< Go to Water Bottles

Hands-on Gear Review

Hydro Flask Wide-Mouth Insulated Review

Hydro Flask Wide-Mouth Vacuum
Editors' Choice Award
Price:   $40 List | $29.96 at MooseJaw
Compare prices at 5 resellers
Pros:  Durable, simple design, many color options, keeps beverages hot or cold for long periods of time, doesn't retain flavors, easy to clean
Cons:  Heavy, expensive
Bottom line:  Though it is heavier than other bottles in our review, it takes the cake for versatility, sleek design, and insulating properties, making it the Editors' Choice of the year.
Editors' Rating:     
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Manufacturer:   Hydro Flask

Our Verdict

The folks at Hydro Flask are on to something. Their goal was to create a fusion of the 32 fluid ounce bottles commonly used for outdoor recreational activities, with the insulating properties of often smaller travel mugs. The result was bottle with a simple cap and body that boasts impressive insulating properties and good looks to boot. It proved easy to use, resistant to residual flavors, and very quick and easy to clean. We used it to take our hot coffee or cold juice into the office, as well as on cold-weather day trips to the outdoors for hot sips throughout the day. Additionally, the company proved to us that they truly value their customers when the cap broke in our drop test. This award winner scored very well in our tests and beat out the Klean Kanteen Vacuum Insulated to win our Top Pick for Hot and Cold Beverages.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Water Bottles of 2017

select up to 5 products
Score Product Price Our Take
91
$40
Editors' Choice Award
Though it is heavier than other bottles in our review, it takes the cake for versatility, sleek design, and insulating properties, making it the Editors' Choice of the year.
87
$11
Best Buy Award
A tried and tested classic, the Wide Mouth bottle wins again as our Top Pick for Plastic, as well as the Best Bang for your Buck bottle.
77
$31
A take on the Classic version, it's simple, sleek, and will keep your drinks hot or cold.
77
$30
We were pleasantly surprised by the Brazos unique autoseal button for easy one-handed drinking; this insulated bottle works great for hot or cold beverages.
75
$21
The Classic sport cap is an updated version of our longtime favorite, the Klean Kanteen Classic. Whichever lid you choose, the Classic is a durable, light stainless bottle that we love.
71
$28
Top Pick Award
The Flip Cap is an updated version of the Classic, with all the same features we loved, plus a new cap design.
67
$30
The Soma Bottle is a new product from a company that produces glass beakers and water filters. It looks cool and is made of bamboo, glass, and silicone.
66
$38
The CamelBak Chute is the largest vacuum insulated bottle we tested, with a lid that allows you to fill with a wide mouth, but drink out of a smaller spout.
64
$9
Top Pick Award
With its unmatched lightweight design and packability, this contender is our Top Pick for Collapsible Bottles.
62
$16
This contender is a light, plastic bottle; it's light enough to use for hiking, but also portable and small enough to use around town.
61
$16
The Citrus Zinger is a bottle designed specifically for those who enjoy citrus infused water, with a straw for one handed drinking.
59
$16
The Thermalock Glacier is a insulated bottle designed specifically for keeping drinks cold, and thus has a wide mouth to make filling with ice easier.
58
$25
The Nomader bottle attempts to solve the problem of being both collapsible and easy to drink from, but falls short on its ability to collapse effectively.

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Jane Jackson
Senior Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Monday
December 5, 2016

Share:

Hands-On Review


At $40, the Hydro Flask Insulated was one of the most expensive of all 13 bottles we reviewed. However, we still found it had good value. Its' vacuum-insulated, 32-fluid-ounce body does a great job at keeping a lot liquids hot or cold for extended amounts of time, regardless of the external temperature. Considering that you'll likely use your insulated bottle for a wide variety of drinks, this bottle is a great choice because it resists retaining flavors from previous fills. Keep reading to see how our Editors' Choice Award winner stacked up in each individual metric.

