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A trusty travel mug is a must-have for those who are always on the go. Not having to stop for a drink, whether it's coffee, iced tea, or water, saves you time and money, and it cuts down on paper and plastic waste.
After extensive testing, the No. 1 pick and clear-cut winner is the Contigo Autoseal West Loop Travel Mug. With quick push-button access, multiple sizes and colors, and an impressive ability to keep drinks hot or cold, it's no wonder our testers love this mug. Another highly rated option is the Stanley Classic Trigger-Action Travel Mug, which is easy to drink from and has a lifetime guarantee.
We listed some of our favorite options below, all of which were reviewed by our expert food writers and product testers. They put the mugs through a series of trials over several days—carrying them around in a bag, seeing if they fit in car cupholders, assessing their temperature retention—and then rated each one on its size, design, insulation, and overall value.
For a quick sip when you're commuting, hiking, or on vacation, here are the best travel mugs.
Best Overall: Contigo Autoseal West Loop Vacuum Insulated Travel Mug
Effective autolock and anti-spill lid
Can be locked and unlocked with one hand
Keeps drinks hot/cold for hours
A little wide for smaller hands
Plastic lid seems prone to breakage
If you’re looking for a solid, leak-proof travel mug that will keep your coffee hot for up to seven hours, look no further. The Contigo mug is our number one pick for many reasons, the first of which is the “Autoseal” lid. Unlike other travel mugs that have a sliding lid, which is prone to leaks, the Contigo lid has a push button that opens the vacuum seal when you’re ready to drink and closes again when you release the button. Our reviewer was able to carry it around in a bag all day without any leakage. Just keep in mind this means that the lid isn’t interchangeable with any of your other travel mugs.
In addition to hot drinks like coffee or tea, this vacuum-insulated stainless steel mug will keep drinks cold for up to 18 hours depending on whether you buy the 12- or 20-ounce version. You can also choose between seven different colors, so everyone in the family can keep their mug straight.
One of the few drawbacks is that the mug is fairly difficult to clean. "If you’re washing the Contigo by hand," our product tester wrote, "be prepared for a bit of an inconvenience as it comes with very specific washing instructions." The lid is dishwasher safe, but the bottle itself is hand wash only.
Material: Stainless steel | Capacity: 10, 16, 20, or 24 ounces | Weight: 8.8 ounces | Dimensions: 3 x 9 inches (20-ounce model)
"With a leakproof design, superior insulation, and one-hand operation, it’s well worth the price it goes for." — Suzie Dundas, Product Tester
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Stanley Classic Trigger-Action Travel Mug
Great for commuters
Body is hand wash only
Faint plastic smell first few uses
Stanley is a century-old name known for its array of durable mugs, thermoses, and more. In fact, the company patented all-steel vacuum flasks in 1913. That top-grade technology is bottled into the sleek and simple design of the Classic Trigger-Action Travel Mug today. You can purchase the item in three sizes—12, 16, and 20 ounces—as well as five different colors.
Our expert tested the 16-ounce model firsthand and confirmed that it lives up to the brand's claims about temperature retention. Hot coffee stayed warm and drinkable for seven hours, cold coffee lasted 10 hours without ice, and ice water remained refreshing for more than 30 hours. With that in mind, temperature retention varies slightly depending on the size of the mug you buy.
Our tester was also pleasantly surprised to find that the trigger-action lid is completely leakproof. No water escaped even after he shook it upside down over a sink. It's rare to find a mug with a lid as convenient as this one that is also safe to throw in a bag or backpack. It's excellent for hiking, and because it fits in cupholders, it's viable for commuters, too.
The item is backed by Stanley's lifetime guarantee. The company claims the bottle can withstand everything from a 4,000-foot drop to a -70 degree windchill. The best part? This lifelong companion is affordably priced, making it one of the top value-for-money options on the market.
Material: Stainless steel | Capacity: 12, 16, or 20 ounces | Weight: 8.8 ounces | Dimensions: 2.9 x 8.9 inches (16-ounce model)
"This is one of my favorite travel mugs that I've tested. It's easy to sip from while walking and safe to use while driving. Plus it's durable, leakproof, and slim enough to carry in a bag. Overall, it's a fantastic buy."
