Monday, July 29, 2019

S'well Bottle and Tumbler - worth the hype?

Am I a child? Yes, yes I am

Nothing makes me more skeptical than an absolutely ridiculous amount of hype surrounding what is a basic ass product. I'm more likely to wonder if it's just groupthink or meticulous branding (see: Glossier, Away) versus the item actually being extraordinary. For this reason, I've never really put the S'well bottle I've owned for four years to much use, thinking it was just a pretty but kind of heavy reusable bottle and grumbling about not being able to toss it (it was a farewell gift from a previous boss). Until recently, when I put some cold water in it before going out to swelter, then left it in my bag till the next day, and lo and behold, the water was as chilly as it was the day before! And then I started bringing hot tea around and it stayed hot! And it has never leaked! And it really does look quite good!

So I'll eat my words. I can't imagine a scenario where it will break, but I will absolutely plonk down another $35 to replace it if it happens.

(I'm aware that all the things I described are just basic functions of a thermos, but most thermoses I've owned don't look that nice, or features a detachable lid that leaks even if they say it won't, or keeps drinks colder/warmer for less time than advertised, which is why my threshold for wonder is so low at this point.)

Buoyed by the promise of the S'well Bottle, I purchased the 18oz Tumbler for at-home use. Reviewers claimed that it still manages to keep beverages hot/cold longer even without the lid, and I'm like what kind of magic is going on?! The Tumbler is essentially a tall cup made with the same materials — Therma-S'well technology, triple-walled yada yada — but I imagined the exposed water would still be subject to the law of thermodynamics. So I left a cup of icy cold water out overnight and drank it the next day. It was still cold.

Granted, it wasn't as cold as it would have been in the Bottle, but beverages in an open cup are usually consumed in a few hours anyway. For that particular use case, mind is blown. Water has frankly never been as delicious.

I own two Bottles and two Tumblers. The Tumblers and one of the Bottles are from the Shimmer collection and the other Bottle is from the Stone (not pictured because it's holding cold brew in my boyfriend's bag). The products in the Stone collection have a rough, sandpapery texture, and we do worry that it might be prone to scratching — either the bottle itself or the stuff that comes in contact with the bottle. If you do decide to get one, that might be something you want to take into consideration.

S'well bottles can be procured from:
S'well — $35 for a standard 17oz Bottle, $30 for 18oz Tumbler
Amazon — you can get them here for less but make sure they're genuine
Nordstrom — there's an anniversary sale version going for $23 right now!


  1. I've had ice cubes last overnight in my S'well bottle. Another brand I like that performs just as well is Corkcicle. Corkcicle has a slip proof silicon bottom that I like, S'well has better color options. With both I get the satisfaction that I am not using and disposing of plastic that might end up in the ocean, no matter how carefully I try to recycle it.

    1. Precisely! I’m trying to eliminate as much single use plastics as possible from my life. Researching compostable garbage cans and floss and reusable ziplocs bags. Sometimes I feel like my own actions must make such a small dent, but most of the time I’m optimistic that every little bit helps :)

  2. What i find annoying is the fact that:
    1/ it has a screw top which i find unpractical
    2/ you have to hold the id in your hands and therefore constantly use both hands
    3/ small opening: ie impossible to put big ice cubes in it
    4/ small opening bis: not easy to clean vs a bottle with a bigger opening

    My favorite bottles are Takeya. Perfect lid, love the handle, the colors, different sizes: the perfect bottle

    1. I’m glad you found an option that works for you! I happen to like the small opening part because I kept splashing water into my nose when using bottles with bigger openings (I know... it’s hard to believe but has happened enough times for me to swear them off), and I’m not a fan of straw type bottles. I also like this particular look :)

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