Water to Inspire, KOR ONE Hydration Vessel Review

I’ve been toting around the KOR ONE Hydration Vessel for a week and the first thing someone said to me was, “that’s a water bottle? Looks pretty spacey man.” Yes it does look quite futuristic and some have even accused me of being wasteful – all that pretty packaging and design just to hold water. What gives? Hit the jump to read my review.

Over a million plastic water bottles end up in U.S. landfills everyday so if you really want to be green, you should be using some refillable vessel. Water is (for the most part) free, disposable plastic bottles aren’t so you end up saving money by using your own container. So what makes this $30 bottle different from the cheapo plastic ones?

Most refillable water bottles are made of Polycarbonate (PC), even though scientists have known for years that Bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical used in the PC manufacturing process, leaches into whatever liquid goes inside. BPA is a known hormone-disruptor that’s been linked to birth defects. Mounting evidence suggests that even small quantities pose major health risks.

The team at RKS Design evaluated glass, acrylic, and many other substances. They eventually found a new material that featured the clarity and performance of polycarbonate without the dangers of BPA called Tritan.

Aside from proudly wearing its BPA FREE label, the KOR ONE is designed to be ergonomic. All those soft curves make it easy to grab, hold, carry, and set. The bottom is cushioned by a rubber ring. The handle comfortably curves around your grip. The cap unsnaps with a push of a button and clicks tightly when you shut it. The spout is also curved and sized perfectly to assist the flow of water into your thirsty mouth.

Wait, that’s not all. Underneath that cap is a space for a KOR stone; an inspirational message you can swap out. Mine says “Better Me, Better World.” AIN’T THAT THE TRUTH! There are also a couple blanks in there for your own personal messages like, “JUST SAY NO!” Sorry, Nancy Reagan moment there.

What we liked:

  • Holds 750 ml of water. Drink a little over 2 of them to fulfill your daily requirement
  • Extremely durable plastic that’s lightweight. A lot lighter than you think despite its bulk
  • BPA FREE, no poisons leaching into my drinking water thank you
  • Comfy carrying handle
  • Rubber base is a nice touch, feels like quality when I set it down
  • Wide mouth for drinking
  • Dishwasher safe! Gotta love that
  • KOR stone concept is a great way to give yourself reminders before every sip

What could be improved

  • The price ($30) for a plastic water bottle is a little crazy but you are getting something beautifully designed. $1 of every purchase goes back to the environment, and it’s BPA FREE. Finding a sexy BPA FREE water bottle was already challenging enough.

Designer: RKS DesignBuy it Here ] Free Shipping until 12.31.08


  • Dave says:

    Thought it looked great, very eye catching, smooth design however i looked at buying one and at $30 + postage i think not.

  • Keith says:

    It doesn’t look like it would be very stable standing on end with that round bottom edge.

  • SlinkyDink says:

    I tried placing an order but international shipping at 23.99 is STIFF, especially given the economic situation we are in. Shipping should not cost that much for something that probably weighs less than a pound.

    • Kristina Dykstra says:

      The shipping is calculated per USPS and UPS’s rates, not Kor’s, give them a break!

  • Design Critic says:

    I would like to offer another opinion of the Kor One water bottle. Having used it almost on a daily basis for the last three months (received mine at an IDSA conference in September), I would have to say that it is both poorly AND over-designed.

    Why it is poorly designed:

    1. Instability due to the oval form of the bottle and higher center of gravity due to the elongated shape. Since the bottle is oval, when you set it down, it will want to teeter on its major axis. A circular base would not do this. Also this water bottle is taller than most so the center of gravity is even higher on an unstable base.

    2. When it falls, it will either fall on its front or back side (most likely never its sides due to the shape of the oval) so there is a 50/50 chance of it hitting the ground on its latch button causing the cap to open and spilling water everywhere. This has already happened to me several times.

    3. The hinge in the back with the metal pin is a major weak point. Over time, it can crack and break off. Once it does, this bottle will be completely useless. There is also a very annoying squeaking sound when you open and close the cap.

    Why it is over-designed:

    1. There are roughly 14 parts to this water bottle. Why??? Is that smart design?

    2. For a bottle that prides itself on aesthetics, it sure looks unrefined and unfinished in the interior of the cap. There are so many layers of plastic and grooves that it looks more like a prototype than a finished product.

