Updated June 2017
Wanting to keep you happy and hydrated out there, we updated this review for the summer of 2017. Newcomer products from Yeti, bkr, and Mirr, impressive on counts of durability, large capacity, and low weight, respectively, were added to the 2017 selection. Hydro Flask remains the bottle to beat, setting the bar high with stylish flair.
Best Overall Water Bottle and Top Pick for Stainless Steel
Hydro Flask Wide-Mouth Insulated
Effective insulation for hot and cold beverages
Comfortable carrying handle
Many color options
Minimal flavor retention
Easy to clean
For years, Hydro Flask has been making bottles that are brightly colored, sleek in shape, and simple in design. We compared the top bottles of 2017, and the Hydro Flask Wide-Mouth
checks all of the boxes needed to earn it out Editors' Choice award. The durability and overall design impressed us in testing, and the ease-of-use and cleaning allowed for high scores in our rating metrics. Though it is heavier than its plastic counterparts, we enjoyed the fact that the Hydro Flask kept our drinks hot on chilly days and cold on hot ones. From carrying around town to long backcountry hikes, we were always happy to take the Hydro Flask. The rim is smooth for sipping from and doesn't get hot when the bottle is full of hot liquid. The carrying handle is simple and comfortable, and not too bulky. Also, if you want to change out the lid for some reason, Hydro Flask offers a variety of lid options.
Spring of 2017 brought in a new kid on the block and gave the Hydro Flask a run for its money. The 36oz Yeti Rambler came close to rising to the top
as the Top Pick for Stainless Steel but fell short only because the bottle was a bit too heavy to be useful. Check out the full review of the Yeti Rambler if you're looking for an even sturdier version of the Hydro Flask.
Read full review: Hydro Flask Wide-Mouth
Best Bang for the Buck
Popular, for good reason
Resists flavor retention
Simple and lightweight
Easy to fill
Too large for most cup holders
Spills if moving while drinking
For the best bang for your buck, look no further than the Nalgene Wide-Mouth
, which also wins the award for best in the plastic bottles category. Its simple design has been an iconic staple in the world of water bottles for a good reason. The bottle is durable, lightweight, and easy to clean, and is a useful measuring tool when you're in the backcountry with the graduations labeled on the side. Also, because the bottle has been around for so long, many bottle accessories (i.e. water filters, bottle insulators, and backpack bottle sleeves) have been made to fit the Nalgene's particular mouth size and bottle shape. This award winner deserves its popularity, and if you want to customize your bottle more, the classic Nalgene comes in a variety of sizes and shapes.
Read full review: Nalgene Wide-Mouth
Top Pick for Lightweight Stainless
Miir Slate 27
Easy to use lid
Paint Scratches Easily
A new addition to the array of tested water bottles as of Spring 2017, the Miir Slate 27oz
stood out as a new contender in the lightweight stainless steel category. In the past, Klean Kanteen and Hydro Flask have dominated this category, but this contender proved to be tough competition. If a heavy duty, vacuum insulated bottle is too much, then these lighter weight plastic alternatives are the way to go. This model is lighter and more durable than glass and cleaner than the friendliest BPA free plastic bottles on the market. The bottle weighs less than the Klean Kanteen Classic and has a unique lid design that makes the bottle easy to carry and the lid easy to remove. It was lightweight, portable, and versatile. Its simple design made the Miir 27oz the bottle we reached for on our way out the door.
Top Pick for Collapsible Bottle
Hard to clean
Out of the two bottles in the collapsible category; the Platypus Softbottle
won by a landslide. Regarding a lightweight bottle, the Platypus has it all. It's easy to fill, from a shallow stream to a tiny sink, not to mention it collapses down to the size of an empty plastic bag. Its collapsible features make it a great option for backpacking or climbing, where real estate is precious inside a backpack. The Platypus has trouble standing up on a flat surface, but it is better suited for the dirt and rocks anyway. The bottle is difficult to clean since it has such a narrow mouth, but at only $8, it's hard to expect the Platypus to last that long anyway.
Read full review: Platypus Softbottle
Top Pick for Glass Bottle
Lifefactory Glass Flip Cap
Nice shape for carrying
Durable silicone casing
Easy to clean
Problematic flip cap
We've added one new bottle to the glass category during this year's Spring update, which now makes for three contenders for our top pick in glass bottles. In addition to the Soma Bottle and the tried and tested favorite, the Lifefactory Glass Flip Cap
, we also checked out the new BKR bottle. Out of the three, the Lifefactory still proved to be our favorite. It is durable and practical, with different lid options if the flip cap design is not for you. The Lifefactory is small and portable, making it a great lifestyle bottle. In general, glass bottles are becoming more and more popular as consumers seek alternatives to plastic since they are considered to be safe from chemical leaching. The LifeFactory's narrow shape is easily carried by hand, or by the carrying handle, and the bottle fits nicely into most cup holders. No other bottles provide the portability of the Lifefactory while still evoking the feeling of drinking from a glass in the kitchen. Impressively, the bottle also passed our drop tests, due to its silicone sleeve. If cared for properly, this bottle will last a long time.
Read full review: Lifefactory Glass Flip Cap