Recent demand for a more environmentally responsible and safer way of consumption has driven the growth of the insulated water bottle industry. The ecosystem is expected to grow at a healthy 4.8% per year, and will be worth $4.5 billion by 2026.
Yet the insulated liquid container tech has actually been around for quite some time—more than a century, to be exact. The innovation was created by James Dewar in 1896, a Scottish chemist who studied cryogenics. Dewar’s work particularly focused on turning gases into liquid through extreme cold. The scientist needed a way to keep his liquified gases from heating up. And thus, the insulated flask was born.
Today, insulated water bottles are as ubiquitous as they are trendy. You see them in office cubicles, gyms, or strapped to hiker’s packs. Every other corner cafe sells some branded version of an insulated bottle. A quick Amazon search turns up 4,000 results for “insulated water bottle”.
The wide variety of choices creates a dilemma for consumers. How do you know which brand is the best for you?
Getting warmer and warmer: How to choose a water bottle
Choosing a water bottle shouldn’t be this difficult, but you can’t just settle for any generic bottle. Adventurers take their bottles through mountains and muggy forests, and depend on them to help regulate their temperature and keep their food fresh.
To help you narrow down your choices, we’ve listed the three best insulated water bottles on the market: Yeti, Thermos, and Stanley. We’ll be discussing the bottles against the following criteria: temperature retention, durability, and aesthetic.
Yeti bottles came from the brand of the same name, founded by Ryan and Roy Seiders.
The brothers created their own super durable, “grizzly-proof” cooler after getting frustrated with the flimsiness of what was on the market. The men’s fishing technique required them to stand on coolers, and options then were too weak. Since then, the company has branched out with a wide variety of products like clothing, bags, fishing buckets, and even chairs for outdoor use.
Temperature retention:Yeti does not guarantee cold or hot times, but consumer tests have found that Yeti Ramblers can keep liquids cold and ice frozen for 9 hours, and hot for 4.
Durability:Yeti bottles are known for their durability, and are made with kitchen-grade stainless steel that is rust-proof and puncture-resistant, a quality important for insulated bottles because puncturing the outer layer will cause the bottle to lose its insulating properties.
Aesthetic:Yeti’s insulated water bottles come in a wide spectrum of colors, some of which are rare to see on a heavy-duty water bottle, like seafoam or sky blue. The bottles are finished with DuraCoat paint, which ensures that the paint will never chip or fade.
Dewer may have invented the vacuum flask, but it was glassblowers Reinhold Burger and Albert Aschenbrenner who took the idea to the consumer market, founding Thermos in 1904. The brand has since become a household name in food and beverage containers.
Temperature retention:Many brands may have come to compete in the space that Thermos created, yet few can beat its bottles in terms of insulation. Thermos bottles have been tested to keep liquids cold for 24 hours, and hot for 12.
Durability:Thermos’ bottles, similar with Yeti’s, are made of 18/8 food-grade stainless steel, which means they can withstand a beating before being broken. But it should be noted that some bottles leaked when drop-tested by review company Wirecutter.
Aesthetic:Thermos’ flagship insulated bottle, the Stainless King, comes in blue, red, and gray. The stainless steel finish and tapered top makes for a classy, understated look.
Younger only than Thermos, the Stanley brand was founded in 1913 by physicist William Stanley. Since then, the bottles have seen wide circulation, its renowned durability making it popular in extreme environments: B-17 fighters used to take Stanley bottles into the cockpit during World War II, doctors have used it to keep organs fresh for organ transplants, and it’s taken some deep dives with researchers on deep sea expeditions.
Over the years, the brand has stayed on the cutting edge of insulated bottle technology, and is a popular choice for adventurers and campers looking for near unbreakable gear.
Temperature retention:Stanley guarantees its bottles can keep liquids cool for 8 hours, and hot for 9. It can keep ice frozen for nearly a day and a half. When the inside of the bottles are “primed” or heated up prior to use, Stanley bottles have been proven to outperform competitors.
Durability:Stanley swears that barring getting run over by a tractor, their bottles can withstand nearly anything. Eric Shear, Stanley’s product manager, has even tried hammering another vacuum bottle with a Stanley bottle. The Stanley bottle survived without a scratch. Even if you do somehow manage to dent or break it, each bottle comes with a lifetime warranty.
Aesthetic:Stanley bottles are sleek and elegant, and are therefore easier to pack. Their bottles come in a variety of matte, muted colors, including its signature Hammertone Green.
Insulated water bottles are invaluable companions to outdoors men and women. While there are many brands available on the market, which you choose will boil down to what you value the most. Thermos obviously wins in insulation. Yet if you’re looking for durability, Stanley is the clear choice. Pick up a bottle of your own now at our Stanley Vacuum Bottle sale.