It may be a bit difficult to spot the best smart water bottles from the large variety of available devices since, from the outside, it can seem that you can just snap in a couple sensors to a regular water bottle, add a mobile app which connects through Bluetooth and you’re set, you now have a smart device, but, things require a bit more finesse and a proper implementation of all the necessary elements. That being said, a smart water bottle should be able to accurately track your water intake and, using a proprietary mobile app (it usually connects to either an iOS or Android device via Bluetooth) it should be able to create charts and new goals, as well as send notifications to remind you to drink enough water throughout the day.
The people that would most benefit from this type of devices are those that want to (or need to) keep track of how much water they drink: such as the outdoor workers (which are often vulnerable especially during the summer), those that work in an office (especially if you’re a programmer, professional gamer or working in any other IT-related job, where you are required to focus for longer periods of time, so it’s easy to forget you have to drink or eat), the elderly (which are actually one of the most vulnerable category of people to dehydration, that actually poses a serious threat for their health and may need to be regularly kept in check) and, lastly, it will also be suitable for people that like to keep track of everything that happens with their body (such as active people that practice outdoors sports – there actually are smart water bottles that will work with Fitbit for more detailed stats – when will we actually see a FitBit water bottle?).
UPDATE 08.07.2018: DrinKup Smart Water Bottle has been added to the best smart water bottles list
|H2OPal Smart Bottle||Ozmo Active Smart Bottle||Hidrate Spark 2.0|
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|DrinKup Smart Water Bottle||Thermos 24 Oz Hydration Bottle||HydraCoach Intelligent Water Bottle|
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Now, it’s clear that everybody has at least one smart device inside their home and, while some time ago, the thought of having almost all your electronic devices connected and communicating to each other in order to create a smart home environment was something out of a sci-fi novel. But, since technology evolves at an unprecedented pace, we have become accustomed with having every electronic device interconnected and even the most unassuming objects have now gained the smart prefix.
Some of these devices have been created for medical purposes (which can span from the smart spoon for Parkinson’s sufferers which has a specific demographic to the heart rate and calories-burned trackers which are suitable for a more general public) and there are also a lot of smart devices which aim at improving our lifestyle: including the more popular smartphones, smartwatches, smart thermostats or smart locks, as well as the least common smart mirrors (which display live feed stats), smart toasters (which allows you to choose between different types of bread and let you know through a notification when the bread is done, so you won’t ever really have to worry about burning up the toast) and now, we also have smart water bottles.
So, without further ado, since we’ve already had a look at the best smartphones on the market (at an acceptable budget), as well as the best waterproof smartwatches and had a slight incursion into the world of the smart smoke detectors, it’s now time to have a look at which manufacturer managed to create the best smart water bottles.
1. H2OPal Smart Bottle Hydration Tracker
The H20Pal smart bottle is the latest product (and the only one, so far) to come from the technology-based startup ‘Out Of Galaxy’, a device that challenges the current setup of most other smart bottles by choosing to go for a different approach: instead of incorporating the electronic parts into the bottle itself (some have LED indicators or a small display to show you how much water you drank), the manufacturer decided to leave it as a separate part, so it can be used with different types of bottles.
So, H2OPal consists of two separate parts, one is the bottle itself, which is a borosilicate glass bottle (it’s transparent, so you can see how much water you’ve sipped) with various silicone bands positioned towards the top and on the middle for a more sporty look and, connected to the bottom, lies the second part of the H2OPal, which incorporates all the electronic parts and has the role of tracking your water intake.
The H20Pal smart bottle can be filled with 18.6 ounces of water (the mouth of the bottle is a bit narrow, so it may be a bit difficult to insert ice), it is dishwasher safe (you need to remove the bottom part) and it comes in two colour variants: pink and yellow or black and blue. If you fear that the bottle may break (and it will if you drop it), you can take off the silicone sleeve (towards the bottom part) and add it to a plastic bottle (for a perfect fit, it needs to have approximately a 3-inch diameter and it needs to weigh at least 2.9 oz when empty) and then simply reconnect the bottom mechanism to regain the smart features (it works fine with gym bottles which are usually made of plastic and it will give you some peace off mind if you think glass is too heavy, slippery and fragile).
Note: The smart bottle uses a single coin cell battery, which should be able to last up to 6 months.
The H20Pal can be connected to an iOS device and all you have to do is download and install the app (an Android app is currently in the beta stage) – the H20Pal app will work with Fitbit, the Apple Health app and will also sync with the Apple Watch.
