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Glass Water Bottles

Glass water bottles have a fervent following, so we put them to the test. Were any worth the extra weight?

By Updated May 21, 2021
Update, May 2021

The cap on our favorite glass water bottle, the Lifefactory 22 Oz Glass Bottle with Classic Cap, was recently redesigned. Its U-shaped handle now swivels and can be folded against the neck of the bottle to make it shorter and slightly more compact. We liked the redesigned cap and found the bottle otherwise unchanged. We also recommend the smaller 16-ounce version

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What You Need To Know

Reusable water bottles can be plastic, metal, or glass, all environmentally friendly alternatives to disposable plastic. We previously tested plastic and metal water bottles but excluded glass because of weight and durability concerns. However, interest in alternatives to plastic is growing, and glass models have proliferated in the market. We decided it was time to examine them.

We chose six popular models priced from about $10 to roughly $40, ranging in capacity from 16 to 22 ounces, and put them through a battery of tests that included sipping, opening and closing lids, staining, shaking, washing, and, of course, dropping. (Yes, this resulted in a lot of broken glass, even though most models came with a protective sleeve made of silicone or, in one case, nylon. One model was sleeveless, as its glass interior was fully encased in a plastic exterior instead.) We also assigned each model a temporary owner for one week, sending the bottles into the real world—to the grocery store and gym; to restaurants; to yoga, boot camp, and barre classes; they rode in cars, trains, and buses and sometimes just sat around the office, too.

All models passed our staining, odor-retention, and leak tests. Bright red sports drink didn't color the glass or the undersides of the lids, and while most of the lids smelled faintly fruity if we really sniffed, it wasn't noticeable while drinking. None of the bottles leaked, even when we turned them upside down and shook them vigorously. They all looked great after 10 washes, too, with no signs of wear and tear. The real differences came down to how easy they were to use. From an aesthetically pleasing model that was a pain to fill to a loud lid that interrupted an otherwise peaceful yoga class, there were clear factors that separated the top performers from the rest.

Bottles with Wide Mouths Were Easier to Fill

Water bottle openings ranged in diameter from 1 to 2¼ inches. The model with the smallest opening was difficult to fill, requiring laser-like focus. We often accidentally hit the rim and consequently found ourselves wiping down the exterior. The other bottles had larger openings that were much easier to fill.

Lid Style Was Key

Every bottle had a screw-on lid. Two were problematic. One had a metal cap, which, like nails on a chalkboard, felt and sounded grating when screwed onto the glass bottle. The other troublesome lid was plastic, with a rigid looped handle that was positioned at a roughly 45-degree angle. The asymmetrical loop made the cap unbalanced and difficult to grip, and the top-heavy lid sometimes fell off as soon as it was unscrewed—both because it was hard to grasp and because the un...

Everything We Tested

Good : 3 stars out of 3.Fair : 2 stars out of 3.Poor : 1 stars out of 3.


Recommended with reservations

Not Recommended

*All products reviewed by America’s Test Kitchen are independently chosen, researched, and reviewed by our editors. We buy products for testing at retail locations and do not accept unsolicited samples for testing. We list suggested sources for recommended products as a convenience to our readers but do not endorse specific retailers. When you choose to purchase our editorial recommendations from the links we provide, we may earn an affiliate commission. Prices are subject to change.
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