Friday, February 5, 2016

Water Bottle Showdown

I drink a lot of water. 
Over 100 ounces a day. 
For years and years, I used the same water bottle like I was married to it. 
But just recently I started switching things up, 
and thought I'd introduce you to my finds. 

  Left to right: 
1. Nalgene (this is the travel size, the full size is at work) 
2. Life Factory 
3. Hydro Flash 
4. S'Well 


(aka: "the Sturdy Plastic bottle")

Once THE trendy water bottle, 
Nalgene has been superseded by the Camelbak
I've borrowed my sister's Camelbak, 
and they are essentially the same concept. 

Plastic Bottle Pros: 

1. Lightweight. Nothing wins lightweight like plastic. 

2. Durable / Leak-proof. Nalgene can be chucked out of the 3rd story window of a dorm room, and survive smashing into the concrete sidewalk below. No leaks. 
I'm positive Camelbak also boosts the same durability. 

3. Variety
Every color range possible. 
Spouts: caps, straws, and spouts. 
Sizes: everything from itty bitty travel to gigantic all-day. 
Both Nalgene and Camelbak offer a mass variety. 

4. Price.  They are cheap. Both varieties are under $20 for most options.

5. Availability. Target. WalMart. Sports stores. Even the grocery store. Everywhere. 

6. Medicore at insulation.  Both can be loaded up with ice to stay cool for a while.  Camelbak has an insulated option and you can get a sleeve for Nalgene.  I wouldn't recommend hot for either.

Plastic Bottle Cons


2. Insulation for long periods (can be somewhat fixed for cold, but not hot). 

3. Too big for cupholders.
Unless you get the mini version I picture above, 
but then it only holds 12 oz.

The pros to the plastic water bottle is why I've used a Nalgene for over a decade. 
But it was just this past year that I started to say to myself: 
"You store all your foods in glass, but the one thing you drink day after day is still plastic?" 
And that's when I started to evaluate other options. 


The "trendy" glass bottle. 
This was my first plastic-alternative. 

Glass Water Bottle Pros

1. Glass. Glass does not leach. It does not deteriorate. It does not contain chemicals that may or may not be found dangerous after 50 more years of scientific study. 
(Remember back when none of us even knew BPA existed?) 

I was shocked / impressed to find out that they have baby bottles. 
And is one of the ONLY things I am buying new for Baby Brother. 
In fact, not only do they have baby bottles, 
but those same bottles convert into sippy cups with caps

3. Fits in your car cup holder
 LifeFactory is pretty slim, 
so it fits every standard car cup holder. 
I could not say the same about my Nalgene, 
except for the itty bitty travel one shown above.

4. Variety. Less so than plastic, 
Lifefactory still comes in a variety of sleeve colors, 
a few different sizes, 
and a few different lids.

5. Availability
Less so than plastic, but I am starting to see these pop up more. 
I bought my Lifefactory at Wegmans. 
The baby bottles / caps I've never seen in store. 

6. Price (for adult, only) 
LifeFactory is around $20-$30 a bottle. 
More expensive than plastic for sure, 
but not as bad as the alternatives.

Glass Water Bottle Cons: 

1. Not necessarily leak proof
YES, this is part user error, I KNOW, 
but the threads of the glass/rubber lid are not as simple as plastic, 
and many a time I thought I had screwed it on only to have it leak out all over me. 
Granted, it's just water so no harm, no foul. 
But still, annoying. 

2. Heavy
Glass is heavy. 
In order to lighten the load, I had to go smaller, 
which gave me less water and MANY more refills. 
My LifeFactory is 22 oz, which is pretty small compared to my standard 32 oz Nalgene. 

3.  Insulation
There is no insulation. 
I loaded up my LifeFactory with ice and it melted faster than in my Nalgene. 

4. Price (for baby bottles)
Baby bottles are NOT CHEAP. 
A 6-pack of Medela is around $12,
while a 4-pack of LifeFactory is $50. 
Granted the sippy cup can extend the useful life, 
but it's still a huge investment. 


(aka: Stainless Steel) 

Many of these stainless steel bottles on the market, including Klean Kanteen
which I use for Aaron's travel sippy cup and LOVE. 
For adult-size, I did a lot of research between Kleen Kanteen and Hydro Flask, and eventually settled on Hydro Flask solely for the attached cap option, 
but I think my pros/cons below can speak for both. 

Hydro Flask Pros

1. Stainless steel
Tested far longer than plastic, 
stainless steel holds up to extreme cooking temperatures, 
and therefore can be trusted to carry my water without leaching. 

2.  Insulation
Stainless steel can insulate like no other. 
Most boost that they can keep hot or cold for up to 24 hours. 
We tested this on our trip to NY for Christmas and I can confirm it is CORRECT for cold.
For someone who loves ice water, this is CLUTCH. 

3. Big
My Hydro Flask is 40 oz. 
It's freaking huge. 
It minimizes trips to the fridge / water cooler, 
and thanks to insulation, it'll keep my water cool all day. 

