How to Choose a Safe Water Bottle

I’ve made my stance on bottled water quite clear before, but I’ll go ahead and reiterate: bottled water is a joke. It’s completely unnecessary, unless you’re in a nation with unsafe water quality, and the plastic bottles make for excellent landfill fodder. You could reuse the bottles, but then you’ve gotta worry about the plastic leaching into your water, especially the more you refill and reuse them (and don’t ever stick ‘em in the dishwasher). Poor taste is one thing – I can’t expect a person to happily drink tap water that tastes terrible – but tap is perfectly safe to drink, especially if used with a simple filter. And if it weren’t, most bottled water wouldn’t be any better, since it’s often just repackaged tap (check the label or cap – if it says “from a municipal source” or “from a community water system” or anything along similar lines, it’s tap water). Sparkling water in glass bottles is justifiable (tap isn’t bubbly, after all, although you could make it so at home, and the glass bottles are definitely reusable (I like filling them with homemade salad dressings).

But if you’re just after fresh drinking water, the tap will be fine. You can buy a filter if you like – I do, myself – or you could locate a nearby freshwater spring, if tap isn’t cutting it. The best water I’ve ever tasted came from a campsite faucet in Lake Tahoe. You could taste the minerals; it was like drinking from a fresh water stream before it got dangerous. I swear, if it didn’t mean a eight-hour drive each way, I’d get all my water from that tap. Oh well. I’m getting off topic. Just don’t buy crate after crate of water in plastic bottles is the essential gist of my spiel.

Still, bottled water is undeniably convenient, which is why it’s probably so popular (along with unfounded fears regarding tap water safety). I can’t ignore the convenience factor. I like it myself. Most people just reuse their old plastic bottles, those simple, unassuming polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles. It’s an environmentally friendly gesture, but it’s one that may promote health issues, including the leaching of DEHP – a potent carcinogen – with repeated use. And, of course, there’s always our old friend, Bisphenol A, to contend with when plastics are involved. He turns up in the darndest of places, but that doesn’t mean you should simply throw in the towel. Avoid those old plastic bottles. Then there are the glass bottles. Safe? Yeah, but they’re also heavy and fragile – not the ideal water vessel for active individuals like our readers.

A better option is to go with a permanent water bottle expressly designed for the purpose. There are dozens on the market, but it usually comes down to a standoff between bottles made of polycarbonate plastics, aluminum, and stainless steel. Let’s see if we can find a clear winner.

Polycarbonate bottles

These are the “safe” plastic bottles; the permanent ones. They’re incredibly durable, and they exude an air of impermeability. They don’t wither under heat, like the PET bottles, and they maintain their shape. Plus, they often come in neat colors and attractive mesh shoulder slings. All the cool kids are using them, but should you?

I’d stay away. Polycarbonates have been proven to leach BPA into drinking water. There are no good reasons to take any chances considering the reams of animal data showing definitive deleterious effects outlined in the last BPA post.

But what about “BPA-free” plastic water bottles? Despite BPA-free claims I remain skeptical of plastic water bottles. With misinformation and the unregulated state of bioaccumulating pollutants, for my money there are much safer options.

Aluminum bottles

Aluminum is a solid choice. They’re pretty durable and very light, but they’re also expensive. Aluminum water bottles have become pretty damn trendy, if that weighs on your decision at all. Sure, trendiness can be annoying and all, but at least it shows people are becoming more aware of the folly of buying several plastic bottles of water a day – and that’s always a good thing. Is aluminum the way to go?

I hesitate to give my unequivocal affirmation. While the newest (post 2009) aluminum water bottle models from Sigg are claiming to be free of BPA, all their earlier stuff has it in the interior lining. So, the most recent Sigg bottles are probably safe, but as for the bottles from other, less reputable companies? I wouldn’t take a chance. Sigg is the biggest name in the aluminum water bottle game, and if they’re only just now ditching the BPA (a move momentous enough for the president to turn into a public statement) in their bottles, I’d be careful about buying aluminum bottles from other companies. And definitely avoid filling an aluminum bottle with acidic liquid (not that PB folks are big lemonade drinkers or anything), which can cause the aluminum itself to leach.

Stainless Steel bottles

Stainless steel wins, in my book. Sure, it’s a bit heavier, but it’s a proven material, and it won’t leach (and if it could, you’d have pure steel running through your veins – a net win, if you ask me). If you’re attacked by a mountain lion, your stainless steel water bottle becomes a dangerous weapon. You can fell the vicious beast, wipe the blood off, then immediately take a sip of refreshing water. You think polycarbonate and aluminum bottles could do that? Please. Wild animals in this country have (sadly) seen more than enough used condoms and faded cans of Budweiser to last them a lifetime. They’d laugh at your plastics and pseudo-metals (who ever heard of a metal that a ten year-old boy could crush underfoot?). If you tried to face down a big wild cat with a polycarbonate bottle, you’d better hope that feral felines are highly sensitive to trace amounts of BPA.

Seriously, though, stainless steel is the best choice, followed closely by reputable aluminum bottles. With steel, you don’t have to worry about weird chemicals, nor do you have to spend a ton of cash to keep up with a trend, making it the clear choice for anyone interested in a durable, reliable permanent water bottle. Kleen Kanteen appears to be a trusted manufacturer.

What do you use to transport your H20? Is there anything I’ve overlooked? Any additional safety concerns? Share your infinite wisdom in the comment board!

TAGS:  toxins

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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165 thoughts on “How to Choose a Safe Water Bottle”

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  1. Woot: This post is making me firsty! Just started using a stainless steel travel mug this AM for my coffee. How timely!

    1. nice article, but THEO FORGOT THE BEST CHOICE OF ALL! What about GLASS? I have been carrying around a glass water bottle with a quote top for about a year now and it is by far the best option! I know with a lot of other materials I have to worry about chemicals and junk seeping into my water, but with glass, I don’t have to worry at all! my water always taste the best in glass, like it came right out of the filter. you can leave it sit for days and it still taste as good as new. and the feeling of glass is very nice as well. I hate the feeling of metal against my lips… it’s horrible. my bottle is actually just a reused liquor bottle (I just borrowed it from my friends and cleaned it out). by far the best material, I always go with pure glass.

