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.
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.
As a starting point, think about your lifestyle and what you really need. Are you always on the move, in need of something light or 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.
Modern insulating 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 18 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.
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. Research has found that BPA can leach into foods and liquids and have a negative effect on health, so we’ve only tested products that are labelled BPA-free.
You may notice the lack of glass bottles in our recommendations. Whilst undoubtedly a more sustainable choice than single-use plastic bottles, based on their weight when empty, as well as full, no glass bottles tested made our best list for practicality reasons. There’s also the associated risk factor (although we should mention that those tested passed the drop test from chest height onto a wooden kitchen floor).
Read on to discover the best water bottles and how we tested them. For over 200 buyer’s guides including on buying the best dishwasher and the best dishwasher tablets, visit our product review section. You’ll find honest reviews of the best sports water bottles, reusable coffee cups, lunchboxes and much more.
The best water bottles to buy in 2021
Klean Kanteen steel bottle | 800ml
Best reusable water bottle
- Easy-to-open silicone sports cap
- Broad mouth for easy filling
- Dishwasher safe
- No insulating capabilities
Star rating: 5/5
The Klean Kanteen classic is a super-lightweight stainless steel water bottle. We decided to try the classic, as it sits under the £20 mark, making it just about ‘reasonably priced’. After testing, we realised this was actually a bargain – this bottle is built for a lifetime.
The brand has used the same 18/8 stainless steel they use in their double-insulated bottles. Because of this, there’s no metallic smell on opening or lingering tastes when switching between juice and water. It’s durable and built with environmental responsibility in mind.
There’s a non-slip finish called the Klean Coat around its exterior; a chip-resistant matte coating that’s textured on the outside and felt nice in the hand to hold. We also noticed there was no condensation running down the bottle when removed from the fridge, despite having been sat in there overnight.
Packaging is kept to a minimum – make sure to remove the information leaflet from inside the bottle before its first filling. It has a wide, rounded metal lip that makes for comfortable drinking.
The bottle is quite narrow and because of this, its 800ml capacity fits inside what feels like a 500ml bottle. It slipped easily into both a full rucksack and a handbag.
Although not designed to be leakproof, there were no dribbles, despite being left upside-down and full to the brim. The cap is made from tough BPA-free plastic and screws easily into a tight seal. Water-rate through it is quick and easy. A robust loop gives this bottle additional practicality.
The company is climate neutral certified in the manufacture and delivery of its products worldwide. Also a B Corporation, member of 1% for the Planet and supporter of Surfers Against Sewage, working towards cleaner seas. This is a high-quality water bottle, consciously made for a lifetime of use. (Weight with cap: 212.6g)
Hydro Flask wide mouth water bottle | 621ml
Best blow-out 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-free 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.
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 active activities or grabbing whilst driving.
A similar matte finish to the Klean Kanteen gives the bottle a nice non-slip quality. The exterior never felt 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 screams to 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.
Made from 18/8 stainless steel, it also doesn’t retain tastes or flavour. Coffee has a habit of clinging onto reusable vessels. Not this one. (Weight: 320g)
Bobble Plus Filter or Infuser bottle | 550ml
Most versatile water bottle
- Dishwasher safe
- 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 and cleaner.
A filter cage with honeycomb holes attaches to the mouthpiece which you screw onto the bottle. It acts as a filter when you add fruit or vegetables to infuse the water.
An easily-loaded charcoal filter is 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 was perfect and there was 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 which 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 was no chemical smell on opening and no chemical taste when tested without the filter, having left 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. (Weight: 40g)
Smidge stainless steel insulated water bottle | 500ml
Best value insulating water bottle
- Good value
- Dishwasher safe for convenient cleaning
- Heavier than others when full
Star rating: 5/5
Sitting around the £12 mark, this reusable vacuum insulated bottle by Smidge performed just as well as bottles three times the price.
The bottle claims to do three core things: not leak, keep its contents hot for up to 12 hours and cold for 24. It succeeded in all three, maintaining the temperatures to taste and allowing average-sized ice cubes to be dropped in.
Its core consists of food-grade stainless steel and it arrived without a chemical smell on opening.
One benefit of steel is that flavours don’t stick to the surface, so after cleaning there should be no residual flavour of whatever was held inside the bottle beforehand. There was also no metallic taste after being left overnight.
