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When you’re out in the summer heat, bringing water with you is key. It doesn’t take a fancy bottle to do that—the best models are easy to drink from, easy to clean, and tough enough to meet the demands of everyday life and adventurous outings. We tried out several water bottles to find the best, lightest, and coolest vessels on the market.
Best Water Bottles
What to Consider
Water bottles are usually made of one of three major materials: metal, plastic, or glass. Metal bottles (usually aluminum) come with durability against drops or scratches, and are definitely an attractive option for campers or generally clumsy people. Many metal bottles also come with insulation and a Thermos-style design to keep your water cold and your tea, coffee, or soup hot. Metal bottles are typically much heavier than their plastic counterparts.
Glass bottles are the right option for anyone with a particularly sensitive palate to slight changes in taste. While completely safe to use, some plastic and metal water bottles can leave a slight metallic or plastic aftertaste in your mouth. Glass bottles avoid that problem and give you a “truer” taste when sipping anything from water to chicken soup. Glass bottles may not be the choice for those who easily and constantly drop their items (like myself) as they can crack or shatter.
Plastic bottles offer very solid durability in a lightweight frame, making it one of the easiest travel companions. Nearly all plastic bottles are now BPA-free, so you shouldn't have to worry about any chemical leaching or bottle disintegration over like options from 20 years ago. Plastic bottles are usually more affordable than both metal and glass options as well, so depending on your budget, they may be the best fit. Where plastic bottles fall short is their lack of insulation and potential aftertaste on liquids.
Many metal water bottles now come with integrated insulation which keeps your cool drinks cold and your warm drinks hot. The most popular and effective version of this is the double-wall vacuum insulation which not only keeps the temperature of your drink consistent, but also keeps it from burning your hand.
The biggest distinction to keep in mind is under what circumstance you plan on using the water bottle. Many bottles have specific design traits making them ideal for everything from camping to running and cycling.
Cycling bottles have the old-school squeeze-ability for hydration with one hand, while hiking bottles usually have a hook or loop to attach them to a backpack for easier carrying. Some running bottles are designed to contour to the shape or your hand, or fit comfortably in side pockets or belts. Bottles for daily use usually fit comfortably in the side pocket of a backpack.
How We Selected
We have personally tested out nearly every bottle on this list ourselves, taking them to work, on hikes, and cycling around the city. We looked out for weight, durability, design, insulation capabilities, and overall versatility. We recommend the options on this list because they were the most reliable, high-performing bottles we’ve had first-hand experience with. For the options we do not have first-hand experience with, we combed through hundreds of verified reviews and researched the most important specs that make a difference in durability and function.
Yonder 1L/34-oz. Water Bottle
More than any bottle I held in my own two hands, the Yeti Yonder water bottle just felt right. What I liked most about the plastic Yonder bottle was its handle, drinking spout, and overall feel.
The handle is probably the most noticeable right off the bat, creating a designated holding spot for the bottle and the cap in one. The handle is actually wide enough to hold the bottle with more than just one finger, unlike many other options. It also makes it far easier to clip it onto a backpack.
The drinking spout itself is a relatively new feature from Yeti that makes the bottle significantly easier to drink from without spilling compared to wide mouth bottles. At the same time, it’s easier to take bigger gulps of water from it than bottles with small caps or straws.
As for the feel of the bottle itself, the Yonder is made of sturdy plastic that’s durable and has already held up well to multiple (accidental and purposeful) drops. The bottle is a bit thick to hold, but Yeti designed a slight indentation on one side to make it easier to grip.
Tritan 32-oz. Wide Mouth Water Bottle (Monochrome Collection)
For a basic bottle that will last you virtually the rest of your life, this Nalgene Tritan wide-mouth water bottle is the choice for you. The water bottle is made of BPA-free plastic (like all other plastic options on our list), and has a sturdiness to it that I didn’t feel in many other choices.
For a plastic bottle, the combination of durability and extremely lightweight design makes it rare even in a category filled with durable and lightweight options.
The Nalgene Triton comes with a classic wide mouth, making it easier to drop ice cubes in, though admittedly, the lack of insulation means those cubes will melt pretty quickly. The wide mouth also has led to a few pretty embarrassing spills at the gym after I was a bit overzealous trying to take a big sip.
Wide Mouth 32-Oz. with Straw Lid
Hydro Flask marries the drinking convenience of a straw with the insulating power of double-wall vacuum construction with this water bottle.
The insulation remains one of the best in the industry, keeping ice frozen and minimally melted for several hours (if not days) at a time. That’s afforded us more refreshing sips on hot days, and unlike many Thermoses, this one is dishwasher-safe, so cleaning it is simple after weekends spent camping.
The powder-coated exterior on our bottle has garnered a few nicks over the years, but the surface-level damage hasn’t impacted its stellar performance. And you can always add protection with a slip-on silicone boot.
You have your choice of more than half a dozen subdued and bright colors and can swap the straw lid for three others: Hydro Flask’s twist-open Flex Sip, a flip-top, and the classic insulated screw-top.
