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Parch Madness: The two best water bottles face off for the championship

 With reports from Jennifer Blair

Just like the NCAA's March Madness basketball tournament, BestReviews’ Parch Madness paired off popular water bottles in a bracket-style competition. After three rounds that eliminated 14 bottles, it’s come down to the last two standing in our quest to find the best. 

The contenders facing off in the Championship Round are the bottles with the highest scores through the weekly competitions. Only one can earn the title of Parch Madness champion, though, and we’re excited to reveal which bottle takes that honor — as well as which bottles win in specific categories, such as keeping drinks cold or having the most durable design. 

Parch Madness Final

What makes a great water bottle?

The BestReviews Testing Lab evaluated the water bottles in the Parch Madness competition in seven categories to determine how each model performs in real-world conditions. The bottles were scored on a scale of 1 to 5 in each category, and the bottle with the highest overall score was named the winner in each matchup.

The Testing Lab first considered how leakproof and easy to drink from each bottle is. Next, our team of testers looked at the bottles’ ability to keep liquids cold, fit in a cupholder and withstand daily wear and tear. Finally, the Testing Lab noted how reasonably priced each bottle is, as well as how easy it is to clean. The water bottle that earned the highest marks in all seven categories is our champion. 

Owala FreeSip vs. Contigo Ashland 2.0 Water Bottle

Owala FreeSip vs. Contigo Ashland 2.0 Water Bottle

The final contenders in the Parch Madness competition share quite a bit in common, including unique lid designs that make them easy to drink from. Despite their high-quality construction and top-notch performance, they’re also some of the tournament’s most reasonably priced bottles. 

Owala FreeSip

This water bottle has a versatile lid that lets you sip through a straw or chug through a wide opening, but it's still fully leak-free. It fits in nearly all cupholders and has excellent insulation that keeps water cold all day. It’s also durable enough to hold up to daily use, even if it’s dropped occasionally. Its straw does take some time to clean, though. It costs $21.99-$37.99.

In earlier action: defeated the Yeti Rambler, HydroFlask and Takeya Actives Insulated Water Bottle.

Sold by: Amazon


Contigo Ashland 2.0 Water Bottle

This bottle has an autospout design, letting its straw pop up for easy sipping and retract to prevent leaks and spills. This design lets you sip from it lying down without any water escaping. It can keep drinks cold nearly all day and holds up well to wear and tear. It's too tall for some cupholders, though, and can occasionally release a mist when the spout is opened. It retails for $18-$23.

In earlier action: defeated Zulu Swift Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Water Bottle, W&P Porter Glass Water Bottle and Stanley Quencher H2.0 FlowState Tumbler.

Sold by: Amazon

The champion

BestReviews tested

The Owala FreeSip is our Parch Madness champion. In fact, it is the only water bottle in the competition to earn perfect scores in all seven categories.

The Owala stands out for its ability to keep water cold and how easy it is to sip from without leaks. It also comes in several colors and sizes, so there’s an option to satisfy nearly all buyers’ preferences. 

All of the winners

If you’re wondering which bottles stood out in each Parch Madness category, we’ve collected the standouts and what impressed the BestReviews Testing Lab most. 

Best leakproof design

Larq Self Cleaning Bottle

The Larq was the champion here, with the Takeya Actives Insulated Water Bottle the runner-up. Our Testing Lab said of the Larq, “It’s very leakproof, and it’s super easy to screw on the lid, which is nice.” 

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Best at keeping liquid cold

Healthy Human Stainless Steel Water Bottle

The Healthy Human had the edge here, with the Yeti Rambler earning second place. With the Healthy Human, the Testing Lab declared, “The main selling point is that you can keep water ice cold for days.”

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Easiest to drink from

Contigo Ashland 2.0 Water Bottle

The Contigo was the favorite, with the Owala FreeSip the runner-up. The Testing Lab said of the Contigo, “This is probably the strongest point for this water bottle. It’s so easy to drink from in any situation.”  

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Most reasonably priced

Brita Insulated Water Bottle

The Brita took the top spot, with the Owala FreeSip coming in second. The Testing Lab said of the Brita, “Considering the clean, fresh water it provides, the price is highly reasonable.”

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Most durable

Yeti Rambler

The Yeti was the champ here, with the Nalgene Sustain BPA-Free Water Bottle the runner-up. The Testing Lab praised the Yeti’s durability, saying, “You can feel the quality in the construction. It also doesn’t dent when dropped.” 

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Easiest to clean

Nalgene Sustain BPA-Free Water Bottle

The Nalgene earned the top spot, with the Stanley Quencher H2.0 FlowState Tumbler taking second place. Our Testing Lab said of the Nalgene, “The wide mouth makes the bottle extremely easy to clean as you can fit your whole hand inside to wash it. It’s also dishwasher-safe.”

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Best at fitting in cupholders

Simple Modern Insulated Tumbler

The Simple Modern won out here, with the Owala FreeSip the runner-up. The tester for the Simple Modern said, “I’ve never encountered a cupholder this cup did not fit in.”

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

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.

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