      1. don’t forget to take off the labels (or use a brown bag..)
        he did mention glass bottles but dismissed them on account of their fragility.
        I keep some glass bottles of water in the car but for everything else I am an aluminium man.

        1. Thank where do you purchase your glass bottles

    2. Question. If tapwater is out of the question and there is no spring in the neighbourhood, where to get water from? Are glass bottles or a filter the only option? My tapwater is too low in PH and has a lot of bad calcium in it, among other pollutants as well as too much oestrogen hormones.

      Hm, I guess glass bottles are the way to go then … and pour them in a safe lighter weight bottle for on the go.

      Maybe I am overlooking something? The best water I find here is SPA. It has the lowest dry residu percentage … I would also drive to a source if it was feasible … and if I had a car! 🙂

  2. Love my stainless steel water bottles- yeah, they dent occasionally if you are klutzy like me, but I think that just lends a certain street cred.

    I have a stainless steel thermos for hot beverages too. It keeps things hot for about 24 hours,and stays on heavy rotation in the wintertime.

      1. You sir, are a moron.

        I followed your directions. Did a Google search for “stainless steel water bottles recalled.” Reading the first several pages, I found only that it was revealed that some aluminum water bottles contained BPA in the past. Also found a warning about toddler’s tongues getting stuck in stainless steel bottles.

        Then I went to your little link…in which the author said that he would not buy stainless steel bottles because they are made in China, and he did not like that.

        SO…”super unsafe?”. I think not. Just hope other people who read this can disregard your comment.

        1. You, my friend, saved me an hr in my busy schedule. Thank you for researching that info for us.

      2. Thank you Aqua, I found your link most informative. I have used a KleanKanteen for years, and was just wondering about it and a rash on my nose I have been getting. I’ll recycle a good old glass bottle that juice came in for a couple weeks. I just read KleanKanteen contains 8% nickel, one of the most common allergic contact metals.

  3. Those are good reasons, but for some people the only one that will matter is the one they’re too oblivious to think of: bottled water is several dollars per gallon (at least). Even with a filter tap water comes out to only 10-20 cents per gallon. Seems pretty obvious to me.

    Unfortunately I’m not a fan or the screw-on caps on most metal bottles (nor the straw or squeeze tops on most plastic bottles now). Luckily I have some old PP/5 (Polypropylene) bottles with flippy/clicky tops – they are supposed to be BPA-free.

    1. John,

      I know that Klean Kanteen makes sport (flippy/clicky) lids that fit their bottles. I have this combination. It is another appendage in my life.

  4. I have been using a BPA coffee mug and when im done with my coffee, i wash it out and fill it with water. But now Im going to have to invest in a stainless steel waterbottle!! 🙂

  5. lol. Loved the part about wild animals laughing at our plastic/aluminum water bottles. If a mountain lion was attacking i find a rock or stick, not my water bottle. But still. Very fun read.

    1. Haha I was thinking the same thing. I am guessing it was a joke, love the sense of humor Mike.

      I have been wanting to buy a water bottle for a while now but never knew which one to buy. I ran in a 5K run 1 week ago and received a free plastic water bottle. I think its time to buy a stainless steel one!

      1. Some stainless steel ones have a plastic coating. Or at least they have something in them that you can taste, I don’t know what.

  6. Hey Mark, I just started following your blog a few weeks ago and I love how much I’m learning from you. I’m currently training for the Madison Ironman (my first one) and I’m reevaluating my food intake. I LOVED your post yesterday…so informative!

    As for water bottles, I’ve been struggling with this topic for awhile now. I want to be “green” and drink safe water. At this point, I use the Ice Mountain sport bottles. I will use one and refill it for a day or so and then recycle it. I like these bottles because I can squoosh (sp?) it and the water is easy to swallow. I find the metal containters too difficult to drink out of – especially when I’m running. I’m afraid I’ll chip a tooth or something. Any suggestions??

  7. I have a stainless steel bottle that gives my water a metallic taste… it makes me a bit wary of it.

  8. I’ll stick with reusing plastic bottles, assuming I refill the bottle fewer than 3,400 times a day I should be in the clear.

  9. Are water filters really necessary? I don’t even know exactly what they’re filtering, and whether they’re taking out too many good minerals along with the supposed bad stuff they’re removing. Already we know they are engineered to leave the flouride in which is a dubious benefit so … I am 50/50 on filtering the water I get in my house. Anyone have thoughts on that?

    1. I personally filter my water to avoid the chlorine. Whether or not this is a solid benefit I’m not totally sure, but I do know my water tastes better when it’s been filtered.

  10. Do some reading on fluoride in our tap water and how it got there. The bottom line is that fluoride is a flat our poison, and areas that have banned it (like most of Europe has caught on) have no more tooth decay that other areas.
    For that reason I have a whole house filter to get rid of that poison. There’s a reason why toothpaste tubes say to call poison control if you ingest it. Then there’s chlorine and other junk. I don’t buy bottled, but mine is filtered before it ever enters the house .

    1. Fluoride in drinking water goes back hundreds of years….naturally. It’s in the well water of Florida. That’s how “they” found out fluoride lowers the incidence of cavities. By huge amounts, I might add.

      I can’t speak to if Europe has banned Flouride in drinking water or not, but most people use fluoride toothpaste!

      Fluoride is not a problem….unless you are a dentist.

      1. yeah but natural fluoride(green tea etc.) is completely different than the silicoflurides artificially added to drinking water. The junk they put in water has been proven to cause bone cancer, thyroid dysfunction, and dental fluorosis.

        Silicofluorides (SiFs) are a group of Fluorides produced as a by-product during the manufacture of phosphate fertilizers. Approximately 90% of the Water supply in the USA is fluoridated with Silicofluorides. Types of Silicofluorides include:

        – Disodium Hexafluorosilicate (Na2SiF6) (also known as Sodium Fluorosilicate; Sodium Silicofluoride)

        – Hexafluorosilicic Acid (H2SiF6) (also known as Hydrofluorosilicic Acid; Fluorosilicic Acid)

        Sodium Fluoride (NaF) consists of 28% Fluoride + 72% Sodium. It is a by-product of Aluminium refining that never occurs in nature.