After you’ve installed the app, you will be required to enter your name, choose your gender, set your birthday, height and weight, and you will be asked to select ‘How active are you?’ (can be Not very active, Lightly active, Normal active and Very active). Afterwards, you can enable some Additional Services (such as Location Data – can use the weather reports to adjust your daily goal, the Motion Data and Health Data) and add your H20Pal Tracker (you will be given instructions on how to activate the device which includes activating the Bluetooth and pairing the smart bottle – you will need to insert the PIN number). After the process is done, the H20Pal will ask you if it should send you notifications and you can visit the user interface (the menu includes Home, Profile, Statistics, Levels and achievements, Entry log, H20Pal Tracker, Tutorial and Settings (here, you can also enable Fitbit sync)).
Note: The H20Pal smart bottle can also be connected to Amazon Alexa, which will give you the possibility of asking Alexa to tell you the amount of water that you drank today.
Be aware that the way this smart device works is that you need to put the bottle down every time you fill it with water, so the tracker can take all the necessary measurements and, after you drank the water, you have to put the bottle down once again, so it can measure the changes in the quantity. This means that it is less suitable for joggers and more for people that work in an office or those who go to the gym. If you don’t want to keep the Bluetooth enabled all the time or simply don’t have your phone nearby, the H20Pal will also work offline, so, even if you refill the bottle several times, after it can be re-synced to the app, it will take into account all the data.
Note: Every time you add a new bottle, you have to re-calibrate the tracker: it can be done by going to the H20-Pal Tracker option on the app, selecting Advanced settings and choosing calibrate (you will need to enter the volume of the bottle, calibrate it empty and then calibrate it when it’s filled).
2. Ozmo Active Smart Bottle
The Ozmo Active Smart Bottle is one of the two devices available from the Hong Kong-based startup company ‘Groking Lab’, especially created for people that need to keep track of their water consumption and, in order to bring a unique feature to the table, it has sensors which can detect whether you have filled the bottle with water or with coffee (the other device available is the Ozmo Java+, which is also a smart bottle, but especially created for coffee drinkers – it can keep the coffee warm at 144 degrees F).
The manufacturer decided to steer clear of the fragile glass bottle and the material choice for the Ozmo Active was ABS plastic, which should provide better protection in case you accidentally drop it and it will look more at home while you’re jogging or biking (although it’s not transparent, so you won’t see how much water is left inside the bottle). That being said, the smart bottle doesn’t really have an attractive design, but it does make up for it with the robust built quality (the bottle also weighs 12.7 ounces and it has a 16 ounces capacity).
The smart bottle comes in blue, grey, purple, red, seafoam green, pink and white, it has a top handle for easy carrying and, towards the bottom, there is a removable tab which exposes the recessed Reset button and the micro-USB charging port (to fully charge the battery, it should take roughly two hours and the battery life is rated at about 3 weeks).
On the side of the device, you’ll notice three LED lights: if the middle LED is enabled, then the lid isn’t properly closed, so the bottle won’t be able to track your drink; if one light is enabled, then you’re reached 20% of your hydration goal, otherwise, if two LEDs are active, then you’re reached 50% of your goal and three lights indicate that you’ve reached your goal (the three LED lights will also become active to let you know when the device is fully charged). Furthermore, the Ozmo Active smart bottle will let you know when the lid is securely closed by vibrating once, will alert you that the lid is open by vibrating three times and, if you haven’t been drinking water for over an hour, it will vibrate six times.
Note: Unlike the H20Pal, which has the tracker and the bottle separately, the Ozmo Active doesn’t have two separate parts, which means that you’ll have to clean the device as a whole: you’ll have to do it by hand, as it is not dishwasher safe.
While the Ozmo Active Smart Bottle will work fine on its own as it has integrated inside the bottle a way of notifying you on your progress (the LED lights), you can connect the bottle to either an Android or to an iOS device using the Ozmo app (the app won’t send any notifications and you’ll have to rely solely on the bottle’s LEDs and vibrations). The Ozmo Active is also compatible with FitBit, Garmin, Misfit and Apple Health apps, and it has an integrated barcode scanner which can be used to scan the nutritional info from all the new food labels.
To do so, you need to download, install and open the app, and tap Get Started: this will open up the Profile window, which will ask for your gender, age, height and weight (all this info will help the app determine your daily water intake goal). Afterwards, you will have to connect the Ozmo bottle to the app: keep the mobile phone close to the bottle and wait until it vibrates and until the trio of LED lights will blink.
