8 Best Travel Mugs For Coffee reviewed.
When you don’t want to be let down by overpriced takeaway coffee, why not just brew coffee at home with a coffee maker and take it with you?
Of course, you can’t simply choose to use water bottles and expect everything to be fine. What you need is a good travel mug for coffee. Here are the top picks for best travel mugs for coffee.
At A Glance: See on Amazon
- Best Overall: Stanley Classic One Hand Travel Mug
- For Commuters: Contigo Autoseal West Loop Mug
- For Bikers: Camelbak Forge
best coffee Travel Mug: 8 Top Picks
What you need from a travel coffee mug could be very different from what your friend or colleague needs. Below this list, we have some tips on helping you choose the right travel coffee mug for your needs. But for now, here’s an overview of our favorite ones.
1. Stanley Classic One Hand Travel Mug
Best for camping and other outdoor activities
Volume: 12, 16, & 20-oz.
- Construction: Double-wall 18/8 stainless steel
- Keeps hot for: 4.5/7/9 hours
- Lid type: screw-in, press to drink
The Stanley Classic One Hand Travel Mug is a reliable option for the more outdoorsy type. This stainless steel travel mug has a thermal lid and can keep your tea or coffee warm for hours, making it perfect for long hikes.
This heat-insulating, stainless steel travel mug resembles the full-size Stanley Classic thermoses but is more portable. The largest size is 20 ounces, which should just about satisfy even the thirstiest coffee drinkers. The larger the size, the better the heat insulation is as well – the 20-oz mug promises to keep drinks hot for 9 hours, while the smallest (12-oz) retains heat for a relatively modest 4.5 hours.
The Stanley Classic comes with a leak-and-spill-proof lid, which means you can put it in your backpack without worrying about ruining your change of clothes. It’s also good for driving, as it’s easy to drink from it one handed.
Read our full review of the Stanley Classic Travel Mug.
- Retains heat very well
- You can use one hand to drink from it
- Built like a tank
- The smallest size doesn’t retain heat well
- The lack of a handle makes it awkward to hold
2. Contigo Autoseal West Loop
Best for commuters
Volume: 16 & 20-oz.
- Construction: Vacuum-insulated stainless steel & Bisphenol A-free plastic
- Keeps hot for: 5 hours
- Lid type: Auto-lock/push button
- Special feature: Top-rack, dishwasher-safe lid
The Contigo Autoseal West Loop is a sleek vacuum-insulated tumbler/travel mug that can brighten any morning commute, no matter what your mode of transport may be. The Contigo West Loop stainless steel mug can keep your drink warm for up to 5 hours.
The main attraction of this stainless steel mug, though, is its lid design. You can’t get much better than this: the West Loop has a easy-clean lid that helps prevents spills and leaks. The lid seals automatically once closed, and the mug can easily be kept in your bag, letting it double as a water bottle for trips to the gym. It can be opened completely for cleaning and is for dishwasher-cleaning. It’s designed to fit the average car’s cup holder. Because you only need one hand to open the lid, it’s a good choice for drivers as well.
This travel tumbler is available in 16-ounce and 20-ounce capacities.
- Easy-to-clean lid design
- Keeps your coffee warm for hours
- Designed with commuters in mind
- Easy to burn yourself if you overfill the mug or don’t wait for the coffee to cool
- Exterior paint gets scratched easily
3. The CamelBak Forge
Best travel mug for cyclists and hikers
Volume: 12 & 16-oz.
- Construction: 18/8 vacuum-insulated stainless steel & BPA-free plastic
- Keeps hot for: 6 hours
- Lid type: Leak-proof closure
- Special feature: One-handed, self-sealing drink opening
The CamelBak Forge is one of the best travel coffee mugs for cyclists. This double-walled stainless steel tumbler is vacuum-insulated and will keep your drinks hot for long. Even as a 16-ounce mug, the Forge remains compact. It has a finger carry loop, which makes it easy to carry on bike trips.
The Forge has a well-engineered lid which is easy to open with one hand. After use, it can be removed and washed in the dishwasher. It also has an “impact cap” on the bottom preventing damage if you drop the mug, so you don’t have to worry about breaking it on the move. A great way to transport hot or cold coffee, fast.
