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Healthy eating

LifeFuels is the Keurig of water bottles and it tracks how much you drink

This smart water bottle dispenses up to three flavors into your water, and tracks your hydration.

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The LifeFuels bottle and the FuelPods.

Angela Lang/CNET

As a kid, did you ever mix a bunch of sodas together to create your own flavor? The LifeFuels smart nutrition bottle is like that, but for sports drinks. This smart water bottle houses up to three nutrient-enriched flavor concentrates at a time and dispenses them so you can create your own sport drinks. It also tracks how much water (or sports drink) you drink everyday. The bottle retails for $179 and goes on sale today.

The company is backed by Keurig Dr. Pepper, and it uses a similar model as a Keurig coffee maker, with flavor concentrates in contained plastic pods called FuelPods. The pods also have various nutrients and vitamins to mimic a sports drink. In an effort to curtail plastic waste and perhaps avoid the flack that Keurig has endured for its plastic pod waste, you can send the empty pods to the company for recycling.

Read more: The best water bottles for everyone

While trying the LifeFuels bottle, I felt like a water bottle that I have charge was overkill. But, I also was impressed by how well it worked once I charged the bottle, installed the FuelPods and connected it bottle to the LifeFuels companion app (yes, I am well aware of how absurd all that sounds just for a water bottle).

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The bottle houses 3 flavor pods that you can mix and match.

Angela Lang/CNET

By pressing a button on the bottle or using the app, you can dispense as much flavor concentrate you want. Then, you just shake the bottle to mix it into the water in the upper chamber. The bottle supports three pods at once, and you can mix and match them to create custom beverages. The flavors I tried were Peach, Lemon Lime and White Grapefruit Citrus. While I found all of them to be too sweet for my taste, if you are used to drinking Gatorade, these are just as sweet and flavorful.

Flavors or not, the bottle does a good job of tracking how much water is in it and how much you drink, down to the millimeter. Every time you take a swig, the app records exactly how much you drank and shows you how much water is left in the bottle in the app. It'll also send you updates throughout the day nudging you to drink more.

My biggest gripe with the bottle is that it's heavy and the upper chamber that holds water is small. LifeFuels promises about a week of power on a single charge, but the beta version of the bottle I tried only lasted a few days on standby before the battery drained. The company says the bottle is "life proof," and it feels about as durable as any other water bottle I've used. That said, I would avoid dropping it because if the internal components get damaged, you'd lose all of the features that makes this bottle so expensive. 

LifeFuels says its bottle is for anyone, but really, most people don't need this level of sophistication in a water bottle. I could see it being worth it for elite athletes (pros and college-level) who need to be conscious of how much water and electrolytes they're getting each day. 

Beyond that, it could be a useful tool for someone who doesn't drink enough water every day, especially if they need flavors to entice them and notifications to remind them. There are far cheaper and more simple options out there you should try first, however, like these water flavor drops and any of these water-tracking bottles.

Do you really need a $180 water bottle? That's for you to decide. But if you're already intrigued enough to read this far, the LifeFuels bottle does everything it promises and then some.