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Hot water bottles are useful in treating aches and pains. They can help with ongoing health conditions such as arthritis and menstrual cramps.

This article explores how hot water bottles work, what to look for, and some of the best available to buy. It also outlines health considerations and alternative treatments.

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How we choose products

Medical News Today chooses products that meet the following criteria:

  • Price: Products are available for a range of budgets.
  • Features: Products have various features to suit individual needs.
  • Suitability: Products come in a range of styles and consist of different materials.

Six of the best hot water bottles are listed below:

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

Best range of colors: HomeTop Premium Classic

Image of a HomeTop Premium Classic hot water bottle
  • list price: around $12
  • review score: 4.6 out of 5 stars
  • product lifespan: no information available
  • advantage: suitable as both a hot and cold compress
  • disadvantage: does not come with a cover

This rubber hot water bottle is available in eight colors.

It can double up as a cold compress and features a ribbed edge to help maintain heat.

However, this hot water bottle does not come with a cover.

Best fleece cover: Hugo Frosch Thermoplastic Hot Water Bottle

Image of a Hugo Frosch Thermoplastic Hot Water Bottle
  • list price: around $26
  • review score: 4.7 out of 5 stars
  • product lifespan: a few years
  • advantages: contains recycled materials and comes with a fleece cover
  • disadvantage: some reviewers reported leaks after a few weeks of use

As an alternative to rubber, this bottle comprises burst-resistant and recyclable thermoplastic.

It also comes with a fleece cover, which helps insulate the bottle for 6–8 hours.

Additionally, when the bottle is frozen, a person can use it as an ice pack. The company also claims it is nontoxic and free from odors.

Best silicone option: HEYPORK Silicone Hot Water Bag

Image of a HEYPORK Silicone Hot Water Bag and cover
  • list price: around $16
  • review score: 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • product lifespan: no information available
  • advantage: comes in two size options and is microwaveable
  • disadvantage: some reviewers state it does not hold heat well

This model is available in two colors, and a person can choose either a long or short style.

This bottle consists of food-grade silicone. It is also odorless, recyclable, leakproof, and corrosion-resistant. Additionally, it is durable, has a thick PVC liner, and a person can heat it in the microwave.

The bottle also features a knitted cover and can double up as a cold compress after placing it in the fridge.

Best for neck pain: Samply U-Shaped Hot Water Bottle

Image of a Samply U-Shaped Hot Water Bottle
  • list price: around $19
  • review score: 4 out of 5 stars
  • product lifespan: no information available
  • advantage: this product is transparent and easily fits around the neck
  • disadvantage: some reviewers state it has a strong plastic smell

This hot water bottle comes in two colors. It is U-shaped, so it is ideal for those with neck and shoulder pain.

The thickened PVC bottle is transparent, so a person can see how much water it contains. It also features an anti-explosion design and comes with a protective cover.

Additionally, it can double up as a cold compress.

Best rechargeable design: RUIXIB Rechargeable Hot Water Sack

Image of a RUIXIB Rechargeable Hot Water Sack
  • list price: around $17
  • review score: no reviews
  • product lifespan: no information available
  • advantage: this product automatically heats water
  • disadvantage: this product is small and may be unsuitable for people looking for warmth on a larger surface area

This hot water sack uses a USB power cable to heat the water in 1 minute. It features premium nontoxic graphene to generate heat and has an anti-leak design.

The material is an eco-friendly and recyclable lint. It is also portable, lightweight, and available in two colors.

Best pouch design: Toxin Hot Water Bottle with Waist Cover

Image of a Toxin Hot Water Bottle with Waist Cover
  • list price: around $15
  • review score: 4.6 out of 5 stars
  • product lifespan: no information available
  • advantage: comes with a belt pouch and fleece cover
  • disadvantage: some reviewers state that the belt pouch is too small to fit comfortably

The hot water bottle comprises premium PVC material and is available in purple or pink.

The product comes with a cover and waist belt for attaching around the waist or shoulders.

The following table compares the hot water bottles in this article.

MaterialProduct lifespanReview scoreList price
HomeToprubberno information available4.6 out of 5 starsaround $12
Hugo Froschthermoplastica few years4.7 out of 5 starsaround $26
HEYPORKsiliconeno information available4.5 out of 5 starsaround $16
SamplyPVCno information available4 out of 5 starsaround $19
RUIXIBgrapheneno information availableno information availablearound $17
ToxinPVCno information available4.6 out of 5 starsaround $15

Before buying a hot water bottle, there are several factors to consider, including the following:

  • Material: Generally, hot water bottles consist of rubber. However, people may wish to purchase a bottle comprising a different material, such as thermoplastic, particularly if they are allergic to latex. Rubber also tends to have a stronger odor than alternative materials.
  • Covers: A person should create a barrier between their skin and the heat source to avoid burns. Some hot water bottles feature covers for this purpose.
  • Texture: Ribbed hot water bottles spread heat more evenly, while a smoother textured bottle provides a more targeted heat source.
  • How to heat: Most hot water bottles require boiling water. However, some models are microwaveable or require electricity to heat them.

Hot water bottles retain heat after a person fills them with hot water.

When an individual applies heat to the skin, the blood vessels open, and blood flow to the area increases. This blood flow helps relax muscles and reduce lactic acid buildup, which soothes aches and pains.

A 2016 study on 388 students found that nonpharmacological treatments are a common method of pain relief. One of the most popular nonpharmacological treatments involved applying heat to the affected area.

Additionally, a 2015 study on mice found that mild heat therapy was useful in managing arthritis pain.

Learn more about heat therapy.

Hot water bottles may help soothe aches and pains across much of the body. They can also help keep a person warm in cold weather.

Many hot water bottles also double up as cold compresses, which can help reduce inflammation.

However, hot water bottles carry a risk of burning if the bottle bursts, leaks, or spills. A person should also ensure they wrap the bottle in a cover or towel to prevent direct contact with the skin.

A 2019 study conducted in two UK burns units found that across 14 months, 80 patients received treatment for hot water bottle-related injuries. These injuries were due to contact burns, scalds, and steam burns. Some of the patients also had full-thickness burns.

Learn more about what to do for boiling water burns.

To soothe aches, a person can rest the affected area, gently stretch, take a warm relaxing bath, and avoid strenuous activities. Electric blankets are another alternative that can cover or partially cover an individual’s body.

If a particular area is swollen and inflamed, an ice pack may also help.

Learn about the RICE method for injuries.

Below are the answers to some common questions about hot water bottles.

What is the best material for a hot water bottle?

Rubber is a popular hot water bottle material as it is durable and provides more insulation, which may reduce the risk of burns. Additionally, some companies make hot water bottles out of recycled rubber.

However, newer thermoplastic hot water bottles may keep water hotter for longer. Many thermoplastic products are transparent, which can help people avoid spills and burns as they can see how much water is in the bottle.

How can I make my hot water bottle hotter for longer?

People should ensure that they use hot, but not boiling, water when filling the hot water bottle up. Placing the bottle in a covering or wrapping it in a towel can help maintain its heat and minimize injuries such as burns.

Individuals may also find that regularly replacing some of the water with hotter water helps prevent the product from cooling down.

When should you throw out a hot water bottle?

Most manufacturers provide instructions on when to dispose of hot water bottles.

However, if a person notices any damage to the hot water bottle, they should dispose of it immediately.

Are hot water bottles cost-effective?

Hot water bottles tend to be cheaper than electric blankets and central heating, making them a more cost-effective solution.

Hot water bottles may help reduce aches and pains. Many of these products comprise rubber, but there are also thermoplastic options available for those who prefer alternative materials or have allergies.

People should consider which style may be best for them and always use a cover while using a hot water bottle. If a product does not include a cover, a person can use a towel to avoid direct skin contact.