I have a confession: I’m not a big fan of water. To my doctor’s chagrin, I prefer coffee, tea and various sugary drinks. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I hit the recommended hydration goal (which, according to the National Academy of Medicine, is nine cups of water per day for women over 19). That said, I also enjoy going to the gym, and the plastic water bottles I kept buying for $2 to $5 a pop were adding up — and they’re not good for the planet either. So, I put on my deal-hunter hat, determined to find the best reusable water bottle. Dear reader, I found it: Say hello to the Owala FreeSip.
Lightning in a bottle
It’s weird to describe a water bottle this way, but I’ll say it: The Owala FreeSip is gorgeous. It was hard to pick just one hue — all 20 colors are equally stunning — but I chose Iced Breeze. First impressions aside, it’s not too different from most other quality chuggers: It has the same stainless steel body, powder-coat exterior and carry loop for easy transport.
It’s easy to dismiss the FreeSip as a bottle that prioritizes form over function, but don’t let looks deceive you. You can only experience its magic if you pop open the lid. It’s called the FreeSip for a reason. The dual-purpose spout allows you to sip or chug your drink without having to switch lids or remove the top. Want to take a swig? You got it, thanks to the wide mouth opening. Prefer to take it slow? Let the built-in straw do the work. Can’t make up your mind? You can technically use both, but I would advise against it (unless you want to get water all over your face and shirt). I’d even argue that having two ways to get your daily water makes it more fun to hit those intake goals — it works for me anyway.
Does it leak?
It’s safe to say that I’ve put this water bottle through its paces. It’s been flipped upside down in my gym bag and knocked off the kitchen counter by my cat. It’s even rolled around the back seat of a car during hours-long drives. I’ve never seen a drop of water escape the FreeSip. I have the bottle’s thoughtfully designed locking cap to thank for that: It has a push-button opening that feels more secure than a traditional twist lid. Once I hear that click, I know spills won’t destroy my bag or floor. Take that, Stanley.
Owala compared to Stanley
For starters, there’s a price difference. The 40-ounce Owala FreeSip rings in at $38, while the Stanley Quencher is $45 for the same size. The discrepancy holds true for smaller sizes as well — the 32-ounce Owala is $33 while the Stanley is $35. The 24-ounce Owala is $28 while Stanley’s 20-ounce tumbler is $30. Owala’s bottles also frequently go on sale.
The Owala and the Stanley are fairly similar in terms of aesthetics: Both are stainless steel, have a matte finish and come in a ton of cute colors. And when it comes to temperature retention, they both keep your water cold for up to 24 hours.
The biggest difference is spill resistance. The FreeSip can be flipped upside down without leaking. The same can’t be said of the Quencher: If you flip it upside down, its contents will pour out of the straw.
I’ve remained faithful to my Owala FreeSip for the last few months, and I really can’t see myself going back to any other water bottles I’ve tried in the past. It’s stood up to a reasonable amount of wear and tear, but it still looks brand new. Most importantly, I find myself reaching for my water bottle over bad-for-me drinks. Anything that can make water a little less boring is a win in my book.
What Amazon shoppers say
I’m far from the FreeSip’s only fan. Aside from its massive TikTok fanbase, the bottle has amassed a huge following among Amazon shoppers, making it the retailer’s No. 1 bestselling insulated water bottle. In fact, over 28,000 reviewers have given it a perfect five-star rating.
One fellow Owala fan (who called the bottle “the hottest on the market”) wrote: “I would argue these are better than Stanley’s or anything out there. I prefer to have a mouth piece that doesn’t require a straw sticking out. The big 40oz bottle is perfect for working out.”
I totally agree with this reviewer’s claim that the bottle’s straw design is “... pure genius. I usually sip mindlessly while working or driving, and not having to crane my neck for every gulp is a game-changer. ... This bottle also takes ‘hydration hero’ seriously. My water stays refreshingly chilly for hours, even on scorching days. No more lukewarm disappointments — just consistent, cool sips of satisfaction.”
This final reviewer may have put it best: “My girlfriend is a nurse, and she loves this bottle more than she loves me. I think the promise [of] further Owala bottles is the only reason she’s sticking around at this point.”
The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.
If you have Amazon Prime, you’ll get free shipping, of course. Not yet a member? No problem. You can sign up for your free 30-day trial here. (And by the way, those without Prime still get free shipping on orders of $25 or more.)