Whether you’re a professional athlete, jogger, gym goer or just like to stay hydrated, using water bottles is a reliable way to keep clean, beneficial water at hand. But what is the best water bottle to drink out of? Is there any real difference between a plastic water bottle and a stainless steel water bottle? Is a truly stainless water bottle even possible? Is a sport bottle the best option, even when you’re not working out? The options are bafflingly numerous, and price ranges varied, but don’t give up and consider using public water fountains as your only hydration choice.
- Disposable plastic water bottles
At first blush they may seem like the most cost effective option (once you get around the fact that they probably contained glorified tap water at 10,000 times the cost when you first bought them). But they can be reused after all, so why not use plastic water bottles? The trouble is that the manufacture of plastic water bottles is not only bad for the environment, but drinking out of them isn’t much good for you either. Even though BPA-free plastic (Bisphenol A is an industrial chemical used in plastics since the 60’s) are becoming the norm in disposable bottles, there are other chemicals that can seep into the water they contain if exposed to heat or over periods of time. The health impact is unclear, so it’s something to truly consider, especially if your children and family are using them. Plus, they’re not very sturdy and can explode or come open if dropped or crushed.Credit: Flickr: Len Matthews
- Reusable plastic water bottles
Much more durable than their disposable cousins, reusable plastic water bottles are also lightweight, affordable and can be purchased seemingly almost anywhere. But exactly like their disposable cousins, they too can contain chemicals that may seep into the water they hold. Also, the poor environmental impact of manufacturing these bottles is something many might consider.
- Reusable glass water bottles
Unlike plastic, glass won’t absorb chemicals or flavours, so they’re ideal for reuse. Glass is easy to clean either by hand or by a cycle in your dishwasher. Glass water bottles don’t have the same environmental or chemical concerns in their manufacture as plastic bottles. However, they are significantly heavier than plastic bottles and may not be as portable. Also, glass water bottles can break if dropped, so they might not be the best option for children. Lastly, they are pricier than plastic.
- Reusable stainless steel water bottles
Made from sold steel, they’re a good choice as a sport bottle or in a situation where you need something rugged that can take a beating. The stainless steel used is of food-grade, and there is absolutely no risk of chemical seepage. And because it’s stainless, food-grade steel, there’s also no need for a liner or the sealants associated with liners. The steel can also offer some insulation properties that may keep water cooler for a longer period of time. However, they’re not indestructible and can dent or scratch. Stainless steel bottles are also significantly more expensive than other reusable or sport bottle options.
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- Reusable aluminum
They look like steel, and often rely on that misunderstanding for sales, but aluminum bottles are very different than steel bottles. Aluminum is reactive to certain liquids and must be lined in order to be safe for drinking. The epoxy or enamel lining used can pose dangers in the form of BPA exposure. And just like stainless steel, aluminum can dent, but unlike steel, the protective lining in aluminum could get damaged. Aluminum types also tend to have narrow necks and openings which can make cleaning difficult. But Aluminum varieties generally cost much less than the steel bottles they resemble.
- Reusable ceramic
They have the advantages of stainless steel durability, but they have the disadvantage of a liner. However, depending on the brand, the liners in ceramic bottles are of the type that shouldn’t pose any health concerns (depending who you ask). Ceramic also has the benefit of style – the ceramic material can be coloured or formed into a multitude of fun options.
- The next generation
They’ll use technology, science and advanced materials to deliver all of the advantages while eliminating the disadvantages of current offerings. The next generation will have the flexibility of sports bottles while still providing the great taste of drinking from glass. It’s too soon to assess their benefits or drawbacks, but for the trailblazers, they can try a number of them out now. Plus, they look really, really cool.
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Overall, reusable offers the most benefits over disposable, and non-plastic present the healthiest option. With that conclusion in mind, durability, lid types, and even fashion will ultimately be the key factors to consider in selecting which one is right for you.