Should you get a plastic, glass, or stainless-steel bottle? Each material has its perks.
Published Sept. 12, 2023.
Water bottles are made of different materials and come in various designs and sizes, which may make it hard to decide which one is right for you. We tested an assortment of models made from stainless steel, plastic, and glass and picked a winner in each category. Each of our winners is leakproof, easy to fill and drink from, and effortless to clean. Our favorite stainless-steel bottle, the YETI Rambler 26 oz Water Bottle, is durable and keeps water cold for more than 8 hours. Our winning plastic model, the YETI Yonder 1L/34 oz Water Bottle, is equally durable and relatively lightweight. Our favorite glass model is the Lifefactory 22 Oz Glass Bottle with Classic Cap. It keeps water tasting fresh and has a simple design.
Although design and size are important when shopping for a water bottle, the first consideration should be material. There are three main types—stainless steel, plastic, and glass—and each has pros and cons. Plastic bottles tend to be 6 to 11 ounces lighter than glass and stainless-steel bottles, which makes them ideal for long walks and hikes or for anyone who doesn’t want to add too much weight to their bags. However, plastic bottles won’t keep water cold for long periods and can sweat. Stainless-steel bottles are durable, and double-walled versions provide great insulation and can keep water below room temperature for more than 8 hours. They also don’t collect condensation. One drawback is their weight. Some testers complained that they were too heavy; on average, stainless-steel water bottles weigh nearly 3 pounds when full. If you want to avoid plastic or the heaviness of stainless steel, a glass bottle may work for you. Glass bottles are ideal for people who want the closest experience to drinking from a regular glass but with added portability. The downsides are they’re not great at keeping water cold, some can be heavy, and they’re fragile compared to plastic and stainless steel.
Once you choose a material, you’ll need to decide how you want to sip or drink from your water bottle. With some models, you drink directly from the mouth of the bottle. Others have a spout, a flip-down straw, or a bite valve. Like the materials the bottles are made from, each style has benefits and drawbacks. Wide mouths are easier to fill and clean but can lead to more spills while drinking or chugging. Narrow mouths are less likely to spill but are harder to clean with a bottle brush and are not as easy to fill. Flip-down straws allow you to sip and then fold the straw into a nook in the lid when not in use, but the straws can be difficult to rinse thor...
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Sawyer is an assistant digital editor for ATK Reviews. She enjoys baking, collecting Prince records, and all things Toni Morrison.