- Ease of Use 70% 70%
- Durability 90% 90%
- Seal 100% 100%
- Maintenance 10% 10%
- Insulation 90% 90%
Attractive and Simple Design
Users will be impressed with how great this bottle looks in person. There are many color and pattern options to chose from.
Ergonomic Grip and Cap Design
We found this bottle comfortably fit in our hands and was easy to carry while on the go. The cap is equally well-designed and won’t cause leaks.
Maintenance is Required
This bottle isn’t dishwasher safe. Make sure you buy a bottle brush to properly clean the S’well.
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The S’well Original is without a doubt one of the most stylish and popular water bottles we’ve reviewed. With this product though, you’ll get more than just a bottle that doubles as an accessory. The S’well Original proved to be well-rounded, having a reliable seal, excellent temperature control and a shape that fit easily in our hands, bags and cupholders.
We opted to purchase our test bottles in the “aquamarine” color to stay on brand with our site and we loved it. If you’re looking for a different color or style, we’re confident you’ll find it. S’well has an expansive lineup of colors and textures that grace their bottles including the subtle “moonstone” or the bold “slam dunk.”. These bottles look equally great at home, in the office or the yoga studio. For this reason, we’ve awarded it the Design Honors badge which has only been handed out to a few products we’ve reviewed.
A little background for you on the brand: S’well was founded by Sarah Krauss in 2010, shortly after she graduated from Harvard Business School. The S’well “about” page characterized the launch of the product as “humble,” which stands in contrast to their market dominance today. Sarah explained how she she identified a need in the market for a unique, attractive and functional reusable water bottle in the “How I Built This” podcast episode, which we recommend for those interested in an in-depth telling of the company’s history. We think she largely hit the nail on the head.
Ease of Use
Our team purchased the 17oz model of the Swell Original which is on the smaller side of bottles we’ve tested. Our team found it was convenient to transport whether it be in the car, a handbag or the office. It’s also one of the few bottles tested that fits into almost any cup holder which makes it great to use while driving or while using your favorite cardio equipment. Keep in mind this may not be the case if you opt to purchase the larger, 25oz version. With an empty weight of 11oz, you probably won’t notice much of a weight difference in you bag which can’t be said for all stainless steel water bottles.
While all of this is great, its smaller size also means there’s less capacity which could be an issue for those who don’t have easy access to a drinking water source. This probably isn’t a factor in the office environment, but you may think twice about bringing this bottle on a hike. One of our team members, who works as a nurse midwife, tried the bottle for a week in her clinic. She offered mixed reviews:
“The capacity is a bit too small for me and I found myself filling it up a lot during the day in between seeing patients. An additional 10oz makes a big difference to me personally. Capacity aside, I really do like the shape…it’s very easy to grab and hold while walking… The narrow mouth was surprisingly a nice feature. It’s a good in-between option for someone who likes a slower flow of water without having to use a straw cap.”
Speaking of the cap, we felt it was designed well and had a sturdy construction. With just one or two full rotations, the cap comes loose and slides off the water bottle with ease. Drinking from the bottle elicited mixed experiences. Some reviewers appreciated the narrow mouth for controlling the flow of water but others found the rim of the mouth to be uncomfortable, resting awkwardly on the user’s lips. The narrow mouth was also a barrier to loading ice since wider cubes didn’t always fit.
As you can see, the ease of using the S’well Original really depends on your personal situation. If you’re on the fence about buying, the best advice we can give is to try it out yourself. It can never hurt to add another water bottle to your rotation!
The S’well Original’s durability took us by surprise. We had some preconceived notions about a water bottle that is geared towards a fashion-forward crowd and believed it wouldn’t stand up to the test. We were wrong. S’well proves that you don’t have to pick an industrial looking bottle if you want durability. After many tumbles and rolls, our test bottles didn’t show signs of damage outside of a few scratches that were barely noticeable.
We’d like to note that our test bottles had a slight texture which might have helped protect against damage. Some of the other models, which are simply paint on top of metal, might not hold up as well. Either way, you’ll probably be satisfied with the overall durability of this product as long as you aren’t consistently dropping it on hard surfaces.
As mentioned in the Ease of Use section, this bottle has a user-friendly stainless steel cap that easily screws into the flask. The cap also has a thick rubber gasket that creates an air tight seal when tightened. After using this bottle for months, there are still no reports of leaks. Even a moderate twisting of the cap will lock the gasket into place and prevent spills.
Our group went as far as trying to purposefully cross-thread the cap on the flask to see if this could lead to leaks. Our attempts were unsuccessful and we can confidently report that you’re safe from leaks when this cap is tightened.
Maintenance was the biggest detractor to the overall score. The bottle is hand wash only and the small mouth makes it somewhat challenging to clean, especially considering the flask widens toward the bottom. We were only able to get it done with a bottle brush and some practice.
With that being said, we suggest you avoid adding electrolyte mixers to this bottle. Otherwise, you might be left with some mixer residue which could be tasted after multiple uses. One other tip from us: leave this bottle on the counter for at least a day after washing so it can completely dry out before you store it. The narrow mouth means the S’well requires more time for leftover water to evaporate and this is important in preventing mold buildup. Thankfully we haven’t yet had a problem with this.
During our insulation test, the contents of the S’well Original only gained 6°F over the 8-hour testing period which landed it in the top 25% of all bottles tested. This means in a lot of conditions, the S’well can keep your water cold without the addition of ice (which is a good thing thing since you probably won’t be fitting cubes down the narrow mouth). Whether you buy the 9oz, 17oz or the 25oz model, your water will stay cold all day.
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