Filter pitchers and faucet attachments have long been a favorite in many homes, but consumers are eager to bring this tasty technology on the go with them. Enter the filter bottle. Filter bottles can turn the potentially unpleasant-tasting water from a water fountain or faucet into flavor-free water via a filter built right into the water bottle.
The most widespread use of water bottles with filters is by those who want to remove chlorine and make water taste better, although bottles are available that can turn bacteria-ridden or otherwise nonpotable water into drinking water. Specifically for hikers, campers and other outdoor enthusiasts, these water bottles are similar to water-filtration systems that avid campers may already be familiar with, and they're significantly more expensive than standard filter bottles. These more high-tech water bottles vary in their ability to remove contaminants and use techniques such as UV light and advanced filtration systems.
The average consumer won't need such advanced filter bottles, and an especially high price tag should alert you that a bottle may be more than you need. It's important to note, though, that standard water bottles with filters won't make nonpotable water -- for example, water on airplanes, water in other countries or water from a natural source like a lake or stream -- safe for consumption.
Filter bottles haven't gotten nearly as much attention from professional reviewers as other BPA-free bottles -- likely because they're still relatively new on the market -- but that doesn't mean there aren't a few user and reviewer favorites. The CamelBak Groove (*Est. $25 for 20-oz. bottle) does exceedingly well in consumer reviews and receives a positive review from DailyHiker.com. Made of Tritan plastic, the CamelBak Groove features the same bite valve and general design as the CamelBak Better Bottle. While DailyHiker.com only indirectly compares the Groove to competitors, reviewer Sarah McIntyre states that while other filter bottles have missed the mark, "Overall, I was quite impressed with the Groove. It has provided an easy way to get good-tasting filtered water on the go."
The CamelBak Groove is also a favorite among user-reviewers on Amazon.com and Buzzillions.com. On Amazon.com, the bottle gets more than 100 reviews and averages more than 4 stars. Reviewers like that the bottle is spillproof, but one points out that at 0.6 liter the Groove may be too small for hikers or other athletes. Another reviewer suggests that the CamelBak Groove can be used just like the Better Bottle if you leave out the filter, making it a versatile option for sipping water or other beverages. Filters for this bottle need to be replaced approximately every two months or every 200 uses, and replacement filters are available in two-packs (*Est. $10) and six-packs (*Est. $25).
The Innova Water Filter Bottle (*Est. $16 for 27-oz. bottle) and the Clear Brook Portable Water Filter Bottle (*Est. $25 for 22-oz. bottle) are both selected in an About.com review of several such bottles, though neither receive any other professional reviews. The Innova bottle is squeezable and water flows through a two-stage filter in the cap as you drink, whereas the Clear Brook bottle is more rugged. According to the product's website, the Clear Brook removes 99.99 percent of contaminants in addition to lead, heavy metals, chlorine, and bad tastes and odors. About.com's coffee and tea guide Sean Paajanen says this filtering water bottle is rugged, and that the Lexan lid resists cracks and leaks. The Clear Brook is the only bottle that makes our list that filters water from natural sources such as rivers and streams.
Like the Innova Water Filter Bottle, the Bobble (Est. $10 for 18.5-oz. bottle) is a squeezable bottle that filters water through a sport cap. It offers a more curvaceous design and fashion colors for the more style-conscious, and the Bobble does well in consumer reviews even though credible professional reviews are unavailable. With more than 100 reviews on Amazon.com, the Bobble earns nearly 4 stars. While this rating can't compete with standard BPA-free bottles, it appears consumers are less pleased with filter bottles in general, so this is a relatively good rating. Consumers' complaints focus on the filter, which creates noise when you drink and limits the amount of water you can sip. User-reviewers like the Bobble for its stylish design and colors.