Can you help me find the perfect water bottle for every-day use?
March 11, 2009 9:42 AM   Subscribe

Can you help me find the perfect water bottle for every-day use?

Recently, due to understandable financial reasons, my employer got rid of the complimentary filtered water at work. I'd like to start bringing in a bottle from home that I'll fill up with my own filtered water in the mornings before I leave for work. I'll then drink direct from this bottle throughout the day.

For my water bottle, here is my criteria:

1.) Used every day for a few years.
2.) No condensation (it will be kept, full of cold water, inside my messenger bag on the way to work and I don't want to get my other things wet)
3.) Leak proof when "closed"
4.) No need to accommodate hot liquid, or to keep the water cold.
5.) Somewhat stylish (I like contemporary aesthetics - I'm not a fan of the looks of standard Nalgene bottles but I don't hate them)
6.) Wont give me some disease/make me sick due to the materials it's made with. (I hear plastics are bad for water bottles?...)
7.) Storage for ~20-40oz of liquid.
8.) Easy to clean (either via a quick rinse, or dishwasher safe)
9.) Non-filtered (I don't want to mess around with replacing a filter, and the water going into it is already filtered)
10.) Cost: I'm willing to pay for quality & durability. Probably upwards of $30-40 if it's going to last a while.

Initially, I was considering going the SIGG route, but #2 above (condensation) was an issue with the SIGG I used to have.

My question is, based on the criteria above, what water bottle should I get? If your water bottle doesn't' meet the criteria above, but it's super awesome, share the info anyway! I bet some of you have really awesome water bottles, and I'd like to know what you're using.

posted by xotis to Food & Drink (33 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I have a tendency to lose things like this, so what I did was simply score a case of bottled water and just refill 'em as I empty 'em. You can easily get 24-30 in a single case and use them till you lose them or they get too beat up. Meets all of your criteria other than "stylish" and comes in way under your price range.
posted by valkyryn at 9:52 AM on March 11, 2009

I have been very happy with my Oggi aluminum bottle, which almost meets all your criteria, with these caveats:

#1: I have had it for months, not years, but I foresee it lasting years.

#5: Whether or not its stylish is a personal decision, but I like the looks of it.

#8: Not dishwasher safe, but a quick rinse is enough.

It has not condensed on me, and the screwtop is very secure so it hasn't leaked either. I've seen it retail from $7 to $13.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 9:53 AM on March 11, 2009

we also go the buy a bottle of water, use it for a few weeks, get a new one. you don't have to worry about losing it. although, condensation i think would still be a problem. you might want to get a tea towel to wrap on the outside.
posted by nadawi at 9:55 AM on March 11, 2009

My husband and I have about five of these Camelbak bottles between us. I've had mine for about three years now, use them every day, and they've met all your criteria, plus they're inexpensive.
posted by anderjen at 10:04 AM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm extremely happy with my Klean Kanteen water bottle! It is made of stainless steel and comes in a variety of colors and sizes.
posted by Hanuman1960 at 10:04 AM on March 11, 2009 [2 favorites]

I, too, love my Klean Kanteen (the "sport" cap can leak, though, but the normal one does not. I haven't had a problem with the sport cap, personally). The condensation bit may be an issue, if you had that problem with the Sigg, but I'd personally make or buy a nice fabric sleeve for it.

I think condensation will probably be an issue with just about any water bottle, unless it's insulated.
posted by darksong at 10:10 AM on March 11, 2009

Seconding anderjen's recommendation of the Camelbak Better Bottle. I absolutely love mine.

Lightweight, as sturdy as Nalgene, excellent design, stylish (in a Camelbak sort of way), absolutely leakproof, and intelligently designed to make drinking really easy. Nothing to unscrew / rescrew, just an easy flip that you can do hands-free if necessary, and a little bite of the valve.
posted by charmcityblues at 10:14 AM on March 11, 2009

Seconding the CamelBak Better Bottle that anderjen linked to . . . I bought one after seeing a friend use hers frequently and then bought another, and another . . . they're just great and wonderful, btw, to keep bedside since there's no chance of spilling and they're easy to access when you are only half awake.
posted by donovan at 10:16 AM on March 11, 2009

Also, BPA free (the bad plastic stuff you're probably thinking of) and available in a variety of sizes.
posted by charmcityblues at 10:16 AM on March 11, 2009

2.) No condensation (it will be kept, full of cold water, inside my messenger bag on the way to work and I don't want to get my other things wet)
4.) No need to accommodate hot liquid, or to keep the water cold.

