We’ve picked the 10 best water bottles from a cast of thousands because while reusable bottles make a great deal of sense from both an economic and an environmental point of view, they aren’t created equal.
Some supposedly leak-proof bottles are anything but, drenching schoolbags, handbags or gym bags because they were left at a slight angle. Some are hopeless for using on the move. And some are ridiculously expensive for no good reason.
How to choose the best water bottle for you
There are three key things to think about when choosing a reusable water bottle: where you’re going to use it, what you’re going to put in it and whether you want to filter it.
In some areas tap water doesn’t taste brilliant, and a cost-effective filter system can massively improve the flavour. If that sounds like the water in your neck of the woods, skip straight to the Brita bottle in our list.
If you don’t need filtering then the choice is much simpler. Avoid really cheap no-name bottles - they won’t have been treated (if plastic) or polished (in the case of metal) to prevent strong flavours from hanging around after multiple washes - and consider an insulated option if you’ll be travelling far and wide. If you’re travelling really far in warm conditions, keep an eye out for aerogel insulation: that’s more effective than the double-wall insulation of most sports bottles.
If you’ll be hiking, a bottle that can be clipped to a karabiner is a very good thing to have, but if you’re looking for something for the gym or bike a sports cap is a better option.
Pay attention to the design too, especially around the nozzle: some bottles are fiendishly hard to clean, and while they may be dishwasher safe their nooks and crannies can still provide places for germs to multiply. It’s a good idea to get a bottle brush to ensure that no germ gets left behind: washing a water bottle is hardly onerous or time consuming.
In our line-up we’ve presented bottles of varying capacities, from a relatively titchy 355ml to a whopping 800ml.
Some of the bottles on the market are bigger still, such as this stainless steel model that’s available with 1l capacity. But bigger isn’t always better, because of course liquids are heavy - so a 1L bottle that already weighs nearly 700g empty will weigh 1.7kg when it’s full. That may be fine for a long bike ride or trip on public transport, but it’s not much fun to lug around in a handbag, schoolbag or backpack.
And of course the bigger the capacity, the more space the bottle will take up.
1. Thermos Intak
No-leak, no-mess, no-fuss. Just water when you want it
Capacity: 710ml | Weight: 180g | Material: plastic | Insulated: : no | Filter: no | Dishwasher safe: yes
The Intak is a hydration bottle, not an insulated one, so don’t expect Thermos’s famed cooling here: the Intak will keep your drink cool for a reasonable time but it isn’t a vacuum flask. What it is is a tough, dishwasher safe plastic that weighs just 180g and carries 710ml of liquid. The Intak is shaped for comfortable holding and has a one-button operation for easy access, and there’s a nifty little meter that tells you how much water you’ve consumed. The plastic doesn’t taint the taste of the contents and the bottle remains leak-proof if you hand-wash it: like many bottles over time dishwashing can degrade the seal that keeps water in its right place.
2. Camelbak Podium
The perfect bottle for pedalling, especially in Big Chill form
Capacity: 620-750ml | Weight: 91-128g | Material: plastic | Insulated: some | Filter: no | Dishwasher safe: yes
There are many, many Camelbak bottles, but the Podium range is our pick for pedalling: the bottles fit a standard cage even in Big Chill format, the interior is treated so that the plastic doesn’t taint the taste, it’s easy to fill with ice and water and it has a self-sealing valve to prevent spills. The Chill and Big Chill models use double-wall insulation to keep drinks cool for twice as long as normal bottles, and the Ice models go a step further with aerogel insulation to keep drinks cold four times longer than normal sports bottles. The 620ml (21oz) versions are fine for most, but if you’re a big drinker the big models store a hefty 750ml (25oz).
3. Klean Kanteen Classic Stainless Steel Drink Bottle
The best water bottle for school or the office
Capacity: 800ml | Weight: 150g | Material: stainless steel | Insulated: no | Filter: no | Dishwasher safe: yes
The Classic combines the standard Stainless Steel design of the Klean Kanteen range with a sports cap, making it ideal for drinking on the move. It holds 800ml so it’s a fairly hefty bottle, but that also means it’s wide enough for easy filling - especially for ice - and cleaning with a bottle brush. The food-grade steel won’t store or share flavours, and if you already have a version without the sports cap you can get one to replace your bottle top for under £6. We’re thinking adults and teenagers here, but there’s also a good Klean Kanteen for younger kids who don’t need to haul the best part of a litre around all day: the Kid Sport holds 355ml and is available with a sports cap or standard cap.
4. Summit Eco Foldable
The little bottle that gets even littler when empty
Capacity: 480ml | Weight: 27g | Material: plastic | Insulated: no | Filter: no | Dishwasher safe: no
The problem with many bottles is that they don’t get any smaller when they’re empty - and if you’re trying to pack light for a hike or a festival that can be a pain. Hurrah, then, for the Summit Eco Foldable. It’s a foldable 480ml bottle that stands upright when full, can be clipped via karabiner to clothes or a rucksack, and doesn’t take up much space when folded. Some reviewers praise its ability to smuggle alcohol into festivals, although of course we couldn’t possibly condone such shenanigans. It’s not really one for the gym or bike - it’s too wobbly for one-handed use - and it’s a bit of a pain to clean, but if you’re short of space it’s worth putting up with the odd inconvenience.
