• June 20, 2024, 10:42 pm

The best water bottles for the gym in 2023, tested and reviewed SoftAIT

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Update : Friday, November 17, 2023


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A water bottle is a gym must-have. Cacti can survive on small amounts of water, sure, but you’re no succulent; you are a meaty flesh bag whose body is 60% H2O. If flowers wilt when they’re not watered, you surely will, too. Staying hydrated is incredibly important for all levels of activity, from a leisurely stroll on the treadmill to an intense leg day. Plus, you don’t need to hit up the water fountain for small, unsatisfactory sips (and potentially communal germs) when you have an entire receptacle filled with water from your house. Depending on your gym, the water fountain might have a low flow rate and a thin layer of lime build-up on the spout—both unideal and a little grody. Your best bet is to BYOGWB (Bring Your Own Gym Water Bottle) and hope the gym has a WFwaBF (Water Fountain with a Bottle Filler). The best water bottles for the gym crush thirst, just like how you crush your PRs, you *strong* meaty flesh bag.

How we chose the best water bottles for the gym

It is a joke in my household that Wednesdays are off-limits for social activities, as it’s Barre Wednesday: the one day I week that I travel to my Pure Barre location of choice and take an evening Classic class with my favorite instructor, Amanda. Instructor Amanda kicks my ass in a way that keeps Writer Amanda from biting her handlers in a fit of rage. (They would need a rabies shot series if she gets chomp in.)

I’ve Burpee’d my way through the occasional HIIT class, mastered the Stairmaster, and even tried Bikram yoga. And although the hot yoga was a one-time deal, an insulated water bottle was a constant companion in my journey to sweaty, definitely not-culty enlightenment.

I made a few criteria based on my own gym/workout class experience. Each bottle is at least 32 ounces because 16-24 ounces is simply insufficient water for a 45-minute cardio or strength workout. Each bottle needed to have a handle or carry loop for convenience. A built-in straw and a wide mouth were minor considerations since both are nice to have but not necessities. Many bottles made the brave journey to barre class for on-the-ground testing, but only a few made the final cut.

The best water bottles for the gym: Reviews & Recommendations

If you’re headed to the gym for your hot girl walk, or you lost your last trusty gym water bottle and need to bring in a new recruit, one of our con-sip-erations should make you feel like you’ve found gold at the bottom of the well.

Best overall: Owala FreeSip Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle


  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Dishwasher safe: Hand-wash cup; dishwasher safe-lif
  • BPA-free: Yes
  • Temperature retention: 24 hours cold


  • Lightweight when filled
  • Spout doesn’t touch sweaty hands
  • Really fun to use


Like most products, I first heard of the Owala FreeSip water bottle on TikTok. Account after account raved about the bottle’s FreeSip spout, which lets you sip upright through a built-in straw or tilt it back for a classic swig. After testing it myself, I concluded it’s worth the hype.

The temperature retention is fabulous. Water stays cold all day, and ice cubes aren’t melted away after a few hours. The wide mouth easily accommodates a handful of ice cubes and makes cleaning seem like less of a chore. A push-to-open lid protects the spout from your own germy, sweaty hands, and the carrying loop doubles as a lock, so you don’t have accidental spills if you throw it into your gym bag like I do.

The FreeSip cap is the crown jewel of this canteen. The outer rim doesn’t hit your nose when swigging, and the cap doesn’t get in your face if you decide to take a long chug. I was also expecting a face full of water from the spout design, but the sip portion does not seem to affect the spout. The sip portion is seamless to drink out of—there’s no weird tugging like other sports bottles with straws. Using the bottle is just plain fun. The “click” of the lid opening and the design of the FreeSip spout tickle my brain in a way that makes me drink more water.

Although it’s not completely dishwasher safe—it’s recommended you hand-wash the bottle portion to maintain the finish—its inherent fun and ease of use easily outshines this minor downside.

Best for running: Nathan Quick Squeeze Insulated Water Bottle

A person holding a Nathan QuickSqueeze Insulated Water bottle against a brick wall.


  • Material: Double-wall insulated plastic
  • Dishwasher safe: No
  • BPA-free: Yes
  • Temperature retention: Unknown


  • Ergonomic grip
  • Extra storage
  • No slip grip


If you prefer running on the indoor track instead of on a treadmill, a handheld running water bottle helps keep hydration at arm’s length—literally. This one from Nathan is made to fit ergonomically in your hand, and it’s easy to squeeze to get that sweet, sweet water out of the nozzle and into your thirsty gullet. Double-wall insulation keeps your water/electrolyte drink cool, and a zippered front pocket holds your smartphone, cards, keys, and a good-luck trinket. It’s not dishwasher-safe, which is a bummer considering all of the nooks and crannies in the lid.

