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Drinking water is good for your health, but single-use water bottles have become the face of the movement against disposable plastics — and for good reason.
More than half a trillion plastic bottles are sold annually, according to BeyondPlastics.org, and less than one third make it into the recycle bin.
“Only a very small portion of the billions of plastic water bottles that we use in the US each year actually get recycled,” said Nicole Deziel, an associate professor of environmental sciences at Yale.
The majority wind up in landfills, waterways, or elsewhere in the environment. It can take hundreds of years for plastic bottles to break down, and they can contribute to climate change when they release carbon dioxide and methane as they degrade or are incinerated.
Reusable water bottles are a great way to cut down on plastic use and reduce that impact. In fact, a simple switch to a reusable water bottle can save 156 plastic bottles per year.
What type of reusable water bottle is best?
The original refillable water bottles were often made from a hard, reusable plastic, like the classic Nalgenes or the various branded sports bottles that filled the cabinets in my house in the early 2000s. I remember choosing which one I’d use for soccer practice based on how terrible they made my water taste, and I finally understand why.
“Reusable plastic water bottles, often made of things like polyethylene, are also of concern because chemicals can similarly leach out from these plastic bottles into your drinking water,” Deziel said. Those chemicals include bisphenol-A, which has largely been removed from most hard plastics and other products due to safety concerns.
Vigorously washing plastic bottles in hot water, which is bound to happen over time, encourages the leaching of any chemicals in the plastic. “Even if they are labeled BPA-free [free from bisphenol-A], there are many other chemicals that are in plastic and, in fact, manufacturers have substituted BPA with other chemicals like BPS [bisphenol-S], which are structurally similar.”
If you’re concerned about any chemicals leaching out of reusable plastic, Deziel suggests stainless steel, which is also durable and can offer insulation, or a glass bottle with a silicone sleeve to prevent breakage.
How much water should you drink every day?
The amount of water you should drink in a day varies based on a number of factors, said Stavros Kavouras, a professor of nutrition and director of the Hydration Science Lab at Arizona State University.
“How much you need to drink is related to how much water you lose and what kind of food you eat,” Kavouras told BuzzFeed News. In addition, hotter weather and more physical activity will increase your need to hydrate.
The simplest way to figure out how much water you need to drink is to pay attention to how often you go to the bathroom (and what it looks like when you go).
“To stay well-hydrated, you're supposed to go to the bathroom at least six to seven times per day,” Kavouras said. “Look at the color. If it’s too concentrated, more like apple juice and less like lemonade, you’re not drinking enough. The darker your urine color means your body is trying to conserve water.”
He recommends keeping water within an arm’s reach at all times so that it’s easy to sip throughout the day and setting reminders when it’s time to drink, if that’s helpful for you.
To meet your hydration needs, here are the best reusable water bottles when it comes to portability, ease of use, ability to clean, and insulation to keep liquids cold or hot.
First up is none other than my beloved water bottle, the Yeti Rambler. As someone who has gone through quite an assortment of water bottles, including S’wells, Hydroflasks, and even some Amazon dupes, I can say that this is by far my favorite. I found it initially via research into dishwasher-safe reusable water bottles, because I was tired of having to buy special brushes to reach the bottom of other bottles and still not feeling like they were sufficiently clean. I was pleased to discover that the double insulation also keeps my water cold for hours, and the exterior color has yet to scratch or fade. I have also come to appreciate that you can easily screw off the entire cap for easy filling or just twist off the handle for drinking. The handle makes it easy to tote around wherever I go, and it also fits into standard cupholders, which is a huge perk for the car or gym.
Promising review: “Got three of these for everyone in the family and they work very well keeping things cold. 24 hours later and my drink was still cold! Great product - VIVA YETI!” —Bobby V
What else to consider: My only con with the Rambler is that I blow through 18 ounces rather quickly, so I end up having to refill it pretty often. However, if you go for the 26-ounce size, it won’t fit in any cupholders. Pick your poison.
Best for: average water drinkers who value cupholder and dishwasher compatibility.
You can buy the Yeti Rambler from Amazon for around $30.
