I just tried Gatorade’s new Smart Gx Bottle that tracks your hydration — here’s what happened

I put Gatorade’s Smart Gx Bottle and sweat patches to the test.

a photo of Gatorade's smart gx bottle
(Image: © Future/Tom's Guide)

Tom's Guide Verdict

The Gatorade Smart GX is a handy water bottle when it comes to keeping track of your hydration, but it won't be for everyone.

Pros

  • +

    Lights allow you to track hydration

  • +

    Compatible with Gx pods

  • +

    Easy to set up

  • +

    Free app has workouts

Cons

  • -

    Have to remember to recharge the bottle

  • -

    Very expensive

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I once had a running coach tell me that in the week before a marathon, keeping an eye on your hydration levels is just as important in loading up on carbohydrates. Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluid than you take in — if water loss from sweating, the body’s way of maintaining its body temperature during exercise, occurs at a higher rate than fluid intake, an athlete will become dehydrated. Dehydration not only causes headaches, lethargy, and muscle weakness, but studies have proved (opens in new tab) it can reduce your exercise endurance by nearly half. If you’re dehydrated on the start line, the same running coach used to say, no matter how much you drink on the course, you won’t be running at your best. 

Like everything else on the planet, these days we have a number of technical devices to help us keep an eye on our hydration levels — from apps on our phones, to notifications on our best fitness trackers and best running watches. The latest tech to hit the market is Gatroade’s Smart Gx Bottle — a water bottle that uses Bluetooth technology and LED lights to track your hydration data. Is this the best water bottle for anyone serious about their training? I downloaded the app, connected the water bottle, and started drinking to find out more.  

Gatorade smart GX water bottle

(Image credit: Future)
Gatorade Smart GX water bottle specs

Capacity options: 30 fluid ounces
Color options: 1
Insulated: No

Editor's note: It's been reported that the first batch of Smart Gx bottles had leaking issues, though the bottle that we received did not.

Drew Palin, Senior Director of Innovation at Gatorade told Tom's Guide, "A limited run of Smart Gx Bottles did not meet our production quality standards. We take pride in the quality of our gear, and we have made adjustments to the bottle to fix the issue. Customers who have purchased Smart Gx Bottles so far received an updated bottle free of charge, along with a 20% off discount code to use towards their next purchase on Gatorade.com." 

Gatorade Smart Gx Bottle: Price and availability

At the time of writing, the Gatorade Smart Gx Bottle is only available from Gatorade directly. The bottle costs $69.99 in a bundle that includes two of the Gx Sweat Patches and a pack of four Gx Pods, and is available in one color — grey. The 30 fl oz bottle was launched last month, and is available now. Here's where to buy the Gatorade Smart Gx Bottle (opens in new tab)

Once you've used your pods, a four-pack typically costs $21.

Gatorade Smart Gx Bottle: Set up 

Gatorade smart GX water bottle

(Image credit: Future)

Out of the box, the Gatorade bottle looks like the rest of the Gx bottles in the brand’s line-up, but this one is slightly different. Open the lid, and you’ll find a charging cable inside. If the future has charging water bottles, Gatorade is already there — simply plug the bottle in, charge it up, and you’re good to go. Well, almost: Gatorade says the bottle will last 3-5 days between charges. 

Without the Gx app, this water bottle makes no sense. When connected to your iPhone (Android compatibility will be available in 2023), the Smart Gx bottle can notify you about your hydration status throughout the day. Once you’ve put in basic information like your daily hydration goal, the time you get out of bed in the morning, and the time you go to bed, you can choose a color for the LED lights that sit around the top of the bottle. 

As well as looking cool, these lights act as your tracker — if you press the button, you’ll see how close you are to meeting your hydration goal throughout the day. The bottle uses a smart sensor in the lid that pairs to the app on your phone to record this data — Gatorade says the sensor measures the distance between it and the top of the liquid, then subtracts that from the bottle’s known total volume.  

Gatorade Smart Gx Bottle: Design and use 

Gatorade smart GX water bottle

(Image credit: Gatorade)

To test this bottle, I put my everyday Chilly’s water bottle to one side and filled up the 30 fl oz Gatorade bottle with water. Unfortunately, I failed at the first hurdle by putting ice in the bottle — after glancing at the FAQ’s, Gatorade recommends you don’t put ice in the bottle, as this can cause an error with the sensor’s liquid measurements. Undeterred, I kept sipping but skipped on the ice for the rest of my test.

The bottle itself is like a regular sports bottle. It’s easy to drink from, has a non-spill sports lid for chucking in one of the best gym bags, and the pod piercer that makes it compatible with Gatorade’s Gx pods. The electronic sensors in the cap mean you can’t chuck this one in the dishwasher, or put hot liquids in the bottle, as it can damage the sensors, but as the bottle has a wide opening, it’s easy to clean by hand. 

A photo of the Gatorade Smart Gx Bottle app

(Image credit: Future)

During testing, it didn’t take long for the competitive athlete in me to start trying to beat the light on the top of the bottle. I drink a lot of water on a good day — as a fitness editor and runner, I’m pretty active, but until testing this bottle, my water intake hasn’t ever been something I’ve actively tracked (except for when I drank a gallon of water a day for a month). Sure, in the run-up to a race I’ll add some hydration sachets to my water, but most of the time I drink to thirst. However, with the flashing lights of the Gx bottle in my life, like closing my rings on my Apple Watch Series 8, reaching all the lights on the bottle’s lid became a new goal. 

You can program the bottle to flash with hydration reminders every 30 minutes, should you wish. During my work days, I found I often beat these reminders — sitting behind a laptop screen, I’ll find any excuse to procrastinate, and it turns out filling my water bottle is a good one. At the weekends, however, I definitely found I drank a lot less, maybe because I was out and about, moving around a lot more, but perhaps because I wasn’t keeping such a close eye on my bottle. 

a photo of the Smart Gx Bottle

(Image credit: Future/Tom's Guide)

As a runner, I don’t tend to carry water with me on my runs unless I’m going out for longer than an hour, or unless the weather is super warm. Often, I’ll head out the door first thing without taking a sip of water, and I’d find by the time I got to my desk at 9 a.m., I was behind on my hydration goal on the bottle. While I’d make up for this during the day, it definitely served as a reminder to replace the lost fluids before grabbing a coffee. 

Gatorade Smart Gx Bottle: Gx app 

A photo of the Gatorade Smart Gx Bottle app

(Image credit: Future)

Without the Gx app, this water bottle makes no sense. When connected to your iPhone (Android compatibility will be available in 2023), the Smart Gx bottle can notify you about your hydration status throughout the day. Once you’ve put in basic information like your daily hydration goal, the time you get out of bed in the morning, and the time you go to bed, you can choose a color for the LED lights that sit around the top of the bottle. 

Gatorade says the Gx smart bottle syncs with the Gx app every 30-60 seconds to keep track of your hydration progress. Once you’ve refilled the water bottle, the lights on the bottle flash blue once the bottle has recalibrated. 

As well as looking cool, these lights act as your tracker — if you press the button, you’ll see how close you are to meeting your hydration goal throughout the day. The bottle uses a smart sensor in the lid that pairs to the app on your phone to record this data — Gatorade says the sensor measures the distance between it and the top of the liquid, then subtracts that from the bottle’s known total volume.  

As well as keeping an eye on your hydration, the app also has a number of training programs, devised by well-known athletes. There’s a half marathon and marathon training plan by Aliphine Tuliamuk, the long-distance runner who represented the United States at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo, a core stability and conditioning 12-week program with Serena Williams, and a 12-week strength program with Karl-Anthony Towns, amongst others.  

Gatorade Smart Gx Bottle: Gatorade’s sweat patches 

A photo of the Gatorade Sweat Patches on the arm

(Image credit: Future)

Of course, the Smart Gx Bottle isn’t Gatorade’s first product that strives to bring athlete-level tech to the masses. Last year, Gatorade launched its single use Sweat patches — a product that determines your unique sweat profile to give you a deeper insight into how much liquid you’re losing during workouts. The patch needs to be placed on the left inner arm during a workout, and will fill up as you sweat. Once you’ve finished a workout, the patch can be scanned in the Gx app, and will tell you your sweat rate, and the sodium concentration of your sweat. 

a photo of the Gatorade Sweat Patches data

(Image credit: Future)

It would be good to see the recommended hydration levels on the bottles change when users scan a sweat patch, as I found despite both using the app, they didn’t feel awfully connected. That said, as they are single-use patches, it would be unfair to assume consumers would be using these every time they workout. 

Gatorade Smart Gx Bottle: Verdict 

Gatorade smart GX water bottle

(Image credit: Future)

I’ll admit, I was skeptical about the need for a smart water bottle when this arrived — what can this bottle do that my Chilly’s can’t (other than not hold ice or coffee)? Yet after a few days of glugging from this bottle, I was surprised at how second-nature it became clicking the LED lights on the lid. Checking my hydration became something I did a few times a day, and it’s not something I’ve ever been concerned about before. At $69 (opens in new tab), the bottle doesn't come cheap, although the cost includes four Gatorade Pods. 

Is the Gatorade Smart Gx Bottle an essential item for anyone looking to get fit? Definitely not. Yet I’d argue that it’s not trying to be that. It’s a training tool, like the move notifications on your fitness tracker, or the rings on your Apple Watch, that remind you to keep on top of something it’s easy to neglect. If you’ve ever gotten to the end of the work day and realized you’ve only consumed one cup of coffee, this is a smart tool that’ll make you think twice about how much you’re drinking. 

Among the smart water bottles we’ve tested, the Hidrate Spark 3 costs more — $54 — and holds 10 ounces less water, but works with Android and iOS, has location tracking, and works with multiple fitness apps. Oh, and it glows, too.

Is this the fitness technology of the future? Who knows. But as a fitness editor, it’s always cool to see lab-based tech being turned into products for consumers, as whether you’re an athlete or an amateur, you still care about being the best you can be in your sport. 

Jane McGuire
Fitness editor

Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past five years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.