Read our full review of the Camelbak Forge.
- Excellent lid design
- Good insulation
- Impact cap prevents damage from accidental drops
- Expensive for its size
- Lid has a narrow opening which only allows for small sips
4. Contigo SnapSeal Byron
Best budget travel mug
Volume: 16, 20, & 24-oz.
- Construction: Double-wall stainless steel body, Bisphenol A-free plastic lid
- Keeps hot for: 7 hours
- Lid type: Snap to open/close
- Special feature: Lid dishwasher-safe (hand-wash body)
The Contigo SnapSeal Byron is basically a more affordable alternative to the West Loop (although it has most of the same features). With a leak-proof lid and Thermalock vacuum insulation which promises to keep your beverage hot for 7 hours, it’s a steal for its price.
All-in-All: The Snapseal is a decent mug with an attractive price and a lifetime warranty.
- Well-engineered design
- Good insulation
- Lid is not as spill-proof as West Loop’s
- Lid can be awkward to drink from
5. The KeepCup Brew Glass
Best travel coffee mug for the trendsetters
Volume: 6, 8, 12, & 16-oz.
- Construction: Tempered soda-lime glass
- Keeps hot for: Less than 1 hour
- Lid type: Press-fit, Bisphenol A-free polypropylene
- Special feature: Microwave-safe (except for the cork band model)
Glass coffee cups are all the rage now, and you can be on-trend with this KeepCup travel mug. Although it might intuitively seem that glass and mugs don’t mix well, the portable KeepCup features a holding grip made of cork.
The KeepCup is constructed with tempered soda-lime glass, which is an environmentally friendly option as it is easily recyclable. The lid is made from polypropylene plastic and is splash-proof. The KeepCup was designed to reduce waste from takeaway mugs. It’s a barista standard coffee cup, with the target demographic being people who regularly get their caffeine fix from a café.
Read our full review of the KeepCup Glass.
- Glass body gives trendy look
- Not the most durable mug
- Heat insulation is lower than competitors
6. The Zojirushi SM-SA60-BA Stainless Steel Mug
Best for the multitaskers
Volume: 12, 16, & 20-oz.
- Construction: BPA-free plastic & vacuum insulated stainless steel
- Keeps hot for: 6+ hours
- Lid type: Flip-open; disassembles for cleaning
- Special feature: Non-stick lining for ease of cleaning
The Zojirushi SM-SA60-BA vacuum-insulated travel mug is a good all-rounder that will satisfy the most discerning users. It is available in three different sizes and a variety of colors, all of which have the same features. It has a great spill-proof & lockable lid, meaning you can carry it in your bag safely, and it’s usable with one hand.
Heat insulation is good enough for even the lengthiest commutes . Your hot coffee will stay piping hot for a long time.
The 1-inch lid opening is larger than in many other travel mugs, meaning it’s more convenient to pour if you want to drink from your own mug. With a non-stick coating on the inside, the Zojirushi is a breeze to clean. The lid, made from plastic, can be completely disassembled for a deep clean.
While it may be on the expensive side, the five-year warranty speaks to its durability.
Read our full review of the Zojirushi Travel Mug.
- Elegant design
- Great heat insulation
- Non-stick coating makes it easy to clean
- Rattles in large cup holder
- Not dishwasher-safe
7. Ello Campy Travel Mug
Best for camping
Volume: 11 & 18-oz.
- Construction: Double-wall stainless steel, BPA-fee plastic
- Keeps hot for: 6 hours
- Lid type: Slide to open/close, leak-proof
- Special feature: Dishwasher-safe lid (hand-wash tumbler)
The Ello Campy has the nostalgic vibe of old-school speckled camping gear with a cork-lined handle (Some of us never got over the trauma of burning our fingers on a steel mug full of piping hot coffee.) It will keep your hot or cold coffee in your desired temperature — piping hot for up to six hours, and iced coffee cold for hours – even up to 24! It looks more like a large coffee mug, which is cool.
