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For coffee devotees, a travel mug is as much of an AM uniform as a backpack or briefcase. Having a mug that keeps your single-origin pour-over steaming hot or your iced chai latte cold and refreshing can make or break your day. What’s more, reusable travel mugs are better for the environment and easier on our wallets since we can brew and go without that unnecessary trip to the local coffee shop.
We researched the features that make for stellar mugs including double-wall insulation for temperature control, leak- and spill-proof lids, and ease of drinking via a push-button, flip top, or straw. We also looked at less expected features like aesthetics and even self-brewing mugs. In the end, the Contigo 20-Ounce Autoseal West Loop Vacuum-Insulated Travel Mug was our favorite for heat-retention and preventing spills.
To help you narrow down your choices, here are the best travel coffee mugs to get your morning off to an amazing start.
Best Overall: Contigo 20-Ounce Autoseal West Loop Vacuum-Insulated Travel Mug
What We Love: Impressive temperature retention, ergonomic button lock, variety of colors and patterns
What We Don’t Love: Not dishwasher-safe, doesn’t fit all cupholders
This crowd-pleasing travel Contigo Travel mug has all the features needed for the coffee lover on the move. The Thermalock vacuum insulation keeps drinks piping hot for up to five hours or icy cold for up to 12 hours.
An easy-to-push button allows for one-handed drinking, but it can also be locked to prevent unintended pressing. Contigo's patented Autoseal technology prevents both leaks and spills. Since the lid is constructed from one connected piece, there’s nothing to misplace when you pop it in the top rack of your dishwasher. Our Commerce Editor, Siobhan Wallace, advises doing this, or the spring inside the lid will start to accumulate gunk (if you have to hand wash, rinse out the lid after using). The stainless-steel body does need to be washed by hand.
In addition to the 20-ounce, this is available in 16 and 24 ounces. With all sizes in various colors and patterns, the West Loop travel mug will take a prominent place in your cabinet, car, and office for years to come.
Dimensions: 2.75 x 10.4 inches | Weight: 11.7 ounces | Sizes Available: 16, 20 and 24 ounces
Best Budget: Contigo Snapseal Byron Stainless Steel Travel Mug
What We Love: Impressive temperature retention, variety of colors and patterns, one-handed drinking
What We Don’t Love: Not dishwasher recommended, doesn’t fit all cupholders
Contigo has proven to be a leader in insulated travel mugs, and while this one is wallet-friendly, it doesn’t skimp on quality or features. Most importantly, it keeps drinks hot for up to seven hours or cold for up to 18, thanks to the Thermalock double-wall vacuum insulation.
The easy-to-use SnapSeal lid lets you drink from the mug one-handed without the need to remove (or misplace) a cap or lid, and it’s leak-proof when closed. It’s available in both a 16-ounce and 20-ounce size and with or without a slip-proof grip or a handle if you prefer.
This travel mug also comes in a bevy of colors from neutral gunmetal and licorice to flashier radiant orchid or vivacious, a metallic red-fuschia. Hand-washing is recommended, though the lid is safe on the dishwasher's top rack.
Dimensions: 2.5 x 7.1 inches (16-ounce); 2.75 x 8 inches (20-ounce) | Sizes Available: 16 and 20 ounces
Best for Iced Coffee: Bubba 24-Ounce Envy Stainless Steel Insulated Mug
What We Love: Dual-walled to keep drink cold, reusable plastic straw included, slip-proof design
What We Don’t Love: Not dishwasher recommended, straw can be difficult to clean, only for cold beverages
The last thing you want when you brew iced coffee is for the ice to melt quickly and water down your drink. This dual-wall vacuum-insulated stainless steel mug, which is available in 18, 24, and 32 ounces, will keep that cold brew or iced cappuccino chilled for hours.
This travel mug comes with a removable leak-proof Eastman Tritan lid that can withstand accidental drops or dings and can be used with or without the included plastic straw. The tumbler fits most vehicle cup holders and has a silicone base pad on the bottom to prevent unwanted sliding in the car or on the table. It’s also resistant to stains and odors, so you can switch between your chai latte and cup of joe without lingering flavors or aromas. Bubba backs this reusable mug with a lifetime guarantee.
