Who’d pay 50 bucks for a water bottle? I never thought I’d say this but, in the case of Klean Kanteen’s Insulated Classic, I would.
Trust me, I’m not a rich man by any stretch of the imagination, but no decent water bottle is cheap, and I haven’t had much luck in the past with other supposedly high-quality water bottles at all kind of price points.
This is my first stainless steel water bottle. I’d actually never considered using one before for a variety of reasons, which I’ll mention later in this post because they still stand as negatives. However, they’re far outweighed by all the positives.
Klean Kanteen is a family-owned business that’s been on a crusade against single-use plastic water bottles since they launched back in 2004. They believe that the eco-friendly stainless steel bottles they produce are part of the solution. Unfortunately, I’m not too hopeful that we’ll ever see the end of single-use plastic water bottles, but I’m glad there are companies providing an alternative.
Durability (Rating: 90%)
I don’t need to do things like drop tests because I’m incredibly clumsy. I owe some serious thanks to the inventors of Gorilla Glass because I drop my phone at least a handful of times every day. My water bottles are subjected to the same abuse.
I’ve tested this bottle for two months and yes it does have a few minor scuffs on it, but being stainless steel it hasn’t met the same demise as many of my old plastic water bottles (like the supposedly unbreakable Nalgene). Having said that, I’m sure it would have some dings in it had I dropped it from a greater height or with more water inside, or onto rockier surfaces. So far so good, though.
As the title suggests, I’ve been testing the Brushed Stainless option. If you decide to buy one yourself, I’d recommend going with the same because it doesn’t show signs of abuse as easily as the coloured versions. Reading reviews on Amazon and elsewhere suggests that the paint tends to scratch, as would be expected.
Klean Kanteen also covers their products with a lifetime warranty, so you can conclude that they’re pretty sure this bottle is sticking around for a while.
Ease of Use (Rating: 90%)
For hiking or everyday use, it’s hard to fault the Klean Kanteen that I’ve been testing. It doesn’t sweat when there’s cold water inside, so it’s not going to cause issues with dampness in your backpack. It’s narrow enough to fit in my car drink holders too, which hasn’t been the case with any of my previous water bottles. The rounded lip feels nice to drink out of and the size of the mouth makes it easy to sip from without any spillage.
Cyclists or runners might not find it so easy to drink from. However, there a sports cap can be purchased for about an extra 10 bucks if that’s a problem.
This offering from Klean Kanteen has a very crucial point of difference over most water bottles on the market – it’s insulated.
They claim it can keep liquid hot for 12 hours and iced for 24 hours. I can confirm that I had a nice cuppa out of mine after 12 hours, but I didn’t test how far beyond that it would be drinkable.
On the other end of the scale, I think they were being conservative with their 24-hour promise. I found that there were still chunks of ice present at the 24-hour mark, and water remained cold for at least 3 days. Admittedly, Melbourne isn’t terribly warm at the moment, but during that testing, the bottle was left on my front car seat for about 7 hours on a sunny day.
By the way, don’t even think about putting this bottle in the freezer. It may blow the bottle out of shape and it will void your warranty. The mouth is wide enough that you’ll have no trouble getting ice cubes into it.
Taste (Rating: 95%)
One of the reasons I had never tried a stainless steel water bottle before was that I assumed there would be a metallic taste to the water.
If you search around, you’ll find that most reviews online say that this is the case with Klean Kanteen’s bottles. However, I haven’t found that to be a problem with mine.
Taste is something that’s fairly subjective, obviously, so maybe I just don’t taste metals as strongly.
I do wonder, though, if there’s an element of psychology to it as well. It’s obvious when you put your lips to a stainless steel bottle that you’re drinking out of metal. I wonder if this triggers something that can be perceived as taste. The sense of smell could also come into it.
Either way, I haven’t experienced a metallic taste at all, even when water was left in the bottle for more than a day.
Cleaning (Rating: 70%)
The Insulated Classic is unfortunately not dishwasher safe, so handwashing is the only way. The design makes it pretty easy to clean, though, since all corners are rounded and the thread for the cap is very wide. For thorough cleaning, a bottle brush can easily be inserted into the wide mouth.
One of the other things that have previously put me off stainless steel water bottles is that you can’t see through them, meaning I’ll never really know exactly how clean it is. This is obviously a downside, but I guess I’ll just have to make sure it gets a regular, thorough wash.
Weight (Rating: 80%)
It’s made of metal so it’s gotta be heavy, right? Well, yes, but maybe not quite as heavy as you’d think.
The Insulated Classic comes in at just under 350 grams. Compare that to my old wide-mouth Nalgene bottle at 180 grams and I guess it’s something worth considering. You just have to weigh everything up and decide how much difference that 170 grams is really going to make.
If you’re someone who likes to bring a thermos of coffee or tea on your hikes, you’ll have a hard time finding a thermos that weighs less than 400 grams.
What I like
- Doesn’t sweat or leak.
- Well insulated for a bottle of its size and weight.
- I don’t notice a metallic taste.
What I don’t like
- Coloured bottles have been known to scratch (go with Brushed Stainless)
- Can’t see inside to be sure of cleanliness (but maybe that’s just me).
- Cost (although I’m pretty sure I’ve spent a couple of hundred bucks on dodgy bottles over the last few years).
- Weight is an issue if you pack super-light.
The 20 oz / 600 ml Klean Kanteen Classic Insulated water bottle is available online from Tentworld.
I was provided with a Klean Kanteen to review. The above links are affiliate links. As usual, this has no influence on the opinions presented here.
It’s fair to say that the Klean Kanteen has converted me. What do you think? Please let us know by commenting below.