Best Insulated Beer Growlers of 2016
The Insulated water bottle is one of the fastest growing trends in the outdoor industry right now. While at Outdoor Retailer this last August I couldn't help but notice all of the brands competing for the top spot. With Colorados craft beer industry growing at the same rate as the bottles I decided to put together a "Growler Gladiator" Review and see who's got the top Growler in the business. Next to each section header will be listed the top two Growlers for that category. I will also be choosing my top 3 picks behind the Winner at the very end.
The Growlers in this review are all Insulated and range from $50-$89 and are all 64oz. We have Growlers from the following companies, Yeti, Miir, Drink Tanks, GSI Outdoors, HydroFlask, ECO Vessel, Stanley, and Klean Kanteen.
The review will be comprised of a few different aspects.
- 1 - Temperature and Carbonation Retention
- 2 - Weight
- 3 - Price
- 4 - Lid
- 5 - Carrying
- 6 - Pouring Ability
- 7 - Final Ranking
Temp and Pressure
(GSI Outdoors + Klean Kanteen)
The first part of the head to head was the Temp and Carb test. I started this test around 6pm and poured 40oz of beer into each Growler. The starting temperature was 40-40.5 degrees in each Growler. I took two measurements throughout the test, the first was at 12pm the following afternoon where I also judged the pressure each Growler held throughout the night. Here is the first set of measurements for the first 18 hours in Red and the second measurement at 24 Hours in Blue.
Temp after 18 Hours and 24 Hours
The two Leaders of the Temperature test were GSI Outdoors and Klean Kanteen. Each only gaining 8 and a 9-degree increase in 24 hours. The next Growler was ECO Vessel gaining 11 Degrees, followed by Yeti gaining 13 degrees. GSI Outdoors and Klean were also the top two when it came to pressure released after the 18 hour period along with Miir and Hydroflask coming in second.
Pressure after 18 Hours
(Klean Kanteen + HydroFlask)
Weight is not a huge part of this review, however, there are a few Growlers with a decent range in weight and may be the deciding factor in some buyers checklist especially when most people who will be using these Growlers will be carrying them around all day at festivals, concerts or camping. Below I have listed the weight of each Growler with a picture wheel.
- Yeti - 29.3 oz
- GSI Outdoors - 27.3 oz
- Miir - 28.6 oz
- Drink Tanks - 33.9 oz
- Klean - 26.3 oz
- HydroFlask - 26.6 oz
- ECO - 29 oz
- Stanley - 33.3 oz
Again, in this category Klean Kanteen is on top followed closely by HydroFlask. One of the factors to this weight is the added features some of the other Growlers have which we will be talking about later on.
(GSI Outdoors + Stanley)
Everyone has their own taste and some of these Growlers will suit people differently, they will all keep beer extremely cold, but a few might last longer than others. Having said that it comes down to what you're going to use this Growler for and how much you are willing to spend. Below is the listed Retail price for each Growler at the time of this review.
- Yeti - $89.99
- Miir - $54.95
- Drink Tanks - $69.00
- GSI Outdoors - $54.95
- HydroFlask - $64.95
- ECO Vessel - $54.95
- Stanley - $50.00
- Klean Kanteen - $69.95
In my eyes for the cost to price ratio, the winner in this one clearly goes to GSI Outdoors with Stanley close behind. The Stanley may be somewhat heavier and not keep your beer quite as cold as the other top dogs however it is almost half the price of the Yeti and even comes with a game-changing handle to help with pouring. The GSI Outdoors continues to be top in almost every category which still has me trying to find something to bash about it. As of now I can't.
(HydroFlask + Klean Kanteen)
When it comes to the difference in each of these Growlers and trying to find a way to separate them, the lid is the best factor. Almost every Growler in this head-to-head has a completely different lid and each has their positives and negatives. I will be going over each lid in detail in separate sections with pictures of each.
First up we have the Yeti Growler. The Yeti is probably the "burliest" Growler and the most simple. The Yeti features a simple "screw on" hard plastic lid with a handle on the top. The handle on the top makes screwing the lid down tight a breeze. The Yeti lid also screws inside the body to give even more of a seal then the conventional over the body style.
