Stainless Steel vs Plastic Water Bottles: Which Is Better for the Environment?

We only have one planet to live on, and nowhere else to go when this one is overly polluted. One of the ways in which we can help the environment is by switching out our plastic use for alternatives that are far better for the environment. Stainless steel bottles are awesome, highly reusable, recyclable, durable, and better in almost every way from their plastic counterparts.

Best Stainless Steel Water Bottle Comparison

Stainless Steel Water Bottle Review

1. Hydro Flask Wide Mouth Water Bottle

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This is one of the more expensive items on our list, but I believe that this brand is worth it in terms of cost. Just make sure that you buy it directly from them, and not a third party. This is because many people have complained about the lid not sealing properly, which is believed to be due to counterfeit products made by third-party sellers.

It weighs a bit, a full pound for the bottle alone, not even including how heavy it will be when full of liquids. This can make it harder to use when you are camping. It does come with a straw lid, however, making it good to use at the gym if you need a reusable water bottle.

It is vacuum insulated, which keeps drinks hot for 6 hours and cold for up to 24. The mouth is wide, too, allowing it to be used for taking much larger gulps, and not just sips.

Its durability is so good that the company has a lifetime warranty for this. So if it ever breaks for specific reasons, you can always get it replaced. Also, it comes in a wide variety of colors and sizes, making it perfect for just about every situation. And they are BPA-free, so you do not have to worry about toxins when drinking.


2. YETI Rambler Bottle

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This one is the most expensive one on our list, but it is also the one with the highest brand recognition. YETI has been known for being able to provide excellent insulation for their products, and this is no exception.

Yet, it would be good to note that this one does not come with a drinking cap. While you can buy it separately, I think the price and quality should allow you to be able to buy it with the cap already. This is because nobody really wants to spend extra money on a cap when they are already spending so much on the bottle.

It is leakproof though. This means that you can bring it on a road trip without having to worry about cleaning up a huge spill. Since it is insulated, it does not “sweat” meaning that your hands will be able to stay nice and dry, while your drinks stay cold and tasty.


3. Klean Kanteen Classic Stainless Steel Bottle

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This one is the cheapest one on our list, but that does not mean that it doesn’t lose out on any of the high quality. For instance, the inside of it is specifically designed to be easy to clean, so you do not have to worry too much about it when washing it out. You can also get it in a variety of colors, so you can’t pick the color that works best for you.

This one has a sports cap lid, making it the best one for sports and outdoor activity. The lid allows for easy drinking, meaning that you can stay hydrated throughout the day much easier. Since this company works hard to prevent the use of toxins, you can believe that they are BPA-free as well.

The top is wide enough to add standard ice cubes, which is great, as this fella keeps drinks hot for up to 30 hours, and ice for up to 100! That is longer than any of the other cups on this list, and makes it the best for hot coffee or tea in my opinion. And it is somewhat surprising too, as some people have complained that the container dents easily.


4. S’well Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle

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S’well is a brand that is growing in popularity and has to be one of my fave picks. This is because it not only works to be environmentally friendly, but it also gives money to charities quite often. Meaning that you are helping others when you purchase their products.

They are BPA free, as they work hard to ensure that there are no toxins in the products that they sell. What I like most about this is that it is triple wall insulated, where all of the others only use two. This allows it to work well in keeping hot stuff hot for 12 hours, and cold stuff cold for 24.

Because of how they are designed, you do not have to worry about the bottle becoming sweaty and slippery. And if they happen to break, you can get a replacement using their 1-year warranty. I think this one works best for cold beverages, which is a great way to stay well hydrated.



What are the Differences Between Plastic and Stainless Steel?

When it comes to comparing these two, a lot of different factors have to be taken into account. For instance, how much they weight and how durable they are. This can help you to get the right product that you need for the best overall price. So let’s check out some of the differences they may have.


Due to how they are made, plastic containers are much lighter than their steel counterparts. In fact, these ones can potentially even float in water, depending on how light they are. This can make the metal ones hard to bring with you when you are hiking or camping, as they are much heavier.



While plastic is lighter, it is also much more fragile. As a result, they can break and even shatter when dropped, making the metal variety far better. While it may dent, the chances of actually breaking one of these bad boys are slim to none. So it makes a good investment for years to come.