After the pairing process is done, you can start adding water (you’ll see a live representation of the amount of water that’s being poured inside the container). From now on, every time you take a sip out of the bottle, the sensors will automatically detect it and you can see in the app how much close you are to your goal. You can also add coffee inside the container and the sensors will immediately pick it up and you will be able to see in the app that a different interface is loaded, especially designed for the coffee intake (the system is not perfect as sometimes, the sensors can mistake water for coffee or vice versa).
Note: After you’ve added the necessary water, make sure that the lid is closed securely to activate the Bluetooth (when it is tightly sealed, the middle LED will turn off).
3. Hidrate Spark 2.0 Tracker
The Hidrate Spark 2.0 is the second attempt from the American start-up company at creating the best smart water bottle, with the first version being created after a successful KickStarter campaign, but it had some issues that needed to be addressed, so the manufacturer released the 2.0 version of the Hidrate Spark (at the end of last year) and it comes as an overall improvement to the first smart bottle (a better syncing between the device and the app, a sturdier body, stronger glow).
One of the main selling points of the Hidrate Spark was and still remains the design of the smart bottle. So, while the other manufacturers of smart bottles didn’t put much thought in the design process, the Hidrate Spark 2.0 features a nice looking plastic bottle (BPA-Free Tritan) with a geometric pattern all around which will greatly improve the grip.
Similarly to the H2OPal, the Hidrate Spark 2.0 cannot be used while jogging or practising any other outdoor sport, since it is required to put the bottle down every time you drink from it in order for the sensor to calculate the consumed water quantity. This means that this smart bottle is better suited for people that work in an office environment or are going to the gym (where you can leave your bottle down after every sip of water).
The Hidrate Spark tracks the water intake using a long sensor which lies inside the bottle and is attached to the lid (unscrewing the bottle part will reveal the long piece of plastic – called the sensor stick by the manufacturer – which is powered by two CR2032 coin cell batteries). Furthermore, there is a series of multicoloured LED lights inside the sensor stick which will glow in various patterns that can be set from the app (it can be a single white pulse or three white (or coloured) pulses repeated 3 times over 30 seconds, as well as a combo between white and coloured; it can also be 5 light fast flashed repeated 3 times over 30 seconds (white, coloured, combo or alternated) as well as other available types). The Hidrate Spark 2.0 has a 24 ounces capacity and, if you want to wash it, know that only the bottle and the lid are dishwasher safe, so, it is advisable to remove the sensor stick before washing the device to avoid any damages.
Note: Be aware that the bottle is not insulated, so the water will eventually have the room’s temperature.
The Hidrate Spark 2.0 has an app which will work with iOS devices and with some Android phones (check the list on the manufacturer’s website to make sure your device is compatible) and, similarly to most other smart bottles on the market, the setup process is simple and straight-forward: after you’ve launched the app, you’ll be required to insert your name, select the reason you chose the bottle (you’ll get a drop down list from which you can choose your answer), choose your gender, height, weight and birthday, select how active you are and allow the app to know your location (which will help you find your bottle easily, as well as create a more personalized goal based on the temperature and humidity in the area you live in).
Next, the app will attempt to pair with the bottle (you need to place your mobile phone or tablet close to the cap of the Hidrate Spark – it uses Bluetooth) and you’ll be given instructions for calibrating the device (to do so, you first need to set the bottle upright on a flat surface, fill it with water and let it sit for 10 seconds – it needs to be empty beforehand).
After the setup process is done, you can create a new account to gain access to the user interface: here, you will be able to see how much water you need to drink, as well as visit the menu: Home, Profile, History (Week and Month), Social (Friends and Notifications), Add Water and Settings (set up your Profile, change your Goal, configure the Push and Glow Notifications, Connect to the Apps, change the Units, view More and Help).
Note: The Hidrate Spark 2.0 will work with Apple Watch, Apple Health Kit, Fitbit, Google Fit, Under Armour Record, as well as Nokia Health (Withings).
4. Drinkup Smart Water Bottle
Even though the smart devices market is in full bloom right now, there aren’t that many manufacturers willing to give this rather niche type of device a try, so we are often left with start-up companies that sometimes don’t find the balanced formula between the design, functionality and the price point. One of the latest available smart water bottle also comes from a startup company which focuses to find this perfect balance in the form of the DrinKup smart water bottle and it does seem to be on the right track considering that it accurately shows the amount of water remained in the bottle in a digital manner (on the lid) and it doesn’t annoy the user with ‘smart’ mouthpieces that don’t last that long and are most often than not inaccurate.
