On the market for a new water bottle? Consider stainless steel. The best stainless steel water bottles are more durable and environmentally friendly than plastic ones. Steel bottles never contain harmful BPAs or phthalates, they retain heat and cold, and they rarely need to be replaced. They’re also a cinch to clean—just fill the bottle with a one-to-one ratio of baking soda and water and let soak for about 10 minutes to eliminate any odor. If you have a dishwasher, the cleaning process is even easier.
The best stainless steel water bottle for you depends on how hot or cold you want your drink to remain, whether or not you like to sip out of a straw, how active you are, and whether or not you want a filtration system.
Best Straw Lid Bottle: Takeya Actives Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle with Straw Lid
Best Water Bottle with Built-in Filter: LifeStraw Go Stainless Steel Filter Bottle
Best Stainless Bottle Without that Metallic Taste: Purist Mover Vacuum Water Bottle
Best Dishwasher Safe Metal Bottle: YETI Rambler 19 oz. with Chug Cap
Best Large Stainless Steel Water Bottle: HydroFlask Water Bottle, 64 oz.
Best Cheap Stainless Steel Water Bottle: Simple Modern Vacuum Insulated Wave Bottle
Features to consider when shopping for the best stainless steel water bottle
The best stainless steel water bottle not only quenches your thirst, it keeps the beverage inside at an optimal temperature. Most stainless steel bottles can keep water cool all day, while the best vacuum insulated water bottles can hold their temperature for more than 24 hours.
What is the best stainless steel water bottle with a straw?
When you’re on the go, a straw just makes sense. Bikers, runners, and busy people in general appreciate not having to fuss with a stubborn cap that feels glued shut. This style of bottle is also great for peace of mind—if your straw is flipped shut, you know your water can’t accidentally wreck your phone, your laptop, or your favorite novel. If you’re frequently on the go, a model with a straw might make the best stainless steel bottle for you.
Water bottles come with different types of straws. A stainless steel straw makes for a smooth, cool drinking experience, and it’s just as durable as your new favorite water bottle. Silicone straws are also a good choice, as they’re flexible and soft. This makes them great for little kids. While both materials can be dishwasher safe, you should check with your manufacturer if you opt for silicone.
Best stainless steel water bottle with straw: Takeya Actives Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle with Straw Lid
The Takeya Actives insulated water bottle stands out thanks to its versatility. It comes in six sizes, from 18 ounces to a whopping 64. It’s also one of the best vacuum insulated water bottles out there, thanks to double-wall vacuum insulation that keeps cold drinks cool for up to 24 hours and hot drinks toasty for up to 12. Its insulated folding straw is totally leakproof when closed securely.
What about the best stainless steel water bottle with a filter?
Filtered water is important anywhere, but especially if you’re on a long hike away from civilization, or a prolonged camping adventure. The best stainless steel water bottles with filters can be filled up at any brook or fast-moving river you may come across. But how do the filters in water bottles even work?
Most use fibers, kind of like a strainer, to rid your H2O of excess particles and allow clean water to pass through. Some water bottles also incorporate a carbon filter to absorb unwanted chemicals that can leave a bad taste in your mouth.
One drawback to filtered bottles is the need to replace the filter every few months (or more often if you’re frequently filling up at rivers and lakes). Stock up on extra filters when you buy your first filtered water bottle. Most filters aren’t very expensive—typically half the cost of the water bottle itself.
Best filtered stainless steel water bottle: LifeStraw Go Stainless Steel Filter Bottle
LifeStraw reusable water bottles use microfiltration membranes with 0.0002 millimeter-sized holes to clean out bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants in a freshwater source, and it lasts through up to 1,000 gallons of water. The activated carbon filter absorbs any chlorine and bad tastes—this one only lasts through up to 26 gallons of water, so the brand recommends changing it out every three months.
How do I make sure my water doesn’t taste like metal?
There’s not a lot worse than unscrewing a water bottle in a desperately parched moment, only to find your icy cold beverage tastes more metallic than clean and crisp. Luckily, this can be easily avoided. First, make sure to buy food-grade stainless steel. You may also want to look for stainless steel water bottles that are lined with another material, such as glass. That way there’s no chance of any metal taste seeping in.
You should also take proper care of the bottle itself. How you clean it will impact the taste of your drinks. Combining equal parts baking soda and water and letting them sit in your bottle for about 10 minutes is one great method to clean your bottle.
Another way to get rid of any lingering metal (or coffee) taste is by cleansing with a mix of vinegar and water. Simply add a teaspoon of vinegar to enough water to fill the bottle, shake it up, let sit for several minutes and then thoroughly rinse with soap and warm water to get rid of the vinegar taste. You should rinse your water bottle every day, after every use—it’s the only fail-safe way to keep your drink tasting as fresh as possible.
