Water Bottle Showdown: Plastic vs. Hydro Flask

Water Bottle Showdown: Plastic vs. Hydro Flask

Water Bottle Showdown: Plastic vs. Hydro Flask

Hydro Flask is one of the well-known brands for high-quality water bottles.

In fact, if you take a closer look, you will see that they produce a HUGE variety of different products.

And let’s be honest here – their products are not exactly cheap.

After giving it a little thought, one may ask, “What makes them so special that I need to pay so much when there are perfectly suitable plastic water bottles out there?”

A fair question. Naturally, this is something that everybody will be concerned about.

And Hydro Flasks have really grown in popularity. So much so that people are wondering what is this hype all about. This is why I decided to compare the plastic vs. Hydro Flask water bottles.

In this article, I will take apart and review the most widely used plastic bottles and growing in popularity Hydro Flask.

The Hydro Flask

img source wiki

Hydro Flask was founded in the not too distant 2009.

They produce insulated food and beverage products. They aim to deliver the best possible quality containers that will keep and lock the temperature of your beverage for as long as possible.

For their relatively short history, they have proved themselves as industry leaders in their field.

But how did that happen?

What Makes Hydro Flask Special?

So what makes Hydro Flask any better compared to the vast number of other companies that make insulated bottles and containers?

In my opinion, there are a few things that make Hydro Flask different.

  1. Hydro Flask makes water bottles that are easy to use and carry. They are made from high-quality materials – we are talking about very durable and food-grade 18/8 stainless steel water bottles. There are a number of different colors, sizes, and applications the Hydro Flask bottles can be used for.
  2. Secondly, Hydro Flask offers a lifetime warranty on its water bottles. I mean even their bottle brush has a lifetime warranty. This means that Hydro Flask must be very confident in the quality of its products.
  3. And lastly – their charitable giving program. Hydro Flask has been running a giving program each year since 2017 named Parks for All. They aim to support and help non-profit organizations that work on maintaining and restoring parks. So far, Hydro Flask has donated more than $800,000 and more than 17,000 bottles.

Why Are Hydro Flask Water Bottles so Popular?

Hydro Flasks are popular because they combine stylish looking design with superior quality. Hydro Flasks keep drinks cold or hot for many hours, do not retain odors or tastes, they are easy to use and carry, and they are almost indestructible.

All of that and the fact that more and more people are choosing to be a lot more eco-friendly and green is making these bottles a go-to option.

Pros and Cons of Hydro Flask Water Bottles

img source: Matt Hoffman

Below I will get into further detail about the different Hydro Flask water bottles’ pros and cons.

The Materials Used

All Hydro Flask water bottles are made from 18/8 high-quality food-grade stainless steel.

This is one of the best materials that can be used for storing liquids and even food. It does not leach any harmful chemicals into your water, beverages, and food. It is completely BPA and Phthalate-free.

Stainless steel is a very clean material and, best of all, very durable. It does not retain any odors or flavors from previously stored items.

It is the perfect material for people that are into hiking and traveling a lot, too, because it does not break easily.

The standard flex cap is made from BPA and Phthalate-free plastic that seals tightly and prevents any leaks from happening.

The Insulating Technology

Hydro flask bottles have double-walled vacuum insulation. When it comes to the best type of insulation for a water bottle, this is the golden standard right now.

There are also different types of double-walled insulation. On some bottles, the space between the interior and the exterior walls can be filled with foam or air. Admittedly air is better than foam, but it cannot compare to vacuum.

Vacuum means that there is absolutely nothing between the two walls. Thus the temperature from the outside will have an extremely hard time getting inside the bottle and vice versa.

Hydro Flask uses what they call the TempShield™ double-wall insulation, which can keep your cold water chilled for up to 24 hours and hot beverages hot for up to 6 hours.

There is another very important aspect of the double-wall insulated water bottles.

When I pour some ice-cold water in a regular bottle, it starts to sweat.

And what happens when you get a really steaming hot coffee or tea in a normal bottle? It gets so hot that you cannot even touch it.

Both of these things are not very convenient. But, with a double-walled bottle like this one, you will not have to worry about any of them.

The Wide Variety

Hydro Flask bottle green color

Hydro Flask offers a variety of differently sized standard water bottles starting from 18 oz and going up to 64 oz; there are even 128 oz bottles, but they are in a league of their own. You can also get a Hydro Flask for your kids, which is 12 oz.