The DrinKup bottle looks pretty unassuming and you could hardly differentiate it from the regular water bottle: the device itself features two main parts, the stainless steel recipient (grade 316 (18-10)) and the fairly large lid with parts made of various materials (Aluminium Alloy 6061, High grade Tritan (BPA free plastic) and Food Grade PP). The bottle capacity is 17oz (500ml), it measures 9.8 x 2.87 inches and, when empty, it weighs about 0.77 lbs (also, because of its ergonomic shape, the bottle has a decent grip and taking into consideration that it has a double vacuum insulation, there shouldn’t be any condensation on the outside).
Some of you with a more keen eye will notice that this isn’t the first time you saw this type of design and that an older start-up company (Moikit) was the first to develop a strikingly similar bottle through crowdfunding. But, besides the identical design (which I have no idea how and why they procured), there doesn’t seem to be any other ties between Moikit and Baltek (the current developer of the DrinKup smart water bottle).
The most interesting part of this device is, obviously, the bottle cap which features a top-facing circular display (with a 5 x 16 pixels resolution) and, depending on a specific type of movement, you get different stats: tilt the bottle to see your water balance status in percentage (it is advisable to keep it above 90 %); flip the bottle upside down until it vibrates and then turn it back in an upright position to see the temperature of the water (the sensor needs between 5 to 8 seconds to show the temperature). Other info that can be seen on the small display are the HOT indicator (when the water temperature exceeds 122 degrees F), the stale indicator X (when the water has been placed for longer than 24 hours, so it needs to be replaced), the Drink Reminder with an icon in the shape of a heart (when the water balance goes below 80 %), the firmware update indicator, the low battery indicator and more.
The fact that it has all this functions available on the lid’s display, it indicates that you can use the DrinKup even if the device is not synced with a mobile device (it will still detect the temperature, remind you when you should drink water, record the water intake and more). That being said, DrinKup will work with Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android OS, but, before you can initiate the pairing process, you need to first charge the bottle’s battery. To do so, you need to remove the lid and remove the rubber piece in order to expose the USB port and the small recessed Reset button.
Use the USB cable (provided in the box) and fully charge the 400mAh Lithium Polymer battery (from 0 to 100, it will take about 2 hours). Next, download and install the app on your mobile device, register a new DrinKup account and then follow the necessary steps to pair the smart bottle to your phone/tablet (includes creating a profile – gender, age, height, weight, record period and daily goal) – it uses the Bluetooth 4.2 BLE for the connectivity. The application’s interface will show you various statistics about your daily water intake, as well as a history of any previous periods of time.
Note: The battery can last anywhere between 30 to 90 days depending on your use.
If you want to wash the DrinKup water bottle, you need to first remove the smart lid (which should only be cleaned using a piece of cloth) and then you can clean the container, but I would not use a dishwasher since it may damage the insulation.
5. Thermos 24 Ounce Hydration Bottle with Connected Smart Lid
Thermos L.L.C. is one of the best known manufacturers of insulated beverage and food containers (as well as some other consumer products) in the world and one of the oldest (the company has been around for over a century). Thermos has also managed to create a generic trademark for the thermos name (which now refers to the object and it is being produced by many other companies), so, since it’s clear that the manufacturer has a lot of experience under its belt, one would expect for them to create the perfect smart water bottle, but, while the Thermos 24 Ounce Hydration Bottle is a more than a decent device, it does come with some quirks that may not be on everybody’s taste (such as no support for Android OS and not always accurate readings).
That being said, the Thermos 24 Ounce Hydration Bottle features a cylindrical bottle made of BPA-free Eastman Tritan™ copolyester material (a type of BPA-free plastic, which should make it safer and more durable, although there is some research which claims that Tritan is not really safer than regular plastic with BPA) which should not be used with hot beverages, which is a bit ironic since we’re talking about a Thermos made bottle.
The body of the Thermos bottle is semi-transparent, it comes into two colours, teal and smoke (dark grey) and, since we’re dealing with a 24 oz recipient, it is not really that tall or large (it measures 9.9 x 2.9 x 3.0 inches).
But, the bottle itself won’t offer much over a regular recipient and the most important part of the Thermos Hydration Bottle is actually the smart lid that has the role of measuring how much you drink, as well as the temperature of the water (using a sensor tube). The lid itself is made of plastic, consisting of a matte part which gets attached to the bottle (it gets connected by a latch) and a transparent removable top section that reveals the mouth of the bottle.
Inside the lid, there’s an integrated flip-up plastic section which reveals a Micro-SUB port for charging the devices – the smart water bottle comes with an internal battery that can deliver up to 12 days of use before needing recharging, but it also indicates that you cannot wash the top part of the bottle because of the internal circuitry (you can only clean it with a dry cloth).
