Stay Hydrated, My Friends takes a look at all things hydration, dehydration and the different ways to meet your daily water needs.
Reusable water bottles in pastel shades and intricate patterns have become somewhat of a style statement in recent years, but there are many other compelling reasons to carry one with you daily.
For one, you already know that reusable bottles can help reduce the waste that ends up in landfills and oceans. Research shows that there are at over 150 million tons of plastics in the ocean today, and if things don't change, the ocean is expected to contain more plastics than fish by weight by 2050, per the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
Another unsettling fact: It's estimated that only 9 percent of plastic waste has been recycled, per a 2018 report from the United Nations Environment Programme. Whether it's made of glass, plastic or metal, a reusable water bottle is more sustainable than single-use plastic.
Having a go-to water bottle can also help you save money and stay hydrated.
"Any reusable water bottle is going to be cheaper than buying bottled water if you use it every day," says Natalie Allen, RD. "It also makes tracking your fluid intake a little easier. You always know how many ounces of fluid are in your reusable bottle, and how many times you fill it each day."
Long gone are the days of boring, plastic bottles being the only go-to reusable accessory for hydration. You can choose from a plethora of high-quality bottles in different materials, sizes and styles to best fit your needs.
What to Look for in a Water Bottle
Here's what to consider when you're shopping for a reusable water bottle that's perfect for your lifestyle.
- Material: Reusable water bottles are available in glass, plastic and metal (like stainless steel or aluminum). Which one works best for you will depend on your lifestyle.
"Drinking out of metal bottles may cause a metallic taste for people on certain medications or getting certain treatments like chemotherapy," Allen says. Meanwhile, a metal or plastic bottle may be more realistic than a glass bottle if you, say, have young children and breakage is a higher risk. If you prefer glass bottles but want a durable option, look for borosilicate glass, which is non-toxic and more durable than other types of glass.
- Lid: It's a simple reminder, but choose one that will encourage you to drink more. "Think about if you need something that has a screw-on lid or if you want to use a reusable straw or spout," Allen says. If you take your water bottle with you to the gym or on runs, you may want a lid you don't need to unscrew each time.
- Size: You want a water bottle that encourages you to drink more water, but if it is too large and clunky, you'll be less likely to carry it with you. "I would recommend either a 24-ounce or 32-ounce bottle because that's about three to four cups — a reasonable amount to drink at a meal or another period of time," Allen says. "You can better track how much you're drinking when you use the same container for drinking at meals as you do during the day."
- Insulation: If you spend a lot of time outdoors or love drinking ice-cold water, make sure your water bottle is well-insulated. "For many people, temperature drives how much you drink," Allen says. "Another thing to think about is if the lid is wide enough for you to easily add ice." Glass, metal and plastic water bottles all come in insulated varieties.
- Aesthetic: Some water bottles come with time markers to show how much water you've consumed in a given day, which can prevent you from getting dehydrated in the first place. "By the time you're thirsty, you're already experiencing about 1 percent dehydration," Allen says. It's also worth choosing a water bottle that you think looks good or is your favorite color. After all, if you like how it looks, you're more likely to carry it with you and drink from it, Allen adds.
What to Watch Out for in a Water Bottle
If you're using a reusable water bottle, you're already on your way to staying hydrated and helping the environment. That said, there are a few things to be cautious about when picking a water bottle.
- BPA: Most plastic water bottles are now made without the chemical bisphenol A (BPA), which some early research has found to be an endocrine disruptor. These chemicals mimic or interfere with the natural hormones in your body and are linked to development, brain, reproductive, immune and other issues, per the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
More research is needed to determine BPA's health effects on humans, and the Food & Drug Administration has stated that BPA is safe at low levels. That said, if you want to play it safe, look for a bottle that's BPA-free — and keep in mind that some bottle tops are sometimes lined with BPA, per the Mayo Clinic.
- Lead: This is a toxic substance that accumulates in the body and can pose a health hazard even in small amounts over time. It's especially harmful to children, pregnant women and unborn babies, per the California Department of Public Health. For most people, dishes like reusable water bottles don't pose a significant risk of lead exposure, but you can double-check the label for terms likes like "lead-free."
- Hand-wash only: If your reusable water bottle isn't dishwasher-friendly, make sure you're willing to clean it regularly by hand (and have a brush to do so, if necessary). Popular brands like S'well and REI recommend cleaning daily or after each use. Beyond preventing germs from flourishing, regularly emptying and washing your reusable water bottle will help prevent odor and taste problems.
- Bulky size: There are many super-sized bottles available on the market, but think about where you'll use your water bottle. For instance, if it's going with you in the car or on a treadmill, make sure it can easily fit into cup holders. "A large bottle tends to be much more cumbersome, so you have to consider what works for you," Allen says.
