Short of breathable air, potable liquid is just the best thing there is. It’s so good, you really should bring it with you everywhere. Each of these seven reusable bottles will ensure that you never die (from thirst; other caveats apply).
Sure, you could fashion your own container out of a clay-lined wicker basket, or make one out of an animal bladder, but what a mess! Instead, all of these popular modern bottles will do a better job of holding your precious liquids, and a couple will even keep them at some of your favorite temperatures: hot, cold, etc.
And, look: Everyone needs to carry around some liquid (water, specifically). It’s not an option. We humans are not unlike water bottles ourselves, but we constantly leak, and those lost liquids must be replaced. If we lose too much of our liquid without replacing it, well, it doesn’t bear mentioning here what might happen.
Best to play it safe and keep one of these backup fluid containers handy, then.
A Quick Note on BPA
Bisphenol A—or BPA—is an industrial chemical found in lots of materials that are in contact with food: cans, plastics, etc. Although it is purportedly safe to ingest in normal quantities, the standard practice is for manufacturers of reusable bottles to leave the chemical out of their materials. As such, all of the bottles in this list are categorized as “BPA-free.”
Best Overall: Healthy Human Water Bottle
The Healthy Human bottle tops our list as the best overall bottle because it’s a jack of all trades when it comes to features. It’s made of stainless steel, which combines the strength of steel with the stainlessness of, uh, nickel. And chromium.
Also, it has double-walled, vacuum-insulated “Temp Max Technology.” The branding here is curious; while it will keep your favorite liquids at “Max” temp (i.e., hot-to-warm) for up to 12 hours, it will also keep said liquids cold for up to 24 hours. Which, to a stickler, sounds more like Temp Min technology. But who cares? This bottle functions as both a baseline water bottle and as a thermos.
Imagine all the liquids one might keep warm or cold in this bottle. Hot coffee. Iced coffee. The list goes on and on.
And, my god, the colors. You’ve got your blacks. You’ve got your whites. You’ve got your Orange Sherbets and your Midnight Oaks, and all sorts of other colors that make your steel bottle look like it’s made out of wood, or space, or even desert-induced psychosis (Mirage). You can also get bottles in a range of sizes: 16, 21, and 32 oz. It also comes with a carabiner and woven bag, as well as a “Hydro Guide,” in case you’re not clear on how water bottles work.
Given the Healthy Human bottle’s popularity, versatility, and range of options, it gets our Best Overall spot.
Healthy Human Water Bottles, BPA Free Sports Travel Stainless Steel Insulated Water Bottle Stein 21oz Ocean Tide
The Healthy Human bottle is well-priced, solid, offers great insulation, and comes in a ton of color schemes.
Best Premium: Hydro Flask
The Hydro Flask is a number of things. For one, it’s very trendy and popular, as evidenced by the sheer number of counterfeit Hydro Flasks that appear to be for sale on Amazon by disreputable vendors. (For this reason, we recommend ordering directly from the Hydro Flask website, rather than rolling the dice on third-party fulfillment.)
But, despite the urge to view its premium pricing as a symptom of raw popularity, it really is that good. Similar to the Healthy Human bottle above, the Hydro Flask offers excellent insulation for hot and cold fluids, and can even keep ice cubes intact for over 24 hours (according to some customer testimonials). Each bottle also features a powder coat for non-slip gripping and a lifetime warranty against defects. It is, admittedly, a limited lifetime warranty. But then, aren’t all lifetimes limited?
Color options are a bit more limited than what’s on offer from Healthy Human, but you get more leeway in terms of volume, mouth, and lid options. Are you looking for something just to keep a bit of water handy? Maybe an 18 oz standard mouth bottle with an insulated sport cap is your thing. Or let’s say you’re playing outdoor bartender, and need something that can hold (and keep cold) a pitcher’s worth of chunky sangria. Then you might want to shoot for the 64 oz wide mouth with a flex cap. Or maybe you want something in between—there are a couple of options for that, too.
Best Budget: Nalgene Tritan
You already know this bottle, because it’s been around for decades. We don’t know what goes on in high schools these days (vaping?) but back in the year 2000, Nalgene bottles were fashionable as hell. Even then, they’d already been around for over 50 years.
Nalgene tech was first developed in 1949 when the chemist Emanuel Goldberg made the first plastic pipette jars (for science) and started the Nalge Company (based on his wife’s initials, NLG, which is nice). Scientists apparently like hiking, so they took their leak-proof Nalge Co bottles into the wilderness.
Then, in the 1970s, people started thinking, “Hey, maybe instead of burying disposable cans and bottles in the dirt, we should instead not dump our trash in the woods.” Thus, the age of the reusable bottle was born (according to Nalgene’s marketing materials).
