The Best Travel Coffee Mugs To Guzzle Your Brew On the Go

They keep your drinks hot, and your spills to a minimum.

by Hudson Lindenberger
Originally Published: 
The Zojirushi SM-SA60BA Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Mug in black

You can (and should) invest in great coffee beans, store them in an airtight container, and brew them with the best gear around. But pouring that elixir into anything less than the best coffee mug is a great way to waste all of that money and effort. Bad mugs don’t keep hot coffee hot or cold coffee cold, leaving you with lukewarm swill. Oh, and they leak. The only thing worse than drinking bad coffee is not even having bad coffee to drink because most of it ended up on your shirt. But deciding to ditch that free mug you got for donating to NPR ten years ago is the easy part. Finding a worthy replacement, with so many brands, features, and price points available, is difficult.

We reached out to Bryan Duggan, Eastern Divisional Manager for Counter Culture Coffee and coffee-loving dad, for some expert guidance. He says that you actually can tell a lot just by looking at a mug. Pick one that’s compact, without a top-heavy shape that can fit into a cupholder. Make sure the lid is easy to operate and closes with a dependable seal. Duggan likes mugs with insulted walls that can keep both cold brew and hot coffee ready to drink for hours. We do, too.

Best Travel Coffee Mugs

Pros: When locked, this mug is completely trustworthy rattling around in the bottom of your bag. The interior has a nonstick coating that makes it easy to clean, and at just eight ounces it’s one of the lightest mugs on the market.

Cons: The lid mechanism has several small, intricate components, including a rubber ring. It’s not hard to take apart, but it’s definitely a pain to clean.

Pros: We’re big fans of Hydro Flask, and just used this very mug this morning. It’s a winner. The key here is the press-in lid, which keeps your drink hot and basically spill-proof.

Cons: It’s a 12 ounce mug, which may not be big enough for serious caffeine lovers.

Pros: This ceramic coffee mug is easy to hold, the silicone sleeve gives it added protection and stability, and it actually feels like a really coffee mug as opposed to a travel mug. It’s also microwave-safe for reheating.

Cons: It’s meant for “gentle transit” only. Meaning, it’s not leak-proof and you need to treat it nicely.

Pros: Gently tapered shape means it fits nicely into most cupholders. Vacuum insulation — a Thermos staple — means it can keep hot drinks hot for seven hours and cold drinks cold for a whopping 18.

Cons: It’s not the prettiest or sleekest mug, and while you can wash it on the top rack of your dishwasher detergents and hot water might discolor your mug.

Pros: The entire Yeti Rambler family of cups is pretty dope. This coffee mug in particular has 18/8 stainless steel construction, double-wall vacuum insulation, and a no-leak lid.

Cons: Some folks complain that it doesn’t keep their coffee as hot as promised.

Pros: The powder coated finish gives every Hydro Flask a unique look, no matter which of the wide array of colors you pick. It also makes the mug highly grippable, a feature that’s more than nice to have in something designed to be carried around. Oh, and it’s available in three different sizes.

Cons: The styling on this cup is similar to that on some of our other picks, but not quite as clean.

Pros: It’s compatible with most car and truck cupholders, and it has the sleek, simple look that’s Miir’s trademark. And if that wasn’t enough, Miir donates 3 percent of its revenue to projects around the world. You can even track where the funds from your mug went simply by looking up the code printed on the bottom of the cup.

Cons: Its lid is easy to sip from and take off but it’s not designed to be tossed around with abandon, so you can’t chuck it in your bag as you hurry out the door in the morning.

Pros: Two silicone rings form strong seals between the plastic pieces that fit on top, so you won’t have to worry about spilling as long as you screw everything on tight.

Cons: The screw-off design means there’s no easy to take a quick sip on the go or to operate this tumbler one-handed, as you can with many of our other picks.

Pros: The fact that it’s a brewer and travel mug in one means that there’s no need to clean whatever brewer you were using before. It’s also a beautiful object to look at.

Cons: The brewing mechanism makes this one of the more expensive mugs on this list, so if you just want something to pour your coffee into it’s not a great pick. It’s capacity, just 12 ounces, also won’t be enough for true caffeine addicts.

Pros: The mug itself is stainless steel, and Contigo claims up to five hours of keeping hot drinks hot and 12 hours of keeping cold drinks cold. The lid also stays in one piece when you clean it, so no tiny, essential parts can go missing.

Cons: The lid is dishwasher safe, but you can only wash the stainless steel body of this mug by hand.

Pros: Unlike the other options on this list, the Ember keeps drinks hot by actively heating them, not just keeping heat from escaping through the walls or lid of the mug. It also has a push-to-open lid and an app that gives you lots of (too much?) control over your mug.

Cons: This thing is expensive, at $150, and it’s probably overkill for all but the most demanding and dedicated caffeine connoisseurs.

Pros: Like Goldilocks, you set the temperature you want, and the mug adjusts accordingly. No more waiting for coffee to cool. It’s thanks to a feature called with HeatZorb, a substance that quickly absorbs and stores the heat from the coffee.

Cons: Naysayers say it’s all a bunch of hype.

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