Hydration Anywhere > Articles > Reviews > Water Bottles > Stainless Steel > Hydro Flask vs. Klean Kanteen – The Great Insulated Debate

Hydro Flask vs. Klean Kanteen – The Great Insulated Debate

Articles on 30 Jun , 2015
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather

When it comes to stainless steel water bottles two names tower above all the rest: Hydro Flask and Klean Kanteen. These two giants pretty much have the insulated stainless steel market sewn up tight. Anyone who has owned either of them can quickly tell you why: they provide one of the most convenient and useful ways to store your ice water, your steaming hot coffee, your frosty smoothie, your bubbling soup, or just about anything else you can stuff into it.

(If neither Hydro Flask nor Klean Kanteen is quite what you’re looking for, we have tons of other water bottle reviews that might suit your fancy. Head over to Best Water Bottles 2017, or view our Water Bottle Reviews Category for a ton of other suggestions.)



Hydro Flask versus Klean Kanteen! Which is the Best Stainless Steel Water Bottle?

Quick Compare

Hydro Flask
$33
40 Ounce Wide Mouth
Stainless Steel
Double-Wall Vacuum Insulation
Very Durable
Excellent Leakproofing
Tons of Accessories
Easy to Clean
Buy on Amazon
Klean Kanteen
$25
40 Ounce Wide Mouth
Stainless Steel
Double-Wall Vacuum Insulation
Durable (cap can warp)
Good Leakproofing
Some Accessories
Easy to Clean
Buy on Amazon

The truth is that in many ways the Hydro Flask and the Klean Kanteen are virtually identical. They are both constructed from 18/8 food grade stainless steel, both make use of double wall vacuum insulation, and both are available in a wide range of sizes and colors. But we want to settle the Great Insulated Debate once and for all and put this Hydro Flask vs. Klean Kanteen business to rest. That means it’s time to dig a little deeper.



In our examination below, we’ve judged both the Hydro Flask and the Klean Kanteen on a variety of factors to find the winner: Insulation, Durability, Form, Ease of Use, Accessories, Price, and Leakproofing. Keep reading to see who won!

The Insulation Factor

Verdict: Draw

Cross section of Hydro Flask

This cross-section of a Hydro Flask shows the double-walled construction that gives it its insulating capabilities.

Having owned both Hydro Flasks and Klean Kanteens, I honestly can’t discern much of a difference between their insulating factor. Both of them have performed remarkably well at insulating on both ends of the temperature spectrum. This is more or less what one would expect, since the Hydro Flask and the Klean Kanteen employ the same style of double-walled insulation and both make use of stainless steel.

The insulation afforded by both the Klean Kanteen and the Hydro Flask is superb. Double-walled vacuum construction in stainless steel virtually guarantees no heat transfer from the contents of your bottle to the outside world. That means not only does whatever you put in it stay roughly the same temperature you put it in, but the surface of the bottle never really gets hot or cold either. So even if your insulated bottle is full of boiling hot Coco, the outside will remain cool to the touch.

If all you are looking for is insulation, it is pretty much a toss up. Fortunately, no matter which option you select, the results are more or less the best you’re going to get on the market.

(UPDATE: Since we wrote this article, Hydro Flask has improved its insulation. Their new Flex Cap lid incorporates a technology called Honey Comb Insulation to trap air and reduce heat transfer. This step forward edges these newer Hydro Flasks closer to winning this competition, but for the classic models it remains more or less a draw. If insulation if a top concern be sure to check out the Flex Cap Hydro Flask on Amazon or learn more by reading our feature on the Flex Cap.)

The Durability Factor

Verdict: Hydro Flask

Again, since our competitors are made from the same materials, they are more or less equals in durability. However, in my experience with Klean Kanteens I have noticed the lids can sometimes have problems forming a leak proof seal after they have been used for extended periods. Usually the plastic on the inside of the lid warps a bit and the result is a bottle that doesn’t seal quite as well as it used to.

This is something that has never presented itself on the Hydro Flask, which I feel has some better construction for its lid and screw-on mechanism. Which is not to say the Hydro Flask lid can’t warp and wear out as well, but I have yet to experience it.

Other than the lid, there is pretty much nothing on either bottle which is prone to breaking. The bottles themselves are incredibly tough and though I’ve managed to dent them a bit, I’ve never broken one or put one out of commission.