Best tumbler: Pelican Hydration Pelican Porter

A person standing against a brick wall holding a green Pelican Porter


  • Material: 18/8 Stainless steel; copper lining
  • Dishwasher safe: Yes
  • BPA-free: Yes
  • Temperature retention: 16 hours cold


  • Great temperature retention
  • Fits in car cup holders
  • Easy-to-hold handle


Testing the Pelican Porter made me understand the Stanley Quencher hype. Although the Quencher is a great tumbler, the Pelican Porter edges it out. It will keep drinks cold for 16 hours, compared to the Quencher’s 11-hour chill rate. This longevity is thanks to a copper lining that works with double-wall vacuum insulation to prevent thermal loss. It’s not completely spill-proof—one accidental kick from a passerby will lead to a certain disaster—but a splash-resistant lid prevents any waterworks on the drive to the gym. You can sip from the strong Tritan plastic drinking straw or rotate the lid for some chug action, although I prefer the straw. Something primal and childlike awoke deep in me as soon as I grabbed the Pelican Porter’s handle. I hope it also makes you feel like a big hydrated adult baby.

Best insulated: Hydro Flask Wide Mouth Bottle

A person holding a blue Hydro Flask wide mouth bottle and standing in front of a brick wall.


  • Material: 18/8 stainless steel
  • Dishwasher safe: Yes
  • BPA-free: Yes
  • Temperature retention: 24 hours cold


  • Lightweight when filled up
  • Moveable handle
  • Lid comes apart for easy cleaning


It’s a close race between the Hydro Flask Wide Mouth Bottle with Flex Straw Lid and the Yeti Rambler with Straw Lid for the title of best insulated water bottle for the gym. The Hydro Flask ranks superior thanks to its lid, which comes apart completely—no more moldy, nasty caps—and is dishwasher-safe. It’s also lightweight when filled up, and the moveable handle on the lid makes it better to carry from leg press to rowing machine to exercise bike, etc. It has a wide mouth to make it easy to clean and fill with ice, and the cap is leakproof when closed. A plastic ledge-like protrusion helps you flip the straw up without having to touch the mouthpiece, earning brownie points in the sanitary category. It is the water bottle I personally reach most for when I’m doing barre, since I can flip the straw up and carry it around while going from barre to floor to mat.

Best gallon water bottle: Yeti Gallon Jug

Yeti Rambler Gallon Jug is the best gallon water bottle overall.


  • Material: 18/8 stainless steel
  • Dishwasher safe: Yes
  • BPA free: Yes
  • Temperature retention: 24+ hours cold


  • Study handle
  • Clever lid to store spout cap
  • Double-wall vacuum insulation


  • Expensive
  • Heavy when filled

If you’re a person who drinks a gallon of water a day, the Yeti Gallon Jug is one of the nicest gallon water bottles you can find. It will keep your water cold all day, even if the bottle has sat in your hot car. It’s made of durable stainless steel and features vacuum insulation so that it will keep liquids hot or cold for several hours. It also keeps your bottle from sweating, so gym floors are safe from condensation.

The Gallon Jug’s lid features a sturdy metal handle with soft grip padding. The lid also contains a neat magnetic design, so users can store the cap when the spout is open. You can also screw the entire lid off for easy cleaning and refills, although some reviews note it’s hard to remove because of the lid’s large diameter.

Like all Yeti’s other stainless steel bottles, the Gallon Jug is BPA-free and dishwasher safe. It weighs 4.5 pounds before putting water in it, or over 12 pounds full. This is not the weight you intend to lift while at the gym. Still, it is far and away the nicest water bottle of this size.

Best self-cleaning: LARQ Movement PureVis

A Larq Movement PureVis bottle on a plain background


  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Dishwasher safe: Bottle is dishwasher safe; cap it not
  • BPA free: Yes
  • Temperature retention: N/A


  • Lightweight
  • Self-cleaning
  • Lightweight compared to other water bottles


  • Non-insulated
  • No wide mouth
  • Expensive

I tested and reviewed the insulated LARQ PureVis bottle and was impressed at its ability to keep water cold and make a noticeable difference in how it tasted after hitting it with the PureVis UV-C light. If the LARQ insulated PureVis bottle is the nerdy, well-read smartypants of the family, then the uninsulated PureVis Movement bottle is the sporty one who will get a scholarship playing D1 field hockey and eventually join the U.S. Olympic team. It’s called the Movement bottle since it’s uninsulated, making it even lighter than the insulated version. Both bottles use the same technology in the cap. Simply press a button to activate the PureVis tech, which eliminates 99% of bio-contaminants like E.coli. If you’re bad at remembering to drink water, the LARQ, unfortunately, doesn’t have a built-in water tracker or sip reminder. However, it automatically cleans itself every two hours, and one charge powers the bottle for a month, giving you at least two fewer things to think about.

