Trust us, we take our recommendation for the best travel coffee mugs very seriously. The working world (ours anyway) runs on caffeine, and for many coffee drinkers, that caffeine fix has to be satisfied on the go. And so a good travel coffee mug—one that is is easy to hold, doesn't leak, and keeps morning coffee nice and warm (or iced coffee cold)—is a must.
If you've been holding out on buying a high-end insulated tumbler and are still sipping from paper cups from the coffee shop, now is the time to change that.
We tested more than 24 models to find out which one truly deserves the title of “best travel coffee mug.” Keep reading for the best travel mugs available right now—and for the details of how we tested, plus our thoughts on what to look for in a travel tumbler, scroll to the bottom of the page.
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Table of contents
The best travel coffee mug overall
The best looking travel coffee mugs
Honorable mention mugs
How we tested
Factors we considered
Other travel coffee mugs we tested
The best travel coffee mug overall: Zojirushi
This Japanese-made mug retains heat incredibly well. After five hours, the liquid inside was still piping hot—almost too hot to drink, in fact. Like a heavy-duty camping thermos, it's made of double-walled stainless steel that's vacuum-insulated for expert heat retention. Unlike massive thermoses though, the Zojirushi has a slim design that fits perfectly in your hand or bag. It comes in a variety of colors and sizes—12 ounces, 16 ounces, 20 ounces—but all of them are narrow, unobtrusive, and easy to hold.
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The Zojirushi is leak-free. The lid has a lock on the top that makes it impossible to open or spill. Shake, rattle, roll this thing—it's not going to let any hot drinks spill. Plus, it's stylish and sleek, which is a definite plus for a mug you'll be carting around everywhere. The parts of its lid come apart for easy manual cleaning, and the interior is nonstick, so it's easy to rinse.
It has two minor downsides: it's not dishwasher-safe (true of many, though not all, vacuum-insulated cups) and the opening can be a bit awkward to drink from. No, it won't spill or anything; it's just a little less comfortable than the sipping mechanisms of other mugs we tried, notably the Oxo and the Chantal. Still, on the more important grounds of heat retention and leak prevention, the Zojirushi wins by an absolute landslide.
The best-looking travel mugs: Ello and Kinto
Ello Stainless Steel Bottle
Ello's two vacuum-insulated stainless steel travel mugs hold heat well, are spill-proof, and look good. The Campy insulated coffee mug looks like something you'd find in your grandparents' house (in a good way), while the regular stainless steel mug is simple and white, with a built-in cork coaster at the bottom. Neither are as compact or sophisticated in design as the Zojirushi, but they're dishwasher-safe and highly effective at keeping drinks hot and contained.
Kinto Travel Tumbler
The Kinto travel tumbler impressed us with its chic design and heat-retaining abilities. This is another stainless steel tumbler from a Japanese company with an appreciation for simple, beautiful designs. It has a rounded handle on top of the lid, which was comfortable to hold, and especially nice when commuting sans bag. But, it was also leak-proof when we tossed it in a tote.
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The cap is smartly constructed: The handle on the top can be removed, revealing a thin circular opening that ensures controlled sipping. Liquid doesn't pour out too quickly (no scalded tongue or ice cubes in the face). You can also remove the entire top of the mug, which makes pouring easy and makes the travel mug easy to clean. The Kinto mug is the priciest of the bunch, but worth it if you want to splurge on something beautiful.
Honorable mentions: MiiR and Stojo
The MiiR Travel Tumbler got a lot of oohs and aahs during the unboxing phase of our test. It's sleek, bright, and incredibly comfortable to hold. What the brand calls "Thermo 3D Double Wall Vacuum Insulation Technology" works well meaning that a latte stays very hot. The lid is secure. It's almost too secure to open easily. Still, we had no leaks and could confidently throw the travel tumbler into our bags. Another bonus with MiiR: when you buy a mug, the brand gifts a portion of revenue to a charity project that's trackable via a code on the bottom of the mug.
The Stojo mug is collapsible, which comes in handy when you've finished your coffee and are tired of lugging around the mug (and also don't have a massive amount of bag space). In overall feel, this mug is less luxe and stylish than other options. And it's hard to say how the silicone will hold up to years of use compared to a solid stainless steel option. Still, it's a great choice if you want to a model that takes up as little space pre-and post-coffee as possible. Simply push down the cup and it becomes the size of a lid. Bonus: it's also super easy to clean.
