Hydro Flask vs YETI is the kind of question to which there is no wrong answer. Both are leading insulated water bottle brands. We have written about both at length, reviewing the YETI Rambler Water Bottle, and thoroughly exploring the Hydro Flask. But these two top contenders for the crown of best insulated stainless steel bottles deserve their own comparison.
Over the last few months we’ve been using our Hydro Flask and YETI water bottles with an even more critical eye geared towards putting this review together. Below, we’ve compiled our findings. Because both Hydro Flask and YETI have offerings of insulated stainless steel water bottles and insulated drink tumblers, you’ll find comparisons for both of these below.
Without further ado, let the Hydro Flask vs. YETI debate begin!
Pitting Hydro Flask vs. YETI: The Important Factors
YETI and Hydro Flask bottles have a lot in common out of the gate, enough to invite an obvious comparison between the two. Both are composed of 18/8 Food Grade stainless steel and feature Double-Wall Vacuum Insulation designed to keep liquids cold for 24 hours or hot for 12 hours. Both bottles are extremely durable, have a modern look and feel, and (we can say from experience) both brands are market leaders, offering bottles that outperform just about any other contenders.
As we said at the outset, it’s hard to lose when comparing Hydro Flask and YETI insulated bottles. Either choice will net you a fantastic insulated bottle which can serve you well for many years to come. But, as in all things, there has to be a winner. So we’ve constructed five simple criteria on which to judge the Hydro Flask vs. YETI debate:
- Form Factor
Below we’ll suss out the winner of this competition based on these five factors. But first, let’s take a little look at the company history behind these two competing brands.
YETI: A Reputation For Making Coolers Colder
Long before there was ever a YETI brand water bottle or tumbler, the company had made a name for themselves with their line of high quality coolers which first hi the market in 2006. Since then, YETI has become a leading name in coolers. They eventually took the logical step from one insulated product to another, bringing some of the engineering know-how from the YETI cooler to their line of tumblers and water bottles.
Today YETI forges ahead as not only a leading brand of cooler but also a world-class contender in the world of stainless steel tumblers and water bottles. YETI’s commitment to quality manufacturing and design is very well stated in all of their products. Generally, YETI caters to the higher end of the spectrum, with products that stand out more for their quality than their affordability.
Hydro Flask: The Most Popular Water Bottle
Since it began business in 2009, Hydro Flask has blossomed into one of the most successful brands of insulated water bottles the world has ever seen. Offering a diverse catalog of playfully colorful and brilliantly functional insulated stainless steel bottles, Hydro Flask continues to take the world by storm. You can spot them in the hands of celebrities and everyday people alike. They offer a level of style and functionality which has spawned generations of imitators.
While the Hydro Flask catalog originally started off devoted solely to insulated stainless steel water bottles, they have since broadened a bit. Hydro Flask has introduced their insulation technology to a line of tumblers and even food storage containers. Continually leveraging their success to bring customers new products, Hydro Flask has kept things fresh with a level of ingenuity rarely seen from water bottle manufacturers. They constantly offer new styles, improved features, limited run editions, new accessories, and even the ability to make custom Hydro Flasks through their web interface.
Comparing Hydro Flask vs YETI Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottles
First we’ll take a look at insulated water bottles from both of our competitors. Both Hydro Flask and YETI offer water bottles in a variety of colors and sizes. You can select sizes of YETI from slim 18 ounce bottles up to beefy 64 ounce growlers. Hydro Flask cover the same range and even offers a few slightly smaller bottles and a couple of in-between variants not available from YETI.
Our findings in this review apply generally to all sizes of Hydro Flask and YETI bottles. While some Hydro Flasks have different types of lids that can affect their performance, other than these minor differences, you can consider what you read below as relevant to any size or color of Hydro Flask or YETI bottle.
Let’s get to the bottom of this and settle the score of Hydro Flask vs. YETI.
Bottle Price Factor
Verdict: Hydro Flask
Both the YETI and the Hydro Flask occupy the higher end of the price spectrum for insulated water bottles. But YETI especially lurks at the deep end of being highly priced. A 32 Ounce YETI Rambler Bottle will run you about $50. For comparison, the somewhat more spacious 40 Ounce Hydro Flask is around $8-$10 cheaper.
While these price-tags might seem high for a water bottle purchase, we feel they are both well justified. A Hydro Flask or a YETI bottle is an investment that can last you for many years if properly taken care of. And both brands don’t skimp on the quality of their product. Each of these bottles has the look, feel, and features to match their top-end price point.