The Form Factor

Verdict: Klean Kanteen

Jack Johnson From Here To Now To Everywhere Klean Kanteen with Lid Off

A co-branded, stylized 12 Ounce Klean Kanteen.

It falls to personal choice which style of water bottle you fancy – both Hydro Flask and Klean Kanteen have some clever and visually appealing designs. In terms of sheer visual variety, Klean Kanteen offers a broader selection to choose from and often makes limited-run co-branded water bottles, like the Jack Johnson Klean Kanteen we’ve featured here previously. Perhaps some of the basic Klean Kanteen’s aren’t quite as visually appealing as the basic brightly colored design of the Hydro Flask, but aesthetic variety in the form of co-branding and different designs is much broader in the Klean Kanteen catalog.

While it is more or less a toss-up, since Klean Kanteen does offer a bit more to choose from when it comes to selecting the look of your bottle, we’ll give them the point for Form Factor.

The Ease of Use Factor

Verdict: Draw

Both the Klean Kanteen and the Hydro Flask are available in several varieties to best accommodate your day-to-day needs, and every variety affords great ease of use. I tend to prefer wide-mouth water bottles to make it easy to put in ice cubes or even hot foods, and fortunately both Klean Kanteen and Hydro Flask are available in wide-mouth varieties.

Personally, I feel like a narrow-mouth insulated water bottle is kind of a wasted opportunity. But if for some reason that’s what you’re after, check out the narrow mouth Klean Kanteen or the Narrow Mouth Hydro Flask. These narrow-mouth options feature a slimmer profile, which is great if you are looking for something to fit into a cup holder or to minimize footprint in a backpack.




All the varieties of the Hydro Flask and Klean Kanteen are pretty comparable. They pretty similar shapes, size options, and are all about equally easy to clean and fill (read our water bottle cleaning guide if you need some help in the cleaning department.)

Ease of use is great on either side of the fence. This ones a draw.

The Accessories Factor

Verdict: Hydro Flask

Hydro Flask Straw Lid for Wide Mouth Insulated Stainless Steel Bottle


(UPDATE: View our full feature article, “The Wonderful World of Hydro Flask Accessories”)

The Hydro Flask Straw Lid is a useful addition to any Hydro Flask.

When it comes to accessories, finally we have a pretty clear winner. Where the Hydro Flask has fostered a healthy ecosystem of accessories, the Klean Kanteen is relatively barren for accessory options. Don’t get me wrong – there are a few neat items available for the Klean Kanteen, like this bike mounted water bottle cage designed specifically for the Klean Kanteen. But aside from that, a refleece pint cozy, and a few options for different types of lids, there isn’t a whole lot on offer.

In contrast, it seems manufacturers have raced to exhaust just about every possibility for Hydro Flask accessories. Whether it is something as simple as a straw-lid or maybe one of the many water bottle holders designed with Hydro Flask in mind, there is a lot to choose from and always seems to be something new cropping up.

If you’re looking to customize your Hydro Flask by adding some personal flair or getting some functionality you wish it had, check out the wide selection of Hydro Flask accessories.

The Price Factor

Verdict: Klean Kanteen

Many people might look at this debate and think “okay, well if they’re so similar, I’ll just pickup the cheapest option!” In that case, the Klean Kanteen has a slight edge over the Hydro Flask. But for many models, pricing is pretty competitive. Take for example the 20 ounce wide mouth Klean Kanteen which is about $21. Hydro Flask doesn’t offer a 20 ounce widemouth, but the 18 ounce wide mouth Hydro Flask is also about $21.

On the upper range however, Klean Kanteen offers a bit more savings: the 40oz wide-mouth Klean Kanteen is about $25, whereas a 40oz wide-mouth Hydro Flask is around $33. So, if frugality is your goal, you can save $8 going the Klean Kanteen route.

The Leakproofing Factor

Verdict: Hydro Flask

I would never file away any of the selections from the Hydro Flask or Klean Kanteen catalogs as “leaky water bottles.” But when it comes to leakproofing, I have never really found anything that works as well as the Hydro Flask does. Klean Kanteens are plenty leakproof – they have a great seal and when properly fastened it works brilliantly. But as I mentioned before in the Durability section, the plastic lids used on Klean Kanteens can sometimes warp after long use and the quality of the seal declines.

