What are the Best Coffee Mugs?
The best coffee mugs can make a big difference in how you enjoy your coffee. Insulated mugs can help keep your cup of Joejoe hot for hours, travel mugs have lids to prevent spills, and even regular mugs can be a great way to express your style.
Read below for the Homegrounds guide to the best coffee mugs for home and on the go.
At A Glance:
- TOP PICK: Contigo Insulated Mug
- BUDGET PICK: Le Creuset Stoneware Mug
- BEST DESIGN: W&P Porter Ceramic Mug
Top Rated Coffee Mugs for 2023
Whether you’re looking for jumbo coffee mugs to keep you caffeinated all day or simply the coolest coffee mugs to display in your kitchen, this list has options.
1. Contigo Autoseal West Loop Vacuum Insulated Mug – Best Overall
The Contigo West Loop is a travel mug designed to keep your coffee hot when you’re out and about. The mug has a vacuum-insulated stainless steel construction, which can keep hot drinks hot for up to 5 hours and cold drinks cold for up to 20 hours. It’s why Homegrounds named it one of the best travel coffee mugs.
The standout feature of the Contigo West Loop mug is the unique auto-seal lid. You press the button to drink, and as soon as you release it, the lid is leak-proof and spill-proof. You can also lock the lid. So there’s no chance of pressing the button if you carry the mug in your bag.
You can operate it with one hand to sip more easily on the go.
This is also an excellent mug for anyone who wants to express their style and personality. The Contigo West Loop travel mug comes in more than ten different colors.
Like many travel mugs, the downside to the Contigo Insulated Mug is that it can be challenging to clean. Although the lid is advertised as “easy clean” (it can go in the dishwasher), you have to clean the mug itself by hand.
2. YETI Rambler Tumbler – Most Durable
The YETI brand started out making coolers but has applied the same technology to make products that retain heat. The Rambler Tumbler keeps drinks both hot and cold, with a durability that makes it perfect for adventurers.
It’s constructed from double-walled, insulated stainless steel, engineered to be shatter-resistant. A five-year warranty from YETI backs it. The Rambler Tumbler features the brand’s Magslider lid, making it easy to open and close for drinking with one hand. It’s available in various colors and shaped to fit most car-cup holders.
Unlike many other insulated mugs, the YETI Rambler Tumbler is entirely dishwasher safe, cleaning up after a day out.
The downside to the YETI Rambler Tumbler is that the lid is not leak-proof or split-proof. The magnetic sliding lid maintains insulation and prevents dust from getting into your coffee.
3. KeepCup Reusable Coffee Cup – Best for Coffee to Go
KeepCup isn’t specifically a travel mug, and it was created to reduce the waste that cafe paper cups make. KeepCups are explicitly designed to be barista-friendly, and even the tall coffee mugs will fit under standard commercial espresso machines.
KeepCup is constructed of toughened lime-soda glass with a cool-touch band of cork or silicone. The press-on lid is made from BPA-free plastic and features a splash-proof plug that you remove for sipping. They constructed some original versions of the KeepCup of plastic rather than glass.
The best thing about KeepCup is the benefit for the environment. All the components are recyclable, and after 24 uses, the cup has a smaller impact on the environment than the paper cups you would have used. Some cafés also offer a discount for people with reusable cups.
The individual action of using a KeepCup is a signal of the wider process and values change people are seeking in the community.
The main downside to the KeepCup is that it’s not insulated, so it won’t keep your coffee hot for as long as other travel mugs. However, the inclusion of a lid means that it retains heat better than a regular mug.
If you think this is the right mug for you, read Homegrounds’ full KeepCup review.
4. Ember Smart Mug 2 – Best Self Heating
The Ember Smart Mug is famous for being the world’s first temperature-controlled mug. Unlike coffee mug warmers that heat your cup outside, the Ember Smart Mug heats up.
