In an ideal world, I’d drink 8 glasses of water every day. My skin would glow, my eyes would be bright, and “you seem dehydrated…” wouldn’t be the familiar refrain it is from every aesthetician or hairstylist I see. The problem is, even in the arid California heat, it’s hard to choke all that water down in a day. I feel like I’ll float away by the time I get to 4 or 5 glasses. But every day that I fail to meet my goal, I imagine my blood thickening, slowing its course to my brain… making me tired, and causing headaches. The more I read the Internet, the worse it gets: Did you know water helps to prevent kidney stones, cure constipation and fight UTIs?! According to WebMD, “Being even 1% dehydrated can cause a significant drop in metabolism.” In other words, too little water could make a body fat. I even argued with a friend one night because he insisted that too much water is dangerous. What planet is he on? I thought. The more water, the better. Right? RIIIGHT?
According to experts, I could be all wet. Turns out the amount of water you need depends on your weight and activity level. Yes, those eight to ten glasses I’ve been forcing down may be way more than I need. In fact, too much water can cause a condition called “hyponatremia” that makes your blood sodium level drop too low, and kill you. (Um, what now?). I’m sure I’m far FAR out of the too-much-water zone, but there has to be a better way to deal with this confusing water intake issue.
Enter these three smart water bottles. They connect to a smartphone app, personalize your water consumption goals and help you stay on the road to perfect hydration. Frankly, at first glance they seem totally goofball and extraneous— must everything be smart now? I tested one for a week and found some aspects intriguing. Let’s discuss.
The Hidrate Spark bottle basically looks like a regular, hard plastic water bottle (of the BPA-free variety), and holds 24 ounces. But don’t put anything hot in it because it’s got a sensor inside! That delicate technology syncs with Hidrate’s app to tell you when you’re drinking enough. In fact, when you are drinking enough, the bottle glows, the way you’re supposed to do when you’re properly quenched. So how does Hidrate “know” how much water you need? It’s app takes into account variables such as your age, weight, height, and even the local weather. It syncs with a long list of well-known fitness trackers to account for how much you’re exercising. And if you misplace it, the app will help you geolocate it! The whole shebang was developed by a University of Minnesota student, Nadya Nguyen, and her team, who brought the product to Kickstarter, then to market…and are currently sold out—at $55 a pop. Does it work? Some reviewers note that the glow hardly shows and the lid seems cheap for the price. The batteries don’t need charging, but they do require annual replacement, price TBA. It’s pretty big to hold, too.
- Ounces: 24
- Plug-in or batteries? Non-rechargeable batteries
- What’s cool: Its large capacity and assortment of frosted colors
- What’s not: The waitlist to get one
Pryme Vessyl was co-developed by a surgeon, which means they know a thing or two about the human body. In gleaming white, with its LED line on the side and ocean-blue lid liner, it looks very iOS. Explainer: It was engineered by someone who worked on the iPod and iPad. In fact, it’s exclusively sold by Apple.
This is the device I tested for a week, and here’s what I found: As a biometrics fan, I had fun plugging my personal info into the app and getting a water prescription. I liked seeing how many cups it took for me to get to “Pryme” hydration (get it?), and when it made a game of sending me alerts when I fell below optimal levels. If I had been wearing a Jawbone or Apple Watch, Vessyl would customize my hydration needs hour by hour based on exercise and other health readings.
Cool as that was, the thing I had the toughest time with was getting the lid on and off to refill— it was a bit tricky— and I had to have to charge the Vessyl every two days. Not a huge deal (it has a cute saucer it rests on), but I felt a little embarrassed about plugging in what’s essentially my water bottle (the word “ridiculous” comes to mind). It’s also smaller than some of its competitors, so while it’s more comfortable to hold, I felt like I was constantly filling it.
- Ounces: 16
- Plug-in or batteries? Plug-in, requires charging every two days
- What’s cool: The seamless, Zen-meets-Apple design
- What’s not: It’s $99. For a cup.
Grokinglab’s Ozmo won’t attract stares at the gym. It basically looks like a regular water bottle. Its series of lights tell you whether you’re dehydrated or if you’ve met your hydration goal for the day. All that said, it’s large for a bottle with a mere 16-ounce capacity. Some reviewers say that its top feels flimsy for such a pricey contraption. But here’s the big plus: this bottle can hold hot drinks as well as cold. Ozmo was designed with coffee drinkers in mind, and can help you track your “caffeine goals.” Note that the promotional video promises three versions (Ozmo Java, Ozmo Java+ and Ozmo Active), but only Ozmo Active appears to be currently available. That said, all three can hold coffee. The big differences among them are their shape and the addition of a warmer with the Java+. Ozmo’s app works with iOS or Android, but note that with Android, it’s optimized for Samsung only. The unit plugs in to charge, and a single charge lasts over a week.
- Ounces: 16
- Plug-in or batteries? Plug-in
- What’s cool: It holds hot beverages
- What’s not: The $79.99 price tag
In the end, these are fun contraptions, but they’ll only work if you pick them up and use them regularly. I found it tough to remember to keep it with me, so sometimes I was drinking water that wasn’t being accounted for (I wasn’t going to plunk my smart cup down on the table!). I love the idea of knowing how hydrated I am, personally, at all times, I’m just not sure if it’s a better-enough mousetrap to spend the money.
Would a smart bottle make a splash in your life? Tell me about it in the comments!