How do you choose the perfect water bottle when there are so many different water bottles available? We will explain the differences to help you choose the right one for you.
The first decision is the material from which the bottle is made. The four main choices are:
- Stainless steel
Plastic Water Bottles
Plastic bottles are the cheapest and lightest option. Unfortunately, plastic is not so good for our health or for the environment. Plastic may leach toxic chemicals, the main concern being BPA which is a dangerous hormone disrupter. A bottle labelled BPA free does not mean it is free of other hormone disrupting chemicals. For more information on BPA take a look at our post Why Go Plastic Free.
The main advantage of plastic is that it is light. Sometimes this may be a good option if you have a lot of gear to carry around all day. To help reduce chemicals leaching from a plastic water bottle, do not heat it while in use or being washed. It is also better to store water for a short period of time to minimise the possibility of toxins leaching into the water.
Aluminum Water Bottles
Aluminum bottles are cheaper and lighter than stainless steel, but we do not consider this material to be any safer than plastic. Most aluminum bottles have linings which may contain BPA. If they don’t contain BPA they are basically plastic lined and may contain other possibly harmful chemicals. Some aluminum bottles don’t have any lining so the water is in direct contact with the aluminum.
Aluminum bottles look like stainless steel, though they are lighter. If you are purchasing a metal bottle from your local supermarket and you are wishing to purchase a stainless steel bottle, check that it is in fact stainless steel, not aluminum.
Stainless Steel Water Bottles
Stainless steel is a great choice, and although it is more expensive than plastic or aluminum, it is completely free of BPA and other toxins. It can not break like glass, so it is a great choice for children. #304 stainless steel, which is high quality stainless steel, also contains nickel. In rare cases some people may be allergic to the nickel. Some people may also say the the water has a metallic taste, though we have never found this to be a problem.
When purchasing a stainless steel bottle, your next choice will be to decide if you require an insulated or non-insulated bottle.
Insulated bottles: Keep liquid cool all day even when left in a hot car. Perfect if your children love a cold drink on a hot day at school. When filled with cold water, insulated bottles will not sweat, keeping everything around them dry. The drawback of insulated bottles is that the double layer takes up space. Therefore, an insulated water bottle will hold less liquid than the same size uninsulated bottle. The double layer also makes insulated bottles heavier than uninsulated bottles.
Uninsulated Bottles: These bottles are lighter and can hold more than the same sized insulated bottle, but they do not keep your water cold all day. Uninsulated bottles will sweat and easily make a mess if filled with cold water. Bottle covers can help solve this problem. Neoprene covers help protect the bottle and alleviate the sweating problem.
Glass Water Bottle
The fourth and final choice of water bottle is glass. Glass is totally toxic free and non-leaching so it is a great choice. But the two major disadvantages of glass is it is heavy and also easily breakable. Glass may be the best option if you are worried about stainless steel giving a metallic taste, but are wanting a toxic free and safe water bottle.
Choice of Lid/Cap
Once you have decided on the material of the water bottle, the last choice is the type of lid or spout from which to drink. It depends on your needs and what your child likes. The Thermos straw bottles are great as the lids can’t be lost and the bottle doesn’t need to be tipped up to drink from. The Ecococoon are great as they will not spill or leak. Also, you don’t have to remember to close the lid to make them leak proof. Another option is a plain screw top. This might be preferred as no plastic is touching the water.
So as you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages for each water bottle. Your choice of water bottle depends on what it is going to be used for and who is using it. We hope this article has helped you to choose your perfect water bottle. Whichever you choose, you can feel good knowing that you are using a reusable item and saving a single use plastic water bottle from landfill.
If you have another type of water bottle that we have forgotten, please let us know about it. Or if you would like to share with us your favourite water bottle, please leave a comment in the comments section below.