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? Is Cirkul's water bottle plastic-free and healthier than other water bottle brands? And how do real users describe the flavor and benefits of Cirkul flavoring cartridges?
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 your money, 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 real, unsponsored user reviews of Cirkul products.
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. A brand called Hydrapeak sells a 32 oz stainless steel water bottle on Amazon (link here for those interested) that costs $21.95 and also has a better design in our opinion.
What's Actually in Cirkul Flavors?
The ingredient list above is from Cirkul's LifeSip flavoring cartridge which is advertised as their product for “health-centric sippers.”
We do not consider this product to be healthy.
Cirkul advertises how LifeSip packets contain “essential B vitamins” but they contain these vitamins in comically insignificant amounts. As an example, one serving contains around 0.1 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin B12.
One single egg contains over 0.5 mcg of vitamin B12 according to the USDA, so a small serving of 3 eggs would provide around 1,500% of the vitamin B12 in Cirkul LifeSip.
These packets also contain citric acid, which 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 (another zero-calorie hydration product containing this ingredient).
Natural flavors is a broad descriptor that fails to identify the specific flavoring agents used. A medical review published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal documented toxicity concerns with some flavoring agents.
If using these flavoring packets are the only way a consumer can stop drinking something like soda, then they would be a healthier alternative, but we certainly do not recommend Cirkul LifeSip due to all of the questionable additive ingredients.
Real, Unsponsored Cirkul User Review
One of the most popular YouTube reviews of Cirkul comes from a channel called "Freakin' Reviews." The creator 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:
Where to Buy Cirkul Products for the Best Price
Cirkul is sold on 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 the price breakdown for Cirkul's 22oz plastic water bottle:
Bed Bath & Beyond: $34.99 with three flavor cartridges
Walmart: $19.98 with two flavor cartridges (link to product)
Brand website: $15
Given that individual flavor cartridges cost around $4, Walmart currently has the best price for consumers interested in both a Cirkul water bottle and Cirkul flavor cartridges.
Cirkul's flavor cartridges are one cent cheaper on Walmart than the brand's website, and slightly more expensive on Bed Bath & Beyond:
Bed Bath & Beyond: $7.99 (2-pack)
Brand website: $3.75
Cirkul is not currently sold on Amazon.
Can You Use Cirkul Bottles With Other Flavorings?
It appears that you can re-use Cirkul bottles with other water flavoring products. A TikTok video with over 200,000 likes published by 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)
Are Cirkul's Electrolyte and Energy Flavors Healthier?
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.”
FitSip's ingredients, shown above, are similar to LifeSip's ingredients. We do not believe that electrolytes are necessary for regular consumers or even most non-professional athletes.
Lactic acid is a strange choice for an electrolyte powder marketed to active consumers, because clinical research proves 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.
We do not recommend this product due to the lactic acid, citric acid, natural flavors and artificial sweetener. We consider FitSip to be Cirkul's worst formulation from a health perspective.
GoSip is an energy formulation described by Cirkul as having the ability to give you "a caffeinated kick when you're running on empty." The ingredients are shown below.
The caffeine content is only 30 milligrams (mg) per serving, which is around one-third of the amount 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.
We do 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 recommend any Cirkul flavoring cartridges.
Our Clean Water Flavoring Pick
Pique Daily Radiance is our top flavor enhancing packet that can be added to water.
This product comes in convenient stick packs that can be mixed into water, and is naturally flavored with nutritious, whole food ingredients like organic elderberry juice concentrate (which is clinically shown to support the immune system) and organic lemon juice concentrate.
Most importantly, Pique's flavor enhancer is entirely free of citric acid, preservatives, artificial sweeteners and flavoring additives. There are no ingredients in this formulation that we consider to be unhealthy.
Interested consumers can check out Pique Daily Radiance at this link to the product page on the brand's official website.