During the last decade, reusable water bottles have seen an immense rise in popularity. Not only are these products much more eco-friendly than their plastic-made counterparts, but they’re also far more functional and practical – featuring double-walled insulation, they’re capable of keeping hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold for hours on end.
And when it comes to these types of bottles, one brand that keeps popping up in conversations is Hydro Flask.
This company is a pioneer in the field of vacuum insulation and one of the world’s most renowned manufacturers of insulated, steel-made water bottles. Its products are held in high regard by many outdoor enthusiasts all over the world.
One of Hydro Flask’s biggest rivals on the market is Ozark Trail, a Walmart-owned brand that designs, manufactures, and sells affordable vacuum-insulated bottles.
And while it’s true that the Ozark Trail bottle I’m going to analyze in this article isn’t exactly cheap, the brand’s products are generally far more affordable than those offered by Hydro Flask.
So, how do these bottles stack up to each other? Is one better than the other when it comes to thermoregulatory capabilities, durability, or ease of use? If you’re looking for an answer to this question, you’re in the right place.
Ozark Trail vs Hydro Flask – A Product Overview
Ozark Trail 24 oz Stainless Steel Bottle
- Weight: 12.8 ounces
- Material: Stainless Steel
- Insulation: Double-walled vacuum insulation
- Sizes Available: 1
- Colors Available: 1
While it’s available in only one size and color, this Ozark Trail bottle provides impressive performance and is as durable as the models offered by the most renowned manufacturers of insulated water bottles.
It sports a sweat-free & BPA-free design and it’s dishwasher-safe. So, not only is it safe and easy to use but also very easy to keep clean.
- Great at maintaining drink temperature
- Easy to use & clean
- Often on sale
- Fewer sizes and colors
Hydro Flask 24 oz Stainless Steel Bottle
- Weight: 13.2 ounces
- Material: Stainless Steel
- Insulation: TempShield insulation
- Sizes Available: 3
- Colors Available: 10
Probably the most popular insulated water bottle offered by Hydro Flask, the 24 oz Stainless Steel Bottle is one of the brand’s most impressive offerings so far.
Using the company’s proprietary TempShield technology, the model provides fantastic performance and effortlessly maintains the temperature of one’s drink for hours on end. It is also slip-free, BPA-free, and dishwasher-safe.
- Superb construction quality
- TempShield insulation
- Lifetime warranty
- Ice insertion can be tricky
Ozark Trail vs Hydro Flask – The Comparison
Obviously, the most important advantage these kinds of bottles have over their plastic cousins is the fact that they can maintain the temperature of both cold and hot drinks.
Both of the brands I’m comparing here claim that their bottles can keep water cold for a long time, so I decided to test that out and determine whether there are any major differences in terms of performance.
I did this by filling both the Ozark Trail and the Hydro Flask bottle with ice and water and then placing instant-read thermometers into them and leaving them in the sun for the day.
My goal was to determine the end temperature of the water after it spent 24 hours in these bottles, both of which were exposed to direct sunlight.
In the case of the Ozark Trail bottle, the starting temperature was 36°, and for the Hydro Flask it was 43°. 6 hours later, these numbers decreased to 35° and 40°, and then to 34° (Ozark Trail) and 41° (Hydro Flask) the entire 24 hours later.
Basically, both of the bottles had similar performance when it comes to keeping cold water cold, which means that their insulation works just as advertised. The thing I found really interesting is how the water in each model ended up cooler than it was at the beginning of the test – who’d thought this was even a thing?
The Construction Quality
Another major advantage products such as these have over plastic bottles is that they’re far more durable and eco-friendly.
While it’s true that no stainless steel reusable bottle is immune to dents, especially when it’s dropped on sharp rocks from a height of two or three meters, these products are still far more long-lasting than their plastic-made counterparts.
As their names suggest, both the Ozark Trail and the Hydro Flask bottle are made out of stainless steel. Moreover, both brands state that the stainless steel they used in the manufacture of these bottles is a high-grade one, so there’s really no need to worry about durability.
However, in my opinion, the Hydro Flask 24 oz Bottle feels somewhat sturdier in hands – after all, this is not a budget-oriented brand, unlike its rival. If you want your reusable water bottle to be as durable and long-lasting as possible, I’d say that the Hydro Flask model is a better choice.
