RTIC tumblers are a great option for those looking for an affordable comparison to brands like Yeti. I have been using RTIC tumblers and bottles myself for over 7 years now and I noticed some sweating around the lid of my bottles.
While some sweating is normal, excessive sweating is typically indicative of damage to the vacuum insulation and your RTIC will likely need to be replaced.
RTIC's vacuum cups, mugs, and bottles work by reducing heat loss and gain through conduction. This happens because a vacuum between the inner and outer wall works as an insulator between the beverage and the outside air temperature.
Vacuum is actually one of the best insulators and this is why the tumblers and bottles can keep drinks hot and cold so long. This vacuum insulation also stops the condensation that causes sweating. If you have a lot of sweating, it usually means the vacuum insulation is gone.
Damage To The Vacuum Seal Causes Exterior Sweating
Sweating along the exterior is not supposed to occur. One of RTIC’s features is a “no sweat exterior” so if your exterior is sweating there is a problem.
The most common reason for sweating along the body of your tumbler/bottle is due to damage that causes the vacuum to be lost.
Sweating upon damage isn’t unique to RTIC, Yeti cups and bottles also sweat when they have lost their vacuum seal. For me I noticed my Hydro Flask sweating after my son took it to school and completely damaged the bottom.
When the vacuum is lost the only barrier between your beverage and the outside atmosphere is the tumbler/bottle material, leaving your beverage essentially uninsulated.
Why Your RTIC Tumbler/Cup Sweats Around The Lid
Sweating around the lid of the tumbler is typical.
This is due to the fact that the insulation is at it's thinnest at the lid of the tumbler/bottle and this is where the inner and outer wall of the tumbler/bottle meets.
RTIC drinkware products are made from stainless steel and at the rim cold (or heat) can transfer from the inside of the tumbler/bottle to the outside and condensation can form causing sweating.
This generally only happens when your tumbler or bottle is filled to the top with ice cold drink and once you drink some of it and the level goes down the sweating will stop.
Your RTIC Tumblers & Bottles May Sweat After Being In The Fridge/Freezer
If you've had your RTIC tumbler or bottle in the fridge for some time then the outside of the stainless steel will become cold to touch.
When you take your RTIC out of the fridge or freezer some condensation (or sweating) can occur. However, this will usually stop fairly quickly as the outside of your RTIC warms up to room temperature.
How To Test If Your RTIC Has Lost It's Insulation
If your RTIC is sweating then you'll want to check to see whether or not it has lost it's vacuum insulation.
There are a few different ways you can check the insulation of your tumbler or bottle.
Fill It With Boiling Water
The easiest way to check whether or not the insulation in your RTIC tumbler or bottle is broken is to fill it with boiling water, wait 30-60 seconds then touch the side of the bottle and see if it's warm to touch.
If the insulation is still intact then the outside should still be cool to the touch. However, if the insulation is compromised then the exterior of the bottle will feel noticeably warm to touch, and even hot.
You can see the temperature differences in my video below where I display my broken Hydro Flask.
Fill It With Ice Cold Water
If for some reason you don't feel comfortable using boiling water you can fill your RTIC with ice cold water.
For this test fill your RTIC tumbler or bottle to the top with as much ice as will fit and then fill up the rest with cold water from the fridge.
Leave for 30-60 minutes and then touch the outside. If it's cold to touch (colder than before it had iced water in it) then your insulation is likely broken.
If it just feels a tiny bit cold (like stainless steel usually does even when empty) then your insulation is likely fine.
If you notice sweating all over the bottle or tumbler this is also an indication the vacuum seal is broken.
Test It Against Other Insulated Cups/Bottles
If you've got another RTIC or another brand of insulation bottle or cup then you can test one bottle against another.
If the sweating bottle holds ice for a significantly shorter period than a non-sweating bottle chances are the insulation is broken. If all the ice is melting in a few hours, your insulation is likely broken.
NOTE: Ice doesn't last as long in smaller tumblers and bottles compared to larger ones. You can see this in the video below comparing different sized Hydro Flask bottles.
Does RTIC’s Warranty Protect You Against Sweating?
All RTIC products come with a 90 day limited warranty. It's one of the shortest warranties of the big brand stainless steel bottles and tumblers out there.
Yeti has a 3 year warranty for their drinkware and Hydro Flask and Ozark Trail (Walmart's brand) offer a limited lifetime warranty.
The RTIC warranty covers any defects in design or issues with the material.
If you’re noticing sweating with your new RTIC tumbler/cup use your warranty which will cover a replacement device. If you're outside the 90 day warranty period it's still worth reaching out to RTIC and see if they can help you, but I wouldn't count on it.
Thankfully RTIC drinkware is extremely affordable. This means if you're outside of warranty replacing a used tumbler/bottle is a pretty cheap endeavor.
Caring For Your RTIC Tumbler/Bottle So It Doesn't Lose It's Insulation
Worried about damaging your drinkware? Don’t be, all RTIC drinkware is made from thick durable stainless steel. Although it’s important to protect your tumbler/bottle from excessive wear and tear.
Wondering if you can put your RTIC drinkware in the dishwasher? It’s not advised, and doing so could void your limited warranty. To ensure the maximum lifetime of your RTIC drinkware you’ll want to wash them thoroughly by hand.
Still, I have put mine in the dishwasher a few times without issue.
Is the seal on your tumbler or bottle lid going bad, but the rest of the tumbler or cup in good shape?