The best insulated water bottles of 2023 | Popular Science

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An included silicon bumper protects from dings and dents.

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The hottest accessory of the season (or maybe it’s the coolest, depending on the contents) is an insulated water bottle. Although that sounds a little zany to say in a world of Amazon and Etsy, the #emotionalsupportwaterbottle tag on TikTok has 45.1 million views, with hundreds of videos of people showing off their rotation of reusable water bottles—plural—in a variety of colors, sizes, and brands. Those looking for this level of attachment—something trustworthy and always at your side, much like an emotional support animal—often turn to insulated varieties, which can keep drinks frosty for hours sans condensation, making them perfect travel companions. The best insulated water bottles go the distance when it comes to keeping drinks icy in style, and here are our picks.

As a former field hockey player and marching band kid, I know the importance of a water bottle that can go from class to sports practice to band rehearsal without breaking a sweat—literally. Although I was both an average athlete and slightly better musician, I can say with confidence that I’m a water bottle expert (hydration is very important to me, a water sign). Although my current hydration MVP is a pink 32-ounce Nalgene plastic water bottle I was excited to rescue from my college bookstore’s lost & found, I’ve had insulated water bottles from Yeti, Hydro Flask, Stanley, and Kleen Kanteen in my rotation. I also looked at critical reviews and user recommendations and conducted first-hand testing to separate the bad bottles from the rest of the bunch. The only thing we don’t like to keep bottled up at PopSci is our feelings on the best buys. 

One of the biggest reasons to opt for one of the best insulated water bottles and not something like the BPA-free Tritan plastic in my Nalgene bottle is the vacuum insulation—a small gap of air between the bottle walls to reduce conduction, keeping liquids hot or cold for several hours. Additionally, this also prevents the outer layer from sweating and causing water marks on some surfaces. Plastic may be durable and is less likely to dent in a fall, but it will warm up if left in a hot car. Beyond temperature retention, there are certain things to keep in mind when picking an insulated water bottle.

These insulated water bottles will leave you feeling refreshed—hydration-wise and “this water bottle is a nice step-up from the other things I’ve used”-wise.

Why it made the cut: Throw it in your backpack and then throw it in the dishwasher—this bottle is meant to keep up with busy lifestyles. 

There was stiff competition to name the best overall water bottle. However, the Yeti Rambler takes home the top prize. It’s more durable than other contenders like Hydro Flask, and the powder coating has a great feel and grip to it. The bottle itself comes in a plethora of fun colors (with equally fun names like “Bimini Pink” and “King Crab”), and the number of accessories you can get for your bottle is astonishing. We think the included Chug Cap is a happy medium between wide-mouth ease and narrow-mouth accessibility; you can remove the Chug Cap for washing and ice insertion and put it back on for spillage-free sips. 

The handle on the bottle feels sturdy and is grabble—an important feature for slippy-fingered people like myself. Even the straw cap warrants major kudos—you don’t have to touch the straw part to flip it up, and the handle is offset, so you can sip without any logistical problems. Yeti advertises 12-24 hours for keeping iced drinks cold, but we think it can keep drinks cold for closer to 36 hours. Although the five-year warranty is great in theory, other comparable brands feature a lifetime warranty on their bottles. And, although the price is great in the long run, you can technically get an insulated water bottle that will last just as long (with more dings and dents) but is cheaper. However, we think Yeti is worth the investment.

Why it made the cut: Insulated water bottles are already sustainable, but Klean Kanteen’s 90% post-consumer 18/8 stainless steel composition goes the extra eco-friendly mile.

If you thought your reusable water bottle was saving the planet, wait until you meet the Klean Kanteen TKWide line. The company states that 95 percent of its products will be made from recycled steel by 2023; however, the TKWide line is explicitly made from recycled steel right now. 

We love the innovative twist cap straw design, which hides the straw mouthpiece completely until use, meaning it’s only exposed to the world when you want it to be. The internal thread design uses a series of rounded bumps rather than a line of threads to create a better seal, keeping your drinks cooler for longer. There are multiple cap options available to turn your TKWide into a tumbler for iced coffee or transform it into athletic mode with the sport cap. If you’re looking for a bottle with a sleek handle, the TKWide metal loop cap is for you. It’s easy to snag with two fingers, but it might not be for you if you’re looking for something truly grabbable.

Why it made the cut: A large, flexible handle, included silicon bumper, and leakproof design are all game-winning features.