Best Durable: Yeti Rambler 14-Ounce Mug
Can withstand drops
Modern design and fun color options
Easy to clean (dishwasher-safe)
Poor heat retention
Lid can’t fully close
Doesn’t fit in cupholders
This stainless steel mug can take a tumble and survive unscathed. Made by Yeti, a Texas-based manufacturer of outdoor products, the Rambler is designed to go long distances—on rafts, camping trips, and other treks—but it works well for people at home or in the office, too, especially because of its large, convenient handle.
Our tester tried out the Yeti Rambler, and while its durability is excellent, it's not the best for heat retention. It keeps liquids hot for about an hour and then it drops down to warm (and even then not much past two hours). There are still plenty of benefits to this thermos, however. It comes in a wide array of vibrant colors, and its clear, tight-fitting lid prevents most spills. Note that the lid has an opening for easy drinking, but it doesn't fully close, so it’s not spill-proof. A big handle makes it easy to pick up, even for larger hands. Just be aware that the mug’s large size may mean it won’t fit into many car cup holders.
Material: Stainless steel | Capacity: 14 ounces | Weight: 13 ounces | Dimensions: 4 x 5 x 3.75 inches
"The Yeti Rambler is a winner when it comes to cleaning. The whole thing is dishwasher safe, which makes cleaning a breeze." — Suzie Dundas, Product Tester
Best for Hot or Cold: Zojirushi SM-KHE48AG Stainless Steel Mug
Fits in most cupholders
Excellent heat retention
Locking mechanism prevents leaks
Plastic parts feel breakable
Hand wash only, many pieces to clean
While most of the mugs on our list work well for hot or cold beverages, they are generally better at one or the other—but that’s not the case with this mug from Zojirushi. It retains drink temperature for at least six hours, no matter if you take your coffee hot or iced. Our product tester added that her experience with the mug was even better than the company advertises, as her coffee was warm enough to drink nearly 12 hours after brewing.
Available in 12 and 16 ounces, the Zojirushi mug also wins points for design and easy drinking. The flip-top cap not only helps keep the mug from leaking, but it also keeps the drinking spout protected and clean. The cap includes a lock to keep it from coming undone in your bag, as well.
Cleaning this model is a bit harder than some of the others (a specially designed bottle-cleaning brush is recommended). "Several different pieces need to be cleaned thoroughly to avoid staining and mildew buildup," our tester wrote. "Fortunately, the plastic sipping piece and rubber gasket on the lid can be popped out easily and cleaned separately."
Material: Stainless steel | Capacity: 12 or 16 ounces | Weight: 9 ounces | Dimensions: 2.625 x 2.875 x 9.125 inches (16-ounce model)
"I can’t say enough good things about the insulative properties of this mug." — Suzie Dundas, Product Tester
Best High-Tech: Ember Travel Mug²
Battery lasts up to three hours
360-degree leak-proof lid
Only 12-ounce capacity
Just like many other travel mugs, the sleek Ember Travel Mug² will keep your drink hot throughout your morning commute, but it stands out by using smart technology and a high-tech design. This second iteration of the Ember Travel Mug is lighter and more streamlined than its predecessor, mainly because instead of a manual dial, it features a touch-sensitive control panel. The mug is "smart" because you can use the panel to control and set its temperature or link the mug to the Ember app via your smartphone. The app essentially serves as a temperature gauge for the mug, notifying you when the set temperature has been reached. Our reviewer pointed this out as a nice feature because it eliminates the possibility of burning your mouth.
The Ember Travel Mug²'s best design feature, according to our tester, is the lid: It only needs a push to open, is leak-proof, and lets you sip from any side of the mug. Furthermore, the mug's design is ergonomic. It's wider at the top than the bottom and is coated with a matte finish, making it easy to grip and comfortable to hold.
