The Hot Water Bottle Buying Guide

We’ve pulled together this guide to help you choose the right hot water bottle. As well as Hot water bottles making great gifts they can also help save money and keep you warm. This guide will look at some of the key thinks to consider when choosing a bottle.

Traditional or ‘new’ technology

The first thing you’ll need to consider is whether you want to go for a ‘traditional’ hot water bottle or what are often and slightly paradoxically called ‘microwavable hot water bottles‘.

Traditional Hot Water Bottle
Traditional Hot Water Bottle with a Cover

A ‘traditional’ hot water bottle is what most people will think of when they think of a hot water bottle. These are strong rubber or flexible plastic containers with a securely fitting screw top lid which are filled with hot water. They come in various sizes from around 0.5 to 2 litres and are often sold with a cover which retains some of the heat for longer and reduces the surface temperature of the bottle. A ‘microwavable’ hot water bottle actually contains no hot water. Instead the ‘bottle’ comprises a material sack or bag which is filled with a heat absorbent material. This is placed in the microwave and warmed up for a few minutes. Once heated the ‘hot water bottle’ will give of heat for some time

Microwaveable Hot Water Bottle

Microwavable bottles do not get as hot as the traditional type and do not last as long. They are however safer than traditional bottles as they are sealed units and do not have the same risks as a bottle containing water. This makes them perhaps more suitable for younger children and the elderly.


Small Hot Water Bottle
Small Hot Water Bottle

The most common size of a hot water bottle is 2 litres. Bottles are however available in a range of sizes from 0.5l ‘mini’ hot water bottles. While the smaller bottles can provide some warmth it’s worth noting that the larger the bottle, the longer the heat will last. For this reason we’d normally recommend a large bottle to ensure lasting heat for as long as possible through the night.

Hot Water Bottle Covers

You can of course buy a hot water bottle ‘naked’, without any form of cover. Unless you’ve already got a cover and are just looking to replace the bottle, always recommend using a cover with a hot water bottle. The reasons are twofold. Firstly a material cover will provide a ‘heat barrier’ between a hot water bottle and the skin and will help make the bottle feel more comfortable, and also prevent any risk of burns. Secondly the cover acts as a insulation for the bottle. With a cover in place the bottle will give out an even heat and last much longer than an uncovered equivalent. Covers come in a huge variety of shapes, styles and materials. All serve a similar purpose so the choice of what to go for is down to personal preference.


Velvet Hot Water Bottle

The great news is that there are hot water bottles available to suit any budget. Basic bottles with covers are available for under £5. At the other end of the market are bottles covered in luxurious cashmere which can cost up to £100. The choice is yours!


One other ‘type’ of hot water bottle that we haven’t mentioned above, is the so call ‘electric’ hot water bottle. This type of bottle plug into the mains electricity to warm up. They are then unplugged and retain heat for a number of hours through the night. Our article on electric hot water bottles can be found here. If you are interested in the History of hot water bottles, have a look at our article on how hot water bottles came about and their evolution to what we know today.