Owala FreeSip

Owala FreeSip

Welcome to the latest installment of, “How is the Editor going to try to trick herself into drinking water consistently?!” Yeah, recurring theme here. I’m bad at doing the thing that you’re supposed to just do. I’m certainly better than I was when this blog started – by leaps and bounds. I still need to set myself up for success, and the Owala FreeSip is getting me closer.

Over the years I’ve tried – and shared here, on this blog, a few different water bottles I’ve tried and liked. They’ve all helped, but they haven’t been my version of perfect. (Previous posts on the matter: previous posts on the matter: Contigo Chill, PSA: Drink More Water!)

Quick Aside:

Did you know that cats can be finicky about water? It isn’t their fault, it is evolutionary biology. It’s why so many of them are drawn to running faucets. Over time, they’ve come to understand that running/moving water = safe(r) and therefore more appetizing water, and it is why cat drinking fountains are so successful – because it tricks them into drinking more.

The Common Flaw Lies in the Straw (or lack thereof, or mouthpiece)

I like the convenience of a straw. In general, I find I drink more water if it is in a vessel with a straw. I don’t know why this is; I speculate that there’s a mindlessness in execution that appeals to me on a subconscious level. That was a long way to write, “I’m lazy.”

However, most water bottles with a straw or similar functionality are atrocious to clean. Sure, you can pop the straw itself off, but the mouthpiece? I mean, sure, you can, but its surgery.

If I can’t easily take care of it, I don’t need it. So, most of the time I want a straw, and I don’t want cleaning it to be a nightmare.

Other Nice-to-Haves

I’d also LIKE the option to chug water. “And perhaps, Beauty Skeptic, you’d also like a bioluminescent unicorn pony,” you may be thinking. Hey, it’s fair. The asks DO seem to be in conflict.

But Owala designed a water bottle where, shockingly, they aren’t. I waited for two years to buy one of these damn things (and, of course, on sale). Succinctly put, I’m really happy with my purchase.

It Covers my Priorities!

  • Straw for gloriously mindless sipping
  • Easy to clean because the straw’s mouthpiece is not a rubber/silicone bite valve nightmare
  • You can also tilt to pour/chug (they say, “swig,” because that’s vaguely more civilized)
  • Big enough not to need to refill every 20 minutes

Owala FreeSip Models

They have a whole slew of colors, including exciting ones as shown at the top of the post. I went with all black because I’m boring utilitarian have classic taste when it comes to these things.

Now, I went with a 24oz insulated model (non-insulated wasn’t out yet) which retailed for around $25, but insulated stainless steel Owala FreeSip bottles also come in 19oz, 32oz, and 40oz sizes.

The FreeSip line also comes in a lightweight, shatterproof, non-insulated Tritan. The body is a clear version of the selected color, while the lid remains opaque. These come in a 25oz capacity, seem to start around $15 and seem to have a different shape to the body; these actually look like they would fit in a cupholder.

Insulation and Temperature Stability

I prefer room temperature water, but have observed that my stainless/insulated model does a decent job keeping it cold.

I read a review complaining that the insulated variety didn’t have intact ice 24 hours later, but here are my thoughts on that: You need to pick your priorities. The differentiator of this product is not its insulation prowess.


I don’t like the huge AF water bottle thing; carrying a jug isn’t convenient. If it needs to come with me somewhere, it’s easier to manage a more sensibly-sized bottle.

That said, my insulated 24oz doesn’t fit in any cupholders I have despite Owala’s advertising saying otherwise. This is frustrating, and is a common refrain from other customers.

Not in the car, not on my desk. I’ve read that the 19oz doesn’t, either. I’m a bit surprised by this design choice: of course people would want to be able to pop this into a cupholder. When I’m driving, a straw is not something I want, but that I need so I can safely sip.

So, unfortunately, this isn’t a great option for staying hydrated while driving.

Where You Can Get the Owala FreeSip

Fortunately, this is a pretty accessible water bottle in terms of where you can get it.

If Insulation IS Your Top Priority

Alternatives with strong insulation properties:

  • Zojirushi
    • Beautiful, well-constructed, durable, simple to clean thoroughly
    • Kicks ass at hot and cold
    • Multiple models fit in a cup-holder
    • No Straw
  • YETI
    • Not pretty, but effective. I have one that I got as swag; it IS damn good but not worth what they’re asking
    • Some models fit in a cup-holder
    • Some models are straw-compatible
  • Stanley
    • Huge 40oz capacity (also 14oz, 20oz, 30oz)
    • Straw (but a regular one that can be properly cleaned, not a silicone/rubber bite valve)
    • Despite being huge, the bottom is molded to a narrow, cupholder-friendly size

The Bottom Line

I’ve had it for about a year, and I’m really happy with it. I use it during the workday, I use it when I work out, and it helps keep me on track.

If I had to replace it, I’d get a Tritan one. Even though I prefer sustainable products in a TON of areas, I’d prefer the lighter weight and the dent-resistance of that material. Plus, its kinda nice to be able to SEE how full it is. And then, hopefully, it could go in a damn cupholder.