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Stanley who? I’m a shopping editor who hates drinking water — unless it’s from an Owala bottle

I have a confession: I’m not a big fan of water. To my doctor’s chagrin, I prefer coffee, tea and various sugary drinks. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I hit the recommended hydration goal (which, according to the National Academy of Medicine, is nine cups of water per day for women over 19). That said, I also enjoy going to the gym, and the plastic water bottles I kept buying for $2 to $5 a pop were adding up — and not very good for the planet, either. So, I put on my deal-hunter hat, determined to find the best reusable water bottle. Reader, I found it: Say hello to the Owala FreeSip.


This sleek bottle comes in four sizes (16, 24, 32 and 40 ounces), and the 24-ounce is narrow enough to fit in most car’s cup holders. 

$25 at Amazon

It’s weird to describe a water bottle this way, but I’ll say it: The Owala FreeSip is gorgeous. It was hard to pick just one hue — all 20 colors are equally stunning — but I chose Iced Breeze. First impressions aside, it’s not too different from most other quality chuggers: It has the same stainless steel body, powder-coat exterior and carry loop for easy transport.

It’s easy to dismiss the FreeSip as a bottle that prioritizes form over function, but don’t let looks deceive you. To experience its magic, you have to pop open the lid. It’s called the FreeSip for a reason. The dual-purpose spout allows you to sip or chug your drink without having to switch lids or remove the top. Want to take a swig? You got it, thanks to the wide mouth opening. Prefer to take it slow? Use the built-in straw. Can’t make up your mind? You can technically use both, but I would advise against it (unless you want to get water all over your face and shirt). I’d even argue that having two ways to get your daily water makes it more fun to hit those intake goals — it works for me, anyway.

White Owala water bottle on a bench.

See? Told you the Owala is gorgeous. (Izabella Zaydenberg/Yahoo)

It’s safe to say that I’ve put this water bottle through its paces. It’s been flipped upside down in my gym bag and knocked off the kitchen counter by my cat. It’s even rolled around the back seat of a car during hours-long drives. I’ve never seen a drop of water escape it. I have the bottle’s thoughtfully designed locking cap to thank for that: It has a push-button opening that feels more secure than a traditional twist lid. Once I hear that click, I know spills won’t destroy my bag or floor. Take that, Stanley. Speaking of…

The Owala FreeSip and the Stanley Quencher are both veritable social media catnip, but they’re not interchangeable.

For starters, there’s a price difference. The 40-ounce Owala FreeSip rings in at $38, while the Stanley Quencher is $45 for the same size. The discrepancy holds true for smaller sizes as well — the 32-ounce Owala is $33 while the Stanley is $35. The 24-ounce Owala is $28, Stanley’s 20-ounce tumbler is $30. Owala’s bottles also frequently go on sale.

The Owala and the Stanley are fairly similar in terms of aesthetics: Both are stainless steel, have a matte finish and come in a ton of cute colors. And when it comes to temperature retention, they both keep your water cold for up to 24 hours.

The biggest difference is spill resistance. The FreeSip can be flipped upside down without leaking. If you do that with the Quencher, its contents will pour out of the straw. If you’re still undecided, our Commerce Manager has waxed poetic about the Stanley. We’ll leave the decision up to you.

Owala FreeSip water bottles in colors Denim, Camo Cool and Dreamy Field.

PSA to my partner: For my birthday, get me an Owala in every color. (Amazon)

I’ve remained faithful to my Owala FreeSip for the last few months, and I really can’t see myself going back to any of the other bottles I’ve tried. It’s stood up to a reasonable amount of wear and tear, but it still looks brand-new. Most importantly, I find myself reaching for my water bottle over bad-for-me drinks more often. And hey, anything that can make water a little less boring is a win in my book.

I’m far from the FreeSip’s only fan. Aside from its massive TikTok fanbase, the bottle has amassed a huge following among Amazon shoppers; in fact, it’s the retailer’s No. 1 bestselling insulated water bottle, with more than 36,000 reviewers having given it a perfect five-star rating.

One fellow fan (who called the Owala “the hottest on the market”) wrote: “I would argue these are better than Stanley’s or anything out there. I prefer to have a mouthpiece that doesn’t require a straw sticking out. The big 40-ounce bottle is perfect for working out.”

I totally agree with this reviewer’s claim that the bottle’s straw design is “… pure genius. I usually sip mindlessly while working or driving, and not having to crane my neck for every gulp is a game changer. … This bottle also takes ‘hydration hero’ seriously. My water stays refreshingly chilly for hours, even on scorching days. No more lukewarm disappointments — just consistent, cool sips of satisfaction.”

This final reviewer may have put it best, if a little sadly: “My girlfriend is a nurse, and she loves this bottle more than she loves me. I think the promise [of] further Owala bottles is the only reason she’s sticking around at this point.”


Flip it, twist it, shake it: No matter how rough you are on your Owala, it won’t leak.

$28 at Amazon

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.

If you have Amazon Prime, you’ll get free shipping, of course. Not yet a member? No problem. You can sign up for your free 30-day trial here. (And by the way, those without Prime still get free shipping on orders of $25 or more.)


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