Technology has found a way to make basically any item ‘smart’ these days. Some of these items, like smartwatches, can actively make your life easier. Other items are just ‘nice to haves’. The latter is where I would rank a smart water bottle.
The Hidrate Spark Steel water bottle was announced at CES earlier this year. It scored an honorary innovation award for its smart features, the highlight of which is that it will remind you to drink throughout the day.
Most people probably don’t find it necessary to be reminded to drink water. But plenty of people suffer from headaches or discomfort due to dehydration. It’s so easy to go through a busy day and forget the little things like sipping on water.
So can a smart water bottle really fix all that?
The Hidrate Spark Steel is a nice water bottle. It’s made of stainless steel, it’s vacuum insulated and it’s not too heavy. Even without its smart features, it will keep your beverages cold for up to 24 hours with no condensation.
You have a bunch of customisation options at your disposal like different bottle colours, sizes and lid types. I tried the 600 mL (21 oz) black HidrateSpark Steel with a chug lid.
Functionally, I found the process of drinking from the bottle to be pleasant. The chug lid gave good flow, it kept my water cold and it was easy to carry in my bag. The lid also comes with a handy lock feature that ensures nothing leaks in your bag or escapes if you tip the bottle over.
When it comes to its smart features, the bottle is super easy to set up and use. Everything is done through the Hidrate Spark app which connects to a Bluetooth sensor in the base of the bottle.
This sensor is easy to attach and remove for cleaning and charging and the battery life on it is pretty impressive. I can easily go two-three weeks without having to charge it.
Once you connect your battle with the app you’re given a bunch of options such as water intake goals, notification frequency and a range of different glow colours. You can also connect the Hidrate App to other health tracking apps like Apple Health, Fitbit or Garmin which will track your exercise for the day and adjust your required water intake.
When it comes to actually reminding you to drink, the Hidrate Spark Steel glows every hour to remind you to take a sip and keep up with your water goals. The bottle tracks your water intake via a sensor in the base which weighs the fluid in the bottle each time you drink or fill it up. You can then see your progress in the app.
You can set up notifications to come through on your phone or just keep an eye on the bottle. I, for one, appreciate whoever came up with all the water-themed puns.
Beyond just reminding you to drink, water intake tracking itself is a handy feature. If you find yourself with a mysterious headache and wonder what’s causing it, checking on the amount of water you’ve had that day is a good way to find out. Sticking to your water goals also comes with nifty health benefits like healthier skin, better sleep and better weight management.
Sure, there are plenty of other apps that can help you do this, but having a bottle to track the water for you streamlines this process.
What’s not so good?
I didn’t have too many issues with my Hidrate Spark steel but there are a couple of downsides.
For starters, this is a nice bottle, but it’s not exactly $100 nice. Yeah, a decent water bottle can set you back these days, but the price hikes when you go for a smart bottle like this one. If you’re really into your water and tracking its progress, I’d say go for it, but most people won’t find it necessary.
The Hidrate Spark Steel is pretty easy to clean but you can’t just stick it in the dishwasher, unfortunately. You can and should clean it regularly, but to do so you’ll need to remove the sensor puck and wash it by hand.
The only other big downside to a bottle that tracks your intake, is that you have to bring it with you everywhere if you want to hit your goal. The app offers ways to manually add water to your day, which is great if you choose to drink from a glass at some point during the day. But then you have to remember to do that yourself. As someone who forgets to drink water, you can bet I will also forget to manually add my water intake.
It all comes down to this – did I drink more water thanks to the Hidrate Spark Steel?
The short answer is yes. You’d be surprised at how easy it is to fall behind on regular drinks of water and this bottle is designed to fix that. I appreciated that the Hidrate Spark would remind me to drink, even when my body wasn’t feeling desperately thirsty. It kept my water intake regular throughout the day so I no longer had to play catch up an hour before bed.
After a while, it also did help me form a subconscious habit to drink water regularly. I now find myself regularly drinking from the bottle before the alerts remind me to. I call that progress.
But all that being said, this bottle is not a necessity. Yes, it’s great if you’re constantly dehydrated and it will give you better insight into your drinking habits, but that doesn’t warrant a $100 price tag.
Like many smart items nowadays, it’s just a ‘nice to have’.