Best self-cleaning water bottle: CNET

Staying hydrated throughout the day is no easy feat. Whether you’ve just finished your workout at the gym, going on a short hike, or even running errands at the office, you need to make sure you’re drinking enough water. And the secret to a healthy and hydrated life is a great reusable water bottle that you can refill regularly. Reusable water bottles are also key to reducing your impact on the environment.

The downside is that you have to make sure you keep it clean or it can become a breeding ground for bacteria. Throwing it in the dishwasher every now and then can help, but the best way to keep the water inside is always fresh and safe is with a self-cleaning water bottle. Self-cleaning water bottles make sure your water is free of contaminants and ensure you never have to clean your water bottle by hand again.

Self-cleaning water bottles use UV technology to wipe out water-borne germs and keep them out of your drink, regardless of the water source. This is different filtered water bottleswhich use a variety of mechanisms to trap pathogenic microorganisms and sediment.

Three self-cleaning water bottles outside.

From left to right. CrazyCap, Mahaton, and Larq bottles are all UV-curable.

Amanda Caprito/CNET

The biggest difference between filtration and self-cleaning water bottles is that the UV technology used in self-cleaning bottles does not get rid of dirt and sediment. So while the bottles can kill viruses, bacteria and other microorganisms that can make you sick, they won’t filter out heavy metals or other particles like a real cleaning system can. However, it is better to provide clean water than traditional water dispensers or disposable plastic bottles.

For this reason, I decided not to test these self-cleaning water bottles outside. Instead, I used tap water to find out which self-cleaning bottles fit the bill. I also did most of my water drinking at home or in the office. So what is the best self-cleaning water bottle? Here are my thoughts. Ditch your plastic water bottle and start drinking from almost any water source, recklessly abandoning your own water purification system.


The CrazyCap bottle has two water purification modes: normal mode and “crazy mode”. According to CrazyCap, the normal mode kills up to 99.99% of contaminants and is suitable for “low to moderate contamination” such as from public water fountains and faucets. Crazy mode, on the other hand, kills up to 99.9996% of pollutants and is suitable for “higher than average pollution” such as from lakes and rivers. A normal cleaning cycle takes 60 seconds and a crazy cleaning cycle takes two and a half minutes.

CrazyCap also has a self-cleaning feature that turns on six times a day for 20 seconds. CrazyCap says this periodic exposure to UV rays prevents germ growth and odor, and it seems to work; after three days of use, I didn’t notice any smell or film inside the bottle. Additionally, the purified water from the CrazyCap bottle tasted significantly better than tap water from the tap.

The CrazyCap bottle is slimmer than others on this list, which I liked. It fits in my car cups as well as the mesh cups in my gym bag and backpack. It’s a bit taller than the Larq and Mahaton, so you might struggle to fit it in the top rack of your dishwasher.

Personally, I think the best thing about CrazyCap is that you can buy just the cap, which according to the website fits many different water bottles, maybe the ones you already own.

On a single filtered water bottle charge, the CrazyCap will last up to two months, but only if you leave it to self-clean. Manually starting the self-cleaning water bottle’s cleaning cycle affects refill time, though CrazyCap doesn’t specify by how much.


The Larq bottle also has two cleaning modes: normal and adventure. Normal mode cleans up to 99.99% of pathogens in 60 seconds, and Adventure mode cleans up to 99.9999% of water in three minutes. It doesn’t seem like much of a difference, but 0.0099% water filtration can make or break water that comes from a stream or other natural source.

You can activate the UV cleaning light whenever you want by pressing a button on top of the bottle, but the Larq also comes to life every two hours with a 10-second cleaning cycle. After three days of continuous use of the self-cleaning bottle, I didn’t notice any funky odors or film on the inside of the Larq bottle.

Lark was the only one of the three bottles that didn’t taste significantly better than my water. It tasted a bit cleaner, but I probably couldn’t tell the difference if someone tried it on me blind.

The Larq bottle is made of vacuum insulated stainless steel and keeps your safe drinking water cold for up to 24 hours. It is neat and aesthetically appealing. my only complaint was that there is no groove or curve to fit your hand. You can always get a handy travel sleeve to solve that problem.

A single charge of the Larq can provide you with up to two full months of use, assuming you send it through three to four cleaning cycles per day (on normal mode). If you use adventure mode, the charge will last up to 12 days.

Amanda Caprito/CNET

The Mahaton Self-Cleaning Water Bottle (available for pre-order for $44) features a single cleaning cycle that eliminates up to 99.99% of waterborne pathogens. After three days of near-constant use, the self-cleaning water bottle showed no signs of build-up—no weird odors, no crusty film.

Unlike the CrazyCap and Larq, the Mahaton bottle does not have an additional cleaning setting for bodies of water that may contain more contaminants, such as streams and other groundwater sources. For this reason, I would recommend using the Mahaton bottle only with indoor sources of drinking water unless the company releases a new bottle with an additional self-cleaning water bottle.

The Mahaton bottle features a sleek design with a beautiful double cone that makes it easy to hold. It’s made of double-sided stainless steel, so it’s durable and will keep your water cold for hours. It’s also small, so you shouldn’t have any trouble fitting the Mahaton bottle into cupboards or bags.

One fall? The Mahaton bottle only holds 12 ounces of water, which I can drink in seconds. Most people have to refill this water filtration bottle up to eight to 10 times a day to get the gallons they need, which is a lot of interruptions in your day.

The Mahaton bottle can last up to three weeks on a full charge, assuming you run the cleaning cycle up to four times a day. That’s a bit less than the CrazyCap and Larq, but not so short of a battery life that you feel burdened to charge the bottle.

Which self-cleaning water bottle is the best?

Honestly, all three of these water bottles did a great job of keeping themselves clean. After three days of drinking and constantly refilling and not washing my hands, none of these bottles smelled musty or had any film on the inside, two things my regular steel bottle often produces.

Larq, CrazyCap and Mahaton all use it UV-C light destroy all major aquatic pathogens; they’re all stainless steel water bottle options (no cheap plastic water bottles here), and all of these best self-cleaning bottle options have automatic cleaning cycles. Plus, all three are easy to use, and they all have battery alerts, so they’ll never die without warning.

I had almost no complaints with any of these self-cleaning bottles, and if you’re looking for an aesthetically pleasing bottle that cleans your water, any of the three will do the trick.

The only major difference between the three. Larq and CrazyCap both have two modes, while Mahaton only has one. If you plan to use your self-cleaning water bottle with outdoor water sources, you can choose the Larq or CrazyCap, as they have super-use modes that kill more microorganisms.

How do self-cleaning water bottles work?

Using self-cleaning water bottles UV-C light
kill bacteria
, viruses, protozoa and other microorganisms, destroying their DNA. UV light sterilizes both the water in the bottle and the inner surface of the bottle.

UV light serves as a convenient, mostly hands-free way to keep reusable water bottles clean without the need for chemicals or soap. Most self-cleaning water bottles, including the three featured in this article, also have all the features you’d look for in a regular reusable water bottle; ), and they are durable.

How did I test these self-cleaning water bottles?

I tested three UV-powered self-cleaning water bottles Lark bottleis CrazyCap bottle and the Mahaton bottle (which is on Kickstarter but is fully funded and already shipping) – using tap water from the kitchen sink in my apartment (my preferred water source).

I don’t usually buy bottled water and I don’t have a tap water filter, so I often drink this water straight. I thoroughly cleaned each bottle and charged them overnight to make sure they were ready for testing. I then used each bottle for three days instead of my usual reusable bottle.

What to look for in a self-cleaning water bottle?

There are six important factors to consider when choosing a bottle like this UV-powered water bottle: cleaning, taste, design, ease of use, capacity, and battery life. If you decide to get a self-cleaning water bottle, you want one that kills as many germs as possible, tastes good, is easy to store and transport, and lasts a decent amount of time on a single charge.

1. Cleaning. What does the bottle promise to get rid of and by what percentage? Also, how long does it take for the bottle to clear the water? Is there an autoclean feature? I also wondered how the bottle smelled and looked after three days of use.

2. Taste. How does the water taste after going through the purification cycle compared to my drinking water?

3. Design. What is the bottle made of and how convenient and easy is it to carry? Does it keep water cold?

4. Ease of use. How easy is it to install the bottle for the first use, clean and store it?

5. Capacity. How much water does the bottle hold? Are you constantly refilling it or will plain water last you for a while?

6. Battery life. How long does the bottle last (and how many cleaning cycles can it complete) on a full charge?

For readers thirsty for more!

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or health goals.

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