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Rei Water Bottles: Most Trusted Outdoors Supply Companies in the World

Rei Water Bottles

REI is one of the most trusted Outdoors supply companies in the world. It is known for high product quality standards as well as for stocking many of the latest in outdoor, travel and survival merchandise. As you might expect, this company offers many different types of water bottles, both on its e-commerce site and at brick-and-mortar locations. You can find almost any water container you might need at REI, from a super-durable plastic bottle to an insulated steel canteen for arctic excursions. In this article, we will review REI water bottles, single out a few popular options and look at some of the other places where you can buy your liquid storage equipment.

An Overview of the Bottle Selection at REI

As mentioned before, REI is an outdoors store. Therefore, most of the bottles you will find there have a specific survivalist application. Others are simply rugged, high-quality containers. Some are adaptable for the daily commuter, and some are best for extended adventures, large expeditions or group camping trips.

Knick Knack Gifts #rei - 20oz Sturdy Hashtag Stainless Steel Water...
  • CONVENIENT & DURABLE - Our strong and majestic stainless steel water bottle is perfect for all of your hydration needs....
  • PERFECT GIFT - This make a perfect gift for the sporty person in your life or that classy(trashy) neighbor! An even...
  • SAFETY FIRST - Our water bottles are not safe for the dishwasher or the microwave. It is a hand wash only item. Be sure...

 Refining the Selection

We had to narrow down the catalog of water containers available at REI before reviewing. That's because there are a lot of specialty items, such as high-capacity bottles for longer trips and lightweight hydration systems for trail runners. This review is focused on general-use bottles that you're likely to see used as somebody's primary personal water container.

 A Range of Capacities

Generally, when you're shopping for a water bottle, you'll want to look for a capacity of somewhere around 32 ounces — one liter in metric. Go any smaller, and you might not have enough capacity to last between refills. Buy something larger, and the weight of a full bottle — not to mention the tare weight of the empty bottle — could become too much of an encumbrance for even relatively short treks.

 Lower-Weight Options

Speaking of weight, lightweight is the name of the game unless you are doing most of your transport by boat or motor vehicle. Even if you're on a touring bike, a reduced load could be a good thing. With the bottles REI offers, it's usually pretty simple to lose a few ounces here and there.

 Damage Resistance

You shouldn't have to worry too much about durability if you're shopping at REI. The company makes a point to only stock high-quality products. Of course, the trade-off for the quality selection and wide variety is that you pay a significant percentage over most other retailers. For some people, the confidence in quality is enough. After all, you certainly wouldn't want to cut corners if you were planning to stake your life on the quality of your camping gear.

 REI Customer Service and Returns

Customer service at REI is good — in fact, it leads the industry in terms of major outdoors supply brands. When you're at the store, associates often know what they're talking about. Even the clerks at the cashier stations often have adventurous inclinations. Online, you can usually reach the company easily through the official website or on most major social media channels. Email and phone calls are also an option. The people at REI know the products they sell and are often willing to guide you towards a purchase that will satisfy your specific applications.

Another thing to keep in mind is that REI has a decent store return program if you do happen to buy a product that doesn't stand up to your expectations. It's easier to return an unused item, but you can usually exchange an obviously faulty product as well.

The bottom line is that REI or the manufacturer will probably stand behind any products you buy at the store. Therefore, it's safe to say that one thing that every REI water bottle is dependability. The retailer or the equipment maker will work with you to make sure you're happy with your purchase.  

The Type of Bottles Available at REI

The material composition of your bottle often turns out to be its most important characteristic. Materials define the bottle along with the size. Everything else is icing on the cake. If you need a general-purpose bottle, then you will probably end up going with plastic. It is the best combination of utility, durability and low weight. Stainless steel is another mainstream option. You could get a bottle that keeps water insulated or one that you can heat over an open fire to thaw. If weight is your first concern, then you might decide to get a bottle made of flexible film.

Plastic Bottles

One feature that REI will probably always demand of its plastic water bottles is that they must be BPA-free. BPAs are potentially harmful substances. It’s a major deal breaker in the high-end adventure athletics market that REI serves. Obviously, people would begin to distrust a store that sold them a product that could contribute to ill health. While the BPA-free process has become an industry standard, it might be good to check on your label of the bottle just to make sure.

 Nalgene and Similar Bottles

REI carries many different Nalgene bottles. This brand is famous all over the world in hiking, backpacking and camping circles. Nalgene is known for its hard plastic copolyester that can withstand extreme impact without cracking or breaking, although the bottles can be susceptible to wear over time. If you're not sure you believe the hype, you can probably find videos online of people subjecting Nalgene products to horrible ordeals, such as bashing them with sledgehammers and running them over with trucks. Watch a few of those clips, and it should settle most of your concerns about the ability of the bottle to stand up during your daily use.

Celery Street Nalgene 32 Ounce (32oz) Narrow Mouth (NM)...
  • 32 ounces, 8.25 inches tall, 3.5 inches in diameter
  • BPA, BPS and Phthalate Free
  • Dishwasher Safe - top rack

 Not All Plastic is the Same

Generally speaking, the copolyester and HDPE plastics Nalgene and its competitors use are tough enough to stand up to adventures — as well as laboratory, mechanical and heavy-duty packaging applications. REI offers these bottles in many styles. There are also many limited-edition designs, although it's worth mentioning that the prints and decals tend to start wearing off after a few months of heavy use or else get covered up by stickers you accumulate along your journey.

As Strong as Steel

Another popular material in REI water bottles is stainless steel. Some of the biggest sellers for the premium retailer are from the YETI Rambler line of vacuum-walled bottles. This manufacturer makes a wide variety of different types of travel bottles and jugs. They're known in the camping and adventure community for extreme durability and good insulation.

 Upping Weight, Adding Features

A stainless steel option, such as a Yeti bottle, is probably going to be a little heavier than most plastic bottles. Stainless steel makes up for the extra weight with its versatility, which allows it to provide some special features that aren't always practical with an all-plastic bottle. Most notably, you can cook in some steel containers.

Design Options

There are many aspects to bottle design other than capacity and materials. REI has plenty of options to choose from. Each is good for specific applications. Here's an overview of what to consider while shopping.

