Those in love with the outdoors know everything about the importance of frequent hydration. If you’re going on a backcountry exploration trip, you simply have to bring a good water bottle with you. And what better choice but a stainless steel bottle with insulation properties?
Besides the fact that these kinds of bottles are incredibly durable, they are also capable of maintaining the temperature of cold and hot drinks for hours on end.
After all, when you’re hiking in July and want to refresh yourself, the last thing you want is to sip some lukewarm, stomach-churning water. The same can be said for winter hikes – who wants to drink tepid tea next to the campfire?
Out of dozens of manufacturers of stainless steel water bottles, I’ve chosen to compare Hydro Flask and Iron Flask in this article.
Both brands have hundreds of thousands of loyal followers everywhere around the world, and for a good reason – their bottles are practical, functional, and stylish.
The goal of this article is to find out which one of these two brands is actually better. For another comparison of two fierce rivals in the world of drinkware, have a look at my Yeti vs Klean Kanteen article.
The Primary Differences Between Hydro Flask and Iron Flask
These are the main differences between the two most popular bottles made by these brands – Hydro Flask Insulated Water Bottle and Iron Flask Sports Water Bottle – which also apply to most of the other bottles designed by these companies:
- The Iron Flask bottle has to be washed manually. The Hydro Flask model, on the other hand, is completely dishwasher safe.
- The Hydro Flask bottle comes with only one lid, although you can buy different lids for it separately. Its rival comes accompanied by three lids.
- The Iron Flask bottle is available in six sizes, whereas the Hydro Flask one can be purchased in only three different sizes.
- The one lid you get with the Hydro Flask bottle is leak proof. The ones you get with the Iron Flask model aren’t.
The Similarities Between Hydro Flask and Iron Flask
Most of the reusable stainless steel bottles available on today’s market sport a similar construction and have almost identical features. Here’s what the two most popular bottles made by Hydro Flask and Iron Flask have in common:
They’re Made Out of Stainless Steel
One of the most obvious advantages these bottles have over their plastic counterparts is that they’re far more durable due to their stainless steel construction.
This makes them far sturdier and longer-lasting. A well-made stainless steel bottle – that is, one made by a renowned company such as Hydro Flask or Iron Flask – effortlessly withstands daily wear and tear, including accidental drops from low heights.
Moreover, these bottles aren’t made from just any kind of stainless steel but instead from high-quality, kitchen-grade 18/8 stainless steel.
So, besides the fact that they’re incredibly rugged, they also don’t retain the flavor or odor of the drinks – they keep the taste and smell as clean and fresh as possible.
One important thing to mention here is that only the Hydro Flask model can be washed in your regular dishwasher, while the Iron Flask water bottle needs to be cleaned manually with soapy water.
Another important thing to mention here is that both the Hydro Flask and Iron Flask bottles are completely BPA-free. What does this mean? It means that the materials out of which these companies make their drinkware contain no harmful substances that could end up in your beverage.
The outsides of these two reusable water bottles are coated with a special finish. The job of this coating is to increase the durability of these bottles even further but also to make them easier to carry around.
In other words, both models provide their users with a very good grip, which can be extremely convenient when you want to hydrate yourself while scrambling or running.
Fortunately, a vast assortment of stylish colors can be applied to this powder coating. The Iron Flask bottle is definitely the winner in the department of personalization – it is available in more than 20 different colors, some of which are genuinely eye-catching, such as “Fire”, “Black Marquina”, or “Dark Rainbow”.
They Keep Hot Drinks Hot
Those who often hike in freezing conditions like to bring hot tea or coffee with them. Obviously, they also want to keep these beverages hot for as long as possible, and that’s precisely where the insulated stainless steel bottles, like the ones offered by Hydro Flask and Iron Flask, come in.
These products can and will keep your coffee or tea hot for hours on end, no matter where you are.
The Iron Flask claims that their Sports Water Bottle can keep hot drinks hot for about 12 hours. In this case, the manufacturer’s claims aren’t that far from the truth – the beverage will start losing its temperature well after the 10-hour mark. This is, in my opinion, quite impressive and something that turns this bottle into a genuinely worthwhile purchase.
