Switching to a reusable water bottle is one simple way that we can all move towards a greener lifestyle. The scary statistic that by 2050 there could be more bits of plastic in the ocean than fish perfectly sums up the urgent U-turn needed when it comes to our consumption of single-use plastics. Drinks are an easy way for plastic waste to quickly add up, so reusable can make a big difference. Read our reviews of the best reusable straws and best travel cups to limit the impact of drinking on the go. If you want something unique to you, check out our best personalised water bottles, with options from adding photos to light up models.
There are many complications when it comes to recycling, meaning that as little as 20 per cent of the bottle actually gets recycled in the end. One step in the right direction is to avoid buying disposable plastic bottles.
Modern insulated water bottles are genius bits of kit, designed to offer all the insulating functionality of a traditional thermos in a smaller, budget-friendly package. Obviously, you compromise some of the capacity and weight with double-lined insulation.
We tested a range of stainless steel, glass, plastic and foldable water bottles on the market to bring you our unbiased list of the best water bottles to buy in 2021.
How to choose the best water bottle
As a starting point, think about your lifestyle and what you really need. Are you always on the move and in need of something light, or would you prefer a bottle you can use one-handed? Perhaps it’s filtered water on the go for travel and exercise or simply for keeping on your desk.
Whether you’re looking for a bottle to carry on your commute, a stylish one ideal for gifting or something a bit more robust for adventures, a bottle has been built to suit every imaginable need.
What is a BPA-free plastic water bottle?
BPA is an abbreviation of bisphenol A. BPA, a chemical found in common polycarbonate plastics and resins, can leach into foods and liquids, according to research. It can also have a negative effect on health, so we’ve only tested products that are labelled BPA-free.
Read on to discover the best water bottles and how we tested them.
Best safe and reusable water bottles at a glance
- Best all rounder – Camelbak Eddy+ insulated bottle, £18
- Best blowout insulated water bottle – Hydro Flask water bottle, £37.95
- Most versatile water bottle – Bobble Plus filter water bottle, £10.99
- Best for design enthusiasts – A5 Memo flat bottle, £34.99
- Best for bags – Hip water bottle, £14.99
- Best for gifting – Rifle Paper Co x Corkcicle canteen, £36
- Best glass water bottle – Black + Blum glass water bottle, £19.95
- Best for drinking on the go – Oxfam dopper bottle, £12.49
- Best for filtered water – BRITA active filter bottle, £13.20
- Best for bargain double-walled insulation – Superdrug double walled water bottle, £7.99
- Best for travellers – Lifestraw Go stainless steel bottle, £61.09
- Best hydration tracker – Hydratem8 water bottle, £15
- Best for robust practicality – Klean Kanteen insulated classic, £22.36
- Best canteen style bottle – Elephant Box single wall water bottle, £18
The best water bottles to buy in 2021
Camelbak Eddy+ insulated bottle
- keeps water cold
- unique straw won’t leak
- straw can take some getting used to
- heavy for plastic
Star rating: 5/5
There’s very little we don’t like about this bottle, which is a step up from the classic Camelbak Eddy+ bottle, offering insulation via its double-walled plastic shell. Sturdily made, it sits between double-walled aluminium bottles and single-walled plastic in terms of weight, has a sturdy carrying handle and a unique ‘flip, bite, sip’ straw.
Biting on the straw opens the sealed end so you can drink from it, which takes a bit of getting used to but means the bottle is spill-proof even when the straw is lifted up from its recess – a godsend for klutzes. The lid is also secure and survived our leak test without any problems.
Available in jewel-bright purple or blue, this bottle looks the part and its green credentials go beyond simply reducing plastic waste, as it’s made from 50 per cent recycled material. Even better, the whole thing is dishwasher-proof. Although it doesn’t make any specific insulation claims, we find that it keeps water cool throughout a day in the office. The thoughtful design of this bottle makes it a winning all-rounder.
Hydro Flask water bottle
Best blowout insulated water bottle
- double-insulated TempShield wall vacuum insulation
- lifetime warranty
- screw top means you need two hands for drinking
Star rating: 4.5/5
One of the great advantages of this Hydro Flask reusable water bottle is that you’re given the functionality of a thermos flask in the tiny package of a normal water bottle. Portability and style have both been given equal weight, but functionality has been prioritised.