In general, I feel from first hand experience that the Hydro Flask lid is easier to screw on and be assured of a quality seal than the Klean Kanteen. I’ve never had any issue with my Hydro Flask leaking or spilling no matter how casually I put the lid on. In contrast, sometimes I have to be precise about how the Klean Kanteen lid is screwed on or I’ll find myself with a leak.

Final Verdict

Winner: Hydro Flask

Based on all the factors we’ve judged, the results are 2 Draws for Insulation and Ease of Use. For Form and Price, Klean Kanteen was the winner. But overall, the Hydro Flask narrowly takes the win 3-2 with Durability, Accessories, and Leakproofing.

Selection of Hydro Flask reusable BPA free stainless steel insulated water bottles

As you can see from the numbers, this is a close one. It was a hard race to judge, as the reality is that these are very, very similar products. They are also both made from reputed high quality manufacturers and are extremely popular. We have featured both brands in our Best Waters Bottles of 2015 feature, and we believe both brands will remain some of the best options on the market for some time to come.

Alternative Stainless Steel Water Bottles

All this talk of Klean Kanteen and Hydro Flask might have left you wondering if they are the only players in the stainless steel water bottle game. While they might be the most popular, they are certainly not the only choices on the market.

One interesting and relatively little known option is MiiR. Their products are quite comparable to Hydro Flasks in design, form, function and price range. They offer slim narrow mouth 24 oz bottles as well as large, stylish 64 oz growlers.

Another interesting option is the Quench 32oz, which is an excellent and highly functional double-wall vacuum insulated stainless steel water bottle. At just $28, it’s also a bit cheaper than a Hydro Flask, but around the price range of a Klean Kanteen.

For many more options for insulated stainless steel alternatives to Hydro Flask or Klean Kanteen, be sure to read our guide to Generic Hydro Flask Alternatives.

Learn More About Hydro Flask and Klean Kanteen

Hopefully now that the debate is settled, we can put the whole ordeal of Hydro Flask vs. Klean Kanteen to bed and regard them both as pretty spectacular products. If you want to learn more about Hydro Flasks, check out our article Hydro Flask: The Best Water Bottle & Insulated Thermos?

If you need to know a bit more about Klean Kanteen, we recently published a review of their 12 ounce widemouth which has been a bottle that has never failed to serve me well!

Some New Developments

Custom Hydro Flask from My Hydro in Unique ColorsSince this article was originally published, Klean Kanteen and Hydro Flask have continued innovating and improving on their product lines with lots of interesting new additions. Hydro Flask has improved their bottle’s insulation by adding an all-new insulated lid design called the Flex Cap, which you can read more about here. They have also expanded their customization options by opening up the new MyHydro Program, which enables you to create a customized Hydro Flask with your own choice of unique colors.

Klean Kanteen has not been idle either, consistently expanding their product line with new additions and styles. Products like the Klean Kanteen Tumbler apply the quality design and manufacturing of classic Klean Kanteen bottles to a new and useful product.

We will always be keeping tabs on the latest and greatest from Hydro Flask and Klean Kanteen, as well as the water bottle world in general! Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media to always stay up-to-date.

Conclusion

Hopefully this guide has given you enough information to decide between Hydro Flask and Klean Kanteen. I think no matter which way to go, you won’t be disappointed with the decision! If you didn’t quite find what you were looking for from either of these options, take a look at some of the articles in our reviews section to get some other ideas!

  • Readers Rating
  • No Rating Yet!
  • Your Rating


We help you find the best insulated bottle by examining the Hydro Flask vs Klean Kanteen debate to find out which one is the best buy.

Hydro Flask vs. Klean Kanteen – The Great Insulated Debate was last modified on: April 26th, 2017 by Jacob Hatch
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather
Hydration Anywhere > Articles > Reviews > Water Bottles > Stainless Steel > Hydro Flask vs. Klean Kanteen – The Great Insulated Debate

25 thoughts on “Hydro Flask vs. Klean Kanteen – The Great Insulated Debate

  1. Sharon says:

    Loved your expose on water bottles! Helped me decide glass is for me and my husband feels stainless steel is the clear choice. Question…Thermos brand has been creating vacuum walled, stainless steel, insulated bottles since 1904. Why the hype on the nothing-new newcomer, Hydro Flask?