These come with different colors, and some bottles can be with either wide mouth or standard mouth. There are a variety of different lids that you can get separately for them, as well.

And let us not forget that Hydro Flask offers a lot more than just water bottles. You can find tumblers, coffee mugs, and flasks, beer pints and growlers, wine bottles. There are even Hydro Flask coolers, bags, food flasks, hydration packs, and so much more.

Regardless if you are looking for a smaller or larger water bottle, you are almost guaranteed to find something to your liking


The Weight of the Bottles

Stainless-steel has its own set of disadvantages, which may or may not be a deal-breaker for many.

This material is going to be inherently heavier compared to other materials like plastic or aluminum.

This can potentially add more weight to your bag or backpack, which some long-distance hikers may not be able to afford.

The Price

The Hydro Flask bottles are infamous for their higher price compared to other types of bottles.

Certain Hydro Flask water bottles that have been discontinued can be selling for more than a hundred dollars apiece.

The higher price comes from the fact that Hydro Flask does not try to cut corners.

While others may be trying to use cheaper materials, construction, or labor, it seems like Hydro Flask is trying to do things the right way, and, well, that comes at a price.

The Hydro Flask 32 oz. Wide Mouth Water Bottle

The 32 oz. wide mouth model (Click here to check the current price on Amazon) is probably one of the best-selling bottles by Hydro Flask.

And why wouldn’t, it offers almost everything one may want.

The bottle is made from high-quality 18/8 stainless steel, which is both BPA and Phthalate-free.

It can keep your beverages hot for up to 12 hours and water cold for up to 24 hours thanks to its superb double-walled vacuum insulation.

The bottle is dishwasher safe making cleaning it a breeze.

It is easy to sip from the wide mouth. The wide mouth is 2.26 inches in diameter, so you can also add ice cubes and fruits with ease.

The diameter of the whole bottle measures at 3.58 inches, and it is 9.4 inches tall.

The bottle is a bit heavy compared to other bottles weighing at 15.2 oz. This can make carrying it not that easy. Filling the bottle up with just water can add an additional 35 oz. of weight. This will be a total of a little over 3 pounds.

It comes with the standard flex cap, which provides superb insulation and leak protection. Other types of lids are sold separately like the straw sports lid or the Hydro Flip™ lid.

The straw lid is good, but be careful with the Hydro Flip™ lid. A lot of people have been reporting problems with it where the lid leaks while you are drinking from it.

This water bottle comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

This is a very high-quality product, and as it can be expected, it comes at a higher price compared to other bottles on the market.

And this, in my opinion, is one of the most significant disadvantages of the Hydro Flask water bottle.

The price is high, but for somebody that uses water bottles on a daily basis, the price will be well justified.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Hydro Flask Water Bottles

Hydro Flask bottle black color

Below I will answer some of the most popular questions that I have heard being asked about the Hydro Flask water bottles.

Do Hydro Flask Bottles Dent?

One of the best pros about the Hydro Flask stainless steel water bottles is that they are very tough and durable. The Hydro Flask Bottles do not dent easily. But with that being said, they can dent if dropped from significant heights. As with any water bottle, exercising care is advised when handling them.

Stainless steel is a solid material that can last you a lifetime, but it can be dented or bent. However, compared to other types of materials like plastic, glass, and aluminum, stainless steel comes on top when it comes to durability.

You can take the bottles with yourself even on the toughest of journeys without having to worry about it breaking.

Can You Put Your Hydro Flask Bottle in the Fridge?

You can put your Hydro Flask bottle in the fridge. However, as a result of the double-wall vacuum insulation, and granted the lid is placed on the bottle, the temperature will have a hard time getting through the insulation and actually cooling down your water.

If you really want to cool down your water, you can place the bottle with the lid off. That way, you will speed up the cooling process.

Keep in mind, though, that the water can also absorb any odors from the fridge that way.

Can You Put a Hydro Flask Bottle in the Freezer?

Maybe you are looking for a bottle that you can freeze, and you are wondering if a Hydro Flask can do that.

Do not place your Hydro Flask bottle in the freezer. Freezing a Hydro Flask bottle filled with water can damage its internal parts and insulation. The expanding freezing water can damage the double-walled insulation of the bottle.

Can You Put a Lemon in Hydro Flask Water Bottle?

Hydro Flask water bottles are made from food-grade 18/8 stainless steel. This type of stainless steel is known to not leach off any harmful chemicals or metals to the food or beverages inside of it. Stainless steel water bottles are safe for use even with acidic beverages like lemon water.

