With summer almost over, you may not be worried about insulating a frosty beverage. But this list of vacuum insulated cups, mugs, tumblers, and more can also keep your hot drinks nice and toasty in the winter!
What to Look for in an Insulated Drink Container
Depending on your age, you may think that Yeti, or possibly Thermos, invented the vacuum-based thermal design that is so efficient at keeping our hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold. If he were alive, Sir James Dewar would beg to differ, having created the first vacuum flask container back in 1892. Thermos picked up the concept and created the traditional Thermos bottle that been insulating hot coffee all day for decades.
Fast-forward to 2014 when Yeti launched a new line of 20 and 30-ounce stainless steel tumblers that created this competitive market of modern-day vacuum flasks. The 20 and 30-ounce design is ubiquitous to the point that most other manufacturers matched the dimensions so closely that many accessories are interchangeable with other brands. Eventually, Yeti and other drinkware makers expanded out to different sizes and form factors such as 12-ounce cans, cups, and wine glass tumblers, larger jugs that can hold as much as a gallon of liquid, and even beer coozies!
Here are the features that we considered when recommending insulated drink containers of various sizes:
- Materials / Durability: Sir James Dewar and Thermos used glass vacuum flask systems for decades, but glass is prone to breaking. These days 18/8 food-grade stainless steel is used to maintain the vacuum in these containers. All other product coatings, wraps, lids, and seals should be non-toxic and, preferably, dishwasher safe. The container should be easy to clean and should take a beating for years to come.
- Form Factor: Function should be a priority over form for these containers. The container should fit in a cupholder when possible.
- Insulation Technology: Nothing beats a vacuum.
- Ergonomics: Containers that have a handle or support a slip-on handle improve quality of life when holding drinks for an extended period.
- Accessories: Lids that provide a leak-proof seal to keep fluids in or out are great, but can be cumbersome to operate. Lids that include a straw or support for a straw are useful. Also, lids that have a sipping slot large enough to deliver frozen margarita sips might be important to some. The stainless steel straws help with that also.
20-oz / 30-oz Tumblers
Most vacuum insulated tumblers come in both 20-oz and 30-oz versions with size being the only real differentiator. Most have identical forms that fit well in a cupholder. The 30-oz tumblers blossom into a wider top half to hold more liquid. Most vacuum tumbler accessory lids, straws, and handles are interchangeable across manufacturers.
- Yeti Rambler: The one that started it all! Yeti basically created the vacuum insulated tumbler market when it released the Rambler. This 18/8 stainless steel, dishwasher safe tumbler comes with a BPA-free sip lid and is formed to fit in a cupholder.
- RTIC: The RTIC checks all the same boxes as the Yeti but brings its high quality to the table at a bargain-bin price.
- BEAST: Yeti created the market; BEAST is trying to do it better. With a smoother 18/8 finish, a seamless vacuum design, splash-proof lid, non-toxic materials, and curved and angled straws included, BEAST works hard to outperform competitors at a low price. It also comes in a wide variety of color options.
- MalloMe: The MalloMe tumbler throws in several accessories and for a low price. After checking all of the standard boxes with stainless steel, non-toxic, and dishwasher safe, they go the extra mile by adding two different lids, a removable handle, and an angled straw.
If you are looking to take wine to a picnic or just slow-sip some whiskey at home, these 12-oz tumblers will keep your beverage at just the right temperature for a very long time. Most 12-oz tumblers can be purchased individually or in packs of 2, 4, 6, 8, or even 12! Of course, they usually come with lids and straws as well. All of these 12-oz tumblers are stainless steel and vacuum insulated. However, in this size, they tend to prioritize color and style over being dishwasher safe.
- Simple Modern Spirit: In addition to meeting all of the standards of a well-insulated tumbler, the Simple Modern Spirit comes in a vast array of colors and designs. Price is reasonable for just one, allowing you to stock up as many as you need. Hand-wash is recommended.
- Fungun: The Fungun 12oz tumbler comes as a single or in packs of 6, 8, or 12. Each tumbler comes with a splash-resistant slide lid as well as a stainless steel straw, great for tropical drinks. Available in a wide variety of colors and patterns, you will want to hand wash these to protect the finish.
- Happycheers 2-pack: For a very low price, Happycheers provides a 2-pack of simple and elegant tumblers that is available in several colors. You also get two simple-sip lids with angled stainless steel straws. The Happycheers set is non-toxic and also features a non-slip coating. Given the simple design and color choices, this set is dishwasher safe.
