Non-toxic, plastic free water bottles for the car, home, school and work.
Since I quit plastic many years ago I’ve road, life and office tested many different non plastic water bottles in my effort to find the most practical and safest water bottle for myself and family.
I will admit that I do have a slight bias when it comes to choosing water bottles. Firstly, I prefer a glass water bottle over stainless steel, I simply find that my water tastes better when it’s been stored in glass. Secondly, cost is way down on the list of considerations when choosing a water bottle. Well, within reason, I’m not likely to purchase an Armani branded water bottle any time soon but I don’t mind paying for a high quality, safe water bottle. I use my water bottle every single day and it comes with me wherever I go.
What about PBA free plastic water bottles?
There is emerging research that many of the chemicals used to replace BPA are just as bad for your health as BPA. The main concern with BPA and other plastic chemicals is that they mimic the effects of oestrogen in your body and upset the delicate hormonal balance that controls every aspect of your health – from brain function through to cancer susceptibility. The term for these plastic chemicals is ‘endocrine disruptors’. Read more about why you should be avoiding even BPA free plastic here.
Aside from any detrimental health effects, water in plastic bottles always tastes like plastic by the end of the day.
Plastic water bottles, even the re-usable ones are also not the best choice for our environment. Sure they’re better than buying a new plastic bottle every single day and increasing the profits of Coca Cola, but they still take at least a few hundred years to breakdown.
Contrary to what you may believe when you throw your plastic water bottle in the recycle bin, plastic bottles, or any plastic for that matter, cannot be recycled, it can only be down-cycled. Glass on the other hand can be recycled endlessly and maintains its integrity indefinitely. Every plastic water bottle, reusable, BPA free or not is made from brand new resources.
Reusable glass water bottles
This is my favourite type of reusable bottle and as far as I’m concerned, the safest water bottle. Glass is highly stable and chemically inert – there’s nothing nasty that’s going to leach into your drinking water from a glass water bottle.
There are three potential drawbacks to using glass water bottles though – expense, weight and breakability.
You can go for the cheapest option and pick up a swing top glass bottle from a $2 shop or grab a glass bottle of VOSS for a few bucks from the supermarket and reuse this. This solves the expense issue but not the weight or potential to break when dropped. So if you’re concerned about broken glass then use these options to keep your water in at work. Don’t forget to wash them regularly if you swig straight from the bottle though.
When it comes to avoiding broken glass then you can’t go past Lifefactory glass water bottles. They’re made from a tough, heavy duty glass and covered with a silicone sleeve to protect the bottle from breakages. The silicone sleeve is sort of an open weave effect and at first I was highly sceptical that it was anything other than a colourful fashion accessory. After seeing a bottle roll off the roof of my car and quite literally bounce on the road I am now a true believer. They don’t come cheap though, expect to pay between $40 and $55 for the large 470ml size – but we have had ours for coming up to 4 years now and they’re as good as the day we bought them.
Aside from the cost, they’re big and bulky for the amount of water they hold and they’re heavy. I’ve simply learned to accept this and if it’s any consolation, the extra wide mouth means that you can add slices of lemon, cucumber or sprigs of mint to your water bottle and they’re easy to remove and clean afterwards.
We also used Lifefactory Weego glass baby bottles when Yagga-Yagga was a baby. You can purchase separate sippy lids to convert them to sippy drink bottles once they move on from bottles, making them more economical. Like the Lifefactory adult sized bottles they are covered with a protective silicone sleeve. I’ve seen them roll from a pram onto the pavement many times over without a chip, crack or break to be seen.
Camelbak Eddy glass water bottle
Camelbak have recently released a glass water bottle in their popular Eddy range. As with Lifefactory glass water bottles, they’re protected with a coloured silicone sleeve. These are great for the car or sports such as cycling as they have a fold down silicone straw that allows you to drink one handed. You sort of need to nip the bite valve with your teeth in order to suck the water up which prevents water leaking from the straw. We have several of the Eddy bottles in the stainless steel version (which we love) and purchased the glass version as gifts for family members at Christmas.
They hold quite a bit more water than the largest volume of Lifefactory at a piddling 470ml vs 700ml. Expect to pay around $35 to $40 for a 700ml bottle. Replacement silicone bite valves and straws are available.
Call me a water bottle snob but I find the glass version of the Camelbak Eddy a bit on the ugly side. They look fine in stainless steel but the glass just doesn’t seem to match the lid making it look a bit clunky.
Stainless steel water bottles
Stainless steel makes a safer water bottle than plastic or aluminium but can still taint the taste of your water – if this is the case, it means that you need to give it a good wash with something to remove any manufacturing contaminants from the inside surface. A few rinses with boiling water and vinegar will usually do the trick. If your water still tastes metallic, keep cleaning, or, try dropping in a denture cleaning tablet. Make sure you sterilise regularly using boiling water or denture cleaning tablets as this also prevents a funky taste and smell from building up. Also make sure you rinse your bottle well after washing as any residual dishwashing liquid can make your water taste a bit funny.
Make sure you buy a high quality stainless steel bottle and don’t be fooled by aluminium lookalikes. Look for 304L or 316L grade stainless steel when buying your water bottle. Cheap stainless steel will start to corrode, especially if cleaned in the dishwasher and this is not good for your water or your health.
Klean Kanteen and Cheeki
You really can’t go past Klean Kanteen and Cheeki for stainless steel water bottles. We have several of each sitting around in the back of the cupboard that we keep for visitors to use. They’re light, leak-proof and fairly hard wearing – each of ours does sport a dent or two.
They come in a range of colours and prints but beware – the colourful exteriors don’t last long if you put them in the dishwasher.
The other problem I have with both of these stainless steel bottles is the tendency of the bottom to bulge out when they’re dropped, making it impossible to stand them up on a flat surface forever afterwards.
Camelbak Eddy stainless steel water bottle
We purchased the stainless steel version of the Camelbak Eddy for Yagga-Yagga when he was around 2 years old and we transitioned from the Lifefactory Weego glass water bottles which only held a teensy 150mls. I wanted a water bottle that he could drink from without having to tip it up so I didn’t have to cry and lose my cool over spilled water, several thousand times a day! At 700mls it’s a great size, maybe a little heavy when full at this age but it didn’t seem to be a problem. He still uses the very same water bottle after nearly 2 years of hard-core, daily use. It’s been thrown and dropped a multitude of times and has sustained a few minor dents – but nothing compared to the dings in our Kleen Kanteen or Cheeki bottles. We’ve changed the bite valve sippy thing that you drink from and the straw once. It all pulls apart so that you can give it a thorough clean and sterilise in boiling water from time to time.
They’re now available as a 500ml insulated version and 600ml version with an inbuilt filter so that you can fill it with tap water. They retail for between $36 and $50.
Aluminium water bottles
I don’t rate aluminium as a particularly safe choice for water bottles as they must contain a protective plastic layer inside the bottle – the same as with tinned food. This layer is easily damaged if the water bottle is dropped and sustains any dents and dings. They’re significantly cheaper than stainless steel and at first glance it can be difficult to tell the difference as they can look quite similar.
The safest water bottles: glass vs stainless steel
None of these water bottles are either affiliate links or products I’ve been paid to endorse or review. These are simply my experiences and recommendations after over 10 years of taking my own non-plastic water bottle with me where ever I go. If they can help take some of the angst out of deciding which is the most practical, economical and safest water bottle to invest in for yourself and your family then my job is done (I would NEVER have believed that a scrawny little bit of silicone would stop a glass bottle smashing on the road as it rolled off the top of a car until I saw it with my very own eyes).
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