Material: Stainless steel | Capacity: 12 ounces | Weight: 15.2 ounces | Dimensions: 3.14 x 7.9 inches
"The lid is one of the mug’s best design features. It requires a simple push to open it, and the lid allows for a 360-degree drinking experience." — Cheyenne Elwell, Product Tester
Best Budget: Copco Acadia Travel Mug
Safe in both microwave and dishwasher
Fits in cupholders
Can stack inside each other
Can't put in bags
Prone to staining
Hole in lid can't be closed
This 16-ounce travel mug works for both hot and iced coffees, and it comes at a budget price. It's designed with a double-wall construction to keeps drinks at their temperature for longer than a non-insulated cup; however, it’s not made for all-day temperature regulation like some stainless steel mugs. After testing the product, our reviewer found hot coffee to be lukewarm just two hours later. The good news is that the mug is microwave safe, so you can easily reheat drinks should they cool off.
Another advantage of this mug is how easy it is to clean. It's dishwasher safe, and the lid opening is large enough to clean the inside by hand should you choose to do so. The lid seals closed with a simple quarter-turn. There’s a small opening for drinking, but there’s no cover for the hole, so you can’t toss the filled cup in your bag. The cup portion is white, but you can choose from a variety of colored bands, so you always know which one is yours. The bands also serve as coffee collars to protect your hands from scorching temperatures while adding extra grip.
Material: BPA-free plastic | Capacity: 16 ounces | Weight: 6.6 ounces | Dimensions: 3.66 x 6.78 inches
"I have had a couple of the Copco Acadia Mugs for more than a year, and they're one of the best budget options you can find. There's nothing fancy to them, but they're dependable and, perhaps best of all, safe to microwave."
Best With Straw: Bubba Envy Insulated Stainless Steel Tumbler with Straw
Lid seals tightly
Fits in car cupholders
Keeps drinks cold or hot
Can't close hole on lid
Hand wash only
Prefer iced coffee? Then a travel mug that has a straw might suit your palette more. This model fits in most cup holders and can keep your drink cold for up to 12 hours. You can use the removable plastic straw with the Tritan lid or not, depending on your preference. The one design flaw our tester found, however, is that there is no way to completely seal the lid since the hole doesn't include a cover or flap.
The cup is made of stainless steel, so it will repel stains and odors, meaning your lemonade won't taste like yesterday's coffee. The mug even has a lifetime guarantee, so you know it will last. After completing the testing process, our reviewer summed up the mug with a positive review, saying: "If you’re looking for a durable travel mug that’s designed to hold both hot and cold beverages, the 24-ounce Bubba Envy Insulated Stainless Steel Tumbler is a solid option at a price you can afford."
Material: Stainless steel | Capacity: 18, 24, or 32 ounces | Weight: 13 ounces | Dimensions: 3.62 x 3.93 x 10.54 inches (24-ounce model)
"There are two things that could have made this tumbler hard to hold: First, it’s large, and second, there’s no handle. To solve both of those issues, there are indents circling the cup for your fingers. It seems a little silly, but this small feature actually makes a huge difference." — Rebekah Joan, Product Tester
Best Handled: Thermos Stainless King Travel Mug
Keeps drinks hot/cold for hours
Comfortable to hold
Lid seals tightly
Lid is hard to clean
Doesn’t fit in all car cup holders
Thanks to the vacuum insulation of most travel mugs, a handle is no longer really a necessity to keep your hand dry from condensation or to prevent it from getting burned, but if you prefer to drink from a handled mug, this version from Thermos is the right pick for you.
Available in five different colors, this 16-ounce mug will keep beverages hot for up to five hours or cold for up to nine hours thanks to the double-wall stainless steel construction. The lid has a “DrinkLock” seal, which opens when you press the lever to the left or right. Our product tester called the lid "pure genius," saying there were no spills and that her morning coffee stayed hot for longer. The one drawback (if you even consider it one) is that this mug must be hand washed.
Tea drinkers will also want to consider this mug since it has a built-in tea hook that accommodates most tea infusers and makes it easy to remove them from the mug. It comes with a five-year limited warranty in case there is an issue.
Material: Stainless steel | Capacity: 16 ounces | Weight: 8 ounces | Dimensions: 3.3 x 4.9 x 7.8 inches
"I'm happy to say that this travel mug will keep your coffee hot for most, if not all, of your shift, even on a cold day." — Rebekah Joan, Product Tester
Best Rustic: Ello Campy Stainless Steel Travel Mug
Cute vintage-inspired design
Comfortable cork-lined handle
Good temperature regulation
Hard to clean lid
Paint scratches easily
For something a little more vintage-inspired, the Ello Campy travel mug is just the thing. With a nod to classic enamel mugs that often go hand in hand with outdoor adventures, this 18-ounce travel mug will keep drinks hot for five hours and cold for ten with its vacuum insulation. Plus, it is 100 percent leak-proof. The handle is lined with cork composite, so it is is easy to grasp and hold onto, and the material is BPA-free. Don't expect it to fit in your car cupholder, though.
In some ways, this item provides more style than substance. Our product tester called the mug "ridiculously cute," but added that its lid is a bit of a hassle, especially when it comes to cleaning. Online reviewers who have owned the mug for a long period of time say the exterior coating is likely to chip or flake off.
Material: Stainless steel | Capacity: 18 ounces | Weight: 6 ounces | Dimensions: 4 x 12 inches
"This mug works great for keeping liquids cold. It managed to keep my ice water cold for over 20 hours."
— Rebekah Joan, Product Tester
Best Design: S'well Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Traveler Mug
Multiple sizes and many colors
Great temperature retention
Price varies, can be expensive
Lid isn't ideal for commuting
The S’well Stainless Steel Traveler Mug is inarguably one of the best-designed travel mugs on the market today. Thanks to S’well’s high-end, triple-wall technology, you can rest assured that your drinks will maintain their ideal temperature for hours on end. Our expert tested the item and found that it performed exceedingly well. Coffee stayed hot for 12 hours and, after adding refrigerated coffee without ice, he discovered it still cold 30 hours later.
In addition, this mug topped others in the design category because it is cupholder friendly and available in 17 different color options, as well as three sizes: 12, 16, and 20 ounces. Our tester confirmed that the Traveler is completely leakproof and can be trusted in your bag or backpack. Just keep in mind that the lid can't be unscrewed with one hand, so you'll need both hands free if sipping on the go. Also, it's not dishwasher safe, so to clean it, you can either put a drop of dish soap in and rinse with hot water or use a long bottle brush.
Material: Stainless steel | Capacity: 12, 16, or 20 ounces | Weight: 12.8 ounces | Dimensions: 3.3 x 9.3 inches
"While there are a couple clear drawbacks to the S'well Traveler—it isn't the easiest to clean and the lid is unsafe to open while driving—there's still plenty to like. It's very durable and will keep your coffee hot or water cold for a long time. The many designs let owners showcase their personality, too."
Best Large Capacity: Bubba Classic Insulated Desk Mug 52 oz
Lightweight despite size
Too big for cupholders
Lid has a hole you can't close
This 52-ounce mug is what you'll want to take to the pool, beach, or camping since it holds enough water for several hours. It’s also great for office workers who don’t want to keep running to the water cooler to refill smaller bottles. Of course, the drawback with a mug of this size is that it won’t fit in your cupholder, so this pick is better for non-drive time.
For those who intend to drink hot beverages out of this mug, our reviewer found that it doesn't quite have the heat retention that the brand claims. When filled more than halfway full with hot coffee, it was lukewarm less than three hours later. The mug did perform better when tested with cold drinks, however. With refrigerated coffee poured into the mug without ice (as the amount of ice may vary for customers), the coffee was still cold 12 hours later. Another testing observation to note is that the lid opening seemed a little wide, and it was easy to spill when drinking.
As an added bonus, the Bubba 52-Ounce Desk Mug is incredibly durable and can handle being dropped or tossed around in the trunk of your car. The wide, comfort-grip handle feels very sturdy, too.
Material: Stainless steel | Capacity: 34 or 52 ounces | Weight: 1.2 pounds | Dimensions: 7 x 10 inches (52-ounce model)
"Portability is the main issue with this mug. It's too big to fit in a cupholder and isn't leakproof, so there are few situations where it's convenient. That said, if you know you'll be in one location for several hours and want a large mug to sip from throughout the day, this is an unbeatable pick."
Our testers highly recommend the Contigo Autoseal West Loop because its sleek, durable, and easy to sip on the go thanks to its button-activated lid. As an alternative, the Stanley Classic Trigger-Action Travel Mug is similar in price and quality, and it performed well in our testing process. You can't go wrong with either one.
How We Tested
To help you make an informed buying decision, we sent 11 travel mugs on this list to our team of food writers and expert product testers. They evaluated key areas, including size, design, insulation, and value, and then provided additional insights about what they liked and disliked about each mug. Our testing process helps us stand behind and recommend all the travel mugs to appear on this list.
What to Look for in a Travel Mug
By Derek Rose
It doesn’t matter if you’re drinking coffee, tea, or water—every sip from your travel mug should be smooth and easy. That’s why it’s important to figure out the lid style that best suits you. Some of the top options include flip lids, thumb-sliding lids, push-button lids, twist lids, and straw lids. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages. Customers who prioritize durability or preventing spills, for instance, should choose a more secure style, like a twist lid. Others who want to seamlessly drink from their mug while on the move may prefer a lid that can be opened with one hand. Luckily, lid style does not affect price, so every option should be on the table when you start looking for a travel mug. Many brands also sell lids individually so that users can have multiple options at their disposal.
All too often we take a sip of coffee and find it’s gone lukewarm. A reliable travel mug can thwart that dreaded, flavorless middle zone and keep your coffee at the ideal temperature for hours, no matter if it’s hot or iced. Vacuum-insulated mugs, which are typically made from stainless steel, offer the best performance when it comes to temperature retention, while plastic and silicone are the least effective materials. When buying, think about the type of coffee you drink most often (hot or iced) as some mugs are better designed for one or the other. The length of time that a mug keeps drinks hot or cold is often listed in its product details, but keep in mind that this figure is often based on the item being preheated or precooled before use.
Travel coffee mugs come in a variety of sizes. The average capacity is around 16 ounces, though the range extends far on either side of that. Some are no bigger than a regular at-home coffee mug; others are large enough to keep you caffeinated the entire day. Brands often manufacture the same mug in multiple sizes, so if a specific one catches your eye, you can likely find it in a size you love. Customers interested in larger mugs should see if it is microwave-safe or able to retain heat well; otherwise, they may be sipping a lot of cold coffee. Finally, for those who plan on taking their mug in the car, check out customer reviews or product details to ascertain if a mug can fit in your cupholders.
While most travel mugs are made from stainless steel, options are far from limited when it comes to material. Other possibilities include plastic, glass, silicone, ceramic, and bamboo. This choice naturally affects a mug’s aesthetic, as well as larger factors like price, durability, how the item is cleaned, how long it retains heat, and whether condensation appears on the outside. What factors are most important to you? If you want a budget-priced mug that can go in the microwave, plastic is likely the best material for you. If durability and heat retention are higher priorities, you may want to stick with the stainless steel route. Also keep in mind the downsides that certain materials have. Plastic mugs, for instance, can stain and retain coffee odors, while some stainless steel mugs may unfavorably alter the flavor of your coffee.
Leak-proof vs. Spill-proof
Whether walking to class, embarking on a long hike, or heading out for the daily commute, it’s easier to transport a mug if it can be kept inside a bag; that’s where leak-proof travel mugs come in handy. They prevent even the slightest drop from escaping into your bag, no matter what. Make sure to read customer reviews beforehand, however, as some items advertised as leak-proof may not actually be up to the task. There is also a difference between leak-proof and spill-proof. Mugs labeled as spill-proof only prevent major spills from occurring; they are not safe to store in bags since they can still leak.
Taking a travel mug’s design into consideration involves two different paths. First, you can think about the item’s shape or silhouette. Do you want a mug with a handle? Or one thin enough to slide into a bag or backpack? Second, design also involves the many colors and patterns found on the outside of a mug. There is an array of options, from fun and playful to chic and striking, that can convey your personality with every sip.
Not only are most travel mugs affordable, they also help customers save money by cutting down on daily trips to the coffee shop. The only type likely to break the bank are electric travel mugs. Other than that, budget picks are widely available both in-store and online. Some mugs cost as little as a bag of coffee beans. Size does generally impact price, however, as larger mugs tend to cost more than smaller ones, even if they are the same model. Expect plastic mugs to be the cheapest option, while glass, stainless steel, and ceramic are all slightly more expensive.
Types of Travel Mugs
When picturing a travel coffee mug, most envision a tall, tapered item similar to a reusable water bottle, but there are actually many options designed to look exactly like the mugs we use every day at home. Items in this category provide the feel and comfort of a regular coffee mug but with added heat retention and the luxury to take your joe on the go. Because they are smaller in capacity than most travel mugs (usually around 12 ounces), they are also slightly more affordable. Unfortunately, coffee-mug-style travel mugs aren’t leak-proof and don’t fit in cupholders because of their handles.
Portable Coffee Maker
Truly defining on-the-go coffee, there is a category for travel mugs that additionally function as portable brewing devices. They allow users to make coffee and drink it all from the same bottle. This is certainly a less common variety, but it’s still worth consideration, especially for frequent travelers and campers. The majority of portable coffee makers work like French presses. Aptly named “travel presses,” they immerse coffee grounds in water and then push them to the bottom of the mug via a built-in plunger. The second most common type of portable coffee maker utilizes a pour-over brewing method instead.
Well known for their smooth exterior, tumblers are the most popular subcategory of travel mugs. They never have a handle and the body usually tapers to a narrow base, both of which make them cupholder friendly. Tumblers can be used for both hot and cold beverages, but they are especially popular for iced coffee. Many have straw lids for easy sipping. Customers may be familiar with tumblers in other types of drinkware, as they are also used for cocktails, iced tea, lemonade, and general home use.
From commuters to college students, many people start their day sipping coffee from a Contigo travel mug. The brand’s products are generally affordable and easy to find both in person and online—plus they’re all backed by a lifetime guarantee. Two of Contigo’s most popular lines are the Autoseal mugs, which open with a convenient button, and Snapseal, which are leak-proof and feature flip lids.
You know a brand has made a mark when its name becomes synonymous with one of its products, and Thermos is precisely that. The century-old American company is well known for its wide assortment of vacuum-insulated travel mugs, some of which keep coffee hot for up to 24 hours. The Stainless King Collection is a great place to start for those interested in Thermos, as it contains a variety of affordable and classically designed options.
For over one hundred years, Stanley bottles have been used to carry drinks, whether hot or cold, on the go. The company has a more extensive product list than most, manufacturing travel mugs in all different sizes, silhouettes, and lid styles. Stanley even offers a portable French press that acts as a two-in-one brewing device and travel mug. The products are so well crafted that they all come with a lifetime warranty.
Founded in 2006, YETI quickly made a name for itself thanks to its high-quality coolers and, of course, drinkware. The Texas-based brand only manufactures a few products specifically designed for coffee, like a handled mug and a cupholder-friendly tumbler, but they come in multiple sizes and colors to increase the variety.
What is a vacuum-insulated mug?
The phrase “vacuum-insulated” pops up all over the place when searching for travel mugs. It’s also commonly used with another phrase: “double-walled.” Both labels denote that a travel mug is built with two different layers, an inner wall and outer wall, and that the space between the layers is partially evacuated of air, creating a vacuum. This design allows drinks to retain their temperature for a longer period of time because they are less exposed to outside air.
Can I make my travel mug retain temperature longer?
We all want the most out of our products, and this one small tip goes a long way: preheat or pre-cool your travel mug before use. Taking a few extra minutes to let hot or cold water sit in your mug will prime the material for better temperature retention. You can pour hot water from the tap or even boil it for an added boost of heat, all while your coffee is brewing.
How do I clean my travel mug?
Before cleaning, consult the product details or instruction guide to see if the item is dishwasher-safe. This is a common benefit of glass and plastic travel mugs but not stainless steel. If your mug isn’t dishwasher-safe, don’t worry. Cleaning is still quite easy. A simple daily cleaning only requires scrubbing with dish soap and a sponge or gentle brush. Avoid using steel wool brushes and harsh household cleaners on stainless steel mugs. For a more thorough job, allow a solution of vinegar and baking soda to soak inside the mug for several minutes, then rinse and clean with dish soap before using.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
This piece was written by Derek Rose, the coffee and tea expert for The Spruce Eats. He researches a variety of coffee products, from measuring scoops to commercial espresso machines, and interviews field experts for their insight. He has owned or tested a number of the items on this list, including the Stanley Classic Trigger-Action Travel Mug, the Copco Insulated Travel Mug, the S'Well Traveler Mug, and the Bubba 52-Ounce Insulated Desk Mug.