I want to start off this review with a disclaimer. Look, I haven’t reviewed something that wasn’t a movie in ages, but I figured with COVID-19 having me rely more and more on technology, why not review the latest smart water bottle that I have been using and absolutely loving?
For those unaware, HidrateSpark is a company focused on smart water bottles, launching originally off of a Kickstarter page with the goal to get people drinking more water and to do it in an innovative way that merges cutting-edge technology with valued rooted deeply in promoting a healthier way of life.
I found out about HidrateSpark when I purchased my previous water bottle, the HidrateSpark 3. I discovered this while scrolling through the smart accessories page over on Apple’s website and quickly decided that I wanted one of these as I was prepping for a surgery that would sideline me for a few months and require me to stay home, rest up and drink lots of fluids.
Up until this point, I’ve always struggled with drinking water. It’s not that I don’t drink it or that I drink too much of another fluid, but instead just me forgetting to continuously drink fluids throughout the day. I generally would drink one bottle of water from the point of me waking up until I came home from work, with that bottle mostly being consumed during my lunch break. Aside from that, I mostly went without liquids until dinner time or in the evening when I would eat a snack.
I quickly realized that this wasn’t nearly enough water and that my body needed more fluids to stay hydrated and refreshed.
The HidrateSpark 3 helped me increase my water consumption, while also giving me a cool new piece of smart tech to monitor, which is why I am creating this review for the all-new HidrateSpark STEEL, because it takes everything that worked within the HidrateSpark 3 and adds even more benefits, which I will underline below.
For starters, the HidrateSpark STEEL features an all-new stainless steel insulated design, which brings forth this new bottle’s key ingredients to success. It feels more durable than the previous generation and it promises 24-hours of cold water retention. One of my biggest complaints with my HidrateSpark 3 was the fact that my water would quickly lose its coldness and that I never felt like I was drinking something ice-cold unless consumed immediately after pouring.
I opted for the brushed stainless, which gives it a shiny, yet well-built look and feel. I was worried that it would be easy to scratch or damage, but after weeks of grabbing it and setting it down, including times when my keys or something sharp was in the same hand, I can confidently say that the bottle holds its look and feel without issue.
The bottle also comes in two sizes, with a 17-ounce option and a 21-ounce option, as well as a chug or straw lid. This again, is an improvement over the previous models as I always thought 17-ounces was a bit small and often found myself refilling throughout the day. As for the new straw configurations — I went with the chug, which was what was previously available and I find it odd trying to consume my water through a straw in this type of setting.
What does make this lid feel even better than before is the inclusion of an o-ring that helps make for a spill-proof lid. On more than one occasion, I would find myself refilling my HidrateSpark 3 and going for a sip, only to be greeted with water dripping down the side of the bottle from a poorly-sealed lid. This was never a huge issue, but one that would seem to happen out of nowhere and usually when I wasn’t in the mood for a random bath of water.
This new lid has yet to spill once, with the o-ring locking into place firmly during the twisting on of the lid. I can imagine that if the o-ring isn’t cared for that it might start to rip or break down over time, but I hope that isn’t the case as I really do enjoy being able to drink this bad boy without any worries.
To make the lid even better — the HidrateSpark STEEL comes equipped with a locking cap (finally!) that allows for a lock/unlock when needed. This is awesome and one of those features that you don’t really put too much thought into until you’ve accidentally opened the lid up when you were trying to grab it.
Lastly, one of the bigger features being shown off by HidrateSpark this go around is the rechargeable battery, which before was simply a battery that needed to be replaced every so often. I had my HidrateSpark 3 from January to July and had to replace the battery once, which cost less than $10 and took maybe 5 minutes to swap out.
The first charge on the rechargeable battery took a good three hours, but hasn’t given me any issues since. I can understand how this can be considered a major upgrade for those not into buying replacement batteries, but I’m honestly wondering if the “downtime” while charging is worse than just having a spare battery ready to swap as soon as the old one dies? Time will tell as I face my first recharge. As of writing this, the charging indicator appears to be pretty full (I’m not finding a spot for an actual percentage).
It’s also worth noting that the water-measuring sensor is much less invasive than the HidrateSpark 3, which was essentially a giant white rod going down the middle of your bottle. This new one is squeezed into the bottom part of the bottle, attached to the rechargeable battery. This makes the bottle look and feel even more high-tech.
I should probably also mention the fact that this new bottle comes with custom light-up configurations, with a wide variety of colors and patterns to set to your desired preference.
My previous HidrateSpark 3 was purchased from Apple, which meant that I got an exclusive black bottle with a red light-up effect, which was far more pronounced when shown (it lit up the whole bottle vs the HidrateSpark STEEL only lighting up a ring around the bottom of the bottle). But now I can set my desired color and pattern with ease, all in the free app provided by HidrateSpark.
The app is easy enough to use. You sync up your bottle up via Bluetooth and then calibrate it by emptying out the bottle, filling it up and letting the bottle work its magic. Your water intake is tracked through the app, allowing for a set goal or a varying one depending on things such as the weather and your activity level. You can even add water consumption manually if you forget to use your bottle. It’s also worth noting that HidrateSpark suggests setting down your bottle on a flat surface after you fill it up (to allow for a quick recalibration) and after taking long sips.
I generally found that it tracks what was drank within a minute or two and if not, close the app and reopen and you will see your newly consumed water levels in the history tab. Setting the bottle down after a refill takes maybe 20 seconds at most, but still feels slightly too long, although I assume this a technology limitation and not something they’d prefer to have. Maybe the next gen will recalibrate even quicker or not even need you to set the bottle down?
The biggest downfall of all HidrateSpark bottles is something that I rarely think about, but should mention as it could be a make or break situation for those seeking out a smart bottle. These bottles are only configured to work with water. These will not work with carbonated beverages or juice or any other drink that you’d want to smartly monitor. It is also not suggested for hot or warm beverages. To me, this isn’t a concern as I really only want to track my cold water intake, but to those that are maybe more into smoothie or protein shakes — this is definitely not the bottle for you.
The HidrateSpark STEEL starts at $59.99 and can be pre-ordered directly on HidrateSpark‘s website. As for my closing thoughts — I think this is a fantastic bottle and a worthy upgrade for those into the smart technology field, more specifically health and fitness. Part of the premium cost of a HidrateSpark bottle is its ease of use and simplistic approach to such important information.
I’m sure cheaper bottles could be found, but with far less polish and probably more required knowledge of the bottle and how it functions.
I prefer a bottle that requires minimal setup and then aside from that, just works. The HidrateSpark STEEL does that and is a worthwhile investment if you are on the market for a new bottle. The HidrateSpark 3 is available for the same exact price as an entry-level HidrateSpark STEEL, which makes me strongly suggest you look into the STEEL options. Of course, if you increase the size of your bottle you will notice an uptick in price, but even the most expensive HidrateSpark STEEL can be purchased for $64.99, which might seem excessive, but when considering all of the tech that they’ve managed to cram into this bottle, I would call it a steal and a piece of innovative technology that is only going to get better over time.