S’well Water Bottle Review

TLDR

I like the S’well bottle a lot for its flexibility and style. Cold drinks like water or iced tea stay cold for 24 hours, and hot drinks like coffee or tea stay hot for 12. However, it’s costly: $35 for a 17 ounce bottle. I think it’s worth it, but read on for whether it’s the right bottle for you. You can save 15% by signing up on their site.

S’well

I’ve hunted for a great water bottle for years. I started by buying whatever looked nice and quickly learned that most were ugly, mildly annoying, leaky, or just downright gross. Ugly, I can deal with. The others? Not so much. I needed something that was durable, easy to clean, portable, and looked nice on my desk and out in the world.

After hours of searching online (I’m a little obsessive), I finally stumbled across one that seemed perfect for me: the S’well bottle. It has the shape of a plastic water bottle so it’s easy to drink out of, keeps coffee hot for 12 hours, and keeps drinks cold for 24 hours. Icing on the cake: it looks great. Downside? It was costly, and I was a college student.

Azurite and Turquoise Blue S'well.
My new Azurite and Turquoise Blue S’well Bottles.

Years later, I finally have some sort of money of my own and have saved up enough to buy two: Azurite from the Stone Collection and Turquoise Blue from the Satin Collection. With the Brush and Brush Stand Set and the 15% discount you get for giving them your email address, I spent $85 bucks. On water bottles. Was it worth it?

For me, yes. But for you? It depends on what’s important to you. Here are some pros and cons and why the S’well bottle works amazingly for me.

Pros

Hot or Cold

The S’well bottle doubles as a thermos, which was what convinced me to buy two. Even with a hot drink – tea, coffee, Irish coffee, hot chocolate, you name it – you can trust that you won’t get cancer or whatever happens to you when you put hot drinks in plastic water bottles. Since the opening’s a decent size, it’s not difficult to pour drinks in, though I’d still be careful with hot drinks.

Well Insulated

Nice containers that the bottles came in. Now to find a use for them…

S’well claims that their bottles hold drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12. I don’t drink cold water often and haven’t tested smoothies or milkshakes, so I can’t say much about how it keeps drinks cold. Hot drinks seems to stay hot forever though. I haven’t tested it, exactly, because I like to drink my coffee. The first time I tried it, though, I almost burned myself; I forgot how well it was supposed to work and was so used to my nice, hot French roast cooling down like crazy in my mugs that I took a nice big swig. Ouch.

A few days later I made some hot tea. Four hours later, it was still piping hot. It’s definitely a nice change to be able to sip my hot drinks instead of gulping them down before they get to the weird lukewarm, or even cold, stage. Even better, the bottle doesn’t get hot (or even warm) the way my mugs do.

Clean

It has the shape of a plastic water bottle. There are no straws, spouts, or push-pull caps that are impossible to clean and do nothing but collect germs and gunk. Just use warm, soapy water and a bottle brush to clean your S’well and it’ll be good as new.

No Condensation

Our family always refrigerates a bunch of water bottles for road trips, and it’s annoying to have to wipe my hands on my clothes after touching a bottle or to find my clothes a little damp because I tossed a bottle in my backpack. I always end up double checking for leaks and re-screwing the cap when really, it was just condensation. The S’well bottle doesn’t sweat, so I can toss it wherever.

Comfortable

It’s easy to drink from. The opening isn’t too big, so I don’t spill water or have it splash back up when I lower the bottle too quickly. Plus, I don’t need two hands like I do with some of my bigger bottles. It’s a small detail, but much appreciated.

Options Galore

Perfect for someone like me who loves customizing and obsesses over the little extras. There are over 100 different colors, shades, and patterns to choose from. On top of that, there are 11 different colored caps. (I was talking to my sister while picking out a bottle and wished aloud that I wanted a different cap when I found the Accessories section. Seriously, they have thought of everything.)

Neutral

Multiple Sizes

The 17 ounce bottle holds enough water for me, but other sizes are available for certain colors in you want something bigger or smaller. Their 25 ounce can hold a whole bottle of wine! They also offer travelers and tumblers.

Different Textures

Wasn’t a factor for me initially, but it was for my mom. We noticed that my Azurite bottle (from the Stone collection) had a rougher exterior than my Turquoise (from the Satin collection) had a smooth surface. My mom didn’t want the outside of the bottle getting too cold to touch during the winter. Unfortunately, the descriptions don’t tell you much about how the bottles feel, so we took a guess and got her the Onyx Traveler.