As claimed, the double-walled vacuum insulation keeps liquids cold for 24 hours and hot for 12. The BPA- and phthalate-free cap screws into nicely engineered screw threads, so you avoid that squeak of metal on metal that sometimes accompanies stainless steel bottles. Made from 18/8 stainless steel, it also doesn’t retain tastes or flavour.
Its insulated ‘flex cap’ has a novel rubber handle secured by two large circular rivets – they add to this bottle’s style and sturdiness. It also helps with the unscrew afterwards. There were no leaks after being left upside-down for 24 hours, or when thrown around inside a bag.
Hydro Flask’s ‘standard’ bottle opening is broad enough to add ice cubes or fresh fruit. A sports cap can be bought separately for the bottle, which is a good alternative for activities or grabbing while driving.
A matte finish gives the bottle a nice non-slip quality. The exterior never feels hot to touch, even when filled with boiling water, making it safer for screwing the lid on.
Although it feels heavy-duty, this is a lightweight insulated bottle that could easily be taken on adventures. It ultimately gives you control over your drinks, whatever the weather, and is available in a selection of cheery, bright colours.
Bobble Plus filter or infuser bottle
Most versatile water bottle
- one size only
Star rating: 4/5 stars
If you’re looking for a versatile, reusable water bottle, the Bobble Plus is our recommended best buy. It’s a step-up from Bobble’s original filter bottle and features a new modular cap system to make water taste better.
A filter cage with honeycomb holes attaches to the mouthpiece which you screw onto the bottle. It acts as a filter for fruit or vegetables that will infuse the water. An easily loaded charcoal filter is also provided – simply drop it into the filter cage before attaching to the mouthpiece.
Instructions recommend you squeeze one bottle’s worth of water through the new filter before drinking to wash through any carbon residue. After doing so, the water clarity is perfect and there’s no tang of chlorine or fluoride that you often get with tap water.
You will have to buy replacement filters, but they’re inexpensive and each lasts the equivalent of 300 plastic water bottles. A nice feature is the soft-touch lid that sits snugly over the plastic drinking cap for hygiene. It’s connected to the bottle by a strong silicone strap – great for hooking onto a finger.
BPA-free, there is no chemical smell on opening and no chemical taste when drinking without the filter (even after leaving water in it overnight).
A range of colours are available, so for a bottle you can personalise in multiple ways – as well as get purified water on the go – the Bobble is a reasonably priced and versatile option.
Memo bottle A5
Best for design enthusiasts
- Available from Trouva (£34.99)
- flat design for tricky shaped bags and briefcases
- would make a great gift
- no insulation capabilities
Star rating: 3.5/5
The Memo bottle is designed to fit where other bottles don’t. How? It’s flat. The design is so contemporary that when full, it’s a bit mesmeric.
The experience starts with the box. It was a similar feeling to opening up a sleek bit of new technology. Remove the black box lid and you find the bottle nestled inside with two choices of lid in black or white.
The edition we tested has the surprisingly large capacity of 750ml within its deceptively small A5 footprint. The range is designed to mimic the same shape as notebooks. Its neck is narrower than the average bottle, making it tricky to top up from some taps.
It’s not one for filling with ice cubes or keeping water cool, though – the unique shape and glassy clarity are its top selling points.
The construction is also sturdy – it won’t get crushed in a tightly packed bag. It also passes the shake test without any leaks, which is essential if you’re carrying this around in cases with expensive tech.
A certified B-Corp, Memo bottle considers its social and environmental impact and supports water.org, meaning that every bottle sold supports two months’ access to clean water for one person in need.
Accessories are available for the bottle, including leather lanyards and bottle sleeves with their own pockets. The bottle itself becomes an accessory. But, at a practical level, if you’re looking for a bottle to fit in slim bags or briefcases, this is a great choice and makes an ideal gift.
Hip water bottle
Best for bags
- Available from Auteur (£14.99)
- stylish, unusual look
- lightweight and easy to carry
- no insulating capabilities
Star rating: 5/5
This great-looking, good-value flask is flat, so it can be carried in a car door or wide pocket as well as a bag (or simply in your hand, thanks to the grippy silicone sleeve and a carry handle that’s sturdy enough to use when the bottle is full). It’s a relatively lightweight bottle, but that doesn’t stop it being pretty robust, with the silicone protecting it nicely during our drop test.
