We Tested 5 Water Bottles From Expensive to Affordable And the Winner Will Shock You!


woman holding five water bottles

Get the best out of your water.

With so many water bottles on the market and so many different price ranges, it can be tough to know what is really the best water bottle to buy. That said, I decided to test out some of the most highly-rated options on the market that look good and actually do their job.

row of gray white blue and pink various brand water bottles

From spendy bottles like Yeti and Hydro Flask to less than $10 finds at Walmart, heres what I liked and didnt like about all of them.

The most expensive bottle brand that I tried:

1. YETI Rambler Bottle

The most heavy-duty bottle money can buy.

woman holding dark gray yeti water bottle

This was the biggest and most expensive water bottle that I tried. Hello, $50 GULP! And while the 36 oz. is also a tank to lug around, its simply awesome! Ive got to give it to YETI though from the design to the durability, they truly thought of everything!

Here are some of my favorite things about the YETI:

    • The handle was the easiest one to grip and open.
    • It never leaked or sweated on the outside.
    • It did a good job at keeping my water cold.
    • It can go in the dishwasher.
    • The DuraCoat on the outside has a sandy texture that makes it easy to grip.
    • The bottom is stainless, so you dont have to worry about the color coating chipping over time.
    • There are options to purchase a straw lid or MagDock lid for different drinking experiences.

A couple of things I dont like about it:

    • Its the most expensive option.
    • I need two hands to drink from it (not the case if you buy their smallest bottle though).
    • It doesnt fit in my car cup holder.
    • Its the heaviest bottle out of all the ones I tried.

Mid-range bottle brands that I tried:

2. Hydro Flask Wide Mouth Bottle

The prettiest bottle on the market.

white hydro flask bottle sitting on table

If youre more worried about how your water bottle looks rather than being the most functional bottle ever, then the 32oz. Hydro Flask is the prettiest bottle in my opinion. Thats not to say it still doesnt perform well, too! However, the simple and sleek design won me over. Plus, the chrome detailing is so modern and sleek! Ive been playing favorites with this one ever since it arrived!

Here are some of my favorite things about the Hydro Flask:

    • The sleek design is my favorite out of all the bottles I tested.
    • The softer handle is comfortable to carry around.
    • It never leaked or sweated on the outside.
    • It did a good job at keeping my water cold.
    • You can purchase straw lids or protective boots for the bottom.
    • It fit in my friends car cup holder, so theres hope for you too!
    • Keeps my water icy cold for hours.

A couple of things I dont like about it:

    • Still more expensive than Id like to pay.
    • Im worried the softer grip handle wont last as long as other bottles with a more durable frame.
    • Sometimes the lid can be finicky when trying to get it back on.
    • It doesnt fit in my car cup holder.
    • Handwash only.

3. Takeya Water Bottle

The most kid-friendly water bottle.

hand holding pink lid with takeya water bottle in background

Not only am I a fan of this bottle, but so are my kids! The screw-top is by far the easiest one to open and close and theres no fussing with the perfect angle to get it back on with a great seal, which is so important for kids and preventing leaks. The 18 oz. bottle that we tried was also pretty easy to tote around.

Here are some of my favorite things about the Takeya:

    • It comes with a silicone boot on the bottom (also comes off easily for cleaning).
    • The easiest lid to unscrew and put back on.
    • The most kid-friendly bottle I tried.
    • The handle is fully adjustable so its easy to carry and store in your cabinet.
    • I like the mid-range price.
    • Easy to drink out of with one hand.
    • It never leaked or sweated on the outside.
    • Fits in my car cup holder.

A couple of things I dont like about it:

    • Handwash only.
    • The lid is a bit more of a hassle to clean.
    • Wasnt the greatest at keeping drinks cold.

Low-budget bottle brands that I tried:

4. ThermoFlask Water Bottle

The most for your money water bottle.

woman holding blue thermoflask water bottle with straw lid

This 24 oz. bottle truly is the best value! With two included lids and an extra straw, its unlike any other bottles that I tried! The biggest downfall with this bottle was the lid which doesnt adjust, but if you dont mind taking up a little extra room in your cabinet, then this one will suit all of your needs.