Can You Put a Hydro Flask Bottle in the Dishwasher?

It is not recommending running your Hydro Flask water bottle through the dishwasher. The dishwasher may potentially use water with temperatures that are too high and can discolor and possibly affect the insulation capabilities of your bottle.

With all that being said, some of their newer bottles come with the Color Last™ feature. This is a better powder coating finish that offers the same extra grippy surface, and best of all, it is dishwasher-safe.

In general, the Hydro Flask bottles should be hand washed with warm soapy water.

It is also not recommended to use any strong cleaning chemicals like bleach and chlorine as these can also discolor the powder coating on the exterior wall.

Where Are Hydro Flask Bottles Sold?

Hydro Flask bottles can be found in many different places.

You may find Hydro Flask at local grocery stores, supermarkets like Walmart, Costco, and more.

Hydro Flask bottles can be found online, as well. You can buy yourself a bottle from their website or even on Amazon.

I invite you to check out different places in order to find the best deals on Hydro Flask bottles.

Are There Fake Hydro Flask Water Bottles?

As it is with anything of good value – it gets imitated.

There are fake Hydro Flask bottles sold on different websites and places. Usually, a solid giveaway of fake a Hydro Flask bottle is a lower price. Frequently the logo and the printed text look a bit off, too.

If you are buying a Hydro Flask bottle online, make sure to either go through a reputable and authorized Hydro Flask dealer on Amazon or through the Hydro Flask’s website itself.

The same rules apply when buying your bottle from a store or a hypermarket.

Are Hydro Flask Bottles Made in China?

Even though Hydro Flask is based in Bend, Oregon. Hydro Flask bottles are, indeed, made in China.

There is information about the company stating that the manufacturing facilities are well-maintained and they are very socially-conscious.

The Plastic Water Bottles

Plastic water bottles are the most widely and frequently used type of water bottle in the whole world.

Why Are Plastic Water Bottles so Popular?

There are several reasons why plastic water bottles are so popular nowadays.

Plastic is easy and very cheap to manufacture. It keeps the manufacturing costs very low. This is why plastic water bottles are almost always going to be much less expensive compared to any other type of water bottle.

This is making them a lot more accessible by the general public as people will not be paying a high price for their bottled water.

As a result, manufacturers have been doubling down on the production and the use of plastic water bottles.

Pros and Cons of Plastic Water Bottles

Cactaki Water Bottle


I enjoy drinking ice-cold water, especially during the hot summer months. Ice-cold water is just a must-have for me; it is super refreshing and a great way to combat the heat waves (Check my best freezable recommendation water bottle on this post).

And the other people like me out there know that plastic water bottles are unmatched when it comes to freezing water in a bottle.

Granted, they will change their form a little as the water freezes, but later as it thaws, the bottle will be back to its natural look. I have frozen water in plastic water bottles before, and I have never had a bottle split on me.

In comparison, other water bottles made from hard materials like glass, stainless steel, aluminum, or copper are not going to fare well in the freezer.

Low Price

As previously mentioned, the price for acquiring a plastic water bottle, be it disposable or not, is going to be very low.

You can buy at lease several plastic water bottles for the price of a single Hydro Flask.

This makes it a viable and cheap way to buy some water while on the go or in a pinch.

Ease of Use

Plastic water bottles are very light and easy to carry. Even if you have to carry the bottle the whole day, it is not going to put that much of a strain on you.

An empty 50 oz water bottle will be weighing on average at just about 0.03 pounds. When completely filled with water, it will be about 3.3 lbs.

This is very close to what filled with water 32 oz. Hydro Flask will weigh, but you get to bring a lot more water with yourself.

Stainless steel, glass, even aluminum water bottles cannot come anywhere near that number.

Toxic Chemicals

One of the biggest concerns and disadvantages of plastic water bottles is, of course, the harmful chemicals that can be leached off and into your water. Namely the BPAs and the Phthalates.

These toxic chemicals have been studied quite extensively, and the general consensus is that they can be extremely harmful to our health.

The BPA is considered an endocrine disruptor. What this means for us is that ingesting BPA will disrupt the normal hormonal function of the human body.

The Taste

Even if you are using a good plastic water bottle that is free from the majority of harmful chemicals, there is something about plastic that alters the taste of the water.

