Water Bottle Scoring Methodology

Last Updated

August 27, 2021

Water Bottle Scoring Overview

HydrationReview created a scoring methodology that allows for consistent reviews of water bottles across five categories representing the most important qualities to consumers. They are: Ease of Use, Durability, Seal, Maintenance and Insulation. Each category has its own testing procedures and set of questions that are used to determine the final category score. 

Some of the data collection is purely quantitative, such as those collected during temperature control testing. Other data is qualitative and based on user feedback that is recorded during the testing periods. For qualitative trials, the HydrationReview team carefully calibrates the results across all bottles to ensure final scores accurately reflect the capabilities of the specific product in comparison to all previously reviewed bottles. For this reason, scores may change slightly over time as newly reviewed bottles enter the data set. 

Each bottle review category has an assigned weighting that is used to calculate the final bottle score. The weightings were determined after several focus group sessions which included participation from 25+ consumers across various demographics. Higher weightings were assigned to categories that consumers felt were more important when choosing a reusable water bottle. 

Testers are instructed to use the bottles as much as possible over a 10 day period. Feedback is logged by the user and then shared with HydrationReview editors for scoring. Feedback includes everything from how easily the bottle can be refilled to how well it can be packed in a bag to how well it is cleaned after a hand wash vs. a dishwasher run.

Category Weighting 
Ease of Use25%

Ease of Use (25%)

The Ease of Use category captures the overall level of effort to properly operate the bottle.There are two main questions at the core of this category.

Does the shape and grip enable easy use for drinking?

Are the components (cap, lock, straw, handle, etc.) easy to operate?

Numeric scores are derived from the below chart and separate scores are recorded for the shape, handles and components. The final score is the average across the group of sub-scores. 

8 – 10Fully satisfied with the shape, handle(s) and component functionality; easy user experience
4 – 7Partially satisfied with the shape, handle(s) and component functionality; average user experience
1 – 3Shape, handle(s) and component functionality unsatisfactory; bottle is difficult to use

Durability (25%)

The overall Durability score is the combination of individual durability scores for the bottle’s flask and components. Sub scores are derived from a 1-5 scale with the most durable flasks and components earning a higher score. 

The scores are determined after collecting and analyzing feedback from reviewers as well as closely inspecting the bottles post testing. Reviewers provide details about their activities with the bottle and the resulting damage (if any). After all the physical damage is noted and reviewer feedback provided, the bottle is compared across all other tested bottles to determine the flask and component scores. 

ScoreDescription (Flask)
5Excellent durability
4Good durability
3Average durability
2Poor durability
1Very poor durability
ScoreDescription (Components)
5Excellent durability
4Good durability
3Average durability
2Poor durability
1Very poor durability

Seal (20%)

The Seal score is determined by asking two questions:

Does the bottle leak water under any conditions?

Does the sealing mechanism lend itself to human error leading to potential leaks?

These questions are asked of each reviewer and scores are averaged across the testing trials. As expected when developing the score, to date, none of the bottle’s we’ve tested have leaked water when properly sealed. 

The second question, related to potential human error, is where we see a lot of variation. Depending on the build quality and complexity of the sealing mechanism results vary. If a bottle is objectively difficult to open or close, it will score lower. If a bottle has a high likelihood of opening unexpectedly, it will score lower. Bottles with simple and reliable sealing mechanisms score high on the scale.

10No leakage and easy to use sealing mechanism.
5 – 9No leakage if instructions are exactly followed but the design lends itself to human error which can result in leakage.
1 – 4Mild to heavy leakage when fully closing bottle components.

Maintenance (20%)

The Maintenance score is based on two factors: the percentage of bottle parts that can be cleaned in the dishwasher and how well the bottle design lends itself to a thorough washing. If all parts are dishwasher safe, the bottle will score between 8 – 10 points depending on how thoroughly the bottle is cleaned in the dishwasher. Higher scores are awarded to bottles with large mouths and fewer crevices resulting in a more thorough cleaning. 

If only some of the parts are dishwasher safe or the bottle is relatively easy to hand wash, the bottle will score between 4 – 7 points with the range again depending on the design and ease of cleaning. 

A score between 1 and 3 points is given to bottles with no dishwasher safe parts and hand washing presents challenges. Bottles with a narrow mouth, straw, small crevices, etc. are inherently more difficult to clean and will receive a lower score.

8 – 10All components are dishwasher safe; higher scores are awarded to bottles best designed for a dishwasher 
4 – 7Some components are dishwasher safe or the bottle is relatively easy to hand wash; higher scores are awarded to bottles best designed for a dishwasher or those that will be well cleaned if hand washing is required
1 – 3None of the bottle components are dishwasher safe and hand washing presents challenges due to bottle design

Insulation (10%)

The Temperature Control score is a combination of two sub scores that measure the change in water temperature over a 2 hour period and an 8 hour period. These time frames were chosen after discussion in the focus groups where participants felt that 2 hours represented a realistic short-term bottle use (work commute, gym visits, etc.) while 8 hours represented full-day activities (traveling long distances, full work day, etc.). 

During testing trials, each bottle is filled with 33°(F) water, closed, then reopened at the 2 and 8 hour marks for temperature readings. Final scores for each test are based on a 5-point scale where higher scores are awarded for smaller temperature changes (better insulation).

Score2 Hour Temperature Change
5Under 3 degrees change
43 to 5 degree change
35 to 10 degree change
210 to 20 degree change
1Over 20 degree change
Score8 Hour Temperature Change
5Under 5 degree change
45 to 10 degree change
310 to 20 degree change
220 to 35 degree change
1Over 35 degree change


Manufacturing Warranty: The warranty covers manufacturing defects.

All-Inclusive Warranty: The warranty covers both defects and incidental damage. 

Made in the USA

Design Honors: The bottle aesthetic was especially appealing to the HydrationReview editorial team.

No Sweat: The bottle does not give off any condensation when storing cold water in a humid environment. 

Changeable Tops: The bottle either comes with interchangeable tops or additional tops are available for purchase through the manufacturer. 

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