Table of Contents
For hiking trips, biking adventures, and commuting to the office, a reusable water bottle is a great way to increase your hydration and cut down on single-use plastics. We tested 26 popular water bottles to determine the very best based on qualities like durability, portability, and the ability to retain temperatures.
When picking out a water bottle, it’s important to factor in weight, size, and material so you purchase a container that best fits your needs. To find the best water bottles on the heavily saturated market, we put the most popular and innovative designs through a series of tests in our Lab. After all the jostling, dropping, and critiquing we put them through, the Thermoflask Double Stainless Steel Insulated Water Bottle is our top pick if you’re looking for a bottle that’s easy to carry around, keeps water cold, and has a leak-proof lid.
Thermoflask Double Wall Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle
This stainless steel bottle is easy to carry, keeps water cold for hours, and has a reliable, leak-proof lid that was still in pristine condition after being dropped on the floor three times.
The Thermoflask Double Stainless Steel Insulated Water Bottle is the ideal water bottle for everyday use. Whether you’re going to the gym or running errands, this vacuum-insulated, stainless steel bottle has a comfortable grip with a convenient handle for carrying, and it fits in a standard-sized vehicle cup holder. No need to worry about backpack spills—we were impressed with the strong seal that prevented leaking, even when we vigorously shook the bottle. Depending on your day-to-day needs, you can switch between two lids that come with the Thermoflask: one straw top and one chug cap that remained leak-proof after being dropped lid-down on the ground three times. We thought the chug cap was comfortable to drink from, and it provided a steady flow of water without any chance of spillage while sipping. The straw lid is ideal for exercising or when you’re otherwise busy, thanks to a tiny air pressure hole that allows you to drink continuously with one hand or hands-free.
If you want a great travel accessory that provides an ample reserve of chilled water all day long, this is your winner. The Thermoflask’s double-wall insulation did an excellent job of keeping water temperature steady over six hours, only warming 3 degrees in that time. In addition to being perfectly cold, water from the Thermoflask tasted pure and fresh with absolutely none of the metallic or plastic flavor transfer that can come along with some lesser bottles. While we tested the cobalt blue model, there are four other colors to choose from, including white, black, purple, and light blue. The 40-ounce model is ideal when you need a robust supply of hydration, but the Thermoflask is available in 18- to 64-ounce bottles if you have different capacity needs.
Price at time of publish: $35
The Details: 40 ounces | BPA-free stainless steel | Chug spout or straw
Best Overall, Runner-up
Yeti Rambler 26-oz Stainless Steel Bottle with Chug Cap
For a durable water bottle built to withstand a rugged lifestyle, the Yeti Rambler 26-ounce Bottle is a solid choice. We found that the water didn’t absorb any metallic taste, and it felt natural to drink out of the narrow chug cap, which was effective at preventing spilling. Our tester shared that drinking from the bottle was a “delight” because of its comfortable mouthpiece, though it was a bit big to hold effortlessly in their hands. (Another tester with larger hands found it fine.) While it barely fits in a standard car cup holder, the bottle slipped into our backpack’s water bottle pocket nicely. This bottle also regulates temperature effectively; the water only rose 2 degrees after six hours. Although the Yeti Rambler felt slightly bulky and heavy, the flaws will be worth it to those who need a durable container that can provide refreshing gulps hours into an outdoor venture. We dropped the bottle three times, and although it didn’t sustain scratches or leaks and felt “very strong,” according to a tester, there was some minor denting on its body. Still, we think this is a sturdy choice for comfortable drinking in a variety of settings.
Price at time of publish: $44
The Details: 26 ounces | 18/8 Stainless steel | Dishwasher safe | Chug spout
Takeya Actives Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle 24 Oz.
If you prefer your water ice-cold, don’t go anywhere without the Takeya Actives Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle. It performed the best out of all of the bottles during the temperature testing: The water was actually 5 degrees colder after six hours in the bottle, thanks to melted ice and vacuum insulation. According to Takeya, the bottle will keep hot liquids at the same temperature for 12 hours, and cold liquid frigid for 24 hours. Our tester was also impressed with the lid of the bottle, noting that it’s “just the right size so that you can get as much water as you want without spilling and can get a perfect flow of water from it.” Along with the double-walled stainless steel material of the main bottle, the lid is insulated to prevent condensation from building up and lowering the water temperature. When we walked around with the bottle, a few drops did escape, but there was no leaking when we shook it. Our tester thought the size of the bottle was “not too big or too small” and that it fit well in a backpack holder, but observed that it was too tall to rest securely in the vehicle cup holder. While the bottle might be too big for some car commuters, we think it’s a great everyday companion that will keep your water cold all year long.