The Hydro Flask  though known for keeping hot beverages hot  proved to be our favorite cragging bottle by keeping water cold all day long in the sun.
The Hydro Flask, though known for keeping hot beverages hot, proved to be our favorite cragging bottle by keeping water cold all day long in the sun.

Performance Comparison


Seeing how the HydroFlask (shown below in blue) stacks up against the competition, it's pretty clear why it won our Editors' Choice Award.


Ease of Use


This award winner looks a lot like a classic Nalgene Wide-Mouth, with added insulation. It has a simple design of body and cap connected by a retaining strap. The strap is more sturdy than that on the Nalgene, and can be used to clip it to a pack for storage. However, due to its heavier weight, we still wouldn't recommend relying on the retaining strap when in motion, especially if the bottle is full.


The vacuum insulated body works very well. When we filled it with ice and left it sitting, the ice did melt just before 24 hours. However, our drink was still very cold well past 24 hours. Additionally, your ice water will not make this bottle sweat, even in the hot yoga studio or in the blazing sun at the crag. With hot liquids, there is a small discrepancy in our tests. Hydro Flask claims to keep hot liquids hot for a period of 12 hours. In our tests, it was only about half that.

When filled with ice water, you can leave this bottle under the sun for hours and still open it up to find chunks of ice and a drink cold enough to give you a brain freeze.

At 12 hours, our coffee was only lukewarm. Six hours was sufficient for most of our needs, however. Filled with hot coffee in the morning, you can still have hot coffee inside after your lunch break. When ice climbing with this bottle in freezing temperatures, it still kept our tea hot for over six hours. And not just a little cup of hot tea, but almost a whole liter! All four of us climbing that day were very thankful that we'd packed this award winner.

The Hydro Flask's insulating qualities make it stand out as the Top Pick for stainless steel  insulated bottles.
The Hydro Flask's insulating qualities make it stand out as the Top Pick for stainless steel, insulated bottles.

This water bottle has some features that, although you might not notice them all immediately, do improve the drinking experience. First is its size. We almost didn't believe that an insulated bottle could hold such a large volume (32 oz) without being the size of a small cooler. It's thinner than the Nalgene and although taller is easier to hold in your hands. Also helping your grip is the matte finish on the body's exterior. It looks great and feels great in your hands, despite being wider than eight of the other bottles reviewed. The matte texture of the bottle is similar to that of the Klean Kanteen Vacuum Insulated and the Contigo Thermalock, and was what gave these bottles such a nice feel in the hand. Lastly, the rim of the mouth is slightly rounded off, providing more comfort to your lips than the Klean Kanteen Insulated.

Filling this bottle from a variety of water sources is easy, due to its wide mouth. This simultaneously means there is a good chance that when moving and drinking, you'll also get a complimentary face wash/chin dribble. Especially if you're drinking a liquid that could stain your clothes, make sure you sit tight for a moment as you take a swig. On the other hand, this bottle definitely will not leak when fully closed, even if oriented upside down. Overall, we enjoyed using and drinking from the Hydro Flask.

From coffee to tea to flavored electrolyte drinks  the Hydro Flask does an impressive job at losing flavors and keeping your drinks tasting just the way you want them to.
From coffee to tea to flavored electrolyte drinks, the Hydro Flask does an impressive job at losing flavors and keeping your drinks tasting just the way you want them to.

Taste


The Hydro Flask rocked this category. For some of our testers, it was the first metal bottle they had ever used that did not impart a metallic taste on its contents. That's a huge plus. It also did an incredible job of keeping its contents tasting fresh. In our 24-hour water taste test, the award winner tied with the Nalgene Wide-Mouth in keeping its contents tasting as close to fresh as possible, again imparting no funky tastes from the bottle or cap materials.


This bottle also fared well in our flavor retention test. After filling the bottle with a sports drink mix, hand washing it, refilling it with water, and taste testing it for any residual flavors, the testers could only detect a slight scent of the sports drink. There was no flavor of the sports drink retained. Only the glass Lifefactory Flip Cap bottle scored better in this test.

