Who would say that two reusable bottle brands can stir up such a debate? But, Yeti vs Hydro Flask does exactly that. Both water flasks promise to be your life-long companions, but you only need one. And, you may indeed need one or the other if you are an avid trekker that wants to stay properly hydrated.
In my tests, the Yeti Rambler won. Though I believe reading the whole review will help you decide what is right for your use. (Hint, I own both)
Table of Contents
- 1 Why Use a Reusable Water Bottle?
- 2 YETI Rambler 26 Review
- 3 Hydro Flask Bottle Review
- 4 Pros
- 5 Cons
- 6 Similarities Between Yeti and Hydro Flask
- 7 Differences Between Hydro Flask and Yeti
- 8 Cleaning
- 9 Water Bottle Maintenance and Care
Why Use a Reusable Water Bottle?
Vacuum insulated water bottles are much better for the environment than disposable plastic bottles. There are countless reasons why, but the fact that it takes more water to produce a disposable plastic bottle than the bottle itself can hold should be enough to end the debate. In fact, It takes 22 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of plastic.
Most disposable plastic bottles gradually release bisphenol-A (BPA) into the water. You don’t need to be a chemist to know that a chemical with a weird name cannot be good for your health.
Stainless steel, which is used in vacuum insulated water bottles, on the other hand, is completely safe to use for as long as you want. A reusable water bottle is a one-time purchase. You’ll save tons of money down the line. Read all the water bottle reviews here.
YETI Rambler 26 Review
- Wide mouth for easy cleaning
- Easy to carry
- Great insulation
- Dishwasher safe
The Yeti Rambler bottle 26 comes with an ergonomic carrying handle and an extra-wide mouth (for ease of cleaning and drinking). In addition, the Yeti bottle vacuum insulated stainless steel construction will keep your water cold or your coffee hot. Although it’s a bit on the heavier side, Yeti’s properties and features make up for its weight. See here for alternatives to the Yeti bottle. And, if you need more information check the Yeti website.
Hydro Flask Bottle Review
- Easy to Clean
- Lifetime warranty
- Attractive design
- Great Insulation
- Not Dishwasher Safe
Chances are you’ve seen a Hydro Flask bottle at your local gym. The Hydro Flask model has been dominating the reusable bottle market for quite some time. Although Hydro Flask has more and more competitors each year, its simplicity, style, and top-notch vacuum insulated water bottles made from stainless steel will always make it the first choice of many users. For more information check the Hydro Flask website.
Similarities Between Yeti and Hydro Flask
Both models use top-of-the-line materials (18/8 pro-grade stainless steel) and technology. But, both are a bit on the pricier side as well. However, considering that both models are leaders in the insulated water bottle market, they have the potential to last for many years and because of that, I think the prices are fair. I even have one Hydro Flask with a big dent in the side, it fell over 2 yards from my backpack onto rocks while scrambling. I still use it more than a year later. See the image below, and yes it was a rainy day up the mountains.
Each model is virtually indestructible. No matter which one you go for, rust or punctures won’t be a problem. You may dent or scratch them a bit, but both will survive almost anything you put them through, as you can see from the Hydro Flask above.
Aside from lending strength and durability to the water bottle, stainless steel is highly resistant to bacteria and odors. And it does not affect the taste of your drinks.
Each model features double-wall vacuum insulation. This technology prevents the exterior temperature from affecting the temperature of the liquid inside. If you pour cold water inside, it will stay cold for an extended period of time. If you pour hot coffee inside, it will stay hot for up to 6 hours on average.
The vacuum insulated stainless steel prevents sweat from forming to ensure a dry and comfortable grip. Both models are leak-proof as well. Each model also has a powder coat exterior that protects against cracking, fading, or peeling. Finally, if you get tired of the basic lid, you can buy a wide variety of accessories for both YETI and Hydro Flask.
Differences Between Hydro Flask and Yeti
Generally, Hydro Flask bottles are the most expensive. Even though the Hydro Flask water bottle and the Yeti rambler bottle have the same retail price, YETI’s interior volume is 8 oz larger (Hydro Flask—18 oz; Yeti— 26 oz). Both models come in larger sizes, but those are more expensive. Therefore, we used the smallest models for our comparison. So, judging by the size, the Yeti Rambler bottle is a more cost-efficient purchase. If you want something lower-priced check out this post on Contigo or Hydro Flask, or this one on Takeya and Yeti.
While each model has a powder coat exterior, Hydro Flask offers a larger selection of shades you can choose from. For example, the Hydro Flask comes in 20 colors, while the YETI Rambler comes in 11 colors.
