Brita’s smart pitcher is $20 more than an identical Brita pitcher with no smarts to speak of, so the question here is whether or not that Amazon Dash integration is worth the extra 20 bucks. In theory, it’s a useful bit of automation — especially if you already buy replacement filters on the regular. In practice, it isn’t all that precise, and more than anything seems designed to get people to buy new filters more often than they would out of habit alone. It certainly isn’t something that anyone needs, but it might make a decent gift for a friend who’s picky about filtered water.
$36 at Amazon Lifefactory Glass Water Bottle
Our glass water bottle pick
Lifefactory Glass is non-toxic, doesn’t seep chemicals, and doesn’t degrade over time, making it a great alternative to plastic. The body of this Lifefactory bottle is made entirely of glass, while the protective outer layer and flip-top seal are silicone. This wide-mouth bottle has a silicone sleeve that makes this bottle extra grippy (no broken glass!), and it’s dishwasher-safe.
Tyler Lizenby/CNET 1. Empty and clean the dustbin often
Most robot vacuum makers say you should empty their robots’ dustbins after each cleaning session. Both iRobot and Neato suggest this for their Roomba and Botvac models. iRobot even tells you to rinse robot bins with warm water, then to let it air dry.
The Lifestraw Go is made of BPA-free plastic throughout. Overall, the Lifestraw Go feels pretty sturdy. I prefer the durability of stainless steel, but it’s lightweight and comes with a carabiner, so it would make a good backpacking water bottle.
For those on a budget, “espresso brewers” (in the $30 to $50 price range) typically lack motorized pumps and are powered by steam pressure alone. What they produce is really moka pot, the sort of coffee made by simple stovetop brewers; it won’t taste quite like the espresso you’re used to from the barista at your local coffee shop or cafe. That’s not inherently bad — it’s just not really espresso.
Filtering: What filtering mechanism was used and how well did the bottle filter the water? Were there any particles left in the water after filtering? Water “after filtering” means the water that comes out of the drinking spout or straw.
The best espresso machine for under $200: Cuisinart EM-100
While it lacks its own coffee grinder, the $170 Cuisinart EM-100 has plenty going for it. This espresso machine has a compact design but is powerful enough to brew from fine coffee grounds. It also pulled flavorful espresso shots, second only to the Breville Barista Express in terms of quality, taste and strength. The machine features a long stainless steel frother for steaming milk and a built-in cup warmer too. A solid espresso machine at about a third the price of the Breville.
Because this bottle has so many parts, it’s pretty difficult to clean. There’s no way to get your hand or a brush inside the bottle, and the foam interior makes me worry that the inside can never get completely clean and dry. However, the website does say that it’s not necessary to completely dry the Sawyer Select bottle, as the foam is also designed to prevent mold and bacteria growth.
It’s the perfect collapsible bottle for backpackers, campers and anyone who’s tight on storage space. This Platy comes with a screw-on top by default, but you can always pair it with different Platypus soft bottle caps and straws.
One downfall for backpackers, though, is that this bottle will never return to its dry weight while you’re on foot. It’s impossible to squeeze all of the water out of the bottle, so expect it to add some weight to your pack after the first use.
A sensor in the bottle tracks every sip you take and records it in your activity app when synced. The Hidrate Spark bottle works with iOS and most Android phones. The lid and bottle are dishwasher safe, and the sensor can be hand washed. The bottle uses replaceable batteries that you can purchase directly from the Hidrate website.
Most espresso machines, save for fancy super automatic models, lack an integrated coffee grinder and I prefer to test with freshly ground coffee. So I supply my own grinder — the Breville Smart Grinder Pro. I chose this grinder for two reasons. First, it’s calibrated more for espresso and less for drip or other brewing styles. That means it produces grounds that are quite fine. Second, its grind size is also consistently uniform. Both factors are critical for a proper espresso brewing process.
$56 at Amazon Runner-up for tap water
Brita Premium Filtering Water Bottle
Paige Thies/CNET Brita is known for its faucet and pitcher filters, but the company also makes plastic and stainless steel filtered water bottles. According to Brita’s website, these bottles aren’t intended for outside use — they’re intended for just tap water, like the Astrea bottle — but this bottle also filtered natural fresh water just fine. The Brita bottle uses an activated carbon filter, which is extremely porous and pulls contaminants, such as chlorine and particulates.
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