Just give it a try. Pour a cup of water in a plastic bottle and a glass water bottle. Make sure to have them properly cleaned beforehand. And leave the water to sit there for a day or two, then take a sip. You will feel the difference.

Plastic is just not a good material for keeping the taste of the water inside fresh.

Have you ever wondered why all the expensive alcohol never comes in plastic water bottles? That is the reason.

Dirty Plastic

Plastic is a porous material that sometimes can be very tricky to clean (especially if you are storing different beverages or foods in it).

Because of that, plastic can retain smells and tastes from what has previously been kept in it. A sip of water smelling like old coffee is definitely not the best thing in the world.

Plastic also can start to stain with time making it look very unsightly and dirty even when it is supposedly clean.

Even deep cleaning or running it through the dishwasher may not help in these cases.

Insulation Issues

The next downside to plastic water bottles is that the majority of them (especially the disposable ones) are single-walled. In other words, they have no insulation whatsoever.

The water inside has a direct contact point with the outside elements through the single wall. This means that the temperature transfer is going to happen very quickly.

If you pour ice-cold water in a plastic bottle like that, it will get warm very quickly and vice versa.

To make matters worse, when a plastic water bottle is filled with cold water, it will start to sweat. This makes it one of the worst things that you can put in your bag or backpack as it will make everything inside wet.

Alternatively, if you pour something hot as, say, coffee or tea, the bottle will get super hot on the outside surface. So much so that it can literally burn your hands.

Not to Be Used with Hot Beverages

The next thing that will be of great importance to many is the fact that you should not be drinking anything hot from a regular plastic water bottle.


Because plastic water bottles contain many harmful chemicals.

Yes, plastic bottles can leach off harmful toxins even when you do not do anything to them. But this process can be sped up significantly if the bottle is exposed to high temperatures.

Even leaving the bottle in the direct sunlight may be enough for some tiny amounts of plastics to get into the water. These may not necessarily make you sick in any way, but the plastics can add up.

Plastic Pollution

Back in the days when plastic bottles were considered a relatively new thing, they were loved by many. But with time, we have discovered that all this comes at a cost.

Now plastic water bottles are considered one of the single biggest environmental pollutants.

Now, just think about it; more than 60 million disposable plastic water bottles are used each day. And the majority (about 88%) of these are never recycled.

What happens is they end up in landfills and in the oceans. There have been a lot of alarming problems lately because this issue is getting out of hand.

Are Reusable Plastic Water Bottles Good?

Healthish Water Bottle

Of course, we have to distinguish between disposable and reusable plastic water bottles.

Reusable plastic water bottles are definitely going to be better than their disposable relatives. There are a few things that are worth mentioning.

By switching to a reusable plastic water bottle, you will be cutting down on the plastic waste significantly.

A reusable plastic water bottle can be used for many years on end. Just like the Hydro Flask bottle, plastic bottles can last you a lifetime.

Many of the reusable plastic water bottles are phthalate-free and even BPA-free as well. There is a little caveat here, though. Some bottles may be produced with other chemicals that are in the same family as the BPA.

There are BPS, BPF, and more. These have not been studied, but do have a similar structure and function to the BPA.

It can be argued that they can potentially have the same effect on the human body as the infamous BPAs.

Nalgene Wide Mouth Water Bottle

There are hundreds of different plastic water bottles, so this was a hard choice. But I wanted to compare the Hydro Flask to a good plastic bottle.

This water bottle by Nalgene (Click here to check the current price on Amazon) is a great example of the pros of using plastic water bottles that takes care of some of their cons.

It is a wide mouth water bottle, which is making it easier to sip from and keep clean.

It is super cheap and affordable and very lightweight, weighing at a little over 3 oz.

It has a single wall, so it is not going to be great at maintaining the temperature of the liquids inside.

But the best thing that I like about it is that the manufacturer has stated that it is BPA, BPS, and Phthalate-free.

Of course, some may worry about other toxins, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.

Resources I Used:

  • https://www.elevationoutdoors.com/blogs/master-of-none/ice-delivered-by-fedex-thanks-to-hydroflask/
  • https://www.reddit.com/r/Hydroflask/comments/8f04xz/is_my_hydroflask_fake_sister_bought_me_it_and_it/
  • https://www.dwellsmart.com/pages/disposable-water-bottles
  • https://davehakkens.nl/community/forums/topic/plastic-bottle-weight/
  • https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/07/exposed-to-extreme-heat-plastic-bottles-may-become-unsafe-over-time/
  • https://www.hydroflask.com

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