Written by Jennifer Blair
The first round of the BestReviews Parch Madness competition featured fierce competition, with 16 popular reusable water bottles going head-to-head. While all of the bottles have their merits, only the best could move onto the second round.
That means eight bottles were eliminated this week in our bracket-style competition. The winners in BestReviews’ quest to find the best-of-the-best water bottle stood out for their durability, insulation and more.
What makes a great water bottle?
When comparing these 16 water bottles for our Parch Madness competition, the BestReviews Testing Lab focused on seven key features to identify which water bottles should move onto the next round.
Through rigorous testing, the Testing Lab found that the best water bottles won’t leak and are easy to sip from. They can keep your water cold all day and hold up to wear and tear for working out, hiking, camping and other activities. Testing also looked at which bottles fit easily in a car’s cup holder, so you can stay hydrated on your commute and road trip.
Water bottles also earn top marks in our Parch Madness competition if they are easy to clean and keep free of mold and bacteria growth. Price also plays a role in the Testing Lab’s scores, so reasonably priced bottles get the edge.
HydroJug vs. Takeya Actives Insulated Water Bottle
These rugged water bottles have a leakproof design that makes them ideal for use on the go. Both bottles are also shatterproof and withstand wear and tear with ease.
HydroJug: Made of durable plastic that’s free of potentially harmful bisphenol A, this water bottle holds up to 64 ounces, so you don’t have to refill it constantly. Its dual-function top is straw-compatible and features a built-in carrying loop. It’s somewhat challenging to clean, though. It retails for $21.99. Sold by: Amazon
Takeya Actives Insulated Water Bottle: With a powder-coated finish, this stainless steel water bottle can take a beating, so it’s ideal for hiking, camping and more. It features double-wall vacuum insulation to keep drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to 12. Unfortunately, it may be too large for some cup holders. It retails for $26.39. Sold by: Amazon and Home Depot
Who won: The Takeya took this battle. It earned top marks for its leakproof design, with a rubber cylinder inside the cap to create a tight seal. The cap also stays attached, making it easy to drink from. Best of all, ice lasted inside it for 24 hours, even with some exposure to direct sunlight.
Larq Self-Cleaning Water Bottle vs. Hidrate Spark Pro
These high-tech water bottles are designed to make your life easier. The Larq is ideal if you aren’t a fan of scrubbing your water bottles, while the Hidrate Spark reminds you to drink to ensure you’re properly hydrated.
Larq Self Cleaning Water Bottle: This self-cleaning water bottle features a nontoxic mercury-free ultraviolet-C LED light to clean the bottle’s interior, neutralize bacteria and sanitize your water. You only have to press a button to have clean water in 60 seconds. It’s pretty pricey, though, retailing at $99. Sold by: Amazon
Hidrate Spark Pro: With a built-in LED smart sensor puck, this water bottle glows to remind you when to drink. It tracks your water intake throughout the day via Bluetooth and has vacuum insulation to keep water cold for up to 24 hours. The bottle doesn’t always stay connected to the app, though. It retails for $89.99. Sold by: Amazon
Who won: The Larq emerged victorious. Its self-cleaning function worked better than expected, even eliminating flavors and odors from non-water beverages. It also has a narrow mouth that makes it easy to drink from even when walking and is extremely leakproof.
Healthy Human Stainless Steel Water Bottle vs. HydroFlask
These stainless steel water bottles are highly effective at maintaining your beverage’s temperature all day. They’re leakproof and won’t alter the taste of your water.
Healthy Human Stainless Steel Water Bottle: This bottle is available in four sizes, ranging from 16 to 40 ounces. It features copper-coated, double-wall vacuum insulation to keep beverages cold for up to 24 hours. It’s not dishwasher-safe, though. It costs $24.99-$32.99. Sold by: Amazon
HydroFlask: This durable water bottle is made of 18/8 stainless steel and has a honeycomb insulated cap to help with temperature retention. It’s also dishwasher-safe, but its top is not very durable. It costs $24.49-$31. Sold by: Amazon
Who won: The HydroFlask comes out on top. The TestingLab loved the tight seal that prevents leaks and its ability to keep water cold for more than 24 hours. It also stood out for how easy it is to clean and its reasonable price.
Yeti Rambler vs. Owala FreeSip
These insulated water bottles are excellent if you want to keep your water cold all day. They are easy to clean and come in various vibrant colors.
Yeti Rambler: This 26-ounce water bottle is made of 18/8 stainless steel and features double-wall vacuum insulation that maintains the temperature of hot and cold beverages. The lid can be difficult to open, though. It costs $40. Sold by: Amazon
Owala FreeSip: This unique water bottle has a push-button lid that locks and a spout for sipping with a built-in straw or tilting back to chug. It also has a wide opening for adding ice and easy cleaning. It can’t handle hot beverages, though. It costs $21.99-$37.99. Sold by: Owala
Who won: The Owala was the victor. It doesn’t leak, but it’s extremely easy to open and sip from. It also has great insulation, fits easily in a car cup holder and holds up to wear and tear.
