64floz Growler Showdown

Yeti, DrinkTanks, KleanKanteen, Fifty/Fifty, Stanley, thermos, beer, coffeeAdvancements in materials and manufacturing techniques have spurred a boom in vacuum-insulated drinkware over the last few years. The ubiquitous Stanley Thermos is now being squeezed out of the market by relatively new startups like Fifty/Fifty and cooler manufacturers like Yeti. I am constantly amazed by the ever-growing number of new vacuum-insulated tumblers and water bottles hitting retail shelves.

With so many options on the market, it can be hard to sort through the hype and choose the best growler for your needs. We went down to our local sporting goods store and purchased five of the most popular vacuum-insulated beer growlers, ranging in price from $39.99 to $74.00, and put them to the test with a little help from our friends at FLIR. We were surprised (but not really surprised) by the results from our testing. The testing revealed a clear winner, but before we get to that let's discuss how we structured our tests.

Yeti, DrinkTanks, KleanKanteen, Fifty/Fifty, Stanley, thermos, beer, coffee
Testing Procedure

Our testing procedure was straight forward. Each growler was filled with hot water, and then the initial water temperature was recorded using an instant-read thermometer. The five growlers were then placed outside in near-freezing weather, and thermal images were captured every 30-minutes. Afer four hours of testing, the growlers were opened, and the water temperatures were measured and recorded.

Testing Results

I went into the test hoping the least-expensive growler, made by Fifty/Fifty, would win. I say this because I feel strongly that a piece of equipment does not reflect its quality. After I had begun running through the numbers, I was shocked to see that, with the exception of the most expensive growler in the test, the results directly reflected the growler's price. The top four growers ranking for thermal efficiency fell in line with their price ranking. The outlier, as it turns out, was the most expensive which posted an abysmal score for thermal efficiency.

Yeti, DrinkTanks, KleanKanteen, Fifty/Fifty, Stanley, thermos, beer, coffee
Table 1: Growler Temperature Loss

Digging Deep

I have to admit, I was intrigued by the results. I never expected there to be such a wide range of results from our 'test subjects.' Seeing the results got me thinking about what makes a top-performing insulated beer growler, or water bottle for that matter. We are able to leverage the images captured by the FLIR Systems C2 camera to evaluate the five bottles and hone in on the where the designs differ.

Yeti, DrinkTanks, KleanKanteen, Fifty/Fifty, Stanley, thermos, beer, coffee

The efficiency of a vacuum-insulated bottle is only as good as how/where the insulation is applied. Although the external bottle temperatures were fairly consistent, our thermal images revealed the weak-link in our "test subjects" were the lids. Our testing revealed thermal hotspots on the lids ranging in temperature from 40 to 50 degrees F.

Yeti, DrinkTanks, KleanKanteen, Fifty/Fifty, Stanley, thermos, beer, coffeeYeti, DrinkTanks, KleanKanteen, Fifty/Fifty, Stanley, thermos, beer, coffee
KleanKanteen vs. Yeti

I believe Yeti and KeanKanteen scored well by tackling the same problem though two very different designs. KleanKanteen chose to minimize the opening size to maximize the surface area of water in contact with the insulated wall. Alternatively, Yeti chose to maintain a wide-mouth opening and compensate for any inefficiency by utilizing double-walled lid. The Yeti lid actually screws down into the body of the bottle to create a consistent insulative effect.

Yeti, DrinkTanks, KleanKanteen, Fifty/Fifty, Stanley, thermos, beer, coffee


I had hoped the least expensive vacuum-insulated growler in the test would emerge victoriously, slaying the most expensive growler. I don't believe the takeaway from this test should be a 'You get what you pay for,' although you kind of do. The Yeti Rambler 64floz Bottle is the clear winner in our testing and we would recommend it to anyone looking for the maximum in thermal efficiency. At $59.99, our runner-up, the Klean Kanteen Insulated Classic 64floz Bottle, is also a great option if the Yeti's purchase price of $69.99 is too much.

**Editor's Note: We have since learned that Klean Kanteen recently updated their lids. They now have a closed bottom to help with insulating properties. Be sure to check back later this year when we will put the new design to the test.


Beau Johnston is an engineer, writer, and photographer who is dedicated to proving you can find a balance between work and life. He is the Co-Founder and Publisher of Living Overland, and when he isn't working, you can find him exploring National Parks, fly fishing, and camping with his wife (Krista) and their two dogs.

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  1. Why did you leave RTIC out of this test? A clear winner at $19.99 for the same 64oz bottle. I've personally tested RTIC and Yeti products side by side. Performance was identical.

  2. Hi Matt,

    That is a great question. We purchased each of the growlers tested and have a limited budget for testing like this. We hope to do a second test later this year and will include additional brands at that time.


  3. Missing Hydro flask too!

  4. You are talking about a difference of 1.4 degrees between the top 3, with the Stanley being almost $20 cheaper than Yeti. To me, the clear winner is Stanley, with nearly identical thermal loss (does your mouth know the difference between that 1.4 degree difference in temp loss as much as your wallet will know the difference between the overpriced Yeti and the classic Stanley?). And I also agree, RTIC should have been included, if for nothing else, to show that there is nothing magical about Yeti, except for their ability to spend a lot of money on marketing and convincing people that they make something magical.

  5. All of RTIC's bottles are sold out—I'm sure that was a factor in skipping them this round. I look forward to round two and seeing how these stack up against Hydroflask...which is what I'm running at the moment (because they were free).

    In any case, I applaud your use of science for testing. It's become far too lacking in media, and it's refreshing to see it put to good use.

  6. A few of you have reached out with questions about why we chose to test the growlers with hot liquids in cold environments saying, “Aren’t these growlers supposed to keep my beer cold on hot days?”. This is a great question, and we would like to address it here in the comments. We wanted to test each growler’s thermal efficiency by creating the largest (practical) differential in temperatures between the inside and outside. The greater the differential temperature, the greater the rate of thermal energy transfer, resulting in a more noticeable change in the interior temperature. It is because of this that we chose to fill the growlers with hot tap water (139F average) and place them in 33F outside temperatures. We could have placed the growlers in a hot environment, say a 100F afternoon but we would have needed an interior temperature of -5F to achieve the same differential temperature. Although this is achievable, we wanted to keep the test as simple as possible by not dealing with the effects of water’s latent heat of fusion.

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