Best budget: Nalgene Sustain Tritan BPA-Free Water Bottle

A person holding three Nalgene water bottles and standing against a brick wall.


  • Material: Tritan plastic
  • Dishwasher safe: Top rack safe
  • BPA-free: Yes
  • Temperature retention: N/A


  • Completely leakproof
  • No frills
  • Incredibly lightweight


  • Non-insulated
  • Wide mouth leads to a faceful of water

The Nalgene water bottle is a classic for a reason. Nalgene bottles have carried me from field hockey games to marching band practice when I was in high school, and they still have a place in my cupboard despite the objectively fancier options I have. They’re impact-resistant, leakproof, and are top-rack safe. Plus, Tritan plastic is BPA/BPS free if you’re cutting back on microplastics.

If you choose a wide-mouth Nalgene, I highly recommend getting an Easy Sipper. It’s a circular disk with a small hole that sits right inside the bottle to prevent getting a faceful of water when taking a sip. Although buying an accessory when you could buy a narrow-mouth bottle from the jump seems silly, wide-mouth bottles are easier to fill at bottle-filling stations. Being able to add ice is also a major perk. I’ve even filled mine and frozen them overnight so I’d have icy water after school. If you do that, just make sure to leave some room at the top since ice expands.

What to consider when buying the best water bottles for the gym

You may not need to drink 8 cups of water a day, but staying hydrated is a must while working out. Here is what you should keep in mind before adding to your water bottle collection:


Water bottles get dropped by sweaty hands, kicked by walkers deep in their favorite podcast and not paying attention, or fall over due to the mysterious forces of gravity.

Stainless steel can get dented and scratched, but it’s pretty resilient. Stainless steel can also handle sudden temperature changes. However, you should not freeze them since low freezer temperatures can damage the surface of the water bottle.

Tritan plastic water bottles are generally more scratch-resistant and won’t ding, but are by no means indestructible. Both materials are generally resistant to the wear and tear of everyday life.


Speaking of material, you’ll want bottles made of stainless steel or Tritan plastic. You’ll want to skip glass entirely since broken shards and people lifting in their socks don’t mix.

Stainless steel water bottles are popular because they’re light and durable. They’re usually made from 18/8 stainless steel, which refers to its 18% chromium and 8% nickel elemental composition. Many stainless steel bottles are vacuum-insulated to create a sealed buffer between the liquid in the container and the environment outside the bottle, which reduces conduction and keeps liquids cold for several hours. If you’re looking for even more thermal retention, consider a bottle with copper lining.

Reusable plastic water bottles give you a balance of durability and affordability. High-quality plastic bottles can be more resistant to superficial wear and tear and generally lack insulation.

When buying plastic, make sure to get a plastic water bottle that’s made from BPA-free Tritan plastic, which is light and ultra-durable. Some studies suggest that containers made from plastics with bisphenol A, or BPA, can seep into what’s stored in the container and cause adverse health effects.


Q: How much water is healthy to consume per day?

You’ve probably heard “eight cups a day” as the default water consumption recommendation. However, it varies from person to person. Optimal water intake depends on environmental and personal factors like height, weight, activity level, and current temperature. Keep a bottle at your desk or side table and take a sip when you’re thirsty.

Q: What material keeps water cold the longest?

Vacuum-insulated stainless steel keeps water cold the longest. You can keep your cold drinks cold all day, and iced drinks can even stay cool for days.

Q: How often should I clean a water bottle for the gym?

You should clean them often. The frequency ranges from once a day to a few times a week. If your bottle is filled with an electrolyte drink, stick to washing it every day. Bottles filled with plain ole water don’t need as much maintenance. However, since gyms are prone to germs, we recommend more frequent cleaning (at least five times a week).

Final thoughts on the best water bottles for the gym

You can bring any water bottle into the gym, but why not bring one that inspires you and #sparksjoy? Find one in your favorite color with handy features like a carry loop, vacuum insulation, and a touch-free cap for more sanitary sipping. The most important thing is making sure to stay hydrated while pumping iron, putting in rounds with the heavy bag, etc. You should sip some water from your new bottle and get some reps in.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.


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