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YETI Rambler 26 Review

Our favorite choice for daily use because of the size, shape, and ease of use in an insulated stainless steel bottle
YETI Rambler 26
Photo: YETI
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $40 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Durable, easy to carry, wide mouth for easy cleaning, lid insert for easy drinking
Cons:  Expensive, heavy
Manufacturer:   YETI
By Jane Jackson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 26, 2021
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79
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 20
  • Ease of Use - 40% 9
  • Durability - 25% 10
  • Weight - 20% 2
  • Taste - 15% 9

Our Verdict

The Yeti Rambler 26 continues to earn our praise as our favorite water bottle to use day in, day out. The latest version of this bottle has a "Chug Cap" insert, a drinking spout that makes the wide-mouth bottle easier to drink from. We love the carrying handle and the overall ease of use this bottle provides. It is stylish and sleek and comes in a variety of color options. Whether you want to rinse it out by hand or throw it in the dishwasher, this bottle is super easy to clean. All that, plus its impressive insulation abilities and a durable build, the Rambler is our go-to daily driver for hot or cold beverages. As a cherry on top, we also like its looks.

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YETI Rambler 26
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YETI Rambler 26
Awards Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
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$24.94 at Amazon$20 List
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Pros Durable, easy to carry, wide mouth for easy cleaning, lid insert for easy drinkingLight, durable, resists flavors, simple design, wide mouth makes for easy fillingSleek design, affordable, low-profile for filter bottleAffordable, insulates well, has interchangeable lids, portableInexpensive, passed our drop tests, easy to carry, easy to drink from, ergonomic design
Cons Expensive, heavyDiameter too big for cup holders, wide mouth makes it difficult to drink from when walking or drivingLimited to water use only, small capacityPaint chipping after a few months of use, flip cap seemed to lack securityNarrow mouth makes it hard to clean by hand, heavy, inherently less durable than steel competition
Bottom Line Our favorite choice for daily use because of the size, shape, and ease of use in an insulated stainless steel bottleA tried and tested classic, this model is versatile and reasonably pricedA bottle that is aesthetically appealing and effective at providing filtered water without leaks and other mishapsThis is one of our top ranking bottles because it's easy to use, just the right size, lightweight and inexpensiveThis affordable bottle's no-nonsense, ergonomic design wins us over for the top glass option of all we tested
Rating Categories YETI Rambler 26 Nalgene Wide-Mouth Stainless Steel Fil... Simple Modern Summit Ello Pure 20
Ease Of Use (40%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
9.0
Durability (25%)
10.0
7.0
9.0
8.0
5.0
Weight (20%)
2.0
8.0
4.0
4.0
2.0
Taste (15%)
9.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
Specs YETI Rambler 26 Nalgene Wide-Mouth Stainless Steel Fil... Simple Modern Summit Ello Pure 20
Body Material 18/8 stainless steel Eastman Tritan co-polyester 18/8 stainless steel 18/8 stainless steel Glass/ BPA-free silicone
Empty weight (oz) 22 oz 6.4 oz 13.9 oz 12.4 oz 18.5 oz
Volume (oz) 26 oz 34 oz 20 oz 22 oz 20 oz
Bottle weight (oz) per fluid oz capacity 0.85 oz 0.19 oz 0.7 oz 0.56 oz 0.93 oz
Mouth diameter 3 in 2.5 in 2 in 2.25 in 1.75 in
Base diameter 3.25 in 3.25 in 2.8 in 3 in 3 in
Height 10 in 8.25 in 10.75 in 9.5 in 10.75 in
Body Type Hard-sided/traditional Hard-sided/traditional Hard-sided/traditional Hard-sided/traditional Hard-sided/traditional
Free of Materials BPA-free BPA, BPS and Phthalate Free BPA-free BPA-free BPA-free
Cap/Lid Type Wide-loop cap Loop-top screw cap Screw-cap with straw Screw Cap Screwtop
Volume Options 18 oz, 20 oz, 36 oz 16 oz, 48 oz 20 oz 14 oz, 18 oz, 22 oz, 32 oz, 40 oz 20 oz
Warranty 3 or 5 year warranty Lifetime Guarantee for normal use 30 day Limited Warranty Lifetime warranty

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Rambler is a durable, vacuum-insulated bottle that accompanied us everywhere during our three-month testing period. It sat by our side at work, was our go-to for climbing days and day-hiking days, and was the ideal road trip bottle with its ability to hold both hot and cold drinks. The Rambler has a 26 oz capacity, making it a more reasonable option than the hulking 36 oz version. Its major positives are the width of the mouth, which is significantly wider than most bottles, and the lid design, which is easy to clean and has a very comfortable, built-in carrying handle. The big pros and limited cons ended up landing the Rambler our top recognition for a daily reusable bottle.

Performance Comparison


The updated Yeti with the Chug Cap insert is shown here. We...
The updated Yeti with the Chug Cap insert is shown here. We appreciate how low profile the Chug cap is - you can hardly see it's there!
Photo: Jane Jackson

Ease of Use


This bottle is about as easy and convenient as it gets. A simple, easy-to-hold carrying handle, an exceptionally wide mouth, and a smooth rim to the bottle make it easy to fill and drink out of. These factors also make it super easy to clean - a simple lid and a wide body make for a quick and easy rinse. In our second run of formally testing this bottle, we tested the Rambler with the Chug Cap insert. Our testers agree that this upgrade improves the overall drinking experience of this bottle.


