Very durable; can survive tall drops
Modern design and fun color options
Very easy to clean
Only kept coffee hot for an hour
Included lid can’t be fully closed
Doesn’t fit in vehicle cup holders
Very heavy construction
If you enjoy drinking coffee on the go, you’ve probably looked into travel mugs before. There are tons of options on the market, each which claim to keep your drink hot/cold for hours on end—and without spilling. Despite similar promies, few have drawn as much attention as the YETI Rambler Stainless Steel Mug. To determine if the popular travel mug was worth all the hype, we decided to pick one up see how it performed in our day-to-day. Keep reading to see our thoughts on the mug’s design, material, insulation performance, and price.
Design: Modern and appealing, but hard to travel with
At first glance, we really liked the design of the YETI Rambler. It comes in a variety of fun colors—we chose the seafoam green—and has a clean, modern aesthetic. Of the travel mugs we’ve tested, it’s the most similar in shape to a standard coffee mug, though it’s certainly more durable.
The mug comes with a plastic lid with a rubber gasket, ensuring a tight fit. Unfortunately, unlike other YETI mugs (and every other travel mug we’ve owned), there’s no way to fully close the lid. If you want to cover the spout to prevent leaks and spills (whether you accidentally knock it over or hit a pothole on your ride home), you have to pick up a YETI MagSlider Lid. We were a little annoyed to see this was sold separately for additional $10.
A feature of this travel mug we do like is the handle. At 4-inches in diameter, the mug is rather wide, so this helps reduce hand fatigue. The downside of the handle, however, is that it doesn’t fit in a standard car cupholder. This is a major drawback for those who like to bring coffee on their morning commute.
Material: Extremely durable, but too heavy
The YETI Rambler is made of thick-gauge 18/8 stainless steel, which feels very durable. In fact, it held up well in test drops from heights of 15 and 30 feet. Even the lid managed to stay on at 15 feet, which speaks highly of its durability. Of course, the mug hails from YETI—a brand that makes outdoor adventure products, so it’s no surprise that it feels made to last.
It held up well in test drops from heights of 15 and 30 feet.
While the stainless steel’s durability is an obvious plus, it does make the mug quite heavy at 11.2 ounces. We carried it while walking our dog for an hour and we had to keep switching hands to avoid wrist fatigue.
Each mug is sprayed with DuraCoat industrial paint to prevent chipping and scratching. When we accidentally dropped the mug in our paved driveway, we picked it up to find only the faintest of marks. If you know even the tiniest stratch will bother you, though, you may want to opt for the plain stainless steel mug.
Insulation Performance: Not as good as we’d hoped
As much as we wanted to like the YETI Rambler, it way underperformed when it came to temperature retention. To test the YETI’s vacuum insulation, we filled the mug with hot coffee at 8:40 AM then checked in on it throughout the next few hours. At 9:12 AM, the coffee was still quite hot; by 9:47 AM, it was an ideal temperature for drinking without burning our mouth; by 10:10 AM, however, the coffee was barely lukewarm as heat had been escaping through the opening of the lid’s spout the entire time.
As much as we wanted to like the YETI Rambler, it way underperformed when it came to temperature retention.
Unfortunately, due to its steel makeup, this mug can’t be microwaved, so we had no way of reviving the coffee once it went cold. In the small information tag that comes with the mug, YETI claims that “Hot beverages will stay hot for several hours.” Depending on how generous you are with the term “hot,” we’d say it keeps liquids hot for about an hour, and warm for maybe an hour after that.
All in all, we were disappointed with the YETI’s performance—especially considering how reputable the brand is. It is worth noting, however, that some online reviewers said they were able to double the length of heat retentioin by using the compatible MagSlider lid.
Cleaning: Can be cleaned in a matter of seconds
The YETI Rambler is a winner when it comes to cleaning. There are only two parts: the lid and the mug, both of which can be quickly and thoroughly washed in the sink. Better still, the whole thing is dishwasher safe, which makes cleaning a breeze.
Price: Higher than more effective options
Compared to similar options, the YETI Rambler is a bit on the pricey side. The mug retails for roughly $25 and the additional spill-proof lid (it comes with a standard lid) is another $10. Sure, $25 isn’t a ton money, but if you need to spend even more to keep it from leaking, you’re effectively throwing $35 at a mediocre travel mug.
Competition: Better options are out there
Contigo Autoseal West Loop Stainless Steel Travel Mug: If durability is your primary concern when choosing a mug—perhaps you’re an adventure traveler or need something for an upcoming hiking trip—then a mug from YETI is a smart move. But for the average commuter or office worker, the features of the Contigo Autoseal Mug will be much more useful. The YETI Rambler won’t fit in a car cupholder and will spill if knocked over, unlike the Contigo Mug, which has two locking mechanisms that effectively prevent leaks. The Contigo’s vacuum-insulated construction also delivers on heat retention, keeping your coffee piping hot for hours on end.
Zojirushi Stainless Steel Mug: The Zojirushi Stainless Steel Mug surpasses the YETI Mug in almost every way. It retains the temperature of both hot and cold drinks much better, it fits in standard cupholders, and it can be locked to prevent spills. Considering the Zojirushi costs the same as the YETI, we’d say it’s a no-brainer purchase.
Likely not worth your money.
The YETI Rambler has an appealing design and solid build. But the mug’s flaws—specifically the poor insulation performance and inability to close the lid—mean it’s not the best option for most buyers. Other mugs at a similar (or even lower) price point do a better job of keeping your drink hot/cold for longer.
- Product Name Rambler Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Mug
- Product Brand YETI
- MPN 21071300019
- Price $24.99
- Weight 11.2 oz.
- Product Dimensions 5 x 4 x 3.74 in.
- Color Black, brick red, harbor pink, navy, olive green, reef blue, seafoam, stainless steel, Tahoe blue, white
- Material Aluminum and stainless steel
- Warranty 5-year manufacturer’s warranty covers defects in workmanship