I am terrible at drinking enough water. I mean terrible. It’s a bit horrifying really.
Although I often get liquids through the food I eat, there have been evenings where I realize that I never drank a glass of water that day. Not one!
I think back on my health issues – chronic fatigue, muscle cramps, headaches, digestive issues, chronic inflammation, joint pain – and wonder how much of that is due to the fact that I am chronically dehydrated.
Water makes up at least two-thirds of the human body. It plays a large part in normal bodily functions, such as lubricating your joints, keeping your brain and eyes hydrated, flushing toxins from your cells, and facilitating proper digestion. Chronic dehydration can lead to diseases like high blood pressure and high blood sugar so it’s super important to get enough water.
I’ve tried for years to drink more water. The habit never sticks for more than a few days. Honestly, I love water once I actually pour some down my throat. However, my brain never thinks “water” when I’m thirsty and I get so caught up in daily life that I forget to drink anything at all.
I need to get healthy though an I know that starting with water – proper hydration – is important. I’ve proven again and again to myself that I just can’t make it happen on my own. I need help.
So, in an attempt to motivate and remind myself, I bought a “hydration” bottle. Well, I actually tried two of the leading bottles out there to see what I thought. These “smart” water bottles remind me to drink water and track my water consumption so I can know how much I’m getting.
HidrateSpark vs. MyHydrate Smart Water Bottles
What They Have in Common
I did a lot of research into what’w available out there as far as water bottles that track your intake. The two that I liked the best were HidrateSpark and MyHydrate.
There are several things these bottles have in common. They both:
- Improve health by encouraging you to drink more water
- Have some mechanism for alerting you when you are not drinking frequently enough
- Set water consumption goals for you
- Automatically adjust water consumption goals to ambient temperature
- Track water consumed in fluid ounces
- Help keep one-time-use plastic bottles from the landfill
- Have replaceable batteries
- Claim to be leak proof
- Are BPA Free
- Can go in the dishwasher (after the sensor is removed)
- Have a 30-day money back guarantee*
* MyHydrate says that they will only accept a return on unused bottles still in the package. That’s kind of dumb to me because you can’t even try it to see if you like it then. The return policy on the HidrateSpark bottle is a SATISFACTION guarantee so you can return it if you try it and don’t like it.
HidrateSpark Smart Water Bottle
OMG the HydrateSpark smart water bottle is pretty. It makes me feel healthier just looking at it.
The production of this bottle originated on Kickstarter in June 2015. They raised 17 times their original goal of $35,000 (which they met within the first 20 hours) and raised $627,644 from 8,015 backers. I was one of them.
The bottle contains a sensor stick that can “feel” or “see” how much water is in the bottle when it’s set on a flat surface. I don’t know the specifics but the bottle somehow combines the current level of the water with the volume of the bottle for their calculation. As you drink and then set the bottle back down on a level surface, it adds the amount of water now “missing” to the total you’re drank for the day.
I received my bottle in May of this year so I’ve had it for a couple of months. It was their first like production of the bottle (that went out to the public – they did a lot of testing before) and, I’ll be honest, there were problems. I won’t go into them but the bottom line is that they sent me a replacement bottle that worked much better.
I really want to love it but, although it was way better, the replacement bottle still didn’t work quite right. However, the HidrateSpark 2.0 bottles, with even faster syncing and brighter glow, are coming in December. I can’t wait to try one.
Here are my thoughts on version 1.0:
Advantages of HidrateSpark:
- Did I say it was pretty? 🙂
- Gives a visual clue to drink (lights up) and sends cleverly written notifications to your phone
- It holds 2 more oz. of water than the MyHydrate bottle
- It has mobile app that displays a graph showing your progress
- It shows you your daily goal in ounces of water
- The app keeps track of your hydration history to make sure that you stay on track each and every day
- You can pair the app with your Fitbit app so it will adjust your water intake goal according to your daily activity level
- You can connect with your friends and compete (None of my friends have this bottle yet so I couldn’t try this feature)
- Resets consumption to zero automatically every 24-hours
- You can manually add water/liquids you drink in case it’s not out of the bottle
- Comes in several fun and pretty colors
Disadvantages of HidrateSpark (based on the replacement bottle I received):
- HidrateSpark 1.0 is their “Beta” version and still has some kinks they need to work out
- There are issues connecting the bottle to the app – it sometimes takes a really long time or never connects (even when the phone is ON TOP of the bottle)
- The battery life can be significantly shortened depending on how many alerts you set or time it takes to connect to the app
- The reminder glow is short and soft so it’s easy to miss
- The bottle need to be in your line if sight to catch the glow reminder
- Inaccuracies occur when refilling the bottle – the water consumption always jumped up, sometimes by a few ounces and sometimes by up to 12 oz.
