Best Tumbler of 2021
The YETI Rambler lives up to its reputation as one of the best out there. Its double-walled insulation kept ice in our cup all day in the sun without causing condensation or cold hands. The Rambler is so insulative for hot beverages that sometimes it was even too hot to drink for the entire duration of our morning commute. If you like your hot drinks to stay hot through the last sip, this is a fantastic choice. An especially unique feature of the YETI is its MagSlider technology, which scored major points with ease of cleaning. While most tumblers are dishwasher safe these days, getting coffee grounds and stains from the cap could be an annoyance on some models. The slider on the Rambler is connected via a magnet, allowing it to be disconnected for cleaning. We think it looks sleek, too, and our testers generally agreed that it feels comfortable and secure in hand.
All of these perks come at a price, however. The Rambler is pricy, it's heavy, and while it fits well in the cupholders of multiple cars we tested it in, our tester couldn't get it all the way into the cupholder on her camp chair. That said, camp chairs have a large variance in cupholder sizes, so the Rambler might very well fit in others. It's potentially less stable than some of the other products tested that had a silicone sleeve or base to avoid sliding across the table. Yet, with its top-notch insulation and handy lid technology, it's top of our list.
The RTIC 20-Ounce wins our favor due to its impressive insulation capacity, thriving at carrying hot beverages. It's the perfect option for getting out the door quickly and taking our steaming coffee with us. Its tapered, ergonomic design felt more secure in our hands than most. The bottom was also small enough to fit into any cupholder we tried, from cars to lawn chairs. It came out on top in our spill test; while the cap was completely closed, only a couple drops leaked out, a boon for bustling around town with you. The cap is easily opened for drinking access with one hand, too.
The RTIC excelled in car cupholders and strolling around with our coffee in our hands all morning, but it felt a bit unstable sitting on a table or desk due to its narrow base and a lack of a tacky bottom. While we trusted its spill-proof abilities, we don't think the plastic lid is likely to handle many drops onto a hard floor, especially the lid's flipping top. Plus, it's tricky to clean the lid's nooks and crannies. If you're looking for a great mug for commuting with your morning coffee or tea, we believe this model will serve you well.
The Bubba Brands Envy performs well with a modest price tag. It kept our iced tea icy well into the afternoon while keeping our hands insulated from the cold. We appreciate the option of having a straw for cold beverages and removing it for hot ones. Additionally, the straw has a conveniently forked end to prevent it from falling out through the hole in the lid. Despite being one of the bigger tumblers in our test fleet, it still fit in every car cup holder we tried. While the stainless steel of some other models felt a bit slippery, the tacky exterior makes the Envy feel secure in our hands as well as sitting next to our laptop on the table. It also comes in a bunch of groovy colors and is more affordable than much of the competition.
While we like the option of having a straw, it tastes a bit plasticky for the first couple of uses. The Envy is dishwasher-safe, but the straw would be tough to get entirely clean after drinking anything besides water. We like having 24 ounces for those tough mornings where you need huge volumes of coffee, but it does stand rather tall and might be more cup than you want at an office desk. And while it feels secure on a table and in our hands, it will spill out liquids if turned over, since the lid has a permanent opening. But given its top-notch insulation and versatility for both hot and cold beverages for a fair price, the Bubba Envy wins the favor of our wallets.
The Tronco Glass Tumbler made us wish we were sipping tasty beverages on the beach somewhere. With a classy bamboo lid and secure silicone straw, it's the ideal choice for an icy drink. Its narrow design means it fits in cupholders ranging from your car to a beach chair. The silicone sleeve is comfortable to hold and wraps to the bottom, which helps it adhere to surfaces, minimizing the chances of knocking over any of your precious well-earned beverages. With the straw opening, we expected the Tronco to be prone to spills. Instead, it proved to be one of the most secure of all types due to the sealed silicone ring. We were a bit concerned about the durability of the glass at first, but the glass is thick, and the sleeve kept it protected and intact throughout our testing period, even with a few short drops.
