Ranking popular water bottles from first to worst

October 8, 2021 — by Christina Chang and Shannon Ma
Photo by Christina Chang

Though summer is officially over, hydration is essential regardless of the season, and what can ensure that every sip you take is bliss? The quality of your water bottle. With an abundance of brands to choose from, it may be difficult to decide on which water bottle to purchase. Below, we’ve compiled a list of top choices for our ideal water bottle


1. Hydro Flask: $30-$100

 In 2019, Hydro Flasks dramatically rose in popularity thanks to the VSCO girl trend. Although the vogue has long since died down, the Hydro Flask remains the indisputable winner amongst top brands. 

We were skeptical at first, as most trends overhype the brands they support, but that was not the case with the Hydro Flask: after over two years of use, the $30-$100 price tag continues to prove its worth due to the bottle’s great durability, remaining scratch-less and boasting a 12-hour insulation time. The brand’s variety of offerings in cap options, colors and bottle sizes also give Hydro Flask owners options to pick one that best suits their preference.

Additionally, Hydro Flasks have elite visual appeal. With over ten tasteful color options, the brand will not leave a potential buyer wanting to turn away in disgust. 

Its simplistic monochromatic look coupled with a distinct logo allows the owner to freely personalize and decorate their bottle. Hydro Flasks also come in ombre colors for those who want to spice up the decoration of their bottle without much effort.

2. Yeti: $20-$100

The Yeti’s main calling is its impressive insulation time that blows even the Hydro out of the water (get it?), with the potential to keep beverages cold for over three days. But who keeps liquid in their bottles for over three days without emptying it out? That’s just nasty. As a result, the Yeti’s advertised insulation ability is not as useful as one would imagine. 

With that said, the Yeti comes in a wide array of options. The Rambler, an everyday carry-around tumbler, comes in four different sizes and offers numerous unique features including straw lids, chug caps, mag slider lids and even handles on the side. They are sold as at-home mugs, wine tumblers and even cups. 

Despite its quirky features, Yeti needs to reconsider the shape design of their popular chug cap bottle. It comes with an angular handle which not only makes the bottle look like a silly rectangle, but it resembles a poorly executed Hydro Flask. The Yeti’s ugliness is inexcusable.

3. Gatorade: $5-$25

Beyond their market of energy drinks, Gatorade also sells water bottles. As a one-of-a-kind squeeze bottle, they are optimal for squirting water at people and sharing with those who forget to bring their own water (pre-pandemic, of course). 

The bottle features a green base and an orange cap, making it easily recognizable everywhere. However, because it only offers one color option, it caters to the niche market that prefers simplicity. 

Despite their lack of options, Gatorade water bottles are frequently used at sporting events, so owning one can make you feel like a true athlete even if you ride the bench.


4. S’well: $20-$50

S’well bottles were a major rival to Hydro Flask a few years back. The bottle’s unique shape is easy to hold around the neck, but it’s a double edged sword: The unconventional shape resembles a long, warped pear that was only on-trend for a few months. 

Additionally, the new art prints the brand has to offer are simply ugly. Whether they’re targeting a preschool-only audience or hired a drunk designer, the physical appeal of S’wells is opposite of the brand’s name.


5. Thermo Flask: $20-$40

Introducing the granny of the water bottle world: Thermo Flasks. Invented in 1910, the Thermo’s longevity bests nearly all the grannies alive on this planet today. 

Thermos only offer one bland style — a thick straw sticking out of a cap — and that’s not to mention the disappointing array of color options the Thermo Flask has to show. Every shade shouts “depression”: dark purple, dark blue and deep dark green. Not appealing.

However, the Thermo Flask does earn a few points for good quality, with its 24-hour insulation. 


6. Camelbak: $10-$50

Everybody has had a Camelbak water bottle, so having this brand elicits childhood nostalgia — except not bittersweet, but stress-inducing. Just think of the constantly malfunctioning straw that left you dehydrated as a 6-year-old. Their low ranking mainly stems from the PTSD of getting yelled at by parents for losing the water bottle at least once at some random summer camp in third grade. 

If you’re looking for a new water bottle, go with the Hydro Flask — it offers significant quality and comes in a variety of options with great aesthetic appeal. However, for cheaper alternatives, Yeti and Gatorade bottles are also qualified candidates.


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