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Stanley, Yeti, Hydro Flask or $15 Walmart cup: Which tumbler is best?

We put the popular Stanley cup to the test.
Two Stanley cups on display.
Posted at 7:49 AM, May 01, 2024

Over the past year, the Stanley tumbler has become all the rage. The popular cups sell out at Target in minutes, and prices are closing in toward the $50 mark for some versions.

As we get into the warmest months of the year, we decided to put the Stanley cup up against other designer brands, plus a much cheaper option, to see if it is really worth the extra money. For around $45, Stanley claims the famous 40-ounce Quencher will keep drinks cold for 11 hours, and up to 48 hours with ice.

Stanley, Yeti, Hydro Flask or Ozark Trail?

If you think a tumbler isn't worth the money, our sister site Don'tWasteYourMoney.com tested a $15 alternative from Walmart. It is the 40-ounce Ozark Trail tumbler, similar to a Stanley, but lighter, according to editor Shea Simmons.

"It is just barely lighter, just by like 0.2 ounces," Simmons said, but pointed out that it is also a lot cheaper.

We wanted to find out which cup keeps drinks colder longer. For our experiment, we added two more popular brands: A 40-ounce Hydro Flask for about $40, and a 35-ounce Yeti for around $42.

We put an equal amount of ice in each one, filled the rest with cold water, and then put them in the hot sun for two hours. By evening time, we moved them safely indoors. Fast forward to the following morning.

We opened the lids and discovered that only one tumbler had a trace of ice left: The Stanley. The others had cold water inside but no ice.

But then, to replicate a typical day, we took them all on a car ride in the cupholder of a 70-degree SUV. After a half-hour drive, we let them sit in the hot car for another hour in a parking lot, as many people would do.

24-hour temperature test

Now, 24 hours after we first filled them, it was time to check temperatures with a digital thermometer.

The winner, with the coldest temperature, was the Stanley, which registered a frigid 37 degrees. But the bigger surprise was the runner-up. The Ozark Trail from Walmart registered at 44 degrees, coming in second place.

Ozark's $15 cup beat out the two other well-known brands, Yeti and Hydro Flask, which were a few degrees warmer.

If you haven't been hooked by the Stanley trend, where you absolutely have to have one, Simmons says you don't have to overspend.

Besides the $15 Ozark, she said, "I think Owala (a $27 cup) is a great alternative. Simple Modern also makes a $20 alternative. That's great. They come in multiple colors."

But dedicated Stanley fans can feel good knowing their cup was the clear winner.

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