Brita Insulated Filtered Water Bottle vs. Nalgene Sustain BPA-Free Water Bottle
These BPA-free plastic water bottles are lightweight and durable, making them ideal for everyday use. The Brita features a built-in filter, while the Nalgene is made of recycled materials for an eco-friendly option.
Brita Insulated Filtered Water Bottle: This filtered water bottle uses replaceable filters that remove chemicals, odors and flavors for up to two months. It can hold up to 36 ounces and fits most car cup holders. It isn’t as effective at keeping water cold as other bottles, though. It costs $22. Sold by: Amazon
Nalgene Sustain BPA-Free Water Bottle: Weighing less than 7 ounces, this water bottle is easy to take on the go. It can hold cold and hot beverages and has a wide mouth for adding ice and easy cleaning. It scuffs easily, though. It ranges from $16-$17. Sold by: Amazon
Who won: These bottles tied, but our tiebreaking system gave the slight edge to the Nalgene. The Testing Lab found that the Nalgene is a better value because it’s more affordable per ounce than the Brita.
Stanley Quencher H2.0 FlowState Tumbler vs. Simple Modern Insulated Tumbler
These insulated tumblers can keep your water cold and coffee hot all day. They feature double-wall insulation and are made of durable stainless steel.
Stanley Quencher H2.0 FlowState Tumbler: This tumbler comes with a three-position lid and reusable straw for leakproof sipping. It also has a narrow base that fits most cup holders. But it’s pricier than similar water bottles, retailing for $40-$66. Sold by: Dick’s Sporting Goods and Amazon
Simple Modern Insulated Tumbler: This water bottle has a flip top and a straw lid, so you can choose how to sip. It is dishwasher-safe and can keep beverages cold for up to 24 hours. It has many nooks and crannies, though, so it can be tough to clean. It retails for $25.99. Sold by: Amazon
Who won: This matchup ended in another tie, but the Testing Lab ultimately found that the Stanley had the edge due to its superior spillproof technology.
Zulu Swift Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Water Bottle vs. Contigo Ashland 2.0 Water Bottle
These sports water bottles are ideal for runners, cyclists or gym goers because they’re sturdy enough for regular use. The Zulu is made of durable stainless steel, while the Contigo features crackproof plastic.
Zulu Swift Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Water Bottle: With double-wall insulation, this water bottle can keep your water cold for up to 24 hours without sweating. It also has a built-in coaster on the bottom. The lid’s locking mechanism doesn’t always work, though. It retails for $15.99-$19.99. Sold by: Amazon
Contigo Ashland 2.0 Water Bottle: This lightweight water bottle features one-handed spout operation, so it’s easy to sip from when working out. It’s dishwasher-safe and has fill lines to help you keep track of your water consumption. It’s not as insulated as other bottles, though. It retails for $14.99. Sold by: Amazon
Who won: The Contigo bested the Zulu. The Testing Lab loved how easy the bottle is to drink from, allowing leak-free sipping even when lying down. It’s also easy to clean and holds up well to daily use. Ice can last over a day in it, too.
Bkr Little Smooth Glass Water Bottle vs. W&P Porter Glass Water Bottle
These glass water bottles are eco-friendly and keep your water tasting the way it should. They’re dishwasher-safe, too.
Bkr Little Smooth Glass Water Bottle: This water bottle doesn’t hold onto odors, flavors or stains like plastic water bottles. It also comes with a silicone sleeve that helps improve its durability. It can shatter if dropped, though. It costs $28-$48. Sold by: Amazon
W&P Porter Glass Water Bottle: Despite its glass construction, this water bottle is surprisingly lightweight and durable. It comes with a protective sleeve to cushion it if dropped. The lid can sometimes leak, though. It retails for $25-$30. Sold by: Amazon
Who won: The W&P stood out as the superior bottle. It doesn’t leak when the lid is securely fastened and fits easily in a car’s cup holder. It’s easier to sip and offers a better value than the Bkr.
This Monday, the eight first-round winners will face off in the next phase of Parch Madness. The bottles that emerge from this second round will go on to compete in the Final Four as we continue on our quest to find the best water bottle.
Here’s the full schedule. Return to this page for each update.
- Thursday, March 16 – Sweet 16: Round 1 winners.
- Monday, March 20 – Elite 8: Round 2 winners.
- Monday, March 27 – Final Four: Round 3 winners.
- Monday, April 3 – Championship – and the best water bottles by category.
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Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
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