- The lid opens on a hinge that could fail or the lid could break off all together
- It’s slightly more expensive
MyHydrate Smart Water Bottle
UPDATED: July 14, 2017
I purchased the MyHydrate smart water bottle a few months ago. When I did, they had a couple of versions available on the website. I purchased the insulated stainless steel version. Apparently that was a limited edition and is no longer available. The only one available for purchase on their website now is a transparent white Tritan plastic bottle. It’s too bad because the insulated bottle helped keep my water cool.
This bottle uses simple technology to track your water intake. There are LED lights on the cal and illuminates every 8 oz. that you drink. However, I have no idea what it thinks my goal for the day is so I’m not sure if I’ve ever reached it. I do know that I’ve never drank enough water to make all of the lights on top glow.
UPDATE: Each light represents 8 oz. The bottle has 8 lights so that means the goal for the day, no matter your age or weight, is 64 oz.
A simple calculation is used to gauge how much water you are drinking. It estimates the water you’re drinking by combining the time the “open” button is depressed, the length of time the bottle is tipped on it’s side (it uses a pedometer-type piece to to know when that is), and the flow rate (the amount of water that can come out of the valve every second when tipped).
Here are my thoughts on the bottle:
Advantages of MyHydrate:
- The “how much water have you drank” calculation is mechanical and mathematical so there is less room for error
- You control when the consumption resets and it’s quick and easy to do.
- The reminder beep is loud enough to be heard in another room or if it’s inside of your gym bag.
- There is no lid to open and close – drink easily with a push of the button using one hand
- You can see your progress without having to look at your phone or wait for an app to connect
- You can purchase spa infuser to easily flavor you water with fruit (no extra fee if you buy a bottle now)
- Free shipping (currently)
Disadvantages of MyHydrate:
- It will spray you in the face when you open the valve if not careful – be sure to open it away from your face or while it’s in your mouth
- You’re “drinking in the dark” because you don’t know what your water goal is for the day
- Only tracks water every 8 oz so you don’t get the fun “game” component of seeing instantaneous feedback
- The integrated carrying loop/mouthpiece cover can get in the way of easy drinking
- The integrated clip seems kind of useless and, in fact, gets in the way a little when unscrewing and replacing the lid
- The audible beep can be annoying or disruptive in public, especially if you were at a meeting [drink enough water though and it won’t ever go off right? :)] UPDATE: The new version of the bottle has a quiet mode. The LEDs still flash to quietly remind you when it’s time to drink.
- You have to remember to manually reset your water consumption tally every 24 hours. UPDATE: The new version of the bottle will reset every 24-hours on it’s own. You can choose the time of day you want it to reset (say, 5 am every day) by pressing the reset button once at your desired time.
The Bottom Line
Am I drinking more water? Yes. Even though the HidrateSpark bottle is a bit inaccurate, and doesn’t always connect, the graph does always trend upwards. I at least know the goal I am shooting for and can adjust “upwards” of the goal number by drinking an extra glass of water if needed. Also, I like being able to add like “extra” water manually. I say get this if you want a pretty bottle, are a digital person, and like to treat drinking water like a game.
The HidrateSpark bottle is $54.95 and holds 24 oz. The bad news is that, at the time of this writing, the Version 1.0 bottle is sold out. You can pre-order the HidrateSpark Version 2.0 but it’s not estimated to ship out until December.
The MyHydrate bottle is like that helpful friend or your Mom – yells at you from the other room to “drink more water”. It may not be clear how much water I’m aiming for but it’s certainly clear on WHEN I need to drink. Get this if you want clear alerts of when you should drink, low-tech, and reliable consistency.
The MyHydrate bottle is $39.99 with free shipping and holds 22 oz. (UPDATE: The updated version of the bottle holds 26 oz.) This bottle is available now so, if you can’t wait until December, it’s your only option between the two right now.