Cirkul Review: Better Water or TikTok Scam?

Cirkul Review: Better Water or TikTok Scam?


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Cirkul is a hydration brand that went viral on TikTok, and the brand claims they can make water "your favorite beverage." Cirkul sells water bottles and a variety of different flavoring packs that can be added to water with different stated benefits, such as health, energy and electrolytes.

But what's actually in Cirkul flavoring? Are there any unhealthy ingredients? Could Cirkul's water bottle leach plastics? And how do real users describe the taste and effects of this product?

In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more, as we review the materials used in Cirkul's water bottles to give our take on whether they're worth the money.

We'll analyze the ingredients in Cirkul's health, energy and electrolyte flavoring cartridges to give our take on whether they're healthy or unhealthy, and share unsponsored customer reviews of the brand.

Are Cirkul Bottles Anything Special?

Cirkul sells both plastic and stainless steel water bottles.

The brand advertises that their plastic water bottles are “BPA-free,” but as we outlined in our article about what bpa free means, this designation does not mean necessarily mean the bottles are safer or healthier.

Companies may simply include other plasticizing chemicals like bisphenol S (BPS) in their BPA-free packaging, and these BPA replacement chemicals are shown in medical research to be just as estrogenic as BPA.

We have no issue with Cirkul's stainless steel bottles, and for consumers intent on purchasing a water bottle from Cirkul, this is the product we'd recommend, but it's possible to find a cheaper stainless steel bottle on Amazon.

Cirkul's 32 ounce bottle currently costs $35.

There are a variety of stainless steel water bottles on Amazon that cost under $30 at the time of updating this article.

Are Cirkul Flavors Unhealthy?

Cirkul LifeSip Coconut Pineapple flavor ingredients

The ingredients in the Coconut Pineapple flavor of Cirkul LifeSip are shown above.

This is the vitamin-enriched flavoring pack.

Cirkul advertises how LifeSip packets contain “essential B vitamins” but they contain these vitamins in relatively low amounts.

Vitamin B12 is included at a dose of 0.08 micrograms (mcg).

One single egg contains over 0.5 mcg of vitamin B12 according to the USDA, so one egg would provide 625% of the vitamin B12 dose in Cirkul LifeSip.

Citric acid is a flavoring and preservative agent shown in a medical review published in the Toxicology Reports journal to cause whole-body inflammation in a small subset of patients.

Sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate are synthetic preservatives. Medical research has shown that preservatives may contribute to metabolic dysregulation.

Sucralose is an artificial sweetener that's been clinically shown to cause negative changes to insulin function in healthy adults, as we documented in our review of Gatorade Zero.

Natural flavors is a broad descriptor that fails to identify the specific flavoring agents used. 

medical review published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal documented toxicity concerns with some flavoring agents.

Overall, we do not consider Cirkul LifeSip to be healthy due to the inactive ingredients described above.

Further, we have't come across any clinical evidence that low doses of supplemental B-vitamins have beneficial health effects in individuals who aren't deficient in B-vitamins.

Real People Try Cirkul

A YouTube creator named "Freakin' Reviews" does an unboxing of Cirkul products, taste tests of all of the brand's most popular flavors, and ranks them in order from best-to-worst:

A TikTok creator named "baking_books_andbullshit" had a less favorable review of the brand:

@baking_books_andbullshit I wanted this water bottle to be worth it 😩 he’s totally going to say “I told you so”🤦🏽‍♀️#cirkulwaterbottle #honestreview #notsponsored #cirkul #fruitpunch #LaysGoldenDuet #cirkulwaterflavorratings ♬ original sound - Baking_Books_and Bullshit

Where to Get the Best Price

Cirkul is sold at a few different online retailers.

The official brand website has the largest variety of options but there are some better deals available on certain products from third-party retailers.

Here's a price breakdown at the time of updating this article:

22 oz Cirkul Water Bottle

Amazon: $35 with two flavor cartridges (link to Amazon listing)

Brand website: $30 (link)

Walmart: $19.98 with two flavor cartridges (link)

Not only is the price on Walmart significantly cheaper than the brand's website, but the Walmart listing comes with two flavor cartridges as well.

