How To: Choose the Best Insulation for Your Beverage

Published on in Learn
Published on in Learn
Best Insulated Water Bottle
Choosing the right insulated water bottle is more complicated than it may seem. How do you decide between a simple single wall, double wall insulation, or vacuum insulation? When is it appropriate? Our resident Goldilocks— he prefers Carl the scientist— has broken down the principles of insulation and attaining that perfect drink. It's not too hot, not too cold, and just right.

Here is what you need to know about the types of insulation for your beverage and how to choose the best insulated water bottle or tumbler for all of life's adventures.

The 3 Fundamental Types of MiiR Insulation

Not all insulated tumblers and water bottles are built the same. As with houses, there are various types of insulation for drinkware. They each have their own benefits and disadvantages to consider when choosing the best choice for your needs.

Here are three commonly used types of insulation.

Single Wall Insulation

Single wall insulation is minimal when compared to the other options. Heat is transferred quickly through the stainless steel via conduction. That's why these cups will sweat when they contain cold liquids and feel hot to the touch when they contain hot liquids!

That being said, single wall insulated stainless steel water bottles and tumblers. These cups and bottles will still keep your drinks cold for extended periods of time— more so than if you left them uncovered. Single wall insulated water bottles from an eco-friendly company are still better than letting plastic water bottles pile up in the landfill. They're an affordable option for companies using insulated water bottles as a promotional tool for employees or customers.

Finally, single wall insulated water bottles and cups are all lightweight and portable. If you need something versatile for a quick hike or bike ride, this type of insulation is sufficient. 
Single and Double wall insulation

Double Wall Insulation

When looking for a high-quality water bottle, you can't go wrong with a double-wall insulated bottle. How does double wall insulation work? Just like it sounds, these bottles and tumblers are comprised of two stainless steel walls separated by air. The wall of air between the two layers insulates the cup by forcing heat to transfer through a layer of air. 

This design means the heat has to transfer first by conduction through one layer of steel, then by radiation and convection through the vacuum, and lastly by conduction through the other layer of steel.

When you hold a double-wall insulated tumbler, you won't feel the temperature through the outer walls. These are designed to keep your hot drinks hot, and cold drinks cold for extended periods of time. Double-wall insulated bottles and tumblers are ideal for longer excursions, whether that's a day going from meeting to meeting with coffee in hand or that intense trail run you've been training for. 

Vacuum Insulation 

Vacuum-insulated tumblers and bottles are the cream of the crop. Vacuum insulation is the most efficient form of insulation for stainless steel vessels. 

In reality, it's impossible to create a perfect vacuum between the walls. However, by removing as much of the air as possible, convection becomes ineffective. The heat can only radiate between the steel walls. Fewer methods of heat transfer means better insulation, making this product design ideal for those who rely on long-term temperature control.  

Vacuum Insulation

The 3 Fundamental Types of Heat Transfer

If you have visions of finding a clearing in the Ozark Trail to drink your black coffee as the sun comes up, understanding the basics of heat transfer can help you choose the best insulated tumbler for your adventures. 


Conduction is energy transfer between objects that are touching. Think of your hand on a metal table versus a wood one. The metal one feels cooler than the wood one because it has better thermal conductivity, so it's conducting heat from your hand more quickly. 


Convection is the energy transfer from an object and its environment through fluid movement. Think of a nice breeze when you are hot. The wind cools you down because it moves your body's heat away from you. 


Radiation is the transfer of energy via electromagnetic radiation or light. Visible light, the stuff that your eyes see, is a form of electromagnetic radiation. Everything around you is always emitting thermal radiation. 
Think of an incandescent light bulb. They work by simply heating a filament up so hot that some of the electromagnetic radiation it gives off is visible light. Most of the energy is different wavelengths, so we perceive it as heat. That's why old-fashioned incandescent bulbs are inefficient and get so hot!   
Beverage Life cycle

How to Choose the Best Insulated Tumbler or Water Bottle

The type of insulation isn't the only thing to consider when looking for the best vessel to keep your hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold. Here are a few key considerations to keep in mind when choosing the best insulated water bottle for your lifestyle. 

Cup Holder Compatibility

This consideration may seem silly, but if you've ever tried to put your insulated travel mug in your cup holder only to find that it doesn't fit, you'll understand. Look for insulated tumblers and water bottles that are cup holder compatible.

Mouth Size

Mouth size also plays an important role when choosing an insulated water bottle— its mouth size, not yours! Wide mouth insulated water bottles make it easier to add ice cubes to your drink, or to carry ice (or ice cream) to your destination. 


One of the main reasons to switch to a stainless steel water bottle from an eco-friendly company is to avoid coming in contact with harmful toxins. However, some components of your insulated tumbler or water bottle may still be plastic or rubber. Look for an eco-friendly company that promises a product free of Bisphenol A— or, as we like to call it, Bad Plastic Awfulness.

Medical-Grade Stainless Steel

Your water shouldn't taste like metal. Medical-grade stainless steel interiors are designed to avoid taste transfer. Quality matters when choosing the best insulated water bottle or tumbler to fuel your lifestyle. 

Durable Exterior

Look for a product with durable outer walls to prevent scrapes, dents, and punctures while you're on your adventures. A powder coat finish— as they use on gym equipment— is the best way to protect your investment in a high-quality water bottle: that and a lifetime warranty.

MiiR offers a variety of double wall vacuum insulated water bottles and tumblers to keep you hydrated, wherever life may lead you.