The screw-on lid has helpful ridging to give you traction for tightening and loosening its seal – something many similar bottles lack. The 500ml capacity is pretty standard but a 750ml edition of the bottle is also available for £6 more, making it a cost-effective alternative if you’re after a greater capacity.
Throw it in the dishwasher for an even better clean. There are five colours to choose from including classic stainless steel – a great budget-buy to suit anyone’s taste. (Weight: 239g)
Black + Blum EAU Good water bottle with charcoal filter | 800ml
Most stylish filter water bottle
- Innovative design
- Large capacity
- Effective filter capabilities
- Long-lasting filter
- Filter takes time to do its best work
Star rating: 4/5 stars
Black + Blum have struck a great balance of style and functionality with the EAU Good bottle. If you were on the fence about charcoal filtered water before, this bottle will be the one to convert you.
Its body is made of BPA-free tritan, a glassy-looking plastic material that’s recyclable and moulded into a unique curvy design.
The natural filter that accompanies the bottle is traditional Japanese Binchotan charcoal. It sounds fancy but is, quite simply, a stick. It purifies water by removing chemicals, whilst adding in minerals including calcium, iron and magnesium. The result is a noticeably cleaner-tasting drink.
Once unwrapped, you simply drop the charcoal into the empty bottle, tilt, then squeeze. The filter becomes locked in place once you release the bottle. It doesn’t splinter or flake.
Thanks to a silicone bung topped with cork, the bottle is leakproof. A stainless steel rung lifts up and over the cork as extra security, although the vacuum created by the bung itself survived being shaken in a rucksack and left upside down overnight.
Time is what you need for this bottle to do its best work. Contaminants in water are attracted to the surface of the charcoal where it gets held, so it’s recommended that you give it a minimum of one hour. A broad but rounded lip makes drinking from this bottle a nice experience.
Each stick of charcoal filter lasts for six months. Boiling it for 10 minutes at the three month mark reactivates its purifying capabilities so once bought, it’s a cost-effective investment. Keep this bottle on your desk or in the fridge overnight to be enjoyed the next day.
At under £20, this is a stylish reusable water bottle that makes a noticeable difference to the quality of drinking water. (Weight: 110g)
CamelBak Eddy+ plastic bottle | 750ml
Best bottle for on-the-go refreshment
- Patented bite valve on drinking spout minimised leaks
Star rating: 3.5/5
If you’re after a large, simple water bottle that’s convenient to carry and easy to drink from, this CamelBak Eddy+ fulfills that criteria with flying colours.
A heavy duty lid screws onto the bottle’s wide opening for easy filling. Small sink taps and school water fountains should be easy to negotiate. It also features a sturdy plastic hoop for hooking the bottle onto a rucksack with a carabina.
When empty, the bottle is really lightweight. Once filled, it actually holds more than advertised; 800ml rather than the 750ml – the only bottle tested to have a step-up (although this could increase risk of leaking).
All its components are 100 per cent BPA-, BPS- and BPF-free. There was zero plastic smell on opening the bottle and no residual chemical taste in the water when left in the fridge overnight.
Each component is top-rack dishwasher safe. A soft straw reaches almost to the bottom of the bottle which eliminates the annoying problem of not being able to reach the end part of your drink. It’s also removable from the lid, making both sections relatively easy to clean.
The drinking spout is made from medical grade silicone which creates a patented bite valve that rises with a thumb tab, so you’re not constantly having to touch the drinking spout. Just flip, bite and drink.
Camelbak has a brand legacy of creating durable water solutions for outdoor adventures. Plus the Eddy fits most cup holders; just one more reason why we like it. You’re covered by a Got Your Bak lifetime guarantee. Quite rightly, the brand is confident about the Eddy+. (Weight: 174g)
Hip 2019 collection plastic bottle | 650ml
Best for small bags
- Fits into handbags and small bags easily
- Non-slip silicone jacket
- Limited capacity
Star rating: 3.5/5
The Hip bottle is a nod to the traditional hip flask of yonder years, modelled by the likes of Indiana Jones. Drinking from this shape is both familiar and satisfyingly new.
First impressions were good. The BPA-free and phthalate-free tritan plastic has a high-quality transparency that looks like glass.
A textured silicone outercase wraps around the sides and the base, giving the bottle a non-slip layer which can be removed for washing. It sits nicely in the hand and provides a tactile drinking experience.
There was a slight plastic-y smell in the bottle on first opening, so give it a good rinse before using. After being left overnight, there was no chemical taste to the water.
