Humanity will always be tortured by deep, aching questions. But “where can I find a convenient mug that will keep my drinks hot (or cold) when I’m far away from home?” doesn’t need to be one of them any longer.
If you want to bring your coffee to work, then you’re going to want a container that can keep it at a perfect temperature. But don’t go and reach for a bulky thermos when there’s plenty of affordable, convenient travel mugs that can make your life a whole lot easier. Unlike large, insulated thermoses, travel mugs are convenient to use in the car or at work. They usually run at less than 18 oz, and they can fit in a cup holder. A lot of travel mugs can be used safely with one hand, and some have auto-sealing lids that prevent spillage, even when you’re clumsy.
Travel mugs can also help you save money. Starbucks addicts can save $5 a day bringing their own coffee to work. Just think, most travel mugs will pay for themselves after just a week of use. But if you’re bringing your own coffee to work, you’ll want to find a travel mug that’s especially good at keeping coffee warm. Oh, and maybe you’ll want one that’s easy to clean. Come to think of it, there’s a lot of options in the world of travel mugs. That’s why we’ve taken the time to find the best travel mugs for everybody’s needs.
Thermos Stainless King 16 oz Mug ($20)
If you’re looking for a classic travel mug with a handle, then you should take a look at the Thermos Stainless King. It’s a durable mug that will keep your drinks warm for up to 5 hours (or cool for 10), and it has a lid with drinking holes on both sides, so both right and left-handed people can use this mug.
This Thermos mug has an aperture-styled lid, which most people have probably encountered on other bottles and travel mugs. This style of lid has gained some notoriety for a handful of reasons. They can be kind of leaky, and they can be difficult to clean. Thankfully, Thermos has managed to spare us from these lid nightmares. The lid to the Thermos mug is secure, and it won’t leak when it’s rolling around in a car or thumping around in a bag. It’s also easy to take apart the Thermos’ aperture-styled lid, which makes it reasonably easy to clean.
Stanley Classic Auto-Seal Vacuum Mug ($17)
If you’re looking for an affordable, straightforward travel mug, then you should consider the Stanley vacuum mug. It sports a classic design, and it uses vacuum seal technology to keep your drinks hot for around 6 hours. Not to mention, this mug is easy to open with one hand, and it has the same auto-sealing technology as the Contigo mug, so you don’t have to worry about spilling coffee all over your car or in your bag.
Honestly, the best thing about this mug is its simplicity. Its lid is made of three plastic parts that are large enough to keep track of and easy to clean. There’s no handle or safety lock on this mug, because there’s no way that the small button on the lid will accidentally become depressed in a bag. This Stanley mug is also really easy to drink from, especially when compared to the relatively complicated Thermos mug.
The Stanley mug can keep drinks hot for about 6 hours, which is an hour more than most of our other favorite travel mugs. that extra hour may be huge for people who have long commutes to work, or people who take late breaks.
Contigo Handled Autoseal 16 oz Stainless Mug ($21)
Some people are unusually good at spilling coffee. If you’re one of those people, you should think about getting a Contigo mug. It’s a unique mug that’s built with auto-seal technology, so the only time that liquid can leave this mug is when you’re dumping it into your mouth. How do you dump the liquid in your mouth, exactly? Well, you use your thumb to press the button at the top of the Contigo’s handle. Like the Thermos mug, the Contigo’s lid has an opening on each side, so you can drink from this tumbler whether you’re right or left handed.
Now, this mug may have auto-seal technology, but there’s a chance that the button on top of the handle will get depressed in a bag. Granted, the button would need to be continually depressed to make a big mess, but even a small mess can ruin your day. That’s why the Contigo bottle has safety lock that prevents any liquid from leaving the bottle when it’s engaged. But don’t go thinking that the safety lock over-complicates this tumbler’s design, it’s easy to disengage the safety lock without even looking at the bottle.
Like most of our other favorite travel mugs, the Contigo can keep coffee hot for up to 5 hours, and it can keep drinks cool for 10 hours. It’s also surprisingly easy to take apart and clean, because it isn’t made up of a bunch of small parts.
Zojirushi Stainless 16 oz Travel Mug ($24)
If you’re looking for a travel mug that will keep your drinks hot for an outrageously long time, then you should consider the Zojirushi travel mug. This bottle is made with a vacuum seal technology that keeps liquids from their temperature or their freshness over time. Like a traditionally insulated thermos, the Zojirushi travel mug can keep your drinks hot for up to 12 hours, or cool for 24 hours. But unlike old, bulky thermoses, this mug can be effortlessly opened with one hand. Plus, it can fit in a cupholder.
It’s nice to think about a travel mug that can keep your drink hot for 12 hours, but a lot of people simply don’t need a mug that can retain heat for that long. Most people can drink through 16 oz relatively quickly, especially if they’re driving around or working at a desk. The Zojirushi mug is best for people who want to save money by bringing coffee from home instead of buying one on their break, or for people who tend to parcel a drink throughout the day. Of course, this mug isn’t that expensive, so maybe you should consider it in case you ever need to keep a drink fresh for 12 hours.
Ember 12 oz Temperature Control Travel Mug ($150)
It’s hard to reinvent the wheel. Travel mugs have been around for decades, and they really haven’t gone through a lot of changes. But one idea has nagged at mug-makers for years. “Why don’t we use electronics to keep drinks hot, instead of filling mugs with insulation and gaskets?” It’s a great idea that’s difficult to execute. For one, most electronic mugs are heated up on exposed heating elements, which are easy to burn yourself on, especially if you try to take them on the go. It’s also very easy to burn coffee on a heating element, and it’s difficult to use a rudimentary heating element to keep coffee at a drinkable temperature.
But the Ember is an electronic travel mug that seems to do everything right. It’s a smart, battery powered mug with an internal heating element. It’s easy to take on the go, and you can tell the Ember to maintain a specific temperature through an app on your phone or the dial that’s at the bottom of the mug. Your desired temperature and remaining battery life are displayed on the mug’s LED screen, which looks a lot more sleek than you’d actually think. Oh, it also has a really nice vacuum sealed lid. You press down in the center of the lid to open it, and then you can drink from any angle. In some ways, it’s more convenient than a twist or push-button lid.
Now, this technology is relatively new, and it naturally has a few shortcomings. For one, the Ember mug only has a battery life of 2 hours. That’s less than half as long as some of our favorite travel mugs. To be fair, the Ember mug maintains a precise temperature when it’s in use, which may be worth more to some people than a mug that keeps coffee either too hot or just-warm-enough for 5 hours. You could also dock the Ember mug on it’s charging coaster when in use, which obviously extends the battery life to infinity. Sadly, the charging coaster is too big to fit in a car’s cup holder.