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How we tested
We filled all of the mugs with piping hot water and let them sit on our desks for five hours. We then sipped from each to determine if they had retained heat. Next, we put the containers through a stress test, shaking them and tipping them up and down to see if anything leaked. Finally, we took some brisk walks to mimic the frantic conditions of a morning commute, coffee mug in hand. We did not preheat the mugs by filling them with hot water first—we figured the typical user would not do this and we wanted to see how well each mug retained heat without this step. We also evaluated the following factors for each travel mug.
Factors we considered
Does the travel mug retain heat?
One of the most important considerations was whether the mug kept coffee hot, even after several hours. We lined up the mugs and tasted them side by side after five hours to see which one was the hottest. This also gave us information about how well each mug would handle cold beverages.
Does it leak?
Making sure the mug didn't leak was also important, given that these are meant for travel. We jostled the cups, tipped them upside down, and gave them vigorous shakes to see which ones remained leak-free. Many advertise having leak-proof lids, but we weren't just gonna take their word for it.
Is it easy to hold and drink from?
We didn't want a travel coffee mug that was too heavy or too big, as this would make it more difficult to carry around in transit. We considered how much you had to maneuver your mouth while drinking—we took points away from travel mugs that felt awkward when sipping.
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Is the travel mug easy to clean?
Was a mug dishwasher safe? If not, was it easy to hand wash and scrub manually, including the nooks and crannies of the lid?
Other travel coffee mugs we tested
We reviewed more than 20 best travel coffee mugs in various shapes and sizes that were under $50. We wanted a stylish mug, too. After all, these are accessories as much they are tools.
People love and swear by Oxo travel mugs, and we can see why. The mug is easy to hold and comfortable to sip from. It keeps beverages nice and warm, thanks to that trusty double wall of stainless steel vacuum insulation. However, the Oxo leaks a little when tipped upside down. We wouldn't trust it when tossed in a bag and jostled around during a train commute, though it would sit nicely in a car's cup holder.
Tied with the Oxo mug is the Chantal mug, which also has quality insulation. We like the button on the top, which releases a seal and allows you to sip from any side of the cup. It's easy to use and easy to drink from. The mug is small, compact, and has a cute shape, but like the Oxo, it barely passes the leak test: a few pesky drops of water drip from the top when you shake it upside down.
Though the short Hydro Flask coffee mug wouldn't pass the throw-it-in-your-bag test, we liked that it felt like a traditional mug. This mug has solid construction and excellent heat-retaining power. The press-in lid doesn't seal off completely—the sipping spot stays open—but it does have some splash-resistance power that helps in transport. It'd be best for a driving or walking commuter. Plus, it's great if you have a Keurig or other single-serving coffee maker that only works with a short mug.
Keep Cups are a great choice for carrying around the office, but their flip top are not nearly leak proof enough for avoiding accidental spills.
We really liked the Fellow Carter Move Mug, it looks great, has a nice ceramic lined interior and stellar thermal insulation capabilities. However, the pleasing design comes at a cost of needing both hands to open it. A separate lid isn't ideal for everybody, and with so many options out there that have engineered their way out of this problem, we feel like the Carter just can't beat em.
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Overall, many of the travel tumblers we tested were passable, but suffered a hiccup somewhere along the way—usually related to leakage or heat-retention. The Yeti Rambler and Bino Twister Mug had some leakage issues. The Klean Kanteen, Contigo Autoseal Mug, and Aladdin Recyclable Mug didn't have seamless lid-opening functions. The Stanley Classic One-Hand Mug was hard to clean and the Zyliss Travel French Press and Coffee Mug couldn't stand up to a commute. The Thermos Travel Mug didn't keep our coffee as hot as the winners. The faults were generally small, but they kept these models from winning our top spots.
Buy a Zojirushi for the all-around best travel mug. It's leak-proof, keeps drinks hot or cold for hours, and is compact and easy to cram in your bag. It has a five-year warranty and is built to last. For a less-compact but very stylish option, choose an Ello mug. This mug is cool-looking, leak-proof, and it'll keep your drink warm. If you want a mug with a gorgeous look, pick up a Kinto Day Off Tumbler. For a shorter, super-compact option that's still nice to drink from, go for the MiiR Travel Tumbler. If you want to go even smaller and get a mug you could put in your pocket, we recommend the Stojo Collapsible Travel Mug.