Yeti has made a name for itself by crafting durable, quality, and attractive insulated drinkware.
If you own a Yeti mug, tumbler, or other drinkware and are wondering if it’s microwave-safe, you’ve come to the right place.
In this quick guide, you’ll learn:
- Whether it’s safe to put a Yeti in the microwave
- The science behind why you shouldn’t
- What happens when you microwave a Yeti
- And safer ways to reheat your drinks
Let’s get right into it!
Use the links below to navigate this guide:
- Can You Microwave a Yeti? The Short Answer
- Why You Can’t Microwave a Yeti
- What Happens If You Microwave a Yeti
- I Put a Yeti in the Microwave, Here’s What Happened
- Can You Put a Yeti in the Oven?
- What to Do Instead of Microwaving a Yeti
- Alternative Mugs and Tumblers That Are Microwave-Safe
- Bottom Line: Microwaving a Yeti is Unsafe and Ineffective
Can You Microwave a Yeti? The Short Answer
I’ll get right to the question: can you microwave a Yeti?
The short answer is no; microwaving a Yeti is not safe. Yeti drinkware, including mugs, tumblers, jugs, and bottles, is made from high-quality 18/8 stainless steel. Steel, like aluminum or any other conductive metal, does not mix well with radiation emitted by microwaves.
I contacted a Yeti representative to see what the company had to say. The customer service representative made it quite clear that exposing a Yeti to a microwave is dangerous and strongly discouraged.
If you need further proof, go to this listing on Amazon for the Yeti 20-ounce Tumbler, scroll down to the Questions and Answers section, and search for the term “microwave.” You’ll see a clear consensus that Yeti drinkware is not safe to use in the microwave.
Why You Can’t Microwave a Yeti
To understand the science behind why you can’t microwave your Yeti, picture a microwave and the tiny “jolts” of energy it uses to heat food or liquids.
The heating process occurs when bursts of energy pass through an object and speed up the natural vibrations of the molecules. As the molecules are shot through by more and more of these “micro waves” of radiant energy, they begin to vibrate faster and faster. That movement produces friction. Eventually, the kinetic energy is converted into heat.
Stainless steel, the material Yeti drinkware products are composed of, does not allow these waves to move through its molecules. Instead, the metal “absorbs” the energy, causing them to build up inside the molecular structure.
Eventually, the excess energy emerges as sparks, intense heat, and loud “popping” noises. The result is a fire hazard that poses a real risk to your microwave, your Yeti product, and your safety.
When an object is “conductive,” it means that the pass-through process initiated by the microwave is blocked. All kinds of metal will have this effect, and Yeti mugs, tumblers, jugs, and bottles are no exception.
You can learn more about the dramatic interplay between metal and microwaves by watching expert videos on YouTube. Warning: do NOT test this out at home.
What Happens If You Microwave a Yeti
As noted in the prior section, microwaving a Yeti will result in excessive heat buildup that will eventually express itself as sparks, smoke, and potentially flames inside your microwave.
Not only is this dangerous, but the process is unlikely to heat the liquid inside the Yeti at all.
By “blocking” and absorbing the energy put out by the microwave, a Yeti’s stainless steel structure will shield whatever is inside of it from those same waves. If the waves can’t reach the liquid inside the Yeti, they can’t begin the process of heating it.
So, the end result is a lot of trouble and only a lukewarm drink to show for it. Without knowing how long it may take for sparks to fly (literally), it’s best not to risk putting your Yeti in the microwave at all.
Play it safe and keep metal and microwaves far apart.
I Put a Yeti in the Microwave, Here’s What Happened
Despite the scientifically-backed warnings, I was curious to see the microwave-to-Yeti process play out in real-time. So, I decided to try microwaving a Yeti myself.
Here’s what happened.
After pouring eight ounces of cold tap water into my Yeti mug, I microwaved it for thirty seconds (without the lid).
The beginning temperature of the water was 61.4°F.
After being microwaved inside the Yeti mug, the water’s temperature increased to only 66.0°F.
For comparison, I microwaved the same amount of water in a ceramic mug that’s labeled as “microwave safe.”
The beginning temperature of this water was 60.5°F.
After microwaving the ceramic mug for thirty seconds, the water reached 81.9°F degrees.
In other words, the temperature of the water I microwaved for thirty seconds in the Yeti increased only 4.6 degrees, but the water microwaved in a ceramic mug rose 21.4 degrees.
Since I stuck with a relatively short time frame, I did not witness sparks, loud noises, flames, or other ill-effects from this experiment, and you shouldn’t risk them, either.
Regardless of the risk, I found that water inside the Yeti barely heated at all compared to the water heated up in a ceramic mug.
The moral of the story — microwaving a Yeti is not only dangerous, but it isn’t an effective way to reheat liquids. Don’t do it.
Can You Put a Yeti in the Oven?
Since Yeti drinkware isn’t safe for the microwave, you might be wondering if putting them in the oven to reheat liquids is a safe alternative.
The short answer is no. You should not put Yeti drinkware in the oven, and doing so is a bad idea for two reasons.
First, Yeti drinkware should never be exposed to temperatures above 185°F. Temperatures higher than 185°F could damage the drinkware permanently by either warping the metal or melting other components.
Secondly, it would take way too long to reheat the liquid. You’d have to preheat the oven to 185°F, then let the Yeti heat up for at least twenty minutes.
Even then, the stainless steel double-wall vacuum insulation designed to maintain liquids’ temperature inside the Yeti also does a great job of preventing heat from entering the Yeti.
Bottom line — You technically can put a Yeti in the oven if you keep the temperature below 185°F, but it’s not an effective or efficient way to reheat your drink, so don’t waste your time.
What to Do Instead of Microwaving a Yeti
The truth is, heating Yeti drinkware is largely unnecessary. These products are intentionally designed to keep liquids hot or cold for long periods and are heavily insulated. Tests have shown that beverages can stay warm for up to six hours in a Yeti mug.
To enjoy hot beverages in your Yeti, pour the coffee, tea, or other drink directly from the pot into the drinkware and close the lid.
If your beverage gets cold inside your Yeti, it’s best to pour it into a different, microwave-safe container and heat it in this receptacle before returning it to the Yeti. After it’s back in the Yeti drinkware, it should remain hot for several (6 to 7) hours.
Alternative Mugs and Tumblers That Are Microwave-Safe
If microwaving your drinks is a regular necessity, you’re better off purchasing a BPA-free plastic or ceramic mug rather than a stainless steel Yeti.
There are many affordable, microwave-safe options available.
A few options to consider are the Tervis insulated tumbler or mug, W&P Porter’s ceramic mug, plastic tumblers such as this coffee-cup look-alike from Copco, or a simple ceramic travel mug such as this attractive option from Ello Jane.
Whatever you choose, make sure to read the safety information.
Bottom Line: Microwaving a Yeti is Unsafe and Ineffective
Now you understand that microwaving a Yeti is not only unsafe, but it’s an ineffective way to heat liquids.
Fortunately, Yeti has a well-earned reputation for producing superior products that can keep your beverages hot for hours no matter the outside temperature. So you really shouldn’t have to reheat your coffee, tea, and other hot beverages very often.
When your beverage does need reheating, pour your drink into a microwave-safe mug, heat it, and pour it back into the Yeti. It’s as simple as that.