Still, we can’t deny that the YETI is charging a pretty penny more than the Hydro Flask for a very comparable product. We have to award the price factor to Hydro Flask, as it is the option more suited to bargain seekers.
Bottle Insulation Factor
Verdict: YETI Rambler
In all of our Hydro Flask vs. YETI insulation tests, and in all the other tests we’ve done with these bottles, we can say the insulation quality is practically identical. This has been not only our anecdotal experience in using the bottles day-to-day, but also clearly suggested by the results of our insulation test, where over the course of multiple trials the two bottles always measured within just a few degrees of one another for the final results.
We conducted our standard water bottle insulation test to evaluate the two bottles. First, for our cold insulating test, we filled up both the Hydro Flask and YETI bottles with 40 degree water with chunks of ice floating in it. For this test, we used a 36-ounce YETI Rambler and a 40-ounce Hydro Flask. Both bottles were sealed and left to stand on our kitchen countertop in the tropics for 24 hours without being disturbed.
After 24 hours, we came back to find a perfect tie. In both bottles, the ice had melted and the water had risen by 6 degrees. Both read 46 degrees. We repeated this experiment three additional times and found the results to be virtually the same every time. On the third test we found the most variation, where the YETI bottle was 2 degrees colder than the Hydro Flask, with the latter having reached 49 degrees.
In the heat test, however, the YETI pulled ahead substantially. We performed a similar trial, this time using hot water. Each bottle was filled with 150 degree water and left to stand on the kitchen counter for 12 hours. Upon opening the YETI, we were rather shocked to find the water was still a piping 120 degrees! The Hydro Flask, in comparison, was still quite warm but only registered 98 degrees. We performed a second trial with similar results, with the YETI this time coming in at 117 degrees at the Hydro Flask once again pulling a 98.
While this is excellent performance from both of these bottles, we clearly have to tip our hats to the superior insulation that seems to be lurking within the walls of the YETI bottles.
Bottle Accessories Factor
Verdict: Hydro Flask
Once again we find ourselves in a tight race between Hydro Flask and YETI, but this time Hydro Flask pulls ahead just by a narrow margin. Both Hydro Flask and YETI accessories are plentiful, with an assortment of different caps, holders, sleeves, and other accessories to change the look and function of the bottle.
Some accessories for the YETI bottle include:
- YETI Rambler Bottle Straw Cap
- ArmorSkins YETI Rambler Bottle Silicone Sleeve
- Yookeehome Neoprene Bottle Holder Sling for YETI Rambler 64oz Growler
As excited as we were to find that there were actually a decent number of YETI accessories available, their catalog is still much smaller than Hydro Flask. Moreso than any other bottle brand we have encountered, Hydro Flask is awash in a sea of ever-growing accessories. There are too many to even begin to list here. Have a look through our The Wonderful World of Hydro Flask Accessories Guide to get an idea of the full scope.
Bottle Durability Factor
Often when comparing stainless steel bottles we find the durability test to be a wash. This is because, generally speaking 18/8 food-grade insulated stainless steel bottles are extremely hardcore. The main risk to them is a severe dent or puncture to the outer wall, which can destroy the vacuum insulation. The bottle is still usable (it would be quite a task to make one of these bad boys leak through normal wear and tear,) but the reason you bought it — the quality insulation — will be no more.
In this case, after years of owning both Hydro Flask and YETI bottles, and after poring over thousands of customer reviews for both products, we feel we can say that YETI might be slightly more durable than Hydro Flask. Some reports suggest they dent less easily and, subjectively, they fell sturdier when held in the hand. However, we don’t feel that this is a really noticeable difference, even after owning and testing both brands of bottles of the course of years of ownership.
Bottle Form Factor
Verdict: Hydro Flask
The basic versions of both Hydro Flask and YETI bottles have the simple, minimalist look common to modern insulated stainless steel bottles. One could even be forgiven for confusing the two brands, as to someone unfamiliar with them they are more or less the same. Either way, you get a great looking bottle. But once we peak beyond the basic models, we find that Hydro Flask offers a wealth of variety in the form of a huge color palette, unique color schemes, limited edition bottles, and an ever-growing selection of things to choose from.
In contrast to the Hydro Flask’s broad palette of selection, the scope of the YETI catalog is rather limited. Generally, you find YETI Ramblers in about seven different colors. Beyond that, there isn’t a whole lot to choose from. Perhaps a good thing for those overwhelmed with the paradox of choice. But for those who truly believe variety to be the spice of life, we have to hand it to Hydro Flask for the form factor.
