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

How We Tested Water Bottles

By Jane Jackson ⋅ Senior Review Editor
Monday March 25, 2019

To test these water bottles, we took them to many of the places you take them yourself, from the rugged outdoors to the weekday office life. These bottles have accompanied us on ice and rock climbing trips, mountain biking expeditions, hikes and camping nights in the backcountry. They were also with us when we went to work, yoga sessions, the climbing gym, hung out in the campground and flew on airplanes.

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!

Apart from using them to keep us hydrated as we went about our day, we ran them through multiple tests in our lab. We tested filling them from faucets, fountains, and streams and tried them in all kinds of cup holders and backpack pockets. We checked their potential to leak by leaving them on their sides filled with dyed-red water and wrapping them in a white paper towel overnight. Our testers also loaded them with powdered energy drinks to see if they retained any flavor after rinsing them out. We had several taste testers drink from each bottle and report how the bottle materials affected the taste of tap water. We timed how long it took to wash them by hand and weighed each bottle with our precise scale. To test their durability, 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: