Beware of Cheap Polycarbonate Bottles

Polycarbonate bottles are really, really hot right now in the promo industry. It all began with the Nalgene (name-brand) sport bottle, which was originally marketed to backpackers and other outdoors people but became a huge hit with the general public.

Those original Nalgene bottles sold for upwards of $10 when they first came out, but their popularity spawned all kinds of imitators who came out with different styles and colors of bottles made from similar plastic (generically called polycarbonate plastic or ‘polycarb’ for short). There are different grades and thicknesses of polycarb plastic, however, and that’s something to be aware of.

By using a little thinner plastic, industry suppliers were able to get the price point on promo polycarb bottles down into the $4-$7 range. Recently, however, a ‘new generation’ of cheap polycarb bottles has hit the promo market with a price point in the $2-ish range.

These bottles look very tempting at this price… but there’s a catch. To produce them for this price, suppliers are using thinner plastic than before. These bottles will come with a little slip of paper inside warning they’re not dishwasher-safe, but let’s face it, most people just won’t take the time to hand-wash a giveaway water bottle. When these cheap polycarb bottles go into the dishwasher they have a tendency to warp at the bottom from the heat… and then they won’t stand upright anymore, making them pretty much useless. Not a good thing, especially if your logo is on that bottle.

These are the kinds of details I like to know about so I can give my clients the full scoop when they’re looking at different products… sometimes going with the cheapest thing available is a big mistake in the long run.

My favorite source for polycarb bottles is LCP Mugs in Idaho. They’re not widely known in our industry but they’re a ‘best kept secret’ out here on the West Coast. To see LCP’s line of high-quality (non warping) polycarb bottles you can check out their site:

If you’re interested in ordering polycarb bottles for YOUR promotional advertising I would be happy to help you. Feel free to e-mail me: or call me at 866-247-4320. Thanks for reading & have a good day!

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