    1. Jacob says:

      Hey Sharon! Thanks for reading! You make a great point: insulated bottles are definitely nothing new, and the Hydro Flask is basically a modern take on the old-school Thermos. I think the Hydro Flask has achieved popularity partially due to its stylish design, and also the way it effectively managed to brand itself as the go-to solution for storing water on the go. When I think of a Thermos personally, I imagine something to hold my hot coffee or soup. But when I think of a Hydro Flask, I think of it as a water bottle.

  2. Leslie says:

    Now if Hydro Flask and Klean Kanteen could be insulated like the Thermos we would have a even greater product that what they have now. I myself have KK but you have to use ice in it to keep anything cold longer than 4 hours, & I just bought more KK as I didn’t know anout Hydro Flask. Maybe next time………

    1. Jacob says:

      Give the Hydro Flask a try. I think you’ll be surprised at its insulating capabilities 🙂 It actually does make use of the same insulating technology as a Thermos.

    2. Rae says:

      Leslie, I’ve been doing a lot of reading to decide which brand I want to go with and the overall outcome is a draw. So I purchased both and have been doing my own tests and to my surprise, Klean Kanteen consistently keeps stuff warmer longer than Hydro Flask. Afterwards, I found the Outdoor Magazine articles from this year that found the same thing. Most people get 24 hours+ cold with only a couple of degrees lost. If you’re not, contact Klean Kanteen as they have great warranty service and your bottle isn’t performing as it should. Good luck.

  3. Julia says:

    I’m wondering why you didn’t test or mention anything about how these hold hot beverages. I know that you can put hot drinks in the Hydroflask (according to their description), not sure about the Klean Kanteen, as I am considering getting the 40 oz Hydroflask. Thanks for your informative review!!

    1. Jacob says:

      Hey Julia,

      I did talk a little bit in the article about how these work great for hot items. But yes, you’re absolutely correct, hot drinks go great in the Hydro Flask (or in insulated Klean Kanteens.) Any vacuum insulated container will work equally well keeping stuff hot or cold! The neat principle of physics which creates a vacuum between layers of steel means that heat transfer is lowered – no matter if its hot, or cold, it doesn’t make contact with the atmosphere outside so it doesn’t transfer heat in either direction.

      Thanks for reading! Check out some of the other articles on the blog about Hydro Flask & Klean Kanteen if you still can’t make up your mind!

  4. Tank says:

    At this time Klean Kanteen does not make an insulated bottle with a wide mouth any larger than 32oz and Hydro Flask does. If that is important to you Hydro Flask is the clear winner.

    1. Jacob says:

      Hi Tank,

      There are actually insulated Klean Kanteen’s larger than 32oz. For example, here is a 64oz growler variety. However, I do believe that Hydro Flask offers a wider range of sizes available.

      1. Scott says:

        Jacob, he’s specifically talking about wide mouth options which the KK is still a narrow mouth.

        1. Jacob says:

          Oh! Thanks for the correction, Scott. I missed that wide/narrow-mouth distinction. Good catch.

  5. GP says:

    I’ve owned at least 8 Klean Kanteens and have never experienced the leak issue that you mention in the article. Of those, three are insulated “take your coffee” to work types that serve double duty as on the bike pit-stop soup carriers. The other 5 are uninsulated, on the go water carriers. I cook over a fire with the uninsulated one, which I would consider to be fairly hard use. The lids have always worked great. Now, I did crack a Guyot Nalgene, but that’s another story.

  6. Todd says:

    I agree with GP about the look proof quality of Klean Kanteens. Have owned my non insulated 24 oz kanteen for over a year and have never experienced any leaks. Also, it seems Klean Kanteen is more dedicated to the environment than Hydro Flask. Klean Kanteen stresses how owning a reusable bottle helps the environment and eliminates waste compared to disposable bottles. They are also members of 1% for the Planet.