5. Brita Fill&Go Active
The best water bottle for filtering your water
Capacity: 600ml | Weight: 170g | Material: plastic | Insulated: no | Filter: yes | Dishwasher safe: yes
If your tap water doesn’t taste fantastic, filtering can make a big difference: while we’re wary of some of the more excitable health claims made for water filters, there’s no doubt that they can take terrible-tasting but potable water and make it taste considerably less horrid. This model uses Brita’s MicroDisc, which filters water more quickly than previous Fill&Go filters and lasts for a month or 150L, whichever comes first; a three-pack of filters is currently £8.44 on Amazon. The model we’ve gone for here is the sporty Active bottle, but Brita also makes more lifestyle-oriented Vital bottles with the same filtering but prettier, more colourful designs. Both the Active and Vital models are dishwasher safe.
6. Chilly’s Bottles
This Chilly is fine for chilled drinks and chilli too
Capacity: 500ml | Weight: 380g | Material: stainless steel | Insulated: double | Filter: no | Dishwasher safe: not recommended
When you want to keep liquids at the right temperature for a long time, you need insulation - and in particular, you need vacuum insulation. The same technology that works in the humble Thermos flask works just as well in the considerably more attractive-looking Chillys range, whose 500ml bottles can keep cold liquids cold for a whopping 24 hours and hot liquids hot for 12 hours. That means it’s capable of transporting anything from builders’ tea to Brut. The bottle neck is a little slim for ice cubes and it isn’t machine washable but if you want something smallish and stylish then Chilly’s Bottles are good value. Choose your colour wisely, though, as some cost much more than others for no apparent reason.
7. Root 7 Corkcicle Flask
The water bottle for the Waitrose crowd is pretty in pink and crazy in copper
Capacity: 454ml | Weight: 680g | Material: stainless steel | Insulated: triple | Filter: no | Dishwasher safe: no
This distinctly odd-looking flask is at its most eye-catching in silver, but it’s cute in pink and turquoise too. There are other colour options including a particularly weird-looking copper, but at the time of writing John Lewis only stocks three different versions. In this case beauty is more than skin deep. Never mind double wall insulation: this has triple wall insulation, which means a whole extra hour of coldness and slightly longer for hot drinks too. It’s stainless steel, has a capacity of 454ml and requires handwashing, and it’s definitely one for one-upping your co-workers’ boring flasks and supermarket specials. It’s the water bottle you’d expect to see in Waitrose, which will either appeal to you or appal you.
8. BKR bottles
The best water bottle for fashionable offices
Capacity: 500ml | Weight: 699g | Material: glass/silicone | Insulated: no | Filter: no | Dishwasher safe: yes
BKR make fashionable drinking bottles, and the bumph for its fiery red “Madly” glass bottle are typical: it’s “Inspired by a glorious Sunday of messy hair, no makeup, heart PJs, a Red Maria and an edge of your seat binge-watch with your person, finding an independent coffee shop in an up and coming cool part of town, people-watching out of sincere intrigue and not in judgment.” Marketing bollocks aside, BKR bottles are pretty, the 500ml versions are more than adequate for desk-bound drinking and you don’t need to remove their silicone sleeves before sticking them in the dishwasher. It’s one for the fashionable and, judging by Amazon’s “people who bought this also bought” recommendations, people who believe in quackery. These two groups may not be mutually exclusive.
9. Acquablend Premium Fruit Infused Water Bottle
The best water bottle for people who don’t like water
Capacity: 680ml | Weight: not stated | Material: plastic | Insulated: no | Filter: no | Dishwasher safe: yes
For some people water is just too watery, its lack of flavour a downside rather than a refreshing upside. And those people have a choice. They can dunk a bit of lemon in a normal water bottle, or they can buy a dedicated fruit infuser bottle that keeps the fruit locked in place. It’s a visual thing rather than a practical thing - while it looks brilliant there’s no great reason to need a fruit prison instead of chucking some citrus or strawberries into a flask - and there’s no insulation to keep your drink cold, but if you’re mad keen on an infuser bottle this is one of the cheapest leak-proof, dishwasher safe ones around. We’re not convinced spending more money gets you a better infuser bottle.
10. Camelbak Chute Stainless Vacuum Insulated Bottle
The best bottle for big drinks or long trips
Capacity: 1.2l | Weight: 510g | Material: stainless steel | Insulated: vacuum | Filter: no | Dishwasher safe: no
This version of the Camelbak bottle turns everything up to eleven - well, 1.2 litres, anyway. It’s a big bottle for big drinks and its vacuum insulation keeps hot drinks warm for 6 hours and cold drinks cold for 24. It’s stainless steel, leak-proof and ideal for hiking and other outdoor activities, and while it’s quite heavy at 510g that isn’t too bad for something that can hold more than a litre. It certainly doesn’t look or feel particularly large. It’s the kind of bottle you’d use if you were an adventurer or an explorer, or if you wanted the people you work with to think you were an adventurer or explorer. Just be careful what one you buy, as on Amazon the prices vary wildly from colour to colour.