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A quick, easy and cheap way to provide extra warmth when temperatures drop, a hot water bottle is a useful addition to any home. And as many come with faux-fur, knitted or fleece covers, they're hugely comforting too.
Heat therapy can also be effective at relieving aches, joint pains, and period cramps according to the NHS. But which type of hot water bottle is most effective? Are microwave options better at retaining heat? Are electric heat pads better than traditional rubber designs? Can you use hot water bottles when pregnant? We tackle all these questions in our handy buying guide below.
Put on your comfy clothes, curl up on the sofa, and check out our guide to the best hot water bottles to snuggle up with this winter, including tried-and-tested recommendations from Mumsnetters.
Here are the best hot water bottles to buy.
1. Best overall hot water bottle: Boots Keep Cosy Hot Water Bottle Chocolate Fur
Price £14 | Buy now from Boots
"I looooooooove my hot water bottle far too much. It’s just an ordinary one from Boots but it has a lovely furry cover. I’d rescue it in a fire before DH, I reckon" - recommended by Mumsnet user, BellMcEnd
"This one from Boots is good" - tried and tested by Mumsnet user, Oldpossumsbook
If there’s one hot water bottle that Mumsnetters can rely on for providing hours of heat on cold winter days, it’s this Keep Cosy option from Boots. It retains its heat for up to six hours, has an extra fluffy cover that feels like a warm hug and has a family-friendly price tag. One Mumsnet user even tells us that if she had to leave her home with just one item, this hot water bottle would be it. Need we say more!
- Hot water bottle type: Latex-free PVC with a faux fur cover
- Size: 60 x 30cm
2. Best budget hot water bottle: Cassandra Hot Water Bottle
Price: £6 | Buy now from Amazon
"Hot water bottles - any will do, as long as it has some way of attaching the stopper when you're not using it. Do not store it stoppered. Always use it wrapped in something: a soft towel or a sweatshirt are good. You can buy all sorts of cuddly covers. Don't waste money on a small hot water bottle - they cool too quickly" - advice from Mumsnet user, JellySlice
The Cassandra is your traditional, no-frills, ready to come to the rescue, hot water bottle. Our budget option has a ribbed surface so it's gentle on the skin and is the nostalgic hot water bottle we all grew up with. Oh, and it comes with a reassuring five-year guarantee. With thousands of top reviews online, it’s reliable, easy to fill and features a washer-les stopper to prevent leaks. Some have reported a slightly greasy feel to touch, but you can’t have it all for this price. It comes in a choice of colours so you could stock up on bottles to suit different family members.
- Hot water bottle type: Traditional ribbed rubber hot water bottle
- Size: 32.5 x 21.5cm
3. Best hot water bottle for the body: YuYu Fleece Long Hot Water Bottle
Price £35 | Buy now from Amazon
"I love my YuYu hot water bottle. It can warm the length of my body at once and you can tie it around your torso so it is hands free. The fleece cover is really soft and snuggly" - recommended by Mumsnet user, TryingToDrinkMoreWater
"The long ones are fantastic, they can go along the bottom of the bed so you’re not rummaging around for it in the night or length ways down the side of your body. I’d never be without mine now" - tried and tested by Mumsnet user, retainertrainer
A long hot water bottle is nothing short of amazing, according to Mumsnet users (and there’s no better judge). The award-winning YuYu is a cosy delight that simply moulds around the body for maximum comfort and its fleece covering will keep you feeling super snuggly, as one forum convert confirms. This long warmer features a strap so you can pop it around your waist or back to soothe aches and pains while you go about your day or curl up on the couch. This great companion will keep warm for up to eight hours, and its cover can be popped in the washing machine at 30°c so keeping it in tip-top shape won’t be an issue. Online reviews also recommend it for easing chronic pain.
- Hot water bottle type: FSC certified, Sri Lankan rubber bottle, 100% polyester fleece cover
- Size: 81 x 13cm
4. Best microwave hot water bottle: Hotties Microhottie Microwave Hot Water Bottle
Price £16 | Buy now from Amazon
"I swear by the Hotties. I use them several times a day and we've had our current Hotties for about 4 years. They stay really warm for a long time too" - recommended by Mumsnet user, user1493122149
This tartan print hottie is a popular choice if you don't want to deal with pouring hot water into a small bottle neck. Its internal thermal pack means it just needs 60 seconds in the microwave to offer a consistent (but lower) heat for a few hours and some quick relief for those general aches and pains. It’s best not to compare your microhottie to a traditional hot water bottle as it won’t offer the same level of heat for lengthy periods but we’d still be happy to snuggle one, perhaps on a milder evening.
- Hot water bottle type: Microwaveable heat pack
- Size: 33 x 22cm
5. Best electric hot water bottle: Vivo Rechargeable Electric Hot Water Bottle
Price £30 | Buy now from Amazon
"I took an electric hot water bottle (I bought it on Amazon). It was so good I used it for the first few hours of labour. It helped so much" - advice from Mumsnet user, Millykitty
Our plug-in pick will come to the rescue no matter where you are in the home when some extra warmth is needed. There are some great advantages to using an electric hot water bottle: it’s convenient as you don't need to use a kettle or a microwave, there's no water spillage to content with and 15 minutes of charging will offer up to six hours of heavenly cosiness. You can expect it to reach temperatures between 70-75°C. This top hottie will also work as a hand warmer on a chilly day (it has a pouch), or as a heat pad to soothe back pain. One Mumsnetter also recommends it for use in labour, telling us "It helped so much", making it a brilliant gift for an expectant friend, or if you just wanted to treat yourself.
