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Updated Nov 18, 2022 11:16 AM

The gallon water bottle is the ultimate hydration vessel. Carrying 128 ounces of liquid, these giant vessels are the perfect companion for balmy beach days, backcountry hikes, and sweaty gym sessions. They’ve also recently grown popular as a way to push yourself to drink more water every day. If your average 40-ounce water bottle just isn’t cutting it, an absolutely immense gallon bottle will ensure you never feel parched again. Chances are, you’ll have plenty left over to share with your friends and family after you absolutely crush those hydration goals. Here are the best gallon water bottles for aspirational drinkers, fitness obsessives, and anyone who wants to catch the big water bottle wave.

How we chose the best gallon water bottles

I consider myself an outdoorsy guy, so I spend a lot of time at the beach, in the mountains, and far away from clean running water. I was particularly excited to look into gallon water bottles since I’ve been thinking about picking one up myself. To make our selections, I performed hands-on testing and did hours of research, surveying critical viewpoints and user impressions, before settling on our picks.

At Popular Science, I cover a little bit of everything. I’ve researched all kinds of products, from the best energy-efficient air conditioners to the best smoke detectors. Before PopSci, I wrote about and reviewed gadgets for over 10 years for sites like iMore, XDA Developers, and CNN Underscored

The best gallon water bottles: Reviews & Recommendations

The type of gallon water bottle you buy depends on how you plan to use it. If you want to keep liquids hot or cold, a stainless steel bottle that’s vacuum insulated is your best option. Otherwise, plastic bottles tend to be more affordable and weigh less. Since there aren’t that many trustworthy brands making gallon water bottles, we feel confident that one of these picks is the best option for you.

Best overall: Yeti Rambler Gallon Jug

YETI

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Why it made the cut: The Yeti Gallon Jug features tough stainless steel construction and double-wall vacuum insulation to keep drinks icy cold all day long.

Specs

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Height: 15 inches
  • Weight: 4.5 pounds
  • Dishwasher safe: Yes
  • BPA Free: Yes

Pros

  • Clever magnetic lid to store spout cap
  • Double-wall insulation
  • Sturdy handle

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Heavy

If you’re out in the field and away from refills, the Yeti Gallon Jug will keep your water cold. It’s made of durable stainless steel and features vacuum insulation, so it will keep liquids hot or cold for several hours. It also keeps your bottle from sweating, so surfaces are safe from condensation.

The Gallon Jug’s lid features a sturdy metal handle with soft grip padding, making it easier to carry on long hauls. The lid also contains a neat magnetic design, so users can store the cap when the spout is open. You can also screw the entire lid off for easy cleaning and refills. It’s a clever design that reinforces Yeti’s attention to the small details.

Like all of Yeti’s other stainless steel bottles, the Gallon Jug is BPA-free and dishwasher safe. It weighs 4.5 pounds before putting water in it, or over 12 pounds full. That’s heavy on a hike. Still, it is far and away the nicest water bottle in this size.

Best insulated: Hydro Flask Oasis

Hydro Flask

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Why it made the cut: The Hydro Flask Oasis is big and heavy, but it’ll keep your liquids cold for up to 24 hours or hot for up to 12 hours.

Specs

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Height: 14.8 inches
  • Weight: 4.96 pounds
  • Dishwasher safe: Yes
  • BPA Free: Yes

Pros

  • Easy grip base
  • Double-wall insulation
  • Keeps liquids cold for up to 24 hours

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Heavy

Like our top pick, the Hydro Flask Oasis is a large, heavy stainless steel bottle with double-wall vacuum insulation that ensures liquids stay cold. Hydro Flask claims water stays chilled in the Oasis for up to 24 hours, making it the perfect companion for the summer months. It’s also rated for hot liquids, and keeps coffee, tea, or soup hot for up to 12 hours. It’s an excellent option for skiers who want a piping hot cup of joe after a long day on the slopes.

In addition to its superior insulation, we like the Oasis’ beveled base, which makes it easier to grab and pour. It’s a nice touch that you won’t find elsewhere. On the other hand, the Oasis’ lid doesn’t provide a place to store the spout cap and the plastic handle isn’t as durable or easy to hold.