The spill-proof slider lid allows you to carry it in your hand without spilling. But we wouldn’t recommend keeping it in your backpack or briefcase.
At 3” across, the wide-mouthed Campy is easy to get your hand or brush inside for cleaning, but it can be a tight fit in smaller car cup holders. Hand-washing is recommended for the tumbler; the lid is safe to be washed in dishwasher.
If you have fond memories of cooking outside with vintage enameled pots, pans, and dishes, the Campy will make you smile. Now if it only came with the smell of a campfire…
- Charming campground style
- Handle offers good grip
- Lid design prevents spills and leaks
- Tight seal (no air release hole) makes sipping a challenge
- Tumbler requires hand-washing (lid is safe for the dishwasher)
8. Espro Travel Coffee Press
Best for those who want to brew in their travel mug
Volume: 14-oz. (makes 10 oz of brewed coffee)
- Construction: Double-wall vacuum-insulated stainless
- Keeps hot for: 4-6 hours
- Lid type: Screw-in, BPA-free plastic
- Special feature: Filters dishwasher-safe in top rack (hand wash travel tumbler )
We confess: the ability to brew a fresh pot of French press and take it with us is something we’ve come to love over the years. The Espro Coffee Travel Press does this, and more. Its insulation ensures the Espro will keep your brewed coffee warm for 4 to 6 hours.
The Espro has double micro-filters in the plunger. Each is 9 to 12 times finer than the average French press, which works better for trapping fine sediment. If that isn’t enough, the Espro’s Paper Filter Press Coffee method gives you the option of brewing a cup with the clean taste of pour over coffee. Slip a paper filter between the double micro-filters before you press, and the oils and sediment will be trapped. This thing essentially works like a cross between a french press and Aeropress.
And finally, the manufacturer has instructions on how to use the Espro to make cold brew. The only thing it can’t do is drink your coffee for you.
Read our full review of the Espro Travel Press.
- Brew and carry in one container
- Good heat insulation (4-6 hours for hot beverages)
- Screw-on lid prevents leaks
- Can’t be used one handed for drinking on-the-go
- As with all French press coffee makers, filter cleaning can be a chore
- Available in only one size
How To Choose A Good Travel Coffee Mug
A good coffee mug can really brighten up your day. It’s a small luxury to be able to brew coffee just the way you like it and enjoy it on the go. In the long run, it’s also a lot more affordable than regularly getting takeaway, and better for the environment.
Consider a few key factors when choosing between the different types:
It must have excellent heat retention
Good insulation is a key asset in a travel coffee mug. Like a good thermos, the best travel mugs are well-constructed and can keep your drinks hot or cold for hours. Whereas, a flimsy coffee cup will struggle even on shorter commutes. Many good travel coffee mugs utilize the same working principles as full-size thermoses, including vacuum insulation (1, 2) (read more about how that works here).
A thermos has two walls with vacuum between them. Since vacuum does not conduct heat, there is no path for the heat to escape (or cold drinks to warm up).
But not everyone needs extremely high heat retention. If you just want a travel coffee cup for a short commute or a Sunday picnic, there’s no reason to invest in an expensive double-walled thermos.
KEY TAKEAWAY: Consider your personal needs and preferences when making the choice.
It must be 100% leak/spill-proof
Non-negotiable. It needs a flip lid for easy sipping on the go, but it needs to be 100% leak-proof. Some of the cheaper options are not spill/leak-proof, meaning you cannot carry them in your bag.
The anti-leak mugs for travel are often designed like mini-thermos bottles, with a screw top or similar. While you might need both hands to drink, you don’t need to carry them upright at all times. The choice depends on your style of travel.
We kept being asked to review the Hydro Flask, but it didn’t make the cut. Sure, the Hydro Flask is a vacuum-insulated travel mug but it has below average insulation (less than 4 hours) and the lid will not lock, meaning you may spill hot or cold coffee everywhere (even pointed out in the Hydro Flask website). Not a good travel coffee mug then, is it?
KEY TAKEAWAY: Weigh the convenience of drinking on-the-go against the need for spill and leak prevention.
