When it comes to picking the right gear for a weekend road trip, an overnight trekking trail, or even a full-blown, rugged backcountry escapade, choosing a quality reusable water bottle is a must.
And when it comes to such bottles, the ones made by Hydro Flask and ThermoFlask are among the market’s best-selling models. Which company makes better products of this type? If you’re looking for an answer to that question, you’re in the right place.
Both the Hydro Flask and the ThermoFlask bottles are made from the best possible material – kitchen-grade 18/8 stainless steel. Reusable water bottles made out of this material are BPA-free, and therefore completely safe to drink from. They also don’t retain the taste and odor of beverages.
When it comes to the exteriors of Hydro Flask and ThermoFlask bottles, on the other hand, one can immediately notice subtle differences. The ThermoFlask bottles are coated with a special type of paint, which is secured to their exteriors with a very potent adhesive. The result of this is a bottle that looks brand new for years – there’s no fading or chipping. Unless you’re someone who often drops his water bottles on sharp rocks, you won’t have to worry about scratches and other types of damage.
Things are even better when it comes to Hydro Flask bottles. The company adds a special, proprietary finish to all of its water bottles. This coating not only enhances the grip but also protects from perspiration and makes the paint very durable. So, not only is the owner less likely to drop the bottle due to this textured coating, but the paint itself is less likely to get damaged if it comes in contact with sharp rocks.
One very important thing I need to point out here is that bottles made by both of these brands are very durable in general. After all, stainless steel can effortlessly handle anything and is almost unbeatable when it comes to long-term use. In the worst-case scenario, your ThermoFlask or Hydro Flask bottle will suffer a bit of paint chipping if it’s dropped from a height of a couple of meters. This kind of durability is one of stainless steel’s biggest advantages over plastic, especially when it comes to reusable water bottles.
Another thing worth pointing out is that the lids of both Hydro Flask and ThermoFlask bottles can be washed in a dishwasher. However, the bottles themselves are generally not dishwasher-safe. Keep in mind that the high temperature inside one of these machines can easily damage the insulation of a reusable water bottle, as well as ruin the paint on its exterior.
Furthermore, the standard caps and lids of both Hydro Flask and ThermoFlask bottles are made out of BPA-free plastic. However, I should point out that the former company uses caps made out of stainless steel on their wine-specific drinkware. Also, some of their bottles come equipped with silicone bumpers, and, in most cases, these greatly improve a bottle’s traction on all kinds of surfaces.
It goes without saying, but the most important thing about bottles of this type is how well their insulation works. In this department, ThermoFlask and Hydro Flask are quite similar because they’re made out of the same materials. But still, each of these two companies has a different explanation of how the insulation inside their bottles works.
In the case of Hydro Flask, the company uses a technology called ThermoShield. As you may have expected, this is the usual stainless steel, double-walled insulation that keeps hot drinks hot for about 6 hours and cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours.
ThermoFlask uses the same kind of insulation – stainless steel, double-walled one – but claims that their solution can maintain the temperature of hot beverages for up to 12 hours (and 24 hours in the case of cold drinks). This raises a question – if both companies use the same kind of insulation, how come one of them makes bottles that are capable of keeping hot drinks hot for 12 instead of 6 hours?
This is because the design of a ThermoFlask bottle is often different from that of the Hydro Flask bottle. Furthermore, the lids found on Hydro Flask bottles aren’t fully leak proof and therefore allow some heat to get out from them. However, in my opinion, the actual performance of Hydro Flask and ThermoFlask bottles is very similar – most people won’t really notice any major differences in this department. In fact, the reusable water bottles made by Hydro Flask do a slightly better job at keeping cold drinks cold.
In addition to that, one other thing I need to point out is that most water bottles manufactured by Hydro Flask are made for, well, water. The company produces a couple of coffee-specific insulated bottles as well, and these fare a lot better when it comes to keeping hot beverages hot. Moreover, the company has a much wider variety of products than ThermoFlask has – those looking for a bottle made for a specific type of drink are much more likely to find it in HF’s range of products.
In case the sleekness factor really matters to you, you may want to go with one of Klean Kanteen’s attractive water bottles. Have a read of my Hydro Flask vs Klean Kanteen article for more details on how they differ.
The Leaks & Sealing
Having a bottle that’s completely leak proof is very important if you want your hot beverages to stay hot for a long time. In other words, bottles with unreliable seals cause hot drinks to lose their temperature much quicker than the models with reliable seals. They also cause ice-cold drinks to warm up faster. I don’t even have to mention the mess a leaky bottle can cause in one’s backpack – it can ruin everything from your clothes to your electronic gadgets.
