In recent years, Yeti has been the undisputed king of the insulated tumbler/flask/bottle market as most outdoor enthusiasts’ first choice for keeping drinks hot or cold on a fishing or hiking trip.
But newer competitors such as Hydro Flask have thrown down the gauntlet when it comes to insulated water bottles on performance and durability.
While both will keep your chosen drink hot or cold for hours in any temperature, find out why our resident guide, Shawn Chapin, still rates Yeti as the best in the business for outdoor folk (it’s about convenience) despite worthy competition from Hydro for everyday work use.
Hydro Flask vs Yeti Tumbler Review
We are going to look at both of these insulated water bottles in detail and rate them according to the following criteria:
Materials – Yeti vs Hydro Flask (a tie)
Both the Hydro Flask and the Yeti Tumbler are constructed using 18/8 pro-grade stainless steel. This gives both tumblers great durability and stainless steel prevents transferring or holding any flavors or odors. It also allows for easy cleaning and an overall clean environment.
In the materials department, both insulated tumblers are essentially the same, so let’s get on to the other features of these two designs.
Range – even
Both Yeti (under its Rambler range of drinkware) and Hydro Flask offer a comprehensive range of insulated drinking vessels, including:
Technology – very even
Both companies have technological features to aid in the creation of their respective tumbler. Let’s take a look at the tech used to create these great products.
The Yeti Tumbler, and the brand’s range of cups, bottles, and flasks, uses a double-walled construction with a vacuum-sealed space in between the two walls; this aids greatly when it comes to keeping cold things cold and hot things hot for extended periods of time.
Due to the double-wall vacuum insulation technology, there is virtually no sweating on the bottle’s exterior or flask due to its incredibly efficient insulating properties.
The Hydro Flask range of tumblers, cups, bottles, and flash also has the same high-tech and incredibly effective double-wall vacuum insulation technology. As a result, you will have the same insulating properties with either product, and this vacuum design, like the Yeti, will be sweat-free with no exterior condensation.
Features – advantage Yeti
Both tumblers have features to help them stand out. With some of these features differing between the two, let’s take a closer look.
The Yeti Tumbler features an insulated press-in lid. This helps prevent spills and keeps your beverages well-insulated at the same time. The lid is also dishwasher safe.
Yeti Tumblers also comes in five different colors and two different size options, a 20-ounce and 30-ounce offering.
One drawback to note with the press-in lid is the fact that it has a hole to drink from that cannot be shut or closed off in any way. This permanent opening allows potential spills to occur, and although it will be a small leaking over time, it’s a spill nonetheless. This permanent opening also means that heat will escape from the container or cold air if it’s a cold beverage.
Yeti has incorporated a custom-made cap design to be held with three fingers; this aids greatly in gripping and holding your tumbler and significantly reduces the potential for spilling or dropping your beloved tumbler on asphalt or rocks.
Yeti does offer a different cover with a magnetic slider to close off the open hole, and it can be bought with the original tumbler cover.
Hydro Flask Tumbler
Variety is definitely a place where Hydroflask wins out over Yeti. Hydro Flask has three sizes over Yeti’s two with 16, 22, and 32-ounce choices. Along with the extra choice in capacity, Hydro Flask has tons of color options to choose from, So finding your favorite color or shade is going to be easy.
Hydro Flask suffers from the same lid design as Yeti’s Tumbler. It has a permanently open hole to drink from that cannot be sealed off when not in use. The construction other than that is similar to Yeti, being a press-in lid that holds securely to avoid spills.
Why Hydroflask does have a decent carry handle, it is smaller and not as robust as the handle featured on the Yeti Tumbler and comes in second place in this regard.
Like Yeti, Hydro Flask offers cover alternatives, with different designs from folding mouthpieces and a cover with a permanently built-in straw.
Exterior coating – Yeti wins out here
The Yeti Tumbler features a stainless steel exterior. While the variety of colors is limited, the Yeti can be used in a dishwasher with no issues.
