How we tested
We tested eight different wine tumblers. Our top pick was the Swig Stemless Wine Cup (12 oz), which kept wine cold for almost 5 hours and had an impressively leakproof lid.
What You Need to Know
A glass of cold white wine on the beach is one of life’s simple pleasures. But it’s not so pleasurable if your chilled wine becomes tepid or another beachgoer throws a football at your glass and your wine soaks into the sand. Enter wine tumblers: sturdy, insulated cups that promise to keep your wine colder and safer than it would be in a wine glass—come hell, high water, or an overzealous beachgoer with a football. And even if you’re not braving the beach, our winning wine tumbler will keep bugs out of your wine on the back porch and make drinking chilled wine anywhere a pleasurable experience.
We tested eight wine tumblers, seven made of stainless steel, one made of borosilicate glass, and all but one equipped with lids. The lidded tumblers varied, with some that had only holes for sipping and others that had sliding pieces to cover the sipping holes. All but one of the tumblers we tested kept wine cold for hours (versus a standard wine glass, which kept wine cold for 40 minutes), but they differed in durability, how comfortable they were to hold and sip from, and how much they leaked. Most didn’t claim to be leakproof, though our winner did not leak at all. We also discovered that insulated tumblers make for fabulous ice cream bowls—perhaps not their intended use but still a good one.
What to Look For
- Slim, Straight Body: Some of the tumblers we tested were narrow at the top and flared out at the bottom, which caused our hands to slide down, fingers splayed, onto the wide base. This was uncomfortable to hold for any length of time. Look for tumblers with a slimmer, more even shape, rather than ones that get significantly wider toward the bottom.
- Smooth Exterior Surface: Counterintuitively, we found that the tumblers with granular, matte exterior surfaces were slicker and harder to grip than those with glossy surfaces, which were tackier and clung to our hands better.
- A Lid: Having a lid prevents losing an entire serving of wine should your friend’s dog jump on your lap or a strong gust of wind blow, so we recommend seeking out a tumbler that comes with one. Even better, find a lid that has a sliding tab that covers the sipping port—it prevents significant spills.
- Stainless-Steel Body: If you want to keep your wine chilled for hours, a stainless-steel tumbler is the way to go. Even the lidless stainless-steel tumbler we tested held its own against its lidded competition, keeping wine chilled for 3 hours and 20 minutes. A standard wine glass kept wine chilled for only 40 minutes.
Nice to Have
- Large Silicone Base: While some tumblers had silicone grips on the bases, only our winner came with a removable silicone base (you can buy replacements) large enough to actually provide solid friction when placed on a hard, angled surface. This secured the tumbler in place, making it less likely to slide or tip.
What to Avoid
- Cups Without Lids: No lid often means total wine loss should accidents happen. And if you do spring for a lidded tumbler, we recommend getting one with a slider tab that covers the sipping port for even more protection.
- A Large-Bottomed Cup: When it comes to a wine tumbler, a broader bottom isn’t always better. Many testers disliked tumblers with stout bottoms because their size made them too tiring to hold for extended periods. Many preferred tumblers that were narrower and more evenly sized from top to bottom.
- Can I use my wine tumbler for hot coffee? In general, most of the insulated tumblers we tested did an OK job at keeping coffee hot, with the majority doing so for about 1 hour. Exceptions were the coffee in the W&P Porter Glass, which cooled off in 10 minutes, and the coffee in the lidless S’Well Wine Tumbler, which cooled in 20 minutes. While the others kept coffee warm, the steam from the coffee pressurized the interior and made sipping a slightly messy experience, with coffee sometimes spurting out when the slider was opened. We think this could be because these silicone-lined lids create a vacuum seal, whereas nearly all the coffee-specific travel mugs we recently tested had screw-on lids. The tumblers’ lids, which are plastic, also retained a coffee odor even after washing. Overall, we don’t recommend using wine tumblers for coffee unless it’s their sole use, and even then a travel mug is a better option.
- Are wine tumblers leakproof? Most of the tumblers we tested did not claim to be leakproof, but we tested them for this anyway, with most, save for our winning tumbler, leaking at least a little bit when tipped over. And though our winner didn’t leak at all during testing—not even when we tossed it in a backpack—we are still wary of throwing it into a bag, since its lid doesn’t screw onto the tumbler. We fear that continued jostling could end messily.
- Fill tumblers with 37-degree chilled wine and time how long it takes for wine to register 56 degrees, a temperature on the warm end of the chilled-wine spectrum. Test this with a standard wine glass as a control
- Drink from tumblers while sitting
- Drink from tumblers while walking
- Place full tumblers on uneven surfaces to see if they slide or tip
- Knock full tumblers over and check for spills and leaks
- Fill tumblers with 178-degree hot coffee and time how long it takes for coffee to register 130 degrees (we deem coffee below 130 degrees tepid and less pleasant to drink) and note any residual odor
- Fill tumblers with red wine and let sit overnight before checking for stains and smells
- Wash each tumbler by hand
- Wash dishwasher-safe tumblers in the dishwasher
- Drop filled tumblers onto a concrete surface lined with a tarp
Performance: We rated the tumblers on how long they kept liquids cool and noted if they spilled or leaked when knocked over.
Ease of Use: We evaluated how easy the wine tumblers were to hold, walk with, and sip from; how stable they were when placed on an uneven surface; and how easy it was to remove and replace the lids and operate the lid sliders, when applicable.
Durability: We evaluated the conditions of the tumblers after use and washing and checked for dents/deformations after dropping them onto a hard surface.