The Thermos 24 Ounce Hydration Bottle has a dedicated app available for Apple devices only (requires iOS 7 and up), so unfortunately, Android users will have to choose a different brand since Thermos does not seem too interested in releasing a compatible app. After you have installed the software from the App Store, launch the application and then follow some simple steps to configure it, such as setting up an user profile, waking the Smart Lid – you may need to first charge the lid if the battery is too low – and allow it to discover the device. Once the bottle is paired to the app (via Bluetooth), it will attempt to undergo some calibrations (make sure that the sensor tube is dry for accurate readings) and, afterwards, you can start creating hydration goals (you’ll need to answer a series of basic questions).
After that, you can visit the Dashboard, which will display the water temperature, the consumed quantity, the number of sips (it’s not always 100% accurate, but it does its job properly most of the time) and how close you are to reaching your daily goal (a percentage, as well as in quantity). Furthermore, you can visit the Activity page which will display your current stats – the quantity of consumed water over a set period of time, as well as specific hours when you took a sip – or you can visit the Reminders page to enable Goal Progress reminders, create custom ones or visit the Workout section.
Besides the proprietary app, the Thermos 24 Ounce Hydration Bottle will also work with Fitbit (although it’s not as stable as the dedicated app – the data will also automatically sync with Fitbit only after you finish drinking all the water from the bottle).
Note: Inside the package, there’s the Thermos 24 Ounce Hydration Bottle with Connected Smart Lid, a USB charging cable and a Care and Use Manual.
6. Sportline HydraCoach Intelligent Water Bottle
The California-based company HydraCoach is one of the pioneers of this new type of portable devices (along with Trago), so the HydraCoach Intelligent Water Bottle had the possibility to develop a blueprint for next devices from the same category and take its time to create the best smart water bottle. After almost four years, it doesn’t seem that HydraCoach made much progress and the smart water bottle retains pretty much the same functionality and form-factor, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, since the device is still capable of monitoring the total amount of water that you drank during the day and it helps you create goals, as well as letting you know when you should drink again.
When compared to the more recent smart water bottles, you’ll notice that HydraCoach does not rely on a mobile app, but there is a small display along with physical buttons embedded into the body of the device to offer all the necessary ‘smart’ features. The bottle itself is made of a BPA-Free polycarbonate semi-transparent material which allows for a decent grip and, about one third of the bottle consists of a large bezel to accommodate the internal computer and display, while on the top, there’s an upper cap along with a built-in finger ring for easy transportation (the HydraCoach smart water bottle measures around 10.1 x 2.8 x 2.9 inches and, when empty, it weighs 4.8 ounces, so it’s quite light).
If you remove the upper cap (you need to rotate it counter-clockwise), you will expose the impeller assembly (to which gets connected the detachable silicone mouthpiece and it is the part responsible for the necessary measurements), as well as the draw tube. The entire mechanism can be removed from the bottle and each part can be cleaned properly but the process is not really the easiest, so you will need to follow the guide at least the first couple of times (furthermore, bear in mind that only the bottle itself is dishwasher safe, while the rest can be cleaned with a soft cloth).
You will notice that unlike the other smart water bottles, the HydraCoach does not have any micro-USB port and the reason for that it because the device relies on a CR2032 3V Lithium battery instead. To replace the battery, you have to detach the small computer part and on its rear side, there’s a small battery door that can be rotated to expose the battery slot.
As I said before, the HydraCoach intelligent water bottle does not come with an app, so it cannot be connected to a smart home environment, but, it does offer everything you’ll need on that small black and white display. The small computer is surrounded by a Setup button, a larger Mode button and three Start/Stop/Reset buttons which help you navigate the user interface. To set up the HydraCoach smart water bottle, you need to choose between ounces or litres, as well as between pounds or kilograms, you’ll also need to insert your weight and wait until the computer will calculate your daily PHG (Personal Hydration Goal) – you can either accept this value or adjust it manually to better suit your needs and lifestyle.
Lastly, you’ll need to select the clock format, as well as insert the current time and date.
After the initial set up process is done, you will be able to navigate the interface to see the Total Amount of water Consumed, the Total Elapsed Time and the Average Consumption (available on the first screen), as well as the Personal Hydration Goal (including the percent of the goal) and the average consumption (available on the second screen). You can start, stop or resume the HydraCoach program at any time, you just need to be on either of the two screens when pressing the buttons.
Note: In order to get accurate readings, it is advisable to take pronounced sips, otherwise, lower intensity sips of water may not correctly register with the monitor.