Both are stainless steel, double-wall insulated. The Yeti jug costs $130 and the Walmart jug costs $30.
Physically, they are very similar. There are no noticeable differences in the steel or the construction of the steel. The thickness between the two steel walls is also similar for both jugs.
The opening on the Yeti is significantly bigger. This makes it easier to fill (especially for ice) or wash out.
The Ozark Trail is more more narrow and taller than the Yeti.
The Ozark Trail has an outside diameter 6.2″ of Yeti has an outside diameter of 6.44″. The Ozark Trail has a height of 13.25″ and the Yeti has a height of 12.25″ (not including the handles).
The biggest differences between the two are the lids and drinking caps.
The Yeti lid is twice as thick and weighs twice as much. It feels like solid plastic. It’s definitely more insulated than the Ozark Trail lid, which is thin and light in comparison.
The Ozark Trail has a non-detachable cap so it can’t be lost. The Yeti has a detachable cap with a magnet. When the jug is being used, the cap magnetically attached to lid. It’s possible to lose the Yeti cap.
The handles are similar, but the Yeti’s is nicer. The rubber handle on the Ozark Trail slips freely around the metal handle, making it harder to hold. On the Yeti, both the metal handle and rubber grip are thicker. The rubber on the Yeti doesn’t slip.
Both jugs are much stronger than an old style plastic jug. They are certainly stronger than most people need. However, I could see the lid on the Ozark Trail jug cracking after a few dozen drops. I can’t imagine the Yeti lid ever breaking, it seems exceptionally solid and strong.
Both jugs seem very watertight. I haven’t had any issue with either leaking. The Yeti is probably less likely to leak if it was dropped.
The Yeti is slightly nicer in every respect, but I can’t say it’s worth $100 more than the Ozark Trails. Yes, it’s more durable, but how important is that?
These are heavy jugs that are useful for keeping a drink hot or cold for a few days. They will probably sit around at a home, farm, job-site, or in a car or truck. These are situations where other sources of water readily available, so you don’t need to spend $130 on a super-durable Yeti water jug. Hell, for the price of 1 Yeti, you could buy 4 Ozark Trail jugs.
On the other hand, if you’re part of Yeti’s core consumer group (deep-sea fishers, hunters, and other remote scenarios), then the Yeti is probably the best choice.
If status and brand names are important, then buy the Yeti!