‘Smart’ water bottles are a thing now—should you buy one?
Whoever designed smart water bottles was so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn't stop to ask if they should.
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Everything has a 'smart' option these days. Smart lights, smart doorbells, smart coffee makers, smart fridges, smart watches, the list goes on. But when we saw that smart water bottles made that list, we had to find out just how intelligent of an idea this could really be.
We rounded up 3 highly rated water bottles with tech built in to help you drink more water and pitted them against one analog water tracking water bottle just to see if it really is useful to have technology in your water bottle.
We found four water bottles across a wide price range with a variety of different water tracking capabilities:
• Thermos Intak Hydration Bottle with Meter—$9.99
• PYRUS Smart Cup—$31.99
• OZMO Smart Cup Hydration Tracker–$69.99
• H2OPal Smart Bottle Hydration Tracker—$99.00
I then set up and used each bottle for two days, and my results were actually a bit mixed. Unsurprisingly, these were NOT all winners. But the best bottle for the job was actually pretty smart.
The 'smart' winner: Ozmo
Overall, the Ozmo smart cup delivered on its promise to help me drink more water throughout the day. With an app that automatically updated itself after every sip (literally ounce by ounce tracking), I didn't have to take any extra steps to monitor my intake.
This water bottle wound up being my favorite for a few reasons.
• Its design is charmingly modern, and it comes in lots of different colors
• Setting it up and syncing it to my phone (Bluetooth) was a breeze.
• The companion app was well designed and intuitive (and has a really adorable whale).
• The bottle itself actually reminded me to drink throughout the day with both a light and vibrations.
It was not entirely perfect, though. The only drink reminders came from the bottle itself, and not the app, and it's not dishwasher safe (though it is easy to clean by hand) The lid also opened up in my purse while I was on the subway, spilling more water than I'd have preferred into my bag. The same thing happened when I dropped the bottle in a drop test, so it's obviously not leakproof.
If you're willing and able to spend $70 on a smart water bottle, the Ozmo Smart Cup is definitely worth trying out. It makes drinking water feel more like a fun activity, which could be really useful if you're trying to steer clear of sugary drinks.
The best bet, realistically: Thermos
Honestly, when I started testing, I was really excited by the idea of passively tracking my water intake. The idea jived well with my lifestyle. I track my steps, heart rate, sleep, and weight with a Fitbit fitness tracker and Fitbit scale, count calories with the MyFitnessPal app, and live in a most smart home where I can control most of my devices through my phone.
But this bottle was just as convenient and simple to keep track as the Ozmo, with less of the setup hassle. Rather than having to update my MFP app every time I finished a bottle, I could add it all up at the end of the day based on how many I'd counted on the dial. It's also got the largest capacity at 24 ounces. It's also the only one you can put in the dishwasher.
Starting at $10 (other colors may cost more), this is an affordable and simple way to make sure you're drinking enough water.
The one that wasn't worth the money: H2OPal
This 17.6-ounce bottle was... disappointing in every way. Given that it was the most expensive, I had high hopes. But they were quickly dashed. The design was outlandish, with a tiny mouth that made it near impossible to clean without a fancy bottle brush, and removable rubber bands that maybe were supposed to be worn like Livestrong bracelets? It was also made out of glass, which just seems very impractical (more on that momentarily).
Setting the bottle up with the iOS app was frustrating. The battery, which claims to last for 6 months, sits in a magnetized disc that sticks to the base of the bottle (but comes off easily when carried in a bag), and it had trouble pairing with my phone. Once I did get it set up, it seemed to connect just fine fine. The one pro was that the app, unlike Ozmo's, did send me notifications to remind me to drink.
When I dropped the H2oPal, a test I performed on each one, it immediately did what glass does—it shattered. $100 down the drain. Maybe if someday they change the material... and redesign the bottle... and lower the price—maybe then it'd be worth buying.
The biggest loser: PYRUS
I didn't really know what to expect from this $32 bottle, which promised to remind me to drink water with a built in alarm system. But, it showed up covered in grime inside and out, and had a weird taste to it even after hand washing twice. It also only held 10 ounces of water, the smallest of the group. The 9 alarms were difficult to program, and if you didn't turn the sound off, it beeped like an alarm clock with no clear way to turn it off. I learned that the hard way during rush hour on a packed train car (sorry fellow travelers!). Ignore the good reviews—after seeing this thing in action, most of those must be fake.
Prices are accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.