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What Is A Tumbler?

April 25, 2022 4 min read

How do you keep hydrated? One way is to use personal cups, like tumblers, to carry around enough water.


Have you ever asked yourself, “How much water do I need in a day?” It’s a question that’s not as simple as it might seem at first. Of course, hydration is important, but there are a lot of different opinions about how much we need to hydrate ourselves within any given period. However, medical professionals generally accept that most peopleare not drinking enough.

Whatever the answer is for how much water you personally need, there is one type of strategy that many people have found incredibly helpful when trying to stay hydrated: having a dedicated container to use your daily water intake. With a personal water source, many people find it easier to remember to drink frequently enough, and find it easier to keep water close to them, wherever they are. 

But what’s the best container to use for your personal water? Well, although there are many different possible solutions to this problem, one that we find especially helpful is a tumbler. Let’s talk about why that is.

What is a tumbler?

At its most basic, a tumbler is a cup. Butnot every cup qualifies as a tumbler. Other forms of drinkware like glass water bottles don’t quite work the same way. So what makes a tumbler different? 

Tumblers are specialized cups intended for use with hot or cold beverages. They are meant to keep hot drinks warm and cold drinks cold, are normally made of BPA-free plastic, and come with an attachable lid and straw.

When you’re trying to stay hydrated, the tumbler’s advantages are pretty clear! As an easily-portable type of drinkware, a tumbler makes it very simple to keep your water with you in various situations, while still having the basic shape of a normal drinking glass, but the shatter-resistant nature of plastic. The lid and straw combination also help protect the liquid inside, while the tumbler’s double wall material insulates the drink inside to keep it at the temperature you want.

Does a tumbler keep drinks cold and hot?

While an insulated tumbler’s plastic and dedicated lid will help with both hot drinks (like tea or coffee) and cold drinks, tumblers are typically more effective for keeping drinks cold, especially if you include some ice cubes with them. Metallic cups, like the travel mugs discussed below, tend to be more effective for keeping drinks hot...but a tumbler will definitely keep things warmer than a normal cup, in any case!

Why is it called a tumbler?

The most common theory as to the origin of this name is that the original tumblers may have had a pointed base, instead of a flat bottom, making it impossible for them to stand on their own, and they were therefore senttumbling. It’s unclear why this was the case, though perhaps it was a way of encouraging people not to leave their drinks lying around or remind them to drink more frequently. 

In the modern sense, “tumblers” obviously no longer have this design, and often come with a regular flat bottom and straight sides to prevent tumbling. Modern tumblers are a more distinct class of drinkware, and in their case, the name “tumbler” may come from the fact that many tumblers have very solid, weighted bases, which is intended to make it very hard to tip the tumbler over. In fact, some theories hold that the original tumblers were designed this way as well, and the idea that they would “tumble” over if not held upright is exaggerated. 

So, in short, nobody quite knows where the name originally came from, but what wedoknow is how to classify what makes a modern tumbler and what it’s best used to do.

How is a tumbler different from a travel mug?

With all the different kinds of drinking containers out there, definitions can get a little vague at times. Travel mugs, or travel containers, are easily confused with tumblers, but there are a few differences that you will be able to note.

  • Travel mugs are normally made of metal, such as stainless steel or aluminum, while tumblers are normally thick plastic. This means that travel mugs will normally keep liquids at the correct temperature for a longer time. There are still some stainless steel tumblers, so keep that in mind when picking the right one.
  • Tumblers are better for cold drinks, while travel mugs are better for hot drinks like coffee.
  • Travel mugs may have a handle, while tumblers will not.
  • Tumblers are more likely to have a straw fitted in the lid, while travel mugs are more likely to have removable or openable lids.

In short, though tumblers and travel mugs are quite similar, there are still some technical differences between them. Which you prefer for your needs will largely come down to your personal preference.

What are the different types of tumblers?

Tumbler cups come in different shapes and sizes. They can be transparent or opaque, colored with paint or clear. Some tumblers are the size and shape of a normal drinking glass, only with a lid attached to help with temperature control. Other tumblers are larger, some with tapered bases that allow them to still fit in standard-sized beverage holders, but with a much greater volume than your everyday glasses. Depending on your definition, some tumblers are more jug-like, like the Hydrojug, which allow you to stay hydrated for even longer periods. So, whether you need a tumbler for one drink at a meal or all day at work, you’re likely to find a size, shape, and design that will work for you.

How much do tumbler cups cost?

So, is a tumbler worth it? Well, they typically cost anywhere from $3 to $20, with most falling around the $7-$10 range. This means that they’re pretty affordable, and probably worth it if you need a convenient and portable place to keep your drinks during the day. So, consider looking at some tumblers today!

Looking for more Hydrojug products? Check out our guide on Tumblers with Straws and find the hydration to match your style.