Water powers any good ride. But even if you understand the importance of good hydration, it's not always easy to drink up when you're biking.
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In my decades as a cycling commuter, I've battled bike water bottles that are leaky, hard to open and taste.... well, let's call it funny. It took me years to find water bottles that I like enough to actually use on the road.
So, to help us leave these issues in the dust, I had some heart-to-hearts with competitive cyclists, coaches and industry experts.
The result: the definitive list of the best bike water bottles you can buy — plus the shopping tips you need to make the right purchase for you and your ride.
1. Best Overall: Camelbak Podium Chill Bike Bottle
- Sizes: 21 and 24 oz.
- Colors: 11
Camelbak's Podium Bike Bottle series is considered the best bike water bottle by many experts.
"I've owned dozens of bottles over the years, but I always keep coming back to the Podium Chill," says Ellen Spann, a cycling industry professional at Kozy's Cyclery in Chicago.
She loves this bike's self-sealing nozzle, which prevents leaks and can be easily tossed in a bag without fear of spills. The nozzle can also be completely disassembled for easy cleaning.
Michelle Stratton, CSCS, owner and head coach for sTrive Human Performance, also loves the Podium Chill. "It easily glides in and out of most standard cages and has an insulated later that maintains the temperature of your water, sport drink, or pre-made mixture," she says.
Buy it: Camelbak.com; Price: $14-16
2. Best Budget: Camelbak Podium Bike Bottle
- Sizes: 21 and 24 oz.
- Colors: 8
This is the non-insulated version of Camelbak's Podium Bike Bottle. Spann says this as a good option if you're looking for a cheaper bottle and aren't concerned with keeping beverages cold.
Like other Podium Series bottles, this non-insulated version features a self-sealing nozzle and a squeezable design that makes it easy to suck in water while on the go. It fits in all standard bottle racks, or cages.
Buy it: Camelbak.com; Price: $10-11
3. Best Secure Top: Fidlock TWIST Bottle 600 + Bike Base
- Size: 600 ml
- Colors: 3
Bumpy roads and trails can cause water bottles to leap out of their cages, explains Jen Kates, CPT, a performance coach at Shift Human Performance. That's a big concern for urban commuters, gravel bikers and mountain bikers. I've had a few bottles fly off my bike on my own commutes, and it's never fun to go back and try to find your bottle.
Kates, an avid mountain biker, loves the Fidlock system because it uses a magnetic snap case to securely snap your bottle into place and prevent it going rogue.
To use this system, you'll need to purchase both the TWIST bottle and the magnetic base that attaches to your bike frame. This set packs them both.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $39.99
4. Best Insulated: Polar Bottle Breakaway Insulated Bolt
- Sizes: 20 and 24 oz.
- Colors: 3
Insulated bottles keep your water cool and refreshing, which is important when you're breaking a sweat in high temps. And when it comes to insulation, Kates is all about Colorado-based company Polar Bottle.
Polar Bottle's Breakaway Bottle combines insulated technology with a self-sealing cap to prevent leaks and spills on your ride. Bonus: The cap on this best insulated bike water bottle disassembles to allow for easy cleaning.
Buy it: TrekBikes.com; Price: $14-15
5. Best for Mountain Bikers: Camelbak Podium Dirt Series Chill Bike Bottle
- Sizes: 21 oz.
- Colors: 4
The Camelbak Podium Dirt Series Chill Bike Bottle includes all the standard Podium Series features, as well as a removable nozzle cap to keep dirt and grime out of your nozzle while you ride.
Spann recommends this feature for mountain bikers or commuters who often bike on dusty terrain. I always get a lot of dirt on my bike while commuting in the city, so I appreciate having this extra layer of protection.
Buy it: Camelbak.com; Price: $17
6. Best for Taste: Specialized Purist MoFlo
- Size: 22 oz.
- Colors: 4
The Specialized Purist MoFlo combines several features our experts love in a bike bottle. It uses a nozzle that is leak-proof and easy to open, reducing the effort it takes to drink while riding. The bottle is shaped so it's easy to grip and grab from its cage.