The wide color options and varieties are due to Hydroflask’s exterior powder coating of their tumblers. While color options are excellent, this powder coating is unsafe for dishwashers. The intense heat from the hot water and steam will damage the coating and strip it off.
This means that Hydro Flask Tumblers are hand washed only in water that’s not too hot to prevent any damage from occurring.
Warranty – Hydro beats Yeti
Yeti offers a 5-year warranty on their insulated bottles and tumblers, which isn’t bad, but it could be better for the price. Meanwhile, Hydro Flask offers a lifetime warranty on their products, so in the event that something goes wrong, except for you sticking it in a dishwasher, Hydro Flask will most likely have you covered.
Hydro Flask definitely wins in this department.
Reputation – Yeti still king of the outdoors
The Yeti company is a veteran in this product line, first starting with their high-end coolers. While incredibly expensive compared to coolers of the past, they really are vastly superior products in almost every case and have the insulation ability to keep food and drinks cold for hours at any temperature.
Yeti soon had a cult-like following for their products, in particular their coolers, with hunters, fishermen, and outdoors enthusiasts swearing for the brand’s quality. It’s not unusual to be out on the water fishing and see an angler standing on top of a large Yeti cooler or sipping from a Yeti Tumbler with the brand’s stickers on their truck or boat.
Hydro Flask is definitely a popular brand as well, but in my experience caters to a bit of a different crowd. That’s not to say that outdoors enthusiasts don’t use these bottles and flasks (although they’ll more often choose Yeti or RTIC), but simply that they have a different target audience.
With its custom color choices, Hydro Flask definitely leans more toward everyday uses like work, taking the kids to school, hiking, etc. They even offer small, child-friendly versions of their bottles and tumblers.
They are still very at home sitting in a boat or in a treestand, and those color options mean you can choose green for the woods instead of pink. But if you are a burly man in a treestand with a pink Hydro Flask Tumbler, we won’t judge! Quality-wise, these will beat cheaper brands such as Corkcicle every time.
Price – fairly even
Yeti vacuum Tumblers were a little more expensive in the past compared to Hydro Flask Tumblers. But in order to compete, Yeti has lowered the price of their range to match that of Hydro Flask. They definitely are high-quality, and I have one sitting on the counter as I type this, so I chose this Yeti option at the end of the day. You can find Yeti tumblers for around $30 to $40, depending on your options.
As mentioned above, Hydro Flask tumblers are about the same price as their basic tumbler, but if you add accessories to the tumbler, it will cost more. They bring up the price by about 10 dollars when adding a different cover with a hinged mouthpiece, for example, which does not come with the basic design. But at the end of the day, the prices between the two are very close.
Conclusion – Yeti still the best insulated tumbler
These two products by Yeti and Hyrdro Flask are very similar, with only some minor differences. While I am sticking with Yeti as a dedicated outdoors type mainly because of the dishwasher-safe exterior coating, it’s up to you as the buyer to decide if those differences persuade you to buy one over the other. At the end of the day, purchasing a tumbler is a wise decision regardless, helping out environmentally and adding convenience at the same time.
Why Use a Reusable Water Bottle?
There are many advantages and reasons to use a high-quality tumbler or bottle over a disposable water bottle, soft drink, or aluminum canned beverage.
While it is about keeping your coffee hot in the snow or your water ice cold when it’s 100 degrees, one of the biggest reasons for most people would be the environmental reason. Less waste and pollution from plastic and aluminum cans is a big reason.
If you are like me, I have lost count of the number of times I have seen disposable water bottles washed up on even pristine lakes in the middle of the wilderness in Northern Wisconsin or old, rusted-out steel beer cans from 30 years ago still lying on the forest floor, mixed in with aluminum cans that don’t rust out and stick around for a long period of time.
Another reason is it’s simply more convenient and saves you money. You don’t need to buy cases of bottled water over and over again if you don’t want to, and even if you do, you can fill it up at home and recycle it immediately. They are great for keeping things colder or warmer longer without the need for a cooler and stopping for ice if you’re out just for a morning or afternoon on the water.