Despite the fact that I mildly hated on my Hydro Flask, it had enough redeeming qualities for me to include on this list. In doing my research, I discovered that they redesigned their bottles in 2020 to make them dishwasher safe, meaning that they must have read my mind or been terribly sad to lose me as a customer. With this update, they are now on par with the Rambler in my opinion. They have similar double wall vacuum insulation to keep your water cold for up to 24 hours and a wide mouth for easy filling. The straw-style cap is particularly appealing to me, as that’s the way I generally prefer to drink, and the 32-ounce capacity is perfect for long hikes and/or limited refilling since one of these bottles is close to the 36-ounce water recommendation for adult women to consume in a day.
Promising review: “I bought the 32 oz Carnation Wide Mouth a month ago and it’s my new favorite flask! I love the color and I love that it’s dishwasher safe. I’ve run it through my dishwasher multiple times and it’s still working perfectly!” —Hydrohomiette via Hydro Flask
What else to consider: The larger size means that this won’t fit in standard cupholders, though the company does say it should fit in most backpack hydration pouches. If that’s a problem, the 24 ounce may be a better option. It’s also a bit pricey, but it’s high enough quality that with proper care, it should hold up for years and years of use.
Best for: outdoor adventurers or any heavy water drinkers seeking out a large-capacity reusable water bottle with a straw lid for easy, continuous slurping.
You can buy the Hydro Flask Wide Mouth w/ Straw Lid from Hydro Flask for around $50.
There’s one clear winner when it comes to affordable Amazon stainless steel water bottle brands, and that’s Takeya. Its bottles are made from rust-resistant, toxin-free stainless steel with that same double-wall vacuum insulation to keep water cold for up to 24 hours. Both the spout lid and the straw lid have a loop handle for easy carrying and a wide mouth suitable for ice cubes and no-spill filling. They also come in tons of sizes and colors, most of which are about half the price of a Hydro Flask.
Promising review: “It's a great bottle, looks beautiful and keeps my drink cold during my outdoor activities in high temperatures. I also bought a 32 oz in a different color. I love them both!” —Perry Cannon
What else to consider: Though this bottle has a similar look and feel to a Hydro Flask, it is not dishwasher safe, which means it may be hard to clean without a long brush. Some reviewers also noted that it dented and scratched easily, but they do now come with a removable silicone sleeve to serve as a “bumper” of sorts.
Best for: those new to the reusable water bottle game who want to dip their toe in with something more affordable and just as aesthetically pleasing.
You can buy the Takeya Actives Insulated Water Bottle from Amazon for around $21
Though this brand hasn’t been as buzzy in my circles, it’s been around since 2004 when nobody knew about reusable stainless steel water bottles. The company’s mission is rooted in environmentalism, hoping to help the world kick plastic, and people seem to love the products. This 20-ounce bottle with a twist cap and built-in reusable steel straw was the most sleek and appealing to me. As mentioned, I love a straw option, but it also makes this bottle versatile in case you also want to use it for iced coffee or any other cold beverage. It promises to keep any drink iced for up to 59 hours, and it’s made from 90% recycled stainless steel. That feels impressive.
Promising review: “Me and my husband are addicted to this water bottle. The straw makes keeping hydrated so easy, and with a twist, the top is closed. Just couldn’t be easier. We have a few different Klean Kanteen bottles but this is by far our favorite.” —Timmy L. via Klean Kanteen
What else to consider: There are tons of other compatible cap options if you’re not into the straw. My only concern would be that I might finish off 20 ounces in a flash and have to refill a lot, but that won’t be a problem for everyone.
Best for: earth-conscious water drinkers looking for something super sustainable and versatile that’ll keep their drinks icy cold for days (yes, days).
You can buy the Klean Kanteen Insulated Bottle with Twist Cap from Klean Kanteen for around $35.
We all know Brita for its pitchers that filter our water for that fresh, crisp, untainted taste we crave. Now, you can get that on the go with its water filter bottle. It’s a 20-ounce double wall insulated stainless steel bottle with a subtle little filter that lives inside the straw to remove chlorine and improve taste. It’s another easy-sip straw with a lid that snaps into place to prevent any leakage. While it’s not the biggest, it should fit in most cupholders, which always makes things a bit more convenient.
Promising review: “It was very easy to set up. I’ve already saved money by not buying bottled water. It’s convenient, practical, & a beautiful piece of equipment.” —Danielle Glasco
What else to consider: Brita suggests replacing the filter about every two months, so it’s important to note that there will be a continuous cost if you want to keep filtering out that chlorine. Some reviewers also didn’t love the size of the straw, or were concerned that it got moldy relatively quickly.
