Hidrate Spark 3 Smart Water Bottle Review: Holding an entire niche on its shoulders

The Hidrate Spark 3 is the third iteration of smart water bottles developed by the US-based manufacturer, if we don’t take into account the Steel side series and I have been praising this company for years as being pretty much the only long-term player in this niche market, but was all this praising warranted?

Hidrate Spark 3
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Well, the Hidrate Spark 3 keeps the same soft plastic body with lights shining through, so that hasn’t really changed that much over the years, but the developers did work at making the sensors more accurate and at offering a better integration with the mobile app.

Hidrate Spark 3 smart water bottle.

And it’s clear that the public appreciated these changes due to the brand’s popularity, but it’s still a relatively under-served niche, so the manufacturer is pretty much on the front lines to convince more people about the usefulness of a smart water bottle. And I think that despite being considered an accessory for the fitness-conscious people, those that work long hours are the more likely candidates to benefiting from a smart water bottle.

I don’t really tend to forget to drink water when working out or generally when I am not very busy with projects. No, I need a device such as the Hydrate Spark 3 when I go through crunch times at work and need to be reminded to stay hydrated. I suppose the elderly could also benefit from a smart water bottle, so let’s put the smart water bottle to the test and see if it rises to the hype.

Design and Build Quality

I usually prefer using stainless steel bottles since they manage to feel more robust and the idea of microplastics has really made me more conscious on how I handle both my food and my beverages. The interesting thing is that the manufacturer actually makes a case against single-use plastic bottle for containing phthalates, trihalomethanes and the even more ill-famed microplastics, but is the all-plastic container of the Hydrate Spark 3 better?

The lid of the Hidrate Spark 3.

The smart water bottle is BPA-free, but that’s not really enough because BPS remains harmful to people. The good news is that the device is also BPS-free and it also has no phthalates, which is good to know. The Hydrate Spark 3 smart water bottle unit that I got is yellow and it can be filled with 20 ounces of liquid (or a bit over half a litter) which I suppose is enough for a few hours to stay hydrated. The bottle itself can be divided into three main parts.

And we’re going to start at the bottom, where there’s a base containing sensing rod which is basically a long plastic piece that goes towards the lid. And, if you check at the bottom, you will see a metallic locking mechanism which holds a plastic cover into place. Removing it will reveal a compartment for a battery and yes, there is one provided in the package (alongside a lanyard). The lid can also be removed (rotate it counter-clockwise), so you can easily fit ice cubes or anything else that’s similarly sized.

Inside the Hidrate Spark 3 smart water bottle.

The mouthpiece is not too large, just enough to allow a good flow for the beverage and the open/close mechanism is spring-operated which means that it should last for quite a bit. I have tested some bottles over the years that only had plastic holding plastic, and that approach had a high rate of failure after a few months. The container of the bottle is actually covered by the soft plastic material, while within (the part that gets in contact with the water), it’s actually transparent and of different consistency.

I think that this could have been the perfect opportunity to add glass which would then be covered by the same soft plastic to protect it from shattering. Perhaps this would be an option in the future, although it’s not going to be easy to implement and it would raise the price tag substantially more than when using only plastic.

The bottom side of the smart water bottle.

The LED status light

The Hidrate Spark 3 has the LED embedded within the sensor rod from inside the bottle and, since the plastic is slightly transparent, the light forms a very nice pattern. And the developers made sure that it’s not just a turn on and off effect, the brightness changes in intensity. The light is just green and from the app, there is no way to change it to something else, so yes, it’s not as colorful as on the Hidrate Steel, but I think that the effect is nicer on the Hidrate Spark 3.

There is still some degree of customization since you can change the glow intensity and how often the LED will activate during the day, but yes, the options are a bit limited.

How does the Hidrate Spark 3 smart water bottle work?

The Hidrate Spark 3 uses the sensing stick to detect how much water is left in the container. It’s a fairly simple concept and most likely more accurate than a sensing base which measures the weight of the bottle.

The sensing stick.

There are other approaches, such as the sensing cap of the REBO smart bottle which shoots a beam of light to detect any changes in the water level and there’s also the continuous measurement system of the LifeFuels bottle. So, in a sense, the approach of the Hidrate Spark 3 may seem a bit more antiquated and some may not like that the bottle needs to stay flat for a few seconds for the water amount to update in the app, but overall, it’s a good system, so why fix what’s not broken?

The Installation

The app that you need to download and install is called Hidrate and it’s available on both Android and iOS. After installing it, it asked if I would let it use Bluetooth for connecting to the bottle (I said yes), which was then followed by the prompt to create an account. It wants an email and then it wanted for me to accept the Terms and Services, as well as the Privacy Policy. Let’s see what data is collected.

Installing the Hidrate Spark 3.