What size is right for you?
How much coffee do you need to get you going in the morning? If you’re the type to brew a whole pot of coffee and guzzle it down before noon, you’re probably going to be frustrated with a tiny travel cup. The Yeti Rambler, for example, is a huge mug, but not suited for travel (so you will see it in our coffee mugs article, not this one).
On the other hand, if you like sipping more modest amounts of coffee, a large thermos will be inconvenient to carry.
KEY TAKEAWAY: Look for the “sweet spot” in size and volume.
How easy is it to clean?
It’s often difficult to get travel coffee mugs completely clean, but you don’t want to just throw it away because of old coffee stains or smells. If you use your travel coffee mug regularly, it might be a good idea to get a mug made from material that doesn’t stain easily. Machine-washability can also be a plus.
A high-quality stainless steel travel mug should have a highly polished surface that can be easily cleaned to prevent permanent staining.
You can check to see that the stainless steel used is at least a 304 grade (18% chromium and 8% nickel). Beyond the chemical composition, the degree of polish (or a lining) will determine how stain-resistant it will be and how easy it will be to clean.
KEY TAKEAWAY: If you plan to use it daily, get one that is easy to clean.
Will it last the distance?
If you’re the outdoorsy type, you’ll want a travel mug that’s able to take a few bumps. Materials like plastic might lose their ability to retain heat if their surface gets scratched or wears out.
KEY TAKEAWAY: Buy something suited for the stresses of your travel or commute.
How does it affect the taste of your coffee?
Lastly, don’t ignore taste. Yes, the material of your mug CAN affect the perceived taste of your brew. The color of your mug can influence the way your coffee tastes. But it’s all about perception. A study by Van Doorn, et al. (BioMed Central 2014) supports the view that the color of the mug can influence the consumer’s multisensory coffee drinking experience (3). The research team wanted to find out whether the coffee drinkers’ perception would be influenced by the color of the mug (transparent, white, or blue) from which it was served.
THE VERDICT: What’s The Best Travel Mug?
All of the travel mugs included on this list are solid options. The final choice depends on your personal preferences. However, considering both features and affordability, the Contigo Autoseal West Loop is the best portable coffee mug for most users.
The West Loop’s closest competition is the Zojirushi SM-SA60, which loses points for its high price tag.
For those looking for the most affordable option, the Contigo SnapSeal Byron is also a decent option, but keep in mind that the lid design is not as good as the West Loop’s.
The best coffee mug to keep hot is a coffee thermos. These are made from stainless steel double vacuum insulation, and hence will keep your coffee hot for quite a while.
The best material for your coffee mug depends on your preferences. Each material has pros and cons that you should consider. While ceramic or glass are ideal for home use; steel or plastic for travelers. Hard plastics are often used to make recyclable coffee cups for their superb heat retention and durability, but the material might give your coffee an unpleasant smell or aftertaste. Steel is mostly used in travel coffee mugs and thermos. It holds heat extremely well and relatively unbreakable. Plus, both materials work well with the best mug warmers.
A good travel coffee mug has good insulation, durable, easy to clean, and helps prevent spills and leaks. It should also be made from materials that can easily be handled and not cause burns.
Yes, Ceramic travel mugs keep your coffee warm. Ceramic mugs will retain heat and can be pre-warmed, creating a stable temperature. If you are a stainless steel-averse commuter, a ceramic travel mug is your best bet.
- Andal, J. (2019, January 09). How a Thermos Works – Physics of Heat Transfer. Retrieved June 9, 2019, from https://futurism.com/physics-thermos-heat-transfer
- Does a double walled glass mug really keep the liquid warm? (2012, October 17). Retrieved June 9, 2019, from https://cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/27868/does-a-double-walled-glass-mug-really-keep-the-liquid-warm
- Doorn, G., Dianne Wuillemin, & Charles Spence. (2014, November 25). Does the colour of the mug influence the taste of the coffee? Retrieved June 15, 2019, from https://flavourjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/2044-7248-3-10
What are your thoughts on klean kanteen? How long can it keep drinks hot or cold (especially when with ice cubes)?
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