Price at time of publish: $35
The Details: 24 ounces | BPA-free stainless steel | Chug spout
Best for Hiking
Healthy Human Vacuum Insulated Double Walled Thermos
The Healthy Human Vacuum Insulated Double-Walled Thermos is equipped for hiking with a lightweight feel that will keep your water cool on long treks. It has a wide opening that is easy to drink from while standing or walking, and the large handle on the lid is “super comfortable” to hold, according to our smitten tester. We had our testers drink and walk at the same time, and the water didn’t spill out of the sides despite the wider mouth of the bottle. Our testers noted that the water came out of the spout at a speed that wasn’t too fast or too slow. We dropped the bottle three times onto the ground, and the body dented and scratched fairly easily, but the cap stayed in place, and the bottle remained leak-proof.
Price at time of publish: $35
The Details: 21 ounces | 18/8 Stainless steel | Canteen lid
Nomader Collapsible Water Bottle
Our top pick for the best collapsible water bottle, the Nomader Water Bottle impressed us with its ability to seamlessly roll up into a small pouch and expand into a full-size water bottle that remained leak-proof during heavy shaking. Although the silicone water bottle isn’t insulated, our tester noted that the water tasted normal and didn’t have any plasticky aftertaste. The lid was pleasant to drink from, although the cap does touch your face when you do so. The Nomader felt stable despite being made of squishy silicone; when we dropped the bottle onto its lid, however, the plastic cap cracked a bit. Meanwhile, the body bounced off the floor without leaving any scuffs or damage. Ideal for packing, the Nomader water bottle will keep you hydrated and save space in your bag.
Price at time of publish: $37
The Details: 22 ounces | BPA-free silicone | Dishwasher safe | Chug spout
Best with Straw
Brita Insulated Filtered Water Bottle with Straw
The Brita Stainless Steel Filter Bottle has a sleek design with eight matte colors to choose from in 20- or 32-ounce sizes. During testing, we loved the pure taste from the internal water-filtering straw. The bottle comes with one filter that will need to be replaced once every two months, per Brita’s instructions. The lid of the cap flips open to reveal a silicone mouthpiece, and while we were skeptical of the texture, it ended up being comfortable to drink from. When we shook the bottle around, not one drop escaped from the mouthpiece, but when we dropped it lid-down, the base dented easily and the seal broke, causing the cap to leak a bit. The bottle fits in a standard backpack and cup holder, and there is a wide handle on the top of the lid that is smooth to hold when you need to carry it. After sitting out for six hours, the ice inside of the bottle melted, and the water temperature decreased by three degrees. The Filter Bottle comes in an array of unique colors, including ruby and jade. If you’re looking for a bottle that will keep your water chilled and filtered, this Brita design is a great option, but we recommend handling it with some care so it won’t dent.
Price at time of publish: $32
The Details: 20 and 32 ounces | Stainless steel | Straw
Platypus DuoLock SoftBottle Flexible Water Bottle
Whether you’re heading on a backpacking trip or going out for a walk, the Platypus Duo Lock Soft Bottle is a solid pick for an ultra-lightweight pouch that can fit about 25 ounces of water. We thought that the spout was easy to drink from, and the water flowed out of the pouch “perfectly” without any splashing. The carabiner attached to the pouch was easy to hold onto, and the flexible material can fit into a cup holder or backpack water bottle pocket without any issues. In testing, the water temperature went down to room temperature after just a few hours due to the water bottle being made of uninsulated plastic. In addition, the water did have a slight aftertaste with the first sip. Still, if you’re looking for a lightweight water bottle, the Platypus Duo Lock is a must-have for its portability and a comfortable drinking experience.
Price at time of publish: $20
The Details: 25 ounces | BPA-free plastic | Dishwasher safe | Canteen lid
Best Stainless Steel
Hydro Flask 24 Oz Standard Mouth Bottle with Flex Cap
If you’re in search of a no-frills stainless steel water bottle, the Hydro Flask Standard-mouth Flex Cap Bottle is a wise choice. During testing, the bottle performed well and impressed us with a sturdy grip, and the width of the mouth made for a comfortable lip to drink from. We thought the jointed loop handle was easy to hold and allowed the bottle to sway and move around naturally. However, someone with bigger hands than our tester might find the loop of the handle to be too small. If that’s the case, the bottle fits perfectly into a backpack water bottle sleeve and a car cup holder. Although the body of the bottle dented when we dropped it, the flaws were only cosmetic, and the functionality remained intact. Our tester noted that over time the bottle would likely get dented and scratched, but it would stay functional and leak-proof for everyday use. If feel is more important to you than aesthetics, this could be the right bottle for you.
