I tried Kim Kardashian’s fragrance-based water bottle: it’s a delicious mess

Advantage

  • Flavors your water without additives
  • The fragrance comes in different bottle colors and pods for different palates
  • Can be bottled up to 32 ounces of liquid

Cons

  • The leakage problem is troublesome
  • Plastic bottles do not keep water cold
  • The pods are only available on the company’s website

Experts recommend that the average person should drink half a gallon of water a day. Despite all the health benefits of water, I can’t drink as much as I should for one simple reason — I don’t like the bland nature of water. That’s what makes the air up bottle so interesting. Makes bottled water tastier without adding sugar and calories. It sounds too good to be true.

Here’s the process: You fill the bottle with water, drop one of the scented pods over the nose of the bottle, and drink from it as usual. Simple, right?

You might wonder why I didn’t give Air Up a proper 10 out of 10. In short, during testing (or drinking), especially at one time, some design flaw caused the problem. Priced at $40 And a three-pack costs between $7.99 and $12.99. Read on to find out if this system is worth investing in.

The Science Behind Air Up

Let me start by explaining the flavoring magic of the bottle. From the scent pods you put on the nose of the bottle, the flavors are transported to your brain through your olfactory receptors, so you actually taste the water when you drink it. Your sense of smell is called “retronasal olfaction.” Have you ever been stuck in a jam and can’t taste your food? Here is the same concept but in reverse. As the name of the bottle suggests, air is necessary for this system to work. Flavored air is combined with water and released to give you the flavor you’re looking for.

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A person holding an air up bottle by its strap

The bottle cap comes with a sturdy carrying strap.

June Wan/ZDNET

Taste Test: What to Get and What to Avoid

I find that how effective the aromatic pods are depends entirely on the flavor I put on them. The first fruit I tested in the bottle was a cucumber flavor and I was disappointed when I took my first sip. The water tasted like… water and nothing more. Even when I sniffed it before I put it in a bottle, it barely smelled — let alone cucumber. However, when I put the orange in it, I had a completely different experience.

Wind up a water bottle with pot bags scattered on a table

Air up the water bottle with watermelon and mango-passionfruit-scented pods.

Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

Orange peel has a very strong scent and when I applied it to the bottle, I smelled like I was peeling an orange. With this pod, the water tastes citrusy and refreshing, resembling the taste of water infused with real fruit.

When choosing lentil flavors, my recommendation is to go for ones with strong, sweet aromas so that the flavor is more noticeable when drinking. Otherwise, you’ll have the same problem you had before starting the air up journey: bland hydration. For what it’s worth, Air Up has a variety of flavors to choose from on its website.

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Air up bottle nose and pot close

An orange pod on the nose of the air up bottle.

Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

Another important factor when discussing flavor is how long the pods can be used. Unsurprisingly, you get a strong flavor when the pods are first put in, and it fades over time. According to Air Up, each pod is designed to flavor about 1.3 gallons of water. If you drink a gallon of water a week, by the end of it you can sip most of the flavor of a pod. In my experience, the company’s valuation is true. A week is the best time to get the optimal flavor for a pod.

The bottle design is desirable

This is where the air up problem begins. A water bottle made of plastic is not effective in keeping your water cool and more importantly, it will leak if it is tilted above a certain level. Of course, if you don’t mind drinking flavored water at room temperature, you can ignore the first call.

Again, the air up bottle works by letting air into the water so you can enjoy the flavor of the aromatic pods. It does this through a hole in the straw and a pressure balance valve. This means that the nozzle fitting will never be flush with the bottle as shown in the image below. Note how the rubberized seal rises slightly.

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Air up bottle lip leaks

The rubberized bumper leaves a small gap for water to drain out.

Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

This also means that every time the bottle ends, the water comes out of the bottle. Luckily, it’s just water, right? Air Up admits this in a video explaining why bottle design contributes to leaks. The only real solution is to twist it really tight using a detachable bottle cap.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEW8p3u_4_k

Although this method prevents leakage, it is not the most efficient solution because every time you want to take a sip of water, you have to bother removing the cap and screwing it back securely. Another issue with this setup is that if you don’t screw the cap on tight enough, the bottle will continue to leak, especially if it’s being carried around in your bag.

To Air Up’s credit, it warns on its website, “Remember that water may leak through the pressure equalization valve, so please always place a Pod in the blower and keep the lid tightly closed.”

The air up bottle is raised straight up

The only way you should drink is from an air-up bottle.

June Wan/ZDNET

Finally, there’s only one way you can drink from an air-up bottle and make sure it doesn’t tip over you: hold the bottle upright and sip from a straw. You may look like you are playing a musical instrument (see picture below), but trust me, this is the only and best way to drink.

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bottom line

In the end, yes, the Air Up made me want to drink more water, even if it required removing and re-adjusting the cap every time or risking a leak here and there.

If you’re in the market for a tasty alternative to water without added sugars or calories, the Air Up System is the perfect choice for you. However, if you live life on the go, find yourself dropping things more than you should, or simply don’t have the patience to unscrew and unscrew the cap from a water bottle, I recommend looking elsewhere.

Alternatives to consider

If you struggle to drink enough water each day, the Opard Sports Bottle should help. The bottle has time markings and motivational messages to make sure you’re getting the best water intake, plus, there’s a fruit infuser to give your water extra flavor. The best part is that it is almost a quarter of the price of an air up system.

This $25 stainless steel bottle will keep water at your desired temperature for hours, and you can get the perks of enhanced flavor with a fruit infusion kit.

The HidrateSpark Tap is a smart water bottle that lights up every time you drink water. It works with an app that tracks how much water you drink and sets daily hydration goals.

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