SIGG Bottle review
I had the opportunity to test the “Siggnificant” New Active Top 0.6L bottle manufactured by SIGG, an established Swiss company who specialise in reusable and recyclable aluminium water bottles. SIGG offer a range of both functional (for general and outdoor use) and fashionable bottles with a wide variety of sizes, shapes and different designs in their lineup.
SIGG BOTTLE FACTS
· The bottles are made in Switzerland from the highest quality and have been since 1908.
· The bottles have a neutral taste and leave no residue inside the bottle, a fresh taste every time you use the bottle.
· The bottles are uniquely lightweight and break-proof.
· 100% leak proof.
· Environmentally friendly and recyclable.
· Flexible Eco Care Liner inside the bottle is completely FREE from BPA and phthalates.
· No impairment of bottle due to dents and wear and tear.
I was testing the bottle primarily from the perspective of use during running events. I have used both hydration packs and bottles during events and find myself gravitating towards the use bottles generally due to the ease of refilling bottles at aid stations and the ability to add energy powders/electrolyte tablets during a long distance event.
The model I was testing was the “Siggnificant” New Active Top 0.6L bottle (£18.49 inc p&p). Upon initial examination, the bottle looks and feels like a quality product. The bottle is constructed from a single piece of aluminium with no weld seals around the bottle itself. The design is advertised as “near unbreakable” (see test below) and the exterior feels strong and robust.
It also has a tough inner lining making the bottle suitable for fruit and carbonated drinks and advertised as taste neutral. The recommended temperature for drinks is between 41-104ºF (5-40ºC) so it can accommodate hot and cold drinks but is not designed for boiling or freezing drinks, this was not relevant for use during long runs in any case.
There is an integrated straw and bite valve allowing the drink to be used without lifting or tipping the bottle. In fact, as the straw is quite deep into the bottle if you tipped the bottle to try and replicate pouring water into your mouth, you would end up sucking air.
From my visual (taste) comparison there was no taste to plain water after use. In addition there was no noticeable difference in keeping drinks any cooler than an equivalent plastic bottle although to be clear the bottle was not advertised as offering any insulation properties.
The inner liner inside the bottle is free from BPA and phthalates; my simple understanding is that there is no risk of “plastic poisoning” (where there appears to be some reported concerns in the past although it wasn’t apparent whether this had been proven as a definite risk). Here’s a wiki link if you are interested in further reading on the subject http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bisphenol_A
The bottle is aesthetically pleasing with the stylish SIGG logo printed on a bold red colour. There are black and white versions of this particular bottle available and a wide variety of other designs, shapes, colours and sizes from 0.3L bottles to 1.5L bottles.
It is worth noting that SIGG parts (i.e. caps/covers) and accessories (i.e. holders) are available separately and some parts of inter-changeable so bottle tops can be swapped if you prefer a different type or it requires a replacement (the chewed bottle top scenario for example).
FUNCTIONALITY / WEIGHT
A key concern for runners would be the weight of the bottle particularly when carried whilst running. Plastic bottles are fairly lightweight and I had expected the aluminium bottle to be heavier. The question was by how much and whether this would be considered an issue? I used the bottles on a few training runs where I carried it by hand and it did feel a little heavier than a plastic bottle.
By way of a slightly more scientific comparison I filled up a few bottles (Podium Chill 610ml, Raidlight 750ml bottle and the SIGG 600mll) with an equal level of water and weighed them.
Weight (No Water)
Weight (500 ml water)
SIGG New Active Top 600ml
Camelbak Podium Chill 610ml
There is a difference in weight but the actual measured weight was less than I had expected with only a 35g difference between that and the Podium Chill bottle in my test.
The bottle was carried by hand without issue whilst. The bottle surface is smooth with no specific grip elements but did not feel slippery to hold. The bottle also fitted easily into the bottle holders on my North Face 13 Endurance pack and is a typical size so would probably fit in the variety of bottle holders available in the market.
NEW ACTIVE TOP
The unique selling point of this particular bottle model is the “New Active Top”. The bottle cap screws on in place onto the top of the bottle and has a rotating part with the following four options; Open, Close, Air (for releasing pressure on carbonated drinks) and Clean (where the cap can be further disassembled for cleaning).
The main body of bottle is not dishwasher proof but if you are like me then the best your bottle is going to get is a hand-wash in soapy water after race use and perhaps a quick rinse with plain water during a race if you are using it for different types of drinks.
The top of the bottle cap has a small plastic bite valve, which is common on hydration packs, and water is consumed by biting the top of the valve and sucking the contents of the bottle. This allows you to consume water without tipping the bottle. The bite valve did not leak even when left in the “open” position and the bottle was turned upside down.