 Thermal Insulation

Do you need a bottle that will keep liquids cool or hot? Double-walled stainless steel defines the category. The better the quality of the insulation, the longer you're going to have before your water freezes or warms up. The best bottles also reduce condensation as a function of their superior insulating capabilities.

 How Will You Access Your Contents?

When you're shopping for water bottles, pay attention to the size of the opening. REI has wide-mouth bottles — easy to clean and hard to drink out of — and narrow-neck canteens for on-the-go chugging. If you depend on your bottle to serve double duty as a food dish, go wide-mouth. If you're going to be biking, get something with a hands-free sports cap.

 Neck Style

If you plan on making your own attachment, or if you want the option in a pinch, then you should make sure that you get a bottle with a flange around the neck. That way, your rig will stay securely in place, allowing you to close your container securely. It will also keep your paracord wrap away from your lips when you try to take a drink.

 Cap Design

Apart from access, the cap of your bottle makes a big difference in determining the overall durability. If you know that you're likely to lose caps, make sure there's some way you can secure yours easily — whether it's a lanyard attached to your pack or a loop going around the neck of your bottle. Similarly, try to choose a topper with sturdy-looking threads, good seals and durable components. Last but not least, the cap is one of the biggest heat-leak points for insulated bottles. A good cap can make or break your cold-weather water supply.

The Competitive Landscape

Campmor is one of REI's biggest direct competitors. There's a lot of overlap in selection and price: you can buy Kleen Kanteen, Nalgene, Camelbak and Platypus for comparable prices at both retailers, for example. However, Campmor doesn't have the same selection of high-adventure gear. If you want a $, all-weather YETI bottle, shop REI.

Name: Campmor
Price: 3/5
Customer Service: 5/5
Variety of Selection: 4/5
Overall Quality of Selection: 4/5
Seller Warranty: 5/5

Amazon is notoriously difficult to browse without picking up a bunch of stuff you don't need. The selection is amazing, but it can be a bit of a mess: you can find everything from super-premium YETI bottles to cut-rate Nalgene imitators. Also, returns are a bit of a gamble and often involve getting bounced around before you get satisfaction.

Name: Amazon.com
Price: 4/5
Customer Service: 2/5
Variety of Selection: 5/5
Overall Quality of Selection: 3/5
Seller Warranty: 3/5

American Science and Surplus is one of the nerdiest places you might ever shop — but remember that Nalgene bottles were originally only used as lab equipment before some enterprising scientist-cum-hiker decided to take one on the trail. A hearty warning to the buyer is necessary here. Products are quirky, and warranties are mostly absent, but there aren't many other shops that offer you closeout water bottles, brand-new lab equipment and surplus military canteens all in the same place — and sometimes at shockingly low prices.

Name: American Science and Surplus
Price: 5/5
Customer Service: 4/5
Variety of Selection: 3/5
Overall Quality of Selection: 2/5
Warranty: 1/5

How REI Compares: Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Overall catalog quality
  • Full gear load-out
  • Custom-tailored to your adventure

Cons

  • It's hard to find a lot of bad points
  • Dedicated to its principles
  • high-end bottle for most light hiking or for daily use

Since REI restricts itself to carrying the best brands, it tends to blow its competition out of the water when it comes to overall catalog quality. The average item is much more expensive, but it's on more or less an even level with other retailers that offer the same product. The customer service is great — you can walk into one of REI's stores and get a full gear load-out, custom-tailored to your adventure. It surpasses almost any other shop in this regard, with the exception of some smaller retailers, such as Uncle Dan's and Erehwon.

It's hard to find a lot of bad points about this retailer. You can find almost anything you need at REI, and the company is dedicated to its principles. The one thing you're not going to find at this retailer is a bargain. That's not so much of a big deal, except for one thing: you probably don't need a high-end bottle for most light hiking or for daily use. However, if you want to buy one bottle for the rest of your life — wherever your path might lead you — REI probably has something for you.

The Bottom Line

You're not going to go wrong with any REI bottles. Your only risk is buying one that doesn't fit your needs, but you can consult with a salesperson if you have any questions. You'll spend a little more money at REI, but the brand quality and the customer support are probably worth it for a small purchase like a water bottle. With the only drawback being a steep markup, and with a superior selection compared to other large companies that sell similar outdoors gear, REI gets 5/5 stars from us overall. 

A Review of The Mavea Water Filter: The Next Generation of Water Filtration

Glass filled with drinking water

It is a biological fact that our bodies need water every day. Water is essential to keep the body working correctly. It helps keep us healthy and functioning. However, the water we drink can also harm us if it contains contaminants. Even municipal water sources can be unsafe, as guidelines allow for some pollutants. Also, tap water sometimes contains intentionally-added chemicals or other additives.

This has led to a revolution in the way people get their water. Bottled water became incredibly popular, with many people opting to drink water from a bottle rather than the tap. Soon, it seemed everyone was drinking bottled water. While this was great for the water companies, it was horrible for the environment. Those water bottles started piling up in landfills and leaving a huge mess that would linger for many years to come. As the world grows more conscious of the detriment that plastic water bottles can be to our society, the emergence of reusable options began to take form.

In an effort to combat both the bad water and the bad bottles, a new idea emerged in water filtration: home filtration systems that allow you to filter your own tap water. The most common option is the water filter pitcher. You can purify the water from your tap and get it clean and safe to drink.

The Mavea water filter is one of those filtration pitchers. Learn more about what it is and how it works. Find out about its special features, pros and cons, and see how it stacks up when compared to other similar water pitchers.

Mavea filter pitcher on the table\

What Is the Mavea Water Filter Pitcher?

MAVEA 1005722 Elemaris XL 9-Cup Water Filtration Pitcher, Ruby Red by...

$186.21

Check Price

A water filter pitcher is like a normal pitcher except at the top in the lid, it has a filter. You add water to the top part of the pitcher. The water then runs through the filter, which removes contaminants. It then flows into the bottom of the pitcher as clean, drinkable water. You can store the water in the pitcher and just pour it out as needed. When it is empty, you just fill the top again and let the filtration process start over.

The filter in the pitcher is designed to be changed out at regular intervals. In most pitchers, they simply drop in and out for easy maintenance.

When buying a water filter pitcher, it is important to consider a few factors. The first is how easy it is to set up the filter. Some water pitchers require the filter to be soaked in water. Others do not. Some filters slip in easily while others may require some more work to get them in. This really depends on the design of the pitcher. When thinking about the design, you also need to consider how easy it is to fill and pour. You want to be able to fill the pitcher without a lot of hassle, especially if you will be using it a lot. You also want it to pour easily without spilling all over.