The Chug Cap spout fits inside the wide mouth and has a narrower spout, which eliminates spillage and allows for easy one-handed drinking, and even allows for taking swigs while walking or driving. We are big fans, as this is a common drawback of wide-mouth bottles. We love wide-mouth bottles for their ease of cleaning, filling, and because they accept ice readily, but they usually require the user to stop moving to take a successful swig. Even then, sometimes we spill. This new drinking spout solves this issue without losing the advantages of wide-mouth bottles.

The Chug Cap spout is not intended to be used with hot beverages. If you fill a Rambler with hot beverages, you can remove the spout and drink directly from the bottle. Our lead tester repeatedly did this with hot tea during testing, and it works fine. Important to note: You cannot use the lid without the Chug Cap.

A detailed photo of the Chug Cap.
A detailed photo of the Chug Cap.
Photo: Jane Jackson

The simplicity and pleasure of using this bottle helped sky-rocket this bottle to the top of our favorites list for daily use. Any bottle will work for carrying water, but this one makes the experience better.

The drinking spout makes for easy one-handed drinking and reduces...
The drinking spout makes for easy one-handed drinking and reduces spillage.
Photo: Jane Jackson

Durability


Making durable, heavy-duty products is Yeti's claim to fame as a company. Their bottles are built like their coolers—well insulated and incredibly durable. The Rambler is no exception, and takes the cake in terms of durability in our performance comparisons.


Like other vacuum insulated bottles we tested, the Rambler is durable simply because of its design and materials. The 18/8 stainless steel construction makes the bottle resistant to punctures and dents. The double-walled design of the vacuum insulated bottles also helps them in the durability metric.

The new dual lid design adds another layer of complexity and more opportunities for leakage, but we found that the Rambler still aced our leak test when the lids were tightened down completely. The Chug insert didn't leak at all when the bottle was shaken, nor when it was left on its side for a few hours. Even when the bottle was dropped with the plastic spout exposed, it still passed our drop test without a scratch.

The sturdy lid on the Yeti Rambler is easy to hold and extremely...
The sturdy lid on the Yeti Rambler is easy to hold and extremely durable. This bottle is built to last.
Photo: Eric Bissell

Weight


Here, the Rambler comes up a bit short, as its girth makes it durable and functional, but also makes it one of the heaviest bottles in the fleet. At 22 ounces, this bottle isn't the one to take on overnights, ski tours, or other extended excursions. The Chug Cap adds a tiny bit more weight to the overall heft of this bottle, but the addition is negligible when considering the overall weight of the bottle itself. Typically, metal bottles that are not vacuum insulated are a lot lighter. For use at home, the office, the gym, and even shorter day hikes, most of our testers have no problem bringing this bottle along in a backpack or messenger bag.


Taste


When we performed the standard taste test on the Rambler, we were happy to find that the Rambler did not hold flavors for long periods. We filled the bottle with electrolyte powdered drink mix, which often lingers in water bottles after one use, and left it in the bottle for a few hours. Then, once the drink mix was finished, we rinsed the bottle once with water and refilled it, finding that the taste of the mix was hardly detectable.


The Rambler has the benefit of the wide mouth opening, so it's easy to clean frequently, which helps it to avoid taste buildup. The wide mouth and the fact that the threads are on the outside of the lid make the Rambler one of the easiest bottles to clean, and thus lingering tastes are less of an issue here. One minor downside to the updated cap is that there are more threads to clean and more plastic surfaces for flavors to get caught in. We were still impressed by how easy it is to clean the Chug Cap, but its added complexity means that the bottle may require more frequent cleanings.

In part because it is so easy to clean, the Rambler nailed our taste...
In part because it is so easy to clean, the Rambler nailed our taste tests.
Photo: Jane Jackson

Value


The Rambler is sold online for a pretty penny. This is becoming the norm for high-quality insulated bottles. The efficiency of the bottle's insulation and its longevity make the Rambler a bottle that is well worth the price tag. As long as you don't lose this bottle, it will last far beyond the lifetime of a standard water bottle. We have had our first version of the Rambler for five years and it's still going strong. This is a great bottle and though it's expensive, it is a solid investment and worth taking good care of.

Whether it's filled with ice water or tea, the Rambler does its job...
Whether it's filled with ice water or tea, the Rambler does its job well.
Photo: Jane Jackson

Conclusion


The Yeti Rambler 26 really has it all. The simple design features like the drinking spout and the carrying handle are subtle but critical aspects of the Yeti that make it easy and comfortable to use. It is also easy to clean and built to last. This bottle accompanied us on many adventures while still looking cool and carrying comfortably enough to be used around town. The price is high, and like other insulated bottles, the weight is high, too. For more specific and recreational uses, there are better options. But for daily use, this bottle is our first recommendation for anyone seeking a bottle up to the task.

Jane Jackson