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The Yeti vs. RTIC Tumbler Challenge

Just a warning, this has nothing to do with any Wichita restaurant or business. BUT this challenge took place in Wichita so it warrants a blog.

My co-worker was given an RTIC Tumbler as a gift a while ago. He would constantly brag about how much ice he would have in his tumbler at the end of the day. This was an everyday occurrence. There were no goodbyes or have a good evening exchanged upon the end of the work day. It was “Man there’s still ice in here”, grab keys, put on sunglasses and walk out. Even if it was dark outside, the sunglasses would be part of the ritual.

Later on, my buddy gave me a Yeti Rambler Tumbler as a gift. It was the same size at 20 ounces. Once it arrived, the obligatory smack talk was underway. He would brag about how much ice he had in his tumbler at the end of the day while I would bring up my tumbler actually made ice. (It really doesn’t)

So we decided to come up with the Yeti vs. RTIC Tumbler Challenge. Our goal was to determine which tumbler held ice and even hot water better.

I have been told these tests have been done before but I’m the type of person who needs to see if for themselves. For example, if I’m going to review a restaurant and somebody tells me not to go because it’s horrible, I’ll still go because I need to try it firsthand.

To give you some insight on these tumblers, Yeti is considered the granddaddy of premium coolers that are the ultimate in design, performance and durability. It’s like the Nike of coolers. A Yeti Rambler Tumbler will run you $29.99. Meanwhile an RTIC Tumbler is half that price at $14.99. I’ve been told Wal-Mart has another knock off brand at $9.99 that sells out quite often. We didn’t have one available to test with us at the moment.

At the end of the workday, we filled both tumblers with the exact same amount of ice and left them at work. This would sit out for 14½ hours…………

We came in the next day to see how much ice was left in each cup which was roughly the same. We then used a thermometer to see which one was colder. Problem was we were using a human thermometer. So we headed down to the cafeteria to see if they had a high-tech one to use which they did.

The results? They were both the exact same right down to the tenth of a degree! 32.4 degrees!

We ended up in a tie so the next test up was hot water! We filled up each tumbler with hot water and let it sit for two and a half hours. Went back down to the cafeteria…….

We tested the RTIC first which rang in at 130.3 degrees. Next, we tested the Yeti which came in at 129.3 degrees. The RTIC won! Here’s the kicker, we tested the RTIC first so while testing that was it possible the Yeti got one degree cooler?

Since it was unfair the RTIC was tested first, we went back and took the temperature of the RTIC. Guess what? It was still hotter by .4 degrees even after all the talking.

What did we find out from this? Unless you just have to own the name brand, there’s nothing wrong with the RTIC. It held ice just the same as the Yeti and it held hot water better by a smidge.

We get that it’s not a noticeable difference but it certified RTIC’s claim as being just as good as Yeti at half the price. So you could easily save your money and buy the RTIC brand. I’d almost wager that the Wal-Mart brand competes on the same level with both of them.

I’ll add that neither myself or my co-worker were sponsored or paid by Yeti or RTIC. At least I don’t believe he was.

Thanks to the ladies in our Café who helped us. This was really fun to do in a very nerdy way. I’ve never been so excited to sit and see hot water in a tumbler.

Next up should I go splurge on some coolers and test that out?

*** We aren’t scientists so our tests were done to the best of our ability in the most convenient way possible. ***

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2 thoughts on “The Yeti vs. RTIC Tumbler Challenge

  1. Don't mean to throw cold water (see what I did there) on the ice portion of your test, but wanted to suggest a slight modification. As long as there's ANY ice left in the container(s) what you are measuring is the freezing point (melting point) of the water used to make the ice, which is right around 32 degrees. So whether theres a cup of ice or a teaspoon of ice remaining, your thermometer will show you 32 degrees. The real test comes in once all the ice (water) has reached it's melting point. The temperature will then begin to rise to match the surrounding room temperature. To see which tumbler has better insulating properties, continue to measure the temp in both tumblers until one reaches a certain point – say 45 degrees, for example. The first tumbler to reach 45 degrees is the loser – it lets your cold drink get warm faster. One other point – to be totally fair, you'll want to use the exact same amount of ice in each tumbler – I'd suggest weighing it on an accurate food scale. If one tumbler starts with more ice it will have an un-fair advantage, as there's more water that has to be warmed to the melting point before the temp will start to climb.
    BUT, I loved the post, and I'm excited to see that there's a less expensive option out there than the Yeti! Keep up the good work.

  2. I sadly have purchased all 3 including the Wal-Mart version, and yes they are all EXACTLY the same. The Wal-Mart 20oz is $8. I'll be grabbing a WalMart 30oz soon.

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