Finally, you need to think about the size of the pitcher and how that matches your needs. Pitchers come in a range of sizes. You should think about how fast it filters water, too, since that will play into how big of a pitcher you really need. In addition, look into whether you can pour water from the pitcher when it is filtering or if you have to wait for the water to filter completely before pouring. Some pitchers are designed in a way that makes it impossible to pour while filtering without the unfiltered water coming out, too.

two elemaris XL in the kitchen counter

More About the Elemaris XL

The most popular Mavea water pitcher is the Elemaris XL. The Elemaris XL comes in two sizes. You can choose the five or nine-cup pitchers. There is also a range of color choices. Simple white or black are often the best sellers, but if you are feeling more adventurous, Mavea also offers some bright color choices for the nine-cup pitcher, including the following:

  • Eggplant
  • Ruby Red
  • Tangerine

The overall design is very sleek and stylish. It has curved lines and a streamlined look that isn’t clunky, as many similar pitchers may be. It is BPA-free, so as not to introduce any further contaminants to your clean water. The five-cup version is designed to fit inside the door on most refrigerators. Its dimensions are 10.5 x 4.3 x 10.9 inches. The nine-cup pitcher’s dimensions are 10.5 x 6 x 11.7 inches. The pitcher also features molded feet that help keep it stable and prevent it from slipping or scratching your countertops.

The pitcher is very easy to use. The lid has a pour-through design, which means you do not have to remove the lid to add new water for filtering. You can put it right under the faucet and water goes through the pour-through hole in the top of the lid.

The filter is what does all the work, so Mavea ensured it was top of the line. The filter has a micro-screen design that helps to prevent the carbon from being released into the filtered water. This is a common issue with these pitchers that can make it difficult to enjoy the water. With the special filtration screen, you should not see any black bits in your clean water.

You also do not have to pre-soak the filter to prepare it for use, which is a common requirement for similar filters. It has a special shape that helps it to provide a consistent flow when filtering the water. It also contains silver to help extend the life of the filter and provide antimicrobial protection.

There is also a digital meter on the top of the pitcher that monitors the filter’s life, so you always know when to change it out. The filter is completely recyclable, and Mavea even has a recycling program for its filters.

The filter has also been tested to see how well it works and what types of contaminants it can remove from the water. Here is a look at what tests have shown this filter can reduce or eliminate:

  • Pesticides
  • Heavy metals
  • Limescale
  • checkChlorine
  • checkOrganic impurities

Elemaris XL pitcher close up

This pitcher actually is certified to remove more contaminants, such as copper, benzene and atrazine, than any other pitcher. Each filter will last through 40 gallons of water. It should take about five minutes to fill the five-cup pitcher.

One thing you may notice about this pitcher is that Mavea is not a brand name that is well-known in the U.S. We have some very big names in water filtration, but this is not one of them.

It might make it seem like a knock-off or generic brand. However, that is far from the truth. Mavea is a brand out of Germany, but its roots are in the U.S. It actually used to be a part of the company that owns Brita, a very well-known name in this industry.

Mavea actually created the first filters used in Brita pitchers. When the company sold, it had to agree not to sell water filter pitcher in the U.S. until 2005. So, it wasn’t around for a while, but now it is back, and we can enjoy the great German engineering that went into creating this amazing water pitcher.How Much Does It Cost?

You might be wondering about cost now. There are two costs to think of when it comes to a water filter pitcher. You have to buy the pitcher itself, which usually comes with at least one filter. Then, you will need to purchase the filters. Your actual costs over time will greatly depend on how often you use the pitcher and how much water you filter, since it can only work for a certain amount of filtering.

The Mavea water filter pitcher costs around $40 for the five-cup model and $70-$75 for the nine-cup. You can find the pitchers at a range of popular retailers, including:

A three-pack of replacement filters costs $21.95. You can often find sales, though, to get the filters for less.

Comparing the Mavea Elemaris XL to Other Similar Pitchers

Now, let’s see how the Elemaris XL compares to other popular water filter pitchers. We will just do a quick rundown on each pitcher, giving you some ratings for certain aspects. We will also offer a little commentary to explain the ratings.

MAVEA 1005722 Elemaris XL 9-Cup Water Filtration Pitcher, Ruby Red by...

Mavea Elemaris XL

Check Price

Price: $186.21

Ease of Use: 5/5

Assembly Time: 5/5

Build Quality: 5/5

The Elemaris XL gets rave reviews from consumers, earning it a perfect score in our ratings. Its ingenious design removes some of the common issues people have with these pitchers, including the problem of wrangling the lid to try to add water, which Mavea solves with its pour-through design. This pitcher is well-thought out and makes filtering water simple.

Soma 10-Cup Water Filter Pitcher

Soma Water Filter Pitcher

Check Price

Price: $39.94

Ease of Use: 4/5

Assembly Time: 5/5

Build Quality: 3/5

While this pitcher from Soma looks elegant, users find it clunky. The lid has to be removed to fill it, which makes it less inviting than the Mavea pitcher. There are also a lot of complaints that the filter does not do a good job and the overall design is poor. It does hold 10 cups, which is a leg up on the Mavea.

PUR 7 Cup Basic Water Filtration Pitcher, Filter Helps Reduce Chlorine...

PUR Water Filtration Pitcher

Check Price

Price: from $19.37

Ease of Use: 4/5

Assembly Time: 3/5

Build Quality: 3/5

This seven-cup filter pitcher from Pur takes longer to get ready to use because the filter has to be soaked prior to use. Users also complain that it is hard to pour, with water going everywhere if it isn’t held at the exact right angle. The lid does not seem to fit well and easily comes off or apart when using.

Pros and Cons

No good review would be complete without a list of pros and cons. We put together this comprehensive list using user reviews and our own observations about the water pitcher. We also considered the filter and thought about how it compares to the other pitchers on the market. This is a very competitive field, so we wanted to be sure you get all the details to help you make the most informed decision when you go to buy a water filter pitcher.

