The WaterZen Awards for World's Best Water Bottles

The winner of WaterZen's World's Best Water Bottle Award is: Keep reading to find out! We analyzed and reviewed hundreds of water bottles to bring you our top pick.

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Move Over, Oscars! Step Aside, Super Bowl!

Sure, winning a Best Picture Oscar or a Super Bowl championship is a pretty impressive accomplishment. But, can they really compare to winning the title of WaterZen's Best Water Bottle?

Okay, yes, they absolutely can. (Especially if you're into trivial things like international prestige and enormous cash compensation.)

However, while the winner of WaterZen's Best Water Bottle gets no iconic gold statue or bejeweled ring, it does receive our Strongest Recommendation Status and highest admiration.

And who knows, maybe some of you reading this will go out and buy it.

Enough Lame Comical Banter. Tell Us the Winner!

Without further ado, the winner of WaterZen's Best Water Bottle Award is: The Hydro Flask Insulated Wide-Mouth Bottle!

Wild cheering... Raucous applause... Rose bouquets all over the stage...After scouring the internet for the most comprehensive, most rigorously-tested, and most recent rankings of water bottles, we at WaterZen studied the reports, compiled the results, and declared this bottle our winner. (Note: We plan to do our own testing of water bottles in the near future, but that day hasn't quite yet arrived.)

The Hydro Flask Insulated Wide-Mouth Bottle won in an absolute landslide, capturing:

  • Two of the four “Best Overall” awards
  • #2 on a third “Best Overall” list
  • #2 on the list of best-reviewed water bottles on Amazon
  • Recommendation on all remaining lists

Yes, this was the only bottle to appear in every single ranking! A unanimous ballot. On top of that, one of the “Best Overall” awards that the Hydro Flask Insulated Wide-Mouth didn't win was won instead by the Hydro Flask Insulated Standard-Mouth. Complete domination by Hydro Flask.

What About the Silver Medalists?

Several high-performing water bottles appeared on multiple rankings, thus earning Recommended Status from WaterZen. (The number indicates the number of lists they were named to):

  • Camelbak Eddy 4
  • Nalgene Tritan Wide Mouth 3
  • Contigo Auto-Seal 2
  • Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel 2
  • Lifefactory Glass 2
  • LifeStraw Go Filter 2
  • MIRA Vacuum-insulated 2
  • Thermos Intak 2
  • YETI Rambler 2

What Were the Criteria?

Obviously, different rankings used different criteria, but here are the main ones we looked at:

  • Carrying Convenience
  • Drinkability Leak-Proof
  • Design Stress Testing (drop tests)
  • Temperature Maintenance (keeping hot/cold liquids hot/cold)
  • User Reviews
  • Washability (is it dishwasher-safe?)

Can We Narrow Down the Hundreds of Bottles Out There?

It's easy to get carried away and start breaking down categories of water bottles into countless sub-categories (sport, bicycling, kids', wide-mouth, stainless-steel with auto-seal lid, stainless-steel with covered spout, plastic with straw, pink and purple, super snazzy, etc., etc.).

To keep things somewhat simple, we stuck to the following main categories:

Collapsible water bottles are super thin and extremely light: down to 1/8 the weight of insulated bottles and 1/4 the weight of plastic bottles. Especially handy for hiking, backpacking, and traveling, collapsible bottles can have a bit of an odor at first, but this normally goes away after a few washes.

Filtration bottles have a (surprise!) built-in filter that removes bacteria, parasites, and other contaminants to give peace of mind to those who don't trust regular tap water. Filtration bottles can also help your water taste better, but the filter must be changed regularly. Before you buy one, check which contaminants it removes and how often the filter must be replaced.

Flat water bottles are a wildly different option for hydration lovers because, well, they're flat instead of some variation of cylindrical. Fully leak-proof, flat bottles fit easily inside purses, briefcases, laptop cases, and other space-challenged spaces. Their big claim to fame? Being included in the 2016 Oscars goodie bags.

Glass bottles are free of any funny taste sometimes left by plastic or metal bottles, and they're free of chemicals such as Bisphenol-A (AKA BPA, OMG!). Also, they offer nice views of how much liquid is left inside. Nearly always wrapped in silicone sleeves for drop protection and improved grip, glass bottles aren't insulated, and condensation beads up on the glass and silicone sleeves.

Infused water bottles were invented for those who want to taste more in their water than water. An infuser inside the bottle can be packed with fruits, veggies, herbs, vitamin/nutrient supplements, and other ingredients to zap your water with flavor, help detoxify your body, and/or improve your immune and digestive systems. Mere hydration isn't your first concern if you favor infused bottles.

