If there's one thing you need when you're biking, it's water. That means that if you do a lot of cycling, you need one of the best bicycle water bottles. But what should you look for?
Qualities of the best bicycle water bottles
The first thing to consider is what it's made of. The best water bottle material is usually either a strong plastic like Tritan copolyester or double-walled stainless steel. The advantage of plastic is that it's lighter and you can see the water level inside. It doesn't regulate temperature, however, so your water won't stay cold as long. Double-walled stainless steel, on the other hand, is heavier and opaque, but it helps keeps your water chilled.In addition to materials, consider things like:
One-handed operation: This lets you take a sip without having to stop and pull over. Water bottles with push-button lids or squeezable designs are perfect for this.
Leakproof lid: Features like a silicone gasket or ring will help provide a secure seal.
Covered spout: It's also nice if the spout has a lid or flap to keep dust and dirt out.
Strong water flow: There's nothing more aggravating than a slow water bottle when you're really thirsty. For this quality, read the reviews carefully to determine how strong the water flow is. (I did this part for you.)
What size should bike water bottles be?
Once you've considered these factors, don't forget to look at the size. Your water bottle needs to be slender enough to fit inside the bike cage but not so thin that it rattles around or falls out. Looking through countless options online, I've found that most water bottle cages are between 2.6 and 2.9 inches, but there's a lot of variation out there, so measure yours carefully before making a purchase.
How much water do you need when biking?
The amount of water you need while cycling varies due to heat, weather, difficulty, and personal factors like height, weight, and age. As a general rule of thumb, Joe Goodwill of the Average Joe Cyclist bike blog recommends "two to three large gulps" every 15 to 20 minutes — roughly 18 to 24 ounces per hour.
Most bike water bottles run from 16 to 24 ounces, so for longer rides, hydration packs can be a great alternative. These are basically miniature backpacks that have a tube coming out the side to clip to your chest for easy access. The best hydration packs for biking offer easy-flowing bite valves, strong bladders, and extra pockets for stashing gear.
Below, I've made a list of the best bike water bottles, according to the factors above. I also included a great hydration bladder at the end, in case that's a better fit for your needs.