A wide neck makes it easy to fill and it’s even big enough for ice cubes. The clear top allows you to see how much water you’re putting in (up to 650ml). Although it has no straw, it’s nice to drink from – no water was lost during the testing of this bottle while drinking from it or in transit.
Although it doesn’t have any insulating properties, this bottle is dishwasher-safe, which is always a bonus. Overall, we mostly enjoy whipping this bottle out thanks to its unusual, vintage-meets-modern look – it comes in 11 colours, from hot pink to black, so you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Rifle Paper Co x Corksicle Canteen
Best for gifting
- Available from Anthropologie, £36.99
- broad neck for easy filling
- super-stylish design
- triple-insulated and vacuum-sealed
- Suitable for hot and cold drinks
- handwash only
- no carrying handle
Star rating: 4.5/5
This strikingly pretty bottle would make a lovely gift, and not the type that ends up languishing in a cupboard because it’s all style and no substance. This triple-insulated bottle claims to keep cold drinks chilled for 25 hours (beating most of its rivals by an hour) and hot drinks warm for 12, both of which it performs admirably.
A vacuum seal keeps everything totally watertight, while a non-slip bottom prevents spills when it’s open, too. It’s shatter-proof, which means it survived our drop test without a mark, and the neck is wide enough to take ice cubes. Although it’s comfortable to sip from, the lip has a bit of a metallic tang on the first few uses, which eventually wears off.
Considering its impressive insulating properties, this model is relatively lightweight and its angled sides make it easy to grip. Although it slips easily into a bag, a carrying handle might be nice. It would be a bonus if this was dishwasher-safe too, but these are small grumbles for a bottle that qualifies as both use and ornament.
Black + Blum glass water bottle
Best glass water bottle
- Available from Black + Blum (£19.95)
- carry handle
- stylish look with a wide choice of colours
- unique bottle neck
- no insulation
- heavy, and could break if dropped on a hard surface
Star rating: 4/5
We tested a few glass water bottles, but this was our favourite. Although heavier than plastic and lacking the insulating properties of aluminium, glass does allow for extra style and eco-credentials and eliminates any issues with water absorbing the taste of the inside of the bottle. This Black + Blum model is the best of the glass bunch.
Made from tough borosilicate glass wrapped in silicone to prevent condensation, potential slippage and breakage from knocks (although we didn’t perform the drop test this model), it looks great and performs well. A slim shape and secure lid make it suitable to carry in a bag or hold by the carry loop threaded through the lid – although when full it’s quite heavy, so it’s perhaps best kept to hand on your desk.
A lot of thought has gone into the design: it’s easy to fill, with a neck wide enough to fit an ice cube, and, uniquely, the thread is inside the neck instead of the outside, making it pleasant to drink from and setting it apart from similar models. It also comes in a choice of seven understated colours and is recyclable.
Best for drinking on the go
- very lightweight
- comes with its own cup
- supports charities
- low capacity
- no insulating properties
Star rating: 4/5
Although a fairly basic reusable bottle, the Dopper from Oxfam comes with plenty of benefits to make it well worth splashing out £12.49. Slimline and lightweight (coming in at just 104g when empty), this bottle is the perfect size for slipping into a small bag or large pocket when you’re out and about.
A small neck (about the same size as a standard plastic bottle) makes it easy to drink from while walking and textured sides stop it slipping out of your hand. At first look, it has an odd-looking lid, until you realise the whole top third of the whole bottle unscrews and turns into a drinking cup complete with (non-suction) base. It’s a clever feature that helps with cleaning too, but this bottle is also dishwasher-safe. The wider top allows you to add ice cubes to your drink, too.
And, of course, as this is a Dopper product, you’re doing some good: as well as helping out Oxfam, Dopper gives 5 per cent of its net turnover to the Dopper Foundation, which helps reduce plastic pollution and provides drinking water to those who need it. This bottle might not have the bells and whistles of other models, but it’s got plenty else to recommend it.
