which is major thumps up. Sometimes they tend to leave a metallic aftertaste though when water is left in them for so long but you can avoid this by getting a food-grade stainless steel bottle.
Washing them is easy as most of them are dishwasher safe. If you are an outdoor enthusiast or dedicated hiker, they are the best option. They are equally ideal for carrying to the office and the gym – they are often lightweight and don’t sweat or get condensation on the outside.
The downside is that they heat up or get cold to the touch-based on the temperature of the content in them. They are not ideal for holding hot drinks as you can easily burn your hands.
Insulated/Double-wall Stainless Steel Water Bottles
Insulated stainless steel bottles are the best choice if you prefer your drinks to retain their temperature longer. They usually feature a double-wall thermos-like construction which creates vacuum insulation that prevents any temperature transfer from inside or outside the bottle.
They are also strong and durable due to the double-wall construction. You can use them for many years and since they are made of stainless steel, there’s no leaching of chemicals and no health risks.
Insulated stainless steel bottles are as well quite stylish and trendy. They come in a wide variety of styles and colors. However, they dent easily too and are a bit heavier than single-walled stainless-steel bottles. They can also lose their insulation property if cleaned in a dishwasher.
Aluminum Water Bottles
Aluminum water bottles offer the same benefits as stainless steel bottles. They are recyclable and pretty durable though not as much as stainless steel. They also come in a wide range of trendy colors and designs.
The biggest advantage is that they are very lightweight and easy to carry which makes them a suitable choice for biking, hiking, running, or travel. However, due to the lightness, they dent more easily if dropped or banged compared to stainless steel.
Another issue is that aluminum tends to leach and add a bitter taste into the water. This is why many aluminum bottles have interior linings but this too poses health risks because they are often plastic liners that may contain BPA chemicals.
Aluminum water bottles are not also a good option if you want great insulation. They heat up in warm temperatures and you can’t use them in freezing temperatures. They are tough to clean and do get scratched or faded with time.
Water Bottle Sizes
Choosing a water bottle size will depend on how much water you consume or plan to consume. For instance, the bottle you take on travel or outdoor excursions may differ from the one you often use in your everyday life. The most common sizes available on the market are:
Small Water Bottles
The sizes of small water bottles normally range between 6 and 16 ounces. These are ideal for kids since they may not drink much during the day and their small sizes are better managed by smaller hands, plus they can be easily stowed in a school backpack. They are good too for long-distance running especially for sports professionals that need lightweight, portable bottles.
Medium Water Bottles
Medium water bottles usually range between 20 and 27 ounces. These are great for home or work use, travel, picnics, and average length hikes. They are easy to carry around and the extra few ounces reduce the number of times you may have to refill, especially when on the go or in places with limited access to freshwater.
Large Water Bottles
For large water bottles, the capacity is usually 32 to 64 ounces. A 32 oz water bottle is pretty helpful if you mostly do intensive fitness activities that require taking a lot of water like weight lifting or athletic training. It’s a nice size also for long hikes or day trips.
Another great option is the 40 oz water bottle. This is best suited for longer distances either on the trail or on the road. If you love going for day trips and picnics, then it can as well serve you right since you won’t have to refill it very often. It’s good for fitness and athletic training too.
For family activities like camping, picnic, or outdoor BBQ, a 64 oz bottle would be a perfect choice since it can hold enough water to serve the whole family.
Additional Water Bottle Features to Consider
Besides size and material, there are other key features you need to look at when choosing a water bottle. The shape, lid type, handle and accessories it comes with are some of these features. They affect how easy it is to use, clean, and carry your bottle.
The decision regarding the width of the water bottle should be based on what you’re planning to use it for. If you want a bottle for running, look for one that’s slender and fits snugly in your hand. A slender water bottle is best too for hiking regularly as you can keep it in your backpack sleeve or waistband loop for easy access.
In terms of height, you will find bottles that are pretty tall while others are short or average. Your choice here will depend on the different appliances you will be using your bottle with. If you have a water dispenser or coffee machine, then you would want a bottle that fits under the dispensing area.
You should also look at the interior angles purposely for ease of cleaning. Avoid bottles with sharp interior corners as keeping them clean is not only a hassle but the sharp corners can also be breeding grounds for bacterial growth over time.
Bottle mouth and neck
A water bottle mouth/opening will not only impact your drinking experience but also your ability to clean it. Wide-mouth bottles provide great ease of use. They are easy to drink from, and pouring and filling are simple.
Clean-up is a breeze too – bottle brushes can fit inside easily. However, it’s easier to spill the contents in the bottle with a wide bottle mouth.
That’s where water bottles with narrow mouths come in handy. They are ideal for regular sipping or drinking while trekking since there’s less splashing/spillage. The problem is keeping them clean because you will have a hard time reaching every part inside the bottle.
As for the neck design, the choices you have are long, short, or no neck. Few water bottles have a long neck because they are a challenge to clean just like narrow mouth bottles. The best option is to go for short or no-neck bottles.
Water bottles come in a variety of lid/cap styles with each having its own advantages.
Screw-top lids – are common on bottles with wide mouths hence allow for easy cleaning and drinking. Look for a version with large screw threads so gunk and grime won’t stick between them. Also, consider one where the lid is strapped on. If you don’t like unscrewing your bottle every time to drink or you are worried about splashing, then this might not be a good fit.