We think the Hydro Flask is a very good choice for a variety of hot and cold liquids like coffee, tea, smoothies, and ice water. It doesn't impart metallic taste, and its ability to resist flavor retention — even coffee! — was unmatched.

When filling the insulated bottles with hot flavored liquids like coffee, we found a clear difference between the Hydro Flask Insulated and the Klean Kanteen Insulated. Drinks like coffee tend to leave a stronger taste imprint than cold flavored drinks. The Klean Kanteen retained the taste and smell of coffee, even after a thorough washing with baking soda and vinegar left to soak for 12 hours. Conversely, the Hydro Flask only retained a slight taste and smell of our brew following normal hand washing. Furthermore, after following the same thorough washing method of baking soda and vinegar as its competition, the Hydro Flask no longer retained any coffee flavor. We were happy that no matter what liquid we put into this Editors' Choice winner, we could always return it back to its original taste status.

The wide mouth makes it easy to fill up the Hydro Flask just about anywhere.
The wide mouth makes it easy to fill up the Hydro Flask just about anywhere.

Durability


When we received this bottle, we expected it to be a very durable product. Being made of stainless steel and feeling substantial in our hands, we thought that it would take its fair share of punches in the ring. Unfortunately for the bottle, it did not survive our drop tests. When filled with water, the bottle is pretty heavy, which increases its impact force. The drop on its bottom left a sizeable dent on the bottom edge of the bottle. Other stainless steel bottles dented in this same way when dropped, both Klean Kanteens and the Avex Brazos Autoseal Stainless, but these dents did little to affect the actual effectiveness of the bottle. Unlike a plastic or glass bottle, a stainless one will dent, but will not shatter.


In previous years, the cap shattered during the drop test, but it should be noted that we filled out the very user-friendly warranty claim on Hydro Flask's website in all of one minute. Two hours later, we received an email saying that a replacement cap was on its way to us at no charge, with no questions asked (and we didn't mention that we were from a gear review website). That is definitely uncommon customer service that indicates their dedication to their products and customers. Nice one, Hydro Flask. So, if you do accidentally drop your bottle and it breaks, this company is very forgiving. And with less clumsy hands, this bottle is going to last you a long time.

Watch the drop tests here:


Ease of Cleaning


This award winner was the quickest and easiest to clean in our tests. Having only two simple parts, it only took us an average of one minute and eight seconds to clean by hand with the help of a bottle brush. The manufacturer recommends not washing this bottle in the dishwasher, as it could affect its ability to insulate. Other bottles that compared to the Hydro in terms of cleaning were the Nalgene Wide-Mouth, the CamelBak Eddy, the Avex Brazos Autoseal Stainless, and the Contigo Thermalock, all of which have wide mouths. It should be noted that some of these bottles had more intricate lids that added to the difficulty of cleaning, but overall their main bodies were similarly easy to clean because of wide mouths.


Weight


Using our own scale, the empty Hydro Flask weighed in just under a pound at 14.8 ounces. We found this to be pretty impressive, considering its size. In comparison to the 20 oz. Klean Kanteen Insulated, the Hydro Flask holds 12 more ounces, but only weighs 1.6 ounces more (when empty). The lightest bottle in all of our tests was the Nalgene Wide-Mouth, Klean Kanteen Classic, and Platypus SoftBottle; however, it's important to note that two of the three previously mentioned bottles are made of plastic.


Best Applications


We found the Hydro Flask to be more versatile than the Klean Kanteen Insulated due to its larger volume. While its insulating abilities make it a perfect choice for hot and cold drinks in the office, its volume is also great enough to last you a full workout without having to constantly refill it. Completely a comfort thing, we also liked that it didn't sweat in hot gyms. Its resistance to carrying over flavors from past fills also makes it a great choice for pretty much any liquid you want to put in it. Just wash it out thoroughly before going from hot chocolate to ice water (or coffee to another brew).

