The 6 Best Travel Coffee Mugs (When You Need Your Coffee On The Go)
Traveling is often when you need coffee the most - and, irritatingly, also when it’s hardest to come by a good cup.
When you don’t want to be let down by overpriced takeaway coffee, why not just brew coffee at home and take it with you?
Wondering what’s the best portable coffee mug? Have a look at this list to find out.
What To Consider When Finding The Best Portable Coffee Mug
A good travel 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.
There is a lot of choice on the market - maybe even too much! To find the right one for you, you need to narrow down your options.
Consider a few key factors:
How Long Does It Retain Temperature?
Good insulation is a key asset in a travel mug.
A well constructed mug can keep your coffee hot for hours, while a flimsy cup will struggle even on shorter commutes.
Many good travel mugs utilise the same working principles as full-size thermoses.
Not everyone needs extremely high heat retention.
If you just want a travel cup for a short commute or a Sunday picnic, there’s no reason to invest in an expensive vacuum-wall thermos.
Just consider your personal needs and preferences when making the choice.
Is It Leak-Proof?
A well thought-out travel mug will have a lid design that is resistant to leaks and spills.
Many travel mugs however, are not leak-proof, meaning you cannot carry them in your bag.
Leak-proof travel mugs 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.
Is It A Good Mug To Hold?
Look at the design. Does it have a handle that will fit nicely in your hand?
Some travel mugs are made from materials that may cause burns if they come in contact with skin.
For instance, glass mugs with plastic handles or holding strips might be dangerous if you accidentally touch them.
If you’re clumsy, think twice before buying such a travel mug.
What’s The Perfect Travel Mug Size?
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.
On the other hand, if you like sipping more modest amounts of coffee, a large thermos will be inconvenient to carry.
Is The Coffee Mug Easy To Clean?
It’s often difficult to get travel mugs completely clean in between uses.
Nobody likes throwing away a mug after a few months’ use just because it’s impossible to get rid of the stink of old coffee or milk stains.
If you use your travel 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.
How Durable Is It?
Durability refers to how easy it is to maintain the mug in good condition.
Especially 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.
How Affordable Is It?
This is many people’s primary consideration, and with good reason. When it comes to travel mugs, the price range is wide.
Expensive doesn’t always mean good, and you can get a lot of bang for your buck with the right choice.
As long as you avoid the flimsiest choices and opt for a durable material, a more affordable option can suit you needs just fine.
The Top Rated Best Coffee Mugs For Travel in 2018
To make things a bit easier, I’ve compiled a list of the coffee industries favourite (for price and performance) travel mugs (for coffee) in 2018 for different types of people.
Whether you’re a camper or a commuter, you’ll be sure to find a mug to suit your needs!
|Stanley Classic One Hand Travel Mug||
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|Contigo Autoseal West Loop Mug||
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|Contigo SnapSeal Baron||
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|The KeepCup Glass||
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|The Zojirushi SM-SA60-BA||
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#1 - Best For Campers: The Stanley Classic One Hand Travel Mug
The Stanley Classic One Hand Travel Mug is a reliable option for the more outdoorsy type. It comes from one of the oldest and most well-established thermos manufacturers.
The Stanley Classic is constructed from double walled stainless steel and topped with a thermal lid. It can keep your coffee hot for hours, making it perfect for long hikes.
This 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 20oz mug promises to keep your drink hot for 9 hours, while the smallest 12oz version retains heat for a relatively modest 4.5 hours.
Because the Stanley Classic travel mug has a leak proof lid, you can put it in your backpack without worrying about ruining your change of clothes.
It’s also good for driving, as you only need one hand to drink from it.
#2 - Best For Commuters: The Contigo Autoseal West Loop
The Contigo Autoseal West Loop is a sleek travel mug that can brighten any morning commute, no matter what your mode of transport may be.
Constructed with insulated stainless steel, the Contigo West Loop can keep your coffee hot for up to 7 hours.
So if you can’t finish your coffee on the way, it will still be at a nice drinking temperature once you reach your destination.
The main attraction of this coffee mug, though, is its lid design. You can’t get much better than this: the West Loop has a lid that is both leak-proof and easy-clean.
The lid seals automatically once closed and the mug can easily be kept in your bag. It can be opened completely for cleaning and is machine-washable.
The West Loop is designed to fit most car cup holders. Because you only need one hand to open the lid, it’s a good choice for drivers as well.
#3 - Best For Cyclers: The CamelBak Forge
The CamelBak Forge travel mug is a great option for cyclers. Made from double-walled stainless steel, it is vacuum sealed and will keep your drink hot for hours.
At 16 ounces, the Forge is quite small, and 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.
The CamelBak Forge 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.
#4 - Best For The Budget-Conscious: The Contigo SnapSeal Byron
The Contigo SnapSeal Byron is basically a more affordable alternative to the West Loop.
The SnapSeal Byron has most of the same features as the West Loop.
With a leak-proof lid and Thermalock vacuum insulation which promises to keep your coffee hot for 7 hours, it is a steal for its price.
The lid design is not quite as excellent as the West Loop’s though. If you don’t push it down carefully enough, the lid may not seal properly, which can lead to spillage.
Other than this, it is a decent travel mug with an attractive price and a lifetime warranty.
#5 - Best For The Trendsetters: The KeepCup Glass
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 travel mugs don’t mix well, the KeepCup features a holding grip made of cork.
Helpfully, the company points out their mug “meets occupational safety and health standards”, in case you were wondering.
The KeepCup is constructed with tempered soda-lime glass, which is an environmentally friendly option as it is easily recyclable. (If you are into eco-friendly coffee related stuff, make sure to check this article on coffee packaging).
The lid is made from BPA-free 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.
#6 - Best For The Multitaskers: The Zojirushi SM-SA60-BA
The Zojirushi SM-SA60-BA is a good all-rounder that will satisfy the most discerning users. It is available in three different sizes and a variety of colours, all of which have the same features.
The Zojirushi has a spill-proof lid, meaning you can carry it in your bag safely. It is also usable with one hand.
Heat insulation is good enough for even the lengthiest commutes - your coffee will stay hot for several hours.
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.
Constructed from non stick Teflon on the inside, the Zojirushi is easy to clean. The stopper lid, made from BPA-free plastic, is also completely removable.
It is on the expensive side, but the Zojirushi travel mug is a reliable all-rounder.
If you need a multitasking travel mug, or perhaps a nice gift for someone, it’s a decent option.
THE VERDICT: What’s The Best Travel Coffee 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.
If you’re still unsure, think back to the key things to consider:
- Material and insulation
- Lid and handle design
The best travel mug is one that ticks all the boxes that are important to you.
Whether you’re looking for an all-rounder or a more specialised option, with so much choice on the market, you’ll be sure to find it!
To complete the outdoors experience, make sure to also check our review of the best coffee makers for RVs.