If you’re unfamiliar with the term tumbler, the simplest way to think of them is as a type of drinking glass or cup. Although in many ways nearly identical to water bottles, tumblers tend to have wider openings and distinguish themselves from water bottles by their lack of lids or enclosures on the upper part of the tumbler and typical lack of spill-proof lids. Closer in resemblance to a coffee mug or a home drinking glass, the tumbler is often the more preferred vessel for coffee or tea drinkers on the go. But whether it is used to hold your favorite beverage or just some tap water, the tumbler provides a versatile and portable multi-purpose container.
Tumblers are available in a huge variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and materials. Some are equipped with insulation and made from durable stainless steel, others offer plain glass with drinking straws, others offer budget plastic solutions. In this article, we’re going to take a look at our top five picks for best drink tumblers of all varieties.
But first, let’s learn what makes a tumbler a tumbler. Or click here to skip to the tumbler reviews and comparison
Discovering The Best Drink Tumblers: What Exactly Is A Tumbler, Anyway?
Setting out to define exactly what a tumbler is can be a bit of a tricky endeavor. If, for example, you search Amazon for “tumbler,” you find a lot of different things that all are clearly designed to hold liquid, but other than that the common theme is rather lacking. Some of the results look like big mugs, while other options resemble reusable fast food cups, or big stainless steel drinking glasses, there is even an insulated mason jar with drinking straw.
One thing is clear: the definition of the word “tumbler” is used pretty loosely. We need some help in nailing down a definition. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the origin of the word “tumbler” in this context dates to a type of drinking cup served in the 17th century with a rounded bottom. These original tumblers could not be set down without spilling their contents thanks to the convex shape of the base, encouraging patrons not to linger and to finish the drinks they were forced to hold.
Fortunately the tumbler has evolved quite a bit in convenience since the 17th century. For a more modern definition of the word, let’s check out what Dictionary.com has to say:
3. a stemless drinking glass having a flat, often thick bottom.”
We don’t deny the accuracy of this definition, but at the same time it is vague to the point of being useless. Under a strict interpretation of this definition, most water bottles are tumblers as well. All of this ambiguity over what makes a tumbler a tumbler contributed a bit of confusion to the process of deciding which tumblers are the best tumblers, and which tumblers are tumblers at all.
So we came up with our own definition. To the Dictionary.com definition quoted above, we would append what we see as the most unifying element in the products marketed as tumblers: an opening (the mouth) which spans the diameter of the container.
Armed with this definition we set out to compare tumblers. Yet, as you seen above, manufacturers seem to have their own ideas about what makes a tumbler a tumbler. We don’t want to compare apples to oranges, so for the sake of this review we have decided to focus on Insulated Stainless Steel Tumblers. However, before we came to this conclusion, we started reviewing a few other types of tumbler – see the Other Tumblers section for a bit on other sorts of tumbler.
The Tumbler Test
We’ve been evaluating all sorts of tumblers for quite awhile now. Although most tumblers are equipped with decent lids, we generally consider the tumbler to be somewhere below water bottles on the scale of portability, since they are generally only spill resistant and not leak-proof, designed with small openings to drink from that cannot be closed. Partially for this reason, we tend to use our tumblers more for home or office use with beverages like tea, coffee, or even smoothies in insulated tumblers, whereas water bottles pick up the slack for our daily hydration needs by supplying plenty of water on the go.
The tumbler is a great way to take your favorite beverage on the go as well, providing you take a bit of care to keep them upright! Fill up your tumbler with hot coffee in the morning, and you’ll not only have the pep to get your day going, you’ll also have a convenient container that can help keep you hydrated, caffeinated, or nourished all day long. Your tumbler can be a great way to help you commit to more eco-friendly habits in your daily life. Many establishments like coffee shops, smoothie bars, or similar locations will be happy to fill your tumbler instead of creating unnecessary waste with disposable cups – just ask!
We find ourselves turning to our tumblers as our main drinking vessels at home or at the office. On the go we always have a water bottle on hand, but if we are just sitting at the desk with a beverage, we’ll usually have a tumbler by our side.
On our mission to find the best tumblers on the market, we evaluated a huge number of tumblers to narrow it down to the top five picks below. We tested tumblers for their manufacturing quality, their usability, their overall design, their value, and more. Have a look at our reviews and comparisons below.
Best Tumblers Comparison & Reviews
Our number one pick is the remarkably affordable RTIC Tumbler. Available in 10, 20, and 30 ounce models, the RTIC tumblers are separated by a price difference of only about $2 between the smallest 10oz and the largest 30oz – meaning the only decision you really need to make is what size you want! You’ll also need to select between the RTIC’s 5 available colors.
