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The Testing Lab: Is the viral Owala FreeSip worth the hype?

This insulated water bottle makes it easy to stay hydrated on the go

If you've been searching for a water bottle to bring to work, school or for hikes along your favorite trail, you've probably heard about the Owala FreeSip. It's earned quite a reputation because of its innovative lid design that makes it easy to sip from when you're on the move.

With so much chatter surrounding this water bottle, it's hard to separate fact from fiction.  The BestReviews Testing Lab put the Owala FreeSip through its paces to determine whether it lives up to the hype, and to see how it compares to other popular water bottles. 


What the Testing Lab looks for in a water bottle

When evaluating the Owala FreeSip Water Bottle, the Testing Lab considered seven key categories to determine how well it performs in real-world conditions. We looked at how leakproof its design is, how easy it is to drink from, how long it keeps liquids cold or hot, whether it fits in a cupholder, its durability, its price and how easy it is to clean. 

Depending on how you use your water bottle, some features may be more important than others. For example, if you plan to use it at the gym or during workouts, you'll be more concerned with how leakproof it is and how easy it is to drink from when moving. For commuting, you'll be interested in how leakproof it is and whether it fits in your car's cupholder.

Best water bottles

Owala FreeSip Water Bottle

Earning perfect scores across the board, this water bottle surpassed the Testing Lab's already high expectations. The unique cap lets you sip from it like a standard water bottle or through a straw without any leaks. The premium insulation keeps your water cold all day. 

Sold by Owala and Amazon

Nalgene Tritan Water Bottle

This classic water bottle is lightweight but still rugged enough to withstand regular wear and tear. Its wide mouth makes it easy to fill and drink from. You can even throw it in the dishwasher for easy cleaning. 

Sold by Amazon

Hydro Flask Wide Mouth Straw Lid

This well-insulated bottle can keep your beverages cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to 12. It's made of 18/8 pro-grade stainless steel, meaning it's durable enough for whatever you throw at it and it won't allow for flavor transfer. 

Sold by Amazon

HydroJug Half-Gallon Water Bottle

If you're looking for a super-size water bottle, this model holds 73 ounces — enough water to get you through the day.  It features an ultra-wide opening that makes it easy to fill and clean, as well as a carrying loop and an integrated handle for one-handed drinking.

Sold by HydroJug and Amazon

Contigo Ashland 2.0 Water Bottles

Not only are these water bottles easy to drink from and clean, they're also an excellent value, with three included in each pack. They have integrated carrying handles for bringing them on the go and an integrated straw that lets you sip every last drop.

Sold by Amazon

Brita Insulated Filtered Water Bottle

This filtered water bottle is excellent for traveling — you can fill it with tap water from anywhere and filter out impurities like chlorine through the straw. It has a built-in carrying loop and fits in most cupholders.

Sold by Amazon

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Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Image credit: Owala

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