A novel idea can raise six-figure investment via crowd-source funding sites like Kickstarter. Clean Bottle recently proposed turning its popular hydration vessel square, and people responded in droves.
We got a first look at the stainless steel bottle last week. Beyond its stand-out shape, the Clean Bottle Square opens on both ends for easy washing, is dishwasher-safe, and it fits in average car cup holders for universal use.
While it may seem a little superfluous, the top-and-bottom openings are pretty darn convenient. They allow the bottle to be fully cleaned from either end, no reaching in to scrub.
The top and bottom caps fit snuggly on, and they close with a reassuring click in just a quarter turn. The caps are made of non-BPA plastic. Rubber gaskets seal them shut.
While the Square looks like a Thermos-type bottle, it is not. Don’t make this mistake like we did — it is a single-walled bottle. Metal conducts heat, and I found out first-hand that hot liquids in this thing can burn fingers if you’re not carful!
Style-wise, the bottle matches the look and feel of a metal Macbook Pro, which should bode well for the coffee-shop set. As noted, it fits in a car cup holder, letting you take it easily along on trips or errands. It is very tall, though, so watch out because it can tip over easily.
A potential downfall, the bottle holds only 20 liquid ounces. To me that amount is the absolute minimum size a water bottle can be and still be worth carrying around.
As noted, the bottle is tall at 11 inches and it weighs about 10 ounces when empty. This is not a bottle meant for backpacking or serious outdoor pursuits.
Advantages to the square design? If dropped the bottle can not easily roll away. This is not a problem that I’ve faced a lot in my life, but maybe for kids it could be an advantage.
My take? Outside of the notable exception of use on sailboats, trains or other moving vehicles, I really don’t see the big advantage to the square shape. On sailboats or other places with shifting angles and unstable surfaces the bottle might really shine.
At $40, the bottle is pricey. But with an eye-catching design and quality build it could fit nicely in a lot of Christmas stockings when it is released in December. The bottle can be pre-ordered now at Cleanbottle.com.
—Sean McCoy is a contributing editor based in Denver.