With the now popularity of oversized Stanley cups, let’s harken back to the ye olde days when Hydro Flask and Yeti water bottles reigned supreme.
Now, as someone who’s owned and entirely hated their Stanley tumbler for about a year now (it has a tapered base, falls over easily, and leaks horribly around its straw) and has a literal cabinet full of Hydro Flasks and Yetis (many of which were gifted), I feel qualified to talk about water bottles. Today, we’re going to cover Hydro Flask vs. Yeti stainless steel water bottles (it’s a battle of the bottles, so to speak), for those considering investing in either. The below findings are based on our water bottle review, but I’m throwing in some personal insights, too.
The Price and Warranty
When we reviewed water bottles, we evaluated the 24-ounce Hydro Flask Wide Mouth with Straw and Yeti Rambler 26-Ounce Water Bottle. Both of these are $40, so, price-wise, it’s a draw. However, Hydro Flask offers a lifetime warranty, while Yeti has a 5-year warranty on their Ramblers. For that reason, the winner of this category is Hydro Flask.
Both Hydro Flask and Yeti come out with new colors routinely, but, as of writing, Hydro Flask offerstwo colors for the 24-ounce bottle we tested and seven of the same bottle with a different lid. Yeti has 10 colors of their 26-ounce bottle (although one of these is just stainless steel). Personally, I find Hydro Flask’s smaller color selection to be very vibrant, but numbers-wise the color selection winner is Yeti.
To test the cold retention of the water bottles, we filled them with 100 grams of ice and 300 grams of chilled water. We checked the temperature of the water every hour for 24-plus hours, using an instant-read thermometer. Yeti kept water a touch cooler throughout this test (as in, a few degrees), but it was really irrelevant because both brands still had very chilled water after 24 hours. And, most likely, you’re not keeping icey water in a bottle that long anyways. So, cold retention is a draw between the two.
There are a handful of important usability factors to consider with a water bottle:
- How easy is it to fill?
- How easy is it to drink from?
- Does it fit in a car cup holder?
- How easy is it to clean?
Both the Hydro Flask and Yeti have wide mouths that are easy to fill, however the Hydro Flask features a straw lid while the Yeti has a two-component “chug” cap (a twist-off lid that covers the opening). In our water bottle review, the tester noted of the Yeti, “on more than one occasion, I accidentally took off both pieces and splashed myself with water.” This has happened to me a few times at home, too, and generally I prefer a straw lid as it encourages me to drink more water. However, my husband likes the wider opening of the Yeti so he can gulp a bunch of water at once. So, to each their own there!
However, Yeti bottles, unfortunately, do not easily fit in a car cup holder for the likely scenario of taking your water bottle on-the-go. The 26-ounce Yeti has a 3.25-inch base diameter, while the Hydro Flask has a 2.75-inch base diameter and easily fits in a cup holder.
As far as cleanup, armed with a bottle brush and dish soap, the interiors of either bottle are easy to hand-wash. The Hydro Flask’s straw cap is a little more finicky to clean, while the ridges of the Yeti’s chug opening tend to get gunky and require more detailed scrubbing. Both are dishwasher-safe, though.
All-in-all, overall usability goes to Hydro Flask.
Durability and Leakage
Now, if you use a stainless steel water bottle regularly, you’re bound to drop it at some point. And we didn’t think dents or dings impacted performance. Particularly, I find water bottles tend to dent at their necks and bases. To one of these points, Hydro Flask sells a silicone boot cap that acts as a drop buffer.
As far as leakage went, as long as the cap was tightly secured (and the straw down in the Hydro Flask), we didn’t experience leakage with either bottle.
For durability and leakage, it’s really a draw between the two.
So, Should You Buy a Hydro Flask or Yeti Water Bottle?
Our tests favored Hydro Flask (it’s one of our winners, in fact). It has excellent cold retention and a convenient straw lid and it can fit in your car’s cup holder easily.
However, Yeti water bottles are also good—if you prefer that chug-style cap. And you’d be equally happy with its cold retention and durability.
What’s the best water bottle?
We tested seven water bottles and named models from Owala, Contigo, and Hydro Flask our top picks. You can read more about how we tested and chose our winners in our review.
Are Hydro Flask or Yeti water bottles better?
Our testing showed Hydro Flask water bottles edged out Yeti’s when it came to ease of use in particular. However, both brands’ water bottles have excellent cold retention and durability.
How do you clean a Hydro Flask or Yeti water bottle?
Both Hydro Flask and Yeti water bottles are dishwasher-safe (some parts are top-rack recommended, though, so check the manufacturers’ care instructions). Otherwise, we suggest hot, soapy water and a bottle brush.