You may not specifically need to keep the water cold, but "no condensation" implies some sort of insulation. Without it, cold water = cold bottle = condensation.

I have the same Camelbak bottle anderjen links to, and I absolutely love it, but it definitely does not meet your "no condensation" criterion.

6.) Wont give me some disease/make me sick due to the materials it's made with. (I hear plastics are bad for water bottles?...)

Some plastic water bottles contain bisphenol A (BPA), which can leach into the water and may be harmful. However, many manufacturers now make BPA-free plastic bottles. Those that are generally are advertised as such.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:20 AM on March 11, 2009

Best answer: Sigg makes an insulating sleeve that will keep the water cold and absorb condensation.
posted by sanko at 10:23 AM on March 11, 2009

On further contemplation: if you don't care if your drinking water is room temperature, but keep the filtered water in the fridge, could you just fill the bottle the night before and leave it out? Then in the morning you have a bottle of room temperature water, hence no condensation inside your bag. (In which case I wholeheartedly support the Camelbak Better Bottle recommendation.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:29 AM on March 11, 2009

Check your local bike shop for a bicycle water bottle. The ones that have 'Xtreme' molded into the bottom seal well and come in a larger size than some - 750cc I think. If you knock it over, the nipple prevents spilling assuming you leave it closed between sips.
Any cold object will condense in a humid climate - that's property of water vapor, not of the bottle. A neoprene or other insulating sleeve that keeps moist air away from it will prevent the condensation and keep the water colder, too.
posted by TruncatedTiller at 10:36 AM on March 11, 2009

Best answer: If you don't put cold water into the Sigg (or other metal container), it doesn't get condensation on it. You can also sew a very simple sleeve for it or buy a nice neoprene one that fits perfectly - also helps with it banging around on other stuff in your bag.
posted by barnone at 10:41 AM on March 11, 2009

I have a Rubbermaid bottle that I've been using for about a year now that fits your list except I wouldn't call it stylish. But it's perfectly capable and it's free of the harmful chemicals in some plastics. The tag it came with said so.

Bonus, it was $3.99.
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:43 AM on March 11, 2009

PS: I love my Sigg and much prefer the taste of water in a metal container than a plastic one. It somehow tastes cleaner and fresher.
posted by barnone at 10:43 AM on March 11, 2009

Nthing Camelbak. I've got the 24-oz version and I absolutely love it.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 10:45 AM on March 11, 2009

If you don't think you're likely to break the bottle, I would recommend glass screw-top bottles. It's about as chemically inert as you can get. Plus, you have a virtually infinite and dirt-cheap selection available to you at any supermarket.

I went this route after experimenting with all manner of bottles for work and home use.

Right now I use a bottle that used to hold kombucha. It has about a 2 inch top opening, which is perfect for gulping down water at work without risk of spilling all over myself (a serious problem with the wider-mouth bottles).

As for the condensation in your bag, you could either purchase a neoprene sleeve or make one out of scrap neoprene or cloth.

The one caution with a glass bottle is that after a month or so of constant use, sometimes the epoxy gets worn off the screw top. At that point, go spend another $3 on a delicious beverage and start using that bottle.
posted by MonsieurBon at 10:50 AM on March 11, 2009

Wide-mouth BPA-free Nalgene is easy to clean, lightweight and inexpensive. Add in one of the drink plugs (basically a flat disk that partially occludes the opening so you can easily drink out of it without spilling) and a neoprene sleeve to absorb moisture, and you're set.

