Our plastic problem has hit a tipping point, and while we are getting better at recycling, single-use plastics are still an issue.
A new roadmap report from the British Plastics Federation (BPF) found that the UK could recycle three times as much plastic by 2030 as we did in 2019. But to achieve that goal, we all need to make some significant changes in how we purchase and consume items like water.
If your goal in 2021 is to drink more water, but you don’t want to add to the plastic pollution problem, a reusable water bottle is an ideal solution.
Reusable bottles are becoming a more popular sight, with brands such as Chilly’s and S’well turning these eco-savvy solutions into must-have fashion accessories. Plus, they can save you money in the long run.
A reusable bottle is also a great way to monitor your water intake. It can help remind you to drink while you’re out and about, and some water bottles also give you visual prompts when its time to take your next drink.
You also don’t need to worry about running out as there’s now an extensive network of water fountains popping up in towns, cities and parks across the UK. The Refill app is an excellent way of finding out where to find free drinking water in your area. Download the app on Android or the Apple app store, and they’ll direct you to your nearest refill station.
We’ve taken a look at some of the best reusable water bottles on the market today to help you ditch the plastic and hit your daily water intake. We were looking for easy-to-use bottles that kept our drinks chilled, were leakproof, and looked good.
How we tested
Each bottle has been tried and tested by going through a range of everyday activities such as walking the dog, working out and working from home to make sure it ticks all the right boxes.
The best reusable water bottles for 2021 are:
- Best overall – Hydro Flask wide mouth, 946ml: £41.95, Hydroflask.com
- Best filtered water bottle – LifeStraw go water bottle, 1l: £59.21, Lifestraw.com
- Best stylish water bottle – S’well the white marble traveller bottle, 470ml: £24.50, Thehut.com
- Best smart water bottle – HidrateSpark stainless steel Bluetooth smart water bottle, 21oz: £69.99, Amazon.co.uk
- Best carbonated water bottle – Aarke reuseable plastic and stainless steel water bottle, 800ml: £17.90, Currys.co.uk
- Best child-friendly water bottle – Paperchase XL floral water bottle, 750ml: £9, Paperchase.com
- Best self-cleaning water bottle – WakeCup self-cleaning water bottle, 550ml: £45, Notonthehighstreet.com
- Best portable water bottle – Chilly’s refill X, 500ml: £20, Chillysbottles.com
- Best lightweight water bottle – Hip water bottle, 650ml: £10.50, Skinnydiplondon.com
- Best for using at home – SHO original 2.0, 1l: £24.99, Shoreusable.com
Hydro Flask wide mouth, 946ml
This water bottle may not be small and compact, but it is perfect for everyday situations. It’s ideal for walking or hiking, thanks to the flexible carry strap, and the powder coat finish, the bottle helps you to keep a good grip.
Made using 18/8 pro-grade stainless steel, it benefits from double-wall vacuum insulation – which keeps cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot drinks hot for up to 12 hours. It’s lighter than most insulated water bottles, which again is perfect if you’re on the move as it won’t weigh you down. It also has a wide mouth that makes drinking water a lot easier. Plus, as it holds 946ml, you will hit your daily water quota without taking multiple trips to the tap.
The only real downside we could find is that the lid can be difficult to screw on if it’s not aligned correctly, resulting in the water leaking, so it’s essential to check that the lid is on tightly before putting it in your bag. This water bottle is really easy to clean thanks to the wide mouth and is dishwasher friendly, which is a bonus.
LifeStraw go water bottle, 1l
Best: Filtered water bottle
The LifeStraw go has an integrated straw and filtration system, allowing you to have quality water no matter where you are. The filter can help to protect the water from 99.9 per cent of bacteria, including E. coli and salmonella. It also has an activated carbon filter that we have to say did improve the water’s taste. The filter membrane micro-filter lasts up to 4,800l, and the active carbon filter for approximately 115l, but it’s easy to get your hands on replacements.
The integrated straw was a complete game changer. Not only did it feel easier to drink the water because you flip the lid and take a sip, but it was also great for use when working out. It comes in two sizes, 640ml and 1l, and it feels durable and lightweight.
