An ad for Cirkul appeared on my Instagram feed, a water bottle that uses cartridges to infuse (surprisingly good tasting!) flavor into your water, hoping to keep you hydrated throughout the day. The $5 free trial included a water bottle and two flavors, so hey, what the heck? I paid for the trial and got the Cirkul in the mail, giving me quite the interesting water drinking experience.
Included in the exclusive Cirkul shipping box was the BPA-free water bottle and two flavors: Fruit Punch, which has B vitamins, and Mixed Berry, which has electrolytes just like Gatorade. The best thing about the flavors is that they’re all sugar-free, and despite this they really do taste great. I enjoyed both the flavors included in the free trial, and even ordered two four-packs just a week ago so I can see which of the flavors are my favorite.
To note, they have three different kinds of flavors: LifeSip, FitSip, and GoSip. LifeSip are flavors with B vitamins, FitSip flavors use electrolytes which keep you energized, and GoSip flavors are infused with caffeine to keep you awake throughout the day.
The way these cartridges actually come packaged is as one, single piece inside the packing. This includes the water bottle nozzle (the kind you bite to open and close with your teeth), and the cartridge itself. It’s a bit wasteful plastic wise, but they have designed it so you can pull the flavor cartridge out once it’s empty, and recycle the rest of the plastic just as you would for a plastic water bottle. This will hopefully be improved upon this later so that only the flavor cartridges have to be swapped out.
It’s as simple as you’d think: fill up the water bottle, screw in the cartridge, and drink away! I thought I’d leave this nifty feature out until now, and mention that you can actually tune the amount of flavor that is infused into your water. There’s a dial on the top of the cartridge next to the bottle’s nozzle that can be turned, allowing you to dial between numbers 1-10, with 10 being a ton of flavor, and 1 being just a hint of flavor. If you just want to drink good old plain water, you can do that too by setting it to ‘X’.
While the flavors are indeed very tasty and I’ve found myself drinking about 3 water bottles full of water per day, there are a few quirks about the Cirkul. The first is that, despite being able to tune the amount of flavor that is infused into the water, I find it to be inconsistent in the amount of flavor that it pushes out. When you first put the cartridge in, there is initially a large burst of flavor infusion, which in turn causes me to adjust the nozzle to a ‘3’ or ‘4’. After a few sips, I find myself having to adjust to a ‘5’ (my favorite setting), in which I then experience trouble getting the flavor to come out at all. I either have to hold the water bottle upside in an attempt to get the flavor flowing, or adjust the flavor wheel again.
The other thing I have an issue with is the rather persistent leaking that occurs from the water bottle’s nozzle and possibly sides of the cartridge, which seems to happen mostly when I adjust the flavor dial. Since it’s just water and there’s no sugar in the flavors, I’m not worried about making my clothes or furniture sticky, but it’s a bit annoying when water drips on me.
Update 7/23/18: After having used the Cirkul for a while, I can confirm that the cartridges do progressively put out less flavor, and I have thrown out working cartridges as a result. Hopefully the Cirkul team can address this issue.
Is it worth it to Cirkul?
The flavors are a bit expensive but are very tasty, available in a large variety, and make drinking water a more enjoyable experience. It’s not easy to drink the recommended amount of water per day, which is equivalent to about 5 bottled waters a day, and Cirkul helps me to hit that amount if not more. Despite the flaws that Cirkul has, for $5 it’s worth it to try the flavors by giving the trial a try, which can be cancelled at any time. If it’s not your thing, that’s okay too! I personally enjoy drinking my Cirkul infused water and will keep a small stash of flavors for myself to drink as I work, and recommend giving it a try.