Anyway, you just got a history lesson because there’s not much to say about the Nalgene Tritan that you can’t get from looking at it. It has little lines on the side, so you can measure water volume (or secret wine volume, go nuts). At this point, it’s available in loads of different color and design options. They don’t leak, have great durability, and hold over 32 oz of whatever you can fit into the wide-mouth opening. And, unlike some of these bottles (looking at you, Hydro Flask), you can throw it in the dishwasher. Literally, you can throw it—these are impact resistant.
Best Filtered: LifeStraw Go Water
Do you live in a place where the tap water has its own bouquet of flavors? Some of us enjoy a little daily risk, but others prefer the peace of mind that comes from knowing their drinking water is relatively free of morally obtuse plants (some bacteria is good, some bad) or harmless but unpalatable pipe-flavors. Or maybe you’re filling up straight from a running stream, and it’s probably fine, but you wouldn’t say no to a little filtering, just to get the odd floaty bits out of there.
If that’s you, or even if it could be you, maybe grab the LifeStraw Go bottle. The two-stage filter doesn’t just stop bacteria, either. It also stops protozoa, Giardia, Cryptosporidium, and even some of the less popular parasites you’ve never heard of.
Look, it’s not the cheapest bottle out there, but it’ll filter 4,000 liters of water that otherwise might give you diarrhea. Plus, LifeStraw pledges to get clean water to school kids in other parts of the world for each product they sell.
LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle with 2-Stage Integrated Filter Straw for Hiking, Backpacking, and Travel, Green
Anything that lets you drink river water without contracting Giardia is pretty compelling. The LifeStraw Go is the bottle that does it best.
Best XL: Under Armour Sideline 64 oz
Ever try sports? Oh man, they make you so thirsty. Also, they last a while (especially baseball). Running out of water halfway through a pickup soccer game really sucks, especially if you’re stuck at an outdoor field with no water fountain.
You know who looks like the smartest person at the field when that happens? The person who brought a water jug big enough to hydrate a peewee football team, all for themselves.
You can be that person, you know. The Under Armour Sideline will imprison 64 oz of water (or whatever) for you, and that ought to be plenty. Hell, maybe you could share some with the rest of us?
It’s got a nice carrying handle, with fence hooks on it as well as an easy-access flip-top for when you’re in a thirst panic and need to get at that water fast. It also has foam insulation to keep everything inside cold for up to 12 hours.
The only downside is, of course, the extraneous British “u” in “Under Armour.”
Under Armour Sideline 64 Ounce Water Jug, Blaze Orange
The Under Armour Sideline keeps big water cold for a long time. And you can hang it on a fence.
Best Squeeze: CamelBak Podium Chill
“I want something that shares the insulation properties of these other bottles, but I want it to be bikier. Like for a bike.”
Say no more. The CamelBak Podium Chill has double-wall insulation that’ll keep 21 oz of water nice and chilly for a pretty long time, depending on how angry the sun is during your ride. These CamelBak bike bottles are lauded for having some real nice nozzle action, too, so you won’t feel like you’re trying to suck the venom out of a rattlesnake bite when all you want is a little water to wet your whistle. And it’s got a self-sealing valve, so it won’t leak or spill, either.
CamelBak also uses something of a special sauce for its polypropylene blend, which A) is a secret, and B) doesn’t make your water taste like a water bottle.
If you want even more insulation tech in your squeeze bottle (like coolant gel in the insulation), check out the CamelBak Podium Ice.
CamelBak Podium Chill Insulated Bike Water Bottle 21 oz, Fiery Red
The CamelBak Podium Chill is a solid squeeze bottle for anyone on a bike, trike, unicycle, penny-farthing, recumbent . . . you get it. It's insulated to keep things chilly, too.
Best Glass Bottle: Takeya Classic
Glass: Ever heard of it? No proprietary polymers or stainless steel alloys here. No, just melted, transparent silica. And, yes, a silicone sleeve for grip and weight and a bit of shock absorption (and a little window that lets you see your water).
There’s honestly not much else to say about this one. The big selling point of glass is that, like, water and everything else tastes great out of a glass container. If you’re in the market for a reusable glass bottle, the Takeya Classic could be that bottle for you.
Is glass more breakable than steel or impact-resistant polymers? You’d better believe it. Will it insulate hot or cold liquids for 12-24 hours? Ha ha, no; that’s not really glass’ thing. But is it a time-tested material that has provided quality-of-life improvements for all of humankind for over 5,000 years? Yes.
Oh, and this particular glass has a 20 oz capacity.
Takeya 13010 Glass Water Bottle with Silicone Sleeve and Twist Cap, 22 Ounce, Black
If you dig non-crystalline amorphous solids (like glass), then the Takeya Classic 22 oz bottle will do you just fine.