When it comes to taste, some steel containers bring with them a very metallic aftertaste. This can cause the drink to taste pretty gross, and often have to pour it out. However, a sturdy wash before using it can help prevent any bad taste from being present. In fact, a lot of the time, the bad taste is a product of oxidation of the steel or rust. So make sure that your product is not rusting, and wash it very well before use.

Hot or cold liquids


Steel is much better in this regard because it can hold both hot and cold beverages. Plastic, on the other hand, only really holds cold beverages. You would not want to put hot liquids in plastic because it can either melt or else leach toxic chemicals into your drink. And nobody wants to drink toxic chemicals.

Easy to clean

One thing that I have noticed with plastic is that if any oil gets on it, it is almost impossible to get off. This makes metal ones far easier to clean, and even far less likely to break when cleaning them by hand. They are also less likely to get stains, ergo the name “Stainless” steel. Some have specifically made insides that allow it to be cleaned easily as well, which helps the process along.



Plastic will always be the cheaper option, as it is easier to make and easier to work with. But that does not take everything into account. In order to get the most out of your money, you have to make sure that each and every dollar spent is a dollar well spent. So spending your money on a more durable and easier to clean metal water bottle will work out in the long run when it doesn’t break.

What are the benefits of stainless steel bottles?

Well, they are easier to clean, far more durable, and are able to hold both hot and cold beverages. While they may be heavier and have a higher cost, I believe these are worth it in the long run. This is because it can be more of an investment, as they will not only last for longer, but because they do not leach chemicals into your water the same way a plastic one might. So make sure to keep an eye out for that when you are searching for a good, durable, environmentally friendly, and safe bottle to carry with you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do plastic bottles contain toxic chemicals?

While not all of them do, many can have them. For instance, BPA is hazardous to your health and can leach out of the battles into even lukewarm liquids.

Are they BPA free?

While many of the stainless steel ones have some form of plastic on them, all of the above-mentioned brands do not have BPA in them. Meaning that they are safe to use for hot liquids.

Are they easy to open?

One of the things that some people seem to have issues with is opening up the bottles. In any case, yes, they are fairly easy to open but do know that they are leakproof, and as a result may be harder to open due to that.

Are plastic water bottles bad for the environment?

Yes. Creating plastic causes chemicals and fumes to get into the air and water supply, and pollution from plastic is very harmful to the native wildlife. So if you are planning on getting a water bottle, getting one that isn’t plastic will help a ton.

Can they hold wine?

Yes, there is no issue with water bottles and holding wine. Although this question makes me wonder where they are trying to sneak it into.

Which ones come with a free lid replacement?

None of them offer extra lids or replacement lids for free. Sorry.

Which one is best to bring to the gym?

My favorite is the Klean Kanteen mentioned here because it comes with a sports lid. That way you do not have to worry too much about unscrewing a top with sweaty hands every time you want a drink.

Where can I find a lightweight stainless steel bottle to bring with me when I go camping?

This is going to be hard to do, as steel has a particular weight, and thinning it out only makes it less durable. So while there are heavier and lighter steel bottles, they are all going to be about the same weight, and will never be incredibly light. While this may be a hindersome statement, this does not mean that you can’t take them camping. The heavier weight may actually just be a drawback that you have to deal with.

Are stainless steel bottles BPA free?

While steel does not have BPA, there are parts of most bottles that are plastic. None of the ones mentioned on this list have BPA, but it is always something that you should consider, even when you are buying a metal one.

Final Thoughts

These are all great replacements for the plastic bottles that you may otherwise buy at the store. Since they are steel, you generally do not have to worry about BPA, but I would always try to buy directly from the seller on Amazon when possible, just to ensure you are getting the right product.

S’well was a new one that I have seen, but the designs are absolutely wonderful. However, it is the same shape as a traditional bottle that you can buy at the store, so I am not too sure if that would be a bad selling point or not, as it does not have a drinkable cap.

That said, these all work fantastically, and are all high quality, regardless of their price point. The environment can use all the help it can get, and buying a steel bottle instead of plastic water bottles and disposable cups is at least one way in which we can help.

Scott Moey

Based in Brooklyn, New York, entrepreneur and philanthropist Scott Moey lives a wild life as an adventurer, explorer and traveller. He blogs about his love for the outdoors on

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