Yeti and Hydro Flask are two of the leading insulation product brands in the outdoor sporting goods industry. They sell things like portable coffee cups and water containers, in many shapes, sizes and colors. Being in the market of a product that can be used by just about anyone, these brands, for the most part, have a lot of notoriety. But in this competitive and capitalistic country, such similar brands cannot simply abide. They must compete. So, what is better, Yeti or Hydro Flask?
Well, it largely depends on who you ask. A lot of the time it merely boils down to personal preference, style, and color choice. Bias comes into play in any debate. However, there are definitely some solid and notable differences between the two companies and product models. In this review, I’m going to steer away from my personal preferences, while trying to focus on the true differences in features and quality between these two brands.
First, although it seems like a minor detail, the physical feel of the two products are definitely worth mentioning. Some people may think that Hydro Flask has a unique texture to their products, due to the powder coating on their containers, but Yeti products have this texture incorporated with their colored bottles and mugs as well. Both Hydro Flask and Yeti can offer the same textures to their products, whether it be metallic smooth or a more gradient color option. Additionally, both are composed of the same double-walled BPA-free 18/8 stainless steel.
However, a specification that is not consistent throughout these two brands is weight. I’m only going to compare the Yeti and Hydro Flask products that are offered in the same liquid capacity, which are the 18 ounce wide mouth water bottle and the 20 and 22 ounce tumbler mugs, since those are the only two models that each brand offers with similar capacity and design. The 18 ounce wide mouth Hydro Flask insulated water bottle weighs 11.1 ounces, while the 18 ounce Yeti bottle weighs 16.3 ounces. Additionally, the 22 ounce Hydro Flask coffee mug weighs 11.7 ounces, while the 20 ounce Yeti Rambler mug weighs 12.7 ounces. In this case, the Hydro Flask is a full ounce lighter even though it's capable of holding two additional ounces of liquid. According to this comparison between the almost identical Yeti and Hydro Flask products, Hydro Flask has the edge in terms of weight, while still using the same double-walled stainless steel composition of 18/8. Refer to the visuals below to make sense of this complicated comparison.
18 oz. Wide Mouth: 16.3 oz. empty weight
18 oz. Wide Mouth: 11.1 oz. empty weight
22 oz. tumbler mug: 11.7 oz. empty weight
20 oz. Rambler mug: 12.7 oz. empty weight
In regards to prices, Yeti and Hydro Flask products are very similar. The 18 ounce Wide Mouth Hydro Flask water bottle has a retail price of $29.95, which is only four cents cheaper than the Yeti 18 ounce Wide Mouth at $29.99. While comparing the prices of the 20 ounce coffee mugs, it's important to remember the extra two ounces of capacity and lighter weight of the Hydro Flask tumbler. That being said, the Hydro Flask 22 ounce coffee mug rings up at $29.95, being a few dollars more expensive than the Yeti 20 ounce Rambler at $24.99.
After comparing the similar products that each of these companies offer, I'm going to dive into the products that are unique to each brand. If someone ever looks through the product list of both of these brands, they will soon find that each one has a specialty. For example, Yeti's product line doesn't stop after insulated coffee mugs and water containers. They offer a whole product line of over-engineered coolers (or chilly bins, as New Zealanders call them). The Tundra is their hard shell cooler line, and it's offered in so many insane sizes, starting with the small 20-liter Roadie, all the way up to the massive 350-liter Tundra 350, which is large enough to easily fit a human body (or 222 12 oz. beer cans). Along with the Tundra, comes the Hopper, which is the soft shell, bag style cooler that is offered by Yeti. Just like the Tundra, the Hopper comes in a large range of sizes, starting at 8 liters, and up to 40 liters. The Tundra comes in 20, 35, 45, 50, 65, 75, 105, 110, 125, 160, 210, 250, and 350 liter capacities. A seriously huge selection. The Hopper's selection isn't as crazy, but still efficient, offering 8, 12, 18, 20, 30, and 40 liter capacities. Here are a few of Yeti's cooler specifications.
Hopper Flip 12
Hopper Two 40
Even with their incredible selection of over-engineered coolers, Yeti is not stopping there. Come mid-July 2017, they will be releasing fully submersible, waterproof duffel bags to the market. This duffel, known as the Panga, will be available in 50, 75, and 100 liter volume capacities, retailing at $299.99, $349.99, and $399.99 accordingly. Check the specs:
Hydro Flask does not make coolers or duffels, but they do master the insulated container industry with their product line. The insulated mugs, cups, and thermoses that they make have greater variety than Yeti's, and are usually better designed. For example, Hydro Flask makes a no-leak, airtight coffee mug lid that snaps shut, truly being a travel mug that won't spill if you drop it in the car. What's nice about this lid, is that it is compatible with all sizes of the Hydro Flask coffee mugs, coming in 12, 16, and 20 ounce volumes. Likewise, they also make a food thermos, a 64 and 32 oz. growler with a carbonation saving, twist on lid, and a pint glass sized insulated cup. Yeti does offer a 1/2 gallon and gallon sized container, but I personally don't really think it's as practical as Hydro Flask's growler containers.
Overall, though, both of these companies have a lot of integrity, and make products that are extremely well engineered with good design. After looking at the product lines of each one, the companies are much more diverse than most people anticipate. They both make coffee mugs and water bottles, but they also go their separate ways in product genres, with Yeti making coolers and duffels (and giant buckets), and Hydro Flask making a larger variety of liquid insulation. So, which is better? Well, as far as specifications go, Hydro Flask is the Master of Mugs. Their hand-held insulated containers are lighter than, as well as provided in a much bigger selection than Yeti, whether it be their crisper color options, or myriad designs. However, Yeti has a hand in more markets, with their totally insane selection of coolers and waterproof duffel bags.
If you're looking for a nifty, lightweight, or airtight travel mug, Hydro Flask is the brand for you. If you're looking for a bomb-proof cooler, or waterproof duffel bag for the river, Yeti has what you need (for an a hefty, yet worth it investment). This is a non-biased conclusion that aligns with my personal opinion. I think Hydro Flask offers crisper colors than Yeti, and their snapping coffee lids are unmatched. They also have a much larger selection of containers, many that I didn't even touch on in this review. So, I always recommend Hydro Flask to friends and clients in search of a high quality insulated water bottle or coffee mug. But, when you're down south, in the desert, or in the jungle, and need to keep your beer, fish, or other meats fresh for a long period of time, a Yeti cooler is what you need. Sure, they're expensive, but they work, and they last. My stoke levels are incredibly high for the Panga duffel, and I can't wait to see one in person, and use it in the field.
As I've said, these are both great companies that produce high quality products. Yeti and Hydro Flask are the leading companies in their market for a reason, and they are worth the extra money in comparison to a cheap Coleman cooler or plastic coffee mug. If you're looking to buy a Yeti or Hydro Flask product, clicking on any link in this review will bring you to the Amazon listing of the product. Buying from these links will support Jessequandt Productions, and help me continue to write overly-complicated gear reviews like this one. Ultimately, though, if you want to see the entire selection that each of these companies offer, just go to your local outdoor retailer, the Hydro Flask website, or the Yeti website. Keep your coffee hot, your water cold, and enjoy the outdoors.