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There’s nothing like savoring a hot, steaming mug of coffee to kickstart your day—that is, unless you’re running late for work, getting ready for a long drive, or just have to head out somewhere fast.
The solution? You could always brew your cup of Joe on the go with a portable coffee maker, but even the simplest models might be better suiting for camping outdoors than your daily commute (you don’t want to be fumbling your pour over on public transport, after all.) That’s where a good travel mug comes in.
The best travel mugs and tumblers let you make your freshest coffee at home and seal it up tight as you head out the door, no coffee shop pit stops necessary.
When you’re picking a mug that’s ready to grab and go, you’ll want to consider how much liquid it can hold, what the insulation looks like, and consider if you want any smart features that help regulate temperature. Either way, don’t scald your tongue trying to finish your drink at home, chose one of our favorite mugs as your next best travel companion.
What Are the Best Travel Mugs?
No matter where you’re going, there’s a lot to consider when picking out a travel mug that will suit you best. Here’s what you need to know.
Mug Size: Travel mugs usually come in the form of larger tumblers, which hold more liquid than your average cup. But they tend to be a little bulkier, with less sleek designs. Function really beats form here if you’re going to be out for a long time and don’t want a refill. Other travel mugs closely resemble your standard coffee mug, and would fit right at home sitting on your desk.
Seal: Some travel tumblers have more conventional lids, but we recommend choosing one with a locking feature so you can throw it in your bag and not have to worry about a mess. If you really prefer taking long sips from a mug-like cup, make sure it has a good spill-proof seal.
Temperature Regulation: Choose a mug with an insulated layer to help maintain drink temperature for longer, staying warm all day, or remaining comfortably cold if iced. Some travel mugs have handy smart features that allow you to adjust your temperature settings, either directly on the mug or with your smartphone.
Cleaning: Since these mugs are reusable, you’ll want them to be relatively easy to clean. See if your mug needs to be washed by hand, or if it’s dishwasher-safe. If you do need to hand-wash the mug, make sure you get a thorough scrub in hard-to-reach spots like any filters or drinking nozzles (we recommend a good bottle-cleaning set in this case.)
For mugs that’ll take everything from rich espresso to an iced tea to-go, here are some of our top picks.
1. Zojirushi Stainless Steel Travel Mug
Reviews of Zojirushi’s travel mug say it’ll keep your drink just as piping hot as when you brewed it—but it can keep your iced beverages just as frosty too. One of the most versatile picks on our list, the over-time insulation on this mug just can’t be beat, maintaining your drink’s temperature for at least six hours (and often longer.)
This is thanks to its unique tight-fitting lid and two thin layers of stainless steel, which create a vacuum seal that offers unparalleled heat and cold retention. The locking cap means this mug can be tossed in a bag or purse without spilling.
The Zojirushi mug comes in 12 and 16 oz, with a thoughtful, compact design that makes it perfect for cup holders and backpacks. But it’s clearly maximized for beverage capacity, as a wide mouth also accommodates full-sized ice cubes.
One downside is that the mug is hand-wash only, with a couple parts you’ll really have to dig in with a bottle cleaning brush, but it’s worth it for the superior long-term insulation.
2. YETI Rambler 14 oz Mug
YETI is the gold standard when it comes to heavy-duty hydration, and unlike some of their larger tumblers, this popular mug functions like a traditional coffee mug. But it’s a winner for travel, since the double-wall insulation is sure to keep your drinks hot or cold till the very last sip.
We love that it comes with a shatter-resistant lid, which not only prevents spills, but allows you to sip your drink as if you were in a cafe and not the great outdoors. The handle is also designed wider to be comfortable for bigger hands, but it’s also great if you’re wearing gloves, so you can fully wrap around that cup of Joe even in the cold.
With a specialty exterior coating called “DuraCoat”, this YETI mug is undeniably rugged, and can withstand any drops or dings. The coating also makes it dishwasher-safe, so you can spend less time cleaning, and more time getting back to hitting the pavement with one of the toughest travel mugs we’ve seen.
3. Mastermind Kold Brew Travel Mug
Mastermind Kold Brew is the only stainless steel mug that also functions as a working cold brew coffee maker. But even if you’re not a cold brew aficionado, it’s just an incredibly well-designed, rock-solid mug for travel.
Carrying a massive 30 oz of liquid, this double-wall insulated tumbler says it’ll keep your drinks cold for a whopping 24 hours, or hot for at least 12 hours. The filtering system for making beverages in the mug itself also incredibly simple: just put your favorite grind or leaves, and you’ll have a rich cold brew in just nine hours, or a hot brewed coffee or tea in 2.5 minutes. The dual-layered steel mesh filter allows for a smoother cold brew than other at-home gadgets, and with less clogging too.
What we also love: the clear magnetic lid, or “MagLid” has a great splash-proof seal, and can fit interchangeably with other mug brands like YETI if you tend to lose your cup lids as often as I do. All the pieces are also dishwasher-safe.
This pick is definitely one of the most innovative travel mugs on the market, letting you make your brew and drink it too.
4. Coffee Gator Pour Over Travel Mug
Can’t live without your pour over? If you start up your kettle before you head out, this two-in-one travel mug by Coffee Gator will let you quickly brew and then sip as you go.
The double-walled mug has a reusable stainless steel filter that sits on top of the cup, allowing you to add your favorite ground coffee and let it hand drip straight into the mug. With the mesh filter you also won’t have to worry about buying paper filters or creating tons of waste either.
The combination of a copper lining and insulated vacuum layer traps heat for longer, up to six hours, and cold drinks stay chilly for over 20 hours. The BPA-free cup has a 20-ounce capacity, but its slim design virtually all car cup holders, for hot coffee on arrival wherever you drive to. The tight-sealing lid also has a handy sipping spout.
If you care about optimizing the flavor of your drinks, even while traveling, the Coffee Gator mug is the best for getting barista-level taste, fast.
5. Ember Travel Mug 2
When I’m heading out of the house, I want to be able to get where I’m going without stopping to refill on coffee or drinks every few hours. Ember’s Travel Mug² keeps me topped off with 12 oz of perfectly-heated beverages for hours at a time.
With the Ember app connected to the mug, you can set customized presets presets for my favorite drinks and receive a notification when the desired temperature is reached. But the mug itself has a handy LED touch display to increase or decrease the temperature between 120°F-145°F, so your coffee never gets too hot or too cold.
Once you’ve reached your destination, though, I recommend keeping it on the charging coaster on your desk or on a tabletop, since you can get more mileage than the otherwise three-hour battery limit off the charger. The temperature control stays consistent otherwise, and doesn’t mess with the flavor of the coffee by overheating it like some other coffee mug heaters do. With a 360° leakproof lid to boot, you won’t have to worry about any spillage when on the road (though an open lid is available to buy separately.)
For a smarter way to keep your drinks heated on-the-go, this travel mug checks off all our boxes for style, form, and functionality.