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Best Water Bottles of 2022

We tested the top water bottles from Yeti, Nalgene, Brita, and more to find the best products
Best Water Bottles of 2022
By Jane Jackson ⋅ Senior Review Editor
Wednesday March 30, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more

Since 2012, we've had our lips on 65+ unique water bottles and counting. This review covers 16 of the best water bottles we bought and tested side-by-side comparisons. We've filled each with water, electrolytes, smoothies, tea, and delicious cocktails. These bottles have gone the distance, whether sipping on our daily commute or filling up from a mountain spring. They all served time as our daily drivers. We've stuffed each into backpacks, slid them into pockets, and analyzed critical components like handles, spouts, threads, and lids. After months of both field and controlled comparative testing, we offer our unbiased recommendations to help you find the best water bottle for your hydration needs.

You may also have interest in a hydration bladder for your daypack, or perhaps a water filter for trips into the backcountry. Whether you need a bottle for your daily outings or something that can take you to mountain peaks, our review will help you pinpoint the right bottle for you.

Editor's Note: This review was updated on March 30, 2022, with more information on our testing metrics. Each gear review was updated with more comparison information between products and additional purchase advice.

Top 16 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 16
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Awards Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award   
Price $40.00 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$33.69 at REI
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$7.39 at REI
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$26.19 at REI
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$19.47 at Backcountry
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Durable, easy to carry, wide mouth for easy cleaning, lid insert for easy drinkingSimple, durable, easy to useLight, durable, resists flavors, simple design, wide mouth makes for easy fillingStylish, well-insulated, easy to clean, simple design, durableLightweight, well-insulated, simple design, reasonable price tag
Cons Expensive, heavyVery expensiveDiameter too big for cup holders, wide mouth makes it difficult to drink from when walking or drivingHeavy, expensiveCarrying handle is an odd size, rim of bottle is a bit sharp
Bottom Line Our favorite choice for daily use because of the size, shape, and ease of use in an insulated stainless steel bottleA solid and straightforward vacuum insulated bottle that is easy to use and clean and weighs significantly less than similar optionsA tried and tested classic, this model is versatile and reasonably pricedThis hip bottle is a simple, easy to clean vacuum insulated bottle with a narrow mouth and a portable sizeThis bottle offers the lowest weight among insulated stainless steel bottles that we have tested
Rating Categories YETI Rambler 26 Hydro Flask Lightwe... Nalgene Wide-Mouth Hydro Flask Standar... GSI Outdoors Microl...
Ease of Use (40%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
Durability (25%)
10.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
9.0
Weight (20%)
2.0
6.0
8.0
4.0
6.0
Taste (15%)
9.0
6.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
Specs YETI Rambler 26 Hydro Flask Lightwe... Nalgene Wide-Mouth Hydro Flask Standar... GSI Outdoors Microl...
Body Material 18/8 stainless steel 18/8 stainless steel Eastman Tritan co-polyester 18/8 stainless steel Stainless Steel, Polypropylene, Silicone
Empty weight (oz) 22 oz 10.5 oz 6.4 oz 12.9 oz 10.5 oz
Volume (oz) 26 oz 24 oz 34 oz 24 oz 24 oz
Bottle weight (oz) per fluid oz capacity 0.85 oz 0.44 oz 0.19 oz 0.54 oz 0.43 oz
Mouth diameter 3 in 3 in 2.5 in 2 in 2.25 in
Base diameter 3.25 in 3.2 in 3.25 in 3 in 3 in
Height 10 in 10.2 in 8.25 in 11 in 9.3 in
Body Type Hard-sided/traditional Hard-sided/traditional Hard-sided/traditional Hard-sided/traditional Hard-sided/traditional
Free of Materials BPA-free BPA, BPS and Phthalate Free BPA, BPS and Phthalate Free BPA-free BPA-free
Cap/Lid Type Wide-loop cap Screw cap Loop-top screw cap Wide-loop cap Screwtop
Volume Options 18 oz, 20 oz, 36 oz 24 oz, 32 oz 16 oz, 48 oz 18 oz, 21 oz 17 oz, 24 oz, 34 oz
Warranty 3 or 5 year warranty Lifetime Warranty Lifetime Guarantee for normal use Lifetime Warranty Lifetime warranty