Pros

  • Filter makes water taste pure and removes nasty odors and tastes with ease
  • Can pour water while it is still filtering
  • Very easy to assemble, clean and change filter
  • Refilling pitcher is super easy and can be done one-handed
  • No charcoal in the filtered water
  • Pitcher is very durable and holds up well to being dropped
  • Non-slip bottom works great on slippery counters

Cons

  • Storing the pitcher in the fridge can weaken plastic and lead to breakage
  • banDigital monitor needs careful handling, or it can break
  • banFirst few runs through the filter produces undrinkable water
  • banSize is too small for those needing large quantities of water daily
  • banFlap on pour spout is flimsy and falls off easily

Our Final Thoughts

Mavea pitcher with lemon on the background

On the outside, it might not seem like a huge deal to invest in a water filter. In fact, purchasing a water filter for your home to replace other methods of water source was once a silly idea, but the fact of the matter is, it is silly NOT to invest in one. Having a water filter allows you to convert the tap water that you already have on hand into filtered water that tastes refreshing, clean, and of course, filtered. This transition not only means that you can cut down on spending money on other water sources, but you are inevitably doing your part to help keep unnecessary plastic outside of our economy. 

I hope our exploration of the different Mavea water filter pitchers has allowed you to rethink how you deal with your water source. Additionally, we hope that you enjoy these water filters just as much as the thousands who already own one. 

Overall, the Mavea water filter pitcher is highly recommended. It is user-friendly and the design was well thought out. It blows away similar pitchers when it comes to how easy it is to use and how well it functions.

The Best Straw Sippy Cup To Choose For Your Little One

Sissy Cup

Choosing a sippy cup for your child may seem like an easy task, but there are many things to consider! There are different types of sippy cups, with some being easier to clean, some being less likely to spill, some meant to transition children from using a bottle, and some that can be used by older kids. Which one is the best straw sippy cup? In this article, we've picked out ten to review, to make your choice a little easier.

Comparison Table

Best Straw Sippy Cup FAQ

1. What Is A Straw Sippy Cup?

2. When Should My Child Start Using The Best Straw Sippy Cup?

3. What Are The Benefits Of The Best Straw Sippy Cups?

How We Reviewed

We wanted to provide a diverse list of straw sippy cups so that there is something for everyone, regardless of budget and preferences. We compiled our list by comparing the many straw sippy cups on the market and considering what each offered, looking at things like ease of use and cleaning, design, and customer satisfaction. Once we had our list, we reviewed each cup based on its features, price, and availability.

Overall Price Range

at the top of the children books is a baby cup with red straw

Image by Annie Spratt from Pixabay

The price range of straw sippy cups can start around $5 and go up to over $20. Straw sippy cups at the lower end of the price range may be more basic in design, will be made of inexpensive materials, and could be harder to clean than straw sippy cups at the higher end of the range. However, the appeal of the inexpensive cups is that children will often lose them and leave them behind, so you may not want to invest $20 or more on this item.

The price of each straw sippy cup was given a rating of $, $$, or $$$, where $ represents a price at the lower end of the range and $$$ represents a price at the higher end of the range. Prices with a rating of $$ are mid-range.

What We Reviewed

  • Philips Avent My Bendy Straw Cup
  • Thinkbaby Thinkster
  • Munchkin Click Lock Weighted Straw Cup
  • OXO Tot Transitions Straw Cup
  • Nuby No-Spill Cup with Flex Straw
  • b.box Sippy Cup with Innovative Weighted Straw
  • Foogoo Vacuum Insulated Straw Bottle
  • nuspin kids 8 oz Zoomi Straw Sippy Cup
  • ZoLi BOT 6 Ounce
  • Lollaland Lollacup
Philips Avent My Bendy Straw Cup, 10oz, 2pk, Pink/Purple, SCF792/22
  • This straw cup is recommended by U.S. pediatric dentists
  • Allows for healthy oral development
  • 100percentage Leak proof Money Back Guarantee

Features

This is one of the best straw sippy cups out there for many reasons. Parents like them because they are 100% leak-proof, with a 30-day money-back guarantee by the company. These cups have a short straw that encourages children to use their natural tongue and swallowing movements. They are BPA-free and dishwasher safe. The straw can be flipped down to close the cup. Kids love these cups because they come in multiple mix-and-match colors, have detachable handles for easy gripping, and feature bendable straws.

These cups are not clear and do not feature measurement indicators, making the tracking of fluid intake difficult. This could be problematic for parents transitioning their children from bottles. However, this cup is recommended by over 80% of pediatric dentists because it allows for healthy oral development, which may be enough for parents to overlook difficulties in measuring fluid intake.

Thinkbaby BPA Free No Spill Sippy Cup, Orange (9 ounce)
  • Free of BPA, lead, PVC, nitrosamines, phthalates, PET and biologically harmful chemicals
  • No-spill spout features cross-cut design that mimics breastfeeding
  • Extra soft, medical grade silicone spout provides easy transition from bottle feeding

Features

This cup features a soft, silicone straw that has a life span of two to three months. The straws are designed so they will not spill if a child turns the cup upside down. It has removable handles with grooves for easy gripping. Some users complained that the cup was harder to clean than other cups and that the silicone straw was difficult to put back through the lid when reassembling the cup.

Munchkin Click Lock Weighted Straw Cup, 7 Ounce, Blue
  • 7 ounce capacity for water, milk or juice
  • Weighted straw allows your toddler to hold the cup at any angle
  • Handles are easy for little hands to hold. BPA free

Features

The best feature on this sippy cup is that when you twist it close, it audibly locks into place, helping to prevent leaks. Parents liked it because the one-piece spout was easy to clean. They also liked that it is virtually spill-free, even when tested by adults. It comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so if it leaks, the company will replace it.

This cup lacks handles, but its hourglass shape with textured sides make it easy for toddlers to handle. It has a weighted straw that will stay in place if children hold the cup at different angles, though some parents felt the straw required too much sucking power.

OXO Tot Transitions Straw Cup with Removable Handles, Pink, 6 Ounce
  • Almond-shaped, spill-proof straw conforms to tot's mouth and minimizes mess
  • Straw valve opens as soon as tot's lips touch spout for easy drinking
  • Hinged cap closes to create a leak-proof seal and is removable for thorough cleaning

Features

This cup has removable handles and an hourglass shape that make holding easy when not using the handles. This is one of the best straw sippy cups for younger children just learning to use them because it has a straw valve that opens up as soon as the child's mouth is on the straw. They do not have to suck very hard to get a drink.

