Owala FreeSip Water Bottle Review

Owala’s FreeSip Water Bottle gives you the choice to sip or swig—no unscrewing required.

Our Verdict

7.8 /10
Good info

Form

73/100

Design

83/100

Value

77/100
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Pros

  • Having a sip or swig option is convenient
  • Handle blends in seamlessly
  • Fairly easy to clean

Cons

  • Soft plastic may be prone to blemishes over time
  • Taking a swig from two outlets feels strange at first
  • Some parts can be hard to take apart
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Technical Details

  • Capacity

    24oz

    Also comes in 19 oz and 32 oz

  • Weight (oz)

    15.2 oz (430.9 g)

  • Dimensions

    3.42 in x 10.66 in (8.7 x 27.1 cm)

  • Notable Materials

    Stainless Steel, Plastic

  • Manufacturing Country

    China

  • Warranty Information

    Owala Warranty

Buying Options

Brand
Price
Deal
REI Logo
$24.69 

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Amazon Logo
$49.12 

Full Review

Owala’s FreeSip Vacuum Water Bottle is more than just a colorful bottle that catches the eye. It’s a solidly built insulated bottle with an ace up its sleeve: the option to take a sip or swig. Either way, you won’t have to unscrew or switch caps to choose.

Owala FreeSip Vacuum Water Bottle In Use 2
Owala FreeSip Vacuum Water Bottle | It’s a colorful one, isn’t it?

We think this feature is enough to distinguish the FreeSip from the ever-growing crowd of insulated bottles. It’s got the looks and killer features. Now, let’s see if it can stick the landing.

Materials & Aesthetic

Be honest; were you drawn here because of the eye-catching colorway? If so, you’re not alone. We think the rad combo of orange, yellow, green, and blue can turn heads a mile away. Yes, we’re huge fans of a black-on-black color scheme, but we also have a soft spot for saturated, multi-colored gear. Maybe they remind us of our beloved childhood Fisher-Price toys.

Owala FreeSip Vacuum Water Bottle In Use Brand
Owala FreeSip Vacuum Water Bottle | The soft plastic is prone to blemishes.

If it’s not your style, worry not; there are plenty of colorway options to choose from. You have tamer options like “Very, Very Dark,” “Greyt,” and “Shy Marshmallow.” Or if you want something that pops just as much as our “Ride or Dye” variant, there’s also “Smooshed Blueberry,” “Hint of Grape,” and “Hyper Flamingo.” In case you were wondering, yes, all the colorways have clever names.

Oh, and the model we have is made out of stainless steel (and BPA-free plastic). However, there’s also a Tritan lineup with its own set of colorways. You lose the triple layer insulation, but it’s lighter weight and a see-through.

With the FreeSip family tree out of the way, let’s talk about build quality.

Owala FreeSip Vacuum Water Bottle In Use Body
Owala FreeSip Vacuum Water Bottle | The bright colors just pop, especially when paired with a black bag.

As mentioned earlier, the main body is comprised of stainless steel with a matte finish. Meanwhile, the cap has a soft, plastic finish. We’re not entirely sure of the material, but if we had to guess, it’s a silicone layer on top of stainless steel or plastic. We’ve found this layer to be somewhat susceptible to damage. On our sample, a small blemish has already appeared just above the debossed logo. Fortunately, it’s nothing to worry about, and it’s barely noticeable.

That aside, the FreeSip is built fairly solid, which is what we expect with insulated stainless steel bottles. None of the moving parts squeak or flex worryingly or annoyingly. You’d think that’s a given, but we’ve reviewed bottles that exhibit those characteristics, so we make sure to check.

Usage & Features

The FreeSip comes apart like most other insulated bottles. You first unscrew the cap and then disassemble it into individual parts. In FreeSip’s case, the cap can be broken down into the main cap assembly, the sub cap, the silicone gaskets, and the straw.

Owala FreeSip Vacuum Water Bottle In Use Parts
Owala FreeSip Vacuum Water Bottle | A sub cap can also be removed, but it’s tricky to pull off.

Maintenance is fairly easy since no part is so small that it can be sucked down the drain. The trickiest part is separating the sub cap from the main cap. Gunk buildup in the gaps between the two pieces is possible, though we’ve yet to see any on ours. Separating the two parts needs a considerable amount of force, something we feel weird doing. Alternatively, a thin cleaning brush gets the job done for us, so we’re letting it slide.

Owala FreeSip Vacuum Water Bottle In Use Cleaning
Owala FreeSip Vacuum Water Bottle | The wide opening makes cleaning and inserting ice easy.

The bottle’s wide opening is good for ease of maintenance, and it’s also great for large ice cubes. Owala claims that the FreeSip can keep drinks cold for up to 24 hours. Your mileage may vary depending on how much ice you use, the type of drink, and how warm your environment is. In our experience, our cold water with a handful of ice cubes stays cold for more than a day in a fairly cool office setting.

In case you were wondering, hot drinks aren’t really suitable for the FreeSip, mainly because the straw isn’t designed for it.

Owala FreeSip Vacuum Water Bottle | Flipping the handle is an extra step before you can take a sip.

So how does the FreeSip open? First, you have to flip the handle (that’s the blue part) away, then press the lid’s button. The lid then automatically pops open, revealing the two-hole opening.

You have two options when it comes to drinking from the FreeSip. You can either sip from the lower opening that’s connected to the straw or take a swig from the larger opening above it. The first option is simple enough, though the latter may take some getting used to.

Owala FreeSip Vacuum Water Bottle In Use
Owala FreeSip Vacuum Water Bottle | Sip or swig?

When we take a drink from the larger opening, some of the water also flows out of the other opening. This creates a somewhat strange sensation of drinking from two sources. Thankfully, it’s not off-putting, and we got used to it eventually.

Carrying the FreeSip around is quite convenient as well. Not only are the sides flattened for extra grip, but the aforementioned handle is comfortable to hold, too. We also appreciate that it’s designed to stay out of the way once it’s folded down. Some water bottles have their handles sticking out, creating extra, unnecessary bulk.

Pro tip: Use the handle to secure the bottle to your backpack’s external loop!

Owala FreeSip Vacuum Water Bottle In Use Table
Owala FreeSip Vacuum Water Bottle | We also like that the handle stays out of the way when not needed.

Having both the option to sip and swig is something you can technically do with most bottles with built-in straws. What distinguishes the FreeSip is that you don’t have to unscrew the main cap to take a swig—you can pretty much do it on the fly. It’s a subtle detail, but it’s efficiency we’re happy to have when we travel.

Usage Timeline

Initial Usage

Condition: Excellent

  • Both sip and straw functionality is handy for those who like both
  • Lid takes a few steps to get into but is easy to use
  • Fun, eye-catching colors
2 Weeks of Use

Condition: Excellent

  • Straw and chug combo is super convenient and requires no effort to switch between
  • Carry handle stays out of the way until you need it
  • A few blemishes on the lid, but nothing too visible
  • Easy to clean
mm
By Lauren Maternowski
Created May 26, 2022 • Updated September 23, 2022
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