Sports lid with spout – the most common lid option among sports bottles. These are very easy to drink from since you just sip from the spout. They are great for light exercises and outdoor use like sports and cycling – the spout helps minimize splashing
Sports lid with nozzle – plastic sports bottles often come with lids that feature nozzles that essentially work like a straw. They are ideal for drinking on the go like when biking or running as the nozzle prevents water from splashing. The downside is that water tends to come out slowly and they usually have nooks and crannies where gunk and grime can build up.
Straw with lid – these are perfect for kids or those who travel a lot. They are easy to use and drink from but can be difficult to clean. They’re not ideal for running or biking since you can’t hydrate as fast as other lids.
Lid materials – most bottle lids are made of plastic but there are several models that have stainless steel metal lids. If you choose one made of plastic, ensure it is BPA-free and durable.
The handle is something you’ll want to pay attention to as well when picking a water bottle. Many models usually have handles attached to the lid for easy carrying and to prevent the lid from flying out.
The handle can be flexible or rigid. Flexible handles are only nice for their grip and flexibility. They tend to feel soft on the fingers and allow you to dangle the bottle from your fingers when you are tired of gripping it. Unfortunately, they don’t hold up well over time.
Rigid handles, on the other hand, are sturdier and more durable. You can easily clip your bottle to a backpack and not worry that the handle will break. There are other models that come with no handles and you would do well to avoid them if you don’t want to lose the lid easily.
Water Bottle Accessories to Consider
There are various special features and convenience accessories that water bottle makers offer alongside their bottles. It’s good to consider them because they can come in handy in different situations. The most common ones to look out for are:
Carabiners and Metal Clips
Metal clips and carabiners are useful accessories for making your water bottle more portable. A strong and durable carabiner or clip will allow you to hook the bottle onto a backpack, belt loop, or bicycle frame. They are a great option for hiking, biking, and other heavy outdoor activities. For clips though, you will need a bottle that has a rigid handle.
Bottle Strap Slings
Bottle shoulder strap slings provide another convenient way to carrying your water bottle during walks, hikes, mountain biking, and day trips. They are easier to wear and enable hands-free movement and as well reduce bottle bounce. You’ll, however, want to ensure it’s a secure sling with a strong, adjustable shoulder strap.
Silicone Sleeve/ Carrying Pouch
This is equally a useful accessory especially if you are getting a glass water bottle. A silicone sleeve can help protect your glass bottle from breakage when you accidentally drop it plus, they often have a nice texture that provides a firm and comfortable grip.
Water bottles with infusers feature built-in space that allows you to add fresh fruits such as strawberries or raspberries. They are an ideal option if you want to add a sweet, flavorful taste to your water.
If you prefer filtered water, then there are several reusable water bottle models that come with a built-in filter which would be a perfect fit for you. They usually use carbon filters to remove impurities like chlorine and other chemicals from tap water. However, you will have to live with the added expense of changing the filter cartridges once or twice a year.
Overall, investing in a reusable water bottle is certainly better for both your health and the environment in countless ways. The best choice we would recommend is insulated stainless steel bottles with a firm handle and a wide mouth. They are durable and offer the most versatility.
Burkhardt, K. (2020, Feb. 29). The best water bottles in 2020. CNN Underscored. Retrieved from: https://edition.cnn.com/2020/02/28/cnn-underscored/best-water-bottle/index.html
Brazier, Y. (2017, May 25). How does bisphenol A affect health? Medical News Today. Retrieved from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/221205#sources
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017, April 17). Bisphenol A (BPA) Factsheet. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/BisphenolA_FactSheet.html
Food and Water Watch. (2018). Take Back the Tap: The Big Business Hustle of Bottled Water. Retrieved from: https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/sites/default/files/rpt_1802_tbttbigwaterhustle-web.pdf
Food and Water Watch. (n.d.). Tap Water vs. Bottled Water. Retrieved from:
Geueke, B. (2015, Jan. 6). France bans BPA. Food Packaging Forum. Retrieved from: https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/france-bans-bpa
Lee, H., Kunz, Al, et al. (2019, Jul. 12). Microplastic contamination of table salts from Taiwan, including a global review. Scientific Reports (9) Article Number: 10145. Retrieved from:
Nace, T. (2017, Jul. 26). We’re Now At A Million Plastic Bottles Per Minute – 91% Of Which Are Not Recycled. Forbes. Retrieved from:
National Toxicology Program. (2010). Bisphenol A (BPA). Retrieved from: https://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/supported/assets/docs/a_c/bpa_fact_sheet_508.pdf
Parker, L. (2018, Dec. 20). A whopping 91% of plastic isn’t recycled: Here’s how much plastic is littering the earth. National Geographic. Retrieved from:
Parker, L. (2018, Dec. 20). Fast facts about plastic pollution. National Geographic. Retrieved from: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2018/05/plastics-facts-infographics-ocean-pollution/
Reddy, S. (2018, Sept. 24). Plastic Pollution Affects Sea Life Throughout the Ocean. Pew Trusts. Retrieved from: https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/articles/2018/09/24/plastic-pollution-affects-sea-life-throughout-the-ocean
WebMD. (n.d.). How much water should I drink? Retrieved from: https://www.webmd.com/diet/how-much-water-to-drink#1-2