The Tronco requires you to drink those beverages a little more quickly since its insulation lies solely in the silicone sleeve, and we don't recommend filling this cup with hot beverages. While the silicone ring holds the straw in place and prevents spilling, it's a bit tricky to clean if you put anything else in it besides water. The silicone sleeve is comfortable to hang onto but isn't thick enough to entirely protect your hand from the temperature of the drink. Given we'd hope to be drinking out of the Tronco on an 80-degree sunny beach day, this is less of a concern, however. If you want a glass tumbler, this is our testing-approved recommendation.
If secure transport of hot coffee is your top priority, the Fellow Carter Everywhere Mug is a must. This on-the-go model is aimed right at the coffee connoisseur, with a tapered lip for sipping that's wide enough to accommodate pour-overs, an Aeropress, and other implements of coffee brewing. The lid is insulated, and this mug kept liquids hotter for longer than any other product in our tests. Screw it on tight, and this mug can roll around in your backpack all day, full of hot coffee, without creating a mess. The interior is entirely ceramic to ensure your coffee is delicious and free of any metallic taste, and a rubber gasket seal comes off with little effort for easy cleaning.
The screw lid is a double-edged sword, as it keeps your hot liquids super secure but makes one-handed access while driving very difficult. The bottom of the Everywhere Mug isn't tapered like other models, so it fits in fewer cupholders. Overall, it isn't designed for slurping while driving, but if having a piping hot caffeinated blast at the ready is necessary for you to get the synapses firing, the Fellow Carter Everywhere Mug is a must, and a perfect gift for the coffee fanatic in your life.
The HITSLAM Wine Tumbler is our go-to for sitting outside and sipping cold, tasty beverages after a long day. If you don't like to risk taking your nice glassware outside, this model fills its role very well for outdoor cocktails and wine nights. We like how the 12 oz size perfectly fits the contents of our favorite 12 oz cans without being too cumbersome. The sleek, simplistic design isn't too flashy, and the opening on the lid holds the durable steel straw at the perfect sipping angle. Removing the straw and lid makes converts it to a wine tumbler without the flimsy stem of a regular wine glass. Yet, since our lead tester is prone to sloshing beverages all over the place, having that sturdy lid to avoid red wine all over clothing was a nice option. We also like how durable the steel straw is. Furthermore, HITSLAM includes a brush to make cleaning easier.
While the HITSLAM is excellent for hanging out on the porch with friends with room temperature or cold beverages, it didn't quite hold heat as well as other products. It's not really designed to hold hot coffee, given its smaller size and lower insulation capability. The straw, while useful and durable, tends to rattle around loudly on the metal bottom, which could get a bit annoying. The stainless steel exterior was also a bit slick, as opposed to other tumblers that had tacky silicone sleeves or an ergonomic shape. Lastly, the lid isn't entirely spill-proof if the tumbler is knocked over. It seeps out the opening in the lid rather quickly. Yet, for casual evenings with friends or a glass of wine around the fire, the HITSLAM is ideal.
Hydro Flask lives up to its reputation as a superior insulating product for your beverage needs in our assessment. It kept our coffee piping hot for the whole morning and kept our water icy throughout the afternoon. Its narrow design fits well in hand and into every cupholder we tested. It features a powder coating that kept it securely in grip. This model is also dishwasher-safe. We really like using this model as an insulated pint glass for outdoor brew sessions.
Its narrowness means it feels good in hand and fits in most cupholders, but it felt a bit unstable sitting on the table. It also lacked any sort of tacky bottom material to hold it steady on hard surfaces. The lid seems durable but is tricky to remove and isn't completely spill-proof. Lastly, this is one of the more expensive models on the market, but it also feels higher quality to our testers. Our quips are short and small with this well-made product, and we recommend it, especially if you're attracted to the great color options.
The Ello Devon was a big hit for sitting on the porch after work with an iced tea. The silicone sleeve adds a touch of insulation for cold beverages, although not as much as the double-walled models we tested. The straw is sturdy and sits securely in a silicone ring in the lid. With the bamboo lid and sleek shape, it looks pretty classy too.
The Ello didn't insulate quite as well as the Tronco in our tests, but the difference wasn't major. While it's dishwasher safe, the lid is a bit tricky to completely clean if we put anything besides water in it. It also was just a bit too wide on the bottom to fit in a cupholder. But for sunset-watching on the porch with a cold drink, it fits the bill.
The Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Tumbler is a good way to keep your brew cold on hot days. Moving around the yard while doing chores or hosting a neighborhood barbeque can be treacherous for the typical glass pint glass. Klean Kanteen offers a bombproof alternative that can withstand the hustle and bustle of social gatherings, distinguish your cup from others, and keep your beer colder longer than it can stay adequately carbonated. A rubber gasket on the lid slips off easily for cleaning, and a small tab on the side of the lid makes it easier to remove than competitors' lids.
The lid included with this model is nowhere near spill-proof, and the combination of a full mug and some erratic driving can create a mess. There is a more spill-resistant lid available with a straw, but our testers find that most folks prefer drinking from tumblers without straws. For cold drinks around the home, the Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel model kicks the pants off glass pint alternatives and makes a great gift for those on the go or anyone who can't seem to keep their glassware in one piece.
The Chillout Life 12 oz is a solid choice for a glass of wine or cold beverage while camping or sitting on the porch. It comes with a durable lid and is made of sleek, durable stainless steel. It also holds its temperature fairly well for both hot and cold beverages. It sits nicely in our hands, its dual-walled insulation protecting your fingers from whatever temperature your drink is. It also comes in a large variety of snazzy color options.
If you're in the habit of chucking dishes in the dishwasher with abandon, the Chillout Life may not be the choice for you, given it recommends washing by hand only. We also felt it to be a bit unstable, lacking any sort of tacky material on the bottom to prevent it from sliding across the table. It also fails to fit in a cupholder, though most beverages some might use in this tumbler aren't car-friendly anyhow. For sipping on a glass of merlot, the Chillout Life does the job.
We were pleasantly surprised at the excellent insulating quality of the Green Steel BEAST. It was on par with the YETI Rambler for insulation for both hot and cold beverages. We love how it came with two steel straws (one curved, one straight), dodging the plastic taste we encountered in some other models. A straw brush also comes with the deal for convenient cleaning. The manufacturer claims this model is safe for the dishwasher, too.
The BEAST checked almost all of the boxes, but we don't trust the stability and spill probability as much as some other ones we tested. Our lid didn't completely seal; it slowly rose up, as if the silicone seal is too tight. This issue alone made it hard to fall for this product. The stainless steel construction is super durable but slides around on hard surfaces, making us worry about spills. Without the lid issues, this model would have ranked higher, as it is otherwise well made.
The Simple Modern Slim Cruiser is a fine option for your morning commute, fully adequate to keep hot beverages hot on even long commutes. The tapering from top to bottom helps it to sit comfortably in hand. The coating also adds a little bit of grip. We also loved the color huge variety of colorway options.
We were a bit less apt to trust it on hard surface areas given the slipperiness of the stainless steel, a lack of silicone on the bottom, and some top-heaviness in the design. While the lid survived our test period without any major issues, it doesn't appear to be the most well-made of the test group. It insulates moderately well, but it doesn't pack quite as much of a punch as some other better-insulated products we tested. In the end, there's nothing truly wrong with this product, and its price is fair. We just preferred other models over this one.
If you're looking for a high-volume tumbler at a great price, the Atlin should be on your shortlist. With many stainless steel insulated cups costing double the price of this one at even smaller volumes, this model keeps price-per-ounce low while delivering very comparable results. While there are big differences in price, there isn't really a noticeable difference in insulation capabilities. When we timed how long this cup keeps a beverage hot, it actually performed a touch above some of the best models on the market, perhaps partially due to its large volume. When testing for cold drinks, it kept ice in the cup from morning into the evening, which is more than sufficient for the needs of most folks. The base is large, which keeps the cup more stable than several tall and skinny models we tested; there is less of a tip-over risk with this model. It fit in the cupholders of the three vehicles we tried it out in, and it sports the brushed stainless steel exterior commonly adorned by high-end models. The drinking hole in the lid is well-designed, allowing for a controlled and consistent flow of liquid from cup to mouth (not always the case with other models we tested).