Despite the bargain price tag, RTIC tumblers are made from high quality food-grade 18/8 stainless steel. They make use of double-wall vacuum insulation to minimize heat transfer and ensure the tumbler never sweats due to condensation or gets too hot to handle. RTIC actually advertises the ability to keep ice frozen up to 24 hours, which is a pretty substantial claim rivaling some of the best insulated water bottles. In our experience, generally tumblers don’t insulated as well as water bottles (due to their wide-open tops,) so we were a bit skeptical of this claim.
In our testing, RTIC tumblers keep ice frozen at room temperature for about 12-13 hours of standing on the counter filled with chilled water and ice cubes. Although not the 24 hours advertised, this is still a very substantial amount of time, especially considering the bargain price of the RTIC tumbler line.
Aside from this quality insulation, the RTIC is fantastically easy to clean and made from high quality stainless steel that does not leave any flavors behind in its contents. Designed for portability, the tapering shape of the tumbler allows it to fit into most cup holders. Included with the RTIC is a small plastic lid with a drinking spout. Importantly, this lid is not leak-proof and only provides a bit of extra anti-spill coverage.
Definitely a fantastic pick for anyone looking for a great, simple, all-around quality tumbler at the most affordable price.
To learn more about RTIC tumblers or purchase one for yourself, visit the Amazon listing.
The Hydro Flask Insulated Tumbler is hands-down the nicest tumbler we reviewed, the crème de la crème of insulated drink tumblers. So why didn’t we name it #1 over the RTIC? Simple: price. While the Hydro Flask is incredibly nice, it is nearly three times the price of the RTIC. Although you are certainly getting more for your money, we aren’t quite sure if you really get three times the value – at the end of the day, any decent tumbler will do.
But if for you just any tumbler won’t do, and you truly want the deluxe edition – look no further than the Hydro Flask tumbler. Hydro Flask is a brand we have wrote about extensively, so when it came time to test their tumbler we had high hopes. And they were well-founded hopes. Equipped with the same 18/8 food-grade stainless steel construction and double-wall TempShield vacuum insulation that makes the Hydro Flask water bottles industry leaders, the Hydro Flask tumbler has the best insulation of any tumbler we tested and never sweats from condensation or gets too hot from your coffee inside.
Aside from the tumbler’s body itself having high quality insulation, Hydro Flask has boosted the insulation to maximum capacity by including an insulated lid unique among tumblers. The lid does still have a drinking opening and is not spill proof. However, it is a press-in lid and rather thick, made from a BPA-free plastic equipped with HoneyComb Insulation Technology. This is the same type of insulation we wrote about in our article on the Hydro Flask’s new Flex Cap. By making a structure which resembles the interior of a honey comb, this technology traps heat and prevents it from entering or escaping the tumbler, substantially increasing the insulating lifetime.
In our testing, sitting on our counter top at room temperature filled with ice and chilled water, the Hydro Flask tumbler kept ice frozen for a remarkable 20 hours. By far the best insulation of any tumbler we tested.
Without a doubt of the highest quality in terms of manufacturing and certainly the best in insulation, the Hydro Flask tumbler is backed up by Hydro Flask’s no-fuss warranty and is available in nine colors and two sizes: 22 ounces and 32 ounces.
To learn more about the Hydro Flask Tumbler or purchase one for yourself, visit the Amazon listing.
Few brands can claim as much name recognition as Thermos, and their vast reputation has been well earned from its historic roots down to its modern products such as the Stainless King Travel Tumbler. This is by far one of the highest quality tumblers on the market, and one of the few with a 100% spill-proof, quality leak-proofing lid solution that opens and closes by sliding a small latch. Properly sealed, the Stainless King Tumbler is water proof enough to leave in your bag and forget about with complete piece of mind.
This comparatively advanced lid (when judged against other tumblers) gives the Stainless King not only its spill proofing but also lends to the exceptional insulation offered by the 18/8 food-grade stainless steel double wall vacuum insulated construction. It rivals the Hydro Flask tumbler in insulation, offering about 16 hours of unmelted ice in our room temperature counter top test. The bottom of the lid also features a small tea hook capable of suspending a tea bag within your tumbler, or holding onto a tea infuser basket; a very handy feature for making tea on the go.