Cirkul Flavor Cartridges (6-pack)

Walmart: $36.99 (link)

Amazon: $36.85 (link to Amazon listing)

Brand website: $22.5 (link)

Picking your own six flavors on Cirkul's website is around 40% cheaper than a pre-built 6-pack at third-party retailers.

Can You Use Non-Cirkul Flavorings?

It appears that you can re-use Cirkul bottles with other water flavoring products. A TikTok video with over 200,000 likes from a creator named "anythingsadie" shows how to do this Cirkul hack:

@anythingsadie Cirkul hack! #cirkulgirl #cirkul #cirkulwaterbottle #cirkulhack #cirkulwaterflavorratings #anotherdayanothercirkulflavor #cirkulgirl #flavoredwater #water #anythingsadie ♬ original sound - Sadie Laurie (Cirkul Girl)

Which Cirkul Flavor is Healthiest?

Cirkul sells a number of flavoring cartridge types other than the LifeSip we reviewed in the previous ingredient analysis section.

FitSip is marketed as a sports nutrition product, as the brand states it “contains electrolytes to help keep you in the game.”

Cirkul FitSip ingredients

FitSip's ingredients, shown above, are similar to LifeSip's ingredients.

Lactic acid is a strange choice for an electrolyte powder marketed to active consumers, because clinical research shows that lactic acid already builds up in the body during exercise, and blood levels of lactic acid which are too high can pose health risks and worsen exercise performance.

Citric acid, natural flavors and preservatives are also included, and we explained in the previous ingredient analysis section why we recommend avoiding these ingredients.

GoSip is an energy drink packet described by Cirkul as having the ability to give you "a caffeinated kick when you're running on empty."

The ingredients are shown below.

Cirkul GoSip ingredients

Caffeine is included at a dose of 30 milligrams (mg) per serving, which is only around one-third of the caffeine dose in a single cup of coffee.

We do not recommend this product due to the citric acid, natural flavors, preservatives and artificial sweetener.

Cirkul has a product called "pureessence" which the brand suggests is their healthiest offering. It's unsweetened and has a "hint of fruit essence."

Ingredients are shown below:

Cirkul pureessence ingredients

We consider this to be Cirkul's healthiest flavoring cartridge because it's free of artificial sweeteners. However, it still contains preservatives, citric acid and natural flavors so we don't recommend it.

Overall, we consider Cirkul pureessence to be the brand's healthiest flavoring cartridge, but we do not currently recommend any Cirkul flavoring cartridges due to the inactive ingredients used.

Our Clean Hydration Picks

Pique Daily Radiance is our top water flavoring pick.

These packets are naturally flavored with nutritious ingredients like organic elderberry juice concentrate (which is clinically shown to support the immune system) and organic lemon juice concentrate.

Promix Electrolyte Drink Mix is our top electrolyte pick.

This product contains the electrolytes sodium (from Himalayan pink salt), potassium and magnesium.

Sans Water Purifier is our top premium water filter pick.

The product is NSF-Certified, and is clinically shown to not only remove common contaminants like heavy metals, but also toxins like nitrate and PFOAs ("forever chemicals").

All of the products recommended in this section are entirely free of ingredients or materials we consider to be unhealthy.

Cirkul Pros and Cons

Here are the pros and cons of Cirkul in our opinion:

Pros:

  • Some water bottles are plastic-free
  • May increase water intake
  • Can use non-Cirkul flavorings in the bottles

Cons:

  • Some water bottles made with plastic
  • Brand uses artificial sweeteners
  • Brand uses citric acid
  • Brand uses natural flavors
  • Relatively low vitamin doses
  • Doesn't appear clinically tested
  • We can't find any evidence this product line improves human health
Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

It’s great that companies are trying to be innovative in helping consumers drink more water, but we do not consider any Cirkul flavoring cartridges to be healthy options.

Their stainless steel bottle is fine, but seems overpriced.

Consumers intent on purchasing Cirkul products should check Walmart first, because some of their products are cheaper on Walmart than on the brand's website.

The brand's official website has the widest variety of products.

We do consider Cirkul to be significantly healthier than sugar-sweetened beverages like soda.

It's worth noting that Cirkul bottles can be used with other flavoring products, for consumers who are just interested in the flavoring technology of Cirkul bottles, but prefer water flavoring products sold by other brands.