Best for: staying hydrated while traveling with safe, cold, and healthy filtered water on you at all times.
You can buy the Brita Stainless Steel Water Filter Bottle from Amazon for around $50.
CamelBak is another big name in reusable water bottles, though the ones you’ve seen may have been of the hard plastic variety. Luckily, the company now offers an insulated stainless steel option in four sizes and tons of fun colors. The magnetic top with a carry loop will keep your bottle securely sealed to avoid leaks when closed but won’t smack you in the face while you’re drinking, either. It’s also one of the more affordable options and has thousands of 5-star reviews.
Promising review: “Keeps water ice cold for hours. Cool color and design. Handle makes it perfect for casual usage or biking.” —Vertigood
What else to consider: Only the lid is dishwasher safe, but that can be the hardest part to clean, so it’s definitely better than nothing. The biggest complaint from reviewers seemed to be that it didn’t keep their drinks cold for long enough.
Best for: CamelBak stans looking to make the switch to stainless steel with that same CamelBak style and function.
You can buy the CamelBak Chute Mag Water Bottle from Amazon for around $25.
I can’t explain why, but sometimes I just drink more water when I feel like I’m drinking out of a cup with a straw. This Simple Modern tumbler has that exact feel with the benefits of more water that stays cold longer. It comes in six different sizes and tons of colors/patterns to meet your needs exactly. The design also makes it perfect for iced coffee or tea if you’re looking for a bottle that can be more versatile to use with all of your cold beverages. It’s one of the more stylish options out there that you can customize the most, with that same high-quality stainless steel body and a durable finish.
Promising review: “It keeps all my drinks cold, easy to clean, and it's so cute. I live on a tropical island, and the weather is always warm. I've gone to bed with the bottle filled with ice and the next day it's still there, and my drink is cold af. 1000% recommend.” —Natalia A. Gomez Torres
What else to consider: Keep in mind, the opening of this tumbler does not close completely, so it’s likely not best for sports or travel. I use it as my around-the-house water bottle, particularly while I work so that my water stays cold and I don’t have to get up every hour to refill.
Best for: an at-home water bottle that makes it easy to sip continuously while you work or watch TV.
You can buy the Simple Modern Insulated Tumbler from Amazon for around $26.
If you’re intrigued by those giant bottles that show you what time you should have finished a certain amount of water, this is a great non-plastic alternative. It’s an affordable option made from pure borosilicate glass with a non-slip silicone sleeve to protect it. It has time and volume markers so you can stay on top of exactly how much water you’re drinking throughout the day. It’s also dishwasher safe for cleaning convenience. Just choose your preferred color for the sleeve and enjoy fresh tasting water in a chic, reusable receptacle.
Promising review: “I got the bottle as a gift from one of my friends and it’s the best water bottle I’ve ever owned. No joke. I used to be slave to HydroFlask, but I love how this bottle is sleek, easy to grip, and the color is so cute! 🙌🏼 I’ll pay it forward and get one for another friend.” —Tina
What else to consider: Though glass doesn’t insulate as well as stainless steel, some prefer the feeling of drinking out of glass and appreciate that you can see through to the bottom of the bottle so that you know it’s always squeaky clean. Some reviewers complained that it shattered easily despite the silicone protector, so if you’re a little bit clumsy or need something to throw in a bag and bring everywhere, it might be best to stick with steel.
Best for: minimalists, anyone worried about mold growing in their reusable water bottles, or those who need to hold themselves accountable by tracking their water intake.
You can buy the purifyou Premium Reusable Glass Water Bottle from Amazon for around $18.
The OG glass bottle as far as I’m concerned. When I was still obsessed with my S’well back in 2017, my coworker got this bkr glass bottle and I was honestly a little jealous. It comes in three sizes, and this 16 ounce is equivalent to your classic bottle of Poland Spring. While it probably wouldn’t be enough to get me through a workout class, it’s chic enough to keep on your desk or in your purse. It has a small mouth, again similar to a traditional plastic water bottle, and a leak-proof cap with a loop for carrying. The silicone sleeve offers protection and an easier grip, while also keeping the clanging to a minimum. There’s no taste or chemicals that will seep into your water, no rusting, and no denting. Both the glass bottle and silicone sleeve are also 100% dishwasher safe for the easiest possible cleaning.