    3. Adding another layer for the “Kor Stone” is just silly. Ultimately, it just becomes another trap for dirt and soapy water. If you don’t remove the original paper insert, it will become damp and soggy after a few washes.

    From the eyes of a designer, I see this product as a major disappointment. However it does have two things going for it… One, it does get attention for its unique look. Second, I find this bottle very easy to carry.

    While I applaud the use of BPA Free plastic, I hope RKS will do a better job designing a follow-up to this bottle… if there will even be one…

  • Hi all –

    Barb here from RKS. First of all, thanks for the nice review, Long. I know you’re free to write whatever you want about the bottle, so it’s particularly nice to hear you’re enjoying it.

    While Design Critic is certainly welcome to have his/her own take on the KOR ONE, I feel I should clarify that the bottles that were given out at the IDSA conference were pre-production models with some known issues. These issues were resolved before the KOR ONE was finally released. As some of you may recall, KOR Water pushed the original release date in order to make sure the KOR ONE would live up to KOR’s high standards.

    Look on the bright side, DC, not only did you get your KOR ONE for free, it sounds like you’re still getting a lot of use out of it, too. : )


  • tuan says:

    i have to say that the design looks great and for functionality purposes i have to try one for myself. what i have been using so far for a water have been the thermos element bottle which has its advantages and disadvantages. one advantages is that it is able to hold in cold or hot water longer. its disadvantage is that its heavy due to the double thermal layer properties. i tend to always drink my water cold so the thermos is great for it. will prolly try one of these and test it with some ice water and see how long it can stay cold.

  • Ann says:

    Design critic…you sound like an angry person. I’ve got the KOR bottle and I love it. Maybe you would appreciate a simple cup more.

  • Design Critic says:

    To be fair to RKS, they did say the bottle was not yet ready for launch back in September. Am I thankful that I received a free bottle and could “beta test” a new design? Absolutely! Would I spend my own money to purchase this product after using it? No, not yet anyways with the current design. Had my experiences be different, these bottles would make great Christmas gifts.

    Oh, and am I an angry person? Hehe, not usually but perhaps too much product hype and the constant stroking of egos amongst designers bring it out of me. I would encourage everyone to be more critical of the designs we see around us. If wondering why a water bottle needs more than 14 parts to manufacture makes me an angry person, then I guess I’m guilty…

  • Karyn says:

    Does it have any kind of aftertaste? And has the hinge issue been resolved? Or the latch being triggered when it falls over issue? I will probably order one, but the cost is so high, I want to make sure I’ll be happy, not just trendy.

  • Rich says:

    Interesting. Why would I buy this over, say, a Sigg water bottle?



    • Powderfin says:

      Hi Rich,

      I have used both SIGG and KOR One Hydration Vessels, and I can tell you the 3 main reason I prefer the KOR ONE.

      1. The widemouth opening is much more pleasant to drink out of than the small metal “garden hose” style openings on SIGG’s.

      2. SIGG’s will crack and freeze if you leave them out in your car full all night (at least here in Montana!). I haven’t had that problem with KOR.

      3. The lid. All SIGG’s have a lid which requires two hands to unscrew it, then you have to hold onto it, then re-screw it. The KOR ONE is much simpler to open. Push the button, hinge the lid, drink, then pop-shut. Easy…and you never have to worry about losing a lid. This is the best feature of the KOR, in my opinion.

  • Aaron Dalton says:

    If the KOR ONE strikes your fancy, check out the 1GreenProduct.com KOR ONE Sweepstakes (ends February 4th):


    Aaron Dalton

  • Powderfin says:

    We’ve tested these bottles for months now, and they’re great! Not having to unscrew a cap is the key to it’s design… which allows for one-handed operation while on a treadmill or bike. Smart product! They were designed as a sleek, stylish, everyday use waterbottle, but we’ve found them to work very well at the gym, as well as outdoor activities such as snowboarding, snowshoeing, and crosscountry skiing here in Montana. The hinged cap is awesome…no morry worrying about losing a cap!

  • Brian says:

    So does anyone know what’s in Tritan – the brand new, not-tested-for-the-last-50-years material?

  • Nicole says:

    Kor One is my favorite, and so easy to carry. Great colors that support charities. Terrific design video.

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