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If you live in a place with seasons, your coffee order may change based on the weather. Coffee snobs will say that a hot drink usually tastes better, but I refuse to sip on scalding liquid while sweating in peak New York summer heat, so I am an exclusively “iced in summer, hot in winter” coffee person.
The biggest problem I have with that approach is that hot coffee does not stay hot for long, especially in frigid weather, and even the best coffee tastes less than ideal when it’s lukewarm. That’s why a good travel mug is essential — plus, you can bring them to coffee shops for a more sustainable option that holds the temperature better than single-use cups.
Some of my qualifications for a portable mug are practical — it should be insulated, somewhat durable, and able to fit in the cupholder of a car. The lid shouldn’t leak or allow my beverage to dribble all over me when I take a sip.
Other requirements are more personal, like the size (I like to fill my vessels all the way up, so I go for a smaller size to limit my caffeine intake) and how it looks or feels in my hand.
You can never have too many of them, and they make great gifts for any coffee lover in your life. Note that they can also be used for tea, mulled wine, hot cider, or other beverages that’ll keep you warm during chilly outdoor activities.
I am obsessed with the look of this mug. I love the uniform roundness and matte colors. I also love that it retains heat for up to 12 hours without holding onto any lingering smells and tastes, has a leakproof lid, and a mouth designed for sipping without spilling. It comes in 12- or 16-ounce sizes so you can choose whichever better suits your needs.
Promising review: “I love this thermos. It is so worth the hype. I have already dropped it a few times but it is very durable and no leaks. It keeps my coffee nice and hot all morning. Love the lip to enhance the aroma. Drinking coffee with this thermos enhances the enjoyment.” —brattybcat
You can buy the Fellow Carter Everywhere Travel Mug from Amazon for around $30.
Since I’m already a fan of my Yeti water bottle, I had to give the travel mug version equal consideration. It’s dishwasher safe just like the bottle, which is always a bonus for me, and well insulated to keep what’s inside hot without burning your hands from the outside. Personally, I love the experience of drinking out of a classic mug, so the handle on this guy is very appealing.
While the magnetic lid is not necessarily leakproof, it does make it easier to sip without releasing too much heat. I think this 14-ounce option is the perfect size for a hot beverage, but they do also make a 10-ounce mug.
Promising review: “This is exactly what you think it is and want it to be. Hot drinks stay hot for ages, the handle is light but feels sturdy, and the top is easy to open and close.” —TheFlodge
You can buy a Yeti Rambler Mug from Amazon for around $30.
If you’re someone who takes your coffee in the car on the way to work, it’s important for your travel mug to fit into the cupholder. In that case, this is the one I’d recommend. Hydro Flask is another water bottle brand that does a great job of keeping drinks cold, which means we also trust them to keep drinks hot. The Flex Sip Lid is also perfect for drinking without letting the heat out, and it’s leakproof when closed.
The taller, narrower design means that you can also take more of any warm beverage on the go (it comes in 16 or 20 ounces). However, if you love the bottle and don’t care as much about universal cupholder fit, there is a shorter, squatter 12-ounce version.
Promising review: “This kept the coffee warm hours longer than the thermos type cups you generally see everywhere. The lid fits tight, it’s easy to clean, and looks good. The handle is a definite bonus.” —jboom98
You can buy the Hydro Flask Wide Mouth Bottle with Flex Sip Lid for around $29 from Amazon.
This Miir mug is a slightly more affordable and aesthetically pleasing (in my opinion) take on the Yeti Rambler. It comes in four sizes from 8 ounces to 20 ounces, all with press-fit sliding lids to maximize insulation and a lovely ergonomic handle. You can even get it personalized, which makes for an even better gift.
I got my boyfriend the 12-ounce Miir camp cup from the collaboration the company did with Saturdays NYC, and, as a self-proclaimed coffee snob, he loves it. We brought it camping, of course, and it kept our instant coffee nice and hot all morning.
Promising review: “I’m obsessed with the 16oz. camp cup. Often give these as a birthday gift and everyone loves them. An array of beautiful colors to choose from and such a quality product.” —Vicki P. via Miir
You can buy the Miir Camp Cup from Miir for around $19.
Some people really value being able to see whatever is inside their cups from the outside. This especially applies to reusable cups, since you want to make sure even the bottom gets sufficiently cleaned. For those people, I would recommend this KeepCup. It’s made from tempered glass with a cork band for easy holding, is short enough to fit under the spout of most coffee makers, and looks great with or without the lid on.
If you’d prefer a larger capacity so you can drip espresso for your lattes directly into the vessel, for example, there’s also a 16-ounce version.
Promising review: “I love the look! It’s so cute and unique. I love that you can easily cover the open part of the lid where you drink the coffee. It is the perfect size (can hold 12oz) and easily fits in my cup holder of my car. The cork piece allows for easy handling as well.” —Taylor
You can buy the KeepCup 12oz Reusable Coffee Cup from Amazon for around $32.
The vibe of this Kinto tumbler is similar to the Fellow mug with a little more shape to it. It’s around 12 ounces but narrow enough to fit into cupholders and gets great reviews, but it is handwash only.
Promising review: “This is absolutely the best tumbler to keep tea and coffee hot. It keeps liquids steaming hot for hours. Great design, easy to drink from, easy to fill.” —Sarah
You can buy the Kinto Travel Tumbler from Amazon for around $31.
Ello makes tons of cool, unique-looking travel mugs and tumblers, but I love that this one is a tall 16-ounce cup with a handle. The handle is lined with cork so it’s easy to grip and won’t get too hot. It’s vacuum-insulated with a leak-resistant sliding lid, and dishwasher safe.
Promising review: “Great travel cup. I didn’t want to spend a lot, but I wanted it to keep my coffee hot. This does it well. I love the handle.” —Carol via Macy’s
You can buy the Ello Campy Stainless Steel Travel Mug from Macy’s for around $26.
This is another cute, squat little travel mug with a similar shape to the Fellow. It’s ceramic with a protective silicone sleeve and comes in a bunch of cool muted colors and designs. The lid has a sliding top closure so it’s easy to drink on the go and avoids releasing too much heat.
The ceramic material does mean it can be warm to the touch, but the silicone sleeve should make it comfortable to hold and provide some good grip. It also means it may not keep your drink warm for quite as long, but if you don’t love to drink out of stainless steel, it’ll do the trick. The Porter mug comes in 12- and 16-ounce sizes, both of which should fit in your cupholder.
Promising review: “Super cute! I hate metal and wanted a travel cup for coffee for the mornings. It's not really insulating but very cute and convenient. Top fits well and keeps spills and leaks to a minimum.” —Veronica Hanson
You can buy the W&P Porter Ceramic Mug from Amazon for around $22.
This is a great travel mug if functionality is your primary concern. To be honest, I don’t love the aesthetics, but this baby will get the job done. It’s vacuum-insulated with a lid that can be opened with the push of a button for one-handed drinking. It’s made from durable stainless steel and engineered to be spill-proof. It also fits in most cupholders. It has to be hand-washed, but it comes apart completely so that you can make sure every nook and cranny gets cleaned.
Promising review: “My coffee stays hot for several hours and it will be at least warm up to 4 or 5 hours. I like to sip my coffee and this is the perfect cup. I take it in the car and it doesn't spill, and fits in the holder without getting stuck. I have bought several for gifts. Love this cup.” —boninnes via Walmart
You can buy the Contigo Autoseal Transit Stainless Steel Travel Mug from Walmart for around $25. ●