• Flavors your water without additives
  • Available in different bottle colors and flavored pods for different palettes
  • Can bottle up to 32 ounces of liquid


  • The leak issue is inconvenient
  • The plastic bottle does not keep the water cold
  • The floors are only available on the company’s website

Experts recommend that the average person drink about half a gallon of water a day. Despite all the health benefits water has, I can’t bring myself to drink nearly as much as I should for one simple reason – I really don’t like soft water. This is what makes the Air Up bottle so intriguing. Without adding sugar and calories, the bottle can make water delicious. It literally sounds too good to be true.

But the process is simple: you fill the bottle with water, drop one of the flavor pods onto the neck of the bottle, and drink from it as usual. Simple, right?

Then you might be wondering why I didn’t give the Air Up a perfect 10 out of 10. In short, there are some design flaws that proved troublesome during testing (or drinking), especially when $40 price and $7.99-$12.99 price for a pack of three capsules. To find out if this system is worth the investment, read on.

The science behind Air Up

I’ll start by explaining the bottle’s scent magic trick. By placing flavored pods on the neck of the bottle, the aromas are transported through your olfactory receptors and into your brain, therefore you perceive the aroma as a taste when you actually drink water. The concept of tasting what you smell is called “retronasal olfaction.” Have you ever been stuck and can’t taste your food? It’s the same concept here, but reversed. As the name of the bottle suggests, air is needed for this system to work. Flavored air is combined with water and released through the nose to give you the flavor you’re looking for.

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Taste test: which ones to take and which ones to avoid

How effective the scent pods are depends entirely on the scent you put on. The first pod I tested in the bottle was the Cucumber flavor and I was extremely disappointed when I took my first sip. The water tasted like… water and nothing else. Even when I sniffed the pod before putting it on a bottle, it had almost no smell – let alone cucumber. However, when I put on the “Orange” pod, I had a completely different experience.

Air out a water bottle with pod bags scattered across the desk

Air Up water bottle with watermelon and mango-passion fruit flavored pods.

Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

The pod has such a strong scent that after applying it to the bottle, my hand smelled like I had just peeled an orange. With this pod, the water tasted citrusy and refreshing, similar to the taste of water that has been infused with real fruit.

My recommendation when choosing pod flavors is to go for ones that have stronger and sweeter flavors so that the flavor is more distinct when drinking. Otherwise, you are left with the same problem you had before starting the Air Up journey. For what it’s worth, Air Up has a wide variety of flavors to choose from on their website.

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Air Up bottle muzzle and pod close up

Orange pod on the neck of the Air Up bottle.

Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

Another important factor when discussing flavor is how long the pods can be used. Not surprisingly, you’ll get the strongest flavor when the pod is first inserted and it will fade over time. According to Air Up, each pod is designed to flavor approximately 1.3 gallons of water. If you drink a gallon of water per week, you can expect to drink most of the pod’s flavor by the end of it. In my experience, the company’s estimate is correct. One week is the perfect amount of time to get the optimal taste of a pod.

The design of the bottle leaves a lot to be desired

This is where the Air Up problem begins. A plastic water bottle is not effective at keeping your water cold and, most importantly, leaks when tilted more than a certain degree. 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 taste the flavored pod. It does this through a hole in the straw and a pressure equalization valve. This means that the mouthpiece fit will never be flush with the bottle as shown in the photo below. Notice how the rubber seal lifts slightly.

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Leakage of the Air Up Oral Bottle

The rubberized bumper leaves a small gap for water to escape.

Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

This also means that every time the bottle is tipped over, water flows out of the bottle. Luckily, it’s just water, right? Air Up admits this in a video explaining why the bottle design contributes to the leaks. The only real solution is to use the removable cap on the bottle and twist it very tightly.

While this method prevents leakage, it’s not the most efficient solution, as every time you want to take a sip of water, you’ll have to go through the trouble of removing the cap and then screwing it back on tightly. Another problem with this system is that if you don’t screw the cap down enough, the bottle will continue to leak, especially if it’s rolling around in your bag.

Hanging Air Up Bottle

The bottle cap comes with a sturdy carrying strap.


To Air Up’s credit, it warns on its website: “Please note that water can leak through the pressure equalization valve, so always place a capsule over the mouthpiece and close the lid tightly.”

Finally, there’s only one way to drink the Air Up bottle without it spilling on you: hold the bottle upright and sip from the straw. You’ll look like you’re playing a musical instrument (see image below), but trust me, it’s the only and best way to drink.

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The Air Up bottle is held upright

The only way to drink from the Air Up bottle.


Bottom row

Ultimately, yes, the Air Up motivates me to drink more water, even at the expense of having to remove and seal the cap every time or risk a spill here and there.

If you’re looking for a flavorful alternative to water with no added sugars or calories, the Air Up system could be the perfect option for you. However, if you live life on the go, find yourself dropping things more than you should, or just don’t have the patience to screw and unscrew your water bottle cap, then I’d suggest looking elsewhere.

Alternatives to consider

If you find it difficult to drink enough water every day, the Opard Sports bottle should help. It has time markings and motivational messages next to the bottle to make sure you get the ideal water intake and in addition has a fruit infuser to give your water extra flavor. Best of all, it’s almost ¼ of the price of the Air Up system.

This $25 stainless steel bottle will keep your water at your desired temperature for hours, and you’ll still be able to get the benefits of improved flavor thanks to the fruit infuser kit.

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