Water Bottles – Choosing the Water Bottle that’s Right for You

Avoid making the wrong choice – learn about the different features and types of water bottles.

Reusable water bottles are becoming the smart and favored choice as Americans become more conscious of the environment and waste. With more than 30 billion water bottles being used every year and 75% of those clogging the landfills, this is a great decision.

If you’ve made the decision to start using reusable water bottles, you need to know the different types and features of water bottles to make a good decision and choose the water bottle that’s best for you.

Types of Water Bottles

Copolyester Water Bottles – Tritan

Bottles made with copolyester are lightweight and durable. You can see the contents and lingering flavors or odors is not as big a program as with some other bottles. These bottles might break if dropped on rocks or other hard or sharp surfaces. Copolyester bottles usually have a recycling number 7 but don’t contain BPA. However, most water bottles with a recycling number 7 can’t be recycled when you’re ready to get a new bottle.

High-density Polyethylene Water Bottles – HDPE

These bottles are cloudy-white making it more difficult to see what’s in it. They have some problem with retaining flavors and smells but are more durable and less expensive than other water bottle choices. HPDE bottles have a recycling number of 2 and can be recycled. Slightly pliable, these bottles make good choices for athletes but not as great for hikers as they can be punctured with force.

Low-density Polyethylene Water Bottles – LDPE

Squeezable, opaque, lightweight and flexible, LDPE bottles are best for sports but they do have the problem of retaining flavors and smells. Some manufacturers of LDPE bottles take extra measures to prevent this. It’s best not to use these bottles in a microwave; they’re easily punctured, and could possibly melt if placed close to a campfire. Recycling number 4.

Stainless Steel Water Bottles

Silver, hard, very durable and doesn’t retain smells and tastes. Stainless steel water bottles are a little on the heavy side and you have the possibility of denting. You can’t use in microwaves and it’s best not to freeze them or use them for boiling hot drinks. Stainless steel and aluminum water bottles are great for hiking, but aren’t very good for sports.

Aluminum Water Bottles

Lightweight and shatter resistant, aluminum water bottles are one of the best choices for water bottles but you need to be careful that the lining used to resist odors and tastes doesn’t have BPA in it. Look for certification about this. Many aluminum water bottles have a narrow shape so you may have to hand wash it.

Polypropylene Water Bottles

Firm, lightweight, durable, and semi-opaque so you can tell what’s in it. These are popular bottle but they can be punctured and retain some flavors and smells. Recycling number 5.

Water Bottle Features

Opening – Some water bottles have wide mouths – some have narrow mouths. Which is better depends on your preference. Wide mouths let you fill them and add ice without any problem but, if you knock them over, your drink can spill out quickly, which isn’t good on trips where you don’t have easy access to water. Water bottles with narrow mouths let you control the pour rate but are more difficult to fill and wash.

Valves – Water bottles come with push-pull valves or bite valves. Again, which is best depends on what you prefer. Some people get tired of having to pull the valve every time they want a drink, while others find it harder to get a drink if they have to bite the valve. Bite valves are convenient because they automatically close after you take a drink. This helps prevent a lot of spills.

Insulators – Some water bottles come with sleeves that help keep your drink warm or cold. This comes in handy depending on your walking or hiking weather conditions. A nice, cold drink is a definite plus on a hot, summer day.

Belt holsters – Look for belt holsters to hold your water bottle if you participate in activities where you need to be hands-free or if you just get tired of carrying a water bottle.

Volume – Most water bottles hold 32 ounces making it easier to disinfect water with chlorine dioxide tablets. If you’ll need to disinfect your water on long backpacking trips, this is something to consider. If you need a water bottle for shorter walks where you have access to fresh water, you have a wider variety and cool designs to choose from.

Consider size and volume if you want to use your water bottle in the car. Many water bottles are too big for the cup holders in cars. If you want a water bottle that fits in your car, an aluminum bottle may be your best bet as they come in a wider range of sizes.


Most water bottles today are BPA-free but older bottles, especially clear, rigid bottles might have BPA in them. The safest choice is water bottles with recycling numbers 2, 4, and 5. Be wary of water bottles that have the recycling number 7 on them, but also be aware that Tritan copolyester bottles have the number 7 and are safe.

Making a Good Decision

Who knew there was so much to consider when choosing a water bottle? Although this is a lot of information, it isn’t rocket science. The main factor you need to keep in mind is to stay away from water bottles with BPA. After that, make your decision on how you intend to use the water bottle and which feature you prefer.