Best Overall Water Bottle


YETI Rambler 26


79
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Ease of Use 9.0
  • Durability 10.0
  • Weight 2.0
  • Taste 9.0
Weight: 22 oz | Body Material: 8/18 stainless steel
Works great for both cold and hot beverages
Well-designed carrying handle
Wide mouth for easy drinking and cleaning
Durable
Doesn't hold onto flavors
Heavy
Costly

Despite tough competition from Hydro Flask, the Yeti Rambler 26 remains our favorite all-around water bottle this season. The Rambler's impressive insulating abilities, perfect size, wide mouth, and innovative Chug Cap make it our top recommendation. It's portable yet easy to fill and clean due to its wide mouth. It was also easy to add ice cubes, allowing cold drinks all day long. The updated Chug Cap is essentially a spout insert that eliminates any spillage with the old wide-mouth design, making drinking on the move more convenient.

Though the list of positives is long, we should also mention a few hang-ups we have with this bottle. Like most things Yeti makes, this bottle is far from lightweight. Its design is durable yet bulky, weighing in significantly more than its competitors and making us far less inclined to put it in our pack for hiking or climbing in the mountains. The spout is awesome for cold drinks but should be removed when drinking hot liquids. Additionally, the Rambler costs a pretty penny. However, we believe it's a good investment because the bottle lasts a long time and works in various situations. For daily life, this is our favorite bottle to keep hydrated throughout the day.

Read review: Yeti Rambler 26

Best Overall Water Bottle
The drinking spout makes for easy one-handed drinking and reduces spillage.
Credit: Jane Jackson

Best Bang for the Buck


Nalgene Wide-Mouth


76
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Ease of Use 8.0
  • Durability 7.0
  • Weight 8.0
  • Taste 7.0
Weight: 6.25 oz | Body Material: Eastman Tritan copolyester
Classic
Lightweight yet durable
Simple
Easy to fill
Large for standard cupholders
Wide mouth causes spillage

If you are looking for a simple, affordable, easy-to-use bottle, look no further than the Nalgene Wide-Mouth. It's no wonder this classic bottle is ubiquitous in the outdoor world. It is durable, light, straightforward to use, and clean, and together these attributes combine to make it one of the top-ranked plastic models we tested. The mL and ounce measuring markers on the side are a bonus for backcountry cooking and keeping tabs on your hydration. Because these bottles have dominated the market for so long, many backpacking accessories are designed to fit the Nalgene perfectly — think water filters, insulators, and backpack water bottle pockets. It also comes in an endless variety of sizes, colors, and shapes, so you can choose one to match your style.

The wide mouth may not be for everyone, but Nalgene makes their bottles in narrow-mouth styles. Also, we know not everyone wants to drink from plastic. If that's you, look elsewhere. However, for those who spend time outdoors, it's hard to imagine a more classic piece of gear than the Nalgene. Simply put, it works well.

Read review: Nalgene Wide-Mouth

Best Bang for the Buck
The Nalgene is a staple in most outdoor enthusiasts' hydration quiver for good reason.
Credit: Jane Jackson

Best Value for an Insulated Bottle


Simple Modern Summit


68
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Ease of Use 7.0
  • Durability 8.0
  • Weight 4.0
  • Taste 8.0
Weight: 12.4 oz | Body Material: Stainless Steel
High scores in insulation
Wide mouth makes cleaning and filling easy
Interchangeable lids keep flavors separate
Shape makes bottle portable and easy to clean
Average durability
Flip cap risks leakage and retains flavors

Each year, there seem to be more and more choices for insulated stainless steel bottles. Most of them cost a pretty penny, making insulated bottles the most expensive drinking vessels. When we came across the Simple Modern Summit, we were thrilled to finally see an affordable option out there. This bottle retails for almost half the price of the name-brand staples. We were excited about the interchangeable lids (a classic screw top or a flip cap for hot beverages) and how useful they were at keeping the flavors separate and the bottle clean.

