By now, everyone and their mother knows that using plastic, disposable water bottles can be harmful to one’s health and bad for the environment.
One of the easiest ways to start phasing these kinds of bottles out of our everyday lives is by using reusable bottles to stay hydrated – whether in the gym, office, or in the backcountry.
Fortunately, there’s no shortage of stainless steel bottles on today’s market. The most famous out of all companies that design, manufacture, and sell these products is probably Hydro Flask, whose bottles are held in high regard by folks all over the world.
If you are not sure which bottle to get, this Contigo vs Hydro Flask comparison should be of great help. In this article, I’ll be comparing one of Hydro Flask’s most popular models with a bottle made by Contigo, a brand whose drinkware is just as popular as that of its rival.
Contigo vs Hydro Flask – A Product Overview
Contigo Autospout Straw Ashland Bottle
- Weight: 13.6 oz
- Material: Stainless steel
- Insulation: ThermaLock insulation
- Sizes Available: 3
- Colors Available: 14
This immensely popular Contigo water bottle comes equipped with several features that make it highly functional and practical. It has quickly become one of the best Hydro Flask alternatives.
Besides the ThermaLock insulation, whose job is to maintain the temperature of your cold drinks, the model is also equipped with a leak-proof lid and a protective spout cover. It also has a convenient carrying handle and can be washed in a dishwasher. You may also want to check out how Contigo compares against Yeti.
- Keeps water cold for hours on end
- Lockable pop-up straw
- Lots of color options
- Potential problems with the bottom part
Hydro Flask Wide Mouth 2.0 Insulated Bottle
- Weight: 12.6 oz
- Material: Stainless steel
- Insulation: TempShield insulation
- Sizes Available: 4
- Colors Available: 4
Available in 4 colors and 4 sizes, this Hydro Flask bottle is capable of maintaining the temperature of cold and hot drinks for hours on end.
The model is backed by a limited lifetime warranty and sports a very clean, sleek design that’s guaranteed to attract attention wherever you decide to bring this bottle. It is dishwasher-safe and sports a slip-free powder coating.
- Superb insulation works with cold & hot drinks
- An exceptionally durable stainless steel bottle
- Sleek & stylish design
Contigo vs Hydro Flask – The Comparison
Contigo is well-known for its plastic, transparent water bottles, so how does the company fare when it comes to insulated drinkware?
This particular Contigo model I’ve featured in this article – the Autospout Straw Ashland Bottle – is made to be used exclusively with cold drinks. Obviously, this is its biggest disadvantage when compared to the Hydro Flask’s model, which works with both cold and hot drinks.
However, Contigo’s bottle does a really good job at keeping water ice-cold. It can maintain the temperature of cold drinks for up to 18 hours, which is, truth be told, not that bad for a bottle that costs around $15 less than its rival.
Once you fill the Autospout Straw Ashland Bottle with cold water in the morning, the liquid will remain cool for the rest of the day.
The Hydro Flask Wide Mouth 2.0 Insulated Bottle is the obvious winner in this category. The model’s TempShield insulation does a great job at keeping hot drinks piping hot and cold drinks ice-cold for hours on end.
If you’re looking for an insulated flask that you won’t only use for water but for hot tea and coffee as well, the HF’s bottle is the obvious choice.
Those shopping for insulated water bottles are also looking for products that are sufficiently durable. This is especially true for the outdoor enthusiasts, who often traverse rugged terrain and don’t want to see their bottle dented and scratched after every accidental drop. Unfortunately, not all insulated stainless steel bottles are very durable.
One of the biggest disadvantages of the Autospout Straw Ashland Bottle is that it’s well-known for its problems with the bottom part, which is apparently prone to falling off after only a couple of months of use. While this happened to only a small percentage of owners, it’s still an important durability issue that may be a deal-breaker for some.
The Hydro Flask bottle, on the other hand, is one of the most durable on the market – hence the hefty price tag. Made out of high-quality stainless steel and featuring a clean design with no extra parts, the model is fairly resistant to dents and scratches.
In addition, it is coated with a special slip-free powder finish that provides the user with a good grip and decreases the chances of accidental drops.
The Ease of Use
As far as I’m concerned, no insulated water bottles on the market are as easy to use as the ones made by Hydro Flask.
Just like all other drinkware made by this company, the Wide Mouth 2.0 Insulated Bottle features an extremely simple design that allows quick and easy one-handed hydration no matter where you are. The model’s top handle, on the other hand, makes the bottle very portable and easy to carry around.
Even though it consists of more parts than its rival, the Contigo Autospout Straw Ashland Bottle is also very easy to use. It also has a carrying handle, which allows easy transport, but some extra features as well – like the lockable pop-up straw or the spout cover whose job is to keep germs and dirt off the mouthpiece.
It should also be mentioned that this Contigo bottle fits under most single-serve brewers and inside most vehicle cup holders.
Most of these kinds of water bottles are quite lightweight. Obviously, some are lighter than others – in this particular case, the Hydro Flask bottle weighs an ounce less than the one made by Contigo. Does this turn into a better choice for fast and light backpackers?
In all honesty, it doesn’t. If you’re looking for a lightweight stainless steel bottle, both of these models will do great. The difference of just 1 oz is pretty much insignificant, and you can barely notice it even when holding both of these bottles at the same time.
What really matters is the ability to quickly hydrate yourself with just one hand, and that’s where both of these bottles deliver.
One of the main reasons why a lot of people still tend to choose plastic over stainless steel bottles is because they’ve heard how the later ones give water and other drinks a metallic taste.
And while it’s certainly true that some stainless steel bottles do this (the cheapest ones, obviously), a vast majority of them do not pick up weird flavors.
Both the Hydro Flask bottle and its budget-oriented rival do very well in this department – neither model retains flavors.
However, one thing I need to point out here is that the Contigo bottle was designed to be used only with cold drinks, so you’ll never have problems with the model retaining the taste of hot tea or coffee anyway.
Even though it costs significantly less than the Hydro Flask model, I feel like the Contigo’s bottle simply doesn’t offer the performance or extra features that would turn it into a better purchase.
Obviously, it still stands as a better choice for those looking to save some money, but it’s not the best of the cheap insulated bottles out there, and forking out $15 more in order to go with the HF’s model seems like a wiser decision.
As you’ve figured out by now, Hydro Flasks are very expensive. Yes, you’ll be paying more if you get a HD, but you’ll also be getting a bottle that can maintain the temperature of both cold and hot drinks. The Hydro Flask Wide Mouth 2.0 Insulated Bottle is also more durable, easier to use, and weighs less – in this case, the higher cost is entirely justified.
Contigo vs Hydro Flask – The Verdict
In summary, Hydro Flask’s model stands as a better option out of the two.
This bottle costs more than the Contigo’s popular Autospout Straw Ashland model, but spending those $15 more on it means getting an incredibly well-made piece of insulated drinkware whose clean design and outstanding temperature regulation properties turn it into an excellent investment.
If you are still not sure whether you should get a Hydro Flask, you might want to check out my Yeti vs Hydro Flask comparison or my Takeya vs Hydro Flask comparison. You may also be interested in my Hydro Flask vs CamelBak Chute comparison and my Nalgene vs Hydro Flask comparison.
I love hiking, backpacking, and camping. From the Camino de Santiago to the West Highland Way in Scotland or simply a great day hike on the weekend. Hiking refreshes me, my mind, and keeps my body reasonably fit. So far I have walked three Camino routes and many other long distance hikes in the UK, Canada, and around the rest of Europe. One of the best was my hike up Ben Nevis.