The beauty of the Hydro Flask is its simplicity. Its two parts  lid and body  are easy to clean  simple  and sleek. The bottle is heavy  but it makes up for it in all other categories.
The beauty of the Hydro Flask is its simplicity. Its two parts, lid and body, are easy to clean, simple, and sleek. The bottle is heavy, but it makes up for it in all other categories.

Besides its advantages in the urban environment, we also liked taking this bottle on rock and ice climbing day trips, as well as car camping. The contents aren't affected by the external temps, making it equally handy on hot summer days under the sun as well as bitterly cold winter days. Having a big pot of hot coffee/tea to share with your climbing partners can be the difference between hitting another route or calling it a day.

Value


This Editors' Choice award winner is the most expensive bottle that we reviewed, ringing in at $40. If you're just looking for a water bottle to mostly fill with water to keep you hydrated, this probably isn't the bottle for you. The Nalgene Wide-Mouth was our Best Buy Award; for $11, you can take home a bottle that offers excellent quality at a great value. However, if you need a versatile bottle with exceptional insulating properties, this bottle is worth its price tag. For what it matters, we think this bottle has a smooth look, too. We also feel that the warranty policy increases the value of this bottle.

Conclusion


Not only is this bottle impressive in how it insulates, the designers also took the time to make it comfortable and easy to use and clean. We enjoyed drinking liquids x, y, and z at the temperature we put them into the bottle. Its volume didn't limit it to being a travel mug, but rather allowed us to use it to hydrate our workouts in the climbing gym and yoga studio. We found ourselves taking this contender many more places than we expected upon receiving it for this review. It does cost a pretty penny, but it also delivers.

The bottle comes in numerous different colors, has a simple design, and it versatile to boot. On top of it all, the company's great customer service and warranty policy shows how much the Hydro Flask team believes in its product and values its customers. For these reasons and then some, the Hydro Flask has earned our Editors' Choice and Top Pick for Stainless Steel Bottles awards.

Other Versions


Standard Mouth
  • Sizes available- 12 oz and 21 oz
  • Cost- $22 for 12 oz, $28 for 21 oz
  • Stainless Steel flat cap sold separately

Narrow Mouth
  • Sizes available- 18 oz and 24 oz
  • Cost- $26 for 18 oz, $30 for 24 oz
  • Allows for greater control while drinking

True Pint
  • Cost - $22
  • 16 oz
  • Stainless steel vacuum insulated pint…umm..glass?
  • Hydro Flask's dedication to the party-goers in the crowd

Accessories


Hydro Flask Flip Lid
  • Cost - $10
  • Perfect for consuming hot beverages on the go
  • Fits the18oz Wide Mouth, 40oz and 64oz flasks

Hydro Flask Straw Lid
  • Cost - $7
  • Comes with two separate straws that can be cut to fit the 18ounce 40ounce and 64ounce Wide Mouth Hydro Flasks
Jane Jackson

  • Share this article:
You Might Also Like

Where to Buy?


Thinking about buying some gear we've reviewed? Help OutdoorGearLab out if you do. Just click on any of the above seller links and if you make any purchase, the seller will contribute a portion of the sale to help support this site. It won't cost you anything extra, and it's a simple way to help us fund our gear reviews. Thanks!

*Most retailers free shipping offers apply only to lower 48 US states using ground/economy shipping. See retailer's website for details.


OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: December 5, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 100%  (1)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


Have you used the Hydro Flask Wide-Mouth Insulated?
Don't hold back. Share your viewpoint by posting a review with your thoughts...

Write a Review on this Gear
 
Where's the Best Price?
Seller Price
MooseJaw $29.96  -  25% off!
REI $31.89  -  20% off!
Backcountry $31.96  -  20% off!
Compare prices at 5 sellers >

*You help support OutdoorGearLab's product testing and reviews by purchasing from our retail partners.


Follow Us


Unbiased.