The mug is made of food-grade stainless steel with a durable ceramic coating. The bottom of the mug has a heating element, controlled by a series of sensors and microprocessors that monitor the temperature. The coaster is a charging pad for the mug’s battery and does not heat the cup.
The standout feature of the Ember Smart Mug 2 is its ability to maintain your ideal coffee temperature. You can select the precise temperature between 120F and 145F via the connected app. The battery in the mug will last up to 90 minutes, but if used on the charging coaster, it can last all day.
The one major disadvantage to the Ember Smart Mug 2 is the price. This coffee mug is the most expensive on this list. It’s also the most expensive on the Homegrounds’ list of best smart coffee mugs.
5. Le Creuset Stoneware Mug – Budget Pick
Le Creuset is most famous for its colorful enameled cast-iron cookware. But the iconic French brand has an extensive range of bakeware and tableware, all available in Le Creuset’s signature colors.
Le Creuset’s mugs are made from stoneware with a colorful enamel coating. Stoneware has an advantage over ceramic mugs, as it is more durable and can resist thermal shock, and Stoneware also has excellent heat retention and distribution qualities. The enamel glaze is scratch-resistant, easy to clean, and won’t stain.
Most people will buy this for the aesthetics or match their existing Le Creuset products. However, the durable construction makes this a good choice for anyone who wants a mug.
The downside to this mug is the price. Although it’s the cheapest mug on this list, getting a complete set of Le Creuset mugs will be very expensive.
6. Bodum Bistro Coffee Mug – Best Value for Money
Bodum Bistro mugs are lightweight coffee mugs designed for everyday home use. Swiss brand Bodum has a long history of making quality coffee gear, including its iconic French press.
These Bodum Bistro mugs are made from heat-resistant borosilicate glass. The double-walled construction helps to improve heat retention and prevents the outside of the mug from becoming too hot.
The double-wall design also prevents condensation from forming when using the mugs for cold drinks.
What makes these mugs great is how practical they are. You can use them in the microwave, the dishwasher, and even in the oven (up to temperatures of 350F). The stylish design and good value for money make them some of the most popular coffee mugs.
The downside to glass coffee mugs is that they are not unbreakable and will break if dropped. You also won’t get the heat retention that you would from insulated mugs.
7. W&P Porter Ceramic Mug – Best Design
The W&P Porter Ceramic Mug is designed for you to take your coffee with you on your commute easily. The mug itself is ceramic with a BPA-free plastic press-on lid. The mug features a silicone band that provides added grip and protects your hands from the hot mug. It’s available in a range of plain colors and W&P’s terrazzo design.
The advantage of the W&P Porter mug is that it combines the aesthetics and feel of a ceramic mug with the convenience of a travel mug. It’s also convenient, as you can use it in both the dishwasher and the microwave.
The downside to this modern coffee mug is that the lid is not spill-proof or leak-proof, so you’ll need to keep it upright. The mug doesn’t retain heat longer than a regular ceramic mug.
What to Look for in a Good Coffee Mug
The things to look for in a good coffee mug will depend on how you plan to use it. A good travel mug’s features are different from a mug you only use at home.
- Type of mug: the type of coffee cup you buy will depend on how you want to use it (such as camping) and sometimes the type of coffee you drink.
- Material: what the coffee mug is made of will impact its ability to retain heat, its durability, and how easy it is to clean.
- Capacity: there’s no point buying 14 oz coffee mugs if you only drink espresso – think about how much coffee you usually drink.
- Design: you might want to think about how the mug’s design fits your taste or the rest of your decor.
The material of your coffee cup makes a huge difference to the drinking experience (and taste, as you’ll see below). Each of these materials has its advantages and disadvantages, and you should consider this when deciding on a new coffee cup.
Ceramic coffee mugs:
- Better heat retention than glass
- Often microwave and dishwasher-safe
- Leaves no aftertaste in your coffee
- Easy to break
Glass coffee mugs:
- Won’t leave any smells or tastes into your coffee
- Can be recycled
- Easy to break
- Limited heat retention
Stoneware coffee mugs:
- Stain resistant
- More expensive than ceramic mugs
Hard plastic coffee mugs:
- Won’t break
- May leave a plastic taste in your coffee
Stainless steel coffee mugs:
- Won’t break
- Good heat retention and distribution
- Not microwave safe
So what’s the best material for coffee mugs? Homegrounds suggests ceramic, stoneware, or glass for home use; and steel or plastic for traveling.
The design of a coffee mug won’t change how the mug functions, but it’s more important than you might think. The color of a mug can impact the taste of your coffee – something to consider before making your decision!
Experiments demonstrate that the colour of the mug affects people’s ratings of a hot beverage…it’s possible that colour contrast between the mug and the coffee may have affected the perceived intensity/sweetness of the coffee.
A nice looking mug makes the whole coffee drinking experience much more enjoyable. Try drinking the same coffee out of a disposable styrofoam cup vs an expensive ceramic mug and you’ll agree.
While all of these mugs are great, one stands out as having the most unique and well-thought-out qualities: Contigo West Loop. It combines good design with practicality, helping you enjoy the best coffee. The innovative Autoseal lid design makes it the best travel mug and a great all-rounder.
You can buy the best coffee mugs in the same places to buy homewares or camping gear.
Amazon: the online marketplace has the best range of coffee mugs across various brands.
Direct from the brand: if you’ve decided on the mug you want, buying directly from the brand might give you a better price and better customer service.
Department stores: if you want to get a better idea of the best coffee cups before buying, shopping in person will give you a more hands-on experience.
Local artists: if you’re looking for unique or beautiful coffee mugs, try something one-of-a-kind.
We do not recommend reheating your coffee in a microwave, but yes, some coffee mugs are microwave safe, but it depends on the material and finishes. Mugs that contain any amount of metal, including smart mugs, must never be placed in the microwave. Ceramic or glass mugs are generally microwave-safe, but may contain metallic paint that cannot go in the microwave. The best option is to check that your mug is specifically marked as microwave safe.
The best coffee mugs to keep coffee hot are smart mugs and thermal coffee mugs. Smart mugs contain a heating element that will heat your coffee as long as the battery lasts or as long as it’s plugged in. Thermal coffee mugs don’t have a heating element but instead use insulation to keep your coffee hot, sometimes for as long as 5 hours.
- Summer, D. (n.d) What Is a Better Insulator: Paper, Glass, Plastic, or Styrofoam? Retrieved June 7, 2019, from https://www.livestrong.com/article/345286-what-is-a-better-insulator-paper-glass-plastic-or-styrofoam/
- Van Doorn, G.H., Wuillemin, D., and Spence, C. (2014, November 25). Does the colour of the mug influence the taste of the coffee? Retrieved June 7, 2019, from https://flavourjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/2044-7248-3-10#B17
- Johnson, J. (2010, October 11). Lifechanger: Contigo Vacuum Sealed West Loop Stainless Steel Travel Mug. Retrieved June 7, 2019, from https://gizmodo.com/lifechanger-contigo-vacuum-sealed-west-loop-stainless-5661307
- Chris (2018, October 2). Seriously, This is the Best Travel Coffee Mug You Can Buy. Retrieved June 7, 2019, from https://www.manmadediy.com/3988-seriously-this-is-the-best-travel-coffee-mug-you-can-buy
- Keep Cup. (n.d.). Retrieved June 7, 2019, from https://www.designboom.com/food/keep-cup/
- Agate, J. (2019, February 7). 10 best reusable coffee cups. Retrieved June 7, 2019, from https://www.independent.co.uk/extras/indybest/house-garden/coffee/best-reusable-coffee-cup-a7510606.html
- Lemke, E. (2015, October 28). Liquid Test: YETI Rambler ‘Personal Drink Cooler’. Retrieved June 7, 2019, from https://gearjunkie.com/yeti-rambler-tumbler-review