How to choose the best reusable water bottle for you?

From Cindy Stubenhöfer

Reusable water bottles are available in all shapes, materials and sizes but choosing the right water bottle for you can provide many challenges. Your bottle should be eco-friendly, good-looking, durable, healthy and keep you hydrated – quite a big task for a small bottle!

What is the best material for your water bottle?

The best material for your water bottle depends entirely on your personal preferences and your individual needs.
To determine what material is best for you, you need to know what you want to use it for. Let’s get started with a quick overview of water bottles materials and what they have to offer.

Plastic water bottles

  • Probably the lightest option
  • Can freeze water inside
  • Transparent
  • BPA FREE versions are considered harmless
  • Potential health risk if it contains BPA
  • Might not be as robust as metal bottles
  • Don’t insulate well

Glass water bottles

  • Transparent
  • Durable
  • Harmless for Health
  • Heavy
  • Break easily
  • Don’t insulate well

Aluminium water bottles

  • Very Light
  • Unbreakable
  • Durable
  • Might dent
  • Some contain BPA
  • Don’t insulate well

Stainless Steel water bottles

  • Fantastic insulation
  • Very robust
  • Durable
  • Heavy
  • Might dent


Reusable water bottles
for the gym 

When looking to buy a reusable water bottle to accompany you in the gym, one of the most important factors will be the size. You are working out, meaning you will lose larger amounts of water which makes hydration so vital.

Depending on your workout routine you should at least go for 500 ml which should keep you going for the first 30 minutes to an hour. Many gyms have the option to refill water bottles on the spot which would allow you to get by with a smaller sized bottle.

 However, depending on your personal needs and routine you might want to go for larger bottle sizes like one or two-litre bottles. Keep in mind that 1l of water equals 1 kg of weight to carry around with you, not even considering the bottles’ own weight. For that reason, it is recommended to choose a lighter but robust bottle material like plastic or aluminium.

Reusable water bottles
for travelling

If you are on the road not knowing when you will get the next opportunity to refill, you know you will need more water. An adult should take in at least 1.5 litres every day depending on age, weight and diet. If you are travelling long distances without the opportunity to top up your water bottle, you should look at larger sizes.

However, as mentioned above larger bottles come with a larger weight and for most of us travelling often only implies to fly from Berlin to Copenhagen or take a night bus or train because it was cheap. If this is the case for you then 500ml to 1000ml should be enough since you move around a lot and probably come across lots of refilling opportunities.

Keep in mind that travelling means a lot of shifting around and perhaps having to pack and unpack a lot. Pick a robust material for your water bottle like plastic, aluminium or stainless steel. The last thing you want is your bottle to break because it fell out of your bag.

You also want to make sure that your bottle doesn’t leak orange juice all over your underwear, book and phone charger. Be smart, get a leak-proof water bottle!

Can I take my reusable water bottle on the plane?

Yes, you can. Just make sure it is empty then you can take it into your carry-on luggage and refill as soon as you’ve made it through security. But be careful with tap water in foreign countries. You can always ask in cafes or restaurants if they can refill your bottle for you. Even if it cost you something – better be safe than sorry.

Keep your drink cold with an insulated water bottle

As you might have seen in the Material section above, different materials vary significantly in their thermal conductivity. If you want to keep your cold drinks cold and your hot drinks hot for longer periods, then a well-insulated stainless-steel water bottle is your best bet. Most insulated water bottles will keep your drinks warm/cold for a few hours, whereas some will last you an entire day.

That being said, and in case you are a physics enthusiast, of course, the steel itself doesn’t really insulate well at all. The secret lies in an insulating layer of air within the two walls of steel within the bottle.

On the other hand, if you are not bothered by temperature, have a short journey to work or class, and prefer something light or transparent, plastic or aluminium would do the job just fine and safe you a lot of money.

Sipper bottles for an active lifestyle

Have you ever tried drinking from a water bottle with a slightly too large bottle opening? It’s awkward if your drink goes well beyond your mouth if you didn’t plan a face wash.

Sipper bottles have a mouthpiece that isn’t just great for toddlers but for anyone with an active lifestyle. They are ideal for drinking when you are out and about, on the bike or running with your dog. If that sounds like you and you cannot risk spilling a drop of your precious sparkling water, especially not when your thirsty, a sipper bottle might be the right choice for you.

Fancy a water bottle
with a straw?

Lots of us loved -and still love- the experience of drinking through a straw. It’s convenient, it keeps your teeth save and the lipstick flawless. On top of that it makes you drink more and faster because it creates a vacuum causing you to only swallow liquid where you would normally take in oxygen and liquid at the same time. This might not be desirable for your Gin and Tonic, but it could help you increase your daily water intake.

Disposable plastic straws particularly have recently been criticised because of their environmental impact. Luckily, there is plenty of sustainable alternatives available like the popular Love Island water bottle with its inbuilt reusable straw.

Get yourself a personalised water bottle

Now that you may have decided what type of water bottle you are looking for it’s time for the last step – put your name on it. Or your sons, mums or uncle Daves.

The Personalised water bottles make fantastic gifts for friends and family, or simply for yourself. They are also especially useful for children when in sports teams or at school with a lot of potential to lose or accidentally swap the bottle with a friend or teammate.

Design your personalised bottle now:

What are common problems with water bottles to watch out for?

1. Get a water bottle that is easy to clean

Reusable water bottles are great in many ways, however, keeping your water bottle clean is very important to avoid a build-up of bacteria and even mould, which can be a major health risk. Thus, it is important to pay attention when purchasing a water bottle.

Bottles with larger mouthpieces are easier to clean, but smaller ones are easier to drink from.

Some bottles are dishwasher safe and, others will require hand-washing only. The latter can be challenging to clean especially if they have a small mouthpiece. It would be worth looking whether the mouthpiece is removable, thus makes it easier to keep your bottle neat and clean. 

2. What to do if your water bottle smells bad

Over time, and with a variety of flavoursome drinks your bottle might develop an odour, which then will certainly interfere with your drinking experience. Who likes drinking water that tastes like a blend of last week’s coffee and orange juice?

Sometimes water and soap just don’t do the job. Here are alternatives for a deeper cleanse, leaving no chance for bacteria and bad smell.

  • Rinse your bottle with hot water. But be careful with glass bottles as they might crack from the high temperature. And watch out for your hands.
  • Or: Fill your water bottle with vinegar (approx. 1/5 of the bottle) and water, leave it overnight, rinse it out with water and watch the magic happen.

3. Not all water bottles

As mentioned above there are situations where your naturally vertical water bottle is forced into a horizontal position. Whether you carry it to the gym, the office, or to Kuala Lumpur, as soon as you put it in a bag there is a consequential risk – your bottle might leak. Either because it was made of weak material and it breaks, or because it simply isn’t tight around its mouthpiece.

If you require a bottle that can survive in your bag unsupervised make sure it is leak-proof. On the other hand, if you normally carry it or don’t change locations much, this might not be a problem for you.