        Sodium Fluoride is very easily absorbed by the body but excessive intake is toxic. This form of Fluoride is an active constituent of some commercial brands of Toothpaste and is the form of Fluoride that is added to the Water supply in some countries. Approximately 10% of the Water supply in the USA is fluoridated with Sodium Fluoride.

        1. Please stop fearmongering. As OnTheBayou mentioned, fluoride ions exist naturally in water everywhere. They have the proven benefit of strengthening tooth enamel and reducing tooth decay. Fluoride ions (F-) accomplish this by replacing hydroxide ions (OH-) in the major component of tooth enamel, hydroxyapatite Ca5(PO4)3OH to produce fluoroapatite Ca5(PO4)3F. Fluoroapatite is a naturally occurring mineral that is stronger than hydroxyapatite.

          The fluoride found in green tea and the original fluorine containing compound used to fluoridate drinking water may have different chemical compositions, but as soon as they dissolve in water, the fluoride ions that they produce are chemically identical.

          Could you provide some evidence to back up the claim that “The junk they put in water has been proven to cause bone cancer, thyroid dysfunction, and dental fluorosis.”?

          Anyone who wants to find more information on the subject should take a look at the wikipedia entry which is full of citations that should clear up any confusion you may have:

        2. My personal proof that fluoride is dangerous includes: 1) the fluoridosis of my teeth resulting from drinking fluoridated tap water growing up (and I started having root canals when I was 7 despite good hygiene…) 2) severe brain fog after drinking it 3) I have to sleep several more hours/night when I drink it 4) I’ve suffered from severe cystic acne for over 20 years (starting before puberty), and just recently found that it completely goes away if I avoid grain and fluoride. If I drink even natural fluoride in spring water I break out in near boils on my chin. I have to avoid it not only in water but in teas, broths (animal bones), juices, etc. 5) I only stopped getting cavities and root canals once I stopped consuming fluoride.

  11. I have a filter on my fridge and ice machine (pure source 2) and a plastic BPA free 28 oz bottle. Love it…

  12. I didn’t see your comment, Matt. You can get filters to get rid of fluoride. Do a web search. My whole house one was pretty expensive, but since I had the money I though it worth it. And it’s not just that it has “dubious benefit” it’s that is a toxic waste product of the aluminum industry. It’s a fascinating story of politics how it ended up in our water. Fluoride is VERY bad stuff.

    1. My town actually does not put flouride in the water. I’m just wondering if my un-filtered water is a bad idea, or a passable idea. I find it hard to believe that a run-of-the-mill fridge or Brita filter would take out more bad than good.

      1. It’s hard to avoid consuming it in large doses when the water supply spread it to our foods — it’s in tea leaves (some is natural but some is absorbed from the water), animal bones (and therefore bouillion/broths), commercial juices, foods processed with water, and much of what is sprayed on non-organic produce. Some people like me have bad reactions to even small amounts of fluoride and others are allergic to it (reports say allergies are rare but I know several people with them). Levels in water are high enough that with all these other fluoridated foods entering our system, it’s at toxic levels. Mild to moderate dental fluorosis is very common and even that much is too much as it shows the bones have also been damaged. Whoever supports water fluoridation is a tool or is selfish because such people don’t think of what those who can’t drink it are supposed to do – avoid restaurants, quit our jobs to make all our food from scratch, and only eat in our filtered homes??

  13. Flouride strenghtens tooth enamel. Yes, in high doses it is a poison. Guess what? so are a lot of things at high doses: prescription medicine, trace minerals taht we get from plants, ethanol, even water. In regards to calling flouride a poison and saying it is a byproduct of industry. “so what?” Sodium flouride is sodium flouride, the origin is irrelevent.

    1. You’re right. Source is irrelevant. Regardless of the source, it is a poison. there’s a good reason it’s now recommended to mix baby formula with non-fluoridated water. start here
      It also causes at the very least flouridosis. My brother has this, and it made his teeth pretty ugly.
      Grok did not drink flouridated water. Europe has caught on and gotten rid of it. We should too.

      1. “Grok did not drink flouridated water”

        He didn’t drink water that was fluoridated, but he most certainly drank water with fluoride since it’s naturally present, often significantly, in fresh water sources. The difference is a matter of scale and concentration control (fluoride is sometimes actually reduced from a natural supply due to overabundance). So too much may be unhealthy, but *none* is unnatural in the metaphorical Grok sense.

      2. “Regardless of the source, it is a poison.”

        Right, just like lots of things are poisons at very high levels, but beneficial at low levels. Not that hard to understand…

        Personally, I think fluoride in toothpaste is a good idea. In water, its seems more dubious. People can successfully take care of their teeth without adding fluoride to water.

        1. I have a relative who runs a community water system; they have a whole house filter for their water. nuff said.

  14. I’ve not tried a stainless steel bottle, but love my Sigg aluminum bottle. I do enjoy picking up a bottle of Fiji when I’m out though. But normally have my purple Sigg in the car at all times.

  15. Love my stainless steel bottle. Holds up well on the MB, hiking, softball, etc.
    No funny taste or smells.

  16. My fiancee uses one of those pretty glass water containers with the designs on them (only for the office); I’m using aluminum, for now, but will upgrade to stainless steel.

  17. Innate-Gear (.com) is a fair-trade company that makes great stainless steel bottles. Their FAQ section has tons of information on the benefits of SS and being BPA free.

  18. Mark, I don’t share your concern about BPA free plastic water bottles.

    “But what about “BPA-free” plastic water bottles? Despite BPA-free claims I remain skeptical of plastic water bottles. With misinformation and the unregulated state of bioaccumulating pollutants, for my money there are much safer options.”