SIGG would probably be great, if you're OK with it not having a wide mouth. I have some cheaper aluminum bottles along with a few Nalgenes I keep in the fridge; the aluminum seems to stay cold longer (or at least it feels like it does). Again, neoprene sleeve for condensation - or simply avoid using cold water and use room-temp to begin with.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:59 AM on March 11, 2009

nthing the Cambelbak. I prefer the one with the straw.
posted by spec80 at 11:07 AM on March 11, 2009

posted by spec80 at 11:08 AM on March 11, 2009

My hack for cleaning my water bottle is to use denture tablets. I get a box of 12 at the dollar store and drop one in my water bottle overnight whenever it starts to get funky.
posted by kidsleepy at 11:38 AM on March 11, 2009 [5 favorites]

Yep, one more for the Camelback bottle. I use mine daily.
posted by wile e at 11:41 AM on March 11, 2009

Plastic offers a little more insulation than stainless steel, which I think offers a little more insulation than aluminum (SIGG) (though not much). But you will have condensation on anything that isn't a fully insulated piece, so it's possible that the best thing for you is a big insulated Thermos. This one is big and sexy!

As you can see from the comments above, condensation is going to be a problem pretty much equally with almost any non-insulated bottle you choose. TruncatedTiller's suggestion of an insulating/neoprene sleeve is one you should seriously consider.

I use a Klean Kanteen. It is stainless steel, which is a known, proven material that does not absorb 'funky' smells, is easily cleaned with baking soda, and has never been linked to chemical leaching. I even got the special stainless steel top, to minimize the plastic in contact with the water. I trust #5 plastic, but it can absorb odors from stale water.

The Camelbaks everyone likes have two downsides to me. One is that the top looks like a pain to clean, with all those fussy bits. The other is that it is made with "Tritan copolyester" plastic, with is The Latest Designer Plastic to replace the polycarbonate that Nalgene (and all the others) used for so long that are only now discovered to have been leaching BPA into our water. Simply put, I've been burned once by designer plastic, and I don't trust this latest one. Just because it doesn't have BPA doesn't mean it's safe.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 12:08 PM on March 11, 2009 [2 favorites]

Guyot's stainless bottles are nice, and a bit more indestructible than a Sigg or Nalgene or similar (though the Siggs and Nalgenes are pretty indestructible in their own right). They're single-wall, though, so you might need to address the condensation issue with a koozy or something.
posted by box at 12:45 PM on March 11, 2009

I also want to plug the Kleen Kanteen, now in "Kolors." Don't let the fact that the initials are "KKK" sway you--it's an awesome product, even if marketing was somewhat misguided in naming it.
posted by Lullen at 1:43 PM on March 11, 2009

Another vote for the Camelback bottle. I put up with the condensation because I love the straw.
posted by birdwatcher at 2:18 PM on March 11, 2009

Water is heavy, why carry it around when there's all these cool pipes and faucets? Buy a britta pitcher and keep it at work.

Fill it from the tap in the morning and drink it as the day goes on. This makes the cup issue irrelevant. I bought a 20 pack of big plastic party cups and take out a new at the start of every week - they have a lower initial energy consumption with creation and don't use energy to wash.
posted by phearlez at 2:47 PM on March 11, 2009

I have the Camelbak bottle mentioned a few posts above. I love it, and it's just narrow enough that if you can find a reasonable-looking neoprene koozie you can squeeze it on and it solves the condensation problem.
posted by cebailey at 3:48 PM on March 11, 2009

[the following is just one person's opinion and may be completely disregarded if you like]

I really do not like the use of "reusable" bottles.
Particularly after I found mold growing in mine!

I thought I was cleaning sufficiently but that wasn't happening.

My current preference is to purchase a case of either water or some kind of sports drink. Reuse the bottle for the period of a week, and toss it. Then use another.

I cannot stress this enough to suit myself (remember, you may disregard this COMPLETELY).
The mold growing in the bottle grossed me out SO MUCH that I was ready to give up on drinking water from a bottle.

posted by Drasher at 7:24 PM on March 11, 2009

This Slate article also has some good tips.
posted by invisible ink at 10:16 PM on March 11, 2009

You can cut the foot off of a sock & use the leg part as a bottle sleeve to absorb condensation. (You might wanna buy a big sock depending on the bottle.)
posted by pseudostrabismus at 12:40 AM on March 12, 2009

Response by poster: Update: I ended up getting a SIGG and a neoprene sleeve. So far it's been working well! The bottle gets condensation on it, but the sleeve prevents it from ruining any papers that I have in my bag with the bottle.
posted by xotis at 9:05 AM on April 13, 2009

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