- Hot water bottle type: Electric hot water bottle
- Size: 25 x 17 x 5cm
6. Best long-lasting hot water bottle: Fashy Hot Water Bottle with Fleece Cover
Price £13 | Buy now from Amazon
"These are great"- tried and tested by Mumsnet user, Freyanna
The Fashy is recommended on the Mumsnet forums and receives rave reviews online for being a fuss-free trusty option that’s going to deliver on many cold winter nights. Its blue fleece cover can be kept clean easily with a machine wash so there'll be no unwanted odours seeping out. This hot water bottle can also be recycled when its job is done – though this won’t be for a good while. Granted, it’s not the most attractive hot water bottle on the list but it’ll deliver hours of heat and will make leaving your bed very difficult.
- Hot water bottle type: Thermoplastic hot water bottle
- Size: 32 x 19cm
7. Best luxury hot water bottle: The White Company Sheepskin Hot Water Bottle
Price £60 | Buy now from The White Company
"I’ve found it worth spending money on a good one. I’ve had cheap ones in the past but the covers have stretched really quickly and made it unsafe" - advice from Mumsnet user, Oldpossumsbook
The White Company knows how to add a touch of luxury to simple products and this hot water bottle is no exception. The super-soft sheepskin on both sides will make you feel as snug as a bug in a rug, and we're pretty sure you'll hold onto this cosy delight for the entire winter! Heat is trapped by sheepskin's natural properties, so you can stay warmer for longer. Although this level of utter cosiness doesn't come cheap, it's a solid investment for the long term. Because sheepskin is dry clean only, you'll have to take extra care of this super snuggly bed warmer, especially with a brew in hand. You’ll be crying out for a chilly night with this one.
- Hot water bottle type: Rubber hot water bottle, 100% sheepskin cover
- Size: 22 x 39cm
8. Best hot water bottle for period pains: Wuka Wearable Hot Water Bottle
Price: £25 | Buy now from Wuka
When that time of the month arrives you may need to seek out some pain relief and this long, wearable hot water bottle from Wuka is brilliant for the job. It comes with two ties to provide a snug fit around your tummy or back to help ease those inconvenient aches and pains. Its soft fleece cover also has a pocket to keep your hands warm, or you can use it as a phone holder. The wrap-around style makes it easy to wear around the house or when working from home. You can machine wash the cover too at 30ºC, but make sure you leave the fabric conditioner out.
- Hot water bottle type: Wearable hot water bottle with fleece cover
- Size: 77cm long
How to buy a hot water bottle
There are three main types of hot water bottle. We outline the features below.
Traditional hot water bottle: This is the one we’re all familiar with - a hot water bottle made from rubber or thermoplastic. Rubber is a thicker material so it can take longer to feel the heat than a thermoplastic version. A ribbed hot water bottle will work to defuse the heat so it lasts longer but ensures that it won’t get too hot to the touch. A double ribbed hot water bottle will stay warm for even longer. One side may be smooth for comfort, while the other side is ribbed for heat control. You must always wait for a boiled kettle to cool for around five minutes before adding water to a bottle. A hot water bottle should always comply with British Standards so look for the Kitemark symbol too.
Microwavable hot water bottle: This type is a brilliant choice for children. They are often disguised as super-cute, cuddly plush toys for added appeal and can even provide a calming scent. They heat very quickly with generally only a minute or so needed in the microwave. There are no stoppers and you’ll never have to empty, refill or worry about water leaks. Choose one that isn’t filled with wheat or gel, like they once were. These don’t hold their heat as long as a traditional type, but they work well for a bedtime routine or after returning home from chilly, outdoor adventures.
Electric hot water bottle: Electrodes heat up a gel or liquid to create comfort in an electric hot water bottle. After 10-15 minutes of being plugged in, an electric warmer will heat up enough to keep you warm for 6-7 hours. Before using your electric hot water bottle, it's best to disconnect it to prevent any shocks. It's a small drawback that electric types are more expensive and don't provide as much of a cosy companion feeling as you get with a traditional hot water bottle with a cover.
Are hot water bottles good for pain relief?
The modest hot water bottle has been used for easing aches and pains for centuries via simple science – heat helps you relax. For lower back pain, a hot water bottle can be applied for up to 15 minutes an hour. When experiencing cramps, a hot water bottle can also help relax the muscles, which in turn helps ease pain. For muscular pain it can provide heat therapy to reduce soreness. Some hot water bottles also function as cold compresses, which can reduce inflammation. They can also help relieve joint pain for those suffering with arthritis.
Are hot water bottles safe to use when pregnant?
According to the NHS, a hot water bottle is perfectly safe for women to use when pregnant. They can be an effective way of treating aches and pains in areas like the lower back or between the thighs. It's recommended that hot water bottles aren't placed directly on the skin to prevent burns and scalds.
What’s the best hot water bottle to buy?
Our top hottie bottie is the Boots Keep Cosy Chocolate Fur hot water bottle. Not only did we find lots of love on the Mumsnet forums for this one, but it's a great all-rounder and delivers everything you could ask for from a warm companion. It’s fluffy, retains heat for a good six hours, has a purse-friendly price tag and is going to last you for many winters and chilly nights to come. Though it is recommended that you replace your snuggle buddy every five years.
How we chose our recommendations
Because we know that there’s nothing like a real recommendation, we first headed to the Mumsnet forums to find out which hot water bottles parents were recommending and had bought. We then did some research across the wider web, looking at which hot water bottles had been featured in ‘best buy’ lists across websites, and what customer reviews said about them. Having collated all that information, we then narrowed our list down to the top hot water bottles on the market.
Why you should trust us
We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.