The only thing we didn’t like about this water bottle is that it did leave quite a lot of condensation behind, so you wouldn’t want to put it in your gym bag or leave it on your desk without a coaster underneath. That being said, the bottle comes with a carabiner, so you can clip it to the outside of your bag if you want to avoid getting your belongings wet.
S’well the white marble traveller bottle, 470ml
Best: Stylish water bottle
Of course, looks aren’t everything, but this S’well traveller water bottle in white marble prioritises both style and practicality. We found that the shape of this bottle made it comfortable to hold and even carry around. As with all the bottles in the S’well range, it features therma-S’well technology and triple-layered insulation, so your water will stay cold for up to 24 hours (and hot liquids will stay hot for up to 12).
We love the wide-mouth design, which was particularly good for adding ice to our water and made it easy to drink from. One of the best features has to be the condensation-free exterior; no matter how cold our water was, this water bottle didn’t leave any pools of water behind – excellent for keeping hydrated at your desk or putting in your handbag. This water bottle holds 470ml, so it’s not too big to carry around, but it will still give you a decent hydration hit.
HidrateSpark stainless steel bluetooth smart water bottle, 21oz
Best: Smart water bottle
If you have a little more to spend on your next water bottle and you love your smart tech, then the HidrateSpark steel will be right up your street. It’s made from durable stainless steel and is vacuum insulated, so your drinks will be kept cold for up to 24 hours, but, unlike others in this list, it’s not suitable for hot liquids.
This bottle syncs up to your smartphone or smartwatch via the Hidrate app to track your daily water intake. The app will take your metrics (age, weight, height etc) to calculate your personal water intake goal. It will also glow when it’s time to drink more water, so there’s no excuse when using this bottle not to be fully hydrated.
It comes in two sizes 483ml and 596ml and has a chug lid, so it tested well when we used it during exercise and outdoor activities. The battery is located on the bottle’s base and is rechargeable, and lasts just under two weeks. Whilst this bottle is a great gadget, having another device that we need to remember to keep charged feels like a burden, and we’re pretty sure that we would get bored of that quickly.
Aarke reuseable plastic and stainless steel water bottle, 800ml
Best: Carbonated water bottle
If you enjoy a bit of fizz when it comes to drinking water, the Aarke water bottle will keep your carbonated water sparkling for longer. This bottle is made using a combination of BPA-free PET plastic and stainless steel. Of course, you can add pre-made sparkling water to it, but its best used with the Aarke carbonator. Think of it as a grown-up soda stream.
We found this to be a great water bottle for working at home – a glass of cold sparkling water mid-afternoon was all we needed to help push us through the rest of the working day, and it felt like a treat. The bottle itself is really well made; it looks stylish and fits perfectly in the door of our fridge. The cap was easy to remove, which isn’t always the case when opening a carbonated drink. We loved that it kept our water cold even when it was out of the fridge for a while and has a generous 800ml capacity, so plenty big enough to share.
Paperchase XL floral water bottle, 750ml
Best: Child-friendly water bottle
This water bottle is cheap, cheerful and holds a generous 750ml of water. It’s made using a mixture of BPA-free plastic and metal, so it’s both lightweight and long-lasting. The lid has a silicone strap that helps to secure it to the bottle, and this is especially useful for children who are likely to place their lid down when filling up and forget where they’ve placed it. It’s also leakproof, so ideal for popping in school bags.
It doesn’t have any insulation, which means it won’t keep your water cool for long, but add a handful of ice when you’re filling up, and it should see you through the morning. The sports cap style opening doesn’t always provide a high flow of water, but if you’re happy sipping your water over time instead of getting a water hit, it’s excellent.
WakeCup self-cleaning water bottle, 550ml
Best: Self-cleaning water bottle
WakeCup is one of the most innovative water bottles on the market. It uses UV-C technology which is located in the lid to clean the inner surface of the bottle. You click the button, and within three minutes, your bottle is completely clean without any soap or chemicals needed. To use the self-cleaning function does require a battery. But it has a built-in lithium battery that is charged using a MicroUSB, so it’s easy enough to do. It’s made using stainless steel, so it is BPA Free and rust-resistant too.
We have to say that it looks really good. It comes in matte black, so you don’t see any fingerprints or marks all over the bottle, and it has the shape of a traditional water bottle, making it easy to hold and use. It also holds 550ml of liquid and will keep water cold for up to 12 hours, which is perfectly adequate if you’re taking the bottle to work or on a day out, but it would be nice if it would stay cooler for longer.
