Is This $8 Water Bottle Really Better Than Hydro Flask?!

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We did a temperature test comparing super affordable Ozark Trail water bottles to Hydro Flask water bottles.

person holding an Ozark Trail and Hydro Flask water bottles

Looking for a new insulated water bottle recommendation?

Refillable water bottles sure have become popular in recent years with lots of people making more eco-friendly choices. Many are especially loving the higher quality stainless steel insulated designs known to keep drinks super cold for hours.

This begs the question, are they really worth it?


hand holding hydro flask blue water bottle with green on shelf in background

Hydro Flask is a brand that keeps popping up in conversations with my kids and their friends. This specific brand has become incredibly popular among teens, outdoor enthusiasts, and anyone who loves to stay hydrated.

With all this talk, I’ve been curious how a Hydro Flask water bottle measures up to my favorite & much more affordable brand of insulated tumblers & water bottles — Ozark Trail from Walmart! The price point is quite different though…

That’s a $28 difference! 😱

row of different colored ozark trail water bottle

In fact, now Ozark’s water bottles are incredibly similar to Hydro Flask with their new & improved design. 😍 While before, their design was almost unmistakable to Yeti, but now it’s easy to mistake them for Hydro Flask – all the more reason to compare the two!

*Note that the design we have in this post is almost sold out. While we haven’t tried this specific newly designed bottle, we expect it to perform on par with the previous design given the 300+ raving reviews. 🙌🏻


holding 2 insulated water bottles

Just like I did the YETI vs. Ozark Trail challenge, I’m doing the same thing with Hydro Flask!

There are a lot of similarities and features that both water bottles seem to have:

  • Double-wall vacuum insulated
  • Hold 24 oz. of liquid
  • Both are BPA-free
  • Sweat-free design
  • Easy to carry handle
  • Tons of awesome color options to choose from

measuring temperature in a water bottle

Hydro Flask Vs. Ozark Trail Cold Water Temperature Challenge

Both Ozark Trail and Hydro Flask claim to keep water cold for hours so I decided to do my own casual water temperature test between the two water bottles to see if there was a big difference in performance.

recording water temperatures in hydro flask

To record the temperatures, I used an instant-read thermometer in each bottle of ice water. Then I put the lids on and placed both water bottles outside in the sun for the day. I recorded the temperature inside the water bottles throughout the next 24 hours.

I threw in ice and water and measured both, not worrying about making them the same starting temp. I was just curious what the start and end temps would be – mostly curious if the difference would be significant from each other…

Starting temperature:

  • Ozark Trail: 36°
  • Hydro Flask: 43°

3 hours later:

  • Ozark Trail: 35°
  • Hydro Flask: 40°

6 hours later:

  • Ozark Trail: 35°
  • Hydro Flask: 38°

24 hours later:

  • Ozark Trail: 34°
  • Hydro Flask: 41°

water temperature test water bottles

Results: Both Ozark Trail and Hydro Flask Win!

Essentially both water bottles had similar performance. It’s so interesting to me how each brand’s water bottle ended up exactly 2 degrees cooler than when I started – who would have thought that was even a thing?!

man holding up blue ozark trail water bottle in store

This means Ozark Trail performed just as well as Hydro Flask!

Considering staying cold is one of the most important attributes people look for in a water bottle, and at under 8 bucks, I’ll pick the Ozark Trail brand all day long because I feel like the quality is on point.

Unfortunately, I have a feeling my kids would still pick the Hydro Flask since they’re so trendy among teens! 😆

Drink up! 💦


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Lina has a Bachelor's Degree from Northern Arizona University with 10 years of blogging and photography experience having work featured in Today.com, Martha Stewart, Country Living, Fox News, Buzzfeed, and HGTV.


Join The Discussion

Comments 31

  1. katie

    Never tried this exact brand, but I love and swear by my Thermoflask bottles!!! I got a pair well over a year ago and they’re still like new. Think they were $30ish for 2 and nearly identical to Hydroflasks. You can order replacement lids, straws, and other accessories right on Amazon.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for the feedback, Katie! Good to know what bottles have been working well for you!

  2. Lauren

    Thanks for the comparison! I certainly like that $8 price tag. The water ended up colder than it started because as ice melts, it absorbs energy from the water, decreasing its temperature. There are mass ratio calculations that you can do to predict what the final temperature of the water would be after all the ice melted. The fact that they both went down 2 degrees means you probably used pretty similar ratios in both of the water bottles.

