Without a doubt, the Hydro Flask is one of the most enduring water bottle brands we’ve encountered. Founded in Bend, Oregon back in 2009 by then-dating-couple Travis Rosbach and Cindy Morse, Hydro Flask has now become a world leader in insulated stainless steel water bottles. Offering the world a high-quality stainless steel water bottle equipped with double-wall vacuum insulation, the Hydro Flask brand has expanded into something more than just a water bottle manufacturer and has cemented itself as an essential piece of equipment for an active lifestyle.
Hydro Flask’s path to success was not always clear cut, a story outlined in this Inc.com piece about the company’s founding and history, but now that they have found their footing, Hydro Flask is constantly breaking down barriers and expanding into new and exciting products.
While we have done what we can to keep up with Hydro Flask and featured it many times here on Hydration Anywhere, we decided it was time to roll up our sleeves and dive into another Hydro Flask review. Why? Simple: much has changed since we originally examined the Hydro Flask.
Getting to Know Hydro Flask
If you’re not familiar with Hydro Flask, let’s go over the basics. The typical Hydro Flask is made out of 18/8 food-grade stainless steel. They range in size from a single-serving size of 12 ounces all the way up to a behemoth 64 ounce growler, and with a wide variety of eye-catching colors for all sizes. Hydro Flask’s insulation is thanks to its double-wall design, which makes use of a small chamber of evacuated air (vacuum) in between two layers of stainless steel in order to minimize heat transfer. With this simple yet amazingly effective technique, the Hydro Flask advertises its ability to keep liquids cold for up to 24 hours or hot for up to 12. Combined with its anti-sweat matte coating, this not only means it keeps your bottle’s contents hot or cold, but it also means the bottle is never too hot or cold to handle, and never gets “sweaty” with water from condensation.
But does it live up to these claims? We can say for sure, unequivocally: yes. We have used our Hydro Flasks for over five years and never been disappointed with the insulation in anyway! When the Hydro Flask first became popular it was one of very few bottles capable of doing what it does, and it was this exceptional performance that made the Hydro Flask a rock star of the water bottle worlds. Since those days the market has become much more saturated with insulated water bottles looking to imitate the Hydro Flask.
Hydro Flask continues to distinguish itself from its competitors with their commitment to exceptional products, high quality manufacturing, and exceptional customer service. They have distinguished themselves as being a fantastically supportive company open to helping its customers with any product issues or difficulties. Should you ever run into trouble with your Hydro Flask, don’t hesitate to reach out to them for help with any issue big or small.
Putting Hydro Flask’s Insulation to the Test
As we’ve demonstrated and witnessed first hand, Hydro Flask’s competition often doesn’t stack up to the original article’s insulation. We named the Hydro Flask the Best Insulated Water Bottle during our testing in February 2016. We filled the Hydro Flask (along with a few competitors) up with water chilled to 40 degrees Fahrenheit and ice cubes, leaving the bottles on our kitchen counter at room temperature in the tropics (65-80 degrees) for 24 hours before testing them.
After 24 hours, the Hydro Flask was tested at a temperature of 48 degrees, gaining only 8 degrees in over 24 hours. Pretty remarkable! In practice, this means you can do just about whatever you want with your Hydro Flask without worrying about its contents heating up too much. We’ve left them in the back of our car on scorching days for extended periods and come back to a refreshing chilled drink.
On the other hand, if you want it to keep your liquids hot instead of cold, it also performs admirably. We performed a similar test with hot water, heating it to 150 degrees and leaving it in the bottle for 12 hours. After 12 hours, the Hydro Flask’s water was still quite warm at 98 degrees, having lost 52 degrees over the course of 12 hours.
The Old and the New Hydro Flask Bottles
Although Hydro Flask has done what they can to innovate and improve, the truth of the matter is the original Hydro Flask hit the ball out of the park. Fortunately the company is more aware of this than anyone, and has done little to change the original Hydro Flask bottle from its classic and proven design. The new additions have largely come in the form of new color schemes, sizes, and accessories such as the new Flex Cap (pictured above).
The Flex Cap is a particularly nifty innovation that sought to address the Hydro Flask’s weakest point of insulation: its lid. The lid of your Hydro Flask can vary from a typical screw-on to a straw-lid to a sports-cap or maybe even something in between with third-party accessories, however what is common with all of these types if they are generally made from a durable plastic but don’t have much in the way of insulation.
With the Flex Cap, Hydro Flask took some cues from nature – namely beehives – and found out an interesting way of trapping heat inside these cleverly designed caps. For more on the Flex Cap, check out our complete article on the subject.