Chilly’s refill X, 500ml
Best: Portable water bottle
Chilly’s has transformed the way we view reusable bottles. They’re funky, they’re fun, and most importantly, they keep water ice-cold for 24 hours. The Chilly’s refill X bottle comes in three sizes, 260ml, 500ml and 750ml. The 500ml bottle is more in line with a standard bottle of water you’d pick up from the shop, so it feels light and easy to carry around. It also fits nicely into the car cup holder and handbags or backpacks without weighing them down.
We think this bottle is better suited for sipping water at your desk or relaxing in a park, as the screw cap can make it a bit more awkward to use when you’re walking around or exercising. We found the lid very tight and secure and had no problem with leaks or spills. Plus, it has vacuum insulation, so this bottle produces no condensation.
Hip water bottle, 650ml
Best: Lightweight water bottle
The Hip water bottle is made using BPA-free and phthalate-free tritan plastic. It looks and feels like glass, which only adds to its charm, and it comes in a non-slip silicone jacket, which can be found in a variety of colours. The best thing about this water bottle is that it’s modelled on the traditional hip flask, so it’s sleek and slim and made for slotting into small bags or handbags. It feels really nice to drink from because it’s so light, which is surprising because it holds 650ml.
Because of its shape, it doesn’t feel like there is that much water inside, so you end up drinking more without realising it. It has a twist-cap lid, which is excellent at sealing the bottle, and we certainly didn’t experience any leaks. It weighs just 227g, so as well as being small in size, it is also lightweight. It won’t keep your water cold, but when you weigh that up against this bottle’s convenience, it’s not a problem.
SHO original 2.0, 1l
Best: For use at home
The Sho original 2.0 is a water bottle that makes a statement as it comes in different colours, patterns and sizes. We tried out the 1l bottle, and it’s perfect for use at home or office, but we found it heavy and bulky for carrying around. This bottle is made using 18/8 stainless steel and keeps liquids cold for 24 hours, however Sho don’t recommend placing this bottle in the fridge, so you will need to add ice to your bottle if you like ice-cold water.
We tested this bottle out in various situations, including outdoor activity, and we were impressed that it didn’t leak and left no condensation behind. The powder coating helped to make it feel less slippery when holding it but the sheer size meant that it was difficult to grip this bottle by the main body. The mouth on this bottle is quite narrow, but it was nice to drink from, and thanks to the seal below the lip, there were no stray drips.
Reusable water bottle FAQS
How much plastic is saved by using a reusable water bottle?
According to Water UK, 7.7 billion plastic water bottles are used in the UK each year, with the average person now using 150 plastic water bottles every year – that’s around three a week.
The organisation states that if just one in 10 Brits used a refillable water bottle just once a week, around 340 million plastic bottles would be saved each a year.
How much water should I be drinking each day?
While each individual’s needs are unique and dependent on health, age, height and weight, the NHS’s Eatwell Guide recommends drinking 2l (between six to eight glasses) of fluid a day, including water, lower-fat milks, sugar-free drinks, tea and coffee. Dehydration can cause both mental and physical fatigue, as well as headaches, while a healthy water intake is thought to boost mood and mental wellbeing.
The verdict: Reusable water bottles
More of us than ever before are turning our backs on single-use plastics, so it’s no surprise that there is a wide range of options for reusable water bottles, but we found that the HydroFlask 32oz was an outright winner. Whether you’re working from home, out on a walk or working out, this water bottle is the ideal companion. The wide mouth made it suitable for adding ice to our water, and it also works well for hot liquids such as soup and coffee. The flexible carry strap made this water bottle easy to carry around. It’s also a reasonable price for a premium water bottle, and the design is a classic that won’t feel out of date any time soon.
The Chilly’s refill X is also an excellent buy. The smaller capacity and sleek design make it ideal for when you need water on the go, such as the daily commute or while out on a walk.
We also have to mention the Lifestraw go; the combination of integrated straw and carbon filter meant that the water was easy to drink, especially when working out, and tasted a lot better than direct out of the tap.
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Now the whole family can enjoy eco-friendly beverages with the best kids’ water bottles that are leak-proof and perfect for school
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