Water bottles: Which one is the best?

By Marion Fernandez
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Water bottles: Which one is the best?

Marion Fernandez
 
 
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As we have come to learn the carbon footprint that disposable water bottles put on the Earth, reusable water bottles have become the new norm for just about everyone. But not all reusable bottles are created equally. When you consider the various materials used in making water bottles as well as the different places you would carry one with you, you will find out that you have many options, but not every option is going to be right for you.

1. Glass

A glass water bottle is great on your desk, maybe not so practical for hiking or cycling
A glass water bottle is great on your desk, maybe not so practical for hiking or cycling

Glass bottles are nice and usually come with a soft coating to ensure they will not shatter if accidentally dropped. The pros are that they will not keep a smell or odd flavor, are easy to see inside of to make sure that they are clean, and usually easy to keep clean. The biggest con to these water bottles, beyond the risk of breaking, is that they are usually heavy, making them a poor choice for carting around in your backpack on a hike.

They do work well at your desk or they can work for a workout as long as you are not carrying them around with you. Glass has been used for many generations and has proven to be continually reliable.

2. Stainless Steel

Steel is a popular choice of water bottle, especially for backpackers. The metal does not leach any chemicals into your water, they will not wear out, and they cannot melt. If you get a wide-mouth kind, they are easy to clean and can be used to boil water over a campfire in a bind. The biggest disadvantages are that there is typically a slight metallic taste to your water and they are not known for their insulating abilities. Some stainless steel brands are coated, adding in an insulated layer, but standard stainless steel is not going to retain the cold.

3. Plastic

Plastic water bottles are pretty durable
Plastic water bottles are pretty durable

I would say that plastic still holds the crown as the most popular type of reusable water bottle. They are lightweight, unlikely to break, and less expensive than other water bottle material types. There was a fear a few years ago about a material called BPA that could potentially leach into the water, but the majority of plastic bottles on the market, especially by a reputable brand, are BPA free.

Plastic water bottles do not have the longevity that glass or steel bottles do, meaning that they will have to be replaced now and again. This means they may not be ideal for an environmentally conscious person who is hoping to have a bottle for many years. They are excellent for school children, however, as they can usually be dropped pretty hard without breaking and work well in a school setting.

4. Collapsible

Thin and lightweight, collapsible bottles work best if you are limited on space. They do not provide insulation and can be challenging to wash, but they are excellent to just throw in a backpack empty since they are not going to take up much space.

5. Vacuum-Insulated

Vacuum-insulated water bottle
Vacuum-insulated water bottle

These are the absolute best for keeping your water hot or cold all day long. They come with two inner chambers that create an unmatched level of insulating. As a result, the outside temperature cannot change the temperature within your bottle. I have even seen bottles in a car on a 100 degree day that still had ice cubes after several hours. These bottles do have their cons as well. They are often a little clunky and heavy, making them a rough choice to take with you backpacking, unless you choose a small bottle.

All in all, reusable bottles are vastly superior over their disposable counterparts. No matter your price point or your needs, there is a reusable bottle out there for you.

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