Pros: Unique artwork and fun, claims they are non-leaching for life, eco-friendly, they are now BPA-free.
Cons: They ARE made with aluminum and leak-proof liner, not really dishwasher safe.
I usually buy Klean Kanteen bottles for my family, but this summer while out of town, I needed a gift to bring home for my son (now age 4). I didn't want him to feel left out since the rest of us hand our own non-toxic water bottles and when I saw this, I made it his gift. I had never tried the Sigg brand, but I've heard good things about it. We bought it in the 20-ounce Spongebob (with blue background), but they come in a myriad of designs.
I think that's what sets Sigg apart from other non-toxic stainless steel bottles is their designs. People like art on their water bottles and they are good at that. When I browse their site (mysigg.com) or see these in stores, it's instantly overwhelming as to which bottle I would buy. Luckily, they had this in Spongebob and so I knew my son would love it. I wasn't sure how the "art/picture" on the outside of the bottle would hold up after many washings (after all, I've had photo mugs before that wear off after about a year). Even the Klean Kanteen logo will wear off a bit after a couple years worth of washings. The last thing I want to do is walk around with a faded, half chipped off picture on my water bottle. So for a few month's worth of washings (in the dishwasher) and holding drinks, it has held up and not rubbed off (I cannot say to what it does after a year or two, yet!).
The bottle seems high-end and I haven't experienced any leaching. They have an inner liner that is different from the Klean Kanteen bottles (which are all stainless steel throughout). The bottles are 8 1/2 inches tall and fit in a regular cup holder in the car. They don't tip easily and are well-made. They are BPA-free and non-leaching (so no chemicals) and that's what I'm going for. I also like that I'm not using plastic and throwing away bottles (so for the high price, I actually save in the long-run). I paid $18 for it (which is actually decent). And what kid wouldn't love the pictures on the bottle? They don't skimp either, they wrap and color (paint in) the entire bottle, not just a swatch. You can find these from $16 on up to $22 in stores (like natural food stores) and online try the Sigg website (http://www.mysigg.com).
Sigg bottles are made in Switzerland. These specific caps come in a sports-bottle type and have a cap that snaps over it (so no leaking). My son DOES find it difficult to open, so I do it for him, but I understand why they do it (to stand out from other companies and so leaking cannot occur). I think they come out with new artwork all the time (and for limited times) so a bottle available now may not be available in the future. It makes for a very unique bottle, in fact I have never seen anyone else with the Spongebob artwork on their bottle (in public), or it even offered anywhere else. So mixing up bottles with friends, is not going to happen!
The Sigg company claims that the kid's bottles are 100% safe. I am hoping to never see the inner liner material to never flake off (I'm not sure what it is, but it's a protective, inner layer from the stainless part). They claim it never will (although, so does Teflon) and that it is safe. I am a little leary of this, so we'll see in the future (with many more uses and washings). It's also supposed to be bacteria-resistant. So far, so good. I also find that these Sigg bottles are more lightweight than the Klean Kanteen ones (or at least they feel like it) and hopefully just as durable in the long run. The part that makes me NERVOUS is that they are actually made from aluminum, but with an inner baked-on layer of protection. So I do worry that at some point the aluminum could leak through, but they claim this does not do that. So because of that layer, you do not get a metallic taste to your drinks (like you do with stainless steel). It may be possible to scratch or wear off in the future (despite their claims of this not being able to happen) so that is something to keep in mind. I'm not really sure how long you could use these (I don't know if I would want to use on my son over 3 or 4 years because of the liner). But with Klean Kanteen, I find them to be slightly more durable and I can use them for life (and camping and so on). They also have NOT listed the ingredients to the "liner", which is a little alarming (why not?). The caps (while even visiting their online website), I cannot figure out if they are safe (no BPA or anything) or not. They are recycl-able, but Klean Kanteen also has upped Sigg on that one, because they state the ingredients in their caps and how safe they are. In the FAQ (question and answer section) of their website, they do state that it is RARE, but the lining CAN flake or chip off. I guess after visiting their website and with the issues people have had with their bottles, I'm going to keep an eye on my son's new water bottle. They did have an issue with their liners in the past (which I dug around and found this information). Sigg bottles used to leak small amounts of BPA and the newer bottles (after 2009) don't, but people were led to believe they were BPA-free before then (or at least throught they were BPA-free when they were buying them). I don't know if I find this deceptive or not, but at least the company offered a free recall program to the 2008 bottles. I bought mine in 2009 and so I don't have to worry about that, but if you ARE worried (if you own any previous bottles), they have a link you can visit to see what kind of lining you have: http://mysigg.com/liner/ .
These bottles can be used with cold drinks (even carbonated beverages), but not hot drinks. And they say to never put them in the freezer (I would never put ANY metal water bottle in the freezer). They could crack and your fingers could end up sticking to the bottles. These are stated to be "dishwasher safe" which is SOMETHING I look for in my water bottles (I just don't do handwashing). Then I visit their website and it says they PREFER you don't put them in the dishwasher, but rather wash with soapy water and air dry nightly (which I am not thrilled). They put "dishwasher safe" on the bottle which gets me interested in buying it, only to find out that they don't really want you to do that.
Overall: it's a great gift, works well and I'm not sure about the longevity or safety (for long-term use) of this product. I feel a lot safer using Klean Kanteen, but for short-term (2-3 years) use, I would recommend trying one of these out for the kids you know for a Christmas gift or stocking stuffer.