The YETI Rambler Bottle is an item long over due for its appearance on Hydration Anywhere. A long-standing staple of the insulated stainless steel water bottle world with a name synonymous with high quality, the YETI Rambler is a true beast of an insulated bottle. With a no-nonsense 18/8 food grade stainless steel construction proudly advertised by the bottle’s polished steel finish, the YETI is one of the hardiest and most durable bottles around.
Available in 18, 36, or 64 ounce varieties, the YETI Ramblers we’ve tested include the 18 and 36 ounce models, which will be the focus of this review. The juggernaut of the family, the 64 ounce growler, looks like a high quality bottle and likely is given the reputation of its little brothers, but we have yet to get our hands on one for testing. Yet we have plenty to say about the 18 and 36 ounce YETI Ramblers. Let’s dive into our complete review.
The YETI Rambler – Uncompromising Quality Water Bottle Built To Last
When you use a YETI Rambler Bottle, you get the sense that it is the sort of thing an engineer might design for their own personal use. Simple, effective, and well-built. The bottle has absolutely no frills, featuring a screw-in top with a very useful carrying handle, an unadorned polished stainless steel finish, and double-wall vacuum insulation designed to prevent heat transfer and stop sweating from condensation. While rather unremarkable on the surface, the YETI Rambler bottles demonstrate their commitment to quality when in practical use.
One interesting feature is that the threads for the bottle’s lid are set down slightly inside of the bottle’s wide mouth opening, such that the lid slides inside and twists shut, rather than enclosing over top of the threads like most wide mouth water bottles. This is a neat design which gives the YETI a feeling of additional compactness.
The neat design with the lid is only the tip of the ice berg of the clever engineering behind the YETI Rambler. Where the true magic lies is in its insulation capability.
Testing the YETI Rambler Bottle Insulation
Unlike many of its insulated water bottle competitors, YETI does not list any advertised numbers for how long it can keep liquids hot or cold. Yet what they do try to drive home is the idea that the YETI is “over-engineered.” We’re not certain by what standard they gauge the bottle to be over-engineered, but we decided to set a clear benchmark when it comes to insulation testing. A typical claim for your standard double-wall vacuum insulated stainless steel water bottle is the ability to keep liquids cold for up to 24 hours, or hot for up to 12.
So was clear: see if the YETI can exceed the claims of its competitors to truly win the title of “over-engineered.” We were excited to put the YETI’s insulation to the test, as the company has made a name for themselves in varying forms of insulated products. They make portable coolers, heavy-duty coolers, those fake ice pack things, and all sorts of other gadgets related to keeping stuff cold (or hot.)
To test the YETI Rambler, we decided to employ two methods we’ve used on the past here at Hydration Anywhere. Using both the 18-ounce and 36-ounce YETI Rambler bottles, we employed the same method we used in our tests for Best Insulated Water Bottle, where we filled the bottle with cold water and ice and left it sealed on the counter for 24 hours, repeating a similar procedure for hot water. We also employed the method recently used in our review of The Coldest Water Bottle, where we left the bottle filled with ice water in the back of our car for over 36 hours. Lets see what the results look like.
Looking At The Data – YETI Rambler Insulation Test Results
We tested both 18- and 36-ounce YETI Rambler bottles, yet in each instance the results were so close to each other (+/- 1 degree at most) that we decided to simply condense reporting of both bottles as their insulation performance was nearly identical in our testing.
In our first test we filled the YETI Rambler with 40 degree Fahrenheit water with several large ice cubes and left it to stand sealed on our counter top at room temperature in the tropics for a full 24 hours. Estimates of room temperature are around 65-80 F over the course of 24 hours. The results of the first test were great: at 24 hours, there was no ice floating in the water and it was measured at 46 degrees, an increase of 6 degrees F. This would put it tied with first place on our Best Insulated Bottles test.
Next we switched gears to hot water. 150 degree water was added to both bottles and allowed to stand sealed on the counter top for 12 hours. At the 12 hour mark we opened the bottle to test the insulation and found it still exceptionally hot at 120 degrees! This reduction of only 30 degrees puts it way ahead in a solid first place on our Best Insulated Bottles test, where the winner lost a full 52 degrees over 12 hours.
Our final test was much less empirical or scientific. Using The Coldest Water Bottle, a Hydro Flask, and a insulated Klean Kanteen, we filled each bottle up with chilled ice water and left them in the back of our car in the tropics for a full 36 hours. The test only looked for remaining ice and did a taste test to evaluate the temperature of the water. The YETI Rambler bottles did not have any ice remaining after 36 hours, but the water was still very cold. The Coldest Water Bottle was the only bottle to have traces of solid ice remaining after 36 hours.
YETI vs. Hydro Flask and Other Brands
In our insulation testing above, the YETI managed to stand up to the industry leading brand Hydro Flask, even outperforming it in our hot water insulation test. One of the most common questions we receive is about YETI vs. Hydro Flask, if they are worthy competitors, which to buy, etc. It is easy to see why – they are very similarly priced, offer more or less the same features, and are indeed worthy competitors.
