As more people become environmentally conscious, many are turning to reusable water bottles to cut down on plastic waste. Particularly popular are stainless steel water bottles, which are great for keeping drinks cold or warm for up to twelve or more hours. This rise in popularity means that there’s now an abundance of stainless steel water bottles on the market, and when they more or less all look the same, how do you choose?
But don’t worry, we’re here to help! Here is a handy guide that will help you compare features, design, and price so that you can make the best decision. If, at the end, you’re still a little lost, we’ve got ten of our favorites for you, too.
How to Choose a Stainless Steel Water Bottle – Buying Guide
While many stainless steel water bottles offer similar insulating powers, there are a few key differences between them that can make one better for you and your needs. So here are some things that you should look out for.
Some Considerations for the Kids
First let’s take a look at water bottles for children. Although stainless steel bottles are pretty robust and durable across the board, there are some things to take into consideration when it comes to kids.
Is It Easy to Use?
For young children who tend to spill, you want to look for a bottle with a top that has an attached straw. Also try to find one that has an easy open cap so that they can freely drink on their own (this should make things a little easier for mom and dad, too!).
For slightly older children who aren’t quite ready for a regular cup mouth, but are too cool for sippy straws, look for a bottle that has a small opening. That way a little carelessness won’t accidentally cause a big mess.
There are also accessories for regular adult water bottles that can adapt them for children to use. These are great if you want to invest in a bottle that can grow with them.
You Might Want to Accident-Proof It
For small children who can be especially rough with their belongings, look for a case for their water bottle to prevent scratches or dents.
There are many types of cases, but a case with a strap will be the easiest for them to carry around. Lots of water bottles for kids come with a matching case.
Pop Them Open, Twist Them: Lids, Lids, Lids
There are four kinds of stainless steel water bottle lids, and all are great for different purposes.
Easy Open, One Handed Lids
This kind of lid allows you to drink from your bottle as easily as if it were your typical plastic water bottle. The mouth is small, which prevents spills, and you can pop it open with one hand. This kind of bottle is great for when you’re driving or on the move.
If you’re planning to share with your toddler, though, it’s going to be difficult for them to tip the thing far enough to get any liquid.
Twist Open, Two Handed Lids
Wide mouthed water bottles require you to twist the lid open and drink directly from the cylindrical body. You need two hands to use it, but it also comes with its perks.
Wide mouthed lids are great for when you want to drink a lot very quickly–after a workout, for example. The large opening is also good for drinks that you want to smell as you drink, like coffees or teas. And as there are less parts, they’re the most leak-proof.
There are also twist top lids that have a narrower opening. They generally require two hands and don’t give you quite the same level of control as a one touch lid, but they’re a great midway point for those who want a smaller opening with less to clean.
Drinking Something Piping Hot? Get a Cup Cap
While drinking directly from the bottle has become more popular in recent years, old fashioned thermos-and-cup stainless steel water bottles are still the best option for some.
This type of bottle is great for hot drinks. If you put your lips to a steel bottle filled with piping hot tea, you can get burned. But because you pour the liquid out of the bottle, cup caps allow you much more control over the temperature of your drink. Plus the cup on the top of the bottle acts as an extra layer of insulation, helping to keep the contents warmer longer.
Lids with Straws
As mentioned above, lids with straws are easy to handle and especially good for young children. But adults may also find them convenient for use while driving.
However, this type of lid is the hardest to clean because of the straw, which is normally built in and unchangeable.
Hot or Cold? Super Powered Insulation
One of the main reasons people get stainless steel water bottles over any other type of reusable bottle is for their insulating power. They keep cold things cold and hot things hot for up to an entire day. Say goodbye to lukewarm coffee!
However, not all stainless steel bottles are made the same. While some may last you 12-24 hours, others may only retain temperature for six. To get the kind of insulation that you need, it’s important to look at information from the manufacturer as well as online reviews.
Stainless steel water bottles are a bit of an investment compared to other bottles, so you want to get one that will work the way you want it to (or have a good warranty in case it doesn’t!).
Don’t Pour Steaming Tea into Cold Only Cups
Most bottles are constructed the same way and can handle both hot and cold drinks. But you’ve got a few special snowflakes that only deal with cold drinks. What’s the difference? The mouth. You can tilt a cold-only bottle just a bit, and the liquid’ll come flowing out—so if you’ve got the thing filled with coffee, you’re going to burn yourself.
Also, the lids of cold-only bottles are hard to open when the pressure inside the bottle rises (as is the case with steam build-up) and could be dangerous to release.
So when looking for a bottle to buy, keep in mind what you’ll be using it for.
When Coffee is King, Get a Huge Mouth
Half the enjoyment of coffee lies in the aroma, so you want a bottle that allows you to breathe it in. And for that, a narrow-mouthed, one touch lid just won’t do. Sure, they’re more convenient, but for a true coffee lover, try to go with a wide-mouthed lid or one that has a cup top for maximum olfactory pleasure.
Keep It Clean
Because you’re putting your water bottle directly onto your mouth, it’s important to keep it clean. Some types of water bottles are simply easier to clean than others (wide-mouthed twist tops versus straw tops). But one thing to always check is whether or not the bottle is easy to disassemble (and put back together again). For this, it’s best to read reviews from people who have actually used it.
To keep muck, coffee rings, and other undesirables out, get a good bottle brush. And as a countermeasure against wear and tear (or your amazing ability to lose things), look for a bottle with replacement parts available. If you change out for new parts regularly, your bottle’ll thank you by keeping your drinks hot or cold for longer.
Top 10 Best Stainless Steel Water Bottles around 500ml to Buy Online
If you still don’t know where to start your water bottle search, here are our ten favorites for some inspiration.