Dimensions: 3.6 x 10.5 inches | Weight: 13.1 ounces | Sizes Available: 18, 24, and 32 ounces
Related: The Best Cold-Brew Coffee Makers
Best With Handle: Chillout Life Stainless Steel Travel Mug with Removable Handle
What We Love: Removable handle, sturdy stainless steel design, handy accessories
What We Don’t Love: Not dishwasher recommended, may be slippery without handle
The drawback to travel mugs that come equipped with handles is that while the handle is convenient and useful, it’s not always needed and sometimes gets in the way.
This brushed-finish stainless-steel mug solves that conundrum with an easily removable ergonomic non-slip handle with secure, snug-fitting top rings. The double-wall vacuum-insulated technology keeps drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to eight hours, yet keeps the outer walls cool to the touch and free from condensation. There are two clear leak-proof lids, one that flips for cold drinks and another that slides for hot ones. It also comes with a five-year warranty, stainless-steel reusable straw, and a cleaning brush.
Dimensions: 2.75 x 8 inches | Weight: 1.15 pounds | Size Available: 30 ounces
Related: The Best Coffee Makers
Best Easy-to-Clean: Yeti Rambler Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Tumbler
What We Love: Dishwasher safe, impressive temperature retention, resistant to drops and dings
What We Don’t Love: Magnetized lid isn’t completely spill-proof
Some travel coffee mugs claim to be safe for the dishwasher, but upon further inspection or reading reviews from those who have tried it, they are found to gradually lose their insulating capabilities or wear out more quickly if they aren’t hand-washed.
Not the Yeti, which can deftly withstand frequent dishwashing, leaving you more time to enjoy your coffee. This double-wall insulated tumbler fits in standard-sized cup holders and comes equipped with Yeti's standard MagSlider Lid, the only lid which locks using the power of magnets. It has a no-sweat design to keep the outside dry and is available in a variety of durable Duracoat colors that add grip yet won’t fade, peel, or crack due to wear and tear—or the heat of the dishwasher.
"This mug is a hero for slow sippers like me. My coffee stays hot for hours. The sliding lid is easy to open and close, and the mug itself fits comfortably in my hand." —Taysha Murtaugh, Commerce Editorial Director
Dimensions: 2.75 x 6.9 inches | Weight: 12.7 ounces | Size Available: 20 ounces
Related: The Best Single-Serve Coffee Makers
Best Style: Hannah Martin Handmade Travel Tumbler
What We Love: Handcrafted, slim profile fits in cup holders and backpacks, dishwasher safe
What We Don’t Love: Chipping and breaking potential, limited temperature retention, heavy
Stainless steel travel mugs are utilitarian and sleek, but sometimes you want to hold something a bit more stylish that sparks joy while delivering your dose of caffeine. These gorgeous 20-ounce travel tumblers are handcrafted from porcelain and layered with a rich lead-free glaze by ceramicist Hannah Martin in a basement studio on her farm in Grayson County, Virginia.
Available in calming, soothing blue sky or Borealis multi, the eco-friendly mug is slender enough to fit in a vehicle cup holder or in a backpack’s mesh pocket. The snug silicone lid prevents leaks, and the silicone sleeve protects your hands from your hot brewed beverage while giving you a moment of zen. Both the mug and lid are safe in the microwave and the dishwasher.
Dimensions: 3.5 x 8 inches | Size Available: 20 ounces
Related: The Best Coffee Makers with Grinders
Best French Press: BruTrek 2.0 French Press Coffee Travel Mug
What We Love: In-mug brewing, durable rugged construction
What We Don’t Love: Doesn’t fit in all cupholders, not dishwasher safe
If you are a coffee aficionado in search of the absolute freshest cup on the go, look no further than this 20-ounce travel mug that comes with a built-in French press.
