The Best Eco-Friendly Water Bottles

by Mikey Rox on 30 June 2011 5 comments
Photo: MIXEvent

I’ve always been a tap drinker — it’s refreshing, healthy, and free — but when some genius started putting H2O in plastic containers and selling it for a dollar a pop, Americans went nuts. Water? In a bottle?! As popular as it became, you’d think they were filled at the Fountain of Youth. (See also: The Many Uses for Empty Plastic Bottles)

Some quick facts:

What those numbers equal is a whole lot of waste. Which is insane, right? Am I the only one who knows that water — safe, tasty water — is available direct from nearly every faucet in the country?

The problem is, we’re just too lazy to turn on our sinks and fill up a reusable bottle. Because if we did that, it might mean we have to wash it every now and then — and, well, that’s just not worth the effort, right? 

With this post, I hope to change that attitude. I’ve chosen seven reusable, affordable, eco-friendly (all BPA-free) bottles to rate. Because they each have different features, I’ve established four categories on which to judge the bottles — style, design, price, and versatility. Which bottle is best for you? Find out below.

Bobble (550 ml; $9.95)

Style

There’s a level of simplicity to the Bobble that makes it fashionable. The bottle itself is clear plastic with a solid-colored, changeable in-cap filter. The cap is available in an array of colors.

Design

Out of all of the bottles, this is the most thoughtfully designed. Its hourglass shape makes gripping easy and comfortable. The cap closes tight, as does the sipping nozzle. The Bobble comes with an additional cap to place over the sipping nozzle to prevent leakage.

Price

The initial purchase is affordable, but when you consider replacement filters, the purchase, over time, isn’t a value. Each filter, however, lasts for 300 refills.

Versatility

Not much. Because it’s equipped with a built-in filter, it’s only good for water.

S’well (17 oz; $35)

Swell

Style

Soda drinkers may like the S’well because of its resemblance to pop-style bottles. The shiny, brushed steel exterior comes in seven glossy colors, each one printed with the company’s motto — “Healthy Helpful Happy” — up the side. Ten percent of net sales goes to WaterAid, which supports programs improving access to safe water, hygiene, and sanitation in the world’s poorest communities.

Design

This bottle is fairly tall — taller than any of the others featured here — which may prove cumbersome, depending on your activity. Upon inspection, it seems to be well-made with quality materials.

Price

Quite steep at $35. There are similar-quality bottles available at lower costs.

Versatility

Because S’well is insulated, it can be used for hot or cold beverages. If the mouth wasn’t so narrow, the bottle’s function could also include hot soups, but anything chunky would likely get stuck.

Sip N’ Go (500 ml; $7.99)

Style

With its sporty aesthetic, the name says it all; the Sip N' Go bottle — though more like a bag — is great for those who identify as athletic. Colors include pink and blue.

Design

When empty, the bottle lays flat or can be folded, and there’s a snap to keep the folded bag in place. When filled, the bottle will stand on its own. The cap is a standard water-bottle cap that holds tight. There’s also a sipping nozzle cap to prevent leakage. A carabiner is attached for convenient clipping. On the backside is a dedicated space to write the owner’s name.

Price

Considering all its features, the price is a steal.

Versatility

Bottle can be frozen to use as an ice pack to keep lunches chilled.

Aquasana (18 oz; $26.99 for 6)

Style

Sleek and slender, Aquasana glass water bottles are more for home use than travel, but their colorful caps add pizzazz to the fridge.

Design

The bottles have a clean, modern feel even if the design isn’t particularly inspired.

Price

For a nice glass bottle, the price is right. Just be cautious; these are meant to be paired with the Auqasana drinking-water filtration system. You can splurge on that if you want, but if you already have a filtration system on your faucet, stick with that. Using that method, you may be able to save even more money in the long run by chucking the Brita pitcher you have in the fridge. Does your water really need to be filtered twice?

Versatility

When it’s not in the fridge, it works great as a bedside carafe.

Vapur (.5 L; $9.99)


Style

The concept here is the same as Sip N’ Go — a bottle that’s really a bag. But Vapur gets more style points. The six available colors are vibrant, and the graphics are simple yet chic.