The Hydro Flask bottle, on the other hand, is also supposedly capable of maintaining the temperature of hot beverages for about 12 hours. However, most users report that the model can’t really keep a drink piping hot for more than 8 hours. While this is certainly great, it’s not as good as in the case of the Iron Flask bottle.
They Keep Cold Drinks Cold
Just like they can keep hot drinks hot, these two bottles can also keep cold drinks cold, and they manage to do so for even longer.
It goes without saying, but something like this can come in extremely handy when you’re hiking during scorching summer months and need to keep yourself hydrated. When you’re traversing miles of rugged terrain under the hot July sun, the last thing you want is a sip of lukewarm water.
The Iron Flask Sports Water Bottle effortlessly keeps water (and other drinks) cold for up to 24 hours. One only has to fill it up with cold water in the morning and the bottle will maintain the water’s temperature until the next morning.
Pretty impressive, wouldn’t you say? It’s certainly something that’s extremely useful to all those who often embark on long summer hikes.
The Hydro Flask is just as good when it comes to keeping cold drinks cold for hours on end, even though some users reported that the bottle couldn’t really maintain the temperature of cold water for as long as the manufacturer claims.
But still, if you’re looking for a bottle that will keep your beverage icy-cold for a long time, you can’t really go wrong with either of these models.
Hydro Flask Insulated Water Bottle
- Sizes Available: 3
- Colors Available: 10
- Weight: 11.3 oz
The most important of Hydro Flask’s unique features is undoubtedly the presence of a leak-proof cap. Don’t get me wrong – this vacuum-insulated bottle does not come accompanied by such a cap because it’s prone to leaks. The job of the leak-proof cap is simply to reduce the number of possible spills.
Another big advantage that this bottle has over the Iron Flask is the ease of cleaning – you can simply put it in your dishwasher. However, let’s not forget that it comes with just one instead of three lids, that it’s available in fewer sizes and colors, and that it costs more than the Iron Flask Sports Water Bottle.
- Stainless steel, BPA-free, powder-coated construction
- Good at keeping hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold
- Can be washed in a dishwasher
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Fewer sizes, colors, and lids
- More expensive than the Iron Flask
Iron Flask Sports Water Bottle
- Sizes Available: 6
- Colors Available: 21
- Weight: 18 oz
One thing I really like about the Iron Flask is that it comes accompanied by three different lids, unlike its rival. Those who decide to go with this bottle will get a carabiner straw lid, a flip lid, and the regular stainless steel lid.
And let’s not forget the fact that this bottle fares a bit better than the Hydro Flask model when it comes to keeping hot drinks hot.
Furthermore, the Iron Flask Sports Water Bottle can be obtained in several more sizes and colors when compared to its rival.
It goes without saying, but with this Iron Flask model, it’s much easier to find one whose size is ideal for your needs. And finally, it is around $10 cheaper than the Hydro Flask bottle even despite the fact that it has several important advantages over its rival.
- Keeps hot drinks hot for longer
- More affordable than the Hydro Flask
- Available in more sizes and colors
- Comes accompanied by three lids
- Has to be washed manually
- No leak proof cap
Iron Flask vs Hydro Flask – The Winner
Both of these reusable stainless steel bottles are a good purchase – there’s no doubt about that. They’re both very durable, they successfully maintain the temperature of one’s drinks, and each can be obtained in a number of stylish, attractive colors (the same goes for Swig Savvy – see how this brand’s attractive bottles compare to Hydro Flask).
But who’s the ultimate winner of this battle? That would, in my opinion, have to be the Iron Flask bottle. While it’s true that, unlike the Hydro Flask, this model comes without a leak proof cap and that it requires manual washing (which can be quite tiresome at times), it has several advantages over its rival that turn it into a better choice between the two.
Not only is the Iron Flask capable of maintaining the temperature of hot drinks for longer (and this is arguably its biggest advantage), but it’s also available in more sizes, more colors, and comes with three instead of just one lid.
And on top of that, it’s significantly cheaper than the Hydro Flask Insulated Water Bottle. Still, if you really want to save money, consider the Fifty/Fifty brand – see how its most popular offerings compare to those of HF in my Hydro Flask vs Fifty/Fifty article.