  7. Rae says:

    Jacob, just curious, did you actually take measurements of the temperatures or guesstimate? I only ask because I decided to try both head to head in the same size to compare performance. To my shock, Klean Kanteen consistently held things closer to temp. I noticed that comparing the two 20oz insulated versions, the Klean Kanteen was a little bit larger which I think accounts for the superior performance. It’s not crazy huge but it was better every time. I subsequently found a couple of recent articles by Outdoor Magazine and they had a similar experience to mine. Things I was reading before said Klean Kanteen didn’t come close to the performance of Hydro Flask. I know Hydro Flask made some changes to their insulation not too long ago to make it entirely non-toxic throughout its manufacturing process (to their huge credit as a company) so maybe that had one something to do with it. Or maybe Klean Kanteen upped their game? Hydro Flask has been on my holy grail insulated bottle wish list for ages but I’m on the fence now. Just wanted to share my findings. Your article consistently gets me back on the fence though because it seems like there are more HF accessories although I’m sure many could also be used on the KK. This decision really shouldn’t be this hard! LOL. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences.

    1. Jacob says:

      Hey Rae,

      I have not conducted an experiment where I actually measure the temperature. This is all just based on my personal experience using both products. Honestly, anecdotally at least, I would say they are practically identical. Thanks for taking the time to actually take measurements! If you do a whole experiment feel free to share your results here.

  8. Mike says:

    Hi All,

    I just recently purchased a HydroFlask 40 oz. for my fiance at $42. But then did a Costco run and noticed Takeya’s Thermoflask at $35 for a set of two 40 oz. bottles. Both are very similar, but Takeya’s lid edges out HydroFlask’s lid because it has a twist cap spout. Check them out! https://www.amazon.com/Takeya-ThermoFlask-Pack-Black-Silver/dp/B01D7NIOWW/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&qid=1468866880&sr=8-2&keywords=takeya+thermoflask&linkCode=ll1&tag=hydratanywhe-20&linkId=ecdb0b5f3be28a86d91d51f6663e5578 Hope this helps.

  9. David Noble says:

    I like the variety of lids. Really torn between the standard mouth and sports bottle lid or the wide mouth with the straw lid. Any recommendations either way?

    Also, is the wide flip lid a good strong seal? I have coffee travel mugs with similar designs that I wouldn’t risk tipping upside down.

    1. Jacob says:

      Hey David,

      My personal favorite is probably the wide mouth with or without straw lid, depending on how I’m feeling. Hydro Flask also just launched their Flex Cap, which gives you another lid option for improved insulation and a carrying strap. Click here to read our article about the new Hydro Flask Flex Cap.

      The flip lid does provide a good seal but you have to make sure that you secure it properly and firmly or you can run into issues. I would also say that it is the least durable option (though I have not broken one myself, it seems like it would wear out faster than some of the other designs.)

  10. M. R. Landrum says:

    One thing that I admire about Klean Kanteen, that was not addressed in the article, is their dedication to renewable production. I work at a small retailer, and when our KK order came in I was very impressed that they used soy-based “plastic” for packaging. In the world of consumerism and retail, plastic waste is TREMENDOUS, and it really made an impact on me that Klean Kanteen puts their money where their mouth is on the green front.

    Thanks for the excellent write up, and please consider the value of green/sustainable production in future articles!

    1. Jacob says:

      Excellent comment! You make a really great point. We always try to promote environmentally friendly manufacturers and products here at Hydration Anywhere and we definitely should have acknowledged Klean Kanteen’s accomplishments in that area.

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment!

  11. Marisha simons says:

    We have 4 HF bottles, medium mouth, with which we use Len lantern sports caps, and also bought the SS twist cap for hot beverages. One of the SS caps basically came completely apart during regular use.
    One of the bottles lost its vacuum seal when the bottom edge became dented, making me wish they had stronger weld seams at the bottom.
    Not sure if I will buy a HF replacement as it hasn’t even lasted a year and it seems crazy that a water bottle intended for outdoor use could never be dropped, lest it become just a regular non insulated water bottle. I am actually thinking of drilling two holes in the bottom and filling the vacuum cavity with Great Stuff insulator foam and them plugging the holes with two part epoxy.

    1. Marisha simons says:

      “Len lantern” is auto correct for Klean Kanteen

  12. theresa says:

    Does either leave. metal taste in the fluid?

    1. Jacob says:

      Nope! Both are made from 18/8 food grade stainless steel and are non-leaching. They don’t impart any flavors to their contents.

  13. PA Chapdelaine says:

    Hi there, I had a HydroFlask 40 oz since past November and it was amazing until 2 weeks ago. It no longers keep water cold, the exterior gets cold right away when I fill it up, (always with ice and water). Nver been in the dishwasher, no dent, not even a scratch on it. Anyone has an idea ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *