Our resident fishing guide Shawn Chapin loves the outdoors, but he also loves a bargain. Here below he breaks down a tough choice between industry leader Yeti and challenger brand RTIC when it comes to drinkware.
Read on to find out why Yeti’s time-tested design and durability means it remains king of the mountains for us. It also tested better for keeping drinks hot, while the RTIC excelled with cold liquids.
But Shawn found RTIC’s tumbler smashes the Yeti version in a couple of key areas – price and keeping drinks cold – making RTIC our best budget choice.
RTIC vs Yeti Tumbler – our huge review
We are going to look at these two popular drinkware brands and compare the RTIC vs Yeti Tumbler across the following range of criteria. But first we are listing the pros and cons of each – as always, you can find the full details and justifications by reading on.
- Better at keeping beverages hot
- Dishwasher safe
- Lacking in the keeping things cold department
- Drastically more expensive
- Great lid option
- Considerably cheaper
- It keeps things cold for long periods
- Not great at keeping things hot
- Not dishwasher safe
RTIC vs Yeti: full review
RTIC vs Yeti Tumbler – materials (even)
Both the Yeti and RTIC drinkware ranges are made from high quality 18/80 stainless steel in a double-wall vacuum insulation design. In the tumbler category, they both feature narrow and tall designs typical of this type of drinkware.
Both also feature a double-wall vacuum insulation construction. This greatly aids in its insulating properties, whether the tumbler is keeping drinks cold or coffee hot.
Stainless steel construction is used in many food-grade devices because it doesn’t transfer or hold of any flavors or odors. Most brands use it as it also allows for easy cleaning and durability.
RTIC vs Yeti Tumbler: technology (even)
The Yeti Tumbler utilizes a double-walled construction with a vacuum-sealed space in between the two walls. As mentioned earlier; this aids greatly when it comes to keeping water cold and drinks hot for extended periods of time. Yeti has great insulation properties the was launched with the iconic Yeti cooler and is included throughout the range of coolers, cups, mugs, bottles and tumblers.
Due to the vacuum-sealed double-wall vacuum construction, there is virtually no sweating on the exterior of these products due to the incredibly efficient insulating properties, so you don’t have to worry about getting your hands or surfaces wet.
The RTIC range of drinkware (which also includes cups, bottles and jugs along with tumblers in a range of sizes) also features this double-wall technology.
One claim made by the RTIC company is that this tumbler can hold ice for as long as 24 hours, truly making a statement about the insulating effectiveness of the tumbler, while in hotter climates, this longevity most likely will be less.
Due to its shape, the RTIC tumbler has a great gripping area, reducing the chances for drops or spills.
RTIC vs Yeti Tumbler: Features (Yeti wins, just)
The Yeti Tumbler – which is part of Yeti’s Rambler range of drinkware – features an insulated press-in style lid. This helps in the prevention of spills and keeps your beverages well insulated at the same time. The lid is also dishwasher safe, allowing you to throw it in the dishwater and having the peace of mind that nothing detrimental will happen as a result.
Yeti Tumblers also come in five different colors as well as two different size options, a 20-ounce, and 30-ounce offering.
One drawback to note with the press-in lid is the fact that it has a hole to drink from that cannot be shut or closed off in any way. This permanent opening allows potential spills to occur, and although it will be a small leak over time it’s a spill none the less. This permanent opening also means that heat will escape from the container or cold air if it’s a cold beverage.
Yeti does offer a different cover with a magnetic slider to close off the open hole and this can be bought with the original tumbler cover.
Yeti has incorporated a great cap design, custom made to be held with three fingers. This aids greatly in gripping and holding your tumbler and significantly reduces the potential for spilling or dropping your beloved tumbler on asphalt or rocks.
RTIC has a more secure lid system than the Yeti stock lid. With cold liquids, it creates an almost airtight seal providing excellent spill protection.
The RTIC lid is very awkward to open and close though, and it doesn’t seem to have that same great sealing characteristic when you have hot beverages like coffee when compared to cold beverages.
The RTIC has a shape that is very similar to the Yeti tumbler. It’s fairly tall and slims down towards the bottom, but it’s wider than the Yeti towards the top of the tumbler.
This can be detrimental when trying to carry in a backpack water pouch or when using similar carry methods, as the Yeti usually fits just fine, but the RTIC might be too wide to fit in these carry pouches. This wider profile also makes it a little more difficult to grip from the top section.