Coincidentally, there’s one feature shared by most bottles made by these two brands – double-walled insulation. This feature prevents condensation from forming on the exterior of the bottle, so you never have to worry about this unnecessary moisture appearing on the outside of your bottle and ruining the clothes in your backpack.
In most cases, leak proofing will depend solely on the bottle’s cap. And one of the best things about ThermoFlask’s bottles is that they come equipped with caps that are completely leak proof. If you’re someone who often hikes in rugged areas that require a lot of scrambling, and you’re never sure if your water bottle is going to stay upright, you won’t make a mistake by going with a ThermoFlask model.
Things are a bit different when it comes to Hydro Flask bottles, though. While it’s true that the company offers lids that are completely leak proof (and which you have to purchase separately), their standard lids that accompany most bottles aren’t completely leak proof.
Don’t get me wrong – their standard lids are well-made and won’t really let the water get out unless you flip the bottle on purpose. However, the chance of leakage is always there and that may be a deal-breaker to some potential buyers. This issue becomes particularly important if we take into account the fact that the Hydro Flask bottles aren’t really cheap. A single model plus an additional leak proof lid cost as much as two same-sized bottles made by ThermoFlask.
The Lids & Caps
As I mentioned above, ThermoFlask bottles come equipped with leak proof lids, which can’t be said for most Hydro Flask models. However, an important thing to point out here is that you can purchase a leak proof lid for a Hydro Flask model, and there are quite a few options one can choose from.
In fact, there is a myriad of different caps and lids for bottles made by both brands, including a few wide-mouth and standard options. For your Hydro Flask or ThermoFlask bottle, you can easily buy a chugging lid, a cap with a built-in straw, or just a standard cap if the one you get with the bottle gets damaged in some way.
Truth be told, all of these lids and caps look and work almost identically, whether they’re made by Hydro Flask or ThermoFlask. In fact, some caps and lids made by Hydro Flask work for ThermoFlask bottles too, and vice-versa. Furthermore, these accessories are priced very similarly – the only thing you need to pay attention to is choosing a lid or cap that works the best for your needs.
Ensure that that the lid’s size fits your bottle perfectly – the brands manufacture different lids for coffee mugs, tumblers, wide-mouth bottles, standard-mouth bottles, etc. You can choose travel mug lids, caps with swiveling and fixed handles, chugging lids, etc.
These are high-quality brands and their bottles aren’t the cheapest ones out there – there’s just no way around it. Hydro Flask bottles typically cost more, but they’re often on sale and can be easily found at lower prices. However, as I already said, most models come equipped with standard, non-leak proof lids.
ThermoFlask bottles, on the other hand, not only cost around $10 less but also often come in 2-packs and are equipped with proper leak proof caps. As far as I’m concerned, this translates to a better value for the money.
Those on a budget may want to consider opting for one of Fifty/Fifty’s affordable water bottles. See how this popular budget option stacks against HF in my Hydro Flask vs Fifty/Fifty article.
Popular Hydro Flask Bottles
Hydro Flask 32 oz Stainless Steel Water Bottle
- Slip-free powder coating
- Available in 10 colors
- Limited lifetime warranty
Hydro Flask 21 oz Sport Cap Water Bottle
- Made out of high-quality alloy steel
- Sport cap helps reduce spills
- Limited lifetime warranty
Hydro Flask 12 oz Kids Water Bottle
- Ideal for active children
- Completely safe, BPA-free construction
- Equipped with a straw cap
Popular ThermoFlask Bottles
ThermoFlask 40 oz Water Bottle (2-pack)
- Double-walled vacuum insulation
- 18/8 kitchen-grade stainless steel
- Sweat-free design
ThermoFlask 24 oz Water Bottle (2-pack)
- Completely leak proof spout lid
- A wide mouth allows easy cleaning and ice filling
- Rust-resistant construction
ThermoFlask 17 oz Travel Mug (2-pack)
- Effortlessly maintains the drink’s temperature
- A cup holder friendly travel mug
- Leak proof locking lid
Hydro Flask vs ThermoFlask – The Verdict
So, who’s the winner? In my opinion, the ThermoFlask bottles are a better choice for most people. Not only do they provide better performance for hot drinks and come equipped with leak proof lids, but are also generally cheaper than most Hydro Flask bottles.
But what about Iron Flask, another one of Hydro Flask’s strongest competitors? Check out my comparison between the two to find out which bottle is better.