How Do You Tell If Your Water Bottle Is Aluminum or Stainless Steel?

How Do You Tell If Your Water Bottle Is Aluminum or Stainless Steel?

Aluminum and stainless steel water bottles may look very similar. However, they have many differences when it comes to safety, insulation, durability, and a lot more. So, how do you tell if your water bottle is aluminum or stainless steel? Which one is better?

How Do You Tell If Your Water Bottle Is Aluminum or Stainless Steel?

When it comes to appearance, stainless steel looks shiny and aluminum has a duller texture. An aluminum water bottle is lighter than stainless steel. Stainless steel is also sturdier than aluminum. Additionally, stainless steel bottles are considered safer than aluminum because they will not leach any chemicals into your water.

Another difference between them is the cost. Some stainless steel water bottles are cheaper than aluminum bottles. High-quality stainless steel is more expensive. Aluminum water bottles should not be washed in the dishwasher because of their delicate protective layer. Some stainless steel bottles can be washed in the dishwasher, but it’s still better to wash them by hand.

A hiker sitting against a large boulder while holding a stainless steel water bottle

Comparison Between Aluminum and Stainless Steel Water Bottles

Choosing between aluminum and stainless steel water bottles might be tricky if you will just base your decision on their looks. The inside of these two water bottles has a lot to say about their differences. These differences may help you identify which water bottle is better.


Nowadays, stainless steel and aluminum water bottles come in very stylish and modern designs. Before, people preferred aluminum bottles because they look better than stainless steel ones. However, because of the rising knowledge and demand of people for stainless steel, they improved their designs even more. 

Stainless steel water bottles come in a more modern and simpler style than aluminum. It also comes in solid single-tone colors or two-tone gradients, like the Hydro Cell stainless steel water bottle


Most stainless steel bottles come in 18/8 food-grade material. It is also the reason why these bottles are safer than aluminum. 18/8 means stainless steel water bottles are made of 18% chromium and 8% nickel. These two elements are known to be durable and non-corrosive. 

Aluminum bottles should be lined with BPA-free protective lining. Cheap aluminum bottles may easily leach chemicals onto your water.


Stainless steel water bottles are non-corrosive and non-reactive. It means that it will have small to no negative effect on your drinks as long as it is made of high-end materials. Aluminum bottles can have plastic, resin, and enamel as their protective lining. These materials may react to your drinks and cause negative effects on your body in the long run.

Therefore, when it comes to safety, stainless steel bottles are considered to be generally safer to use. 

Two women holding hands and carrying water bottles


Since both of these bottles are made of metal, they are generally more durable compared to plastic and glass. However, stainless steel water bottles are considered more durable because they can withstand greater impacts and even high temperatures. Most stainless steel water bottles are 100% BPA-free as well. 

Though aluminum water bottles are durable outside, they cannot withstand very high temperatures. It will soften at 400 degrees Fahrenheit and above. 


Stainless steel water bottles are heavier than aluminum. This is because of the double-walled insulation and sturdier build of stainless steel bottles. Though aluminum water bottles are lighter than stainless, it does not make them too perfect for your outdoor activities because they provide no insulation.

Which Water Bottle to Choose?

Knowing the similarities and differences between the aluminum and stainless steel bottles will help you identify which one is better. If you are planning to buy one, here are some other facts that may help you choose between the two water bottles. 

Stainless Steel Water Bottle

  • Stainless steel does not need an extra line of protection from chemical leaching.
  • It does not have phthalates that can damage the reproductive system, liver, and kidneys.
  • It can survive temperatures above 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • It does not rust.
  • Low-grade stainless steel water bottles may also cause water to taste like metal.
  • It can keep your drinks cold or hot for longer hours because of its vacuum seal and insulation.
  • It can keep your water cold for about 12 hours and your coffee hot for about 8 hours.
  • Condensation or sweating will not be a problem at all. 
  • The powder coating will also help you get a good grip on your water bottle.
  • Most stainless steel water bottles come with an extra lid to help you use them according to your activity.
  • It is easier to clean than the aluminum water bottle. It is also available in a wide-mouth water bottle.

Aluminum Water Bottle

  • It cannot withstand high acidity. Acids can melt their inner protective lining which may result in leaching.
  • It is not 100% recyclable.
  • It should always be washed by hand to properly clean its mouth, neck, and bottom.
  • Harsh cleaning and brushing may also cause bruises inside the bottle which can also lead to leaching.
  • It can make your water taste like metal or rust.
  • Aluminum water bottles are odor resistant.
  • Some aluminum bottles are shock-resistant and can withstand deformation or denting. 
  • It sweats if you put some cold water or ice in it which can make it harder to carry.
  • It is good to use for hot or cold beverages but it has a temperature limitation.
Woman holding a teal and white stainless bottle

Related Questions

Can You Taste Stainless Steel?

You cannot taste stainless steel because it does not have any metal taste. Some metals can naturally combine to form stainless steel molecules and alloys. Because of this, there is a rare case that you will be able to taste the metal in your stainless steel water bottle.

Is Stainless Steel Water Bottle Toxic to Humans?

Stainless steel water bottles are not toxic to humans because they are BPA-free, plastic-free, and phthalate-free. High-quality stainless steels are the safest water bottles to drink from. When it comes to reusable water bottles, it is better than plastic and aluminum bottles.


Aluminum and stainless steel bottles may look almost the same. However, there are tons of important differences between them. Having the right kind of water bottle can keep you safe and healthy.

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