< Go to Water Bottles

Hands-on Gear Review

Klean Kanteen Classic Review

Klean Kanteen Classic  sport cap
Price:   $21 List | $14.66 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, durable, multiple cap options (sport cap, classic)
Cons:  Sport cap can leak if not fully secured, hard to drink lots of water with sport cap because of air intake with water, retains mild flavors
Bottom line:  The Classic sport cap is an updated version of our longtime favorite, the Klean Kanteen Classic. Whichever lid you choose, the Classic is a durable, light stainless bottle that we love.
Editors' Rating:     
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Manufacturer:   Klean Kanteen

Our Verdict

The Klean Kanteen Classic is an unparalleled choice for daily use. It is easy to drink from and simple to clean. Its durable body can handle a lifetime's worth of knocks and drops, and will not leak in your backpack. In our three months of reviewing, we also fell for its ability to be used in sports and outdoor recreational activities, from ice hockey and soccer to rock climbing and camping. This product is non-living proof that metal bottles do not have to be a heavy pain in your backpack — instead, this one is almost just as light as its plastic competition. The bottle itself is perfect for almost any activity and it could be at home on the trail or next to us in a yoga class.

In previous years, we tested this bottle with the classic lid. This year, we tested out the Klean Kanteen Sport Cap, tested here, which is claimed to assist with drinking on the go. We found the Sport Cap to be a bit finicky in terms of leakage and closure. Without it, the Klean Kanteen is still a great option for a lightweight, metal bottle, but the cap adds complexity and thus reduces the bottle's overall metrics score.

The old simple favorite, the Classic has been updated with a new cap, called the Sport Cap. The sport cap has been modified, according to Kleen Kanteen's website, to improve flow rate, to resist leakage, and add "quieter performance".


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Water Bottles of 2017

select up to 5 products
Score Product Price Our Take
91
$40
Editors' Choice Award
Though it is heavier than other bottles in our review, it takes the cake for versatility, sleek design, and insulating properties, making it the Editors' Choice of the year.
87
$11
Best Buy Award
A tried and tested classic, the Wide Mouth bottle wins again as our Top Pick for Plastic, as well as the Best Bang for your Buck bottle.
77
$31
A take on the Classic version, it's simple, sleek, and will keep your drinks hot or cold.
77
$30
We were pleasantly surprised by the Brazos unique autoseal button for easy one-handed drinking; this insulated bottle works great for hot or cold beverages.
75
$21
The Classic sport cap is an updated version of our longtime favorite, the Klean Kanteen Classic. Whichever lid you choose, the Classic is a durable, light stainless bottle that we love.
71
$28
Top Pick Award
The Flip Cap is an updated version of the Classic, with all the same features we loved, plus a new cap design.
67
$30
The Soma Bottle is a new product from a company that produces glass beakers and water filters. It looks cool and is made of bamboo, glass, and silicone.
66
$38
The CamelBak Chute is the largest vacuum insulated bottle we tested, with a lid that allows you to fill with a wide mouth, but drink out of a smaller spout.
64
$9
Top Pick Award
With its unmatched lightweight design and packability, this contender is our Top Pick for Collapsible Bottles.
62
$16
This contender is a light, plastic bottle; it's light enough to use for hiking, but also portable and small enough to use around town.
61
$16
The Citrus Zinger is a bottle designed specifically for those who enjoy citrus infused water, with a straw for one handed drinking.
59
$16
The Thermalock Glacier is a insulated bottle designed specifically for keeping drinks cold, and thus has a wide mouth to make filling with ice easier.
58
$25
The Nomader bottle attempts to solve the problem of being both collapsible and easy to drink from, but falls short on its ability to collapse effectively.

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Jane Jackson
Senior Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Monday
December 5, 2016

Share:
The Klean Kanteen is one of three bottles we tested again this year  all with updated caps. The Klean Kanteen's Sportcap proved to be less effective than its original lid  which was tested last year and helped earn the Klean Kanteen Classic our Editors' Choice Award.
The Klean Kanteen is one of three bottles we tested again this year, all with updated caps. The Klean Kanteen's Sportcap proved to be less effective than its original lid, which was tested last year and helped earn the Klean Kanteen Classic our Editors' Choice Award.

Ease of Use


No water bottle that we tested in our review required rocket science to use it. However, we found that simplicity still beats complexity and the Classic nails it in this category; it is designed with simplicity in mind. The bottle is a cap and a body, with no frills or breakable moving parts. You could use it while wearing a blindfold. The bottle isn't attached to the cap, as with the Hydro Flask Wide Mouth Insulated and the Nalgene Wide-Mouth, with their retaining straps. This could potentially lead to missing caps, but we didn't find this to be a problem. Unlike the Nalgene, the sturdy loop on the cap makes the Classic easy to clip to your backpack, harness, or wherever else you want to hang it.

We tested the Klean Kanteen Vacuum Insulated bottle with the original cap and enjoyed its sleek and simple design. However, we only tested the Classic with the new Sport Cap and found it to be a less effective mode of water drinking than with the original lid. As you drink from the Sport Cap spout, lots of air gets taken in as well, making the flow of water not steady, but rather broken up with air bubbles. We would suggest using the Classic without the Sport Cap because of the simplicity and ease of use that the original cap provides. That is where the beauty of the Klean Kanteen truly lies.

The new Sport Cap still has a strong carrying handle and same mouth diameter for easy filling  much like the Klean Kanteen Classic.
The new Sport Cap still has a strong carrying handle and same mouth diameter for easy filling, much like the Klean Kanteen Classic.