9 Best Reusable Water Bottles to Buy
1. Sunwill Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle
This metal water bottle comes in a number of stunning shades and features vacuum insulation technology that keeps drinks chilled for up to 24 hours. With its slim, soda-bottle-shape design, it fits most cup holders and is easy to hold in hand.
Amazon reviewers note that this bottle is great for keeping water ice-cold and that the available colors are particularly eye-catching.
2. Pogo Plastic Water Bottle With Chug Lid
This 32-ounce water bottle features a carry loop that makes it easy to take on a walk and a spout that stays covered when you're not using it. If you're not a fan of hand-cleaning water bottles, this dishwasher-safe and BPA-free bottle is a great, fuss-free option.
Amazon reviewers say that it is a leak-proof, easy-to-carry bottle that fits snugly in a car cup holder. What's more, its markings will help you track how many ounces of water you've consumed throughout the day.
Buy it: Amazon; Price: $8.99
3. OMORC Sport Fruit Infuser Water Bottle
If you prefer flavored water, this bottle will help you drink more without resorting to sugar-spiked or artificially sweetened drinks.
Fill the full-length infuser rod with mandarins, lemons, limes, mint or anything else to add a splash of taste to your hydration routine. This bottle is BPA-free, leak-proof and durable, with dual anti-slip grips. You'll receive a cleaning brush with it, but you can also put this bottle directly in the dishwasher.
4. Simple Modern Summit Water Bottle
This stainless steel bottle features a wide mouth and is double-walled and vacuum-insulated with a thin layer of copper to keep your water cold for hours. It comes with two lids: a stainless steel lid and a leak-proof flip lid.
Amazon reviewers say this bottle is ideal for keeping water cold and ice cubes solid. What's more, Simple Modern donates a minimum of 10 percent of its profits each year to help others.
Buy it: Amazon; Price: $20.99
5. Yomious Borosilicate Glass Water Bottle
This 20-ounce glass water bottle has a bamboo lid and sleek, silicone sleeve. The glass and silicone are dishwasher safe (the bamboo lid should be washed by hand), and the bottle as a whole is durable and won't crack from extreme hot or cold temperatures.
Amazon reviewers are quick to sing praises about this bottle's wide mouth — easy for cleaning and perfect for drinking — and the leak-proof nature of the bamboo lid.
6. Tronco Glass Tumbler
If you prefer to sip water through a straw, this 20-ounce glass tumbler is a great choice. It features a reusable straw that, like the rest of the container, is dishwasher safe. A colorful silicone sleeve will prevent it from sweating in warm weather.
Amazon reviewers rave about the aesthetically pleasing design, and also note that it's the ideal size for taking in the car or sipping throughout the day.
7. Iron Flask Sports Water Bottle
This iron water bottle comes in a range of sizes from 14 ounces to 64 ounces and will keep your water cold for up to 24 hours. It also comes with three different lids — a carabiner straw lid with two straws, a flip lid and a stainless steel lid.
It is BPA-free and comes in a variety of solid and ombre shades. Amazon reviewers note that this is a high-quality metal option that's not as expensive as more common brands.
Buy it: Amazon; Price: $12.99 to $34.95
8. Giotto Time Marker Bottle
This BPA-free water bottle is designed to motivate, with helpful time markers and inspirational reminders for your daily hydration goals. The mouth is wide enough to easily fit ice cubes, and the flip-top lid has a secure lock to make it dust and leak-proof.
You'll need to wash this bottle by hand, but Amazon reviewers note that it's still easy to clean with a small brush — and that it helps in reaching water intake goals.
Buy it: Amazon; Price: $18.99
This metal bottle with a BPA-free lid is totally sweat-proof, which means you'll be able to grip it easily while hiking, biking, traveling or simply carrying it around the house. It is vacuum-sealed with an inner stainless steel lining that keeps water cold for up to 24 hours.
You can easily pop small ice cubes and chopped fruit into its 1¼-inch diameter mouth, and it fits in standard cup holders. This set of two 17-ounce water bottles is great if you're looking for a slightly smaller bottle, or want to give one to a family member or friend as well.
Buy it: Amazon; Price: $11.99
- Ellen MacArthur Foundation: "The New Plastics Economy: Thinking the Future of Plastics"
- United Nations Environment Programme: "Single-Use Products"
- National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences: "Endocrine Disruptors"
- U.S. Food & Drug Administration: Bisphenol A (BPA): Use in Food Contact Application
- Mayo Clinic: "Nutrition and healthy eating"
- California Department of Public Health: "Questions and Answers About Lead in Tableware"