    According to Wikipedia (me relying on Wiki=LOL) “There are seven classes of plastics used in packaging applications. Type 7 is the catch-all “other” class, and some type 7 plastics, such as polycarbonate (sometimes identified with the letters “PC” near the recycling symbol) and epoxy resins, are made from bisphenol A monomer.[5][18]

    Type 3 (PVC) can also contain bisphenol A as an antioxidant in plasticizers.[5]

    Types 1 (PET), 2 (HDPE), 4 (LDPE), 5 (polypropylene), and 6 (polystyrene) do not use bisphenol A during polymerization or package forming.”

    So in other words, producers now make water bottles out of plastics that don’t use BPA in the manufacturing process, but you are still skeptical of plastics. So much for fact based skepticism.

    1. Logi,

      I hear what you’re saying. If you take a look at one of the links though you’ll read:

      “REI, for instance, vowed to stop selling BPA-laden products back in 2008, a great step by a company known for its good customer service and equally good outdoor gear. What they may not have known was that their popular SIGG USA brand water bottles and liquid containers, which are made primarily of lightweight aluminum, contained an interior coating laden with BPA. Yet the bottles still touted “BPA-free” on the exterior. The company has since offered to exchange the offending bottles for shiny new ones. Some faithful H20 sippers are still waiting.”

      Or how about this?

      When you read enough of these types of articles and understand that BPA was once widely used in plastic water bottles and considered safe it’s enough to raise some amount of skepticism.

      Why bother with plastic water bottles at all when there are better options widely available.

      1. HDPE bottles are cheaper and more durable (and leak resistant) than aluminum, stainless, or glass and don’t leech anything. It’s the same material refillable and non-refillable milk jugs, and bulk bottled water come in.

        You can’t generalize about plastic polymers or metals- you need to learn exactly what each is made from to make a good decision about it’s safety.

      2. Mark,

        If BPA could be found in Aluminum bottles that were labelled as BPA-free, than why would you assume that stainless steel bottles are any more safe? Are they subject to tighter regulation?

        Also, how do we know that there won’t be a study released somewhere down the road that shows that the chromium and nickel contained in most stainless steel alloys could leach into your water and have some kind of deleterious effect? I doubt that will happen, but it certainly is a possibility.

        1. At least chromium and nickel are trace elements your body can use, unlike BPA. I don’t ever remember having any doctor or dentist recommend a daily dose of BPA to keep you healthy.

  19. “Innate-Gear (.com) is a fair-trade company that makes great stainless steel bottles. Their FAQ section has tons of information on the benefits of SS and being BPA free.”

    I’m sure they have information about the benefits of SS over plastics because they are selling SS. I do agree that BPA free is a good thing though.

    1. Actually they don’t bash plastics, and explain why they use them for parts of their bottles. I liked them for their social responsibility in manufacturing and distribution– something most companies could do better on.

  20. I just have to say that I love my kleen kanteens, I have 4 of them, one is for me, one for my husband, one for the pup, and a small one (12oz) that I use to ferry raw goat’s milk to and from work for coffee. I also have a 5th stainless 27oz one at work that we got as part of a wellness program. The biggest challenge is when filling them up from the filtered water dispensers as you can’t see how full it is while under the spigot.

    1. Mark,

      I must say you possibly have one of the most popular blogs in the world, if not THE most popular. I checked around 2:30 pm EST to see if you had your post up today and you did not. I check 15 minutes later and you have 27 comments. Kudos to you – keep it up, you never disappoint!

  21. Mark- I think you really “missed the boat” leaving out HDPE (white) bottles. These are the original Nalgene bottle material. They last forever, leech nothing, and add no flavor. Their flexibility and lid quality make them very durable in extreme altitude and temperature changes.

    I’ve trusted these bottles in my laptop next to my backpack for over a decade, and they’ve never let me down.

    1. These contain BPA.
      “Our decision to phase out production of the Outdoor line of polycarbonate containers is in response to consumer demand for products that do not include Bisphenol-A (BPA).
      We are confident that the bottles which contain BPA are safe for their intended use. However, because of consumer requests for alternative materials, we have decided to transition our polycarbonate product line to Eastman Tritan™ copolyester.”

      1. Polycarbonate and HDPE are two entirely different plastics. Polycarbonate is made via the polymerization of bisphenol-A and phsogene, whereas HDPE is made via the polymerization of ethylene. There is no reason to believe that HDPE products would contain any bisphenol-A.

        From the link you provided:

        “Question: Are other Nalgene consumer products manufactured with BPA?
        Answer: No. We manufacture consumer bottles and containers in HDPE, PP, LDPE, PET, and most recently, Eastman Tritan copolyester and Stainless Steel (by Guyot Design). Each of these materials is manufactured without BPA.”

        1. Than Why is the 32 oz nalgene bottle i just bought at Target a #7 bottle. A toxic bottle

    2. HDPE bottles have been shown to release estrogenic chemicals. There is no such thing as a non leaching plastic bottle, but Hdpe seems safer than #1, #3,6 and 7 plastic bottles

  22. Stainless steel all the way for Dh and myself. Tried everything else – big winner!

  23. My husband and I bought stainless steel water bottles from Whole Foods market about a year ago and I love them! (made for Whole Foods with their logo on the bottle). No funny taste or anything, and while I didn’t think I would like the cap at first, I love having that convenient spot to hold the bottle by my thumb or fingers. I currently use a PUR water filter but would love to get a more permanent fix to get rid of fluoride or chlorine. I’ve read reverse osmosis is the way to go?

  24. So what’s your stand on Reverse Osmosis water that comes in plastic bottles? I know people say water doesn’t have a taste, but honestly Penta and Kirkland Signature brand are the best waters I’ve ever tasted. On a side note. I HATE DRINKING WATER and I can happily drink Penta or Kirkland Signatures Premium Drinking Water. I just checked the bottle and I didn’t see “from a municipal source” or “from a community water system” on it. It looks like it contains added minerals and it does say that it’s “Purified by Advanced Filtration, Ozonation and Reverse Osmosis Technologies”. I’ve tried filters but even Brita to me puts out a less desireable taste. I wont even drink water from restaurants, I’m that picky….So should I just empty my plastic bottles into a reusable bottle?