Taste


This bottle, like the Klean Kanteen Insulated, showed its largest drawback in this metric. They both impart a slight metallic taste to the water inside, especially when the water is left in the bottle for more than 24 hours. However, this did not override the other advantages of our stainless steel bottles. If you really cannot stand any metallic flavor in your water but still want to go stainless steel, we recommend the Hydro Flask Wide Mouth Insulated, our Editors' Choice winner, which incredibly imparts no metallic taste.

The Classic Sport Cap fell in the middle of the pack in our sports drink flavor retention tests. It did not score as poorly as the Klean Kanteen Insulated, CamelBak Eddy, Camelbak Chute Vacuum Insulated, or Platypus SoftBottle, but it did retain a noticeable smell and flavor of the sports drink after being hand-washed and refilled with water. However, after a thorough cleaning (using a mixture of baking soda, vinegar, and water), the Classic by Klean Kanteen showed no trace of any lingering flavors.

Learn more about our flavor retention and taste tests in our Best-In-Class Review.

Durability


We found these water bottles to be extremely durable. They will dent rather easily, but beyond that they're very difficult to break. These dents are like scars, memories of past experiences that add to the character of the bottle but don't take away from its strength. The bottle's weakest point, the plastic cap, is still very sturdy and appears to be more durable than the plastic caps of the Nalgene, Hydro Flask, and Lifefactory Flip Cap. It seems that the only way to render this bottle unusable would be to bend the neck of the bottle in a way that would make it impossible to get a top in there.

The old cap's solid  simple loop is more versatile than the Sport Cap we tested this year.
The old cap's solid, simple loop is more versatile than the Sport Cap we tested this year.

As expected, this contender survived the drop test. The bottom of the bottle was dented, but with a few taps of a rubber mallet, it was able to sit evenly again. When dropped on its cap, it suffered only superficial scratches to the plastic. The bottle functions now just as well as ever although it looks a bit battle worn.

Watch our drop tests here:


Ease of Cleaning


The simple two-part design of this bottle makes for easy cleaning. Equipped with warm water, soap, and a bottle brush, it took us on average only one minute and 21 seconds to clean. Bottles with wider mouths, such as the Nalgene, Hydro Flask, Lifefactory, and Klean Kanteen Insulated, were faster to clean, but only by a slim margin (the largest being 13 seconds).

Klean Kanteen claims that this bottle is dishwasher safe. However, as stated in our best-in-class water bottle review, we recommend hand washing any plastic parts of a water bottle. Therefore, if you want to use a dishwasher to clean this product, we think it's best to still hand wash the cap.

Weight


When it comes to weight, the Klean Kanteen surprised us again. It proved only slightly heavier than the Nalgene Wide-Mouth and CamelBak Eddy. For a stainless steel bottle, this is a great accomplishment, extending its versatility beyond day-to-day life into various outdoor recreational activities. When measuring the ratio of empty weight to volume, this bottle weighed only 0.07 ounces per fluid ounce more than the Nalgene. That's not much. We found that, when factoring in its added durability, ease of use, and the ability to use this bottle as an emergency vessel for boiling water, it's easy to justify bringing the Classic along on most outdoor adventures rather than its plastic competitors.

Best Application


While many water bottles today strive to fill a niche with specialized functions and features, the Classic does the opposite. Its strength lies in its ability to perform to very high standards in almost any conceivable use and activity. We loved taking it to the office, the gym, and the ice hockey rink, as well as on camping ventures, rock and ice climbing trips, and canoeing/kayaking. Especially if you are looking for one bottle to pretty much do it all, this is the bottle you want. Only in situations where every ounce is crucial would we consider trading it for another bottle.

The Classic bottle from Klean Kanteen has a mouth wide enough to fill easily  yet narrow enough to make drinking easier  too.
The Classic bottle from Klean Kanteen has a mouth wide enough to fill easily, yet narrow enough to make drinking easier, too.

The Klean Kanteen also has a large enough volume for most gym workouts and yoga sessions, and the sport cap, if operated properly, makes one-handed drinking much easier. It is reliable for sports and outdoor activities as well, including hiking, camping, climbing, and canoeing/kayaking. If you are around sketchy sources of water, being able to use it to boil water could prove vital.

Value


Coming in at $20, this product is a great value. It's not as cheap as competitors like the Platypus SoftBottle or the Nalgene Wide-Mouth (our Best Buy winner). However, this contender provides as much or more utility. And most importantly, it has the potential to literally last you a lifetime. We believe any product you can purchase for $20 or less that will last you that long has incredible value.

Check out our Price versus Value Chart, where we plotted water bottle scores and prices to illustrate how much bang per buck each bottle delivers.

Conclusion


The Klean Kanteen combines a simple design that offers high versatility with relatively lightweight material that offers incredible durability. It also minimizes contact between water and plastic, an important factor for anyone concerned about this (read more on health concerns here). If we were recommending a single water bottle to our friends and family, this would be it. It is suitable for nearly any lifestyle and outdoor rec activity.
Jane Jackson

  • Share this article:
You Might Also Like

Where to Buy?


Thinking about buying some gear we've reviewed? Help OutdoorGearLab out if you do. Just click on any of the above seller links and if you make any purchase, the seller will contribute a portion of the sale to help support this site. It won't cost you anything extra, and it's a simple way to help us fund our gear reviews. Thanks!

*Most retailers free shipping offers apply only to lower 48 US states using ground/economy shipping. See retailer's website for details.


OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: December 5, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 100%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


Have you used the Klean Kanteen Classic?
Don't hold back. Share your viewpoint by posting a review with your thoughts...

Write a Review on this Gear
 
Where's the Best Price?
Seller Price
Backcountry $14.66  -  30% off!
Amazon $17.97  -  14% off!
CampSaver $19.95
Compare prices at 4 sellers >

*You help support OutdoorGearLab's product testing and reviews by purchasing from our retail partners.


Follow Us

Other Gear by Klean Kanteen

Unbiased.