Which Insulated Bottle is the Best?
Insulated water bottles have been around for a long time, but in the last decade or so their popularity skyrocketed with brands like Hydro Flask and YETI. There’s no doubt that the dual-wall insulation technology in these bottles is a wonderful quality of life improvement compared to non-insulated bottles, especially if you live in a hot region.
But if you look on Amazon today, you can find dozens if not hundreds of brands selling similar insulated bottles. So many people ask, which water bottle has the best insulation?
We tested 10 popular water bottles to see how well they hold ice.
The Best Insulated Bottle - A Video Review
If you'd rather watch the results, then check out our YouTube video below!
We primarily focused on 32-ounce bottles because that size tends tend to be very popular, but we did use some other bottle sizes for certain brands based on what was available. We also included a couple non-insulated bottles as a baseline, a Stanley classic thermos to see how the older style compares, and a triple-wall bottle because we hadn’t tested one before and we were curious if it’s the next best thing.
(click an image below to see the bottle on Amazon)
Because the main purpose of an insulated water bottle is to maintain a temperature for longer periods throughout the day, we measured the weight of ice before and after the test as our main metric. We purchased an ice mold that creates larger sticks to limit the effect that surface area variations in different pieces of ice might have on the melting rate. Then we added one ice stick to each bottle and no water. After four hours, we poured the contents of each bottle into a strainer, then the remaining ice was dumped onto a scale. By comparing the weights of each ice stick before and after, we were able to get an idea of which bottle keeps ice the best. We then repeated this test three times and calculated the cumulative results.
Keep in mind that this experiment was intended just to give an idea if there are any major variations in insulation effectiveness. In an ideal experiment, we would have used a more accurate scale, used similar lids on all of the bottles, measured out the water into each ice mold to ensure the same volumes of ice were made, and used the same volume bottles across the board.
With the disclaimers out of the way, here are the results!
The cumulative results are summarized in the table below. You can see the percentage of ice that melted in the fourth column. A few things jumped out at us.
The Luxe and Stanley Original bottles are in a league of their own with 36% ice loss. One factor to keep in mind with the Luxe bottle is that it’s only 22 ounces, and the smaller volume of air likely made the result look better than it really was. We also haven’t tested or used this bottle at all other than with this insulation test, so we’re not quite ready to recommend it yet. Regardless, this initial test of the triple-wall insulation showed promise, and this type of bottle is worth looking into more. The Stanley result was interesting too, given that this type of bottle has been around for a long time and is basically the OG of insulated bottles.
After that, we have the Klean Kanteen TKWide, the YETI, Takeya, and Hydro Flask with between 49 and 52% ice loss. These results are very close and are certainly within the range of potential error, so there’s not much difference here.
Next is the Iron Flask at 55% ice loss. But keep in mind that we only had a 40oz Iron Flask to test, and the larger volume of air likely made the ice melt faster. Based on this consideration, we feel comfortable assuming that the Iron Flask’s insulation is essentially the same as the previous group.
ThermoFlask was the one outlier of the dual-wall insulation bottles. At 59% ice loss, ThermoFlask seemed to consistently test worse than the other similar bottles.
And the Nalgene and Klean Kanteen classic had the worst results, but given that these are single-wall bottles and not insulated, this result was to be expected. We mostly just included them in the test as a baseline because we could see when the ice had finished melting in the Nalgene, and we were curious if the single-wall stainless-steel design would do any better.
When we take a step back to think about these results overall, we can reach a few conclusions.
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