A tie?! We know it’s not the most exciting conclusion to any competition, but it might be the best result for the consumer. Both of these are top-notch water bottles. Investing in either of them will net you a bottle which, properly cared for, will serve you well for many years to come.
But as the results above show, even though ultimately we’re calling this one a tie, Hydro Flask and YETI aren’t created equally. So, to summarize our above findings:
- If you want the most affordable of the two, go Hydro Flask.
- If you want the best insulation, go YETI Rambler.
- If you want the most accessories, go Hydro Flask.
- If you want the most durable, either bottle will do.
- If you want the most appealing form factor, go Hydro Flask.
Check current prices and read other customer reviews of Hydro Flask by visiting the Amazon listing.
Learn more about the YETI Rambler Bottle, check current prices, or purchase one for yourself by visiting the Amazon listing.
Hydro Flask vs YETI: Tumbler Comparison
Much of our findings in comparing Hydro Flask vs YETI bottles also holds true for their tumblers. Like the bottles, these tumblers offer 18/8 food-grade stainless steel and feature double-wall vacuum insulation. Because tumblers are designed more like a standard drinking glass than a water bottle, they aren’t as completely enclosed as water bottles.
Unlike in our bottle test, however, Hydro Flask pulls ahead in the insulation department for their tumblers. This is because where YETI tumblers have a simple clear-plastic lid, Hydro Flask equips their tumblers with a press-in lid designed with their “FlexCap Honeycomb Insulation Technology”. This clever bit of engineering helps minimize heat transfer through the tumbler’s lid, typically the weakest link in the insulation.
Hydro Flask is not alone in this competition when it comes to innovating their lid design. The YETI Rambler tumbler also has a nifty lid, featuring a magnetic lock which helps keep the lid in place and prevent leaking.
In our opinion, a water bottle is better suited as an all-day beverage storage solution, something you carry around with you whether you’re sitting at a desk or hiking through the forest. In contrast, a tumbler is something you pick up when its time for coffee, tea, or even a frosty beer. Insulated tumblers do a fantastic job of keeping their contents hot or cold. Not only that, because of the minimal heat transfer, you don’t have to burn or freeze your hands while enjoying your beverage.
Quick Tumbler Comparison
Because tumblers are a little simpler than water bottles, and also because much of our findings would be repetitive, we won’t repeat our 5-part analysis for the tumbler competition. Instead, we think a quick summary will suffice:
- Price Factor: Hydro Flask and YETI tumblers are nearly identical in price. A 22-ounce Hydro Flask Tumbler runs around $29, while a 20-ounce YETI tumbler is also about $29.
- Insulation Factor: Hydro Flask pulls ahead for the insulation factor with their Honey Comb Insulated FlexCap, which does a great job of insulating the top of the tumbler.
- Accessories Factor: Both the Hydro Flask and YETI tumblers have a fair amount of accessories, as well as many accessories designed for stainless steel tumblers in general which are compatible between the two. We call this factor a tie.
- Durability Factor: With both tumblers made from high-quality 18/8 food-grade stainless steel, their durability is top-notch. The only real comment we can make about durability is in the lid, where we feel the more flexible and squishy Hydro Flask FlexCap is likely to be more durable than the rigid plastic lid on the YETI rambler.
- Form Factor: Much like with the water bottles, Hydro Flask offers a broader selection of colors for their tumblers than YETI. While the selection is more limited than for their water bottles, we have to give this one to Hydro Flask as they certainly pull ahead.
Winning Tumbler: Hydro Flask
As with the water bottle competition, this is a debate where either choice is going to get you a great product. It was much easier to sort out the winner in comparing the tumblers than the bottles, but don’t be mistaken: this was still a very close contest.
You can learn more about the Hydro Flask tumbler, check current prices, or get one for yourself at the Amazon listing.
To get some more information on the YETI Rambler Tumbler, head to Amazon.
That’s A Wrap!
We hope these reviews help you get to the bottom of the Hydro Flask vs. YETI debate. Didn’t find the bottle you were looking for? Check out some of our other Hydro Flask face-offs like the classic Hydro Flask vs Klean Kanteen, or the style face-off of Hydro Flask vs. S’well Bottle, and last but not least Hydro Flask vs. Takeya ThermoFlask.
More interested in tumblers? Have a look through our Best Tumblers Guide.
Happy hunting and stay hydrated!
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Find out everything you need to know about the Hydro Flask vs YETI debate. We put the subject to rest and help you find the best bottle in this in-depth comparison guide.
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.