The valve stays closed when the child isn't drinking, helping to prevent spills. The cup has a hinged cap that can be closed when not in use, keeping the straw clean. The whole thing can be taken apart easily for washing by hand or in the dishwasher. According to the company, this cup can be used by infants as young as four months old.

Nuby 2-Pack No-Spill Cup with Flex Straw, 10 Ounce, Colors May Vary
  • 12Months+ Only .Colors may vary. You will receive one of the following sets: Yellow and Green, Blue and Orange, Pink and...
  • When drinking, the Touch Flo straw valve requires a squeeze and suck action to allow the liquid to flow,, the valve...
  • The Touch Flo valve in the silicone straw opens when child applies pressure and sips through the straw.

Features

For toddlers over the age of twelve months, this is one of the best straw sippy cups. The straw is designed with a valve that opens when the child sucks on it but stays closed when it is not being used. This way, the liquid is only released when a child is drinking, and not when the cup is being carried around. The straw is silicone, meaning it is gentle on a child's lips and gums. The straw reaches down to the base of the cup, encouraging children to hold it upright to drink from it. The cup itself has a fun, curvy design with grooves to help children hold on to it.

Some parents said that it could be a little harder for children to drink from this cup because they must suck to open the valve, but since this cup is designed for children over a year old, this is not a common complaint.

b.box Sippy Cup with Innovative Weighted Straw, Apple
  • Tots can drink at any angle thanks to the innovative weight straw that moves with liquid, whatever angle the cup is...
  • Encourages independence with easy-grip handles and simple flip-top lid.
  • The perfect cup at home or on the go and is an ideal transition to milk in a cup.

Features

This simple cup has a weighted straw that allows children to drink from it without spilling, even if they tilt the cup at an angle. It has a flip-top that can be flipped closed when not in use. This cup is made of six parts, which can allow for a thorough cleaning, but also makes cleaning and reassembly more of a hassle.

Features

This may be the best straw sippy cup for families on the go. Designed by THERMOS for children eighteen months of age or older, it keeps drinks cold for ten hours. It has a lid that easily pops open when the child pushes the button and an easy-to-use straw. It is made from stainless steel, making it much sturdier than most of the best straw sippy cups on this list.

The rubbery bottom means it is more likely to stay where children set it, instead of tipping over. While the straw leaks mildly if the cup is tipped upside down, closing the lid of the cup makes it leakproof for travel. Drawbacks include the fact it is heavier than most sippy cups, and that it requires a straw brush for proper cleaning. However, for those looking for a sturdy container that will keep liquids cold all day, this is a great option.

nuspin kids 8 oz Zoomi Straw Sippy Cup, Safari Animals Style
  • Easy to drink from, simple to clean, and durable
  • Valve-free straw for easier sipping and reduced risk of baby bottle tooth decay
  • Made of FDA Grade Silicone and Polypropylene; Free of BPA, Phthalates, PVC, Nitrosamines, Latex, and Lead

Features

This cup has a removable straw that locks into place when inserted through the opening in the lid. The lack of valve makes it easier to sip from than some valved-straw options and also makes it better for thicker liquids such as smoothies. Parents loved that it is smooth and easy to clean. One complaint was that it isn't leak proof. Also, some children can push the straw all the way into the cup, requiring an adult to fix it before they could continue drinking.

Features

Like many of the best straw sippy cups, this one comes with a valve-free straw and a lid that flips down to hide it. It has two handles that are attached to the lid. The straw is weighted, allowing children to drink while holding the cup at different angles. Parents report that the straw is easy to drink from. Also, because it reaches to the bottom of the cup, children can drink every last drop. The straw is thinner than some and does not detach from the weight, so it can be a little difficult to clean. However, the company sells replacement straws, which come with a straw cleaner.

Lollaland Weighted Straw Sippy Cup | Lollacup - Sippy Cups for...
  • SAFE: First and foremost Lollaland emphasizes safety above everything else. All straw cup baby materials are FDA...
  • FUNCTIONAL + FUN: Lollaland's Lollacups are perfectly sized for all ages from infants, to babies, to toddlers. These...
  • MODERN: Kids sippy cups shouldn't only be about super hero and princesses. Simple, modern designs should have a place in...

Features

One thing that both parents and toddlers love about this cup is the design. The lid looks like a bird! It comes in various colors, which can be mixed and matched. It has a weighted, valve-free straw, and removable handles. It is dishwasher safe and it comes with a straw brush for extra cleanliness. The lack of a valve means it is not leak proof when the lid is open, but closing the lid will stop any leaks when traveling. The lid is easy for children to open and close on their own. Parents also report that, unlike some strawed cups, the liquid does not squirt out the top of the straw when the temperature changes.

The Verdict

Pink Tomme Tippee Sippy Cup

Image by Mabelle Imago from Pixabay

With so many choices available, it can be hard to decide which straw sippy cup to buy. However, we have a few recommendations to help you out with your decision.

Best For Beginners

Kid's Choice

Most Affordable

Best For Long Trips

The Best Thermos for Coffee and Other Liquids

one of the best thermos in the market

Are you tired of your coffee going cold before you even have a chance to take a sip? We've all seen it happen. It's frustrating dealing with mugs and water bottles that lack insulation, as whatever liquid is inside is super-susceptible to temperature change. Fortunately, this is an easy problem to fix–all you need is a good thermos. In this article, we are going to look at many thermoses and, ultimately, determine which is the best thermos on the market right now. If you don't have a good thermos already, now is the time to pay attention. You've been missing out. Keep reading to see what we found!

Product FAQ

1. What Makes the Best Thermos?

2. Do I Need a Thermos?

How We Reviewed

thermos

image via: pixabay

We did quite a bit of research to find what we believe are the top 10 thermoses out on the market today. This required us to learn the characteristics of each thermos as well as what users had to say about them. After compiling all the data we found, we decided that the most important parameters to judge them by were their abilities to keep beverages/food cold or hot as well as their functionality.

Overall Price Range

The thermoses we reviewed for this article range in price from $15-$38. In general, the more expensive thermoses were able to hold more liquid or food than the less expensive ones. They were also able to maintain a stable temperature for longer.

What We Reviewed

Contigo AUTOSEAL West Loop Stainless Steel Travel Mug , 16 oz., Black
  • Our Lids Are Sealed – AUTOSEAL technology is leak and spill proof (Yes there is a difference!)
  • For the Long Haul – Drinks stay hot up to 5 hours and cold up to 12 with THERMALOCK Vacuum Insulation
  • Lend a Hand – Easy one-handed drinking from this travel coffee mug with the push of a button

Features

The first thermos we want to introduce you to is a travel mug by Contigo. Contigo has been pushing the boundaries with their mugs, especially with the introduction of their patented AUTOSEAL technology. Their specially designed mug caps are leak and spill-proof, so if you happen to accidentally knock your mug over, you have nothing to worry about. These are made out of stainless steel and will hold 16 oz. worth of liquid, but if you need more room, there are also 20 oz. and 24 oz. versions. Some may appreciate the fact that these come in 20 different colors, allowing you to pick your favorite shade if desired.


They will keep beverages hot for 5 hours or cold for 12 hours, meaning your coffee will last you until lunchtime and your cold beverages will stay cold all day.

Thermos Stainless King 16 Ounce Food Jar with Folding Spoon, Stainless Steel
  • THERMOS vacuum insulation technology for maximum temperature retention, hot or cold, keeps liquids hot for 7 hours and cold for 9 hours. Product Size (W x D x H): 3.7 x 3.7 x 5.5 inches
  • Durable stainless steel interior and exterior
    Cool to the touch with hot liquids, sweat proof with cold
  • Compact and insulated stainless steel serving bowl; full size folding stainless steel spoon included
  • Wide mouth is easy to fill, eat from and clean

Features

If you need a food container that will help with temperature regulation, Thermos has just the right container for you. Their stainless steel 16 oz. food jar is perfect for these occasions. It is large enough to hold a generous portion of food and even comes with a detachable spoon to eat with; thus, if your main meal is a soup, this is all you'll need to bring to the table with you. It has an extra wide mouth, making it easy to pour food into, and stays cool to the touch regardless of what is put inside. You get to choose from 6 different colors–green, red, black, blue, and silver.


This thermos will keep your food hot for 7 hours or cold for 9 hours. If you're looking for the best thermos to keep food in, you'll want to check this one out.

Stanley Classic Vacuum Bottle
  • 18/8 stainless steel won't rust; naturally BPA-free
  • Insulated lid doubles as 8oz/236mL cup
  • Leak proof and fully packable. Dimensions- 3.80 L x 4.50 W x 14.25 H inches
  • Lifetime Warranty

Features

Stanley is a brand that has been around since 1913, and with more than 100 years of experience under their belt, their engineers have had plenty of time to design what could possibly be the best thermos. Their classic thermos is made for travelers who need their food/liquids kept hot or cold for extra long periods of time. With 1.4 qt. of available space, it is large enough to accommodate several people at once. You'll enjoy the capacity this thermos provides, especially if you are out camping or hiking with a group of people. The entire group can easily share this.


As stated earlier, this thermos is meant to regulate temperature for a long time. It will keep liquids hot for 28 hours, cold for 28 hours, or iced for 150 hours. In addition, the cap it comes with doubles as an 11 oz. cup.

Hydro Flask Water Bottle
  • DESIGN IN MIND: With it's easy-access wide mouth, the sleek design holds the same volume of liquid as other leading water bottle brands. Also, safety is top-of-mind, as the bottles are made out of non-toxic BPA-free plastics & 18/8 food-grade stainless steel.
  • SLIP-FREE GRIP: Unlike other leading water bottles, Hydro Flask has a powder coat, which gives you a solid grip. The Powder Coat works with the premium TempShield insulation, which prevents condensation from forming on the outside of the bottle, to give you exactly what you want in an everyday refreshment delivery system.
  • INSULATION INNOVATION: The double-walled, vacuum insulated TempShield Insulation, the same technology used in all Hydro Flask products, will ensure that your beverage of choice maintains its temperature for many hours to come. Hot drinks up to 6 hours, and cold drinks up to 24 hours.

Features

Another great thermos of note is Hydro Flask's vacuum insulated water bottle. But, is it the best thermos? It certainly seems like it could be, as you'll reap many of the same benefits from it as you will other similar insulated containers. With this thermos, you'll enjoy a rock-solid stainless steel body with a powder coat that helps you keep your grip while carrying or sipping from it. When sipping, you need not worry about losing heat or cold from opening it, as it has a flip top that lets you drink from its internal straw. You get 15 different colors to choose from.


Hydro Flask's thermos comes in 4 different sizes–12 oz., 16 oz., 18 oz., and 20 oz.

Thermos Stainless King 40 Ounce Beverage Bottle, Midnight Blue
  • Made with Thermos patented vacuum insulation for maximum temperature retention, hot or cold
  • Designed to keep liquids hot for 24 hours, and cold for 24 hours
  • Durable stainless-steel interior and exterior keep bottle cool to touch with hot liquids and sweat proof with cold liquids
  • Lid doubles as insulated serving cup; twist and pour function allows you to pour without moving the stopper
  • With an ample 40-ounce capacity, the bottle offers plenty of sustenance on the go

Features

We previously saw that Thermos has a container meant for food, and right here is their thermos designed for beverages. You might ask–how is this thermos any different from their food jar? While the food jar has a cap that you have to unscrew in order to get to what's inside, this one has openings on the cap which allow you to pour liquid out without having to open the entire thing. This helps preserve the temperature of whatever is inside, ensuring that beverages stay hot or cold even if you decide to pour some out. In addition, the main lid can be used as a serving cup.


This is one of the best Thermos bottles to have around if you need a big beverage container. It will hold 40 oz. of liquid and comes in 6 different colors.

Thermos Stainless King 24 Ounce Food Jar, Midnight Blue
  • Thermos vacuum insulation technology for maximum temperature retention, hot or cold, keeps liquids hot for 14 hours and cold for 24 hours, package may vary.
  • Durable stainless steel interior and exterior. Product Size (W x D x H): 3.7 x 3.7 x 7.2 inches
  • Cool to the touch with hot liquids, sweat proof with cold
  • Compact and insulated stainless steel serving bowl
  • Wide mouth is easy to fill, eat from and clean

Features

When Thermos's 16 oz. food jar just isn't big enough, you can always upgrade to their 24 oz. food jar. This is the big brother to their 16 oz. thermos, and you'll quickly realize that while it is nearly the same, it offers greater benefits. On the similar side of things, both containers have wide mouths and are made of stainless steel. As far as differences, the most obvious one is the fact that this container is capable of holding much more inside. It doesn't come with a detachable spoon, but most people will see this is a small tradeoff for how well the jar can regulate temperature.


This thermos will keep your food hot for 14 hours and could for 24 hours, which is significantly longer than the 16 oz. version. If you're going to need your food to stay hot or cold for an extra long period of time, this one will be of more use to you than the smaller one.

Zojirushi SM-SA60-BA Stainless Steel Mug, 20-Ounce, Black
  • Stopper disassembles for thorough cleaning
    20oz. capacity with 1-1/2" opening
  • Compact design takes minimal space while maximizing capacity
  • New pictograph lock. Stainless steel vacuum insulation keeps beverages hot or cold for hours
  • 5 year warranty on heat retention
  • Made of BPA-free plastic and stainless steel. Easy-to-clean nonstick interior

Features

Another best thermos candidate that flies under the radar for many is the Zojirushi SM-SA60-BA mug. It doesn't get enough love, unfortunately, because people don't recognize the brand. However, it's definitely worthy of a shout out, and you may even decide that it is the best thermos for you. It's a 20 oz. (although there are smaller sizes available) stainless steel mug with a slim design, making it easy to fit into cup holders and stash and tight places. Its unique lid seals tightly to prevent leakage, and a button on the side pops it open when you are ready to pour your beverage out.


The manufacturer does not openly offer details on exactly how long this mug's temperature regulation lasts, but it will keep your beverage hot or cold for several hours.

Contigo AUTOSEAL Chill Stainless Steel Water Bottle, 24 oz, SS Monaco
  • THERMALOCK double walled vacuum insulation keeps drinks cold up to 28 hours
  • One hand operated AUTOSEAL button seals the lid between sips to eliminate spills and leaks
  • Protective spout cover keeps dirt and germs off mouthpiece for cleaner drinking

Features

We've already taken a peek at one of Contigo's thermoses, and their relevance concerning containers of the sort doesn't stop there. They have a whole line of different mugs and bottles available for almost every occasion. This particular container is designed to be a water bottle, but we believe it deserves to be on this best thermos list. It features Contigo's trademark AUTOSEAL technology that prevents spills and leaks between each sip you take. One nice feature they added to this bottle is a handle at the top that rests as part of the bottle when not in use and can flip up when you need to carry the bottle.


This is a 20 oz. bottle that is able to keep your water cold up to 28 hours, and we believe you'll agree with us when we say that that is absolutely fantastic! Contigo gives you 12 color options to choose from.

Thermos Vacuum Insulated 16 Ounce Compact Stainless Steel Beverage Bottle
  • Thermos vacuum insulation technology locks in temperature to preserve flavor and freshness to keep beverages hot for 12 hours or cold for 24
  • Durable 18/8 stainless steel interior and exterior withstand the demands of everyday use
  • Convenient twist and pour stopper makes serving simple
  • Built-in stainless steel cup lets you enjoy your beverage anywhere
  • Light and compact design for effortless transport and storage; stays cool to the touch with hot liquids and is condensation-free with cold

Features

Like Contigo, Thermos also has an entire line of bottles made for use in different situations. As we've already seen, they have beverage bottles as well as food jars. This is another stainless steel beverage bottle by Thermos that is compact and able to fit into most cup holders and other tight places. It has a very simple design with no noticeable bells and whistles to note, but sometimes simple is better. What you get is a sleek silver bottle with a lid that doubles as a cup, and the standard bottle holds 16 oz. of liquid. If that isn't enough for you, Thermos also offers larger versions of this same bottle.


With this bottle, you'll be able to keep your beverages hot for 12 hours or cold for 24 hours. That will last you pretty much all day long.

Rtic Stainless Steel Bottle (36oz)
  • Designed to keep beverages cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to 6, our water bottles feature double wall construction with an extra interior copper layer for superior performance.
  • Constructed from premium grade, 18/8 stainless steel that’s non-toxic, non-leaching and BPA free.
  • 100% leak proof cap with a three finger grip.
  • Extra wide opening for easy filling, drinking and cleaning.
  • Vacuum insulated to keep liquids and beverages fresh.

Features

Last but not least is a stainless steel canister by RTIC. This beverage bottle looks like a tank, and we bet running over it with a semi-truck wouldn't even put a dent in it. It has a very basic design that is completely fool-proof in every way. All it is is a bottle with a lid that completely unscrews to reveal what is inside. There is no spout to drink out of; you just open it up and pour your drink out. One nice touch they added to the cap is a semicircle-shaped handle that allows for a 3-finger grip on the bottle. This one will hold 36 oz., but there are other sizes available (18 oz. and 64 oz.).


Although basic, RTIC's bottle still holds up very well. It will keep your beverages warm for up to 6 hours and cold for up to 24 hours.

The Verdict

After breaking down each of these thermoses and then piecing all the details we found together, we decided that the Stanley classic vacuum bottle is the best thermos out right now. The reason is simple–it simply cannot be beaten. We are talking about a canister that will keep your liquid hot or cold for up to 28 hours or chilled for up to 150 hours. Temperature regulation is the most basic function of a thermos, and it surpasses all the other mugs in this regard. In addition, it's well-constructed and has a cap that doubles as a drinking cup.


The Stanley classic vacuum bottle is so practical and efficient that we decided to go ahead and give it a perfect 5/5. As a thermos, it delivers so much that we could not ask for more. If you're in need of one, this is our top choice and recommendation for you. Better times are just a thermos away. You don't have to let your water get hot and your food get cold when you're on the move.

How to Size a Water Softener in 5 Easy Steps

How to size a water softener like the AFWFilters WS48-56sxt10 Fleck water softener

Image from Amazon

Water is a basic requirement for living. What you may not realize is that the quality of your water can affect the quality of your life as well. If you have hard water, you may be spending more on detergents, lotions, and even appliances and maintenance costs. A water softener may provide the solution you need. Read more to discover more about softeners and how to size a water softener properly.

What Are the Benefits of a Water Softener?