  25. No mention of animal bladder canteens or hollowed out gourds? Very primal, with the added bonus of being eco-friendly, right? I think I’d look pretty snazzy out on the trail with a handpainted gourd on my hip or a camel stomach. They must be available somewheres?

  26. Tap water? No thanks. I don’t like flouride in the water I drink. You need some serious filters to get that industrial waste out. Good well water is best.

    1. As stated above, many sources of well water contain fluoride in them naturally. Depending on where you live you may have to process your water to make it completely free of fluoride.

  27. I’ve got several Sigg bottles, but after reading this article I think I might add a stainless steel to my collection to see how I like it…Good stuff to think about, Thanks!

  28. I’ve been wanting to get a stainless steel water bottle, but I’ve heard that Kleen Kanteen bottles end up imparting a metallic taste to the water. I’ve been looking at CamelBak stainless steel bottles. Has anyone tried them?

    It also concerns me that most, if not all, stainless steel water bottle are made it China. Do these companies do lead testing to make sure that their bottles are safe?

    How about one of those old style water bags, you know… the ones with animal fur on the outside, and they’re made from a goats stomach or something like that. I can’t remember what they’re called, but if Grok was going to carry a water bottle, that’s what he would use.

    1. I have kleen kanteens and none of mine have imparted a metallic taste. I am one of those people who does taste the difference between brands of bottled water. Putting your mouth on the mouth of the bottle does not taste like putting your mouth on the tub faucet. And yes I did that when I was a kid to infuriate my Mom.
      I had similar concerns about the manufacturing in China. Kleen kanteen has a page on their website about their manufacturing in China and the quality control steps that they take. I truly wish that US manufactured products were available.
      And no, I don’t have any financial interest in kleen kanteen, I just really like my bottles.

  29. I actually snickered out loud about when reading about doing battle with my water bottle. I feel so much more Grok-like now toting my SS water bottle across campus now! Thanks, Mark!

    1. or how much money it costs to recycle. I encourage people to watch the series called BullSh** by Penn and Teller on HBO (I rented from Blockbuster). One episode covered all the BS about recycling.

  30. I guess i am more caveman, as i use an old fashioned bota (sp?) bag. Its’ leather and yes, it leaks. Not so much if you use it often. It takes some care to, gotta keep it clean and completely dry it out every few days. I also have a canvas bag for outtings into the hills. As for lions, well i have something for that to, but we will leave that up to your imagination!

  31. I have a couple SIGGs that I use and love, but maybe I’ll make the switch to SS and continue this new trend.

    I’ve recently been reading that tap water (at least here in the U.S.) goes through much more stringent testing (more tightly regulated) than bottled water does, therefore making tap water safer overall. Any truth to this?

  32. I’m currently using a glass bottle with a flip top. It was cheap $2.99. I wouldn’t take it on adventures, but to have while sitting at my desk – it’s great!

  33. Couldn’t agree more! Our water is perfectly safe but tastes like crap. We bought an RO system with faucet for $500 installed. We have two water dispensers plus a bunch of stainless that the kids, Rose and I use when we go out. I had my water tested and it is cleaner than Dasani…so there!

  34. i love our stainless steel water bottles we have. thankfully our town is one of the few that doesnt fluoridate its water, but it does add quite a bit of chlorine. and you can tell when they do it too, the stuff coming out of the taps starts smelling and tasting like a swimming pool. i couldnt drink water for the first week, i puked it up the second i drank it could have just been pyschological but that smell did it to me.
    luckily since then we’ve moved and have well water, a nice house filter and a fridge filter (just comes with the fridge).

  35. I have the Aquasana under sink water filter and the water tastes amazing. I wont drink out of the tap. I also have their shower filter, which is an important topic I feel should be discussed as well. Tests show that your body can absorb more chlorine as a result of a 10-minute shower than if you drank eight glasses of the same water, due to absorption through your pores and more importantly through steamy chlorine vapor in your lungs.

    Comparison Chart

  36. At a convention recently I was given a (some-form-of) metal drink bottle with the Vendor’s logo on it as an attendance gift. It’s probably aluminium, I guess. What concerns me is that, when it’s quiet at work, I can hear either the contents (water) or the bottle “ticking,” like you’d imagine you’d hear if the water was carbonated – which it isn’t. Out of sheer paranoia I’ve stopped drinking my water from that bottle.

    Does anyone know what that noise was likely to be, or if I have good reason to be wary of it?


    1. Apparently, this noise is due to water that gets in between the two layers of the water bottle (usually happens if someone accidentally put the bottle in the dishwasher, but can happen if the layers didn’t have a super great seal).

      Air moves in and out of the layers when the temperature changes, causing those hissing, popping sounds like carbonated water.

  37. Mark, I agree with you that stainless steel is the best, but one thing you left out is that you can boil the water in a stainless bottle if you’re camping. Another bonus!

  38. Great post! Klean Kanteen has been my choice for years, and in my opinion it actually makes the water taste BETTER! It just stays cool and “clean” tasting, whereas my old Camelbak bottle would always make the water taste warm and “plasticy” after a couple hours.

    We use a Brita filter at home, simply because it removes the taste of cholorine from our water, which I strongly dislike.

  39. Aren’t water filters made from plastic caseing(polycarbonate)? Would that leach into your filtered water?

  40. It’s inconvenient as far as weight goes but GLASS beats all (including stainless steel)hands down for preserving taste and water quality.
    After trying everything I am convinced that good municipal tap water with a good home filter to take out chlorine and other little nasties (my filter of choice is Multi-pure)is the way to go.
    The glass industry is moving towards light weighting glass and I am hopeful that re-engineered light glass will soon make it practical to carry glass water bottles.
    By the way, Mark, your last post about water referenced a pitch you had received about “reverse platonic geometry” water.
    Sounds kooky indeed but I met the man and tried it. (M-water). I was blown away by the energy in that water. Makes no sense to me why but I bought some and nearly everyone who did try it was highly impressed.
    Go figure!

