With its sleek design and hidden powers, this smart water bottle is a step above your YETI or S’well. And while I was skeptical of the $99 price tag, I have to admit, it's worth the investment. At first glance, the LifeFuels water bottle looks like your standard fancy bottle. Half of the vessel is occupied by a black base (which is where the magic lives), while the top plastic portion holds your water. On its own, the bottle holds 500 milliliters (just over two cups) of H2O, but that’s not really what separates this bottle from the rest. Read on to learn more.
Shop now: LifeFuels water bottle ($99)
The app gamifies drinking water
To make the most out of the smart water bottle, you’ll want to pair your LifeFuels bottle with its companion app, which does a great job of gamifying your water intake habits. If you’re like me and a sucker for achievement badges and positive reinforcement, the LifeFuels app is exactly what you need to stay on track. After pairing your charged bottle (it took me about an hour to get to full charge) with the app, you’ll be guided through a setup process that takes into consideration your gender, weight, and age in order to determine how much water you should be drinking. From there, the bottle will automatically keep tabs on how often it’s being filled and emptied, and let you know—via an Apple Watch Activity Ring-style interface—how much you’ve had to drink, and how much you need to hit your goals. As a 5-foot, 2-inch woman who weighs around 104 pounds, my daily goal is 2000 milliliters, which means I need to get through four bottles a day.
The app also shows historical water consumption over the course of the day, week, month, and lifetime of the program, as well as how many bottles you’re saving by foregoing single-use bottles. And if you navigate over to the FuelLog tab of the app, you can actually see what times you’re drinking, and how much you’re drinking at those times. Unsurprisingly, I’m chugging water after my morning workout, but practically dehydrating myself during my afternoon slump when I’m between meetings and at my lowest energy points. Research has suggested that a hydration plan tailored to fluid and sodium intake and loss could improve both attention and awareness, so it’s likely that my mid-workday slump and my lack of water are linked to one another.
It's a sports drink mixologist
But beyond tracking your water consumption, the app is also key to your mixology. You can think of the LifeFuels bottle as a Keurig for enhanced water. The black base isn’t just for show—it contains three pods, which LifeFuels packs with vitamins, minerals, and flavor to turn your regular water into a recovery drink. These FuelPods contain antioxidants, zinc, and vitamins A, B, C, and D, and can be dispensed into your water at the push of a button.
To determine which kind of energy or recovery drink you’re making, you’ll want to navigate over to the Beverages tab of the LifeFuels app, and tap the plus icon in order to create a new beverage. From there, you’ll be able to see which pods are currently in your bottle (mine came with Blackberry Acai with antioxidants, Lemon Lime with electrolytes, and Peach with multivitamins). Clicking on the loaded pods allows you to select the number of flavor shots you want to inject into your water, and you can either create a combination of flavors or keep your good old-fashioned H2O.
But...is it worth it?
Despite the many perks and benefits of the LifeFuels package, does it justify the steep price tag? One of the issues is that this isn’t exactly a one-time purchase. The FuelPods, which in my mind, provide half the value, must be replaced at regular intervals (especially if you’re super-charging your water with plenty of shots). A pack of three will set you back $29, and if you subscribe to LifeFuels’ once-a-month subscription, you’re suddenly paying $360 a year on flavors alone. Add to that the $100 upfront purchase, and you’re looking at a bit over $1 a day for your sports beverage. That’s not necessarily cheaper than buying a similar bottled beverage in bulk (or on sale at your neighborhood 7-Eleven). However, the environmental impact of buying 365 plastic bottles full of electrolyte or mineral-charged water each year is certainly far worse than buying your one LifeFuels bottle and replacement FuelPods, especially considering that the pods are recyclable through the company’s send-back program.
I also very much appreciate the automated nature of the app, which completely does away with the need to manually keep tabs on your water intake. Of course, in order to keep taking advantage of that function, you’ll have to remember to keep the bottle charged, which isn’t too onerous given that its battery life lasts about four days.
The LifeFuels bottle is unfortunately relatively heavy, especially if it’s at full capacity in terms of both water and FuelPods. While that’s not a problem if you’re just leaving it next to you at the gym, it could be a bit of a chore to lug it around if you’re hiking or on another longer outdoor adventure. If you do decide to bring the bottle on a trek, don’t be afraid to get it dirty—the bottle fully comes apart for easy cleaning, and that most parts of the LifeFuels (except the base) are dishwasher safe.
That said, my LifeFuels has quickly become the only water bottle I’ll drink out of (because it’s the only one that will reward me for drinking), and has certainly led to more water entering my system. And if you’re looking to cut back on sugary energy drinks, the LifeFuels provides a healthier and more eco-friendly alternative. So if you’ve got $100 and a need to drink your recommended glasses each day, the LifeFuels is certainly worth a closer look.
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