The Best Smart Water Bottles and High-Tech Products to Keep You Hydrated

January 18, 2022 Off By Mary Frances Knapp

You know how the Aral Sea was once one of Earth’s largest lakes, but was wrung dry of its WAP after gnarly Soviet water diversion? Well, yeah. That’s our veins right now. Thirsty. Out of ideas. In need of hydration. 

Water is instrumental to staying alive, so why is it something we consistently forget to drink? As Forever Class Wit Diana Vreeland said, “I think water is God's tranquilizer, to be in it, to drink it, to look at it,” which is very much the energy we would like to channel in 2022. It is an incredible privilege to have access to clean drinking water, and one of life’s greatest joys to chug it after a night of binge drinking, or a hard workout. But there are days when Brita’s best still just tastes like a smoothie made of sewer air and Post-Its, instead of a trickle from a crystal-clear waterfall on the Avatar planet. There are days when we remember that in Paris, public drinking fountains flow with sparkling water. How can you come back from that?

Is drinking enough water really that important?

Our bodies are basically fleshy waterbeds, so it’s no surprise that we need to be refilling our H2O levels. But researchers want to remind us that we won’t just feel parched or sluggish when we’re dehydrated. Dehydration causes our cognitive functions to suffer, and exacerbates the negative impacts of chronic illnesses and even mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. All the bad things, friends—and all because we're too lazy or forgetful to fill up our tanks. 

How much water should you actually be drinking?

Does the eight-glasses-a-day trope really hold up for our health? That depends, as Karin Klein reported for VICE. “One of the most-quoted studies on this topic,” she said, “found that in young adults, a water loss amounting to 1 percent to 2 percent of body weight can lead to reduced alertness and concentration.” The Institute of Medicine has suggested we up our water intake to 2.7 liters per day for women, and 3.7 liters for men. But when it comes down to it, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all prescription for everyone. Ultimately it comes down to this: “The vast majority of healthy people adequately meet their daily hydration needs by letting thirst be their guide.’” So listen to your body, first and foremost. But the best water bottles, smart bottles, and newfangled hydration products can really, truly help.

What is a “smart” water bottle, anyway?

The last decade has seen a boom in the variety and availability of smart appliances, optimized beverages, and new technologies that want to help us stay the healthy course. Some are overkill, but many are genuinely welcome support systems; a fleshless hand to hold as we try to take better care of ourselves, and learn something new. If someone told us about the benefits of “alkaline water” in our teen years, we may have thought, WTF is this freelance dentist? Now, we’ve got water bottles that know exactly how to increase our water’s pH level, as well as more knowledge of why we might want to. Running a little dry one day? There’s an app that will tell you to drink up. Only crave sparkling? No problem—there are at-home dispensers.

In an effort to hold onto our remaining brain cells, we’ve scoured the web for some of the best water bottles and H20 accessories out there. There are smart water bottles that will text you more than mother, and elegant, glass bedside carafes; plus, CBD electrolyte packets, SkyMall-worthy gadgets, and other tips and tricks for making it rain in your veins. 

To feel like you’re out at a restaurant

On-demand sparkling water just adds an air of luxury, and we’re very about that level of self-care. This machine is exactly the kind of thing we would have found forgettable in SkyMall (RIP) as kids, but would commit minor arson to receive as an adult: it’s made by the Swedish brand Aarke, and has finally given us a design-forward carbonator that doesn’t look like a cheap plastic afterthought. Display on the counter, proudly. Parents will be impressed. Roommate(s) will be impressed. Dates? Definitely.

The bottle that cleans itself

Hands down the most self-sufficient smart bottle in our selection, because it cleans its own goddamn room. The LARQ is BPA-free, super insulated, rechargeable, and “Uses UV-C LED light to eliminate up to 99.99% of bio-contaminants from [the water and bottle].” Not that it’s showing off, or anything. 

Keep an eye on the time

Sometimes, the day just slips away as you toil away the hours writing response emails that say “Awesome, thanks!” and watching self-diagnosis TikToks, and the next thing you know, it’s 5 PM and the only things that have passed your lips are pretzels and coffee. Scoop up a water bottle with time markers, and it’ll be second nature to hydrate all throughout the day. Enter a healthy little competition with yourself to see if you’re capable of completing an incredibly simple task every couple of hours. (If your self-discipline is often lacking, a solid solution is to gamify it.) These top-rated, BPA-free bottles will keep you on track. “Easy to clean, wide enough for bottle brushes, and the straw stays put. I also love how I just push the little button by the mouthpiece and it just pops open quick for easy drinking,” writes one happy Giotto customer. If chic minimalism is more your thing, try Arc’s elegant frosted bottle.