  41. Anyone have an opinion on the water filters that are built into refrigerators? My fridge dispenses water on the front.. as well as ice cubes. Do these filters count as good water filters?

    1. I’ve often gone back and forth…aluminum or stainless…I’m so happy to finally have an answer as to which is better. Thanks a million.

  42. See that’s why I read this blog, funny AND informative!
    Seriously, I’ve been reading for a few weeks and am learning so much. I’m overweight, but not anywhere near what I used to be. I’ve been a vegetarian for several years but just started eating fish last week (Ocean Stewardship Council approved fish) thanks to MDA. Also, I’m improving my workouts, focusing on strength and already feel stronger. I don’t know if I can or want to go totally primal, but so far I’m loving how more protein, less carbs, and good shorter workouts are making me feel!

  43. I don’t use water bottles. Grok wouldn’t have used a water bottle. If scooping water into his mouth by hand was good enough for Grok, then don’t you think it’s good enough for you?

  44. Just heard the authors of Slow Death by Rubber Duck interviewed on the Sierra Club podcast. They experimented on themselves by doing frequent blood and urine tests to determine what chemicals were getting into their bodies from everyday activities, like eating, drinking, living……

    Very sobering.

  45. I’ve been using an ecotanka stainless steel bottle for a while… very happy with it!

  46. I agree that bottled water is sad, but it’s funny how environmental activists and government spokespeople go to town complaining about the ridiculousness of bottled water but don’t seem to care nearly so much about soda bottles or crappy dead fruit juice bottles or coffee drink cans or whatever… I don’t buy any bottled drinks other than water, and if they stop ruining my city water by adding loads of fluoride then I’ll stop buying spring water in bottles and start using the tap stuff.

  47. I love my Kleen Kanteen. I’m a clutz, which has led to two dents in the bottom. I recommend cleaning it out once a month or so with hot water and a generous dose of white vinegar. Stale water + stainless steel = nasty smell/taste.

  48. I recently replaced my SIGG (BPA liner) bottles with a Nalgene BPA bottle. It’s lightweight, not noisy in meetings and easy to clean. I’m planning to purchase an insulated bottle from Klean Kanteen soon, which look promising, because you can use it for both hot and cold beverages. (perfect for me, because i usually drink tea and then switch to cold water, so i’ll only need one bottle.)

  49. I recently visited the Galapagos Islands and was shocked and dismayed to find plastic bottles and caps on the beach, even on uninhabited Islands that are so remote and untouched by people that the animals have no fear of people. It has been said that all the plastic ever made is still with us since it has a half life of 500 years! It is a marvelous material, but not for disposable use.

  50. When we stopped using plastic in our house, we shifted our drinking bottles to SS. Then, we learned about the problems inherent in SS (nickel: extremely toxic) and the other alloys used to make SS. After learning more about nickel, we decided it wasn’t something that we wanted in our cookware or in our bottles.

    We have since used glass bottles for our water. We used glass for everything else anyway (storing food, our lunches, making ferments and cultures). I did get a little flack from our kids’ schools, but we solved that by taping the bottles with ‘gun tape’. If we head out for vacation or the woods, we just bring our old SS ones, but for regular use, it’s glass.

    That number on the bottom of SS drinking bottle denotes the amount of chromium and nickel in the alloy. For example, 18/8 means that there is 18% chromium and 8% nickel in that item. There is a wide variety in the quality and amount of nickel in SS.

    On a purely anecdotal note, I do a lot of fermenting and culturing of our food. Regardless of where the recipe originated, all cultures make stipulations to avoid “reactive” cookware when preparing or preserving fermented foods. Some could argue that water does not have the same enzymatic activity that fermented foods do, but I still have a ‘gut feeling’ (Grokettes paid attention to those) that with what is in our water, there is some weird stuff going on in those water bottles.

    Tap water has more concerns than the fluoride, chlorine, and chemicals. There are real and serious issues with pharmaceutical drugs being recycled into our drinking water.

  51. I think Platypus are still my favorite source of water containment systems, followed closely by MSR. Hiking gear seems to be the scene with the highest quality stuff, from I’ve seen while looking for hydration packs for cycling. The Platypus SoftBottle is awesome if you don’t mind the look.

  52. If the alternative is bottled water from deep source (not surface water), there are two main reasons NOT to drink tap water:
    1. Chlorine
    2. Hormone disrupting chemicals (mostly estrogenic) from pesticides, oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy. Other drug residues get there as well.
    I am not aware of any filters which would get rid of that.

    I buy spring water in big 5 liter PET bottles. With smaller surface/volume ratio there is less contact with plastic and less leaching. Baware of the polycarbonate office-type water dispensers, they leach the most!

  53. This is what I always thought, but don’t get too comfortable. The NYT did a big story on drinking water a few months ago, and the regulations are behind the times and despite the many instances of municipal water not passing even the old government standards it was near impossible to pry information about this health risk from officials. Tried to link to the article, but no luck. Try ‘Tap water is legal but may be unhealthy’.

  54. Hmm, I’ve bought steel bottles for this very reason, but … I don’t really trust the metal. If it is made with recycled metal there is bound to be lead, copper, chromium, nickel and god knows what mixed in with the steel. Some of those are dangerous in themselves, others are very allergenic.
    I apologize for the language, I’m Danish.

  55. I use the Klean Kanteen and love it. It came with the original loop cap and I went and purchased the sport cap from Klean Kanteen which I like. I haven’t come across any metal taste in my water bottle while using it.

  56. Thanks for the info on the bottles! I’ve been kind of wary of plastic bottles for some time but I’ve never had to use them, so go me!

    What I would really like to know is about the water bladders used in those water carrying backpacks. I use one once a year at a camp I volunteer at because it’s easier than having to juggle a bottle and a camera. Sure, they’re not water bottles, but they are made of plastic. Does anyone have any info on that? Thanks!

  57. I might invest in a steel bottle someday… but in the mean time, I use a Live Saver Ultra Filtration Water bottle.

    It filters out about 650 ml at a time, taking less than a minute. All water goes through a 15 nanometer filter, as well as a standard carbon filter.

