Vaccum-insulated, stainless steel bottles have come a long way. It’s pretty safe to say that these products have exploded in popularity – the market is now saturated with numerous brands that all compete to produce the absolute best reusable bottle possible.
The two of the biggest such brands are Hydro Flask and Yeti. They dominate the market – most people have these companies in mind when someone mentions a stainless steel bottle.
If you’ve decided to get yourself a product of this type and your choice has boiled down to these two brands, keep reading – I’ll be comparing two of their most popular bottles and, hopefully, help you make the final decision in that way.
Hydro Flask vs Yeti – The Products Overview
Hydro Flask Wide-Mouth Flex Cap Bottle
- Material: 18/8 stainless steel
- Sizes available: 4
- Colors available: 16
This is Hydro Flask’s best-selling bottle and one of the most popular products of this type on today’s market. Besides the attractive design, the model also features an innovative vacuum-insulated construction that allows it to keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot for hours on end.
Although not as durable as its rival – and also not dishwasher-safe – the HF’s Wide-Mouth Flex Cap bottle is less expensive while also being backed by a lifetime warranty. What is more, there are a number of accessories available for this eye-catching bottle, which is yet another of many reasons behind its immense popularity.
- Better at maintaining the temperature of drinks
- More colors & accessories
- Lifetime warranty
- More susceptible to dents
Yeti Rambler Chug Cap Bottle
- Material: 18/8 stainless steel
- Sizes available: 4
- Colors available: 14
A member of Yeti’s well-known Rambler line of products, the Chug Cap bottle is an ideal option for those looking for sturdiness and durability. This is a seriously robust bottle and one that effortlessly handles the inevitable daily wear and tear. Cleaning it is as easy as it gets – you just have to put it into your dishwasher.
When compared to its rival, the model stands much more securely when it’s empty thanks to the accent piece of metal present at its bottom. In addition, the Rambler Chug Cap bottle is easier to carry around due to its 3-finger grip handle and it does a great job of maintaining the temperature of your drinks.
- More durable
- Sturdy 3-finger grip handle
- More expensive
Hydro Flask vs Yeti – The Comparison
At a first glance, it’s quite easy to see why are these two brands the market’s top sellers.
Both of the bottles featured in this comparison have a very appealing appearance and are available in multiple colors. The branding is flawless, the finish is uniform, and the overall quality of construction feels solid.
However, the feel of the two bottles is somewhat different. When compared to its rival, the Yeti bottle feels heavier and sturdier – this is a seriously durable vacuum-insulated bottle. The Hydro Flask bottle, on the other hand, sports a phenomenal matte finish and comes with better tops.
I’m on both the Hydro Flask’s and Yeti’s newsletters and can tell you that the former company is definitely more proactive about new designs and colors. In fact, Hydro Flask releases bottles featuring designs inspired by National Parks every summer.
Along with a wide variety of designs, both of these bottles come with an extensive amount of features. Both the Hydro Flask Wide-Mouth Flex Cap bottle and the Yeti Rambler Chug Cap bottle have similar characteristics, like allowing buyers to customize the bottle with numerous colors and sizes.
However, Hydro Flask’s model is available in more colors – 16 compared to Yeti’s 14. Another common characteristic of these bottles is the double-walled, vacuum-insulated, 18/8 stainless steel construction. Due to the accent piece of metal present at its bottom, the Yeti bottle feels a bit heavier and stands more secure upright when it’s empty.
For kids, it’s important to point out that the Hydro Flask bottle can be used with flip straw, standard-mouth, or a wide-mouth top. Yeti’s model is available only in the wide-mouth variant and there’s a single 12 oz children’s version equipped with a sip cap.
It goes without saying that the wide-mouth bottles are much easier to clean. However, they’re also more susceptible to accidental spills, so make sure to be careful if you get one. If you decide to go with a narrow model, on the other hand, I would recommend purchasing a water bottle cleaner.
One of the most evident – and somewhat frustrating – differences between these two bottles is the fact that only the Yeti one can be washed in a dishwasher. Its rival is not dishwasher-safe and has to be cleaned manually, which can be a dealbreaker for some folks.
On the other hand, the Yeti bottle is backed by a 5-year warranty while the Hydro Flask one comes accompanied by a lifetime warranty, and that’s always a huge plus in my book. The culprit behind this difference in warranty periods is probably the fact that these bottles cannot be cleaned in the same way.
Finally, the Yeti model sports the brand’s proprietary DuraCoat finish on its exterior, while the Hydro Flask bottle uses a standard powder coating. Also, Yeti’s product is equipped with a 3-finger grip handle – a much sturdier solution than the HF’s flexible handle cap.
One of the best things about owning and using a reusable vacuum-insulated bottle is that can you add various accessories to it. Both of the brands have you covered in this department: there’s a wide array of options when it comes to bottle personalization.
Adding some style to your Yeti bottle is as easy as it gets – the company offers a variety of different sleeves, holders, and caps. Its rival, on the other hand, offers all of that and even more.
Even though they’re dishwasher-safe and BPA-free, Yeti’s Magsafe lids don’t keep hot drinks hot for as long as Hydro Flask’s lids, which use the company’s proprietary Honeycomb Insulation and which are both Phthalate-Free and BPA-free. I tested hot tea in both bottles and the Hydro Flask one was capable of maintaining the tea’s temperature for longer.
