Best Tumbler of 2020
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 on our whole morning drive. 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 wine stains from the cap could be an annoyance on some models. The slider on the Rambler is connected via 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 bit of a price, however. The Rambler is one of the most expensive of the products we tested. It's a bit heavy, and while it fits well in the cupholder 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 it might very well fit in others. It's potentially less stable than some of the other products tested that either 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 Tumbler wins our favor due to its impressive insulation capacity, yet it truly thrived for carrying hot beverages in our tests. It's the perfect option for getting out the door quickly and taking our steaming coffee with us. It features a tapered design, with the bottom narrower than the top for a more ergonomic shape that felt more secure in our hands than several other models we tested. 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 taking it around town with you. The cap is easily opened for drinking access with one hand, too.
The RTIC thrived driving in the car and walking around with our coffee in our hands all morning, but it felt a bit unstable sitting on the table due to a lack of a tacky base. 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, the lid is tricky to clean its 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.
If you're looking for a high volume tumbler at a great price, the Atlin should be on your short list. 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 its 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, it might be 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 drink container that stays cold for all-day sipping, whether in the office or while doing yard work.
The Bubba Brands Envy performs well with a modest price tag. It kept our iced tea icy well into the afternoon while keeping hands room temperature. We also like the option of having a straw for colder beverages or removing it for hotter ones. Additionally, the straw has a forked end to prevent the straw from falling out if you choose to use it. We also love the feeling of the exterior. It's the largest of the models we tested, but still fits in every cup colder 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 priced lower-than-average among its competitors.
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 on its side since the lid doesn't close entirely. 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 20oz 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 icy drink of choice. Its narrow design helps it to fit in cupholders ranging from your car to a beach chair. The silicone sleeve makes it comfortable to hold onto. The sleeve wraps to the bottom allowing the Tronco to adhere to surfaces to avoid knocking over any of your precious well-earned beverages. With the straw opening, we expected the Tronco to be prone to spills. Yet 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 doesn't 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.
The HITSLAM Wine Tumbler was our go-to for sitting outside and sipping cold, tasty beverages after a long day. We like how the 12 oz size perfectly fit our favorite 12 oz cans without being too cumbersome. The sleek, simplistic design isn't too flashy. The opening on the lid holds the durable steel straw at the perfect sipping angle. This tumbler is geared toward winos; removing the straw and lid make it the classic 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 with the whole set-up 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. We didn't jump to it for our morning coffee given it's smaller size. The straw, while useful and durable, tends to rattle around on the metal bottom sometimes, 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 our go-to.
Hydroflask lived up to its reputation as a superior insulating product for your beverages needs in our assessment. It kept our coffee piping hot for the whole morning and kept our water icy throughout the afternoon. It's narrow design fits well in hand and fit in every cupholder we tested. It features a powder coating which kept it securely in grip. This model is also dishwasher-safe.
While the height and narrowness is a boon for fitting in hand and cupholders, it felt a bit unstable sitting on the table, especially given the clumsiness of the lead tester. 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 spillproof. 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 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 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. Yet 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 loved how it came with two steel straws (one curved, one straight), dodging the plasticy 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 on us 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 about this product, and it's price is fair. We just preferred other models over this one.
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 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 we 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 individual test 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 work day, from all these models.
As expected, the glass tumblers 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, and 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. The lid on 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 for 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 height and construction materials are also taken into account while measuring the ability to prevent spills. The HydroFlask 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 of 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 done. 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.
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 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-get-to 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, as does the Atlin.
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 sun.
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 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 the 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