Tier1 48,000 Grain High Efficiency Digital Water Softener for Hard Water

Image from Amazon

Before you size a water softener, let’s discuss the benefits of a water softener. As many as 85% of homes in North America are affected by hard water. Water containing calcium, iron, and magnesium can cause a variety of issues in your home. You may have clogged shower heads which require frequent cleaning to remove mineral deposits or replacement of shower head. You could also have stains on tubs, showers, sinks, and toilets which can be difficult to remove. You may see mineral buildup on pipes, which decreases the flow of water. You may notice inefficiency of 

of the hot water heater as caused by mineral buildup, leading to increased utility bills or frequent replacement of appliances. Finally, you may observe the inefficiency of your washing machine, leading to more detergent used and therefore, increased spending.

Common Signs of Hard Water

Before you size a water softener, let’s discuss how you know if you have hard water. If you live in an area where water is supplied to you from a municipality (this could be a city or a county), you can call your local water district and ask about the hardness of your water. If your water is supplied by a well, you can have your water tested by a professional, or you can buy a testing kit to do it yourself. These tests are available at many hardware stores, big box stores, and online. Here are some other signs that you may have hard water in your home.

  • Dishes that are hazy or often spotted
  • Stained sinks, tubs, toilets, and showers
  • Appliances that require frequent replacement
  • Clogged pipes
  • Dry skin
  • Clothing stained yellow or with a grey tint, even after washing

How Does a Water Softener Function?

Before you discover how to size a water softener, let’s discuss how a water softener works.

  1. Hard water containing minerals like calcium, iron, and/or magnesium enters the water softener treatment tank.
  2. Resin bonds with the minerals.
  3. Water is processed through a resin bed.
  4. Water is strained and resin is trapped.
  5. Soft water travels through the softener.
  6. Soft water exits the softener to the home for use.

What Exactly Is Water Softener Regeneration?

Before you explore how to size a water softener, let’s discuss the term “regeneration.” You may hear or see this term when shopping for water softener systems. As the water softener system works, the resin bed becomes covered in the hardness particles. To rid the system of these particles, the water softener must perform a regeneration cycle. The regeneration cycle allows water to be mixed with salt and particles to be removed from the bed. Now the water softener is ready to process the next batch of hard water to and create more soft water for use in your home.

How to Size a Water Softener 101

Now we are ready to calculate how to size a water softener for your home. To do this, we need to determine the daily softening requirement. The daily softening requirement must be calculated using your water hardness and water consumption.

Step 1: What Is My Water Hardness?

The first step in figuring out how to size a water softener for your home is to determine the water hardness. Your water hardness is determined by the amount of calcium and magnesium in your water. Water hardness may be measured in milligrams per liter (mg/L), parts per million (ppm), or grains per gallon (GPG). GPG is the most common way to report water hardness. However, some tests measure water hardness in mg/L or ppm, so you must perform a conversion by dividing the measurement by 17.1 to get the GPG measurement.

You must know the hardness of your water to properly program the water softener system. In addition, water hardness is a factor in determining the size of the system that is needed for your family.

What about Iron?

Step 2: What Is My Water Consumption?

The second step in figuring out how to size a water softener is to determine the water consumption of the home. You can view your water bill to determine your water usage. Most water utility companies bill this service monthly. If this is true in your case, your bill will reflect the usage for members of the family living in your household for the month. Remember to divide your monthly usage by the number of days in the month to get your daily requirement. If you have a well which supplies your water or you do not have access to your water bill, you can calculate an estimate of your daily usage. Multiply the number of people living in your household by 80 gallons per day. This is a conservative estimate for gallons per day usage of water. Some experts recommend using a 100 gallon per day usage estimate if you like to take long showers, for example.

Step 3: How Do I Calculate My Daily Softening Requirement?

The third step in figuring out how to size a water softener is to determine the daily softening requirement. Multiply the hardness level found in step 1 by the daily water consumption found in step 2 to get the daily softening requirement. This calculation tells you the number of hardness grains per day that need to be removed from your water by the water softener.

Step 4: How Do I Calculate My Total Grain Capacity?

The fourth step in figuring out how to size a water softener is to determine the total grain capacity. The water softener removes the hardness grains until it reaches its capacity and must regenerate. Regeneration must occur because all the resin inside of the water softener has saturated and can no longer bind to any more mineral ions. The regeneration process removes the minerals and recharges the resin. Most water softeners must perform the regeneration process every 6 to 7 days. To calculate the total grain capacity, you must take the daily softening requirement obtained in step 3 and multiply it by the 7 days required for each regeneration process.

Step 5: What about the Efficiency of the Salt?

The fifth step in figuring out how to size a water softener is to consider the efficiency of the salt you are using. Simply put, you want to perform a partial regeneration of the water softener resin bed rather than 100 percent regeneration because it is more efficient to do the partial regeneration. Doing a full generation would require a lot more salt (which would cost more money), and the efficiency per pound of salt is lower. One way to determine the efficiency of the salt is to look at the rating on the water softener. This number is a rating which shows how many hardness grains a water softener can remove with the least salt under real-world circumstances. Many experts recommend looking for a water softener with a National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) certification rating.

Sample Calculation

Here is a real-world example of the calculations discussed above. In this example, the water hardness is 120 ppm.

Step 1a:

Find water hardness. 120 ppm / 17.12 = 7.00 GPG

Step 1b:

Account for iron in water (if necessary). 2 ppm iron X 4 = 8 GPG 7.00 GPG + 8 GPG = 15 GPG

Step 2:

Find water consumption. 4 people X 80 gallons per day = 320 gallons per day

Step 3:

Calculate daily softening. 15 GPG X 320 gallons per day = 4,800 hardness grains per day

Step 4:

Calculate total grain capacity. 4,800 hardness grains per day X 7 days = 33,600 grains per week

Step 5:

Consider salt efficiency. View a chart with grain capacities and water softener tank sizes to determine the correct size water softener for you.

Conclusion

Hard water can wreak havoc on the systems in your home. It can lead to frequent appliance replacement due to minerals on the appliance mechanisms. It can cause a buildup on pipes that restricts the flow of water. It can also lead to stains in your bathroom and kitchen. It can cause mineral accumulation on your dishes and glasses, leaving an unattractive film. It can also affect the condition of your skin and hair, causing dryness, itchiness, and mineral buildup. Installing a water softener system is a very easy way to control the minerals in the water used by your family members every day and increase the longevity of your household appliances.