The unique plunger has a plate that hovers an ultra-fine mesh screen until it’s fully depressed, after which it recesses into the screen to halt the brewing process, preventing over-extraction and bitterness in your brew. The mug’s rugged stainless steel construction will hold up to those unavoidable bangs and bumps, double-wall insulation keeps your beverage hot no matter the outside temperature, and a spill-proof lockable lid keeps every drop where it should be. It comes in several attractive colors and is easy to disassemble and clean.
Dimensions: 3.75 x 7.5 inches | Weight: 15.9 ounces | Size Available: 20 ounces
Related: The Best French Press Coffee Makers
Able to keep your coffee sealed and hot for hours, at least one, if not several, Contigo 20-ounce Autoseal West Loop Vacuum-Insulated Travel Mugs (view at Amazon) should have a home in your kitchen cabinets. If you want an insulated mug that can be thrown into the dishwasher, place the Yeti Rambler Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Tumbler (view at Amazon) in your cart.
What to Look for When Buying Travel Mugs
If you are toting your beverage, you’ll want a travel mug with a lid that’s easy to open and close, comfortable for sipping, and leak-proof. Travel mugs come with different lid styles including those that are thumb-sliding, push-button, flip-top, and twist-off, as well as those that use a straw.
While twist-off lids are secure, they are a bit more cumbersome from which to drink as they have to be opened and closed each time. Flip-top and thumb-sliding lids aren’t often quite as spill-proof, but they make sipping more effortless and can often be opened with one hand. If you prefer sipping your cold drinks through a straw, some lids can accommodate that and often include eco-friendly reusable stainless steel straws. And even if a travel mug isn’t dishwasher safe, the lid often is, making cleanup a breeze.
If you are taking your beverage to the office, soccer field, beach, or gym, you aren’t necessarily going to be drinking it quickly, so you’ll want a mug that keeps your coffee hot and your iced drinks cold. Many mugs are able to retain temperature for upwards of eight hours through features including double-walled insulation and snug-fitting lids. Mugs with stainless steel construction best hold the temperature, while silicone and plastic are less effective. Some mugs are better suited for hot drinks than cold ones, so keep that in mind when considering different models. To boost temperature retention, preheat your mug with hot water, pour it out, and then add your coffee; likewise, store your mug in the refrigerator before using it for cold drinks.
From short and squat to tall and slender and everything in-between, mugs come in all shapes and sizes. While some people might appreciate the portable size of smaller, wider mugs, others might be frustrated that they don’t fit in all cup holders and are different to hold for those with small hands. Taller, thinner models can be tucked into mesh pockets in backpacks, but they more easily tip over.
There is also the consideration of whether or not to purchase a mug with a handle, which can make for more ergonomic, seamless drinking but also get in the way if it’s not removable. Handleless mugs often have a sleeve that assures a slip-proof grip. Finally, there’s a question of aesthetics, from basic black or navy to bright colors and modern patterns, which can boost your mood as much as the liquid inside them.
How can you get the coffee smell out of a travel mug?
While this might seem like a challenge, it isn’t. "The easiest way to get the coffee smell out of a travel mug is to put a tablespoon of baking soda in the mug and fill it with hot water," says Crystal Reinwald, culinary instructor and private chef. "Let it soak for an hour or two."
Can you put coffee travel mugs in the microwave?
No, you generally can’t. "Travel mugs contain metal and cannot be placed in a microwave," says Reinwald. "It is best to warm up your beverage in a different container and then pour it into your travel mug." Chef Cathy Asapahu of Ayara Thai in Los Angeles adds, “That's a recipe for disaster AND for a fire if your travel mug has metal. Microwaving plastic is also potentially harmful to the mug and you."
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
Kelly Magyarics is a freelance journalist with more than 15 years of experience covering beverages, food, lifestyle, and travel for a variety of digital and print publications. She has written about the secrets of perfecting the pour-over, compiled the best coffee cocktail recipes, and is always in search of an amazing espresso to stave off jet lag when she travels the world.
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