    The water going into the bottle is also pre-carbon filtered right from the faucet (typical store bought add on), so that type of filtering is happening twice by the time I drink it.

    To store the water I either use a store bought plastic watter bottle (I buy a new bottle about once a week), or a BPA free plastic bottle.

    Steel would replace the bpa free plastic.

    good post


  58. Given that [most] bottled water is mineral water, and therefore containing many nutritious minerals that would have been part of the paleolithic water supply, and that tap water is generally very much de-minerilised (as can be observed from the lack of mineral taste), perhaps bottled [mineral] water does have it’s place?

  59. For anyone that has a Kohl’s store near them…

    Got a couple 100% stainless steel water bottles (guessing in the 30oz range). $9.98 normally, now 50% off. Not fancy or name brand, but economical!

  60. I personally have switched to stainless steal. Its tough and easy to clean. I take it everywhere.

  61. i here and AGREE 100% with this topic, and the primal lifestyle!!!! here is my current problem. i’m a professional musician who travels ALL THE TIME!!! i don’t have the great advantage to carry the steel water bottle around. but for my job i do require about 1gallon of water a day..MARK what do you think is the best solution?? also what do you do when you travel?? GROK ON PEOPLE!!!

  62. Stainless steel is on my list for the next time I need a new water bottle. However, I haven’t ditched my old Nalgene yet. I’ve been drinking out of it for eight or nine years — is it really likely that it’s still leeching anything?

    I’ve tried to find an answer to this question online and can’t seem to.

  63. We use Platypus bladder-type water bottles for traveling and outside the home. (Bonus, they collapse when they’re empty!) But, if we’re anywhere that glass is convenient, including home, that’s what we use. I’ve never had any problems with taste or leaking from the Platypus bottles, but I can’t stand drinking from anything metal and nothing beats glass for me.

    We do buy glass bottles of sparkling water (haven’t yet had a chance to invest in a home water carbonation system since we travel around a lot) and those become our regular drinking glasses at home.

  64. Aluminum has also been shown to increase the likelihood of developing dementia later in life. Even with the liner, the bottle can still leach into the water

  65. As I live in Los Angeles with many trace drugs reported in the final water supply, I decided to be safe..I first filter the tap water, then run it through a home distillation machine. I keep the final product in big glass jars, and use it for all drinking and cooking. My friends comment on it when I share it with visitors ! I do note lots of sludge in the bottom of the still that I have to clean out very regularly. We use steel water bottles in the car and for work.

    1. I use rain water in my distiller and there is hardly any sludge in the canister, as opposed to the smelly dark sludge from the tap water. I add Concentrated mineral drops to the final brew.

  66. When trying to decide on cookware I bought xtrema (ceramic) because I was trying to stay away from teflon, aluminum, and stainless. I know it would be heavy (so is stainless), but it might be nice is they could make an internal compartment made of ceramic. Then there would be no leaching of chemicals at all The outside could be stainless and maybe a thin insulating/cushioning middle core???

    Also I heard the only way to remove fluoride was reverse osmosis?? But It also removes minerals. Someone above mentioned mineral drops. Is that the way to go in adding minerals back? Any other suggestions?

    I also read Prozac was 94% fluoride. That’s Not something I want to be consuming on a daily basis. I don’t need calm down, I need energy!!

  67. I agree there is no reason to buy bottled water in the US. There are alternatives which will save waste and money.

  68. It is Safe and Made Of High Quality Food Grade Stainless Steel- This means, it has no polycarbonates, and it is safe for you and your family! You do not have to put your health at stake.

  69. I believe you’re making a huge error regarding “safe” water bottles. The plastic bottles currently assumed to be safe & BPA free, are most definitely NOT polycarbonate.

    They are: high density polyethylene (HDPE), low density polyethylene (LDPE), and plain old polypropylene (PP)

    -basically, the cloudy stuff.

    I agree it’s best to err on the side of caution, esp since there may be other harmful chemicals besides BPA, yet undiscovered, but let’s get our facts straight.

    The problem with stainless steel bottles is that you can’t see how much is in there. I can’t stand using them.

  70. I have a Pur water filter. Stainless tastes nasty and I’ve tried half a dozen brands. They all have a metallic taste that sets my teeth on edge. As do the “new” Sigg bottles. Plastic will kill me and kill the environment. I got rid of my BPA containing bottles. So what am I supposed to put the water in? Mason jars?

    It’s ridiculous that I can’t just walk in a store and buy a serviceable water bottle at a reasonable cost.

  71. I’ve been using a Sigg Big Bottle for years. It’s unfortunate to now know that the liner has BPA. It’s time to start looking for another bottle. I hope I can find one as big as this one for the same price.

  72. what’s wrong with mason jars? Apart from being breakable they are quite perfect for the purpose

  73. I’ve been using a Sigg Big Bottle for years. It’s unfortunate to now know that the liner has BPA. It’s time to start looking for another bottle. I hope I can find one as big as this one for the same price.

  74. GREAT post! I love how you brought up the issue of wild animals… I’m an animal lover and there couldn’t be more truth to the statements you made about wrappers, bottles, cans, etc. I use Klean Kanteen bottles because they’re sturdy, trustworthy, and verstaile- NO BPA! Woo! Some people don’t like the noise the Klean Kanteen makes… but I think it’s nice to have my bottle sing to me! :). Haha. Thanks for they article, keep it up! Let’s go, green!

  75. Main supply of HOH is rain, have a 7.5 cubic meter tank to keep it in. I have not run put of plastic bottles to carry it about in, they last & last, then get lost. No water, no hope: don’t leave home without it, not only can one drink it, it is also good for Hygiene & First Aid.

  76. I just got some glass bottles and like them a lot. They outside is covered with rubber. No guarantee they wouldn’t break, but the rubber will cushion them if are knocked over or dropped from a low height.
    Got em from Lifefactory. Very happy with the taste of my water in them.