At 16 ounces, the Stainless King Tumbler might be on the small size for those accustomed to 30 ounce tumblers. Yet this size allows its foot print to remain small and its portability to be maximized, while still leaving plenty of room to carry a hot beverage like tea or coffee, a smoothie, or a refreshingly hydrating tumbler full of ice water. It also ensures the Stainless King will fit effortlessly into more or less any cup holder, is always comfortable to hold, and can easily fit into a medium sized purse or any backpack without being too cumbersome.
The Stainless King Tumbler never sweats due to condensation, and does an exceptional job at preventing heat transfer. The bottle will never be hot to the touch or give your hand a serious chill due to its contents being on an extreme end of the temperature spectrum. The vacuum insulation, combined with the lightweight and ergonomic design of the Stainless King, make the tumbler always comfortable to hold and drink from.
While its price tag puts it in a much more expensive class than most 16oz stainless steel insulated tumblers, the Stainless King certainly makes up for it with its useful features and high quality design. It is also backed by Thermos, one of the most recognizable and well-known brands in the business, with an extreme commitment to quality.
We’ve reviewed the Stainless King Tumblers big brother, the 40 ounce Stainless King Thermos. Click here to read that review.
To learn more about the Stainless King Tumbler or purchase one for yourself, visit the Amazon listing.
Packing vacuum insulation, 18/8 food-grade stainless steel construction, and an ultra-smooth brushed finish available in three colors, there is a lot to like just from the BEST Tumbler itself. But also included with each purchase is two stainless steel drinking straws (and a straw cleaning brush.) These nifty straws fit into the BEAST’s BPA-free transparent plastic lid – one straw features a slight curve, and the other is straight. Ideal for anyone who wants to avoid plastics but still enjoy the convenience of a straw.
In our testing, the BEAST tumbler’s insulation is roughly on par with the RTIC, keeping ice frozen for about 11 and a half hours in our test. While below the RTIC and substantially below the Hydro Flask tumbler, this is still some decent insulation capabilities, certainly enough to consider the BEAST to be a reliable insulator for everyday use with coffees, smoothies, iced water, and whatever other beverages find their way into the BEAST.
With the includes straws and cleaning brush, and backed up by Greens Steel’s lifetime 100% satisfaction guarantee, the BEAST tumbler is a definite bargain with a lot of features to like. Adding to its potential versatility, a handle is available sold separately for those who prefer a different grip on their tumbler. If you are looking for a quality insulated stainless steel tumbler with a straw, this is one of the best options around.
To learn more about the BEAST Tumbler or purchase one for yourself, visit the Amazon listing.
The Simple Modern Tumbler is a great way to get a low-cost stainless steel tumbler in your pick of some 20 attractive colors. With a no-frills design complimented by a bright and colorful exterior, the Simple Modern provides a solution keep your drink insulated in style and on a budget. Simple Modern is a brand we’ve covered twice before here at Hydration Anywhere, looking at their wide-mouth insulated water bottle and their smaller Wave insulated water bottle.
While the insulation on the Simple Modern Tumbler isn’t as good as our above competitors, we’d call it middle of the road. In our test, ice lasted about 10 hours in the Simple Modern Tumbler on our counter top at room temperature. While the insulation doesn’t quite stack up to some of the other tumblers we tested, the insulation is still adequate for normal everyday use as long as you aren’t relying on keeping something chilled or hot for extended periods. As long as you’re actually drinking that coffee or smoothie – not just storing it on your desk – the Simple Modern Tumbler’s insulation will keep it within the desired range for plenty of time.
With a tapered shape of the tumbler, the Simple Modern can fit in most cup holders in both its 20oz and 30oz varieties. Certainly a tumbler worth exploring for anyone with an eye for color looking for a budget solution.
To learn more about the Simple Modern Tumbler or purchase one for yourself, click here to visit the Amazon listing.
Other Types Tumblers Not In The Top Five
As we discussed at the beginning of this article, there was something of a debate on what sorts of tumbler to include when we began testing for this piece. Initially we wanted to include tumblers to represent a variety of different materials and options, in much the way we put together our Best Water Bottles series. As we got into testing it immediately became clear that not only was the selection for non-stainless steel tumblers lacking, they were in practice such different things that it was unfair to every product involved to compare them at all.
To that end we decided to make our top 5 best tumblers all insulated stainless steel tumblers, in order to give the comparisons a fair footing. However, we decided to call the article Best Drink Tumblers, as opposed to Best Stainless Steel Drink Tumblers. Why? Well, we feel very confident in saying the five products we’ve selected above are indeed the best products under the description of “tumbler” you will find around.