However, the lower price tag seems to come with a few drawbacks. Though it comes in a plethora of fun color options, we noticed that our test model became scratched and chipped relatively quickly. We also found it challenging to keep track of the two lids and often didn't have the right one when we wanted it. The flip cap is not confidence-inspiring for tossing the bottle into a backpack, and it held onto flavors more than the simple screw top. That said, these flaws are relatively minor, and at this low price, we have yet to find a better insulated stainless steel bottle.

Read Review Simple Modern Summit

Best Value for an Insulated Bottle
The Summit is portable, durable - its relatively low price tag is just an added bonus!
Credit: Jane Jackson

Best Collapsible Bottle


Platypus DuoLock SoftBottle


55
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Ease of Use 5.0
  • Durability 3.0
  • Weight 10.0
  • Taste 5.0
Weight: 1.6 oz | Body Material: Nylon/Polyethylene
Relatively inexpensive
Easy-to-use spout
Doesn't spill when drinking or leak when not in use
Useful and durable carabiner clip
Lacks durability
Hard to clean

Platypus holds it down in the collapsible category, and the DuoLock SoftBottle remains our favorite bottle of this type. The DuoLock is still one of the lightest bottles we've tested, and its collapsed size is wonderfully small, making it our top choice when weight matters and space is limited. The nifty, two-part lid design makes for a secure lid and a narrow spout that eliminates spillage, especially with such a floppy bottle.

The Hydrapak Stow came in a close second to the DuoLock. We loved the Stow's carrying handle and bottle shape. It is much shorter and squatter than the Platypus DuoLock, which felt more compact in our packs when full. Both bottles have narrow mouths and bag-like bodies, making them difficult to clean. The DuoLock remained our top choice because it is less expensive than its competitor, weighs less, and is better to drink from.

Read review: Platypus DuoLock SoftBottle

Best Collapsible Bottle
This bottle is best used on hikes or stuffed into a climbing pack because of its weight and portability.
Credit: Jane Jackson

Best Filter Bottle


Brita Stainless Steel Filter Bottle


75
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Ease of Use 8.0
  • Durability 9.0
  • Weight 4.0
  • Taste 8.0
Weight: 13.9 oz | Body Material: Stainless Steel
Sleek shape
Leak-proof flip cap
Inexpensive
Durable
Lacks versatility
Small capacity

Even if this bottle didn't have a filter, it would have still received our praise. The Brita Stainless Steel Filter Bottle is super sleek, leak-proof, and durable. We love the color options and the shape and design of the lid. The silicone straw is a nice texture and doesn't impart flavors too much. That said, this bottle is best used with water only because of its filter. The flip cap is the most effective and functional of any bottle with this feature. This bottle is lightweight and portable, with a great design, and is reasonably priced to boot. We are big fans and didn't even realize a filter bottle was something we needed in our lives until testing this bottle.

The two main problems with this bottle are its size and lack of versatility. The bottle has a relatively small capacity — it only holds 20 ounces of liquid, which goes fast if you're big on hydrating like we are. The second is its lack of versatility. Because it's a filter bottle, we were hesitant to put any flavoring into it to avoid contaminating the filter. We put electrolyte mix in for our taste test, but we wouldn't recommend doing this. One should note that the charcoal filter in this bottle doesn't remove bacteria, viruses, or heavy metals. Instead, it reduces chlorine and particulate matter. This is a great bottle to take to work, the gym, or use at home for tasty, filtered water.

