Whether it’s a busy day at work or an outdoor adventure, I love to take a break to sip on ice cold water – it’s so refreshing.
To ensure my cool fix, one of my hacks is to fill up my Yeti bottle with water and keep it overnight in the fridge by my lunch box—that way, I don’t forget to pack it in the morning.
Some people say you shouldn't put your Yeti in the fridge or it's pointless because it's vacuum insulated. So I started to wonder if refrigeration might be doing damage to my Yeti bottle or not and whether or not it's worth putting in the fridge overnight.
Yeti bottles are fine to go in the fridge and can easily handle to cold temperature in the fridge. Because of the vacuum insulation drinks inside the Yeti will take longer to cool down than in a regular bottle, but it won't do any damage to your Yeti.
Yeti only warns against putting them in the freezer because the expanding ice can damage the bottle and break the vacuum seal – causing the bottle to potentially lose its insulation.
Yeti products are purpose-built for harsh conditions. If your Yeti bottle can survive the cold Alaskan wilderness, it should be fine in your fridge, right?
I did some digging to find out more. Reassuringly, lots of people claim to keep their Yeti bottle in the refrigerator; Amazon customers and Reddit members report doing it without problems.
User JudyATC says this on Reddit:
My husband works for yeti. He says the only reason you can’t put it in the freezer is because of expansion (of whatever drink you have inside the tumbler) when it freezes. He says the fridge is fine 👍
But, personally, I need a bit more convincing than that: is it certain that prolonged refrigeration is safe?
Luckily, I found a satisfying answer by delving into the science behind how Yeti bottles work.
What Happens When You Put a Yeti Bottle in the Fridge?
Yeti bottles work through insulation: they have two walls with a vacuum in between that prevents heat transfer from the air to the bottle, and vice versa.
An unrefrigerated Yeti bottle should keep drinks cool for 24+ hours!
If I refrigerate my Yeti bottle (filled with water and ice), the insulating effects are enhanced. Because the fridge’s temperature is cool—like the ice water’s temperature—there is even less heat transfer, meaning my water and ice will stay cooler for longer.
Eventually it will equalize to whatever the outside temperature is. If I keep it on my bench that might be 20ºC/70ºF but if I leave my bottle in the fridge the “outside temperature” of the bottle is now 4ºC/39ºF so the water will only ever get that warm.
Also, don’t worry if a little bit sweat forms on your bottle after refrigeration, either – it’s just condensation and is caused by the outside metal of your bottle being cold from the fridge. This sweat should stop pretty quickly though.
If you're noticing consistent and regular sweating with your Yeti bottle, and it's not keeping ice as long as it should, then chances are you have an issue.
Will A Drink In Your Yeti Bottle Get Cold In The Fridge?
When I had people tell me “it was pointless to put my Yeti bottle in the fridge” they said that because Yeti bottles are insulated to stop your iced water from getting warm quickly.
This insulation works both ways.
Usually when you put a bottle of water in the fridge the cool air in the fridge touches the bottle and sucks the heat out of the water in your bottle – up until the water in the bottle is the same temperature as the air in the fridge.
Yeti bottles feature vacuum insulation which stops heat transfer. So the cool air in your fridge struggles to remove the heat from your room temperature water in your Yeti bottle.
However, it's not completely pointless because the insulation in Yeti bottles isn't perfect and given enough time your fridge will make the water in your Yeti bottle cold. However, this can take A LONG TIME and can mean your water can still be warm.
My own personal usage showed me it took about 12 hours for room temperature water in an 18 oz Yeti bottle to get cooled down in the fridge. Whereas it only took 2-4 hours in a glass bottle of a similar size.
Larger Yeti bottles like their 32, 64 or 128 oz bottles can take up to 24+ hours for room temperature water to cool down in your fridge.
A good tip is to leave the lid off your Yeti bottle whilst in the fridge. This will allow the cold air of the fridge to cool down your drink much faster than if the lid was on.
However, this can cause your water to taste like garlic or whatever last night's leftovers were. This is because flavor particles in the air of your fridge can end up in your water.
It's more effective to first fill your Yeti bottle with cold water or to add ice to your Yeti bottle before putting it in the fridge.
The fridge will help to keep the water cold so it won't warm up at all. Then you can grab your bottle when you're ready to go.
Why Shouldn't You Put Your Yeti Bottle In The Freezer?
While it is completely fine to put your Yeti bottle in the fridge, Yeti does advise against putting it in the freezer.
The care instructions clearly state “Do not place in freezer.”
This is because when you freeze water it expands in all directions and can apply a lot of pressure to your bottle.
This expansion can cause the vacuum seal to fail which will compromise the insulation of your Yeti bottle and could mean that it won't be able to keep drinks cold anymore.
You can put an empty Yeti bottle in the freezer. The bottle can handle the freezing cold temperatures and if there is no water inside which will expand when frozen it poses no threat to the bottle.
There just isn't really much point putting an empty bottle in the freezer – except maybe to prevent mold growth for long term storage.