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Why Are Hot Water Bottles Ribbed?

Updated: Jan 21, 2023

Grey ribbed hot water bottle

Ever noticed a certain pattern on your hot water bottle? Most of you probably like running your fingers through it as we do!

This extra layer of rubber has a specific function: making your hot water bottle experience more enjoyable.

Let us dive into why some hot water bottles are ribbed and others are not!

Why are hot water bottles ribbed?

Hot water bottles are ribbed to prevent your skin from being in direct contact with the hot rubber. In addition, this extra layer is designed to diffuse the heat from your hot water bottle. This offers extra comfort and protects you from the at times excessive heat from hot water bottles you just filled.

While some hot water bottles are ribbed on both sides, others have one ribbed side and another smooth one. This enables you to control the level of heat you want to be in contact with: use the ribbed side when your hot water bottle is very hot and the smooth side as it cools down.

Types of ribbed hot water bottles

Blue hot water bottle ribbed on one side

1. Single-ribbed side

Single-ribbed hot water bottles have ribs only on one side. For this type of hot water bottle, the other side is completely flat and doesn't have an extra layer of ribs. This could be more convenient for some users as it offers different levels of heat, depending on the side you use.

The ribbed side fulfils the function of diffusing heat. This extra layer prevents your skin from having direct contact with the hot water bottle, offering a better experience for those of you who have sensitive skin, for example.

The non-ribbed side of the hot water bottle is much warmer and can even be too hot if you put it in direct contact with your skin. This is why we advise you to use this side when the hot water bottle is cooler. We actually recommend you use a hot water bottle cover whether you used the ribbed side or not, to prevent prolonged contact with your skin.

2. Double-ribbed side

Double-ribbed hot water bottles typically come in a 2L capacity. In our view, double-ribbed side hot water bottles offer a better experience. That is because they offer a sensation of comfortable warmth instead of excessive and concentrated heat.

They are also more user-friendly. For instance, if you lay a double-ribbed hot water bottle on your stomach, you can also lay your hand on the other side without it feeling too hot. This may burn or be too hot on your hands on the smooth side of a single-ribbed side hot water bottle for example.

Again, even if your hot water bottle is ribbed on both sides, we strongly recommend you use a cover as an extra layer of protection. In addition, this will keep your hot water bottle warm for longer!

Grey and red hot water bottles

3. Smooth hot water bottles

As you might know, hot water bottles on the market can be made of PVC, rubber, or silicone. Hot water bottles with two smooth sides are usually those made of PVC, which is said to stay warmer for longer.

However, using smooth hot water bottles without a cover can bring discomfort and too much heat to your skin. This is why we also recommend you use a hot water bottle cover, a cloth, a sweater, or a towel to prevent direct contact between the smooth hot water bottle and your skin.

Hot water bottle with white fur cover

Final thoughts

We hope we could give you a good understanding of why some hot water bottles are ribbed and some are not. If you can choose between buying a smooth hot water bottle or a ribbed hot water bottle, we recommend the ribbed one.

In our opinion, ribbed hot water bottles offer a better experience as they diffuse the heat from your hot water bottle, giving a feeling of comfortable "warmth" rather than excessive heat.

Whichever type of hot water bottle you have, consider using a cover if you're planning on using your hot water bottle for longer periods. This especially applies if your hot water bottle is not ribbed, putting your skin in direct contact with the hot water bottle.


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