When looking for an insulated water bottle with a straw cap, we like to see some specific features: a durable handle that isn’t in the way of the straw itself; a ridge to easily flip up the straw so it doesn’t come in contact with sweaty or dirty hands; and a leakproof design. The Takeya Pickleball Insulated Water Bottle with Straw Lid checks off all these boxes, with an included silicone bumper to prevent damage. A powder coating makes this bottle durable and easy to hold, and the large handle makes it easy to clip onto a backpack or carry around. 

These bottles are also cheaper than others on this list of a similar size—for example, a 32-ounce Hydroflask retails for $44.95, depending on where you purchase it. This bottle retails for $39.99, which is a steal considering it comes with a silicone bumper, which other companies sell separately. We think everyone is sleeping on this Japanese brand. If you’re looking for a serious step-up option, check out the Titanium Aurora Bottle from Snow Peak, a Japanese outdoors brand founded out of the snowy mountains that crafts elevated everyday items.

Why it made the cut: This lightweight bottle has an included silicone boot for extra protection.

It was tough to choose between this and the Yeti Rambler Jr. as best for kids. However, the included silicon boot—which other companies sell as a separate accessory—and kid-specific features like a place to write their name edged it out. It’s also lighter than the Yeti Rambler Jr., clocking in at 9.6 ounces compared to 1 pound.

The straw doesn’t need to be opened all the way to take a sip, which is a blessing and a curse: it’s easier to drink out of, but it’s not leakproof. Additionally, the handle is out of the way from taking a sip but is a little uncomfortable to hold since it requires you to hook your fingers rather than allow for a full grab. The company does sell water bottle slings separately, which can keep everyone hands-free. If this bottle doesn’t tickle your kid’s hydration fancy, check out our other picks for the best kid water bottles.

Why it made the cut: Clean water is all around you with this fabulous filtered bottle.

Finding clean water in the great outdoors is a struggle. Heck, even finding clean water in cities is difficult—looking at you, suss outdoor water fountain in the park. The LifeStraw Go Stainless Steel Water Filter Bottle gets rid of this drinkable debacle thanks to its included Titan Renew and membrane microfilters, which protect against parasites, microplastics, chlorine, organic chemical matter, dirt, sand, and cloudiness, while also improving taste. 

Specifically, LifeStraw’s membrane microfilter removes 99.999999% of bacteria, 99.999% of parasites, 99.999% of microplastics, silt, sand, and cloudiness. It meets NSF 42 standard for chlorine reduction and meets U.S. EPA & NSF P231 drinking water standards for the removal of bacteria and parasites. This means you can also have access to clean water internationally. The carbon filter costs around $10 to replace, and the replacement two-stage membrane filter costs around $25. However, these filters only need replacing every 1,000 gallons—that’s a lot of lake water. Although it’s heavier than other insulated water bottles, doesn’t fit in standard cup holders, and only comes in one size, we think the benefits of clean water outweigh these cons. If you’re looking for a bottle with UV light filtering, consider the LARQ PureVis Bottle, which is also self-cleaning.

Why it made the cut: This jug is easy to carry and keeps drinks cold for hours, making it easy to drink more water.

Stanley Adventure Quencher travel tumblers are currently every TikTok drink girlie’s must-have item. A TikTok drink girlie is a person (girlie is gender neutral) who has at least three beverages on their person at once, one of them being some sort of chaotic Utah soda concoction or an iced coffee. Stanley makes a mean water bottle as well, and its 64-ounce Ice Flow Flip Straw Jug is our favorite. Unlike other jugs, which come with a narrower mouthpiece for chugging, this water bottle comes with a straw for easy sipping—no one wants to recreate the water-chair scene in Flashdance IRL, at least not unintentionally. 

Its temperature control is also unbeatable—four days with ice is a long time! The large, moveable handle allows you to carry the (objectively heavy) jug with ease. I have an older model of this jug with a fixed handle, and I’m debating swapping it out for this model. Although it won’t fit in your cupholder, you can throw it on the floor of your car without worrying about it tipping over—and if it does, you’re less likely to experience any spills.

Why it made the cut: You don’t have to sacrifice quality for price with this bottle, which has the same cooling times and features as more expensive varieties. 

If you’re looking for quality on a budget, look no further than cooler-aficionado Igloo. Although the company doesn’t sell any accessory mouthpieces—you’re kinda stuck with the wide mouth bottle with twist cap—you might be able to get away with finding an accessory cap from another company (which we are obligated to say, do this at your own risk). This bottle features similar specs as our best overall, the Yeti Rambler, at a fraction of the price. The products even have almost identical dimensions and handle shapes. Which is to say we love this bottle for the same reasons we love the Rambler: a powder coat finish for durability, an ergonomic handle, and lasting cooling power.