Accessorize and Customize your Hydro Flask
Aside from making an all-around high quality product, the Hydro Flask line of bottles offers an almost unrivaled level of choice and accessories to choose from. These can alter the function of your bottle to making drinking more convenient, like a straw lid or a sports cap, or they can help change up the look to make the bottle more uniquely yours, like a sleeve, paracord handle, or decal. Aside from the Hydro Flask brand accessories, the Hydro Flask has a standardized wide-mouth lid size and threading which makes it compatible with a huge range of other bottle accessories. Not only that, manufacturers have sprung up to support the Hydro Flask, making available a wealth of different accessories. We’ve taken a look at the huge array of accessories you can get for your Hydro Flask in our piece The Wonderful World of Hydro Flask Accessories.
Hydro Flasks have always been available in a range of colors, which the company has worked to expand over the years. Their new line of Hydro Flask with Flex Cap are available in as many as 14 different colors spanning the whole spectrum. If none of those colors quite tickle your fancy, the slightly older (but largely unchanged) version of the Hydro Flask has its own selection of alluring shades.
Yet if none of the stock Hydro Flask color options are doing it for you, don’t despair. The new Hydro Flask MyHydro program allows you to create a unique custom Hydro Flask. Choose from a variety of sizes, colors, lid options, color schemes and more to make your own custom Hydro Flask. For more on this, view our complete article on the MyHydro Program!
Meet the Competition
Hydro Flask’s success has been subject to much imitation. Sometimes this has ended quite poorly, and there are no doubt plenty of off-brand Hydro Flask lookalikes to be avoided. However, among these many bottles are diamonds in the rough, and we have taken some considerable pains in helping to sort them out. We have identified a selection of bottles which look and perform remarkably like genuine Hydro Flasks, which you can check out in our article Generic Hydro Flasks: 5 Impressive Alternatives.
Aside from imitators, Hydro Flask also has a few contemporaries to compete with. These products, especially the Klean Kanteen, have proven worthy adversaries, giving the market a huge boost as these two giants duke it out for supremacy. We took the time to pit Hydro Flask and Klean Kanteen head-to-head and sussed out the winner, which (spoiler alert!) was yours truly, the Hydro Flask. You can learn a whole lot more about the two competitors by checking out that article Hydro Flask vs Klean Kanteen: the Great Insulated Debate.
But other contenders have also stepped up to the plate. Check out our Hydro Flask vs S’well Bottle Comparison to see how Hydro Flask stacks up to its slimmer and some might even say sleeker cousin S’well. We also set off the Hydro Flask vs YETI Rambler debate to find out which of those two giants is the best bang for your buck. And we’ve also witnessed the results of Hydro Flask vs Takeya Thermoflask where we explored how the unassuming and surprisingly affordable Takeya compares to the industry juggernaut Hydro Flask.
Other Hydro Flask Products
The insulated water bottle is certainly Hydro Flask’s flagship product, but the company has a few other offerings as well. In our article Best Tumblers for Water and Beverages we distinguished the insulated stainless steel Hydro Flask Tumbler as our #2 pick for Best Tumbler 2017. Taking many cues from the classic Hydro Flask bottle, the tumbler provides a convenient and insulated container for your beverages and makes an ideal drinking vessel for coffee, water, tea, beer, or anything you happen to put into it.
Scaling the Hydro Flask design down to a much smaller size, the Hydro Flask Food Flask is a nifty little container equipped with the same double-wall vacuum insulation as a Hydro Flask water bottle. Ideal for transporting your lunch, be it some soup, pasta, left overs, or even a delicious frozen treat, the insulation in the Food Flask keeps your meal insulated and massively portable until you’re ready for it.
Conclusion & Review Summary
Hydro Flask was our original Best Bottle, earning that title in our Best Water Bottles 2015 article. Over the years we have continued to use our Hydro Flask, even as we test all sorts of other great bottles like the ones featured in Best Water Bottles 2016 or Best Water Bottles 2017. Despite the years wearing on and new competitors rising up, Hydro Flask has continued to make exceptional bottles and their original commitment to quality has made their original products win out as long-lasting, high-performance bottles still just as functional as when they were purchased years on down the line.
Of every product we have tested at Hydration Anywhere, we award the Hydro Flask the unique distinction of being the single most tried and true, tested and proven product we have ever encountered. We award it 5/5 stars, and would never hesitate to recommend their products to anyone seeking a high quality insulated stainless steel bottle.
Insulation Keeps Liquids Cold for 24 Hours or Hot for 12
Range of colors and sizes
Anti-sweat matte coating for zero condensation
Range of accessories to customize with
Fantastic customer support and product backing
The market leading brand in insulated stainless steel water bottles.
Jacob Hatch is the author and founder of Hydration Anywhere. He has been actively writing about drinking water since 2013. These days Jacob spends most of his time investigating water related news, studying environmental issues, reading health studies, and reviewing products like water bottles and water filters.