How Insulated Steel Water Bottles Are Made

Despite the huge difference utilizing a stainless steel water bottle can make in your daily life as well as your overall individual environmental impact, Insulated Bottles are not a new technology.

In recent years the need for insulated water bottles has increased because of two main reasons:

1) Humanities environmental impact has increased substantially, and people are beginning to take notice of both their personal impact, as well as our overall impact. Switching over to using a stainless steel water bottle daily instead of dozens of plastic water bottles,straws, or other disposable containers reduces pollution and plastic discard drastically.  

2) Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottles are much more practical to use nowadays. In the past, insulated water bottles were only used for hiking and camping, and were usually bulky and heavy; not something you would want to place on your desk at work! Now that manufactures and retailers are producing and selling practical and stylish versions of these bottles, the average everyday consumer has more motivation to buy one.

These bottles give you the luxury of doing things like filling your bottle with a hot cup of coffee in the morning and having it still be hot and ready hours later when your settled and ready to drink it at work. That same bottle can then be lightly rinsed when you get home and refilled with ice cold water for the gym, and the water will still be ice cold when you leave the gym! That practicality for use in day to day routines as well as weekend activities is why recently these bottles have become so popular, along with the continued effort by manufacturers to produce eye-catching and ergonomically pleasing bottles that everyone can use.

How Did It All Start?

The idea of a portable bottle itself was first introduced in The United States during the 1800s, and was constructed wholly from glass. As you can imagine this wasn’t the most practical of bottles, but the concept itself stuck like glue, and before long variations of the bottle became popular. The first baby bottle was one of the more notable ones, but perhaps none were more notable than Coca-Cola introducing the first soda pop bottle in 1915. As bottles started to be mass produced, the true image of a portable container took form, and that lead inevitably to more features, better material, and more practical products being developed.

The first actual concept of an insulated bottle was developed in 1896, and the first actual retail product was offered in 1915 by The American Thermos Bottle Company. At the time the concept of this bottle was entirely new, but it quickly became popular and by the 1950s and 60s the “Thermos” was a household item. From 1950-1970 over 120 million kids' lunch boxes and accompanying vacuum seal bottles were sold to the general public, and the Thermos became a mainstream product.

Thermos Bottle and Accompanying Lunchbox
How thermos is made

Some famous users included Count Zeppelin who took his in a hot air balloon, Lieutenant Robert E. Peary, who took his thermos to the arctic, Colonel Roosevelt who took his on an African expedition, and President Taft, who used a Thermos regularly. This popularity and continued use helped to fan the flames of innovation in both the construction, quality, and effectiveness of these bottles.

The Process Of Manufacturing An Insulated Bottle

That colorful, stylish bottle you see sitting on your coworkers desk or hanging from a bicyclists backpack actually has some pretty amazing technology at work under its layers. What we see as one heavy-duty container is actually a container within a container, with either foam or a vacuum between the inside wall of the outer container and the outside wall of the inner container. Generally, foam-packed containers keep cold liquids cold and vacuum-packed containers keep hot liquids hot, but the current vacuum-sealed containers on the market can usually keep liquids both hot and cold for extended periods of time.   

While there are many different insulated cups and bottle brands across the entire world, the process of manufacturing a stainless steel bottle is a relatively universal process.

In order to mold the metal into the shape of a cup, the steel has to be pounded and pressed. Once the outer cup is formed, an internal liner made from either glass or steel is placed inside the cup. Although this process is usually the same across the stainless steel bottle manufacturing spectrum, the next portion is not. For the bottle to be able to insulate liquids, it needs to have, well.. Insulation! There is a wide variety of insulation used for the production of stainless steel water bottles, but the two most common methods are foam insulation and airtight vacuum insulation. With foam insulation, liquid foam is sprayed between the inner and outer cup layers to form a barrier between the internal lining and the exterior shell of the bottle.