  3. Chris Lavenz

    I think they are all the same. We have one in case we need it but usually we just take our coffee cups in the car as they fit in the cup holders. We don’t usually take drinks with us when we are out and about. We drink at home before we leave and when we get home. Less plastic in the landfills………… The kids use tupperware sippy cups. LOL

    • jigna

      Chris i have tried using coffee cups for water but i dont know why, the smell of coffee still lingers in the cup eventhough it has been washed thoroughly. Any suggestions? I just end up keeping seperate bottles and mugs.

      • Chris Lavenz

        I don’t have a problem. I just wash them in dawn. Never had an issue.

  4. Lynne

    Love that you guys do this!! Does the Ozark Trail come in a straw lid?

  5. Christone4

    My kids took the Ozark trail for school water bottles this year. My second grader dropped it and the handle broke it’s second use. Hoping I can buy a different lid!

    • Atank

      Yes you can by separate lids
      Walmart has them

  6. Leslie Moss

    So the owners of hydroflask got a divorce and the wife started her own brand of the water carriers- 50/50. Haha. I’ve seen them in lots of grocery stores; I haven’t checked Walmart though. We actually like them a lot better than Hydroflask because of the way the water comes out. However, the price tag is about the same as H. Your review for Ozark was great; worth looking into for the price.

    • Mama1020

      Lol. What’s her brand?

      • Nik

        It’s an often repeated rumor, but not true. I like the story, though! 🙂 The brand Leslie is talking about is Fifty/Fifty.

  7. CaseyB

    I have multiple Ozark trail cups like this. I can’t see spending what a hydro flask costs when these work just as well. My niece and I compared both brands (she has the more expensive one) and they work the same even in a hot summer car. I’m not a name brand girl except for purses though:)

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Thanks for sharing!

  8. Jody Paul

    Any test you do will NEVER shake my loyalty to the Zojirushi brand. They are so worth every penny.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh interesting! Will have to check out that brand.

  9. Lisa M

    Ozark for the win!

  10. Shelly

    My daughter loves her Ozark Trail water bottle. It washed great in the dishwasher

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Thanks Shelly for sharing that!

  11. sarah21

    We love the Ozark Trail bottles, both in this size, and the huge one, maybe 96 oz? I love taking it on long trips, it really does keep ice water for DAYS. Our Ozark bottles outperform my teen daughter’s Hydro Flask and are nowhere near as dented.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Thanks for sharing your experience Sarah!

  12. Nee

    Thank you for this comparison! I was thinking of getting a hydroflask for my son, but now I can get the Ozark one instead!

  13. nita

    I purchased both the Yeti and the Hydroflask based on the hype and neither kept the ice for more than 30 minutes, it’s a lot of hype and $$.

    • lexiloowho

      That’s weird. We have hydroflasks and I dump them out the next day with ice still in them. This is for all sizes.

  14. Jen B

    I would much prefer sending the Ozark to school with my kids who can’t manage to keep track of lunchboxes, pencils and all water bottles.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Yes I agree! Thanks Jen! 🙌

  15. DJ

    I tried the ozark bottle based on a prior water bottle review posting. The bottle is great! I got some for Christmas gifts. My husband works outdoors and sometimes the temperature is over 100. He says his water remains cold.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      That’s great news! Thanks for sharing!

  16. Andibeth33

    Just bought one in a khaki green color. FYI: we found Ozark Trails back in the sporting goods/ camping section. There are other brands in Housewares, but the brand you want is in Camping. Got home, washed it, and filled it with ice cubes. Did the same with hubs’ Yeti (same shape – 24oz) to do the comparison.

  17. Jen

    Which ones are dishwasher safe besides Yeti?

  18. DJ

    Double wall vacuum insulation isn’t anything new or rocket science. Stanley has been doing it for years. A few new companies come out, spend the money, jack the hype up, and now dozens of brands jump on the bandwagon. All of sudden you have people doing “tests” and brand supporters coming out of the woodwork touting how their high dollar brand is better than the store brand made with the same tech.
    I have a yeti that was a gift but I’ll never be stupid enough to buy one. All by self purchased ones are ozark trail and have seen everything from construction site to camping duties, not one has failed.

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