A 30 oz cup is large, and it sure feels like it. While some people might want a hot beverage this large, we feel that this model is best suited for keeping cold drinks cold (which it excels at). It's even too large for some of our testers with small hands. The lid feels cheaper than the high-end models we tested, although it does provide a proper seal. The thin straw doesn't allow for gulping down drinks (which could be a good thing), and thicker smoothies might struggle to mark it through the straw, too. The metal straw is also louder than plastic models, clanking around the stainless steel interior when jostled. In a quiet library or office, it's quite noticeable, but if there is ambient noise, it's less of an issue. We don't think this voluminous cup is for everyone, but it's a great deal for those looking for a big drink container that stays cold for all-day sipping, whether in the office or while doing yard work.
Why You Should Trust Us
Monica Nigon is well-known for always having a beverage in her hand. An avid coffee drinker, a huge proponent of hydration, a lover of after-work cold drinks, and a before-bed tea enthusiast, Monica cycles through several different beverages throughout the day. With this love of beverages of all kinds, Monica has made use of many tumblers in her life. She uses her experience to put thoughtful analysis to each product she tested as well as seeking feedback from a panel of colleagues and friends sharing coffee in the morning and drinks after work.
We scoured top-selling insulated choices across the market and read through piles of user reviews before selecting the products to test side-by-side more thoroughly. We researched insulation technologies and delved into the most important aspects we expect from the vessel that holds our piping hot or icy cold beverages. To discern the key performance differences between these beverage vessels, we used them consecutively and side-by-side for a week with liquids of various temperatures and diverse drinks. From first thing in the morning to our bedtime cup of tea, we had a drink in hand, thoughtfully analyzing their performance. We measured the temperature change of liquids, side-by-side, as hours passed, as well as their ability in sitting stable in a cup holder while driving on the highway. We knocked them over purposefully and non-purposefully to truly test how well they could protect against a spill. After filling them with all kinds of liquids, drinking from them for days on end, and washing them many times over, we got to know these products very well and share our overall assessments in this review.
Analysis and Test Results
We strive to create test methods that remove bias from the assessment equation. Our lead tester broke down the overall performance into key areas to assess, which include Insulation, Spill Prevention, Durability, Ease of Cleaning, and Condensation. Below, we discuss each testing metric and highlight some top performers in each.
We found the most important metric to keep in mind while testing was insulation for both hot and cold beverages. We took into account the construction materials, whether they were vacuum insulated, dual-walled, or glass with a silicone sleeve as its sole insulation. Does it keep your iced beverages icy? And for how long? Is your coffee still piping hot after your commute?
To test insulation, we put boiling water in each one and measured their temperature every ten minutes for two hours to assess how well they held heat. When it comes to double-walled stainless steel models, our tests showed that there is little difference in how long it can keep hot drinks hot or cold drinks cold, despite wide discrepancies in price. Based on our experience, we don't think many (or any) will notice a difference among the stainless steel models we tested. The good news is that all these steel models display excellent insulation with hot beverages in our tests, and also do well with cold beverages. You can expect drinking hot coffee for hours in the morning, or iced beverages for at least an entire workday, from all these models.
As expected, the glass models don't insulate as well as the dual-walled vacuum insulated stainless steel products, and we do not recommend them for use with hot beverages in general. They do insulate better than a simple glass pint glass due to the silicone sleeves surrounding the glass body. For cold drinks, we really like drinking from the glass models, especially the Tronco model, while realizing that it's not going to stay cold for hours and hours.
While testing, we also kept in mind how much our hands could feel the temperature of the liquid through the materials. Again, the dual-wall vacuum-insulated ones excelled in holding their heat or chill on the inside without impact to our hands. The silicone sleeves on the glass options somewhat insulated our hands, but not as well as the other models.
The worst way to start a day is to fill up with steaming coffee and proceed to spill it all over the car, table, or, worse yet, electronics. To test this metric, we mixed up some pink lemonade, filled each product and shut its lid firmly, laid them on their sides, and noted how much of the lemonade streamed out. All of the options we tested have lids, but some of them have flip lids to close the opening. Among the models with an opening in the lid for drinking, the RTIC model prevented spills best in our test, only leaking out a few drops when knocked over on its side.