Promising review: “Love this water bottle and the Teddy color is stunning!!! All the aluminum, or plastic water bottles (won’t name brands 😂) I own will just have to go after trying bkr. Will definitely get more colors!” —AT
What else to consider: the cute colored silicone sleeve does offer some protection, though it’s still more likely to shatter when you drop it than a steel bottle would be.
Best for: aesthetic enthusiasts looking for a clean and cute reusable water bottle that combines the drinking experience of a glass and a plastic water bottle.
You can buy the bkr Little Smooth Teddy from Amazon for around $38.
Most of the items you use every day now have smart functionality, so why not your water bottle? This vacuum insulated stainless steel bottle not only keeps your water cold for up to 24 hours, but the LED smart sensor also glows to remind you when it’s time to drink and tracks your water intake. There are two size options and a bunch of colors, all of which emit that rainbow glow from the bottom when you need to get sipping. The battery is rechargeable so you can fuel up overnight when needed and keep it on you all day to reach optimal hydration.
Promising review: “This was purchased for me as a birthday gift after my doctor chewed me out for not drinking enough water. It's a nice, big, sturdy bottle that actually lets you know when to drink! Connection between the phone and the bottle is flawless, and I'm especially a big fan of the RGB indicator lights on the bottom of it.
The best thing though, is that the bottle is actually a scale. It literally tells you how many ounces of water you have drank in the day, and it applies that to personalized goals. I've had it for a few months now, and I couldn't be happier with how it works.” —Jacob McNeel
What else to consider: It’s not cheap, and you do have to connect the bottle to the app on your phone via Bluetooth to track, but it’s also a pretty cool idea for people who often forget to drink enough water. The largest size is also only 21 ounces, so it may require fairly frequent refills.
Best for: anyone who is serious about their hydration and willing to invest in a water bottle that is smart enough to hold them accountable.
You can buy the HidrateSpark Steel Smart Water Bottle from Amazon for around $70.
Yes, I ditched my last S’well bottle years ago, but I still don’t think a list of reusable water bottles would be complete without them. From roughly 2016 to 2018, I probably went through at least five S’wells (mostly because I lost them, not because they don’t last). My biggest critique was that they weren’t dishwasher safe, and at 22, I didn’t want to have to worry about finding a tool that could clean them properly. What I did love was the size, color, and design options, and how cold they kept my water for what felt like days. The triple-layer stainless steel insulation does in fact promise to keep your drinks cold for up to 54 hours, and if you like to be able to sip with one hand, the sport cap was one of my favorite developments.
Promising review: “I was tired of cleaning water bottles with a straw. This water bottle is easy to drink from with the narrow mouth, even while I’m driving. Easy to clean. Water stays cold. It’s exactly what I was looking for. The narrow mouth helps make it easier to drink more water.” —Healthycookie
What else to consider: The 25-ounce bottle won’t fit in your standard cupholder, though the two smaller sizes should. Over time, the coating can scratch or fade, and it may dent if you drop it, but as long as you take better care of yours than I did, that shouldn’t happen.
Best for: those looking for a funky water bottle with the perfect design option to match their style, with some of the best insulating technology around.
You can buy the S'well Stainless Steel Water Bottle from Amazon for around $27.
A friend of mine got this water bottle recently and has been obsessed. Based on my familiarity with trendy reusable water bottles, I was pleasantly surprised by the affordable price (compared to other similar options). It’s a large, 24-ounce double-walled stainless steel bottle with a straw top for easy sipping and a lid that pops up with the push of a button. It stays locked when not in use so the mouthpiece will stay clean and it won’t leak. It’ll keep your water cold for up to 24 hours and the lid is dishwasher safe, but you still have to handwash the base. Washing and filling are also fairly easy since the opening is so wide. It comes in plain black if that’s your thing or several very cute color schemes.
Promising review: “Love these bottles. These bottles never mold/mildew and are so easy to keep nice and clean. I’ve had some of mine for more than a year and they’ve faded slightly but work perfectly.” —Sara via Target
What else to consider: If you don’t like the built-in straw, you can open it up fully and chug via the wide mouth. The straw does add an extra component to clean, but if you have a small brush that you use for reusable straws, it should be a breeze.
Best for: big water drinkers who don’t want to refill too frequently and like their water cold and through a straw.
You can buy the Owala FreeSip Stainless Steel Water Bottle from Amazon for around $21.