As we demonstrated above, head-for-head the YETI Rambler stacks up against any of the best insulated bottles on the market. The only bottle which shows exceptional ability to exceed the YETI’s insulation is The Coldest Water Bottle, which while truly extraordinary in its cold insulation is definitely not up to par on manufacturing quality and brand support behind YETI or Hydro Flask. If insulation is your main concern, either the Hydro Flask (especially with improved Flex Cap,) or the YETI Rambler bottles are on more or less an even footing.
Except for hot liquids insulation! For reasons we aren’t entirely sure of, the YETI outperforms any other bottle we’ve tested when it comes to keeping hot liquids hot. If you’re looking for a bottle that can double as a container for soups, hot lunches or dinners, or anything else on the warm end of the spectrum, the YETI is a great bottle to look into.
It’s also worth noting that the YETI is somewhat lacking in the selection department in terms of looks and sizes when compared to Hydro Flask. Not to mention, the YETI Rambler bottles don’t really have any accessories, whereas Hydro Flask has a ton of accessories for their bottles. For those who aren’t into the look of a YETI Rambler – which can be a little stark if its not to your taste – the wider and much more colorful selection of Hydro Flask might hold more appeal. Otherwise, check out a YETI Bottle.
Which Size is the Best YETI Rambler?
The range of sizes for the YETI Rambler affords some helpful options for maximizing the ratio of portability to capacity. As we explored above, the insulation capabilities between the 18 ounce and 36 ounce bottle we tested were effectively identical. We assume that the 64 ounce growler version has similar chops in the insulation department.
If you want to maximize portability while still packing some of the top insulation on the market, go with the 18 ounce YETI Rambler. It has top-notch stainless steel construction form-fitted into a relatively lightweight and ergonomic package. Small enough to fit into a cupholder but large enough to give you that long refreshing drink when you really need it, it is a great size for your everyday carry water bottle that sits on your desk or accompanies you in the cab of your vehicle.
Those in search of higher capacity will do well with the 36 ounce YETI Rambler Bottle, which provides a high capacity bottle without becoming too bulky. It still can fit comfortably in your hand while drinking despite being a larger capacity bottle, making it a great way to ensure you always have enough water on hand and an easy way to drink it where ever you go.
And if capacity is the name of the game for you, the 64 ounce YETI Rambler Growler Bottle is definitely the way to go. Fill it up with whatever you need, be it coffee, soup, smoothies for the whole team, or enough water to keep hydrated for most of the day on a single fill. We haven’t tested the 64 ounce growler ourselves, but based on our experience with the smaller models we’d love to try it.
Overall Impressions & Review Summary
The YETI Rambler Bottles are a fantastic line of bottles. They have a commitment to extremely high quality manufacturing. They are marvelously durable, leak-proof, easy to clean, don’t impart any flavors, and tick all the boxes for a top-of-the-line water bottle, including the price tag. While definitely not a bargain bottle, the YETI brand name is worth something on its own, and the quality of the products speaks for itself.
In insulation they have tested as top-notch bottles among the market’s toughest competitors, even proving to be the best bottle for hot liquid insulation we’ve tested yet. Undeniably, the YETI Rambler bottles are some of the best high quality water bottles available today. Yet we do have some complaints. Firstly, the YETI is certainly lacking in the aesthetics department, which might be a turn off for those who like to think of their water bottle as something of a fashion accessory.
The second complaint we have with the YETI Rambler bottles is something of a double-edged sword. Unfortunately, YETI Rambler water bottles don’t have any extra lid accessories, which means you can’t use a straw lid or a sports cap or anything other than the included screw-in handle lid. Compounding this issue, the neat set-in threads for the YETI Rambler bottle’s wide-mouth lid is a fairly unique design, so unlike other wide mouth bottles which use a standard threading, you can’t use off-brand accessory lids with the YETI Ramblers.
For those who like the included screw-on handle lid, this isn’t a problem. But for those who like a bit more accessible water bottles, you may want to look elsewhere. Yet regardless of these minor qualms, there is no doubt that the YETI Rambler water bottles accomplish what they set out to and more. One of the most durable and well-engineered insulated stainless steel bottles on the market, we award the YETI Rambler 18 & 36oz Bottles high marks with a solid 5/5 rating.
Learn More About YETI Rambler Water Bottles
To read other reviews, check current prices, learn more specifics, or purchase a YETI Rambler bottle of your own, click here to visit the Amazon listing.
Not quite the water bottle you’re looking for? Head over to our Best Water Bottles 2017 article to help you find the best bottle for your needs.
- Editor Rating
- Rated 5 stars
- YETI Rambler 18 & 36oz Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottles
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One of the toughest, most well-engineered vacuum insulated stainless steel bottles on the market from renown manufacturer YETI.
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.