BRITA Active water filter bottle
Best for filtered water
- filters water
- Comes with cup/lid and sports cap
- Need to buy replacement filters
Star rating: 4.5/5
While most of us agree that carrying a reusable bottle is a sensible step towards helping reduce plastic waste, one drawback can be that filling it from the tap or a public water fountain doesn’t give you water as pure as the bottled stuff. There are a few good filter bottles on the market, but our favourite is this one from BRITA.
It comes with one free filter that can tackle chlorine and trace impurities while preserving minerals, and it’s easy to fit after a minute’s soak in warm water. It should last for four weeks (or 60 litres/100 uses), and replacement filters cost around £3 each, so although the bottle itself is great-value at £13, the ongoing cost should be taken into account – although it’s still a bargain compared to bottled water.
In terms of function, this bottle performs robustly: you might experience some drag when drinking through the sports cap if your tap water is particularly crammed with particles, but even then, the squeezy sides make drinking a cinch. A large lid that doubles as a cup and fits onto the bottom of the bottle helps prevent leakage, but the sports cap doesn’t drip anyway. Made from lightweight plastic, it’s a compact size for its 600ml capacity and includes a small carry loop that could be clipped to a backpack.
On the downsides, it doesn’t have any insulating properties and is fairly functional-looking, but those are small niggles. If you want your water to taste clean, this is a great option, and if you change your mind it even has a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Superdrug double-walled water bottle
Best for bargain double-walled insulation
- Available from Superdrug, £7.99
- great value
- good insulation
- neck too narrow for ice
- quite heavy
Star rating: 4/5
In the course of our test, we saw lots of bottles that looked remarkably similar: the same basic shape, all made from double-walled aluminium, with an identical leakproof lid. But, ultimately, each one was very similar to this Superdrug model, which at £7.99 was the cheapest insulated version we tested.
This bottle might not have any special features, but it’s watertight and robust and there are a few pretty designs to choose from. It keeps water cold just as long as pricier models when tested with a thermometer and easily survives drop and leak tests.
As with most metal models we tested, this one is quite heavy when full, although the narrow shape makes it relatively easy to slip into a bag – that’s a downside that can’t be avoided if you’re looking for insulation good enough to keep your drink cool through the day. Plus, a word of warning: if it’s intended for only occasional use, check the inside before you store it, as it takes an unusually long time to dry out after washing.
If you’re looking for something a bit smarter, there’s plenty of choice out there, but overall this bottle does the job at a great price.
LifeStraw Go stainless steel water bottle
Best for travellers
- Available from Alpine Trek, £62
- unbeatable double filtration
- sturdy and robust
- very expensive
- hard to drink from
Star rating: 5/5 (if you’re an explorer)
At a shade under £62, this model offers top-of-the-range filtration, making it ideal for trekking and camping. The only bottle we tested that comes with a user manual, it can filter bacteria, parasites, chemicals, pesticides and the microplastics we’re all trying to reduce by using a reusable water bottle in the first place.
Its built-in membrane microfilter removes 99.999999 per cent of E.coli and can filter an impressive 4,000 litres. An activated carbon filter at the top of the bottle also reduces chlorine and organic chemical matter such as pesticides. It’s even got a conscience: for every product purchased, a child in need receives safe drinking water for a full school year.
It’s not ideally designed when considered purely as a drinking vessel: the filtration levels mean there is a lot of drag when you drink through the bottle’s straw and filling it is a pain when the filter soaks up water and is so bulky – you have to leave room for it so the bottle doesn’t overflow. It’s also incredibly heavy: built like a dumper truck with a carabiner attached, it’s a whopping 1,240g when filled – although these are probably small concerns when you’re up a mountain on the hunt for clean water.
Hydratem8 original hydration tracker bottle
Best hydration tracker
- tracks water consumption
- impressively compact
- wide neck is easy to fill
- no insulation
Star rating: 4/5
Although the debate over exactly how much water we should drink every day rages on, this bottle will help you stay hydrated all day. Marks on the sides of the bottles remind you to keep drinking, including encouraging slogans such as ‘keep drinking!’ and ‘nearly there’ to keep you topped up from 8am to 6pm.