Additionally, this BPA-free bottle uses Purist technology to keep the inside of your bottle clean and free of mold, odor or funky plastic taste. This is a great feature for riders who are particular about the taste of their water.
Buy it: Jensonusa.com; Price: $11.99
7. Best for Competitors: Profile Design Aero HC System
- Size: 828 ml
- Colors: 1
Most bike water bottles are designed to fit in a standard cage that's mounted on your bike frame. However, if you're a competitive triathlete (or road racer) riding with attached aero bars (which help riders say low and reduce drag), most bottles won't be accessible for you.
Instead, to look for an aero mounted bottle. Stratton recommends the Profile Design Aero HC System because "it allows riders to stay low in aero position while simply sipping through a straw that can be set to an adjustable height."
The Profile Design Aero HC System comes with a both a cage and bottle. This pairing is more affordable than other aero mounts, without sacrificing quality.
Buy it: Probikekit.com; Price: $52.99
8. Best for Charity: Portland Design Works Very Good Dog Purist Bottle
- Size: 26 oz.
- Colors: 4
Looking for a unique hydration bottle that will help you stand out on the road or trails? Spann loves the cute animal designs from Portland Design Works. PDW makes high quality bottles that support a good cause. The company donates a percentage of sales to local animal shelters and community organizations.
This BPA-free water bottle features Purist technology, which coats the inside of the bottle to prevent odor, mold and unpleasant plastic taste. A high-flow-rate nozzle combined with an easy-to-grip bottle shape means you can easily suck in water without interrupting your ride.
Buy it: Ridepdw.com; Price: $11.95
9. Best for Grip: Fabric Gripper Bottle
- Size: 550 and 650 ml
- Colors: 4
If you regularly bike in inclement weather (like I do), you may want a bottle that's especially easy to grip. I love the feel of this highly textured Fabric Gripper Bottle. It doen't slip out of my hands no matter how wet it gets.
You can purchase insulated and non-insulated versions of the Gripper Bottle.
Buy it: ChargeBikes.com; Price: $15.99-$16.99
10. Best Lightweight: Elite Fly
- Size: 550, 750 and 950 ml
- Colors: 10
"Saving ounces where you can is definitely an advantage at an elite level," Stratton says. "Anything can help over the course of longer distance races, even if it's a small difference."
The Elite Fly is one of the lightest bike water bottles on the market. The bottle is designed to make it easy to quickly extract from a cage and hold onto while riding at high speeds.
It also uses special odor-resistant plastic and can be disassembled for easy cleaning.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $10.99-$13.10
4 Things to Consider When Shopping for Bike Water Bottles
1. Bottle Size and Weight
Bike water bottles come in different sizes, ranging from 16 to 32 ounces (that's 473 to 926 milliliters). And the longer or harder your rides, the more water you'll need. And some people are just always thirsty!
Most bottles of all sizes easily fit in standard bike holders, or cages.
Casual riders don't need to worry about bottle weight, but if you compete at a high level, you may want to use a product that's as light as possible.
2. Nozzle Type
Nozzle style affects how easy it is to suck water out of the bottle while you're on the go. Ideally, you want a nozzle that is easy to open with your teeth. Some nozzles contain sealing technologies like locks or flow valves to prevent leaks and spills during your ride.
If you're biking on trails or gravel roads, you may want a bottle with a nozzle cap to keep dust and dirt out of your bottle. Nozzles and caps that can be fully disassembled are easier to clean.
3. Easy-Grip Features
You should be able to easily retrieve your bottle from the cage while riding. Some are designed with special grips so they won't slip out of your hands.
4. Bottle Material
Plastic: When shopping for plastic bike water bottles, make sure they are BPA-free. Also, some plastic picks are designed to protect against bad taste, odor and mold.
Stainless Steel: If you go this route, make sure the bottle fits in your cage. These types are not easy to open while you're on the bike, so be sure to plan extra hydration stops into your ride.
Insulated: You can find insulated bottles made from both plastic and stainless steel.