Like the Yeti Rambler, the Hydro Flask Oasis weighs nearly 5 pounds and pushes 13 pounds when filled with water. The weight isn’t a significant hurdle if you’re keeping hydrated at home, but the Oasis’ weight could be an issue on a camping trip or climbing up a mountain when every ounce counts.

Best for the gym: Coleman One-Gallon Beverage Cooler

Coleman

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Why it made the cut: The Coleman One-Gallon Beverage Cooler features a simple flip-top spout, insulation, and a classic design you remember from childhood.

Specs

  • Material: Plastic
  • Height: 12.8 inches
  • Weight: N/A
  • Dishwasher safe: No
  • BPA Free: Yes

Pros

  • Sturdy design
  • Insulation
  • Flip-top spout

Cons

  • Not dishwasher safe

If you played sports as a kid, you may remember the Coleman gallon jug. Your coach may have brought it along to keep your whole team hydrated but now it’s just for you.

The fact of the matter is that Coleman still makes a great bottle, and it’s specifically the perfect option for the gym. It features a leakproof lid, flip-top spout, and insulation for keeping liquids cold. It’s also incredibly durable and features a handle that makes the Coleman Chiller easy to carry. It’s a simple, classic design and will keep you hydrated through every step of your workout.

Best motivational: Fidus Motivational Water Bottle

Fidus

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Why it made the cut: For people buying a big water bottle to drink more water, the Fidus Motivational water bottle gives you regular hydration goals.

Specs

  • Material: Plastic
  • Height: 13.8 inches
  • Weight: 0.83 pounds
  • Dishwasher safe: Yes
  • BPA Free: Yes

Pros

  • Paracord handle
  • Button cap
  • Available in several colors

Cons

  • No insulation

Drinking a gallon of water in a single day is hard work. As we mentioned, you don’t actually need to do it to stay healthily hydrated. But if you want to, this water bottle from Fidus is a trendy Tritan plastic water bottle with markers and motivational quotes to keep you on track to hit that daily goal. 

The 1-gallon water bottle from Fidus features eight motivational quotes to keep users focused and energized about hitting their water intake goals. It also features a cap that covers the spout and straw, so it’ll stay shielded from dust and particles throughout the day and comes with a detachable paracord handle for easier carrying. Who doesn’t like a bit of encouragement?

Best budget: Simple Modern Gallon Water Bottle

Simple Modern

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Why it made the cut: The Simple Modern Gallon Water Bottle offers a basic bottle at an affordable price.

Specs

  • Material: Plastic
  • Height: 13.8 inches
  • Weight: 1.15 pounds
  • Dishwasher safe: Yes
  • BPA Free: Yes

Pros

  • Silicone straw
  • Button cap

Cons

  • No insulation

The Simple Modern 1-gallon bottle is, just like the brand name implies, a simple gallon water bottle. The dishwasher-safe Tritan plastic bottle comes in a variety of colors, including some calming color gradients like the green-to-purple “Tropical Seas,” and warm coral-to-cyan “Havana.” The best part of the Simple Modern bottle is its lid, which features a silicone mouthpiece with a lockable cover to keep it from getting dirty between sips. Press, Flip, Hydrate. Simple!

What to consider when buying the best gallon water bottles

So let’s get one thing out of the way: You don’t actually need to drink 8 cups of water every day. Giant water bottles have recently seen a surge in popularity, as people see them as a means of motivating themselves to drink more water. While you should never deny yourself water if you’re thirsty, it turns out that you don’t need to push yourself to drink that much.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t good reasons to carry around an absolutely gigantic jug of water. If you frequently go camping or spend long stretches of time away from a clean water source, it pays to bring a lot of water along. 

There aren’t as many manufacturers making gallon water bottles as the standard 32-ounce and 40-ounce options, so there isn’t as much room to get picky about style and design. That said, it still pays to know the essentials of water bottle construction so you can tell the best gallon water bottles from the knockoffs. Once you know where to look—and what to look for—in a gallon water bottle, you’ll find options that offer excellent durability, insulation, and clever designs for comfortable transportation and enhanced hydration.

