With reports from Jennifer Blair

BestReviews’ Parch Madness began with 16 popular water bottles, facing off in a bracket-style competition. After two rounds, the field has narrowed to the four best water bottles the BestReviews Testing Lab tried out, and we’re close to finding the top water bottle. 

And just as with the NCAA’s basketbll March Madness, the Final Four is when Parch Madness gets more intense. After testing the top four bottles based on key criteria, two more bottles have been eliminated to reveal the top two contenders that will face off next week for the championship.

Parch Madness Bracket

What makes a great water bottle?

The BestReviews’ Testing Lab evaluated the water bottles in the Parch Madness competition based on seven key features that determine how well a bottle performs. The competitors received a score of 1 to 5 in each category, and the bottles with the highest overall score won each matchup.

The highest-scoring bottles feature a fully leakproof design that lets you take them on the go without worrying about water getting everywhere. They’re also easy to sip from, so you can drink even when walking or working out.

The Lab also considered how long a bottle can keep water cold, with the best competitors chilling water all day. Water bottles also earn higher scores for fitting easily in most car cupholders, resisting wear and tear, having a reasonable price and being easy to clean. 

Takeya Actives Insulated Water Bottle vs. Owala FreeSip

Takeya Actives Insulated Water Bottle vs. Owala FreeSip

These water bottles are highly effective at keeping water cold all day and feature a leakfree design that makes them perfect for sipping while on the move. They’re also reasonably priced for water bottles durable enough to last for years.

Takeya Actives Insulated Water Bottle: This sports water bottle features rubber cylinders in the lid that ensure leakproof sipping. The drinking cap easily twists open but stays attached to make drinking even easier. The bottle is highly effective at keeping water cold, holding onto ice for up to 24 hours, even when exposed to direct sunlight for periods. It may not fit smaller cupholders, though. It retails for $26.39. In earlier action: defeated HydroJug and Larq Self Cleaning Water Bottle. Sold by: Amazon and Home Depot


Owala FreeSip: This water bottle boasts a unique design that lets you sip through a straw or chug through a wide-mouth opening without changing the lid. It opens with the press of a button, so it’s extremely easy to sip from, too. It also has triple-walled stainless steel insulation to keep water cold for up to 24 hours. It is fairly tall, though, so it may topple over in some cupholders. It costs $21.99-$37.99. In earlier action: defeated the Yeti Rambler and HydroFlask. Sold by: Amazon

Who won: The Owala has the edge. While both bottles do an excellent job keeping water cold and preventing leaks, the Owala stands out for its cap design and ability to withstand wear and tear. 

Stanley Cup Quencher H2.0 FlowState Tumbler vs. Contigo Ashland 2.0 Water Bottle

Stanley Cup Quencher H2.0 FlowState Tumbler vs. Contigo Ashland 2.0 Water Bottle

These water bottles are both excellent for travel. However, the Stanley is made of sturdy stainless steel, while the Contigo is constructed from lightweight plastic. 

Stanley Quencher H2.0 FlowState TumblerThis insulated tumbler has a tall straw that makes it easy to sip from even when on the go. It can keep water cold all day and effectively holds onto ice. It is also easy to clean and fits in most cupholders. It can get scratched somewhat easily, though, and leaks through the straw sometimes. It retails for $40-$66. In earlier action: defeated Simple Modern Insulated Tumbler and Nalgene Sustain BPA-Free Water Bottle. Sold by: Dick’s Sporting Goods and Amazon


Contigo Ashland 2.0 Water Bottle: This water bottle has an autospout design that prevents leaks and makes it easy to sip from without spills. It is dishwasher-safe, so it’s effortless to clean. It also holds up well to everyday wear and tear. It doesn’t keep water cold as long as stainless steel bottles, though. It retails for $18. In earlier action: defeated Zulu Swift Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Water Bottle and W&P Porter Glass Water Bottle. Sold by: Amazon

Who won: The Contigo takes this matchup. Its design prevents leaks more effectively than the Stanley and it costs far less. It’s also easier to sip from on the move.  

What’s next

Next week, these two Parch Madness winners face off for the championship. The winner of that showdown will be crowned the BestReviews Parch Madness Champion. We’ll also look at the best water bottles by category, including the best bottle to take to the gym and the best bottle for outdoor use. 

Here’s the full schedule. Return to this page for each update.

  • Thursday, March 16 – Sweet 16: Round 1 winners.
  • Monday, March 20 – Elite 8: Round 2 winners.
  • Monday, March 27 – Final Four: Round 3 winners.
  • Monday, April 3 – Championship – and the best water bottles by category.

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Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.

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