Ultimately we think that manufacturers should take some time to decide what the strict definition of a “tumbler” is, so that such confusion doesn’t have to arise. Meanwhile, we picked up a few other nifty”tumblers,” which while quite a bit different from the stainless steel picks which have dominated our top 5 list are still pretty cool. Let’s check them out.
Glass Tumblers: Ello Kella Glass Sipper Tumbler
A unique and stylish tumbler, the Ello Kella Glass Sipper is an ideal way to go eco-friendly by selecting the most environmentally friendly and possibly healthiest container material. Glass is infinitely recyclable, doesn’t impart any flavors or leach any chemicals into its contents, is affordable, and is easy to clean. You just have to make sure you don’t break it. Which, with the Ello Kella being made of a sturdy glass, is a real but manageable concern.
Offering a hip look with its “much needed make over” of the classic mason jar, the Ello Kella is fairly unique as a glass tumbler and definitely the best we tested. It features a friction fit lid that slides into the tumblers mouth and features a real cork finish to give a neat old-timey look. The straw works well enough but feels rather cheaply made, but could easily be replaced with a glass straw or even a stainless steel straw.
Lid on or off, the Ello Kella is a good looking tumbler and a great way to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day.
To learn more about the Ello Kella Tumbler or purchase one for yourself, visit the Amazon listing.
Want to see what else is available? Click here to explore more glass tumblers.
Mason Tumblers: Aladdin Double-Wall Insulated Plastic Mason Tumbler
Made from a durable BPA-free plastic, the Aladdin Mason Tumbler’s insulation is not exactly comparable to the sort expected from a stainless steel tumbler. However, the double-wall construction (which does not include a vacuum like stainless steel,) does do a good job of preventing sweating from condensation and reducing heat transfer overall.
Available in 16oz, 20oz, and 32oz varieties, these mason tumblers make ideal decorations for a party or a perennially cute way to serve guests a favorite beverage. They are extremely convenient around the house, providing a handy cup with a bit of insulation whenever you need it. With or without the straw and lid, drinking from them is simple and fun.
Although by far one of the most popular, the Aladdin Mason Tumbler is not the only one of its kind. Try searching Amazon for “mason tumbler” to turn up all sorts of similar products.
To learn more about the Aladdin Mason Tumbler or purchase one for yourself, visit the Amazon listing.
Plastic Tumblers: Contigo Autoclose Shake and Go Tumbler
To be frank, most plastic drink tumblers are pretty bare-bones and don’t have much to offer. They are, more or less, the reusable version of those cups you fill up from the soda fountains at a fast food place with the straw and the lid. If that’s your sort of thing, neat, if not, probably won’t be of much interest. Yet among this rather drab competition, the Contigo Autoclose Tumbler stands out with innovation and quality design.
Made from extremely durable high quality BPA-Free Tritan plastic, the Contigo Tumbler is itself more than capable of taking a tumble without shattering or taking any substantial damage. At 16 or 20 ounces, they are not terribly large but an ideal size for portability and everyday carry, fitting comfortably into just about any cup holder and remaining light even when full.
The real ingenuity in this tumbler is the Autoclose mechanism. A simple yet effective and extremely useful feature, the Autoclose automatically seals the tumbler when the straw is removed. It becomes very exceptionally leak proofed, enough to allow you to put the tumbler into a bag or invert it safely. This puts the Contigo Tumbler leagues ahead of many of its competitors which don’t don’t offer any way to seal the lid at all.
To learn more about the Contigo Autoclose Tumbler or purchase your own, visit the Amazon listing.
To see what other plastic tumblers are available, click here to explore plastic tumblers on Amazon.
Hopefully you’ve found this look into the world of tumblers useful! If you didn’t find the tumbler you were looking for in this article, take a look at our Tumblers Review Section for some more ideas. Or perhaps a water bottle is more your speed? Read Best Water Bottles 2017 or head over to the Water Bottles Review Section for tons of suggestions and in depth reviews. Or browse Amazon’s extensive selection of tumblers.
Comments, suggestions, questions? Please don’t hesitate to drop us a line below in the comments section. We’d love to talk to you! Tell us about your favorite tumbler and what makes it so great.
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We take an in-depth look at the many types of tumblers available to find the top five best tumblers.
Jacob Hatch is the author and founder of Hydration Anywhere. He has been actively writing about drinking water since 2013. These days Jacob spends most of his time investigating water related news, studying environmental issues, reading health studies, and reviewing products like water bottles and water filters.