Go Series Insulated Stainless Steel Water Filter Bottle
Filter bottles are popular for overseas travel, hiking, and backpacking, but they can be just as handy in daily life. They’re more portable (and sometimes more affordable) than at-home models, so you can drink freshly filtered water anywhere.
The Lifestraw Go’s microfilter membrane removes bacteria, parasites, and microplastics, while its activated carbon element helps neutralize lingering tastes. Both are replaceable once they reach the end of their lifespans (1,000 gallons for the filter and 25 gallons for the activated carbon).
Compared to a regular straw, the filter straw slowed the water flow some but not significantly. Our biggest gripe is that the straw doesn’t extend all the way to the bottom, so a few gulps of water are always left behind.
However, we appreciated the line marking at the top, which ensured we didn’t accidentally overfill the bottle, and found we could also use this bottle with ice.
The double-wall insulated Go is notably sturdy and keeps drinks and ice cold all day without significant melting. The stainless steel is strong, making for a heavier overall feel—perhaps a drawback if you intend to use your LifeStraw on the trail.
DuoLock SoftBottle 0.75L
The SoftBottle is like a grown-up Capri Sun pouch: fun to drink from, but without the sugary juice mix. When we squeezed and slurped, water came gushing out, but we could take smaller, more controlled sips, too.
The spout isn’t large enough to fit ice cubes, but the thin walls wouldn’t keep those from melting for long anyway. The flexible plastic construction didn’t alter the taste of water and stayed standing regardless of how much liquid was inside, unlike other collapsible bottles.
When empty, the SoftBottle rolls up or stuffs into small pockets. You can also clip it to a backpack with the carabiner carry loop.
Rambler 26-oz. Water Bottle
Similar to the Yonder, the Yeti Rambler bottle has a lot to like about it. The chug cap remains my favorite way to drink water out of a bottle when compared to straws, squeeze tops, or wide-mouth options.
The top handle is the best way to hold the bottle in your hand or clip it on to a backpack, and unlike the Yonder, the Rambler has double-wall insulation. When testing it out, I had ice water in the bottle for the entire day, and found no significant melting by the time I finished drinking from it that night.
Despite two opening mechanisms between the chug cap and the full lid, there were no leaks at all, even when screwing back out without a ton of extra grip.
Elevation Growler 36-oz. Water Bottle
Between its strong thermal retention and lineup of compatible accessories, the Elevation impressed us enough to earn the Editors’ Choice award in our thermos testing.
The double-wall stainless steel construction kept hot water at 125 degrees Fahrenheit after 24 hours, while most competitors’ bottles cooled to 100 degrees or less. The spread was closer for cold water, but the Elevation was one of the better performers there, too.
The bottle comes with a screw-top lid that has a wide handle for gripping and is easy to open and close. Otterbox has a system of four other compatible lids, though, including an easy-flip sipping lid (which isn’t as water-tight) and an even more robust thermal lid-cup combo.
It’s a hefty bottle to be sure, but the hearty construction showed no wear after we banged it around in the car, threw it into packs, and plunked it down on counters. Use it as a daily drinker, or toss it into the bottom of your everyday bag.
Podium Bike Bottle 24-Oz.
Designed to fit in most water bottle cages, the Podium is a solid option for cyclists. The self-sealing nozzle offers one-handed operation.
Just squeeze the bottle for a healthy burst of liquid, and stash it until you need another. Off the bike, we’ve noticed the valve produces a slow whiny squeak as the pressure recalibrates in the bottle, which is rather annoying.
The fix? Stick to using the Podium only when pedaling and there’s enough ambient noise to drown it out. CamelBak also offers an insulated version, though in our experience, ice doesn’t last to the end of rides on hot days.
Big Zip EVO 1.5L
Hydration reservoirs can impart a plastic-y taste on water, but the Big Zip doesn’t. That’s just one reason to like it. It fills from the top, which stayed open when we squeezed the gray plastic grip.
We didn’t notice any drips or leaks from the comfortable bite valve even when the shut-off nozzle was adjusted to the maximum flow setting. And when we got back home, the vertical center baffle helped prop the Big Zip open for faster air drying.
Hydraform Ergo Minimalist 20-Oz.
On-the-move hydration demands thoughtful design that won’t slow you down. Amphipod delivers that with this handheld bottle, which is so ergonomically shaped that we sometimes forgot we were carrying it.
The adjustable hand strap is soft and comfy and holds the bottle tight so we weren’t clenching it on runs. For high-mileage days, use the two loops on the strap for stashing gels.
Squeezing the Ergo delivered as much water as we needed from the self-sealing valve on the pop-up spout, which locks to prevent leaks when you aren’t using the bottle.
In the Syndicate, Ello offers a competitively priced glass bottle that won’t hold flavors from one drink to the next. The silicone sleeve protects from impacts and, along with the silicone carry loop, makes it easier to grip.
A sliding lock on the side of the lid prevents accidental bumps from deploying the spring-activated flip-top, and although most of the lid is plastic, the brim is glass. That lid also unscrews so you can add ice or give the bottle a thorough cleaning.
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