Material

Most water bottles, no matter the size, are made of durable plastic or stainless steel. You may also find gallon jars made from shatter-resistant glass, but it’s fairly uncommon among bottles made for daily drinking.

Stainless steel water bottles are popular because they’re light but durable. They’re usually made from 18/8 stainless steel, which refers to its elemental composition—18% chromium and 8% nickel. It is considered food safe and is resistant to corrosion and oxidation. Many stainless steel bottles are also vacuum insulated, or designed to create a sealed buffer between the liquid in the container and the environment outside the bottle, which reduces conduction and keeps liquids hot or cold for several hours. 

Reusable plastic water bottles offer a great balance of durability and affordability. High-quality plastic bottles are arguably more resistant to superficial wear and tear, though they generally lack stainless steel’s insulation. There is far more variability among the material to make plastic water bottles than there is among stainless steel water bottles. 

When buying plastic, make sure to get a plastic water bottle that’s made from BPA-free Tritan plastic, which is light, ultra-durable, and safe. Some studies suggest that containers made from plastics with bisphenol A, or BPA, can seep into what’s stored in the container and cause adverse health effects, so avoid plastic bottles unless the manufacturer specifies that they use a BPA-free material.

Durability

The gallon water bottle you buy will likely be by your side day and night, so it needs to withstand the pitfalls of everyday use. Stainless steel can get dented and scratched, but it’s pretty resilient over the long run and should last for several years. Stainless steel can also handle sudden temperature changes, making them more versatile than other materials on this list.

Tritan plastic water bottles are generally more scratch-resistant and won’t ding, but are by no means indestructible. Both materials are strong enough to withstand everyday wear and tear, even hiking or running. However, if you’re likely to drop your bottle off a cliff (or off a car’s roof), maybe go with stainless steel.

Weight

Here’s where things get a little tricky. There’s no way around the fact that our stainless steel picks are heavy. When filled up with water, they feel like small kettlebells. We don’t feel like their weight disqualifies them from consideration because, well … a gallon of water is always going to feel heavy. (Remember: A gallon of water weighs approximately 8 pounds.) That said, if you really want to minimize your bottle’s weight, a plastic bottle will generally weigh less than a stainless steel one.

FAQs

Q: How much does a gallon water bottle cost?

Depending on the bottle material, a gallon water bottle can cost between $20-$130.

Q: How often should I clean a gallon water bottle?

Some experts argue that you should clean your water bottle once a day. That may not be feasible for everyone, especially if you’re using your gallon water bottle off the grid. We’d argue that cleaning it a few times per week is a more achievable goal.  What you don’t want to do is go several weeks without washing your reusable bottle. Even if it looks clean, water bottles can build up bacteria over time, so you should clean them often.

Q: Can I put other liquids besides water in a gallon water bottle?

You can put other liquids in your gallon water bottle besides water, but some things are safer than others. For example, you can put hot coffee in the Yeti Rambler, but the company says to avoid using the jug’s lid with carbonated beverages because of potential pressure build-up. For the plastic bottles on our list, you should stick to room temperature or cold water.

Q: How long is water good in a gallon jug?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), you should replace stored water every six months. If you plan to keep water for an extended period, make sure it’s in an FDA-approved food-grade storage container. If you can’t find a food-grade water storage container, be sure the container has a top that can close tightly, is made of durable, unbreakable materials, and has a narrow neck for easy pouring.

Q: Is it safe to drink a gallon of water per day?

Drinking a gallon of water daily isn’t harmful but you probably don’t need to drink so much for optimal health. Optimal water intake varies from person to person based on a variety of personal and environmental factors, including height, weight, their activity level, and the current temperature. Rather than aiming for “eight cups a day,” simply try and drink water whenever you feel thirsty. 

Final thoughts on the best gallon water bottles

Gallon water bottles are for people who either won’t have access to a water source for a while or need to hit a specific intake goal. Otherwise, their size and weight make them too cumbersome for most people. If you want something that’s easier to manage, you’re better off checking out our picks for the best water bottles. And if you’ve got young ones, there’s our guide to the best kids water bottles.

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