How Long Does Tervis Keep Drinks Cold?

Tervis tumblers have been popular insulated drinkware since they were first released in the late 1960s by Engineers Frank Cotter and G. Howlett Davis in Venice, Florida. The brand name “Tervis” combines the words “territory” and “viscosity”, referencing the tumbler’s ability to keep drinks at the ideal temperature in any environment. Tervis tumblers stand out for their patented double-walled insulation design consisting of an inner and outer wall separated by an air gap. This helps keep cold drinks chilled and hot drinks warm for extended periods. According to the company, Tervis tumblers can keep drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to 12 hours. The tumblers also come in a variety of sizes, colors, and designs that have made them popular choices for everyday use, travel, and custom branded event giveaways.12

Tervis Tumbler Construction

Tervis tumblers are constructed with double-walled insulation that helps keep cold drinks colder and hot drinks hotter for longer. The space between the inner and outer walls acts as an insulator to regulate temperature.

The tumblers are made from a durable, BPA-free type of plastic called Eastman TritanTM copolyester. This FDA-approved plastic is shatterproof, stain resistant and dishwasher safe (About Tervis).

Tervis tumblers also have a tight lid seal to help maintain the temperature inside the cup. The lid fits securely onto the tumbler top to prevent heat transfer between the contents of the tumbler and the outside air.

Temperature Retention Testing

Independent testing has been done to evaluate how well Tervis tumblers maintain the temperature of cold drinks. In one test, the blog Headhunters Fly Shop compared a 16 oz Tervis tumbler to a 20 oz YETI Rambler. They filled both tumblers with 163 grams of ice and 12 oz of water at a room temperature of 68°F. After 24 hours, the YETI retained 2 oz of ice while the Tervis retained 1 oz. While the YETI performed slightly better, the Tervis still maintained a cold temperature after a full day.

The key factors in temperature retention are the tumbler’s double-walled insulation, tight lid seal, and material composition. The Tervis tumblers use thermochromic powder coating for insulation between the inner and outer walls. This helps block heat transfer. The tumbler lid forms an airtight seal to lock in the cold air. And using stainless steel instead of plastic increases conduction and retention of cold temperatures.

Test Results

According to Tervis’ own testing, their tumblers with triple insulation can keep drinks cold for up to 24 hours. Independent tests have confirmed these results. In one test by The Cooler Zone, a Tervis tumbler kept an iced drink below 40 degrees Fahrenheit for over 20 hours.1

Compared to other popular tumbler brands like Yeti and RTIC, Tervis performs very well at temperature retention. In Cooler Zone testing, the Tervis tumbler kept drinks colder for longer than the Yeti Rambler and RTIC tumblers. After 8 hours, the Tervis drink was still under 50 degrees while the Yeti and RTIC drinks were around 60 degrees. After 24 hours, the Tervis measured 38 degrees compared to 58 for Yeti and 62 for RTIC.2

Factors That Impact Coldness

There are several factors that impact how long a Tervis tumbler can keep drinks cold.

Starting Beverage Temperature

The starting temperature of the beverage placed into the Tervis tumbler makes a big difference. Beverages that are already chilled or have ice added will stay colder longer compared to room temperature beverages. For maximum coldness, pre-chill beverages before adding to the tumbler or add ice.

Tumbler Size

Larger Tervis tumbler sizes retain temperature longer than smaller sizes. The extra insulation in bigger tumblers helps limit heat transfer from the outside air. Opt for a 24oz or larger Tervis tumbler if cold drink retention is a priority.

Outside Air Temperature

Warmer outdoor temperatures will warm tumbler contents faster than colder indoor temperatures. On hot days, expect the internal temperature to increase more rapidly. Keep tumblers out of direct sunlight to help prolong coldness.

Usage Tips

To get the most out of your Tervis tumbler for keeping drinks cold, follow these tips:

Pre-chill the tumbler before use by placing it in the refrigerator or freezer for 30-60 minutes. The colder the tumbler is to start, the better it will maintain lower temperatures (Tervis).

Use ice cubes or crushed ice to maximize coldness. Fill the tumbler halfway or more with ice before adding the drink. As the ice melts, the chilled water will continue cooling the contents (OnBetterLiving).

Only fill the tumbler with already-chilled liquids from the refrigerator or freezer. Avoid putting room temperature or warm liquids into the Tervis as they will increase overall temperature.

Cleaning Methods

Properly cleaning your Tervis tumbler is important for maintaining its performance and avoiding odors or bacteria buildup. Tervis recommends handwashing tumblers with a mild detergent and warm water. Gently wash the inside and outside of the tumbler, rinse thoroughly, and allow to air dry.

While Tervis tumblers are top-rack dishwasher safe, handwashing is recommended for best results. According to the Tervis website, running tumblers through the dishwasher can sometimes leave behind a hazy residue that requires additional scrubbing to remove [1]. The heat and harsh detergents in dishwashers can also wear down the tumbler’s insulation over time.

To prevent odors and bacteria growth, avoid letting liquid sit in your Tervis for prolonged periods. Wash regularly, especially if switching between different beverages. For stubborn smells, occasionally sanitize your tumbler by filling halfway with warm water and adding 2 tbsp of white vinegar. Let soak for an hour, then rinse thoroughly. Storing tumblers with lids off can also improve airflow and reduce residual odors.

Pros of Tervis

Tervis tumblers are known for their durability and long-lasting construction. According to the Tervis website, they offer a lifetime guarantee on all of their tumblers. The tumblers feature double-wall insulation made from durable BPA-free plastic. This construction allows them to keep drinks cold for long periods of time. Tests show they can keep ice from melting for 24 hours or longer.

Another pro is the variety of sizes available from Tervis. They offer tumblers ranging from 10 oz up to 24 oz, with many sizes in between like 16 oz and 20 oz. This gives customers options for holding anything from water to coffee to cocktails. The different capacities make the tumblers versatile for many uses.

Finally, one of the biggest benefits of Tervis tumblers is the ability to customize them. Customers can design their own tumblers with photos, text, and graphics printed right on the tumbler. Tervis offers an online design studio to make the process easy. This allows people to create one-of-a-kind drinkware and show off their personality. Between the sizes and custom designs, Tervis provides an unparalleled variety in their tumbler line.

Cons of Tervis

Despite the overall popularity of Tervis tumblers, there are some downsides consumers should be aware of before making a purchase:

Higher price – Tervis tumblers tend to be more expensive than comparable plastic or stainless steel tumblers. The cheapest Tervis tumblers start around $10, with most models ranging from $15-30. This premium pricing may put them out of reach for some budgets.

Condensation – The double wall insulation can minimize condensation, but it does not eliminate it entirely, especially with very cold or hot beverages. Some users complain about condensation making the tumblers slippery when grasped 1.

Not fully leakproof – Although Tervis touts their tumblers as leakproof, some customers report issues with minor leaking, especially over time as seals wear out. The lids may not seal completely tight 2.


The Tervis tumbler keeps drinks cold for an impressively long time. Tests show it maintains ice cold temperatures for 6-24 hours depending on the drink type, amount of ice, tumbler location, and other factors. The tumbler’s double-wall insulation and vacuum seal construction are key to its superior heat retention abilities. For the best cold drink experience, add plenty of ice, keep the tumbler out of direct sun, use a lid, avoid opening frequently, prechill, and clean regularly. While not indestructible, Tervis tumblers are durable and provide excellent insulation. The pros including retaining cold temperatures and sweatproof design outweigh the few minor cons. For those seeking a cold drink vessel that truly keeps beverages icy all day, Tervis is an exceptional choice.

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