The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of gear

How We Tested Water Bottles

By Jane Jackson ⋅ Senior Review Editor
Sunday August 9, 2020

We tested these water bottles by using them day in and day out. We took them on road trips, used them at the office, and brought them on all matter of weekend adventures. They also accompanied us on more mundane outings like days at work, trips to the gym, and yoga class. Through all of this traveling and use, we filled these bottles from faucets, fountains, and streams around the world. We found out the hard way when they leaked.

A few bottles from this spring season's testing side by side in a Joshua Tree Campground. Note the JetBoil and water jug in the background - set up for a day of hydration and water bottle testing!
A few bottles from this spring season's testing side by side in a Joshua Tree Campground. Note the JetBoil and water jug in the background - set up for a day of hydration and water bottle testing!

Ease of Use


We measured this metric by days and days of use. By using dozens and dozens of different style bottles, we have learned how to assess carrying handles, lids, spouts, and bottle shapes. Does the bottle fit in a car cupholder? Does the carrying handle work? Does the bottle spill when I drink from it? How easy is it to clean the bottle? These are all questions we address in this metric.

Durability


To test this metric, a simple drop test does the trick. We filled and dropped the bottles from a height of three and a half feet onto a hard surface, then checked for damage. For example, check out this drop test:



Weight


To test this metric, we use a scale to weigh each bottle. Though we compare all the different style bottles in the metric comparisons, we consider their design and materials used when thinking about their overall weight. We realize that stainless steel, vacuum insulated bottles are going to be heavier than plastic collapsible ones. We also realize that these different styles are used for entirely different situations.

Taste


To test this metric, we endure many strange-tasting sips of water. We try to fill each bottle with a variety of different beverages to make sure we can give an honest report of how the bottles deal with flavor retention. We assess how the bottles taste right out of the box. Are there any immediate flavors that appear? Then, we fill them with electrolyte mix, let it sit for a few hours, drink the contents, and then check again for lingering flavors. Then we rinse them with water and refill to see how they do after a wash.