The gateway to DIY electrolytes 

As close to an IV hydration drip as we’re going to get, which we probably can’t say, medically, but there’s just nothing like electrolytes for breakfast. Just mix water together with these packets, which are “lightly flavored with real fruit juice powder” to give you the “balanced electrolyte boost you need to own your day.” If you’re not a coffee or tea drinker, this is a great way to slap your brain awake in the morning, and a great way to make flat water less meh. Plus, you can tailor your variety 30-pack to your taste buds with the website’s sliding tart-to-sweet scale, so there's a customization element to suit your preferences, whether they lean more Crystal-Light-spritzer or post-game-Gatorade.

This glow worm

This is a dark time, so we’re very on-board for a light-up gimmick. This smart water bottle “tracks your water intake and lights up to remind you to drink” through its Bluetooth app. It comes in a bunch of different colors, which is great because we miss concerts and this is the closest we’re going to get to watching a rando EDC dude bust out unsolicited glow stick moves at an outdoor festival. Le sigh.

The Erin Brockovich

This water bottle gives LARQ some friendly competition in the over-achiever category, because it “reduces over 90 percent of chlorine and 99 percent of sediment” with its filter, which is also touted as sifting out gunk “5x faster than competition.” There’s a lot of thoughtfulness behind the creation of the bottle, which is made out of 100-percent coconut shell carbon, and most of all: it seals up tight. Really tight. We also recently tested out the Hydros Water Filter Pitcher, made from 100% coconut shell carbon in a BPA-free casing, and we loved it because a) it looks great on our counter and b) we can now go to our friends’ houses and act surprised when we learn that they drink water from the tap. Gasp!

An update on the classic French carafe set

Dead, talented French writer Honoré de Balzac loved stuff. The best stuff. He almost went bankrupt from buying stuff, which included a custom turquoise cane so swanky, it inspired a Montblanc pen. But we digress. The Australian brand bearing Balzac’s namesake reflects his impossibly high standards with this French-inspired carafe d’eau, but has been given a 21st century update; this delicate vessel comes with its own glass (in colors like “Amber” and “Smoke” no less) and the minimalist design won’t feel cluttered on your nightstand. We really do love-hate how good Australians are at wellness.

Get that CBD in the mix 

One of our editors had a chef’s kiss delightful experience with OFFFIELD recently, having mixed the “CBD, CBG, L-Theanine and essential mineral” goodness in her water on a hike to find that, indeed, the “route [she] completed a hundred times before was somehow more beautiful than ever.” Was it the OFFFIELD? California, being effortlessly California? We’re apt to say both, but who knows. You be the judge by scooping up a 12-pack.  

The one for alkaline water obsessives

The bottle that does the absolute most. Choose between a scale of sizes (up to 40 ounces) with this bottle, which is made with Japanese 316 surgical-grade stainless steel, has zero plastic, triple insulation, and some kind of sorcery that “increases [the water] pH up to 9+.” People are shelling out big time for alkaline water for its purported health benefits, although it looks like the consensus on their effectiveness is not conclusive. According to the makers of this sleek dude, it will help you hydrate faster, improve digestion, and detox your body. No wonder the logo is doing the YMCA. 

Just infuse a wumbo jug with exciting stuff

Another solid tactic for drinking water: Place a wumbo jug in your field of vision. Give yourself the task of finishing it by a certain time of day. This pitcher is made of borosilicate glass, a.k.a. super light but strong glass that won’t break. It’s also BPA-free, can withstand temps from 0 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, and has a handy little catch-all infuser for jazzing up your water with fruits and vegetables and hot Cheetos. 

The one that’s kind of a Tamagotchi

So this is for babies. Well, children. But we’re 90s nostalgics, and here because we have crappy self-discipline, so we’re fully invested in this pseudo-Tamagotchi (Giga Pet, Neopet, what have you) fantasy of this smart water bottle, which caught VICE’s eye when it was released a few years ago. Not only is the name “Gululu” too much fun to say, but the Gululu pet thing on the screen has over 200 words in its vocabulary, and interacts with you as your drink (or don’t). 

We hope this motivates you to drink more, and finally establishes your home as a certified hydration station. 

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story.