Best travel mug

Travel Essentials

The traditional coffee mug was innovated by the Victor Insulator Company in 1945. Travel mugs later became popular in the 1980s when new vehicles were outfitted with cup holders.

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Which travel mug is best?

When it’s go-time, many of us reach for liquid motivation in the form of hot, caffeinated beverages like coffee and tea, making a good travel mug a necessity. At its best, a good travel mug can insulate hot and cold beverages alike, maintaining heat or preserving ice for hours. Whether you commute by car, public transit or on foot, a quality travel mug can be indispensable — and there are plenty out there to choose from. Our top pick, the THERMOS Stainless King Vacuum-Insulated Travel Mug strikes a great balance of quality and value.

What to know before you buy a travel mug

Before hastily reaching for a truck stop travel mug, there are some considerations that will make the most out of your mobile beverage experience. Understanding what sets a quality travel mug apart from its second-rate competition is important.

Material

The two most common travel mug materials are stainless steel and plastic. Stainless steel travel mugs are typically the highest quality in terms of durability, heat and cold retention and visual appeal. On the other hand, plastic travel mugs are less expensive, microwave-safe and easy to find in a pinch. Travel mugs made from ceramic or glass can be stylish, but they are fragile and non-insulated.

Insulation

Aside from portability, a travel mug needs reliable insulation to keep your drink at the right temperature. A first-rate travel mug should be insulated, which is why it’s a good idea to avoid cheap plastic models that trade convenience for quality. Many manufacturers note the estimated time of temperature retention in the product’s details, making it easy to spot the right fit for your personal time frame. Some models claim to hold hot beverages at temp for up to five hours and cold drinks as long as ninr hours.

Size

There are two sizes to look for in a travel mug: capacity and physical size. Travel mugs come in all sizes and shapes, so it’s important to find one that fits your conveyance. Some oversized mugs hold a large volume but take up too much space for a standard cup holder. Other mugs are large to the eye but with a surprisingly small capacity. It’s ideal to find a travel mug with the best of both features, but make sure it’s the right fit for your commute.

What to look for in a quality travel mug

Leakproof lid

Nobody likes a leaky mug, so thankfully, more travel mugs are manufactured with leakproof and auto-sealing lids. Nobody wants their drinks dripping on them while on the go, so with a leakproof lid, you can carry your travel mug in your bag without worry.

Visual appeal

There are a few standard designs for travel mugs, which means there’s bound to be a shape and size that fits your needs. Traditional travel mugs have either a tapered or tiered build with a bottom that fits universal cup holders. Modern mugs are skinny, sleek and easy to carry around. Stainless steel mugs are often silver and glossy, but there are also plenty of colors and designs to satisfy every taste.

Ease of use

Most modern travel mugs have mouthpieces that are easy to access, but some still require twisting off a lid. We recommend choosing a travel mug that’s simple to open and doesn’t make it difficult to sip as you please. While traditional coffee mugs come equipped with a handle, many popular, modern mugs are slender enough to hold easily with one hand. If your mug is easy to handle, it will help make traveling simpler.

How much you can expect to spend on a travel mug

Most travel mugs range in price between $10 and $30, but there are newer “smart” temperature control mugs that cost from $100 to $200. Although there are some mugs under $10, they are usually not insulated or cheaply made, so avoid discount mugs.

Travel mug FAQ

Are travel mugs microwave-safe?

A. No. Unless a travel mug is made from 100% ceramic, you should avoid the microwave. Stainless steel, like all other metals, isn’t safe to put in the microwave and could cause some serious damage. Plastic, on the other hand, could contain toxins that are released in a microwave. Check the bottom for a “microwave-safe” label, but you’ll be better off keeping travel mugs away from your microwave.

Are travel mugs dishwasher-safe?

A. Most modern travel mugs are not recommended for the dishwasher because of the seams between the inner and outer insulation. Hand-washing with dish soap is the best way to keep your mug clean and mold-free. However, some are dishwasher-safe, according to their manufacturers.

What’s the best travel mug to buy?

Top travel mug

THERMOS Stainless King Vacuum-Insulated Travel Mug

THERMOS Stainless King Vacuum-Insulated Travel Mug

What you need to know: The brand that has become synonymous with “travel mug” delivers an all-around winner with the King. The exterior stays cool to the touch while keeping your liquids hot for up to seven hours. 

What you’ll love: This model comes with a universal handle and is available in 10 colors, including matte and glossy options. It also fits cup holders of all sizes.

What you should consider: This travel mug costs a bit more than other models and the handle may feel awkward to some users.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top travel mug for the money

FineDine Insulated Skinny Stainless Steel Tumbler

FineDine Insulated Skinny Stainless Steel Tumbler

What you need to know: This slender tumbler hides 18 ounces of liquid within a stainless steel, double-wall body that comes in a number of attractive visual designs.

What you’ll love: It’s a leakproof and shatter-resistant option, and it comes with an easy-access flip-top lid.

What you should consider: It doesn’t keep drinks hot or cold as long as more expensive mugs.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Contigo Autoseal West Loop Stainless Steel Travel Mug

Contigo Autoseal West Loop Stainless Steel Travel Mug

What you need to know: Another sleek and slim model, this mug keeps drinks at the right temperature for a long time — up to 7 hours for hot drinks and up to 18 hours for cold.

What you’ll love: The West Loop comes in a wide variety of colors. Its autoseal technology keeps it leakproof, which also means no spilling.

What you should consider: It can be difficult to clean, and some users complain of lingering smells and tastes.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Matt Fleming writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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