Free shipping

It better be for how much the bottle costs. *Grumble* There are other shipping options that you can pay for, but my order arrived three days earlier than expected. Good thing I’m cheap.

BPA-Free

A lot of water bottles are, nowadays. Still, in case you’re interested.

Size

A good few inches taller, but about the same width.

It’s a good size, in my opinion. It fits in my car’s cup holder and my backpack’s bottle holder with no problem. As you can see, it’s a few inches taller than a regular plastic water bottle and not much wider. With all the insulation, I was actually surprised it wasn’t bigger.

Cons

It does, as nearly everything does, come with its downsides.

No Freezer or Fridge

You can’t leave a S’well bottle in the freezer and they don’t recommend leaving it in the fridge. This means you’ll need to keep cold water on hand or have ice cubes that will fit through the opening. Also means you can’t use it to freeze water in the summer and let it melt throughout the day. I’m okay with coldish tap water, but if you prefer water ice cold, you should definitely keep this in mind.

Also means that if you forget about your wine and it warms up the next day, you might have to move it to another container before putting it in the fridge. If you stick your S’well in the fridge, the insulation’s so great that I’m not sure it would even cool anything.

Cost

As I mentioned earlier, I definitely think it’s worth it. Tap water is so much cheaper than bottled water, so I figure my S’wells will make up for it in the end. I’ll be buying more as gifts for myself. And for others, of course. 😉

But it is admittedly steep: 35 bucks for a 17 ounce bottle. (As a reference, a plastic water bottle costs about 10 cents and holds 16.9 fluid ounces.) If you just want something that’ll hold room-temperature water, the S’well might not be for you. But if you think you might want to keep your iced tea iced or your hot tea hot, it’s a great option. Or, you know, if you just love how it looks.

Because I love to make myself feel better about my purchases, here are some calculations:

A pack of 40 water bottles costs ~4 bucks. If I go through 2 bottles a day and the cost of tap water is negligible, then I go through one pack, which costs $4, in 20 days. If one bottle costs $35, then I make up the cost of one S’well bottle in 175 days, or a little less than six months.

35/4 = x/20
x = 175

(2 bottles/day) * (175 days) = 350 bottles

Six months might not sound all that impressive, but in that time I would have used 350 bottles, or the amount of bottles in almost nine packs. Also, in reality, I drink anywhere from 2-4 bottles of water a day, and the S’well bottle will last wayyy more than six months. Plus, I won’t be dumping out cold coffee anymore. Therefore, the cost has been justified.

(This is why I’m poor.)

Hand Wash

It’s not dishwasher-safe. Not a big deal for me and I bought myself a brush anyways (read below), but if it’s a factor for you, keep it in mind.

Summary

I’m excited to buy more for myself and my parents already picked the travelers they want as gifts. Yeah, it might just be a bottle, but I think it’s a pretty special bottle. It looks great, it’s easy to clean, it holds pretty much whatever I want to drink, and it keeps drinks the right temperature basically until you finish it (24 hours for cold, 12 hours for hot). But it doesn’t belong in the refrigerator or the freezer, and a 17 ounce bottle costs $35.

Again, check out the 15% discount on their homepage. If it’s gone because you exited out, try a different browser or an incognito window.

Side Notes

S’well Brush and Brush Stand Set

Image stolen from S’well site because I’m too lazy to go upstairs to my kitchen.

I bought this from S’well because I lost both of my bottle brushes and because I’m a sucker. It does look nice (and I don’t regret purchasing the stand), but it costs way too much for what it is. I assumed that their brush would be made to fit their bottle’s smaller opening, but it seems pretty standard. There’s some resistance when you put it in and you get sprayed when it comes back out (that’s what she said). I’m also not in love with the sound of metal clanking on metal.

Chalk Pens

Image from their blog.

Going on a picnic? Label your bottles so you remember which one is soda and which one is your wine. Packing someone’s lunch? Leave a nice little note or reminder. Or write something embarrassing. 🙂

The company has blue, pink, and white chalk pens. As tempted as I was by the possibilities, I found myself making up random, unnecessary purposes for them and had to force myself not to add them to the cart. Still, pretty interesting option.



Enjoyed this post? Subscribe to my newsletter or follow me on Twitter for my latest tips, tricks, itineraries, and reviews. I promise I'm too lazy to spam. 🙂

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *