Kleen Kanteen Stainless Steel Water Bottle

Concept: 3 out of 5
Execution: 3 out of 5
Yeah, but: "Although we are constantly exploring the subject, currently there is no direct evidence..."

The Long Version: Yes, BPA. I'd have to say it eventually, so I might as well start there. Canada has recently listed Bisphenol A as a toxic chemical and has banned it from plastic baby bottles. But in a press release, Canada writes: 'The preliminary research tells us the public should not be concerned. In general, most Canadians are exposed to very low levels of bisphenol A in polycarbonate. It does not, therefore, pose a significant health risk.'

Everyone's buying stainless steel bottles anyway. Those who know me know that I'm not overly into health scares or health in general, but like a magpie, I like shiny things. A stainless steel water bottle is perfect for me. Pictured is the Kleen Kanteen 12oz / 500ml model, but I usually use the 27oz / 800ml model.

As far as water bottles go, this one works very well, and is my favourite of the designs that I've seen and used regardless of material. The diameter is comfortable to hold - it fits standard bike bottle holders - and the mouth has a lip on it that's comfortable to drink from. (Although it is prone to splashing when I drink while walking.) It's easy to fill, easy to clean, seals well, and it's not as bulky as plastic. There are different cap styles available, meaning that I was able to mix-and-match to get the loop top that I like, an it can be replaced if the seal ever gives out. But one major difference between plastic and metal is that it's an excellent heat conductor, so cold water warms to room temperature quickly, and hot beverages are outright dangerous. Be careful washing it. (My suggestion for cleaning it is to use cool water and a small amount of mouthwash instead of detergent.)

I used think that there's a slightly metallic taste to the water, but eventually I figured out that there's a metallic taste to the bottle. It seems obvious now that I say it; the water itself tastes just the way it does after being run through my Brita filter, even after sitting in the bottle overnight. But the bottle is magnetic, which marine-grade stainless steel isn't. I don't know if that means that the bottle could eventually rust, but since I'd update this review if it did, you can assume that it hasn't happened yet. (For what it's worth, I've been using it since 22 May 2008.) Otherwise I have no complaints: it's a solid product in a utilitarian and useful way.

It's my review, so I'll rant if I want to: I've never understood the idea of paying for Bottled Water: take something that's essentially free, add some marketing, incur some distribution costs, and all of a sudden it's selling for more than fossil fuels. I thought the idea was dumb years ago, but it's a market that reached what I can only hope is the pinnicle of self-parody with "Fiji Water." To quote the company, the source is "Far from pollution. Far from acid rain. Far from industrial waste." According to Pedro, each litre of water produced 'consumes' (read: contaminates) 6.74L of water. And Oxfam's report says that 53% of Fijians are "without sustainable access to improved water." More people in major cities in North America have access to safe water from Fiji than the people in Fiji do. How is that not a scandal?

Updated June, 2010: I've bought a couple of other stainless bottles since this review was originally written, but they sit in the cupboard while the two Kleen Kanteens are still in almost daily use. They've held up remarkably well, with no signs of deterioration of either the metal bottle or plastic cap. There's been some minor scuffing and scratching, of course, but it looks new enough that a couple of my co-workers had to find different colours when they bought their own. So after two years, I still think that these Kleen Kanteen bottles have gotten just about everything right, and have yet to see anything better.


  1. I love the bottled "spring water" labels that confess to being from a city tap in the fine print.
    As a DietDr.Peppery caffiene addict it didn't take me very long to realize that I was already paying for plastic bottles w/caps of several sizes and that the local water that I also love to drink was practically free.
    Keep the bottles, throw them away, ditch full ones if they're too heavy, doesn't matter because we are already into the green.

    If you wait 20-30 minutes or so after the last flush, opening your kitchen faucet to a trickle will give you some pretty clean and tasty water with no bubbles or cloudiness since that crap has had time to settle-out in the pipes.


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