The lid is a twist cap with a rubber inner rim to help seal the bottle. The squashed shape is convenient – if, for example, you don’t have a cup holder in your car, this would sit comfortably in the car door.
A soft strap hooks the cap of the bottle to the silicone sleeve, which proves a handy carry loop. The silicone that grips the bottleneck can be stretched easily – beware, this might become a weak point over time. Nonetheless, it holds the weight of a full bottle comfortably.
It’s recommended that you wash the bottle with warm soapy water, and it can go in the dishwasher.
Filled up to the neck, the bottle held 625ml, slightly less than the advertised 650ml. Overall, this is a well-priced reusable water bottle with a sense of style and fun. (Weight: 227g)
Lifestraw Go Filter water bottle | 650ml
Best filter bottle for travelling
- Second-to-none double filtration system for purified water, anywhere
- Low flow rate
Star rating: 4.5/5
Where this reusable water bottle really shines is in its filtration system.
Lifestraw’s two-stage microfilter membrane removes >99.999999 per cent of bacteria (E. coli), parasites and microplastics whilst reducing chlorine and organic chemical matter. Because of this, the Lifestraw would be a reliable and practical bit of kit, particularly for outdoor activities and travel adventures.
Lifestraw claim the filter will last five years and be able to filter 4,000 litres of water, so although the initial spend is quite high, you get a reliable bottle that’ll deliver clean, safe water for years.
The bottle has no plastic or chemical smell on opening. Its rubber mouthpiece was covered by a tight layer of plastic that’s removable with a little persuasion (we used our teeth).
The long filter is chunky and displaces the water level in this bottle, but there are handy markers up the side of the bottle to prevent overfilling. 650ml is the max, but the bottle will hold at least 800ml without the filter.
Despite a simple mouthpiece, thanks to the comprehensive filtration system, water takes a little persuasion to drink. This isn’t the quickest bottle to relieve thirst.
It is, however, leakproof, sturdily built, easy to carry, coming with its own carabina and D-ring. A beautifully engineered, understated bit of kit. (Weight: 222g)
Memo bottle A5 | 750ml
Best for design enthusiasts
- Flat design for tricky-shaped bags and briefcases
- Would make a great gift
- No insulation capabilities, pricey
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; black or white.
Designed to sit within the footprint of different sized notebooks, we found ourselves holding it up against stationary and sliding it into bag pockets just to see if it really would fit. It did.
The edition we tested has the surprisingly large capacity of 750ml within its deceptively small A5 footprint. 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. The unique shape and glassy clarity are its top selling points.
The construction is also sturdy – it wouldn’t get crushed in a tightly packed bag. It also passed the shake test without any leaks; essential if you’re carrying this around in cases with expensive tech.
A certified B-Corp, the Memobottle consider their social and environmental impact and supports water.org, meaning that every bottle sold supports two months access to clean water for one person.
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 a great gift. (Weight: 195g)
BRITA Fill and Go water bottle | 600ml
Best for filtered water on the go
- Multi-function lid that doubles up as a cup for sharing
- Short filter-disk lifespan of four weeks
Star rating: 3.5/5
The BRITA Fill and Go works with a simple micro disk filter that sits between the bottle and mouthpiece to provide purified water on the go.
It offers ‘real time’ filtration, a fancy way of saying the bottle filters as you drink, so no matter how much you refill, you’ll get cleaner and fresher tasting water.
It’s a squeezable, BPA-free and budget-friendly alternative to buying copious numbers of bottled water, up to a point.
If you’re looking for the filter disk, look to the base. This is in fact the lid, which slips over the bottom to form a useful pocket, or can be used as an extra cup.
Each activated natural filter disk is made of compressed carbon coconut shells. The theory is that minerals like magnesium and calcium are preserved whilst chemical tastes are removed from the water.
Each one has a four week lifespan, which compared to other carbon filter water bottles we tested, was relatively short and the cost of replacing them should be taken into account.
Disks can be recycled if taken to qualifying recycling points. BRITA recycles around 4 million filter cartridges a year.
The adjustable mouthpiece is easy to drink from and it’s clear when left open or closed. There were no leaks after being left upside-down overnight. There’s a strong bottle strap for clipping it onto a rucksack. (Weight: 168g)
How we tested water bottles
We tested a representarive sample of metal and plastic 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.
This review was last updated in June 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at email@example.com.