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What to know before buying a reusable water bottle

Reusable bottles can help shrink your carbon footprint by cutting down on single-use plastics.

person holding a reusable sustainable water bottle in a park
Last updated: 20 April 2023


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Reusable water bottles are convenient, help reduce plastic waste, and can even save you money as you don't need to buy bottled water when you're on the go. 

But with so many options available, it can be difficult to choose the right bottle for you. From features to cleaning advice, here are our best tips for finding a reusable bottle that you'll love.

How much could you save by switching to a reusable water bottle?

If you're inclined to buy water in single-use plastic bottles when you're out and about, getting into the habit of carrying a reusable water bottle could save you a significant chunk of money. 

If you buy three single-use bottles of water a week, switching to a reusable bottle costing $40 could save you $155 in the first year of use, not to mention a mountain of landfill.

Are reusable water bottles better for the environment?

Yes. Most single-use water bottles are made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is produced from crude oil. According to Clean Up Australia, in total it takes three litres of water and 250mL of oil to produce one litre of bottled water. The bottles also need to be transported to shopfronts which usually requires a vehicle that burns fossil fuels.

Then there's landfill to consider. Though most plastic bottles are recyclable these days, 53% still end up in landfill. The chemicals used in production can also seep into soil and marine environments which causes lasting damage.

What to look for


Most water bottles in our test are made from stainless steel, which is sturdy and generally resistant to smells and stains, unlike some glass or plastic bottles. Some are insulated, and even those that aren't usually do a better job of keeping water cool compared to plastic. Some of the bottles we tested also contain plastic or silicone elements, usually in the lid or on the exterior of the bottle.

BPA free claims

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical that's been used in plastic production since the 1950s and some studies have shown that it can seep into food and drink if used in storage containers, like water bottles. Though most studies find that low levels are safe for humans, some manufacturers specifically keep BPA out of their products.


Double-walled bottles help keep their contents cool for longer by isolating them from the outside layer. This can also help reduce condensation.


Water bottles with similar volumes can vary in height, so you can't assume that all 500mL bottles, for example, are created equal. Check the dimensions to make sure the bottle fits in your backpack or drink holder if you plan to carry it around.

Lid fixing and cap screw

The type of lid and cap attachments are important to note if you have limited strength or dexterity. You may find certain ones hard to open or close.

Spare parts

A few brands sell replacement parts online, which are usually cheaper to replace compared to the price of a new bottle.


Bottles in our test range from 340mL up to 660mL, so remember to check the volume before buying.

Cleaning tips

It's important to clean your bottle thoroughly with warm soapy water to get rid of any mould or germs and eliminate odours. 

  • Bottles with narrow necks or drinking straws will generally need to be cleaned with a bottle brush or straw brush. 
  • You can also soak tricky parts such as drinking straws and lids using effervescent water-cleaning or sterilising tablets.
  • When cleaning the lid, pay particular attention to any nooks and crannies, or complicated locking mechanisms. 
  • Leave your bottle to dry with the lid off – keeping the lid on could trap humidity and odours inside.
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Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.