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Best Smart Coffee Mugs: 3 Self-Heating Cups To Keep Your Drink Hot

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We’ve all been there. You take the time to make the perfect coffee at the perfect temperature, only to discover it’s gone cold before you drink it. Before you go reheating it (please don’t) or making another cup, consider getting a coffee mug that keeps coffee hot for you.

Let’s take a look at some of the features you’ll find on smart mugs and review some of the best.

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Best Overall Best Overall
Ember Smart Mug 2
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Ember Smart Mug 2
  • Ceramic or stainless steel
  • 10oz and 14oz sizes
  • Charging pad
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Best Value Best Value
Muggo Travel Mug
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Muggo Travel Mug
  • Stainless steel
  • 12oz size
  • Charging pad
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Budget Pick Budget Pick
Tech Tools Travel Mug
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Tech Tools Travel Mug
  • Stainless steel
  • 14oz size
  • 12V power
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The Best Smart Mugs in 2021

Whether you’re after the very latest in technology or just want the simplest way to keep your drink warm, there’s a smart mug for you. Here are a few of our favorites.

1. Ember Smart Mug 2 – Best Overall

Specifications

  • Material: Ceramic or stainless steel

  • Size: 10oz,14oz
  • Power supply: Charging pad
  • App control: Yes

The Ember brand is practically synonymous with smart mugs, claiming to be the world’s first.  It’s the best smart mug with temperature control on our list here. While other mugs use insulation or direct heat, Ember uses a combination of sensors and microprocessors to ensure a precise temperature is maintained (1).

The technology inside this mug has implications far beyond coffee.

It’s not just the heating aspect either – Ember has plenty of user-friendly functions you won’t find elsewhere. Connect the Ember app to set a precise number in celsius or Fahrenheit and get an alert on your phone when the temp has been reached. You can also add presets for different drinks, and pair with multiple mugs. 

With the built-in battery, your drink will stay at this temperature for up to 90 minutes. If it’s on the charging coaster, it can last all day. The minor downsides to the Ember are that the mug needs to be hand-washed, and the charging coaster needs to be plugged into an outlet (there’s no option for USB). 

The price point will put many people off, but slow sippers should find this a worthy investment.

These details are for the stainless steel or ceramic mug. Ember also makes a travel mug model with 3-hour battery life (2).

2. Muggo Travel Mug – Best Value

Specifications

  • Material: Stainless steel

  • Size: 12oz
  • Power supply: Charging pad
  • App control: No

Self-heating technology makes even more sense when added to a travel mug. When you’re on the road you’re not necessarily going to have access to make fresh coffee or tea when yours goes cold.

Muggo is our choice for the best heated travel mug with temperature control. It uses a USB charging pad to power the mug’s li-on batteries, which will regulate the temperature of your drink for three hours. We love this pad because it has two slots to charge the battery and keep the mug warm at the same time.

There’s no app here. You select via buttons on either side of the LED temperature display. You can choose between 95-150 degrees in 5-degree intervals. The mug itself is insulated stainless steel, with a push-to-open spill-resistant lid.

3. Tech Tools Travel Mug – Budget Pick

Specifications

  • Material: Stainless steel

  • Size: 14oz
  • Power supply: 12V
  • App control: No

This is the most lo-fi option on our list. But it also comes in at just a fraction of the price of the others. If your primary concern is sipping hot beverages while you’re driving, this is a much more affordable option.

The base connects to the 12V outlet in your car and will heat the mug directly. It doesn’t offer temperature control per se, but the retro dial on the front will tell you how hot your drink is. Once it’s in the correct temperature range, you can flip the ON-OFF switch so it won’t overheat.

How to choose the right self-heating coffee mug

The first question you might be asking is why you really need an electric coffee mug. If your brew goes cold, why not just reheat it? Well, if you want your coffee to taste like coffee, that’s a big no-no.

Reheating reorganizes the chemical makeup of the coffee and totally ruins the flavor profile.

The solution is to keep the coffee at the right temperature from the beginning, where the smart mug comes in. Here are some things you should take into consideration when buying a high-tech coffee mug.

Best smart coffee mug vs mug warmer
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Portability

As we’ve seen from the Ember, not all smart mugs are for the road. But if you are someone who plans to travel, you’ll need a smart mug that can go with you. While most regular travel mugs do use some insulation, a heated travel mug with temperature regulation will keep your coffee at the ideal drinking temperature for longer.

If you don’t plan ever to leave your desk, you might also consider a mug warmer. You need to plug them in to work. But they are generally cheaper, plus you can use them with regular coffee mugs.

Battery life

Hand in hand with the mug’s portability is the battery life of the mug. Once the mug leaves the safety of its charger pad or power supply, it’s going to be running on battery power to keep your coffee warm. You might not need much if you’re just walking around the office or running errands in the car, but if you want to be out all day, you’ll need a long-lasting battery.

Temperature control: how advanced is your high tech coffee mug?

To make our list, these mugs need to have a way of heating the coffee, rather than just using insulation to keep your drink warm, such as a thermal coffee maker. (But be aware that they’re not designed to reheat completely cold coffee). You’ll want to check whether the mug has a single temperature setting or if you have the option to choose your desired temperature.

While the ideal temperature for drinking coffee is 136 degrees, you will experience different flavor notes at different temperatures (3).

The Verdict

If you love your coffee but don’t like to rush your morning brew, a smart mug could be just what you need to extend your enjoyment. The Ember Smart Mug 2 might not have the portability of other options, but the sleek good looks, and advanced features make it stand out from the crowd.

Ember Smart Mug 2
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FAQs

The best temperature for brewing coffee is between 195 and 205 degrees (4). If you don’t have a thermometer, leave your water to cool for 30-60 seconds after boiling.

The best mug warmer will suit both your needs and your budget. We like the simplicity of the Bestinnkits Smart Mug Warmer, with a gravity induction switch that turns on automatically when it senses your mug.

A thermos is different from a smart mug as it’s designed to maintain the temperature of a liquid rather than heat it. It works for both hot and cold liquids and can be a cost-effective alternative to a smart mug. Check out our review of our favorite thermoses.

  1. Goddard, E. (2021, March 27). Is the Ember Mug² the smart mug we never knew we needed? The Independent. https://www.independent.co.uk/extras/indybest/house-garden/coffee/ember-mug-2-review-b1822183.html.
  2. Ember Travel Mug² (EU). Ember®. (n.d.). https://ember.com/products/ember-travel-mug-2-eu.
  3. The Ideal Temperature to Drink Coffee. Driftaway Coffee. (2019, July 23). https://driftaway.coffee/temperature/.
  4. How to Brew Coffee. NCA. (n.d.). https://www.ncausa.org/About-Coffee/How-to-Brew-Coffee.
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I come from a country where people drink domestic coffee (what the rest of the world knows as Turkish coffee) and where Nescafe designates all instant coffees ever made. So, imagine my first encounter with, say, Hario V60...Yes, it was love at first sight.  Today I’m a moderate coffee connoisseur and a huge coffee lover. My favorite brewing methods are the V60 and traditional espresso-making. Yet, despite my country’s long tradition of Turkish-coffee-adoring, I somehow cannot stand it. That’s just too dark, even for me.

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