Price at time of publish: $40
The Details: 18 ounces | 18/8 Pro-grade stainless steel | Dishwasher safe | Canteen lid
Best for Biking
CamelBak Podium Bike Water Bottle
The CamelBak Podium Bike Water Bottle is a lightweight, BPA-free water bottle optimized for cycling. We were impressed with the bottle’s durability, as it had no issues being dropped on the ground several times. It sustained no leaks, cracks, or scratches, which is ideal for mountain or terrain biking where there’s a possibility that your bottle could fall out of a holder at high speeds. The plastic design of the bottle can’t keep water cold, but it has more give to securely fit into a bike’s holder without rattling around like a clunky stainless steel model. When we shook the bottle to test for leaks, it remained secure without any drops coming out of the spout. The spout does require a hand to open, so you may need to stop to drink from it when you’re on a bike. Our testers reported that they had to squeeze the bottle to access water, since there is no straw or wide-mouth cap. While this bottle can’t keep water cold for the duration of an extended bike ride, we think its durability and lightweight design make it a reliable piece of gear for your next ride.
Price at time of publish: $12
The Details: 21 ounces | BPA-free plastic | Chug spout
Grayl UltraPress Water Purifier and Filter Bottle
With a high-grade water filtration system, the Grayl Ultrapress Water Purifier and Filter Bottle is a great asset to have when camping or hiking. The manufacturer claims that the filtration system removes 99.9 percent of viruses, bacteria, and protozoan cysts and filters out dirt and chemicals. We were impressed by the bottle’s durability and comfort while drinking from the vented spout. The hard plastic material is coated with a soft grip cover that was comfortable to hold, and the jointed handle was easy to grasp. Our tester noted that drinking from the spout felt natural, and it closed securely without any leaks occurring during testing. While the price point is higher than most bottles, we think the durability, ease of use, and filtration system are worth it.
Price at time of publish: $90
The Details: 16.9 ounces | Polypropylene | Chug spout
This chic water bottle is easy to drink from and doesn’t leak even when shaken. The bottle isn’t too large and has a smooth-but-not-slick exterior that is easy to hold or store in most bags’ side pockets. During our insulation tests, this bottle had one of the best performances, keeping water cold even after six hours in our lab (it’s advertised with the ability to keep liquids cold for up to 25 hours.) The bottle did, however, dent during our drop test, so it may not be as durable for everyday use as other stainless steel options, but makes for a stylish statement water bottle to bring on low-risk adventures.
Price at time of publish: $31
The Details: 16 ounces | Stainless steel | Canteen lid
YETI Yonder Plastic Water Bottle
This Yeti bottle is made of 50 percent recycled plastic and BPA-free plastic for a lightweight alternative to heavier stainless steel bottles. The tether cap is easy to use and prevents leaks, even if you toss it into your backpack or carry-on for a full day on the town. It also fits into all standard-sized cupholders and water bottle pockets for easy access. Throughout our tests, the bottle was dropped and thrown around more times than we could count — on grass, tile, and carpet — and it didn’t suffer any scratches or scuffs. While this water bottle isn’t insulated, the lighter material makes for a sleek option perfect for those who want to minimize bag weight.
Price at time of publish: $28 for 34-ounce
The Details: 20, 25, 34, and 50 ounces | Plastic | Dishwasher safe | Canteen lid
LARQ Bottle Filtered
To ensure you have access to safe drinking water wherever you go, consider this filtered water bottle by Larq. While the large filter does take up some room in the body of the bottle, it’s definitely worth it to make sure you stay hydrated wherever you go. Simply fill your bottle from your nearest water fountain or bathroom faucet and enjoy crisp, clean water every time. During three months of tests, the bottle never leaked, even when brought on planes, trains, buses, and the subway inside bags and clipped to the outside with the built-in carabiner. We even used this bottle in Egypt in the middle of July and it kept the water cold for hours. For $58, this is a pricey bottle, but constant access to reliable drinking water (especially when traveling) makes this bottle well-worth the price.
Price at time of publish: $58
The Details: 17 and 25 ounces | Stainless steel | Straw
Our Testing Process
We tested 26 popular water bottles in our Lab to find out which ones have the best drinkability, durability, portability, insulation, and leak-proof levels.
