A girly girls review of water bottles and straws. Exciting stuff eh? I have a love/hate relationship with water bottles. I use them for all manner of liquids (water, Coca-Cola, iced tea, smoothies, etc) and that may be why my relationship with them is so tortured. Some are just not geared for the liquid I put in them. That doesn’t make them bad bottles but they just aren’t the best for how I used them. Although I’ve drastically cut back on my Coca-Cola I do drink a smoothie most weekday mornings on the way to work then drink from the bottles all day at my desk.
I also primarily drink from straws so that influences my thoughts on water bottle design as well. The disposable plastic straws are horrible for the environment. So in the interest of trying to be environmentally responsible these are my fave straws. They are stainless steel and come with 2 straw cleaners. I like straws because I can keep my teeth whiter and I tend to drink more if using a straw. I’m not good at keeping hydrated so I find the straw makes me drink more. I know, I know, it’s all in my head. But, I’m also a lip gloss/lipstick junkie and with a straw, I can keep it on longer than crudding up mouthpieces with lipstick. I keep some at work and at home and in my car. I clean them in the dishwasher too.
I use the Orca 27oz Chaser ($30) with the cafe lid ($11) the most of all of them and mainly because of the no condensation and temp control (great for those morning smoothies I make at 5:45am but don’t drink until 7am). A plain lid comes with it but I like the lid with flip top if I want to close it. That lid keeps everything in. Seriously tight seal. I can flip the lid closed or open when I’m drinking. The only thing I don’t like about the lid is that the flip top portion broke off and isn’t replaceable. You have to buy a whole new lid and that seems wasteful. Come on, Orca! Make replacement flip tops! The Orca does topple a little in my cup holders since it’s top heavy (kinda like myself ;-)) and it’s quite large so not an easy carry. No loop to attach to anything. I could always do like my brother and wrap duct tape and rope around it. I can use a straw with it but if I use the stainless steel ones they are noisy as you move the cup since the inside of the Orca is stainless steel too. Dishwasher safe.
The one I keep on my desk at work all the time is just a wide mouth quart 32oz Mason Jar ($10 for 4). I have a Mason Monster insulator ($7.50 for 2) over it to help with condensation and temp. Those things are dang near impossible to get on but they do help condensation and temp a bit and they are washable. I wish the top of the insulators was a little more flexible. I then use a wide mouth lid and BPA free straw ($6 for 2). Doesn’t fit in my car cup holders which is why it just stays on my desk. Dishwasher safe. If you like the smaller jars they have insulators and lids for that size as well.
The Nathan Little Shot 750ml ($9.28) is probably the most outdoorsy of the ones I own. It comes in various colors and has a loop for putting a carabiner on to attach to bag or purse or you can just screw the top on over a bag handle. Fits in my Subaru cup holders without wiggling around or toppling over. It came recommended from Cook’s Illustrated as their most highly rated water bottle. However, it isn’t good at keeping temp and it will get condensation on the outside. I hate that part of it. When washing you have to take the silicone mouthpiece cover off or it will get icky. When you are drinking you kinda have to hold the clear mouthpiece lid down on the side of the container so it won’t flop in your face. BPA free. Larger in my small hands but can still hold it. Can’t use a straw with it but it bounces if you drop it so there’s that. Dishwasher safe. It’s not glamorous or pretty but I really do like it most of all except for the condensation and temp control thing.
The Lifefactory 22oz glass with silicone sleeve bottle ($25) is just good not great. I’ve had this one for a few years. It too will get condensation and it’s certainly not good at temp control since it is just glass. It has an oval mouthpiece so you can kinda put your entire mouth over it to drink but it’s not straw friendly due to height. The handle flips down out of the way and you can even tuck the mouthpiece cover under the lid to hold it back so it doesn’t flop in your face while drinking. It’s tall and skinny causing it to topple around my cup holders. Won’t fall out but it does move around. If you tip it over liquid will probably come out. I find that the lid that covers the mouthpiece isn’t that tight of a seal. Fits in hand easily. Dishwasher safe.
The swankiest is the 17 oz S’Well bottle ($25). It’s too tall for a straw, even the extra long ones, and since the mouthpiece is larger I get my lipstick all over it. I pour water down my chest quite often as well due to the larger mouthpiece especially when I’m nearing the bottom. Ice is hard to get in it unless you use small ice. No handle. Easy to lose the top. Great at temp control and no condensation so I like that part of it. I see these in so many magazines and it seems all the millennials at my office have one. Maybe it’s a hipster water bottle. It’s very pretty with all the color combos it comes in but I think I like it the least. Fits in my hand easily. I bought a silicone carrier with carabiner clip ($7) from Amazon to put over the top but that still doesn’t keep the lid close by. You’ve got to always be taking it off to drink or lay it somewhere. I can see that getting lost easily. Dishwasher safe. I do see that as of this posting they have announced new tumblers with lids very similar to the Orca above. No straws or carrying handles or any way to close the opening of the tumbler lid. I don’t like that since that means liquid can jostle out. It can do that with my mason jar above as well if the straw isn’t in there. The opening to the new tubler lid is an unusual shape so even with a straw in liquid can get out.
Most of these really aren’t water bottles. I mean, you aren’t going to take them hiking or really use them outdoors except for the Nathan bottle. The perfect combo for me would be a S’well body with the wider base all the way to the top (or a thinner Orca), the Lifefactory handle, and the Nathan round mouthpiece and short enough to it a straw. Best of all the worlds.