To avoid spills on your commute, it's important that your drinking vessel fits in a cupholder. We tested each one in multiple cars and trucks to ensure your beverage wouldn't splash all over your lap while on the interstate. We also looked at the ability of each model to fit in a camp chair cupholder. All but two that we tested were compatible with all of the cup holders. The Ello Devon fit well in our camp chair, but was a bit too wide at the base for taking fast turns in a car cup holder.
The Fellow Carter Everywhere Mug features a screw-on lid. This makes sipping on the go difficult, but ensures that it will not spill in a backpack or when knocked over as long as the lid is on tight. Screwed fully closed, this is the most leak-proof model we tested.
The height and construction materials are also taken into account while measuring the ability to prevent spills. The Hydro Flask is tall and narrow, making us worry about the wobbliness. The Tronco and the Ello Devon, with their silicone sleeves that wrap all the way around the bottom and relatively shorter height, were especially stable on a wooden table. The wider-than-average base of the YETI Rambler provides a stable foundation that we didn't worry about easily tipping over. The Atlin is quite large at 30 ounces, but its wide base surprised us by providing more stability than expected. It was more stable than the smaller, also affordable, Bubba Envy. The Envy has a rubberized bottom that increases friction, but its tall, narrow design still makes it easier to knock over than the Atlin.
We want your cup of choice to survive your daily activities with you. We assess differences in materials and design and how they contribute to the perceived longevity of a product. While we didn't test these products for years to see how they stand up to the continued abuse you'll put them through, we do have some insight to share. For example, the lids with moving plastic parts, such as the RTIC, Beast, and Simple Modern models, add complexity to the design, which could increase the potential for breakage along these weaker points, resulting in a less impressive score in this metric compared to simpler designs with less moving parts.
During testing, our lead tester accidentally dropped the YETI Rambler from about five feet onto a hard surface. While the lid popped off, no damage was sustained. We do hold concerns about the glass construction of the Tronco and the Ello Devon. While the silicone sleeves of those respective products offer an increase in shatter-prevention over plain glass, you don't have to worry about a stainless steel model shattering. The good news is that Tronco will ship you a replacement with free shipping if the glass breaks within the first year of purchase.
Simple models like the Hydro Flask and the Klean Kanteen are bombproof as they have no moving parts and durable plastic lids.
Ease of Cleaning
It wasn't until recently that vacuum insulation became dishwasher safe at the recommendation of their manufacturers, yet all of the products we tested were top-rack dishwasher safe except for the Chillout Life and Simple Modern Slim Cruiser. Most of the concerns with washing the other products were the ease of cleaning the lid or straw, since these both have small areas that are hard to reach with a brush. The Hydro Flask, Klean Kanteen, and the Fellow Carter Everywhere Mug each have a removable gasket seal that makes cleaning easier if you've left your drinks to sit in them for too long.
The YETI scored major points for ease of washing the lid by incorporating the MagSlider piece for the mouth opening, which easily disassembles for a run through the dishwasher without any tough-to-reach areas. Both of the glass choices were dishwasher safe, but it was hard to get into the nooks and crannies of the straw openings, both in the dishwasher and washing by hand, without purchasing a straw brush separately. We love that the Green Steel BEAST comes with two metal straws as well as a wire straw brush to clean it with. The HITSLAM also comes with a much-appreciated straw brush.
To avoid leaving rings on the table or making your hands wet, a tumbler's ability to resist the build-up of condensation on the exterior of the vessel is key. For this metric, we filled all of the options with ice-cold water and left them in the oven set to 100° F with the door open to simulate a hot day.
Impressively, none of the vacuum-insulated products showed any sign of condensation at all during this sweat test. The table remained completely dry, as did the exterior walls of each vessel. It was the glass choices that showed just a bit of condensation, but the silicone sleeves helped contain it to avoid rings on a table or slippery hands. Overall, we didn't see condensation build-up as a significant factor in choosing any of the models we tested.
Whether it's starting your day with piping hot coffee, sitting on the deck with a crowd of friends enjoying a cocktail on a Friday, or just hydrating with crisp, cold water throughout the day, we hope our analysis helps you to find the tumbler that fits your needs best.
— Monica Nigon