4. Leak-Proof / Attached-Cap
No spilling here! The cap threads are akin to plastic in ease of threading. 
Specifically for HydroFlask Wide Mouth, the cap is attached
After over a decade with Nalgene, I LOVE an attached cap. 

5. Durable
It's stainless steel.  It will dent, but never crack. 
Aaron has dented his Klean Kanteen sippy cup several times, 
but it never once affects performance. 

Hydro Flask Cons

1. Heavy heavy heavy
These things are crazy heavy.
I jokingly call mine "the torpedo." 
It's not so heavy for the house / office, 
but would I take this backpacking or in my purse to the mall? 
Hell to the F no. 

2. Too Big for Cupholders
Not that dissimilar from plastic water bottles, 
but after a month or so with Lifefactory, 
I realized how nice it was to NOT have my water bottle rolling around the car floor. 

(Note that Aaron's Klean Kanteen sippy cup does not have either of these cons; 
it's small so thus it is lightweight, 
and fits the cupholder.)

3. Availability
I have yet to see a stainless steel water bottle / sippy cup in Target. 
They seem to be exclusively online.  

4. Price
My Hydro Flask is close to $40. 
That's triple the price of the largest Nalgene. 
Aaron's sippy is $12, which isn't bad, 
but it is more expensive than most plastic sippy cups. 

5. Variety
 While you can pick a few colors, 
the size and caps are extremely limited. 
No straw option if that's your thing (it isn't mine).

aka: The Trendy New Water Bottle 

Countless wishlists this past Christmas listed S'well. 
It was like the "Tickle Me Elmo" of adult Christmas lists. 

S'Well Pros

1. Stainless steel
Same as Hydro Flask, stainless steel has stood the test of time. 

2. Insulation
Again, same as Hydro Flask, claims to keep hot/cold for 12/24 hours. 
(Note I have not tested this.)

3. Fits in the cupholder
Like LifeFactory, S'Well is tall and thin, 
so fits perfectly in the car cupholder. 
Or your purse. 
Makes this awesome for travel. 

4. Leak-Proof.
Easy to screw on the cap, it's most definitely leak proof. 
Another benefit for travel. 

5. Lightweight (relatively)
Not as light as plastic, but because it's smaller, 
it is not weighing down my purse at the mall. 

6. Beautiful colors
 The colors of S'well are stunning. 
Around Christmas I saw some rose gold and sparkling champagne. 
Absolutely beautiful.
My teal is a gorgeous color that really pops. 

7. Carrying this makes you cool
(Please note the sarcasm.) 
As I said above, this is THE water bottle of the moment for super trendy moms. 
But I had a gift card so... I bought into the hype.

S'Well Cons

1. Price. These suckers are not cheap. 
A measly 17 oz is $35 and 25 oz run close to $50. 
Holy crap.

2. Size
Thanks to the smaller size, I have to constantly refill this when at home/office. 

3. Availability
So far I can only find S'well at Nordstrom. 
Good news is that Nordstrom ships for free and always accepts returns. 

4. Only one cap option
 Screw-on or... screw-on.
That's it. 

5. Small opening doesn't fit ice cubes
 Maybe we have fat ice cubes, 
but I was able to fit them in Nalgene, Lifefactory, and HydroFlask. 
I cannot fit them in S'Well. 
Our fridge produces cool water so that works, 
but it's not ice cold.


Now this said, what do I use? 

My favorite in-home is most definitely the Hydro Flask. 
I love that it requires minimal refills and keeps my drink cold. 
I love the easy-on cap. 
Hydro Flask also works for very long car trips, thanks to it's mega size and insulation. 

My favorite travel is S'Well. 
I use it for quick trips in the car or outings. 
It keeps my water cool, lightweight, and fits in the cupholder. 

In-office I still use my trusty 32 oz Nalgene. 
I would switch to Hydro Flask, 
but I absolutely do not want to carry "the torpedo" back-and-forth every day, 
and don't want to shell out $40 for another one. 
Maybe next Christmas. 

So what about my Lifefactory? 
It's my "spare" water bottle at this point. 
It's a great quality and gets occasionally uses when I've misplaced my others.
It would be great for my morning smoothies if I didn't already have my Blender Bottle.

And that's my (very long) round-up!


  1. So many options! I have one Nalgene and two Camelbaks and I rotate between the two. I prefer the Nalgene for the sole reason that the top is connected to the bottle, meaning I don't drop it on the floor 800 times a day.

  2. I've been using contigo water bottles for the last couple of years. LOVE them and don't use anything else!

  3. I used to have a Nalgene but I had the wide mouth opening and kept spilling on myself (user error). Then I had a steel one from Old Navy. It leaked, looked cool, and again, I would spill on myself, especially when trying to drink from it in the car.

    Now I use my trusty green Tupperware one. I've had it for over a year, it has a wide opening with a narrow lid opening (if that makes sense), and I LOVE it. Except for the fact that it's plastic. sigh.

    Also, I wish I could drink 100oz of water a day. I'm trying for 75oz and it's a hard goal for me.