As well as offering emotional encouragement, this bottle is functional. Impressively slim and lightweight, we’re surprised by its 900ml capacity. As well as fitting into a moderately sized bag, it features a carry loop. Its wide neck is easy to fill and fits ice cubes, while a recessed flip-straw encourages regular sipping but doesn’t leak. It’s also perfectly robust and comes in four pastel shades.
It’s a shame the straw isn’t rounded, as its square edges feel odd to drink from at first, but that’s a small niggle, as is the fact that this bottle isn’t insulated. It’s clearly designed for your desk or the gym rather than a hike, so that’s unlikely to be a big issue. Handwash only, it comes with a straw cleaning brush, as well as a ‘healthy pee chart’ to check the colour of your urine. This is a bottle that really wants you to stay hydrated and is prepared to put in the effort.
Klean Kanteen insulated classic 592ml
Best for robust practicality
- keeps water cold for 50 hours
- hot and cold insulation
- solidly built
Star rating: 5/5
The Klean Kanteen is a serious bottle for people going on serious walks. Its double-wall vacuum insulation can keep water cold for an incredible 50 hours and hot for 20, both of which it achieves with aplomb. Solidly built to last, it’s not likely to let you down and suddenly spring a leak, and it won’t shatter or rust. It’s also available in a variety of sizes – we couldn’t help noticing that the larger 956ml version would be ideal for carrying more than a bottle of chilled wine to a picnic.
The Kanteen’s wide neck can take ice and it’s a good-looking bottle available in seven shades of a ‘Klean Coat’ chip-resistant, powder-coated finish that also offers a sturdy grip. Colours include classic brushed stainless steel and a bright (but bafflingly named) ‘lemon curry’. It comes with a loop cap for carrying as standard, but you can also buy other Klean caps to fit, including a sports cap (which we also tested to check it wouldn’t leak) if you want to swap them out.
The downsides are that it’s handwash only and, as you’d expect from something so robust, pretty heavy when full. But, if you’re going to a place where cool water will be hard to find for the next 50 hours, this is the bottle we’d recommend.
Elephant Box single-wall water bottle 500ml
Best canteen-style bottle
- Available from Elephant Box, £18
- classic design
- built to last
- no insulation
- attracts fingerprints
Star rating: 4/5
This was the best of the canteen-style bottles we tested and is ideal if you’re looking for a compact, sleek, lightweight water bottle. Elephant Box’s eco credentials put them ahead of the bunch, with a commitment to making hard-wearing products designed to reduce plastic waste. This bottle comes with a 15-year warranty, making the fairly high £18 price tag money well spent. It’s also made from up to 50 per cent recycled steel and claims to be infinitely recyclable – a great choice for the eco-minded.
This bottle has a wide neck that’s ideal for plopping in some ice cubes and a secure lid. It easily passed our drop test, and its compact size makes it easy to carry in your hand or bag or by the carry loop. As it’s made from single-wall brushed aluminium, it doesn’t offer insulation but is impressively lightweight (180g when empty) and sleekly stylish in a utilitarian kind of way. But, it does tend to attract fingerprint smudges.
It’s also leakproof and, apart from the lid, dishwasher-safe. We feel like this bottle will see you through years of adventures, making it a winner for us.
How we tested water bottles
We tested a representative sample of water bottles and marked them against the following test criteria:
Ease of filling: is the lid easy to open? Is the neck wide enough to fill without spilling?
Water flow: is it easy to drink from? Do straws work well?
How much liquid it holds versus its overall size: would it be cumbersome in a bag?
General ease of carrying: does it fit comfortably in your hand?
Quality of the materials
Weight: with some cooling materials being quite heavy, water bottles can end up weighing a tonne when carried around all day.
Cooling properties: we looked for bottles with the ability to cool water and keep it cool. In some cases, this feature wasn’t available but we made sure the bottles had other redeeming qualities to compensate.
Aesthetics: we looked for bottles with a bit of character and style. Any additional features, such as folding straws or fruit-infusing compartments, were taken into consideration.
Water retention: every bottle was put through our ‘bag test’; filled to the top, closed tightly shut and then shaken around in a bag before being checked for leaks. Any bottles that didn’t pass the bag test were disqualified.
Robustness: each bottle was dropped from chest height onto a wooden kitchen floor. Any damage was recorded and if elements broke or caused leaks, the bottle was disqualified.
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