The Original Patent For The Thermos

stainless steel bottle construction

Generally, foam insulation was used to keep liquids hot rather than cold. The original Thermos was actually designed for hot beverages or soups. The vacuum sealed bottles operate in a different way. While foam insulation provided a barrier between the outside temperature and the internal one, the vacuum seal basically removed the medium in which heat would be transferred. In order for heat to move in or out of a container, it has to transfer through some form of matter. Whether its air or packed foam insulation, no matter what the heat will find a way in or out. What a vacuum sealed bottle does is remove all the air from between the barriers and seals it airtight, meaning that between the inner and outer wall, there is no medium for heat to be transferred through; greatly reducing the time frame in which your liquid will be affected by the elements.

Once the most important aspects of the bottle are put together, the bottle is then sealed and painted. Manufacturers use a variety of coatings and sealants, but the better quality bottles are usually sealed with silicone and coated with a non-slip powder coating.

How Does This Manufacturing Process Affect The Quality of My Stainless Steel Bottle?

Just like most retail products, stainless steel bottles are not all created equally. Depending on the material, manufacturing process, and the design, stainless steel water bottles can vary from high quality bottles that will last for a lifetime to low quality bottles that will break after a couple of weeks and/or not work effectively or as advertised.

Some characteristics of low quality stainless steel water bottles are:    

  • Foam Insulation or Packing - The industry standard for insulated bottles is currently the vacuum sealed method. Most companies that still use foam to seal their cups or bottles are usually only expecting their customers to use the bottle/cup for hot liquids.

  • Absence of Paint or Powder Coating - Although if insulated correctly a sealed stainless steel bottle should not form condensation on its outside shell, many times because of humidity or being left open, a bottle will perspire. A well done powder coating or paint on the bottle will ensure that you won’t lose your grip on the bottle.

  • Thin or Non-existent Seals - You can have the most expertly manufactured bottle with the highest quality of materials used but if your bottle isn’t correctly sealed then it does not matter. High Quality bottles will have an obviously thick, high quality seal within their caps.

Some characteristics of good quality stainless steel water bottles are:

  • Vacuum Seal Insulation - Nowadays, vacuum sealed bottles can keep liquids hot and cold. The highest quality bottles are all made with a vacuum seal, and if you plan on purchasing a stainless steel bottle, a vacuum seal is a must.     

  • Proven Results For Maintaining Temperature - Many bottles claim to keep ice for more than 12 hours and liquids hot for more than 6 hours, but not many actually do. Watching product videos and reading customer testimonials will help you root out which bottles don't live up to the hype.

  • A Reasonable Price - Contrary to popular belief you don’t have to spend a lot to get a lot. Many times something that has a much higher price than its counterparts isn’t always better. Sometimes companies are selling you a brand, not a product. One sign of a good stainless steel bottle is that the price reflects the features and specifications of the bottle.

Final Important facts to note about stainless steel water bottles:

  1. Made in China does not necessarily mean low quality - A popular stigma in american society is that products from China are low quality and break easily. Actually, many of the products we utilize every single day and rely on are made in China, and most are high quality. An example would be iPhones and Android Phones, as well as most of the steel we use to build the very buildings we live in and roads we drive on. When searching for stainless steel water bottles you will find most, if not all of them are constructed in China.

  1. Different Caps For Different Uses - Stainless steel bottles come with a variety of different lids and caps, all meant to function a certain way. If you are transporting soup or a very hot liquid within the bottle, then a screw top lid or stainless steel lid would be the most adequate to use. If you plan on using your bottle at the gym, outside, or while on the go, the best lids to use are straw lids or sport lids. TOPOKO is one of the few companies that sells replacement lids for all sizes of its bottles as well as all of its competitors bottles.

  1. BPA Free Bottles Only -  BPA stands for bisphenol A. BPA is an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1960s. Many companies still use BPA to produce different plastic products and items. TOPOKO and many other stainless steel bottle manufacturers are 100% BPA Free, but not all are. Before you purchase a stainless steel water bottle, make sure that there is no BPA present in the bottle.


You can purchase Topoko Double Wall Insulated Bottles directly from our website or with your Amazon account by clicking the link below.