What is more, Hydro Flask even provides interesting stickers which owners can use to decorate their bottles. All in all, there is no limit when it comes to customizing a reusable water bottle made by this brand.
When deciding between products made by these two companies, one also has to take their functionality into account.
Typically, when shopping for a stainless steel bottle, one’s only functionality measures are personal intuition and the customer reviews online. Have no worries – I’ve tested both the Hydro Flask and the Yeti bottle extensively in order to determine how good they are at doing what they’re supposed to do.
I conducted an experiment whose goal was to find how good these bottles are when it comes to maintaining the temperature of cold and hot drinks. I established this experiment in a controlled environment and thoroughly documented the performance of each model.
In the first part of this experiment, I filled both the Hydro Flask and the Yeti bottle with a hot beverage whose temperature was 208°F and then observed the results. After about 8 hours of observation, I concluded that the Hydro Flask Wide-Mouth Flex Cap bottle managed to keep the drink warmer – the liquid’s temperature was around five degrees higher than that of the liquid inside Yeti’s model.
In the second part, I tested each bottle’s ability to keep a cold drink cold for at least 8 hours. Once again, I performed the experiment in a controlled environment and found that the Hydro Flask product performed better in this department – even though the temperature difference was quite small, the HF’s bottle still managed to keep the drink colder over this period.
Finally, I filled both the Yeti and the Hydro Flask bottle with ice and left them at room temperature for one full day. After 24 hours, both models had quite a bit of ice left in them – they are equally good when it comes to ice preservation.
When shopping for a reusable bottle, one needs to pay special attention to the durability of these products. After all, you will probably accidentally drop your flask a few times, and when this happens, you don’t want it to break apart completely.
I’m not talking about knocking your bottle down from an office table – those who intend to use their bottles for hiking are always at a risk of having their flasks fall onto sharp rocks.
Whatever you intend to use it for, you want your vacuum-insulated bottle to be able to take a beating. That is precisely why I decided to compare the Hydro Flask Wide-Mouth Flex Cap bottle and the Yeti Rambler Chug Cap bottle in the durability department. Can these products take as much damage as their manufacturers claim that they can?
After doing a couple of simple fall tests, during which I dropped each of the bottles from a height of about five feet, I concluded that the Yeti model is the bottle to go for if you’re looking for genuine durability.
As it uses lighter stainless steel, the Hydro Flask model ended up with more scratches and dents. However, both of these bottles feature phenomenal cap designs that don’t break as easily as the ones found on cheap models made by the no-name brands.
I also performed a scratch resistance test. I dragged keys across the length of each bottle and the results were quite disappointing: none of them held up well. Each model ended up with deep scratches in its exterior color coating.
While comparing these extremely popular reusable bottles made by Hydro Flask and Yeti, I decided also to check how easy it is to keep them clean. Regardless of which one of these models you decide to go with, neither of them will serve you for long if you don’t take proper care of it.
As I stated earlier in the article, only the Yeti’s model can be safely washed in a dishwasher. However, the manufacturer still recommends washing the Rambler by hand so that it “lasts longer”. Take that as you will.
It’s important to point out that the water pressure – as well as the detergent – can definitely take a toll on the integrity of a vacuum-insulated bottle. Those who decide to wash either one of these bottles by hand should rinse their removable parts with soapy, warm water.
Both manufacturers also advise cleaning their bottles by filling them halfway with the aforementioned mixture of soap and warm water, closing them, and then shaking them. This method removes the need to expose the product to the dishwasher’s harshness while still giving great results.
If you end up having issues with stubborn spots, I would recommend getting a bottle brush – use this simple but highly convenient and cheap tool to gently scrub the stained areas. If that doesn’t do the trick, you can use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar to give your Hydro Flask/Yeti bottle a nice, shiny look.
I’ve cleaned all the vacuum-insulated bottles I’ve ever owned with hot water and soap and all of them are still in excellent condition.
Let’s be honest here – it is the price that usually decides which bottle a customer is ultimately going to get. When a product of this type is priced too low, most people will think that the cost reflects its quality. And when it’s priced too high, on the other hand, it won’t sell – it’s as simple as that.
I consider Hydro Flask to be the winner in this department – the 40 oz variant of their Hydro Flask Wide-Mouth Flex Cap bottle costs almost $30 less than the 36 oz version of Yeti’s Rambler Chug Cap bottle. In other words, you’ll be getting more space for less money.
Speaking generally, the drinkware products made by Hydro Flask tend to stay on a somewhat linear pricing scale, while the ones manufactured by its rival tend to increase more speedily price-wise with size.
Hydro Flask vs Yeti – The Verdict
As far as I’m concerned, the Hydro Flask bottle is the clear winner of this comparison.
While it’s not as durable as its rival, this model performs better in terms of temperature maintenance while also being cheaper at the same time. Furthermore, it is available in more colors and is backed by a lifetime warranty.
That is not to say that you shouldn’t consider the Yeti bottle for purchase, though. If durability is your main priority, you won’t make a mistake by going with the Rambler Chug Cap bottle.