The Ease of Use
Now, you may be wondering – how can a simple water bottle be “easy” or “difficult” to use? In truth, the most renowned manufacturers of these products put a lot of thought into making the bottles as easy to use as possible, and they do this by equipping them with features such as carrying handles, wide mouths, twist-off tops, and slip-free coatings.
The Ozark Trail 24 oz Stainless Steel Bottle comes equipped with an easy twist-off top with a carrying handle. Furthermore, it sports a sweat-free design, so you’ll never have to worry about it slipping from your hands while drinking on the go.
The Hydro Flask model comes with very similar features – it also has a top handle and sports the company’s proprietary slip-free powder coating.
However, its mouth is not as wide as that of the Ozark Trail bottle, which makes ice insertion a bit more tricky. But still, it sports a slimmer profile and is, therefore, more suitable for car cup holders.
The Safety & Ease of Cleaning
Just as I expected, both of these bottles are completely phthalate-free and BPA-free. In other words, the materials out of which they’re made contain no dangerous chemicals, so you’ll never have to worry about harmful substances getting inside your beverage.
Even though both models can be washed in a standard dishwasher, the Ozark Trail model is easier to clean manually due to its wider mouth. If you’re a keen backcountry explorer who often spends days or weeks in the wild, the Ozark Trail bottle may be a better choice – it’s easier to wash by hand.
If you’re someone who really cares about the design and the aesthetics of his reusable water bottle, on the other hand, the Hydro Flask model is definitely a better choice. Very popular with younger folks, the model is available in 10 chic colors and looks more attractive than its rival in general.
The fact that it’s not available in more colors is not Ozark Trail’s biggest disadvantage, however – it’s the lack of sizes instead.
Besides the 24 oz variant, the Hydro Flask model is also available in 18 oz and 21 oz versions, making it easier to find a bottle whose size works the best for you. Finally, all Hydro Flask bottles – including the one I’ve featured in this article – come accompanied by a lifetime warranty.
Ozark Trail vs Hydro Flask – Other Products Worth Considering
Ozark Trail 64 oz Stainless Steel Bottle
Made out of 18/8 pro-grade stainless steel, this high-capacity bottle is durable and capable of keeping drinks cold or hot for hours. Due to its size, it’s an ideal choice for those who often go on long hikes in the summer.
Ozark Trail 36 oz Stainless Steel Bottle
This eye-catching model comes with almost all of the features found on other Ozark Trail refillable bottles. The insulation, the twist-off top, and the wide mouth are identical to those found on the 24 oz model I’ve analyzed in this comparison.
Ozark Trail 16 oz Collapsible Silicone Bottle
Obviously, the biggest advantage of this 16 oz Ozark Trail bottle is its collapsible, space-saving design. One feature that’s particularly useful for hikers and cyclists is the aluminum alloy carabiner, which allows easy hooking to a backpack.
Hydro Flask 64 oz Insulated Beer Growler
Just like all other Hydro Flask bottles, this high-capacity model also features TempShield insulation that does a great job of maintaining the temperature of one’s drinks. It is dishwasher-safe, slip-free, and comes with a lifetime warranty.
Hydro Flask 32 oz Wide-Mouth Straw-Lid Bottle
Besides the fact that it sports a size that’s ideal for all-day hydration, this Hydro Flask bottle has a straw lid and a wide mouth, as its name suggests. These features turn it into a fantastic option for those who are always on the go, inside or outside of the city.
Hydro Flask 20 oz Coffee Travel Mug
Available in 10 different colors, this Hydro Flask product can be used as a coffee travel mug, a soup thermos, a hot tea mug, or as a simple insulated water bottle. It’s a versatile piece of drinkware that sports all the great features found on other Hydro Flask products.
Ozark Trail vs Hydro Flask – The Verdict
So, which one of these two companies makes better reusable water bottles? Overall, Hydro Flask is definitely a better brand – their bottles provide superior performance, they are more durable, and they also look better.
But when it comes to the two models I’ve compared in this article, I consider the Ozark Trail bottle to be a better choice – it’s just as good as the Hydro Flask model in almost all aspects but can be found on sale a lot more often.