The 10 Best Travel Mugs

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This wiki has been updated 33 times since it was first published in March of 2015. If you’re going to make it to your desk without spilling a drop of your precious morning coffee, then you'll need a decent travel mug -- especially if you expect to do so without the beverage getting cold. Any of our selections should take care of you nicely, and most work well for everything from beer to butter tea, whether you’re commuting or camping. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Zojirushi 16-Ounce

2. Atlin Tumbler

3. Yeti Rambler

Editor's Notes

January 13, 2020:

A travel mug is a relatively simple item that needs to meet a few important criteria, and those are the ones we prioritized for this list. We sussed out products that are easy to drink from, don't leak or spill easily, feel good in your hand, and keep drinks warm or cold for an extended period. After that, we looked for features like locking lids, sweat-free designs, and easy-to-clean components.

We removed the Princeton Wares Portland due to availability issues, and also scrapped the Tea Forte Kati. The Tea Forte Kati is a well-loved mug that we hated to say goodbye to, but recent complaints of manufacturing defects that led the bottom to easily break off and the body to crack made it subject to removal. To make up for the loss, we added the generously-sized and supremely rugged Bubba Desk and the sleek, reliable Yeti Rambler. Most are familiar with Yeti and its high-quality items, and this 14-ounce Rambler meets the company's high standards. That being said, it comes with a clear lid that isn't insulated and has a small opening, which can speed up cooling times for hot beverages. This can be a good thing if you're eager to drink your java, but can present a problem if you need it to stay hot for a few hours before the first sip. Thankfully, Yeti has other lids available to suit varying needs.

For something simple, yet reliable, the Simple Modern Cruiser and Atlin Tumbler are both solid options, while the charming Ello Campy is an excellent leakproof selection. For coffee lovers, the Espro Travel Coffee Press is a self-contained French press that you can take on the go, and comes in either coffee or tea-friendly versions.

Special Honors

Etsy Custom Travel Mugs If you're looking for something more personalized than a typical travel mug, then consider something from the vendors at Etsy. You can find options in a variety of sizes, styles, and materials that sport everything from engraved designs and names to photos and illustrations. A custom travel mug is ideal for anniversaries, birthdays, a bridal party, and engagements, as well as ensuring that no one accidentally takes your cup if you work in a crowded office.

4. Thermos King

5. Contigo Transit

6. Bubba Desk

7. Simple Modern Cruiser

8. Espro Travel Coffee Press

9. Stanley Classic

10. Ello Campy

Traveling With Beverages

This is true as long as a mug's lid has been properly secured.

The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry, said by Brooks, from the famous story of the Shawshank Redemption. Brooks absolutely had the hurry part right. As society evolves over time to automate tasks and make getting from one point to another less of a hassle, so does technology and convenience along with it.

On a lazy Saturday morning, the iconic family looks forward to enjoying a quiet meal at the breakfast table. Parents will usually be sitting down with a nice hot mug of coffee or tea. While there's a lesson to be learned from using a house mug to relax, that same couple needs the convenience of taking those beverages with them on the go during a busy week, particularly if they'll be driving or commuting to work by train.

For that reason, the travel mug becomes a necessity for many. As much as a person might wish to take their favorite large ceramic mug with them in the car, it wouldn't be very practical or beneficial to a car's upholstery. The travel mug is also easier to hold and often fits into a car's built-in cup holders.

The majority of travel mugs are small to medium in size and usually feature some type of thermal insulation designed to keep your beverages hot (or cold) and completely enclosed for an extended period of time, while also preventing burns and spills as you travel. This is true as long as a mug's lid has been properly secured.

Such mugs also have an opening on their tops from which the beverage may be sipped in a controlled manner. Travel mugs also provide double-walled construction with stainless steel being used for the inner wall, and a combination of steel, plastic, or even rubber for the outer wall.

Fill lines are a welcome addition to travel mugs, as they prevent overfilling and potential spillage. Finally, most travel mugs are designed without handles. Contrary to what you may believe, the lack of a handle actually makes grabbing the mug easier on the go, since there's less of a distraction that might otherwise force you to take your eyes off the road when driving.

Travel mugs are reusable and environmentally-friendly. Many of them can store up to three or four servings of your favorite beverage and will easily clean in the dishwasher. To take this a step further, a variety of coffee shops also encourage commuters to bring their travel mugs with them when purchasing a cup of coffee, or tea.

The baristas working in these shops are more than happy to prepare beverages using your own mug and will often provide a discount for doing so. This certainly saves on the use of plastic and paper cups, which would otherwise need to be thrown out.

Contrary to popular belief, many cups given to consumers in coffee shops cannot be recycled because they're lined with plastic and some amount of wax material that prevents the cup from dissolving due to the heat of a beverage. For that reason, paper cups of this style must still be thrown out, putting your travel mug in a more eco-friendly light.

A Brief History Of Travel Mugs

Some of the earliest mugs from the Neolithic Stone Age were made from carved wood, bone, and clay. These mugs date as far back as 10,000 BCE.

Porcelain mugs are still quite common today, though not so much in the travel capacity.

With the evolution of metalworking, mugs were eventually made using bronze, silver, gold, and lead. However, the problem with metal mugs was that they weren't practical for hot beverages unless you fancy burning your hand carrying the thing.

By the year 600 CE, the invention of Chinese porcelain allowed for mugs to be constructed with thinner walls, while also being able to accommodate both hot and cold beverages without burning the skin. Porcelain mugs are still quite common today, though not so much in the travel capacity.

Thermally-insulated travel mugs were first introduced in the 1980s and are still as popular as ever with today's get-up-and-go mentality of enthusiasm that drives many of us to drink coffee in the car or on the bus.

How To Find The Best Travel Mug

Regardless of the way people prefer to travel, one must be certain the mug they choose can keep a beverage either hot or cold for an extended period of time. That is, after all, one of the main purposes for owning such a mug. It wouldn't make a lot of sense to invest in a travel mug that spills easily, does not fit into a car's cup holders, or that wouldn't maintain the temperature of your beverage long enough to enjoy it.

A mug with a wide mouth is also recommended, as it makes both pouring and drinking simple.

To make sure a travel mug can be used as intended, search for one that is durable, made from stainless steel with relatively thin walls, and has a slender design that makes it easy to store in the car.

A mug with a wide mouth is also recommended, as it makes both pouring and drinking simple. The lid should also be easy to secure, yet sturdy enough to protect one's self from spills and messes. Plastic lids are helpful for this reason.

Some travel mugs also feature a nonstick internal coating, which makes cleaning a breeze. If you plan to use your mug every day, finding one that's dishwasher safe is also beneficial.

Since comfort matters, travel mugs with silicone grips make holding them easier, so you don't have to fuss with grabbing them when you're stuck in traffic or when you can't take your eyes off the road.

Gia Vescovi-Chiordi
Last updated by Gia Vescovi-Chiordi

Born in Arizona, Gia is a writer and autodidact who fled the heat of the desert for California, where she enjoys drinking beer, overanalyzing the minutiae of life, and channeling Rick Steves. After arriving in Los Angeles a decade ago, she quickly nabbed a copywriting job at a major clothing company and derived years of editing and proofreading experience from her tenure there, all while sharpening her skills further with myriad freelance projects. In her spare time, she teaches herself French and Italian, has earned an ESL teaching certificate, traveled extensively throughout Europe and the United States, and unashamedly devours television shows and books. The result of these pursuits is expertise in fashion, travel, beauty, literature, textbooks, and pop culture, in addition to whatever obsession consumes her next.

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