Size: Insulated water bottles bring plenty of bounce to the ounce; the water bottles on this list range from 18 ounces all the way up to 64 ounces. Shop for a size based on your water intake. If you’re a frequent hydrator or athlete, you might want to consider a bottle that is 32 ounces and up. For on-the-go use, I personally enjoy a water bottle in the 24- to 32-ounce range—it’s not too small that I need to refill it constantly, but not a complete lug to haul around. However, I have a 64-ounce water bottle for the sole purpose of getting in my daily water intake without having to refill. Those looking for super-extra hydration should consider a gallon water bottle. Tiny tykes who don’t need that much water should aim for a 12-ounce bottle.

Dishwasher friendliness: You should wash your stainless steel water bottle after every use, regardless of what was in the bottle. Not all stainless steel bottles are dishwasher safe, however. Warm, soapy water and a sponge does the trick for bottles that require handwashing. If you have a bottle with a narrower opening or one that has hard-to-reach crevices—which equals a stinky, smelly, stainless steel bottle—look for a bottle brush or bottle-cleaning tabs to take care of the job. All of the bottles on our list are dishwasher safe.

Sip preferences: Wide-mouth water bottles are great if you want a cup-like sipping experience or want to throw in some ice hassle-free. However, you might get some spillage on your shirt and face in public, which is humbling, to say the least. A narrow mouth prevents that but is harder to load up with ice. A flip-up straw lets you sip your water as you please, but can be harder to chug based on the model. Companies often sell separate cap accessories to customize a sipping experience to your liking. 

Weight & durability: Stainless steel vacuum-insulated water bottles tend to be light and durable, thanks to 18/8 stainless steel, which refers to its elemental composition: 18% chromium and 8% nickel. However, there is still a possibility for dings during use since some bottles have a thinner outer layer of stainless steel compared to others. This makes them lighter in weight but more prone to dents. And, like phone screens, you never know if your bottle will survive a short fall on concrete or a 3-foot tumble down a mountain. 

Additionally, the bottle’s paint coating affects its durability. Powder-coated bottles are less prone to scratches and peeling than liquid-coated bottles. The powder coating also gives the bottle more grip, which prevents it from slipping out of your hands. Handles, slings, and silicon sleeves can add personality and keep your bottle ding-and-dent-free. 

Thankfully, you can allegedly fix a dented bottle with some hot and cold water or a hairdryer and dry ice. This is all to say that a bottle with a thicker outer layer and a powder paint coating will typically experience fewer dents. 

No. Stainless steel (and titanium) water bottles are made from food-grade material resistant to corrosion and oxidation. Unlike aluminum bottles, they do not need a protective inner coating. And, unlike plastic bottles, they do not leach chemicals when exposed to warm beverages or heat. In fact, using a stainless steel water bottle is your safest bet when it comes to drinking receptacles.

If it’s dishwasher safe, just place it in the dishwasher on the left or right of the top rack, upside down. If it’s handwash-only, some warm, soapy water, a sponge, and some elbow grease are perfect. Bottlebrushes can help clean bottles with narrow openings or crevices. Bottle-cleaning tablets work in a pinch or on stubborn stains. 

Per TSA, insulated water bottles are allowed in carry-on bags as long as they’re empty before entering security. If you walk through security with an insulated water bottle that’s filled, you will risk confiscation or getting pulled aside. It’s best to make the TSA agent’s life easier by filling up your bottle after passing security. 

With proper use and care, you can get 10-12 years out of your insulated water bottle. Considering most high-quality insulated water bottles are in the $25-$60 range, that means you’re helping the environment while getting excellent cost-per-use. 

Most insulated water bottles cost around $30, although you’ll have to pay a little more if you want one in a larger size.

Choosing the best insulated water bottle doesn’t have to dry out your spirit. You can find high-quality bottles to fit your liking and lifestyle across all price points. Handles, different mouthpieces, accessories, stickers, and fun colors can help you personalize your water bottle so it matches your personality. Hydration is essential, but who says it should be boring?

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.

Amanda Reed is a commerce updates writer at Popular Science. She makes sure all product round-ups are up-to-date, shares deals happening all over the internet, and reviews various gizmos and gadgets.

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