I’m not totally convinced that this feature is adding a lot of value to the product from a running perspective. Bite valves are common on hydration packs where the sucking motion is required to drag the water along a pipe from its storage position on your back and I couldn’t really see an advantage of having a bite valve on a bottle aside from its use in eliminating potential leaks. I did ask myself the question whether tipping the bottle and pouring the drink was really such a big deal?
As a very minor point, the bite valve also regulates the amount of water you consume. If you are the type of person that likes to “gulp” large quantities of drink then you may find that this ability is slightly impaired as the bottle doesn’t deform and you can’t squeeze the water out more quickly due to its strong aluminium body.
By way of a more scientific test, I filled up a number of bottles with 250ml of water and measured how much I could drink in 15 seconds from each bottle starting with the SIGG, Camelbak Podium Chill and then the Raidlight, the results were as follows:
Amount Consumed (from 250ml)
All 250ml drained in 12 seconds
All 250ml drained in 9 seconds
SIGG New Active Top 600ml
Camelbak Podium Chill 610ml
Probably the key feature of the bottle is its toughness and durability. I put this to the test by “accidentally” dropping the bottle onto a concrete surface from waist height whilst running (it did pain me to do this). The bottle suffered a crease and dent to the bottom but a visual examination revealed no damage to the inner lining.
So what’s the verdict? I am impressed with the style and design of the bottle. The bottle is no doubt a quality product and aesthetically pleasing but comes at a premium price. However, plastic bottles get replaced from time to time but this product has the possibility to last longer.
Looking at the functionality purely from the perspective of using it for running (particularly long distance runs) it obviously meets the requirement of being able to transport water on a run but the question is why would you take a SIGG bottle on a run rather than any other plastic bottle?
The bottle is tough, durable and leak proof from my tests (although a bit of water around the edge of a bottle cap is probably the least of your worries on a long distance run). The bottle can also accommodate a wide variety of drinks, all of which can be considered potential advantages.
In terms of practical use whilst drinking I didn’t really see the benefit of the new active top over a typical sports cap aside from the fact that the bite valve can be replaced independently whereas sports cap bottles tend to get chewed over time. If you are drinking from a bottle then it just didn’t seem necessary to have to have to utilise a sucking motion on a run when you could simply tip the liquid from the bottle when drinking.
Other minor disadvantages of the bottle are the extra weight over an equivalent plastic bottle, the slower regulation of water when drinking and the fact that the main body of the bottle is covered so you can’t see exactly how much water you have left.
It’s fair to say that all the points raised in the review are marginal (i.e. the weight difference is around 35g from an equivalent plastic bottle, you may prefer to “sip” than “gulp” water down on a run and you can gauge the amount of water roughly from the weight).
In summary, I would be likely to use the bottle for general every day use and some outdoor activities (general day use, travelling, hiking, walking or perhaps short runs) but less likely to use this on longer distance runs where the weight, slower water regulation and ability to determine water levels of the bottles are minor disadvantages.
However, I do like the style and durability of the bottle and have now adopted this as my primary ”desk drinking bottle” (albeit with a crease) replacing the numerous plastic bottles I have used over time.
There are a few of features I would like to see on future SIGG bottles which would definitely get me more interested in their products.
Firstly from a functional perspective, an insulated version of the bottle (to compete with the Podium Chill bottle) with the ability to keep a drink cooler for longer on a distance run is something which I would be very interested in.
Secondly (and purely an aesthetic point) would be the ability to customise the design of the bottle for individual orders (i.e. choosing your colour or design and the ability to add text such as your name or initials onto the bottles for example). The ability to create a “personalised design” or marking may have a fashion appeal and a practical use to help identify your bottles on a bottle table during a marathon run scenario for example. (Options available – see note below)
Thirdly, a clear strip along the side of the bottle to help identify water levels would be useful. (See note below – this would impact the design and bottle strength)
My point regarding the bite valve can be easily addressed by purchasing a sports cap version of the bottle. This part is also available separately if required (£3.99 inc p&p).
I anticipate that further reduction in the weight of the bottle is probably unrealistic due to the nature of the materials used in its construction.
For further information on the full range of SIGG products then please visit www.sigg.com
22/8/12 Update: The guys at SIGG have kindly contacted me with a couple of updates to a few points raised in the review. So please note these additional clarifications.
*There are several companies across the UK who will personalise a SIGG Bottle, such as Cafepress see link here.
* A key features of a SIGG bottle is that it is made from one single piece of pure aluminium. A strip down the side would weaken the structure of the bottle i.e. it would no longer be made out of one material with no seams/ points of weakness.
* SIGG have a Steelworks range for holding hot drinks which you can look up here
* In terms of lifespan (if treated well) a SIGG bottle will last you between 10-20 years.