Reusable Water Bottles – The 3 Best
Pretty much everyone knows nowadays that bottled water has a devastating effect on the planet. But, if you are not convinced or have forgotten how big of an impact bottled water has, let’s recap a bit.
Each year, over 2.7 million tons of plastic is used to make water bottles. To manufacture those bottles, it requires over 17 million gallons of oil, which is enough to fuel 1 million cars for a year. It also takes 3 times the amount of water to manufacture a water bottle than it does to fill it. Finally, only about 20% of water bottles are recycled, which means there is about 3 BILLION pounds of waste generated from bottled water every single year, and that is only in the United States.
Bottled water also costs 10,000 times more than tap water, coming in at about $10.00 per gallon. At least you are getting better quality water right? Wrong. 40% of bottled water is pure tap water. Also, when tested, 22% of bottled water contained chemical contaminants above legal limits, as bottled water is not highly-regulated like tap water is.
OK, so hopefully you get or remember the point by now. Bottled water is pretty awful stuff. But, if you want water on the go, you need some container to hold it. Enter reusable water bottles. They allow you to take nice, clean tap water with you wherever you go. However, not all reusable water bottles are the same. They are made from different materials, are manufactured by many different companies, and range in price.
We took a look at many of the reusable water bottles available on the market today and picked the top 3 bottles that we liked the best.
We evaluated the reusable water bottles based on five criteria:
- The company’s green profile and initiatives – How green is the company and are they trying to be a responsible corporate citizen?
- The bottle’s materials – What is the bottle made out of and is there anything harmful in it?
- The price and availability of the bottle – How much do the bottles cost and are they easy to find and purchase?
- The functionality of the bottle – How does the bottle perform in real everyday use?
- The taste of the water – How does the water (or other liquid) taste when you drink from the bottle?
We took the above criteria and evaluated many different water bottles. After our testing, it was clear which of the reusable water bottles were the winners. Here are our top 3 reusable water bottles.
I have to admit that I was a little biased going into the reusable water bottle evaluation. I have owned a Sigg in some form for quite a while now and have always liked them, even with their BPA liner debacle. However, after evaluating all of the other competing bottles, the Sigg still won out.
- Company’s Green Profile – Although Sigg does not publicize much of what it does to be green as a company, the company is located in Switzerland, which is one of the greenest countries on the Earth, so just by being located there, they win points.
- Materials – Sigg bottles are made out of aluminum, a nice light-weight metal that is 100% recyclable. The only drawback to aluminum is that it dents easily and Sigg bottles do dent… I can attest to that. However, overall, the bottles are still fairly resilient and last a long time. Because they are aluminum bottles and aluminum has been linked with certain health problems if ingested into the body too frequently, the bottles are lined. Sigg liners are made of inert materials, free of any volatile organic compounds (VOCs), phthalates, BADGE, BFDGE, NOGE and BPA.
- Price and Availability – Sigg bottles range from about $12 to $30, depending on the size and style. One of the great things about Sigg bottles is that they are available at many different places. I picked up my last one at Target. However, before that, I ordered them from Amazon.
- Functionality – Sigg bottles are very functional. They are shaped well and fit in pretty much all car cup holders, backpacks, purses, etc… I have yet to find a place where I cannot fit my Sigg. Also, the aluminum bottle does not sweat or get freezing cold when you put very cold liquids into it. You can also use Sigg bottles for carbonated drinks and juices. About the only thing you are not supposed to do with a Sigg bottle is use it for boiling hot liquids.
- Taste – This is a really strong point of the Sigg bottle. Drinking water out of it tastes just like drinking water from a clean glass. There really is no taste to it at all.
2. Klean Kanteen
Klean Kanteen has been around for quite a while and has been gaining some recent converters from other types of reusable water bottles, namely because of its use of stainless steel and the company’s great green profile.
- Company’s Green Profile – Klean Kanteen probably has one of the best green profiles of any company around. All packaging that they use is made out of recycled materials or of materials certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). They offset electricity use at their headquarters by purchasing energy credits. They have a green shipping program which aims to offset all carbon costs of shipping online orders. Finally, they are a member of 1% for the Planet.
- Materials – Klean Kanteen bottles are made out of stainless steel, which is a super strong metal, so the bottles hold up really well. Another great thing about stainless steel is that it is a safe materials so there is no danger of leeching any harmful chemicals into the liquid inside. It also means that it does not need a liner. Because there is no liner, there is no worry about any harmful chemicals or BPA from a liner getting into the liquid inside of the bottle.
- Price and Availability – Klean Kanteen bottles range from about $10 to $30, depending on the size and style. However, Klean Kanteen bottles are not available in many retail locations. You will probably have to buy it online. They offer their own online store and you can buy them from Amazon too.
- Functionality – Klean Kanteen bottles are reasonably functional. There are several different sizes and finishes available. In general, the bottles are a bit large and don’t fit in all car holders and backpacks. Also, unless you buy the insulated bottle, the bottle does sweat and get pretty cold when you put very cold liquids into it. You are not supposed to use a Klean Kanteen bottle for hot liquids, as the bottle could get very hot, again, unless you get the insulated, double-walled version.
- Taste – Liquids drank out of a Klean Kanteen bottle taste pretty good, but some people may find a slightly metallic taste sometimes, due to the stainless steel material out of which the bottles are made.
3. CamelBak Better Bottle
CamelBak is best known for their hydration packs used by hikers, mountain bikers and other outdoor enthusiasts. However, the company also makes reusable water bottles. The best known of their bottles is the Better Bottle.
- Company’s Green Profile – CamelBak has a pretty good green profile, but not as good as Klean Kanteen. Their headquarters was built to LEED certification standards. Their distribution center uses electric, rechargeable equipment to reduce carbon emissions. They also claim to have a robust recycling program.
- Materials – The CamelBak Better Bottle is made entirely of BPA-free plastic. The bottles are made of a copolyester polymer called Tritan® from Eastman that exhibits the same properties as polycarbonate: vibrant color, clarity, durability, dishwasher-safe and with no residual taste. A FCN (Food Contact Substance Notification) notice #729 declared that Tritan is safe and meets all FDA guidelines for material that is to come in repeated contact with food.
- Price and Availability – The Better Bottle sells for around $10-$15, which makes it the cheapest bottle we have listed. It is also very easy to buy, as it is usually stocked by a local bike shop or outdoor store like Dick’s Sporting Goods. Again, like almost everything in the world these days, you can also buy them from Amazon.
- Functionality – The Better Bottle is very functional. It is a nice shape and size and fits almost everywhere you would want it to. What makes it stand out from the other bottles is the bite nozzle. To take a drink, you simply bite on the tube coming out of the bottle and suck in. This is a great feature as it means you can easily take a drink on the go without having to stop and unscrew a top like you do with the other bottles. Also, Because it is plastic the bottle does not sweat or get that cold when you put very cold liquids into it. Like most reusable water bottles, you are not really supposed to use the Better Bottle for hot liquids, as the bottle could get very hot (unless you get their insulated version).
- Taste – Water out of a Better Bottle tastes pretty good as long as it is cold or room temperature. If it ever gets warm, you can start to sense a plastic taste to the water.
There you have it. The 3 best reusable water bottles on the market currently from our perspective. Some other honorable mentions are: EarthLust and Nalgene. Do you have any others that you would recommend?
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