Best bottle without that metallic taste: Purist Mover Vacuum Water Bottle
If you have sensitive taste buds, rejoice: the Purist bottle is for you. Stainless steel on the outside and a glass lining on the inside keeps your water tasting, well, pretty damn pure. This stainless steel water bottle is double wall vacuum insulated, which means it keeps cold drinks cold for 24 hours and hot drinks hot for 12. A soft stopper prevents leaks.
Can you wash it in the dishwasher?
The best stainless steel water bottles aren’t just convenient when you’re on the go—they’re also a cinch to clean. Luckily, stainless steel is an almost universally dishwasher safe material. Note that aluminum is not. If you’re tempted to buy an aluminum water bottle for its sleek look and lighter weight, keep in mind that not only is it unable to go in the dishwasher, it’s also considerably less durable than good old stainless steel. The high heat of the dishwasher, plus the minerals in the water and the aluminum itself, causes discoloration, nicks, and dents.
The reason why stainless steel is dishwasher safe is because it’s a metal alloy made from iron and chromium. If you’ve ever seen two numbers separated by a slash on a stainless steel item, i.e. “18/10”, that means the item is made from 18% chromium and 10% stainless steel. When it comes into contact with water, stainless steel will not rust or tarnish, because the alloy forms a protective layer of chromium oxide, which guards the item from water- and oxygen-induced damage.
Best dishwasher safe stainless steel water bottle: YETI Rambler 19 oz. with Chug Cap
This YETI water bottle is dishwasher safe (of course), double wall vacuum insulated, puncture- and rust-resistant, and has an easy-twist spout to drink quickly on the go.
How much water will your bottle hold?
The amount of water your body needs varies on your level of physical activity, your environment (heat and humidity lead to more rapid dehydration), your overall health (it’s always good to double up on liquids if you’re feeling under the weather), and other extenuating conditions. If you’re traveling, or up on a mountain in high altitudes, you’re going to need more water than if you’re at sea level. Pregnant and breastfeeding people may also need to keep a careful eye on their hydration levels.
If eight glasses is your goal, that’s 64 ounces—which may be cumbersome to carry around, unless you attach it to a backpack with a carabiner or plan to keep it at your side most of the day. But hey, if you don’t mind the extra (water) weight, go for the 64-ounce bottle.
Best large capacity stainless steel water bottle: HydroFlask Water Bottle, 64 oz.
Most stainless steel water bottles come in 12-ounce sizes to 32 ounces. Other brands, like Hydro Flask, creep up to the 40- and 64-ounce range with their reusable water bottles. The powder coating is particularly great for working out, as it keeps the bottle from slipping out of sweaty hands.
Best cheap stainless steel water bottle: What you get for under $20
The cheapest stainless steel water bottle is likely the best water bottle for kids. There’s no point breaking the bank on something that can easily get lost on the playground or at a friend’s house. Just remember to always look for food-grade stainless steel. Many budget options are smaller or less durable than pricier picks, but they still quench your thirst and are often vacuum insulated, which means they’ll retain your water’s temperature. You can find plenty of interesting color combos and patterns in budget water bottles too.
Best budget stainless steel water bottle: Simple Modern Vacuum Insulated Wave Bottle
We like the Simple Modern Vacuum Insulated Wave Bottle—for under $20, it matches all of the above criteria, and the inner wall is coated in copper for extra insulation.
Best stainless steel water bottle brands to know
YETI made waves with their bear-proof, element-proof gear, and are now also lauded for more low-key offerings: mugs that keep your tea warm, totes that insulate your picnic, and of course, stainless steel water bottles to keep you hydrated.
The original filtering straw company, LifeStraw was born from a company called Vestergaard, which began by creating mesh filters to remove worms from drinking water in 1994. This filter later became the LifeStraw water filter in 2005; it wasn’t released for public use until 2008, mainly in countries that lacked regular access to clean drinking water. The company has always had a humanitarian bent. In 2014 Vestergaard launched a GiveBack program in which a child received access to clean water for a full year with every purchase of a LifeStraw.
The now big-name brand started small, with founders Travis Rosbach and Cindy Morse hawking their line of colorful water bottles at a farmers market in Bend, Oregon. This was in 2009; by 2016, at the company’s peak, Hydro Flask was acquired by Helen of Troy, a company that owns household names such as OXO, Vicks, Braun, and Hot Tools. Now, Hydro Flask offers mugs, tumblers, coolers, and more in addition to its signature rainbow-hued water bottles.
A final word on shopping for the best stainless steel water bottle
The best stainless steel water bottle will vary from person to person, but here are a couple universal takeaways. Make sure the bottle is made from food grade stainless steel, and that it’s dishwasher safe for easy cleanup. Buy something with a straw if your active life requires it, and be sure to choose something that’s filtered if you’re out and about often. Lastly, remember to use it! Staying hydrated keeps your energy levels up, prevents lousy dehydration headaches, and improves cardiovascular health.