Here are some of my favorite things about the ThermoFlask:

    • You get two different lids and an extra straw.
    • Easy to grip with one hand and drink out of.
    • Great price.
    • Fits in my car cup holder.
    • It never leaked or sweated on the outside.
    • Durable exterior.

A couple of things I dont like about it:

    • The handle isnt adjustable which makes storing it in cabinets difficult.
    • Not as many color choices as the other brands.
    • Handwash only.
    • Wasnt the greatest at keeping drinks cold.

Hip Tip:If youre a Costco member, you can score a two-pack of ThermoFlask bottles priced at just $24.99 making these bottles just $12 each! And as an even bigger bonus, I noticed that their model comes with a lid that looks adjustable and even has a convenient silicone bottom.

5. Ozark Trail Water Bottle

The most inexpensive, durable bottle.

hand holding dark gray ozark trail water bottle

If you want to spend a minimal amount of your hard-earned money, then Ozark Trail is a tough competitor priced under $10! It may be cheap, but theres nothing cheap about its awesome performance. I actually found this 24 oz. bottle to keep ice frozen for the longest time out of all of them!

Here are some of my favorite things about it:

    • Lowest price on the market.
    • Keeps drinks icy cold the longest out of all the bottles I tried.
    • Has an almost identical design and color options to Yeti
    • Top-rack, dishwasher safe.
    • Fits in my car cup holder.
    • Easy to grip and drink out of.
    • It never leaked or sweated on the outside.

A couple of things I dont like about it:

    • I noticed some small chipping on the gray paint after a few uses.
    • The handle is slightly slimmer than Yeti making it a little harder to grip and uncomfortable to open.
    • The lid doesnt go on as smoothly as other wide-mouth bottles.
    • It doesnt have other lid or silicone boot options.

Hip Tip:If youre considering this water bottle, check out Linas deeper dive in comparing the Ozark Trail vs. Yeti or also how the brand stacked up against Hydro Flask!

Heres how they all stood up to my ice challenge:

hand holding bowl of ice cubes with water bottles on counter in the background

I placed 6 whole ice cubes in each bottle and filled with cold water. I checked each bottle every 2 hours for 8 hours straight, starting my test at 10:30 AM taking notes every 2 hours and ending at 6:30 PM.

Heres what I discovered

various brand water bottles with bowl of melted ice in front of it

Its pretty clear to see that Ozark Trail (the cheapest competitor amongst the group) dominated in the ice challenge with almost 6 whole cubes still intact and barely any melting. The two most popular brands, Yeti and Hydro Flask, performed about the same, and given that their capacity to hold water is slightly bigger than the rest of the bottles, they still held up pretty well.

That said, the less expensive brands, ThermoFlask and Takeya did pretty poorly in comparison. ThermoFlask only had about 2/3 to 1/4 of ice remaining and sadly, Takeya totally bombed the challenge with almost no ice remaining after the 8 hours.

Ozark Trail for the win!

My overall verdict?

woman holding gray ozark trail tumbler water bottle pointing at it

Ozark Trail totally blew every bottle out of the water (pun intended) . After 8 hours in the ice challenge, this bottle stole the show, boasting 6 completely frozen and barely melted cubes. But if keeping water icy cold isnt all that matters to you, I also found the Ozark Trail bottle to be almost as heavy-duty as the Yeti and super convenient. Yes, it can even go in the dishwasher making life super chill.

Based on appearance, Ozark Trail has this in the bag too. Not only are there multiple and style choices to choose from, but theyre incredibly similar to the trendy and expensive brands like Hydro Flask and Yeti. For less than $10, I cant believe how rugged, tough, and what a top-performer it is!

BONUS TIP: If youre buying a handwash only bottle

hand holding a blue handle bottle brush

I did a lot of research on bottle brushes and I came across this affordable option at Target. Its long enough to reach into any bottle for easy cleaning and I love the stainless handle so you can assure that its going to be durable enough to last a long time. Most importantly, its designed to stand on its own which makes it a more sanitary and cleaner choice as well.

You can find this exact brush at these online retailers:

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