The Yeti bottles are dishwasher safe, unlike the Hydro Flask bottles. While you may be able to wash the Hydro Flask in a dishwasher, its powder coating will strip away if you do that. Older YETI models are not considered to be dishwasher safe.
The model’s design hasn’t changed much—the company just started labeling new models as dishwasher safe. The change is more likely due to poor initial product testing rather than updated technology.
Still, be sure to buy a new model that’s labeled as dishwasher safe. While you may be able to wash the older model in a dishwasher, you’ll also probably ‘wash away’ its warranty, so make sure you’re buying the latest model if you opt for YETI.
The YETI comes with a 5-year warranty, while the Hydro Flask comes with a lifetime warranty. However, this doesn’t necessarily make the Hydro Flask more durable. Nevertheless, the Hydro Flask is the clear winner here.
Both products are advertised as highly durable. We put both of them to the test to make sure of it. Since they are made of the same materials, we threw the bottles around to see which model is more durable.
We dropped each bottle 4 times: full on the bottom, full on the lid, empty on the bottom, empty on the lid. Both models were dented during the test. However, the dents on the Hydro Flask were significantly bigger.
The Hydro Flask lid even flew off when we dropped it full on the lid. Finally, we realized that the YETI lid is stronger because it has more threading.
But, even though its lid didn’t come off, the handle on the YETI cracked when we dropped it on its lid. We’d say a spill is worse than a crack, so YETI is the winner here. In a situation like this, you really wouldn’t have much use for Hydro Flask’s lifetime warranty.
But, neither model did well in our scratch test. We used a pair of keys to scratch them and see how well the coating will hold up. Both the YETI and Hydro Flash scratched easily. But, even though there was some damage on the surface, both bottles retained their usability. Considering that both products are designed to last for quite a while, that’s all that matters, really.
Cold Water Test Insulation
We filled each bottle with near-boiling water (208° F). Next, we closed the lids and placed the bottles in a 76° F room. Over a period of 8 hours, the temperature of the water in the YETI dropped to 132.8° while the water temperature in the Hydro Flask dropped to 125.6°F.
We filled both bottles with ice-cold, refrigerated water in the cold water test. And, again, we sealed the lids and placed them in a 76° F room.
Over a period of 8 hours, the water temperature in the Hydro Flask rose to 55.9°F, while the temperature of the water in the Yeti rose to 54.5°F. Thus, both products did quite well in this test, but the YETI did a bit better, so the YETI Rambler wins again.
Hydro Flask’s cap doesn’t seem to be as firm as YETI’s TripleHaul cap. When compared to YETI’s cap, it seems a bit flimsy. YETI’s 3-finger grip technology makes it the winner in this category.
So Which is Better, Hydro Flask vs YETI?
Even though the Hydro Flask bottle is the industry leader, the YETI Rambler bottle is the winner here, but not by a long shot. YETI bottles perform slightly better in key areas. And, although they cost almost the same, the YETI Rambler bottles offer a higher volume at the same price. So, in my opinion, the fight between Yeti or Hydro Flask – Yeti is currently winning.
However, buying a Hydro Flask reusable bottle is by no means a mistake. We encourage you to wage the pros and cons of each model by yourself and pick the one that best suits your needs and preferences. If you have decided to go with Yeti, there is one question left to answer: which size? Read our Yeti 36 oz and 46 oz comparison for more information.
Water Bottle Maintenance and Care
No matter which bottle you choose, you need to take good care of it if you want it to last for a while. Cleaning a vacuum insulated water bottle by hand is easy. And, even though you can put the Rambler in a dishwasher, it should last longer if you wash it by hand.
It’s best to use a bottle brush, and this Oxo Good Grips Water Bottle Cleaning Set is a good choice. If you don’t have a brush specifically made for your model, you can use a standard baby bottle brush. Wash the removable pieces with hot, soapy water.
Make sure to wash the drinking spout thoroughly. Don’t soak the lid. To clean the bottle, fill it halfway with warm soap and water, put the lid back on, and shake it up a bit. Use your bottle brush for those more stubborn stains.
If you are having difficulty cleaning some stains, you can try vinegar or baking soda instead of soap. Hydro Flask even recommends using vinegar and baking soda in such cases.
You only need half a cup of vinegar. Gently swirl the vinegar in the bottle and then let it sit for a couple of minutes. Rinse and repeat if necessary.
If you want to use baking soda, you’ll only need 2 to 3 tablespoons. Pour a bit of warm water and baking soda to form a scrubbing paste. Work the paste into the affected area by using your bottle brush. Repeat the process if necessary.
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.