The Stanley Growler features a "clamp" style lid that it quick and easy to get to your brew of choice. It also has a rubber coating on the inside to help with pressure and a tight seal. Underneath the cap the Stanley also uses a stainless plate to help with Temp control.
The Growler from Miir is probably the oddball of the bunch in terms of looks and lid. The Miir uses a clamp style like the Stanley except with a different lever. The Miir has one large steel clamp that will drive against itself to open and close the lid. Underneath the Miir has air filled rubber under cap which does a great job at keeping in pressure. Throughout my testing, I noticed that every time I opened the Miir I was greeted with a loud pop ensuring the seal. The lid did also prove to be the hardest to shut quickly or while using one hand.
The Hydro Flask lid was one of my favorite lids during the testing. I think it was a mix between the easy twist style opening combined with the indented side of the lid to help with wet hands. The screw on lid also performed very well when it came to sealing the pressure probably due to this Growler being Hydro Flask's second generation and the super deep screw-well of the lid going on the inside as opposed to the outside like the first gen.
The Eco Vessel supports a stainless screw on lid with a hard rubber strap connected to the top. The lid held pressure decent however I think if it was more of an in bottle style like the Hydro Flask's it would have done much better. The addition of the rubber strap to the lid was a great feature that helped keep everything in place. The stainless top can also be slippery when twisting opening even with the small indents featured on the side.
Drink Tank's Growler has without a doubt the most unique style lid of the bunch most Growlers are either Clamp style or Screw. The DT is what I would call a double-clamp-latch-screw lid. The DT is open by unlatching each side pull. After you unlatch the steel beams you then can remove the lid. While this lid was defiantly the most unique it did prove to be the slowest lid to open. I absolutely love the different look of the Drink Tank Growler, however, I was not a fan of the lid. Re-latching the lid also takes considerably more effort in needing to line up the steel bar slots on either side of the lid to close it.
GSI Outdoor's Growler lid was another one of my favorites during the testing. The lid is made up of stainless like the body and uses a screw style closure. After unscrewing the lid you can leave the opening and not have to worry about losing it as it stays attached via the handle. Underneath the GSI also uses a stainless plate to help with temp control. It's a simple and effective lid.
The Klean Kanteen not only utilizes the latch style lid, it perfects it. The lid is full stainless and is closed by clamping down on a top stainless bar by the pressure of a connected one. The lid is easily closed and opened and does not take much effort. Upon opening throughout my testing the lid "popped" open and almost hit me with air. Underneath the lid, there is a stainless plate surrounded by a clear soft rubber seal which squishes down around the lid when closing and makes the seal air tight. The lid on the Klean is smart while still being simple and effective.
Pour-ability and Carrying
(Hydro Flask + Stanley + Drink Tanks)
When it comes to pourability and ease of transportation three Growlers really stood out. The Hydro Flask, Stanley and Drink Tanks. Obviously, any Growler with a handle is really going to excel in these categories. The Drink Tank and Stanley Growlers both have great beefy handles that make pouring and carrying the beer a breeze while the Hydro Flask has a smaller neck and allows to grab hold a pour better than most of the Growlers on the list. The Hydro Flask also has a very simple yet effective handle attached to the lid and makes carrying the Growler very simple. You can also attach the Hydro Flask to a Caribeaner and carry the Growler that way.
The GSI Outdoors and Yeti Growlers were also runner-ups in this category with their Lid carry method.
From the testing done here at RMK we narrowed down our top three Growlers of 2016.
All 3 of these Growlers were consistently in the top of the tests and our favorite to use. GSI Outdoors and Klean Kanteen were both miles ahead on the Temperature test as well the pressure test. All three of these were the lightest in the class while keeping the beer the coldest. Each was great when it came to pouring and lid use.
If we had to pick one other runner-up it would be the Yeti Growler which also faired very well in our tests.
At the end of the day, personal preference comes into play more than anything. Each of the Growlers featured here are top tier quality and will keep your beer cold for hours on end. If you were on the edge about which Growler to carry around with you for 2016 hopefully this review helped you make the final decision.