Plastic water bottles are designed to be used during sports and workouts, although they can come in handy in other situations as well. Besides being lighter than glass and vacuum-insulated bottles in general, most plastic bottles are now BPA-free and safe to use. Plus, many of them have flip-top lids and are easy to drink with one hand, which is hugely convenient. The only potential negative is a plastic-y smell.

Stainless-steel water bottles are dependable and easy on the pocketbook. Like their plastic counterparts, stainless-steel bottles are generally lighter than insulated and glass bottles, and they offer terrific value when you need water for a short time. Manufacturers recommend that you don't put hot water in them (and if you ignore their advice, you'll burn your hands when you touch it). Also, while some people detect a slight metallic taste, many don't find it an issue at all.

Vacuum-insulated water bottles practically have their own superpower in that they can keep cold beverages cold for more than 24 hours and hot beverages hot for up to six hours. These are incredibly impressive numbers! An insulated bottle contains two inner chambers: one that holds the liquid and one that has a vacuum channel for protection from outside temperature-influencing forces. Because of all this insulation technology, these bottles are the heaviest option. They're also the only kind that doesn't get water condensation on the outside.

These categories should help give you a good starting point in your search for the legendary “Perfect Water Bottle.”

Want to Do Your Own Research?

So, even after reading our excellent recommendations, you still want to do some research of your own. Sure, go ahead, our feelings aren't hurt at all.

Just kidding, we want you to feel great about the next water bottle you purchase, so here are some factors to take into account:

  • Bottle category/type
  • Bottle features and benefits
  • Bottle purpose
  • Bottle size
  • Bottle look and feel
  • Bottle's primary user(s)
  • Your budget

If you can get a solid idea of what kind of bottle you want, it'll narrow your search and save you a lot of time. Good luck!

But, before we finish up, here's a word from our planet...

Choose Reusable, Not Disposable Water Bottles

We at WaterZen aren't trying to be environmental activists or anything, but we're focusing on reusable water bottles instead of flimsy, disposable, plastic bottles that inundate American fridges and landfills. Why?

  • Each year, Americans consume more than 50 billion disposable water bottles, only 23% of which get recycled.
  • Humans worldwide are now using almost 500 billion disposable water bottles each year, only 9% of which get recycled.
  • By the year 2050, it's estimated that there will be more plastic, by weight, in our oceans than FISH! Crazy, huh?

It's a bit baffling why disposable bottles are so popular because reusable bottles are superior in virtually every way:

Bottled water often contains more contaminants than tap water does, so it's not wise to automatically believe the manufacturers' claims about water purity.

  • Disposable bottles are much more expensive in the long run than reusable ones. (On average, Americans buy over 150 disposable bottles a year.
  • Compare the cost of those to the cost of one reusable bottle, even a pricey one. Math wins again!)
  • Obviously, disposable bottles contribute much more waste to our communities and our planet.
  • Certain reusable bottles can do many things disposable bottles can't, such as keep beverages cold or hot for hours, filter out contaminants, infuse the taste and nutrition of fruits and vegetables, etc.

Granted, in times of emergency or shortage, disposable water bottles can come to the rescue, as they did during the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. If you find yourself in a similar situation, by all means, drink bottled water. And please recycle if possible.

Ultimately, though, we strongly encourage you to choose reusable water bottles over disposable ones on a daily basis. If you do this throughout your lifetime, you'll keep thousands of disposable water bottles out of our landfills and oceans.

That'd be a good feeling, huh?

And Finally, Here Are the Rankings We Compared

As mentioned before, we searched high and low on the internet to find the most relevant, recent, and rigorous rankings. (How's that for some serious alliteration?)

Feel free to check out the following rankings, conducted by reputable third parties, most of which did their own water-bottle testing and research:

The Best Water Bottles” by They spent 120 hours testing 90 water bottles over a six-year period!

The Seven Best Water Bottles to Buy in 2019” by Their editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products and services.

The Very Best High-Tech Water Bottles You Can Buy” by Their tech-heavy picks even include a smart water bottle that connects to Apple watches and Android devices!

The Best Water Bottles” by They spent several weeks subjecting 22 water bottles to rigorous testing that included washing, carrying, performing leak and stress tests — and, of course, drinking.

9 Water Bottles You'll Actually Use Every Day” by If a water bottle is as essential as your cell phone, wallet, and keys, one of these bottles is an absolute must.

The 15 Best Water Bottles on Amazon, According to Hyperenthusiastic Viewers” by The Strategist in They obviously didn't do their own testing, but Amazon reviews can be very helpful.

In this post: water bottle, drinking water bottle, hydro flask