Vacuum insulated mugs are likely to contain hot liquids (coffee) most of the time. But since they do such a good job of insulating, you can expect a cooler exterior, so you don’t feel the heat in your hand!
- Yeti Rambler: Once again the Rambler makes the list with the 14-oz mug. Yes, they are pricey, but Yeti containers are always over-engineered to ensure they provide value by lasting for a very long time. The Rambler mug comes with a simple sip-slot lid, is non-toxic, and is dishwasher safe.
- Maars Drinkware Townie: The 12-oz Townie excels in simplicity. On the outside, it looks like any other coffee mug other than it comes with the sip-slot lid. It comes in several bright colors, and it insulates with the best of them. The Townie is BPA-free, dishwasher safe, and very inexpensive.
- Mukoko Coffee Mug: Available in 12-oz, 16-oz, and 20-oz sizes, the Mukoko coffee mug takes care of those who need a mug that can hold more than 12 ounces. This mug includes a sip-slot lid and is non-toxic. Due to the powder coat finish, hand washing is recommended.
- Bugga Keg Desk Mug: The Bubba is a barrel-shaped mug available in 20-oz and 34-oz sizes. The bubba won’t fit well in a cup holder, but it will hold a lot of hot coffee. It also features a flip-cap that prevents hot coffee from spilling. The Bubba is BPA-free and top-rack dishwasher safe.
Can / Bottle Cooler
If you are looking to apply vacuum insulation capabilities to standard 12-oz cans or 16-oz bottles, these insulators will get the job done! As a side benefit, most of them also conceal the container within for when you need to be more discrete with your drink choice.
- Thermos Can Insulator: You knew Thermos was going to be in this list somewhere and it did not disappoint! The great thing about the Thermos can insulator is the slim profile. You get great vacuum insulation, and it still fits in most car cupholders!
- Asobu Frosty Beer 2 Go: The Asobu cooler is as classy as it is versatile. The primary casing is stainless steel and vacuum insulated. This casing can insulate a standard 12-oz can or 16-oz bottle. If you insert a bottle, you will then want to screw the neck portion onto the top half. If you don’t need to drink for a bit, you can pop the silicone lid onto the top of the bottle. Oh, and that silicone lid has a bottle opener on top!
- Bottlebottle Insulator: The Bottlebottle insulator solution is another take on what Asobu is doing with the bottle/can combo cooler. While they have a similar base cooler, the entire top half of the Bottlebottle screws off and becomes a separate 13-oz tumbler for those of you looking to share your frosty beverage with a friend! It also has the embedded bottle opener.
- BrüMate Hopsulator: For those of you who regularly partake your drinks from a slim can, the BrüMate is for you! The BrüMate fits all 12-oz slim cans.
Large Jug Coolers
Maybe your baseball player needs a gallon of water to stay ice cold all day in 95-degree heat. Maybe your sales team needs hot coffee for a strategic off-site. Maybe you just want to load up on your favorite craft brew and not have to worry about refills. If your circumstance is anything like these, take a look at one of these large vacuum insulated jugs!
- Yeti Rambler Gallon Jug: When only the best will do, the Yeti Rambler gallon jug wins. Advertising an inch of insulation in the secure locking mag cap, you can expect this jug to be high quality and heavy-duty. It is also completely non-toxic and dishwasher safe.
- RTIC Gallon Jug: The RTIC gallon jug follows a similar pattern to the Yeti. There are some indications that the screw-lid is not quite as secure as the Yeti, but you are also paying less than half the price. For way less money, this jug will keep the desired temperature for a gallon of liquid. The RTIC is non-toxic but is not dishwasher safe.
- Ultra Fyt Gallon Jug: The Ultra Fyt follows the lead of the RTIC in providing a lower-cost alternative to the Yeti. However, it appears that Ultra Fyt worked to ensure the cap was a bit more secure. It is also BPA-free and dishwasher safe.
Sometimes a device or accessory defies categorization. That’s where FlasKap 5.0 comes in. The FlasKap is an aftermarket lid that fits most 20-oz vacuum insulated tumblers. Perhaps you are headed to an establishment that doesn’t allow you to bring your own drinks. All good. Just buy a cold soda from the vendor and pour it into your tumbler. Then put your loaded FlasKap lid on the tumbler—if you came prepared, the FlasKap will drop a shot of your favorite flavoring (or liquor) into the soda! The FlasKap holds 5oz of whatever you want to put in there.
These days, there is no reason to have to deal with cold beverages getting warm or hot drinks getting cold. Vacuum insulated drink coolers of all shapes and sizes are available to keep your drink temperatures in check.