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Hands-on Gear Review
Soma Water Bottle Review
Cons: Bottom is rounded and thus the bottle struggles to stand up on its own, small volume, narrow mouth makes it hard to fill, expensive
Bottom line: This contender 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.
Soma is a relatively new company that produces trendy water filtration systems, beakers, and carafes. They just started making water bottles and the Soma water bottle was our second glass option, tested next to the Lifefactory Glass Flip Cap. The Soma bottle is smaller, holding 17 oz of liquid. It also has a silicone sleeve and a bamboo lid, making it the ultimate eco-health-friendly bottle. We loved all of these features, but the Soma's sleek design made it difficult to stand up on its own on a table; it was constantly falling over. It did do well in our taste tests, like the Lifefactory, and retained hardly any flavor from the sports drinks or soap.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Soma Water Bottle is a sleek little bottle that in its design had more focus on fashion than function. It is small and slender, making it a good bottle to accompany you to work.
Ease of Use
The narrow mouth of the Soma makes it hard to fill up but easy to drink from. The lid is bamboo with plastic on the inside, and it fits well on the top of the bottle with only one full rotation to tighten. One problem we ran into when filling the bottle was its tendency to overflow due to its small size. When filling from a fast spout or a portable water jug, the bottle would fill with water too quickly, not allowing us time to turn the water off before overflowing all over our hands and arms. Not a deal breaker, but something to note when filling in non-traditional settings (i.e. somewhere besides the sink).
The Klean Kanteen Vacuum Insulated also struggled in this category due to its narrow mouth. Similarly, the new bkr bottle, which is a new addition to the fleet of glass bottles, had issues filling due to its narrow mouth as well. Both bottles often ended up spraying us with water during the filling process. The other issue with the Soma was the fact that it seemed to be perpetually falling over. The narrow base, with a slight upturned curve, makes the bottle act as a bowling pin minus the flat part on the bottom, even on completely flat surfaces. This tipping tendency was the main issue with the bottle and the reason it received low scores in the ease-of-use category. The LifeFactory Glass Flip Cap proved to be a much more stable glass bottle and is our suggestion for an around-town bottle.
Perhaps to make up for its tendency to tip over, the Soma is well suited for falling; it is incredibly durable despite its delicate appearance. The silicone sleeve protected the glass well when the bottle was dropped onto hard surfaces. The lid, however, showed a few signs of weakness. It may have been user error, but a small gasket slipped out of the inside of the lid the first day we used the bottle, and we were unable to get it back in. The bottle did not seem to leak more after, but a part of the lid did come off almost immediately. Out of the two glass bottles, the LifeFactory Glass Flip Cap scored higher in durability because it stands up better and has a more solid lid design. Metal or plastic bottles tend to be more durable, and some of the top picks for a similar holding volume to the Soma are the Avex Brazos Autoseal Stainless or the CamelBak eddy.
Ease of Cleaning
The mouth of the bottle is very narrow, making cleaning the inside difficult. The Soma compares to the Platypus Softbottle in the degree of difficulty to clean the inside. In this category, the Lifefactory fared better due to its wider mouth. Another issue that popped up after a few months of use with the Soma bottle was the accumulation of water between the silicone sleeve and the glass. This became an issue when we noticed mold beginning to grow in this area, and it's hard to remove the sleeve to clean the inside of the sleeve. The LifeFactory's sleeve has many more holes, and thus allows for more air to get between the sleeve and the bottle. This bottle did not accumulate mold between the sleeve and bottle.
At only 10 oz, which is light for a glass bottle, weight is where the Soma bottle shines. That said, it is not a very large bottle, so its weight reflects its size directly. The bamboo lid contributes to the slimmed-down, lightweight design. The lightest bottle in our review was the Platypus Softbottle, weighing in at 1.2 oz. The eddy weighed 6 oz, while the Nalgene Wide-Mouth weighed 6.25 oz.
Time and time again glass bottles prove their superiority concerning their ability to shed lingering tastes. The Soma is no exception, and stood up to the Lifefactory in its ability to keep water tasting, well, like water, with both bottles earning near perfect 9 out of 10s. Similar contenders were the Hydro Flask Wide-Mouth, our Editors' Choice winner and the bkr glass.
Since it has such a small carrying capacity, the Soma bottle is a good option around town. At work, thrown in the bottom of your workout bag, or used at home instead of a glass, the Soma does well…providing it is close to a place it can be easily refilled. Another bottle that works well in this capacity is the collapsible Nomader Collapsible, which has a similar carrying capacity. The Soma takes the cake though and is so stylish that you might get compliments at your local trendy coffee shop.
Because the company is new and focused on making products of a high quality, the Soma bottle is a bit expensive for the size and range of versatility it provides. At $30, you are making an investment in the Soma company values, where they give a portion of every purchase to water-related non-profits and other projects. In general, glass bottles will be more expensive than other bottles — the Lifefactory Glass Flip Cap comes in at $25, compared to the plastic Nalgene Wide-Mouth or CamelBak eddy, which are $11 or $15 respectively.
The Soma Bottle is stylish and sleek, but comes up short as to functionality. It's a good bottle to accompany you around town or add to your style, but will not fare on an outing much more involved than that. It is also very tippy and struggles to stand up on its own without falling over — another feature that decreases the bottle's ease-of-use.
— Jane Jackson
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