Read review: Brita Stainless Steel Filter Bottle

We used this bottle for several weeks, taking it to the office, the...
We used this bottle for several weeks, taking it to the office, the gym, and everywhere life took us. It held up without an issue.
Credit: Jane Jackson

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price Our Take
79
$40
Editors' Choice Award
This bottle is pretty much everything a bottle can be, quickly becoming our daily driver
77
$45
This simple yet durable bottle is a great vacuum insulated option for tea and other hot drinks
76
$12
Best Buy Award
It's hard to compare to this iconic bottle in terms of weight, price, and simplicity of design
76
$35
This insulated bottle ticks all the boxes for one of our favorite bottles ever
75
$30
We appreciated the lightweight, sleek design of this insulated bottle
75
$30
Top Pick Award
This is a no-nonsense filter bottle that is well designed and affordable
69
$33
Whether you need to transport hot beverages or cold ones, this is a great bottle for use around town
68
$20
Best Buy Award
This lightweight and affordable bottle made the cut as one of our go-to's for everyday use
67
$35
A narrow-mouthed insulated bottle that is ergonomically shaped and great for cold beverages
64
$50
For folks who love the classic two-part Thermos design, this is a great updated option
62
$40
This unique bottle has a straw that is attached to a filter to deliver potable water with no hassle
57
$25
This bottle has an ergonomic shape and an easy-to-clean design
55
$15
Top Pick Award
The lid design and carabiner attachment point make this our new favorite among the collapsible models
55
$19
A new development in collapsible bottle design—a soft silicone body and compact shape
54
$35
For work days, this is a great companion as it is easy to drink from and easy to carry
46
$10
One of the most compact and lightweight bottles available that keeps liquids secure in your backpack

So many bottles and so many subtle features to compare and contrast.
So many bottles and so many subtle features to compare and contrast.
Credit: Jane Jackson

Why You Should Trust Us


Everyone drinks water, but not everyone takes it as seriously as our lead bottle tester, Jane Jackson. Jane has spent months of her life assessing the performance of the most popular bottles on the market. First and foremost, Jane is a climber, a hobby that forms the foundation of her life and has led her to cliffs, big walls in Yosemite, and valleys around the world. Most of the testing of these bottles took place at the crag, in boulder fields, on long hikes, or rest days at cafes and coffee shops across the globe. This wide array of situations has provided great opportunities to test the portability, durability, ease of use, and overall performance of the water bottles seen in this review. With nearly all her time spent traveling, Jane rarely takes a drink from a traditional drinking glass in a kitchen, which makes her an expert at drinking on the go.

Our testing of water bottles is divided into four rating metrics:
  • Ease Of Use tests (40% of overall score weighting)
  • Durability tests (25% weighting)
  • Weight tests (20% weighting)
  • Taste tests (15% weighting)

We've tested over 65 individual bottles since 2012. First and foremost, we want these products to be easy to use, and we rated our Ease of Use metric based on factors like carrying handles, ease of filling and cleaning, and whether they fit in a car cup holder. To ensure we got plenty of varied input, we also passed these bottles around to our friends and family. Water bottles are as much about personal preference as holding water. We filled them with flavorful liquids and then rinsed them to see if any flavor lingered. We left them on their sides wrapped in paper towels overnight to look for any signs of leakage. We even intentionally dropped them all off our desks to test durability. We combined this feedback and field testing with some objective tests to provide you with extensive information so your next water bottle purchase can be informed.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Analysis and Test Results


We used four different rating metrics to assess each bottle in this review. Although the type of bottle (i.e., materials used) greatly dictated the bottle's overall performance in each metric, the overall review compares bottles of different types side-by-side. That said, use your discretion when reading this review. A stainless-steel bottle will be more durable than a glass one, while a collapsible bottle will get a higher score in the weight metric than a bulky insulated model. The metrics we used to assess each bottle's performance are as follows: ease of use (which includes ease of cleaning), durability, weight, and taste.

Today, some of the most popular bottles seem to be stainless steel bottles, including vacuum insulated and uninsulated. Next, there are the classic plastic bottles, almost all of which are made from BPA-free plastics these days. We also tested collapsible and glass bottles. Each bottle has its intended use(s) — and we discuss which situations work best for which bottles in the individual gear reviews.


