For my entire adult life, I’ve never really noticed that every water bottle I’ve ever owned looks like it belongs to a mountain biker, or the Swiss army. But this changed when I came across KOR’s line of “hydration vessels”. They look modern and sophisticated – adjectives I rarely used to described water bottles – and they look like something Iron Man would use.
KOR has set lofty goals for itself. Eric Barnes, founder of KOR and creator of the KOR ONE Hydration Vessel said, “We’re redesigning water by re-inventing the very way people carry and consume it.”
While the ONE was the company’s first foray into the water bottle business, how does the second generation Delta stack up?
Cheaper with more Features
The ONE was arguably a flashy proof-of-concept for KOR, and consumers will pay a premium for using the same water bottle as Iron Man. The list price for the ONE is US$29.95 and it is only available in a 750ml capacity.
The Delta is clearly the step-down, mass-market model. It is available in either 500ml or 750ml with list prices of US$19.95 and US22.95 respectively. Despite the lower price, the Delta still manages to include some features not seen in the ONE, mainly a removable cap and locking mechanism that makes the Delta easier to clean and less likely to leak due to being opened by accident.
For some, the smaller 500ml bottle will be enough reason to choose the Delta over the ONE. It’s not the smallest 500ml water bottle on the market, but it is definitely the most stylish.
A Perfect Spout Indeed
KOR claims to have created the ‘Perfect Spout’ and while I usually shrug-off such over-inflated claims, I think the Delta actually lives up to the hyperbole.
I found the Delta’s spout to be the perfect diameter and thickness for drinking. The threadless spout feels great on the lips and it makes me wonder why no one else did this earlier.
The last 30 years I spent drinking water have been wasted. Well, except for the bit about it keeping me alive.
KOR Stones – The Achilles Heel
The build quality of the Delta is excellent – it feels sturdy, and slightly over-built. This makes it a bit bigger than it needs to be, but it also gives me faith that it won’t shatter easily if dropped.
To open the Delta, the user needs to depress a button before flipping the cap back. The hinge on the cap feels sturdy, but it’s not possible to open it with one hand so that could be a deal-breaker for some.
The Delta ‘s exquisite design is hampered by the “KOR Stones”, which KOR describes as “Made of real stones, these disc-shaped tokens display a moving message that provides a bit of personal inspiration with each sip.”
Firstly, the discs do not feel like stones at all, it feels like it is made of paper, and here’s a pro-tip – paper and water don’t go well together.
Secondly, the plastic flap covering Stones has a tendency to fall off easily, resulting in needless frustration. I foresee myself ditching the Stones and its lid altogether at some point.
I view the Stones as KOR’s vanity gone awry. It is a frustrating, albeit minor, misstep in an otherwise well-designed water bottle.
The Almost Perfect Water Bottle
It’s easy to take something as mundane as ‘drinking water’ for granted, but the Delta genuinely offers a superior drinking experience compared to any other water bottle I’ve owned. This alone is enough reason to justify its slightly higher price tag compared to the competition. When you take into account its stylish design and robust build quality, it makes the Delta a compelling choice.
Its comparatively larger size, lack of insulation, flimsy KOR stones and two handed operation will be deal-breakers for some, but for everyone else, this is the water bottle to buy.