Our testers first filled up their water bottles one-quarter of the way full of ice, and the remaining space was filled with cold water from a machine. They were tasked with measuring and recording the water temperatures. Then, each tester took sips from their bottles while standing, walking, and sitting, to evaluate how comfortable each one was to drink from, whether there was any spilling, and how easy or difficult it was to take big gulps. To test the seals, we had our testers shake the closed bottles, hold them upside down for one minute, and then place them in a backpack and walk around for five minutes. The bags and bottles were carefully inspected to see whether any drops had escaped.
Our portability tests included having the testers grip each bottle as well as carry it with any included handles to judge the weight and how natural it felt to hold. We placed each water bottle in a standard-size car cup holder and a backpack water bottle pocket to see how convenient it would be to transport them in these common ways.
Next, our testers were tasked with assessing durability by dropping the bottles onto the ground from the height of a table. The bottles were dropped three times so that they landed on their bodies and three times with the lid facing the hard floor. That allowed us to see how easily the bottles got dented or scratched and whether the lids broke and rendered the bottles unusable.
Lastly, we tested the insulation of each bottle by letting them sit in the sun for six hours, taking the temperature again halfway through the wait period and then one final time after the full six hours.
Other Water Bottles We Liked
There were some water bottles that almost made our list, but a few weaknesses during testing meant they didn’t make the cut.
Purist Mover: While we thought the bottle was easy to grip and drink out of, it was easily dented during the durability test and even leaked afterwards. The bottle didn’t perform as well as we had hoped, given its somewhat lofty price.
Kleen Kanteen Insulated TKWide 32-ounce with Chug Cap: Although this bottle was durable and retained temperature well, there was nothing remarkable about it that stood out in comparison to other insulated bottles we tested.
Kleen Kanteen Classic Water Bottle: According to our tester, this bottle cracked and crushed after one drop during our durability test and was deemed “nearly unusable” after three drops.
Tips for Buying a Water Bottle
Consider the material’s durability and insulation
The material of a water bottle affects its durability, ability to retain water temperature, and weight. We found that insulated stainless steel bottles were the most effective in keeping the water temperature cold after six hours. While stainless steel is generally durable, you can expect a few cosmetic flaws after prolonged use, like dents or scratches. Although plastic water bottles won’t keep your water cold over time, they are ideal for someone who is looking for a lightweight, travel-friendly bottle—especially the folding bottles that are perfect for saving space. Since glass bottles have the potential to break or shatter, we recommend being mindful of the activities you would use them for.
Certain types of lids and spouts suit different activities
There are several common types of lids for water bottles, including straws, screw tops, chug caps, and sports caps. With a straw lid, there will be an external straw spout that flips up on the cap and attaches to the internal straw. A screw-top lid untwists to allow you to drink out of a wide-mouth water bottle and can often come with a handle on it for easy carrying. Ideal for a gym workout or other high-intensity activities, a chug cap has a wider spout designed for quick gulps. Commonly found in plastic water bottles, a sports cap has a plastic or rubber piece that opens and closes to release water when the bottle is tilted or squeezed.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does BPA-free mean?
BPA stands for Bisphenol A, which is a type of chemical that is commonly used in manufacturing plastic materials used for water bottles and other food containers. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that the presence of BPA has affected the reproductive systems of laboratory animals, it is unknown what the effects of low BPA exposure are on humans.
How do you clean a water bottle?
A water bottle will generally come with cleaning instructions that will indicate whether it’s dishwasher-safe or not. Not all water bottles are dishwasher-safe, so it’s important to check the manufacturer’s instructions before washing the bottle, to avoid ruining its functionality. When a dishwasher isn’t an option, most bottles can be sufficiently cleaned by hand using soap and water. You can also opt for a brush cleaning set to help scrub all the way to the bottom of the bottle as well as the small ridges in and around the lid.
What materials are best for water bottles?
Glass water bottles are usually chemical-free and made from natural materials, but they aren’t always the most practical while traveling due to breakage risk. While often durable, plastic water bottles have the potential to leak bacteria and chemicals into your drinking water. When it comes to clean and safe water bottles that will also withstand long trips, look for those made of durable and toxic-free materials like stainless steel.
Why Trust Travel + Leisure
Anna Popp is a Commerce Writer at Travel + Leisure, where she writes and reviews travel products. She has been travel writing since 2018, and product testing since 2021. Anna worked with travel editors and expert product testers to determine the results for the best water bottles, based on a series of tests completed in our New York Lab.
Love a great deal? Sign up for our T+L Recommends newsletter and we’ll send you our favorite travel products each week.