Reputation (Yeti remains top)
The Yeti Company is a veteran in the industry of coolers and other containers that specialize in maintaining temperatures for extended periods of time. Yeti first came onto the market with their high-end coolers targeted at those who love the outdoor life.
While incredibly expensive compared to coolers of the past, they really are vastly superior products in almost every way, and this is the reason for their popularity among outdoors enthusiasts in particular.
Yeti soon had a cult-like following for their products, in particular their coolers, with hunters, fisherman, and outdoors enthusiasts swearing by the brand’s quality.
With great marketing and advertising Yeti quickly climbed the ranks to become one of the top companies in the industry.
RTIC is based out of Houston, Texas. Like Yeti, they are also one of the top companies that specialize in keeping things at optimum temperatures for long periods of time, like coolers and tumblers.
RTIC has an interesting business model, being a direct consumer retailer, selling all of their coolers online, cutting out third parties in most cases, without using brand ambassadors, expensive advertisements, or dealing with big-box retailers.
Performance (RTIC wins)
The Yeti tumbler in tests held ice for 7-8 hours, which isn’t terrible, but compared to competitors like RTIC its a not really up to par for the price point.
When it comes to hot liquids, though, Yeti really takes the win. My Yeti tumbler keeps my coffee hot while at work for 3-4 hours and warm for 5-6 hours. This is a huge advantage in my case, where work consists of being outside and inside throughout the day in cold temperatures and traveling to various locations and retaining heat is vital.
RTIC did a very poor job at keeping things hot, with coffee only seeming to stay hot for about 2 hours, which is a far cry from that of the Yeti tumbler.
But while it struggled with retaining heat, the ice test for RTIC was exceptional. This tumbler was able to keep ice for around 10-12 hours! Now that’s exceptional insulating capabilities. RTIC states that it will hold ice for up to 24 hours, but that to me seems like an unrealistic time frame (maybe in -40 degrees), especially in direct sunlight and hot weather.
Price (RTIC wins)
Yeti has lowered the price of their tumblers to get closer to other companies’ offerings allowing them to remain competitive in the niche overall and not just the high-end market.
They definitely are high-quality, and I have one sitting on the counter as I type this, so I chose this Yeti option at the end of the day. You can find Yeti tumblers for around 30 to 40 dollars depending on the options you choose.
As mentioned earlier, RTIC has an interesting business model and cut out tons of major expenses by choosing a direct to customer model. This business model means that they can offer their products at amazing prices.
Both brands offer a variety of drinkware options set out below:
- Tumblers (Buy Yeti | Buy RTIC)
- Water bottles (Buy Yeti | Buy RTIC)
- Mugs (Buy Yeti | Buy RTIC)
- Can coolers (Buy Yeti | Buy RTIC)
- Jugs (Buy Yeti | Buy RTIC)
Yeti products comes in ten different color choices and in terms of tumblers, there are two different sizes, a 20-ounce, and 30-ounce offering.
Yeti also has different lid options, like the magnetic lid to keep the opening closed to aid in reducing spills as well as helping with insulation.
The RTIC drinkware comes in 18 different colors and three different capacities, a 20, 30, and monster 40-ounce version.
RTIC also has some accessories available, like stainless steel straws, which you can use with your tumbler.
Durability (Yeti wins)
The durability of each tumbler is similar due to both being made out of the same materials and having similar shapes, but there is one glaring difference between the Yeti and RTIC Tumblers.
The RTIC tumbler is hand wash only and is not dishwasher safe. Putting it in the dishwasher will cause the outer coating to peel and come off due to the intense heat.
Conclusion – Yeti for outdoors, RTIC for the price
Yeti is still king of the mountains for me. I use their gear and love it – it’s dishwasher safe, well designed, durable and has good insulating properties and it keeps drinks hot superbly (something vital for ice fishing and other cold water recreation here in Wisconsin). So when it comes to the RTIC vs Yeti Tumbler the answer for me remains ‘Yeti‘.
But it is MUCH more expensive than competing brands such as RTIC … and RTIC has superior insulating properties. That’s why RTIC’s tumbler is clearly the best value option for me and probably the best choice for your average city worker where the tumbler is not going to be knocked around so much and price is key.