  77. I have been buying and drinking Kirkland water from Costco for years. Recently, they have gone to new ‘green’ packaging that uses less plastic. I’m all for that, but what they did was remove some plastic from the base of the bottle, making it unstable. I have spilled half dozen bottles of water on my floor and carpet from the last 2 cases. These will be the last 2 cases I buy. Deer Park and other brands are just as cheap and have found ways to go green without creating an unusable product.

  78. Hi, i feel that i noticed you visited my site thus i came to go back the prefer?.I’m attempting to to find things to improve my website!I assume its good enough to make use of a few of your ideas!!

  79. Just 2 share ! I’m pretty sure that if u leave water to stand without a lid on, that the chlorine content evaporates at room temperature

  80. I am pregnant and i have a stainless steel water bottle that i drink from all the time. Lately, after using the bottle for ~4-5 months, i began to feel a funny taste in the water, especially after i leave it in the bottle overnight. I am worried that the stainless steel, or any other material combined with it, can be affecting the water i’m drinking and consequently affecting my unborn baby!!!! Should i keep drinking from this bottle or not???

  81. Thanks for your website. It just saved me a hell of a lot of research. If u were supporting one particular company it would’ve lost cred, but yep stainless steel. Cheers

  82. What about glass bottles? Sure theyre heavier but why were they not considered

  83. Has anyone ever heard of the Purist water bottle?
    Their claim is: As pure as drinking from a glass—with all the advantages of a flexible bottle.
    The use Silicon dioxide to coat the inside of the bottle. I am wondering if it is as safe as they are claiming it to be?

  84. The only thing I trust is glass. Easy to sterilize, no weird taste. If I am hiking, ok, no glass – I’ll switch to an alternative listed – but for everyday at my desk etc., it’s by far the best choice.

    I like reusing Voss water bottles, which I can get at the store for less than $5 – and I love the Takera water bottles which have a silicon sleeve so if you drop – they are less likely to break. I’ve had a few for a couple years now, and only managed to break one – and it cracked but didn’t shatter.

    What I wish – is that Blender Bottle made a glass version! Can’t fit that darn blender thingie into any of my glass bottles… argh…

  85. I come from Malta a small island in Europe, a country with no lakes or rivers and tap water is not drinkable. Our only choice is bottled water. In selecting which bottled water to buy, could anyone please tell me what chemicals to avoid /at which levels they are hazardous to drink?

  86. I didn’t read all the post so sorry if this is a repeat. What about glass bottles?

  87. Your suggestion about using stainless steel isn’t a wise choice, especially if you know what stainless steel really is.

    Stainless steel isn’t actually a type of steel, it’s a chemical process embedded into it. It’s a chemical reaction when the steel is heated with the other metal, chromium.

    Yes, even water can over time leech chromium off the sides of the bottle or cooking pots you use.

    You can read about the technology here in more simplified terms, if you’re interested.

    The best modern containers I can find as of right now are glass and pyrex (even this is not 100% good but at least it’s shatter / break resistant if dropped).

  88. I can assure even the most adorable simpleton tree huger as this author; tap water across the land or world is definitely NOT potable in ALL cases. Much of it, “it” being tap water, much of it is should not be consumed in large quantities or even in small quantities.

    Use bottled water from a trusted source and then recycle the container it came in.

    Or take your risk and drink from the tap. But should your hair start falling out and you wind up with health problems close to retirement age, don’t say you weren’t warned.

  89. Great article.

    I have a glass water bottle from that I love and you don’t get that aluminum taste. Glass is a great alternative if you’re careful with your belongings.

  90. Does anyone know of a stainless steel bottle that is 8 ounces or less? I’ve been looking everywhere and can’t find one. I want one to carry in my purse, anything bigger than 8 ounces would be too heavy to carry especially since it is stainless steel.

    1. Copper bottles will give the following benefits
      Helps the digestive system perform better
      Helps heal wounds faster
      Slows down ageing
      Can fight cancer
      Can kill bacteria and many more

  91. If we’re talking about safest bottles to drink off then neither of those 3 are safe. The safest by far are glass bottles which you totally failed to mention in your research. Steel and aluminum are not 100% safe because they can be contaminated or not separated with other metals properly during manufacturing. There can be traces of lead in there for all we know. People with sensitive tastebud like me will find it tastes metallically gross.

    The only con with glass is that it’s heavy and clumsy people can easily break them. Once it’s broken it’s garbage.

    The pro for glass is that your water will taste better even when it sits in your heated car on a hot day. Some people like to add lime, lemon, mint, ginger, salt or cucumber in their water to ad nutrient to their water. With glass any ingredients you put in it, there will be no bad chemical reaction unlike metal which react negatively over time.

  92. The majority of stainless steel bottles are made in China and should at least be 18/8 stainless steel, Once the process to produce the raw material is monitored it should be safe.

  93. After reading all comments, I’ll go with reusing any glass bottle. Sure not a Whiskey bottle 🙂
    Thank you for this post!

  94. Bottled water is a joke! They sit in warehouses (i.e. Sams Club or BJs) until you buy them. I prefer to drink filtered water in my house . It filters the whole house and works great.

  95. I like that you point out that stainless steel is a good option because you won’t have to worry about catching up to the latest trends. I know that my siblings are always getting a new water bottle because a more fashionable one comes out. I’ll have to go to the store and find a good stainless steel one that I can carry around while I’m at work.

  96. Wonderful article! The advantages of steel bottle are explained wonderfully. For drinking water excellent quality plastic should be used.

  97. Very informative post! Choosing a water bottle with a nozzle may be ideal for situations when you need to drink on the go. You won’t be sloshing and spilling while trying to sip out of a wide-mouth bottle. Visit—

  98. Glad to know that you are on the market for aluminum bottle,we are factory specialized in this field for more than 14 years with main market to Asia , America,Europe and any other countries .if you have interests in our company,please don’t hesitate to contact with me. looking forward to cooperating with your company.thanks
    in advance.

  99. You have shared great experience with us. I agree with your points and this is absolutely right that drinking water from plastic bottle for long term is dangerous for our health.

  100. I have reason to believe that my Plastic Army water bottle was poisoned at work today. I did not use it.
    Can I safe it and how or should I get rid of it ?
    Thank you