The app will use some data from the social networking websites if you signed up this way, but the data collected from the device is the liquid consumption amount, the time when it was consumed, the location when it happened, as well as the IP address, the time and the battery level. Furthermore, the reminders will also be stored, the geolocation data and a few more. At the moment, the company does not offer a ‘do not track’ option so that the users can opt out anytime they want.

About the data sharing with third-parties, Hidrate Spark may share your personal info with companies that provide them with services (fulfillment, email management and credit card processing). Also, they will share you data if requested by a legal entity and in case of corporate restructuring. Lastly I saw that there is more about sharing collected data with third-party companies because they said that it is possible for them to enter in agreement with other companies where your data may be shared. And they said that they do not hold any control for how your data will then be used. Overall, it’s your standard privacy invasive app that undergoes the now normalized practices of collecting data and sharing it with whomever they want.

Adding and calibrating the Hidrate Spark 3.

We are not done yet because the app asked if I wanted to receive notifications, if I wanted it to track my activity across apps (absolutely not!) and then I got to the profile setup. After inserting the necessary data, I gained access to the app interface and it was possible to add a new bottle. At this point, the installation wizard required that I chose the type of bottle that will be paired (I chose Bluetooth) and before the connection was done, I was asked if I wanted Hidrate to use my location.

I know that they asked me because there is a ‘locate my bottle’ tool, but I didn’t need it so I set the location precision to off. Now, it was time to calibrate the bottle and the process is incredibly simple. First, put the empty bottle on a level surface, wait a few seconds (as instructed by the app), add water and let it sit flat once again. That’s it, now the bottle will glow when you need to take a sip of water.

The Mobile Application

The app will immediately show if you are near reaching your daily goal and you can see your progress across the days of the week. Scroll down a bit and you should be able to see a Drink Log and the Hourly Goals, as well as the Breakdown.

Hidrate Spark 3 – the app interface.

What I really liked was the possibility to add a Drink – if you drink from a different bottle or glass, then you can manually insert it into the app, so that it aligns with your daily goal (and you can choose between different types of beverages). The next main section is the Social, where I could apply to various challenges and see how other people did (it can include my Friends as well). This is a very successful approach and it worked wonders for Peloton as well.

Moving forward, we can check the Bottles section where I could change some basic aspects about the smart water bottle, including the type of beverage, the Glow Reminders, I could Snooze the program and it was also suggested that I could but the GlowStudio. I didn’t need it (and I am not sure it will work for the Hidrate Spark 3), so I moved forward to the Settings section. Here, I could change the Account settings, adjust the Goal (as well as change between Ounces and Mililiters), set Reminders, see Trophies and more.

How accurate is the water level measurement?

The water amount measurement is actually surprisingly accurate and that’s without constant calibration; just the initial empty bottle – full bottle seems to be enough.

Hidrate Spark 3 – how accurate are the readings?

But, as we saw on the LifeFuels smart water bottle, the app only showed how much water was consumed only after the amount went after a certain level. So, taking a couple of sips would not register – drinking a glass of water would change the water amount in the app. The Hidrate Spark 3 went for a more continuous representation of the water amount that’s left in the bottle and, after taking some sips of water, I could see that the daily goal would change, even by less than a couple of ounces.

But there is a minimum which will trigger the communication with the app, so don’t expect to take a very light sip and see it being registered. Even so, it’s still a more accurate system than on most other smart water bottles.

It is easy to clean?

Opening the Hidrate Spark 3.

The sensor stick needs to be hand washed only and the manufacturer says that the outside of the bottle should also be washed by hand. You can rinse the interior side of the bottle after every use and it’s recommended to so to avoid bacteria from developing. The rest (the lid and the bottom ring) are top-dishwasher safe.

Battery life and some final tests

The Hidrate Spark 3 does not have a rechargeable battery, it uses a replaceable CR2477 battery which the manufacturer says that it should last about 2-3 months, but it will depend on how you set up the smart water bottle. How often the light will glow, the brightness and more. I have not used the Hidrate Spark 3 for that long (only a couple of weeks), so I can’t yet confirm that it will last for at least a couple of months, but I will update the article when I reach that milestone.

Hidrate Spark 3 – battery compartment.

The Conclusion

The Hidrate Spark 3 is one of the best smart water bottles on the market and it’s not because it offers more features than other similar devices. The first important factor is the longevity of the brand which means continuous support for its products and secondly, the bottle actually does a decent job at keeping track of your water intake. There are some shortcomings because the Hidrate Spark 3 is not that great at keeping beverages cold or hot since it’s made of plastic, and the design may not be on everyone’s taste, but overall, if you want a smart water bottle, then I guess you already know that the Hidrate Spark devices are one of the safest choices.

Hidrate Spark 3













  • The sensing stick is decently accurate
  • The LED shining through the plastic case creates a nice visual effect
  • Easy to carry around
  • The app experience is good
  • Doesn't need repeated calibrations


  • It's not great at insulating hot/cold beverages
  • Only one color for the LED available

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