Smart water bottles may be useful for some, but most can overlook them

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A smart water bottle can help you track how much water you consume daily and prompt you to drink more if you run out. However, they are not a necessity for most consumers.

There are several good reasons why you might want invest in a smart water bottle, but there are many more reasons to ignore it and buy a regular one.

Here’s what you need to know about the utility and convenience of a smart water bottle.

What are smart water bottles?

The term “smart water bottle” is a bit vague as they can vary depending on the features. Typically, however, smart water bottles connect to your iPhone and give you data on how much water you drank.

Most options on the market will have a few sensors that determine how much liquid you have consumed. These sensors can be placed on the bottle cap, at the bottom or inside the lid of a bottle. These sensors are usually powered by either rechargeable batteries or replaceable button cells.

In addition to tracking your water or liquid intake, some water bottles also come with sensors that can tell you the temperature of the liquid inside your bottle or how much water you have left.

Smart water bottles will then communicate this data wirelessly to your iPhone, usually via Bluetooth. The majority of smart water bottles have companion apps that can present this data and periodically remind you to drink water.

Some smart water bottles don’t stop at tracking water consumption — they can offer features ranging from built-in Bluetooth speakers to water purification. Unless these features are important to you, it’s probably best to choose a smart water bottle based on its ability to track water levels and not superfluous features.

Who is a connected water bottle for?

Everyone needs to drink water. Although the recommended daily intake of water is subject to debate, you should consume between four and eight glasses a day on average.

The average person will have no problem determining if they are dehydrated. If you drink when you’re thirsty and follow a diet with a decent amount of water-rich fruits and vegetables, you’re probably already on your way to achieving your goals.

There are exceptions to this, of course.

Smart water bottles can help you keep an eye on your water consumption through the smartphone app.

Some people can be chronically dehydrated if they have trouble remembering to drink. Older people may also have a reduced sense of thirst, which can contribute to dehydration. Those trying to kick a sugary drink habit should switch to water – and a smart bottle could help form the new habit.

Those who engage in vigorous physical activity or live in a hot climate should drink enough to make up for the amount lost during sweating. Generally, this means drinking more than the recommended four to eight glasses.

In these specific cases, a smart water bottle could be a handy way to track how much water you’re drinking. They can also remind you to drink more water if you chronically forget to do so.

Disadvantages of a smart water bottle

While a smart water bottle can be useful for seniors, athletes, or those who forget to drink frequently, it also has some drawbacks that you should be aware of.

On the one hand, there is the price. The smartest water bottles costs between $30 and $100. It’s a bit more expensive than even the most fancy “dumb” water bottles.

Many smart water bottle options also have built-in lights that flash to remind you when to drink. These lights can be distributed in some cases, such as during a work meeting or a school exam. Some smart water bottles aren’t just limited to flashing lights, either. Many have built-in Bluetooth speakers and other unnecessary features.

Many smart bottles glow to remind you to drink, which can be distracting.

Many smart bottles glow to remind you to drink, which can be distracting.

For something that should be with you most of the day, each additional piece of technology represents a potential point of failure. A smart water bottle will not be as durable as a normal bottle. This is something to consider for people who need a heavy-duty piece of kit. There’s also the fact that you have to keep it charged – something not necessary for normal bottles.

There’s also the fact that a smart water bottle can introduce a sense of unnecessary competitiveness into something humans evolved to do: drink water. As mentioned earlier, if you’re not in a category that could benefit from hydration reminders, you’re probably getting enough water as is.

What to Look for in a Smart Water Bottle

Smart water bottles won’t be for everyone, but if you’ve decided that a water bottle would be useful, there are a few things to consider.

The size of a smart water bottle is an important factor because you should only buy one that you are ready to take with you wherever you go. Check if the smart water bottle can also hold hot liquids or if it is only for cold drinks.

It is also important to check if the smart water bottle is compatible with your specific device and operating system. Some smart water bottles are only compatible with iOS or Android. Other smart water bottles may have apps that require an iOS version or newer smartphone model.

There is also the issue of charging. As mentioned earlier, some smart water bottles operate on a button battery which only needs to be replaced every few months. Other options require regular charging like any other smart gadget.

Check if the bottle supports recharging or if you need to buy button batteries for it.

Check if the bottle supports recharging or if you need to buy button batteries for it.

A good option is the Hydrate Spark Pro Smart Water Bottle, which sells for $70 on Amazonkeeps drinks cold for up to 24 hours and connects to your iPhone via Bluetooth.

Another alternative for Apple users is the Thermos Hydration Bottle with Connected Smart Lid. It’s a lightweight bottle that can track your hydration level and send you alerts reminding you to drink. It is currently on sale for $40 at Amazon.

If you don’t care about data and just want a gentle reminder to drink more, the Icewater 3-in-1 Insulated Smart Bottle, $30 on Amazon forgoes Bluetooth tracking for a simple light that shines when it’s time to drink. It also has a built-in Bluetooth speaker.

Other Alternatives

If you want or need to start drinking more water, a smart water bottle isn’t your only option. There are many apps on the App Store that can help you track your water intake and remind you to consume more fluids.

Apps like My Water: Daily Drink Tracker can help you calculate your daily water intake and send reminders to your iPhone or Apple Watch when it’s time to take a sip. Although it offers a subscription, its basic functionality is free – and good enough for most.

Many apps offer the same functionality as a smart water bottle and are free or much cheaper.

Many apps offer the same functionality as a smart water bottle and are free or much cheaper.

The result of using a free or paid app is that you won’t have to remember to charge or bring your smart water bottle everywhere. Even if you invest in a nicer insulated water bottle like a HydroFlask, you’ll still have money left over.

While there are certainly some people who could benefit from a smart water bottle, the majority of us will be better served using an app and a normal bottle – or simply listening to how thirsty we feel.

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