Value


You're likely to consider cost alongside performance no matter what you want. We stick solely to performance when we score products, but we appreciate a good deal like anyone. The range in price for water bottles is becoming shockingly wide these days. Stainless steel and glass bottles across the board will typically cost you the most. That said, over the past few years, we have seen a growing selection of affordable bottles made from these materials.

The ubiquitous Nalgene is at home in any outdoor scenario.
The ubiquitous Nalgene is at home in any outdoor scenario.
Credit: Jane E Jackson

The Nalgene is a clear value choice due to its high score and low price. It will suffice for pretty much any use, although it might be out of place in a professional setting. Following short behind is our runner-up for a budget option, the Simple Modern Summit. This bottle is by far the most affordable vacuum-insulated option. The Brita Stainless Steel Filter bottle is a great option for a professional setting and comes at a fairly reasonable price considering its overall design and feature set. Another option in terms of price is the Platypus DuoLock, which is hard to beat value-wise but lacks versatility.

Interested in the environmental value of long-term over single-use water bottles? Sip on this — when the National Park Service banned the sale of single-use plastic water bottles in just 19 parks, they eliminated the purchase of up to 111,743 pounds of PET (plastic), prevented the emission of up to 141 metric tons of carbon dioxide, and saved up to 419 cubic yards of landfill space per year. The report is available online. (This ban on plastic water bottles was rescinded in 2017.)

Ease of Use


After reviewing bottles for years, we have become total freaks about features. To the untrained eye, a carry handle may be a random addition, but to us, this is a make-or-break feature requiring scrutiny and deep analysis. Subtle details like flip-cap design and mouth diameters can be a significant factor when using a bottle day after day. So, we took care in assessing the ease of drinking from and filling each bottle. Also noted in this metric is the likelihood of spilling when drinking. Additionally, we considered how easy (or difficult) it is to clean each bottle. Wide mouth bottles are often easier to clean than those with narrower openings. Finally, we evaluated the lid design and the carrying handle — factors that also contribute to ease of cleaning in addition to the overall ease of use of a bottle.


Overall, simpler seems to be better for ease of use. We found some of these bottles to have too many features, and it was challenging to learn how to use them effectively. The Nalgene Wide Mouth and Yeti Rambler 26 are a few favorites due to their simplicity. The Simple Modern Summit is also up there in this category, with its simple body design and thoughtful, interchangeable lids.

Simplicity wins with the Yeti Rambler.
Simplicity wins with the Yeti Rambler.
Credit: Eric Bissell

Both the Hydro Flask Standard Mouth and the Yeti Rambler vied for the top spot, but the Rambler won due to its wide mouth, plus the convenient spout on the Chug Cap. The combination of these two styles made for easy filling and no-spill drinking.

The latest Sports Cap (the 3.0 version) is their best yet. Very easy...
The latest Sports Cap (the 3.0 version) is their best yet. Very easy to use for gulping on the go.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The LifeStraw Go got downgraded because it is difficult to suck water through the filter. The straw design on this bottle is quick to use but does not allow for satisfactory gulps. It's for sipping, not gulping, which we found annoying when we needed water the most (like during workouts). The Brita is a straw-style bottle that we found to work seamlessly.

Though compact, the Hydrapak is a little tricky to drink from due to...
Though compact, the Hydrapak is a little tricky to drink from due to its soft body.
Credit: Jane E Jackson

The collapsible bottles lost points since they are awkward to drink from and easy to knock over. The DuoLock has a few features that push it a step above the others, like its flip cap and included carabiner. The Lifefactory Glass Flip Cap lost points because, if we weren't careful, the shape of the spout sent water up our noses when tipping it back for a quick drink. The carrying handle on the GSI Microlite isn't comfortable, and its thin rim feels unpleasant on our lips. The Takeya Actives Insulated bottle has a unique lid consisting of a wide mouth for filling and cleaning and a small spout for drinking. We liked this combination for drinking on the move.

The carabiner on the DuoLock is substantial enough to clip onto a...
The carabiner on the DuoLock is substantial enough to clip onto a harness when rock climbing.
Credit: Jane Jackson

Durability


Durability is a major concern for water bottles, especially when relying on one vessel as your continual water source. Going from stream to stream in the backcountry, you need to know that your bottle won't break and leave you parched. Based on years of outdoor experience, the GearLab team knows that collapsible models tend to be less durable over time than rigid counterparts due to frequent stress on flex points. Meanwhile, the bodies of rigid contenders are usually very durable but often have failure points on the lids. To develop a score in this category, we considered the type of material used for the bottle and cap. The stainless steel and rigid plastic models scored at the top of the materials test, with glass falling in the middle and collapsible bottles scoring the lowest.


We dropped each bottle from 3.5 ft onto a cement driveway for our first durability test. Each bottle passed this test, though some endured more damage than others. The Hydrapak Stow and the Platypus DuoLock both scored high in this metric because their soft bodies came out from our drop tests entirely unscathed. The Nalgene Wide-Mouth and Yeti Rambler earned high scores in the durability metric, surviving with barely a scratch.

Stainless bottles, in general, are much more durable than their...
Stainless bottles, in general, are much more durable than their glass competitors. The bottles shown here all passed our drop tests with flying colors.
Credit: Jane Jackson

The biggest surprise in our drop tests was that the Lifefactory glass bottle came away intact. The silicone sleeve and plastic cap absorbed the impact force sufficiently and prevented the glass from shattering. Remember, glass bottles always have a chance of breaking, so if durability is a significant factor for you, consider a stainless steel bottle instead.

Stainless steel bottles can handle a beating, but they tend to show scratches on their paint (though some companies now employ a powder coating method, which is far less prone to paint chips and scratches). The Corkcicle Canteen Classic is one bottle that seemed particularly inclined to its paint scratching off through regular, daily use. The sturdy Yeti Rambler seemed to handle knocks a little better than the others in our test fleet.

Our second test within the durability metric was a leak test. We felt that a lid's performance and its tendency (or not) to leak played into a bottle's overall durability and longevity. We filled each bottle with colored liquid and shook it vigorously to test this. Bottles that did not pass this stage of the leak test either spayed colored water all over us or sent small droplets leaking out of crannies in the lid. All bottles passed this test without incident.

Though it has plastic components, the Brita Stainless Steel is a...
Though it has plastic components, the Brita Stainless Steel is a very durable bottle, especially considering its built-in filter.
Credit: Jane Jackson

Weight


Although less significant for casual use, an empty bottle's weight is an important factor when considering which to use on long hikes or multi-day backpacking trips. In this sense, a lighter bottle provides performance benefits that a heavier bottle does not. When scoring in this category, we weighed the bottles using our OutdoorGearLab scale and divided them by volume to determine how heavy each bottle was per fluid ounce (oz./fluid oz.). Results are shown in our specs table at the top of this page.


Platypus models weigh in as the lightest, barely tipping the scales at more than a single ounce. This low weight alone is essentially why they are long-time favorites in the backcountry. The HydraPak Stow is nearly as impressive weight-wise, though it costs much more than the Platypus. The other plastic models also scored well in this category.

The Stow is great for travel. It&#039;s so compact it will slide into...
The Stow is great for travel. It's so compact it will slide into almost any small pocket.
Credit: Jane Jackson

We like a combination of a rigid and a collapsible bottle for multi-day backpacking treks. We prefer a rigid bottle as our primary drinking vessel and a collapsible as a backup reservoir.

Each bottle was weighed on a food scale. The CamelBak MultiBev is...
Each bottle was weighed on a food scale. The CamelBak MultiBev is one of the more intricate bottles and weighs a lot more than most.
Credit: Jane Jackson

In this metric, the glass and insulated stainless-steel models fell to the bottom of the pile, indicating they're more useful for casual day use than multi-day use in the outdoors. However, the backcountry skiers among us like to bring an insulated bottle along on long day tours or overnights. For a hot drink on this type of excursion, the Klean Kanteen TKWide works wonderfully due to its low weight and small size.

Taste


It's essential to stay hydrated, and you're probably more likely to do so if the water you're drinking tastes good. Some water bottles impart flavors on the liquids they contain, a characteristic that we did not appreciate. And if you store beverages like flavored drink mixes or coffee for a day, some bottles will retain that taste and pass it on to the next thing you fill it with, even after a thorough washing.


We combined the results from several separate tests performed on each model to assess our taste metric. First, we filled each bottle and took a drink to check for any immediate effects on taste. Second, we left them filled with water for 24 hours before taste-testing them again. We then filled each one with a flavored sports drink mix and left them to sit for 24 hours. After this, we emptied the bottles, hand washed them with soap and warm water and refilled each with tap water before conducting taste tests to see if we could detect any residual flavors from the sports drink.

If your bottle retains flavors, soak it in a mixture of 1 tsp baking soda and 1 tsp vinegar, then fill with water. Let it sit overnight, and follow it up with a thorough rinse in the morning.

Glass bottles typically reign supreme in this category. Still, the Lifefactory glass bottle has a spout where flavors can get trapped.

In our experience, glass bottles did not impart flavors to the water and kept water relatively fresh-tasting, even in our 24-hour test. Furthermore, they proved resistant to retaining flavors from other non-water liquids used to fill the bottle. None scored perfectly in this test, as the drink mix was still detectable. However, the effect on taste was very minimal in the glass bottles, and after cleaning them again with baking soda and vinegar, they returned to "like new" tastes.

Dishwashers are great for a thorough cleaning, although we recommend...
Dishwashers are great for a thorough cleaning, although we recommend checking with the manufacturer to learn if your bottle is dishwasher safe.
Credit: Jane Jackson

In these tests, the stainless-steel models fell in the middle of the pack, neither soaring nor flailing. Insulated bottles are more likely to hold hot liquids like coffee or tea, which are notorious for leaving behind intense flavors. The Simple Modern and Yeti seemed less inclined to retain coffee flavors, but there aren't significant differences here. The Klean Kanteen TKWide has a café cap that holds onto flavors, but the bottle itself cleans easily — placing this bottle on par with the insulated bottles previously mentioned. The CamelBak MultiBev was the most disappointing here. We filled it with licorice tea once and haven't been able to get rid of that flavor yet, despite multiple soapy washings.

The Nalgene was surprisingly resistant to flavors.
The Nalgene was surprisingly resistant to flavors.
Credit: Jane E Jackson

The Lifestraw Go also scored well in this metric with its built-in filter. However, we recommend only filling it with water due to this feature, so retaining flavors from sports drinks shouldn't be an issue. The same goes for the Brita. The Nalgene also surprised us with a stronger performance in this metric than the other plastic bottles.

We've been there. If you're going to use a collapsible bottle as a backcountry flask, we recommend dedicating the bottle to this purpose. Otherwise, you'll have a strong, 'spirited' flavor in your water bottle for potentially months. Of course, you do you.

Most other plastic bottles did not fare as well here, with the collapsible bottles retaining strong flavors of sports drinks and even soap. The Hydrapak also left a rubbery taste in the water the first few times we used it. Surprisingly, the silicone straw on the Brita didn't give us a rubbery taste at all.

These insulated bottles receive high scores in both durability and...
These insulated bottles receive high scores in both durability and taste. The stainless steel doesn't hold flavor as much as plastic and is durable to boot.
Credit: Jane jackson

Conclusion


We've gone through the gamut with our water bottle testing over the years. In such a simple category, we found a surprisingly large performance gap. There is no "one bottle for all activities," unfortunately. Instead, we can help steer you towards the ideal model for each use or activity. Models for long hikes, bike rides, or climbing trips will differ from the bottles used at work or taken to the gym. We hope this review helps you find the one(s) that best suits your hydration needs wherever you go.

Jane Jackson


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