Do Insulated Water Bottles Make a Difference?

Water bottle temp testThere are standard water bottles, and then there are insulated water bottles. But, do insulated water bottles make a difference? Are they worth it? One hot sunny day in Iowa, we set out to answer that very question for you.

We chose four water bottles from our inventory, filled them with equal amounts of water, and chilled them to the same temperature before setting them out in the sun.

The Contenders

Insulated water bottle fightThe first bottle we grabbed is the 24-ounce Polar Bottles Insulated Water Bottle. It uses double-wall construction and foil insulation to keep cold liquids colder and warm liquids warmer longer than uninsulated bottles.

The second bottle is 21-ounce CamelBak Podium Chill. CamelBak advertises that this bottle can keep cold drinks cold twice as long as regular bottles and can also be used to keep warm drinks warm.

Third up is the 21-ounce CamelBak Podium Ice. This bottle is advertised as keeping water cold four times as long as regular sport bottles. It, too, can be used for warm beverages.

Finally, for a non-insulated bottle, we chose one of our bottles. (Remember, we are Kyle's Bikes now, but the bottles still work!) This is your standard Specialized 24-ounce Big Mouth bottle with an ice-cube-friendly top and easy-squeeze sides.

The Competition

We placed the insulated water bottles in the sunWe filled each bottle with 20 ounces of water and left them in the refrigerator for 24 hours. The water in all the bottles measured 40.3°F at the beginning of the test.

We set them upright on the ground in our parking lot. We chose this spot because it would stay in full sun for the one-hour duration of the test.

Every 10 minutes, we measured the temperature of the water in each bottle at two inches under the water line. The temperatures are recorded in the table below under "The Results."

The air temperature (shown in blue on the graph) hovered in the mid-90s. The ground temperature (shown in grey) broke 110°F at one point.

Insulated water bottles make a difference

The Results

It is true. Insulated water bottles do make a difference.

The temperature of the water in the non-insulated bottle quickly climbed to over 80°F in just 40 minutes. At that time, the water in all the insulated bottles was still under 65°. We know which we would rather drink!

The differences between the insulated bottles where smaller, but still apparent. The CamelBak Podium Ice beat both the the Polar Bottles Insulated Water Bottle and the CamelBak Podium Chill. After one hour in the hot Iowa sun, the water in the Podium Ice was still 63°F.

We know 63° water isn't as refreshing as 40° water, but it is a lot better than the 89° water in the non-insulated bottle! So we think insulated bottles are worth it.

Time Air Temp Ground Temp Non-insulated
Polar Bottles
Podium Chill
Podium Ice
Start 93.5° 108.0° 40.3° 40.3° 40.3° 40.3°
10 min 93.5° 109.0° 56.0° 51.2° 48.1° 44.7°
20 min 95.6° 110.0° 68.9° 55.0° 51.2° 46.9°
30 min 96.0° 109.5° 76.9° 59.3° 55.0° 52.8°
40 min 93.2° 111.2° 81.6° 64.2° 59.5° 54.4°
50 min 94.0° 107.8° 86.1° 70.5° 63.5° 60.9°
60 min 93.5° 109.0° 89.0° 72.1° 68.7° 63.0°


Shop Water Bottles Now

Check out our winter 2017 experiment: Insulated Water Bottles Keep Drinks Warm

New for 2018! We have our own Kyle's Bikes insulated water bottle!

The following two tabs change content below.
Katherine is our Content Champion. She has done triathlons in the past, and now focuses on mountain biking and long-distance gravel riding. She still has a soft spot in her heart for weird multi-sport events like indoor triathlon and aquabike. She also teaches indoor cycling.