10. Thermos Funtainer (12 oz)
A Water Bottle for Every Kid
This water bottle from Thermos features a one push lid with a pop up straw. It’s easy to open and helps keep kids’ fingers away from the part that touches their mouths. It can keep drinks cold for up to 12 hours, but because of the straw lid, it shouldn’t be used with hot liquids.
At 12 ounces, it’s the perfect size for younger children. And the best part about it is that there are over 50 different pattern options, practically guaranteeing that every child is going to find one that they love.
9. Contigo Autoseal West Loop Travel Mug (16 oz)
For the On-the-Go Professional
The autoseal travel mug from Contigo practically begs to be taken places. Its one-touch lid is easy to open and close with one hand and promises a leak-proof seal. It is ergonomically shaped to sit comfortably in your hand and slim enough to fit most car cup holders. It keeps drinks hot for up to 5 hours and cold for 12.
This mug comes in a variety of colors, but be careful–the paint will chip in the dishwasher, and only the regular stainless steel body is dishwasher safe.
8. Stanley Vacuum Insulated Water Bottle (18 oz)
The Trusted Granddaddy of Stainless Steel Water Bottles
Stanley has been in the business of making insulated stainless steel water bottles for over 100 years. So if you’re looking for tried and true, this is it. This water bottle features a narrow-mouthed opening with a cap that stays attached to the bottle so that you don’t lose it. However, because of the narrowness of its mouth, it isn’t recommended for use with hot drinks.
It keeps drinks cold for up to 13 hours and iced for up to 48. It is completely dishwasher safe and comes with a lifetime warranty.
7. Lasting Coffee Travel Mug (16 oz)
For the Traveling Coffee Lover
It goes without saying that this travel mug from Lasting Coffee was made for coffee. Featuring double-walled insulation, it keeps your drink hot for hours. It has a flip top lid, which is easy to use with one hand and doesn’t splash when opened.
It travels well, too. Its slim base fits nicely into most car cup holders and has a non-slip coating to keep it in place. Unlike most stainless steel bottles made for coffee, this travel mug’s lid screws on for an airtight, leak-proof seal. The opening is a bit small, though, and requires some extra tilting, which may lead to your nose pushing up against the lid.
6. Thermos Stainless King Insulated Bottle (16 oz)
Slow Down and Smell the Coffee
This bottle from Thermos is designed to be poured. While you could use your own cup, the stainless steel cover that comes with it works just as well. Additionally, the stopper is designed to open without coming all the way off, which helps to retain heat.
It will keep drinks hot for up to 12 hours and cold for 24. It’s also leak proof and dishwashable to help it stay clean. However, it is on the heavier side for a stainless steel water bottle of its size, so if weight is a consideration for you, this might not be the best option.
5. Yeti Rambler Mug (14 oz)
A Mug–But Better
For those who don’t necessarily need portability and just want a hot (or cold!) drink to last a few hours, this mug from Yeti might be just what you’re looking for. It looks, feels, and washes just like a normal coffee mug but with the added bonus that it’ll keep your drink hot for several hours. Additionally, its handle is extra wide to accommodate all hand sizes.
Just a warning though, the lid that comes with it has an open hole, which is great for casual sipping throughout the day, but not so good for travel or retaining heat for more than a few hours.
4. The Flow Stainless Steel Water Bottle (18 oz)
Three for One: the Straw, the Flip Top, and the Screw On
If you want to use your stainless steel water bottle in a variety of situations and don’t want to choose just one lid, this is the bottle for you. It comes with three different lids–straw, flip top, and screw on. However, there is a small price to pay for the versatility–the lids themselves aren’t insulated, which may cause heat to escape a little quicker or condensation to form on the top.
Otherwise, this bottle promises to keep drinks hot for 12 hours and cold for 24. It is fully dishwasher safe and toxin free.
3. Mira Cascade Stainless Steel Water Bottle
Form and Function
The Cascade bottle from Mira is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful stainless steel water bottles that you can buy. You get an entire world of colors. It keeps drinks hot for 12 hours and cold for up to 24 hours.
Its narrow-mouthed twist top opening is designed to easily pour, and its slim profile means that it will easily tuck into a backpack or fit into any cup holder. And its leak-proof cap and sweat-less exterior ensure that your bags and belongings will stay perfectly dry.
2. Greens Steel Thermos Sports Flask
The Bottle That Can Take a Beating
This bottle was made for some serious action. It comes with two lids–a screw top that’s completely leak proof and a push top for one handed drinking. It also comes with two carrying mechanisms–a strap and a clip. The bottom of the bottle is concave and designed to prevent dents. It doesn’t suck out or impart any flavor.
This Greens Steel bottle keeps drinks hot for 12 hours and cold for 24. It isn’t dishwasher safe, but it does come with a lifetime warranty!
1. Hydroflask Leak Proof Stainless Steel Water Bottle (16 oz)
A Bottle with Nearly Unlimited Options
Hydroflask is one of the biggest names in stainless steel water bottles, and for good reason. These water bottles are incredibly efficient insulators; they keep drinks hot for up to 12 hours and cold for up to 24. They’re also covered in a slip-free, anti-condensation Powder Coat that comes in a wide range of colors.
While this is the most expensive bottle on our list, it’s definitely worth it. Every Hydroflask comes with a lifetime warranty, and there are a ton of different lids and accessories that you can buy for it (both official and third-party) that will help it adapt to any of your changes in needs.
So although many stainless steel bottles serve essentially the same purpose, they all bring something a little different to the table. Hopefully this guide has made your decision a little easier, whether you’re planning to sip hot cocoa on the Arctic plains or iced tea in hot yoga class. Bottoms up!
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