The Only Coffee Tumbler You Should Ever Buy

The Only Tumbler You Should Ever Buy

Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay

Tumblers are trendy, hip, varied. They are also easy to customize, so every company has their own. It’s easy to slap logos, pictures, and slogans on them. The logo is irrelevant; the make is everything. Even the brand doesn’t matter if you know what design to look for.

This may seem trivial and America is probably not talking about this much, but it should be. People buy way too much crappy drinkware and it’s time to speak up. Sí, se puede.

My Best Tumbler

It’s a soldier. It’s over 7 years old, been dropped in parking lots, on concrete, on tile, accidentally put through the dishwasher, and it STILL keeps the coffee hot for at least 3 hours. I used a little common sense when buying it but mostly I think I was lucky, and seeing how well it has performed has taught me what to buy for the future.


You should only buy a tumbler based on 3 things: the material(s), the seal, and the size.

1) The material

Simply, go double-walled stainless steel. Always.

This is the most crucial point. Most tumblers that I have seen are plastic. Usually they are acrylic because it is a cheap, BPA-free material that looks great on a shelf and in many products. Tougher plastics get more expensive and either drift you into that whole BPA thing or still need special care to keep from shattering, yellowing, or getting cloudy and cracked over time. (For more info on the pros of using steel, this site was helpful. For more info on types of plastic, look here and here.)

Some use a stainless steel on the outside wall with plastic on the inside wall. Avoid these as well, because inevitably the plastic layer will separate, shatter, or crack–usually near the joint with the metal–and doesn’t seal as well with the lid. Even invisible cracks along the joint let water and air in which defeats the purpose of the thermal double wall.

Clean weld, no seams

It should look a lot like this:


Always look for a tumbler that is essentially one piece of metal or has a clean weld between the two steel layers. The line you see in this tumbler is just the thread for the lid. These keep the contents hotter (or colder) longer, resist shattering when dropped, and are easiest to clean. If you can find one with a textured exterior for grip, rather than a separate piece of rubber or something, extra bonus.

2) The Lid (Seal)

I’ve seen a lot of lid mechanisms, some of them quite novel. Everything from flip tops and sliders to rubber ball bearings. You want something that seals water tight but is accessible enough to clean, and can be opened with one hand. (Because driving.) Mine is just easy enough to pop open with one finger. I think the easiest and safest one is the kind Contigo has going; just squeeze and drink! It’s big though and takes up quite a bit of space. Make sure it’s the kind that pops out for cleaning.

Lids are pretty much all plastic, so they need to be cleaned and handled carefully. As long as you have a rubber seal that is watertight at every temperature, you’re solid. (When I close mine up, I always tip it over upside down over the sink. Shouldn’t leak a drop.)

Super cool–NOT made for the car

Bottom line: If you can’t clean it fairly easily, and it takes more than one hand to open, it’s just going to cause frustration. Or even get you killed.

3) Size

Size is the last important factor but this will vary depending on each person’s circumstances. As long as you’re not actually shoplifting, I recommend running out to your car to make sure it fits in the cupholder before you buy it. If this is not practical, make sure you can return it and do the cupholder test before you use it.

Also make sure it is not too top heavy or it will be a little flying molten-filled missile when you break hard. If you followed criteria (1) and (2) above, then it won’t leak when you go over bumps.

We all know the doh


Wherever your tumbler comes from or whatever marketing stuff is on the side, only buy tumblers that are double-walled stainless steel, seal well and are easy to open, and fit well in your cupholder.

Party on.

Support me AND start your own site. Win-win-win scenario!

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