Design

All that applies for Sip N’ Go applies here, too: Vapur folds when empty, stands erect when filled, and there’s a carabiner attached for clipping. There’s also a space to write the owner’s name on the back. What it lacks — and this is an important design element — is the snap to keep the bag folded when empty.

Price

Is the extra $2 worth Vapur’s style over Sip N’ Go’s added function? I think so.

Versatility

Bottle can be frozen to use as an ice pack to keep lunches chilled.

Klean Kanteen Insulated (16 oz; $25.95 – $29.95)

Style

There’s nothing extraordinary about the Klean Kanteen’s appearance. It looks like your average, everyday Thermos. Its selection of colors are muted, though, making it decidedly more masculine than the other bottle options.

Design

What this bottle lacks in style it makes up in design. The vacuum-insulated version is double-walled to keep beverages and food hot for up to 6 hours and cold for 24 hours. Notice I said food? Unlike the insulated S’well bottle, Klean Kanteen has a wide mouth that will accommodate a spoon, so you can fill it with whatever your tummy desires. Several different caps also are available, depending how you plan to use the bottle.

Price

At $29.95 for the two-cap combo (loop cap and café cap), it blows S’well out of the water.

Versatility

Perfect for cold and hot drinks, like coffee, and foods, such as soup.

Flip N' Sip Nature (600 ml; $11.99)

Style

Animal lovers will be drawn to the stainless-steel Flip N’ Sip Nature bottle, which is printed with a panda bear noshing on bamboo. A portion of the proceeds from every bottle sold will benefit Pandas International.

Design

Stainless steel is a nice touch, but the cap is problematic. It tucks away to prevent leakage, but when it’s time to drink, the bridge of your nose will hit the integrated handle. Seems unnecessary.

Price

For about $12 it's not a bad bottle, but when you compare the price to other, more versatile bottles, this is kind of a waste. At least it helps the pandas.

Versatility

Just a bottle for liquid beverages.

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Guest's picture
gt0163c

I have a bunch of different reusable water bottles. I find that, for most things, I prefer a 1 liter Nalgene bottle with a Guyot Splashguard (little insert that goes in the mouth of most 1 liter bottles and helps keep you from getting water up your nose when you drink from the bottle). About the only thing I don't like about the 1 liter Nalgene is that it doesn't comfortably fit into the cup holder of my car. For drinking in the car, I have a 0.75 liter Camelbak Better Bottle with a flip up spout with the bite valve (and straw).

I personally don't like the aluminum bottles, as they tend to get really, really hot when left in the car or in the sun during the summer (I live in Texas. 150+ in a car in the summer is pretty much standard. Seriously, you can bake cookies in your car in the afternoon.). I can deal with drinking warm water but not HOT water. I haven't tried an insulated aluminum bottle though. I might have to give that t try.

Guest's picture
Bryan

What about the Bamboo Bottle?! Priced at roughly $30, it's not TOO expensive. Glass "liner" for a clean taste. Bamboo exterior for style. Wide mouth that can accommodate ice/soup/etc. All made from recycled content. Ya can't beat it in my opinion!

Guest's picture

I LOVE my Klean Kanteen lg. wide-mouth insulated bottle. I tend to only put water in it though because I don't like when my water bottles pick up any taste from another beverage (my coffee mugs are for coffee, and I have one for tea, too).

I used my KK today and filled it with ice. I was outside at the garden for a few hours and I actually had to leave the bottle open so the ice would finally melt - when I left the bottle closed the ice stayed ice for hours.

Guest's picture
Jerry

I will invariable choose the convenience and insurance of a widemouth water bottle, for cleaning simplicity as well as being able to find the bigger lid (if it detaches)! I have a kleen kanteen, but I have wanted to try the Aquasana as well (they aren't selling them in this part of the world, though). Probably my most utilitarian water bottle is an excellent, metal Nissan thermos that I have had since my military days. It's camouflaged, and everything, but it sure does work well.
Jerry

Guest's picture
erin

I love life factory water bottles. They are glass, which is nice for people trying to avoid plastic or metal. It has a silicone sleeve to avoid breakage. And it is made in France (the bottle) and the U.S. (silicone cap and sleeve).