Travel mugs are cost-cutting, environmentally-friendly, they can carry any of our favorite beverage, they are practical and most importantly, they keep us warm, cool and hydrated – even in the most remote places. Subsequently, they boost and add that air of maturity, style and consciousness – don’t tell me that’s not what you think when you see a person rocking one.
The best travel mugs are normally versatile – they keep beverages hot or cold (basically, your drink’s temperature as you filled it in), they are leak proof and should not weigh you down. Honestly, I would rather dig deep into my pockets to invest on a good reusable travel mug than spend on a carry out cup of coffee or smoothie every morning.
I’ve listed down for you the 10 best insulated travel mugs in 2021, so you can also join the cool movement, I guarantee you will find one that wins you heart on be on your way towards a progressive daily routine.
How To Choose The Best Travel Mug – Buying Guide
The best travel mug comes with excellent heat retention abilities. The more insulated the mug, the more heat it can retain. Just like the best thermos mugs which store hot contents for a prolonged period of time, the best travel coffee mugs are constructed will double-wall vacuum insulation.
The double-wall vacuum insulation is a silver reflecting coating in the interior of the mug which prevents heat transfer by radiation whilst the vacuum that is between the double walls prevents heat from moving by convention. This prevention of heat movement is achieved because a vacuum environment simply cannot serve as a vessel to facilitate particle movement.
So basically the heat produced from the liquids is trapped and cannot escape, leaving the liquid consistently hot. This heat retention technology keeps heat inside thus, allowing you to carry and hold your travel mug with very hot contents for a long time without getting your hands burnt. A good double-wall vacuum insulated coffee mug will keep your beverage hot for up to 6 – 8 hours and cold for up to 12 hours.
Additionally, manufacturers also incorporate ingenious systems that help supplement the insulation system. Technologies such as sealed lid closure systems and snap/auto-seal or flap lids help to stop large amounts of hot air or cold air from escaping the mug in a short period of time.
So the next time you are looking for a travel mug with maximum heat retention abilities, it is better to opt for a double-wall vacuum insulated mug that comes with an effective sealed lid technology than one that doesn’t.
A good mug should be fully leak-proof and this feature is not worth compromising on. You don’t want scalding hot coffee spilling on your laps or small specs of latte dripping on your work journal on blue Monday morning. Now, this is a feature that I am willing to pay an extra buck to ensure it fully and efficiently functions.
How does one identify a 100% leak-proof mug? Look for travel coffee mugs designed to be as practical as possible with lockable lids. Try to also think rationally and connect dots – if a travel mug can only maintain the temperature of your beverage for less than 6 hours, then it is not built to be effective. Visual inspection and sampling also go a long way.
Additionally, if you are looking for ease of use, this may not work in your favor. The easier it gets to use a thermos mug on the go, the more likely it is to not be 100% leak proof. This is because the lid will be designed to be easily opened or flipped to allow one to drink as they walk; this means that if you are moving with the travel mug in your bag, if it accidentally topples, or if not place 100% upright, it can easily leak its contents.
This is a feature that can be closely related to the leak-proof feature. The same attention should be paid to the lid to make sure it is 100% spill-proof. Now, this is worse than leaks, because a spill means more volume of liquid.
Cheaper travel coffee mugs tend to have lids that don’t securely hold the mug, so this is another visual inspection worthy feature to focus on. The material used and design of construction also matters, if you go for cheap and light materials, a small bang on the wall or impact when you accidentally toss your travel mug at the bottom of your backpack can easily graze the mug thus, cause a leak which can develop into a spill if it completely breaks the material.
The best travel mugs with 100% spill-free risk are normally constructed with strong, impenetrable material such as stainless steel (even what’s considered the worst will dent upon impact) and incorporate thick double-wall insulation.
The size and volume capacity entirely depends on your needs. Are you an “I can’t survive without coffee for the whole day” or an “I need one cup of coffee a day” kind of person? All these questions will determine whether you need a 20-ounce mug or a simple 12 0z mug.
If you plan on using your travel mug beyond the daily hustle and bustle of work and school, if you want to use your cup say when going out camping, trekking, or fishing, the dynamics change. If you are going for a short 30-minute walk at the park a smaller-sized mug will do. However, if you are out in the cold remote camping site, you probably want a larger sized mug to save your resources. There is also an outdoor enthusiast that has multi-purpose intentions for their travel coffee mugs, thus, it’s all about weighing in how and where you will use your travel mug.
Some manufactures also use the size element in terms of the height or weight of the mug to enhance its functionality. Manufactures such as Atlin has constructed the Atlin Tumbler mug to tall and hollow to boost the mug’s ability and effectiveness at trapping hot air or cold air and at the same time, to enable ease grip and carrying of the mug.
Other manufacturers such as Zojirushi incorporate a compact and extremely light-weight build on their travel mugs so that they are practical for use when hiking or when partaking in energy-draining activities. The compact design also allows for easy storage and packing for travelers or campers.
The whole point of investing in a travel mug is to have it for longer – to save costs, protect the environment, and a myriad other life easing reasons, thus, the durability of the mug should be a priority when choosing the right kind.
The best way to assess the durability of your travel mug is by looking at specs and features. The material used and construction is a good way to determine the durability of your mug. Most top-rated thermos mugs are constructed from stainless steel.
The material is not only strong but the high-quality stainless steel is impact and abrasion-free (so even if you toss it won’t break) as well as weatherproof. Plus, stainless steel is known to be anti-bacterial and highly-hygienic, thus, if cleaned well you can use it for longer without risk of corrosion or infections.
Technology such as double-wall insulation will also prolong the working ability of your mug. All and all, the more effective your travel mug is the more durable it tends to be. Furthermore, your usage etiquette affects durability.
To ensure your mug lasts longer avoid constant dropping of your mug, always empty, and clean your mug at the end of each use. If you are not using your mug, leave it clean and empty in storage. For stainless steel travel coffee mugs, make it a point to scrub and thoroughly clean (disassemble lids for those that require) with hacks such as baking soda and vinegar at least twice a month.
I can’t stress more than I’ve stressed above that material of a mug really matters when determining if it’s good or not. A good travel mug is made with stainless steel material. We are not on a continuous positive frenzy about stainless steel for no good reason – this material comes with good qualities.
Stainless steel is known to be non-toxic; it does not contain BPA, zinc, lead, or any other toxic material that may be risky to human health. Furthermore, stainless steel is an anti-corrosive alloy and is highly anti-bacterial – so again, no-toxic material risk!
Stainless steel is also unreactive thus; it will never react with your beverage, even acetic acid from lime water to bring about that bitter taste or unpleasant chemical smell that other metals tend to bring. Plus, when compared to other materials such as glass or plastic, stainless steel tends to be more durable and costly (worth it though!).
In case you are wondering, stainless steel is an alloy made from chromium and sometimes other metals such as nickel, and is known to be highly corrosion-resistant (an important fact for items which their use is highly associated with water and air).
The quality of the best travel mug is determined by its ability to effectively function for a long period of time. Features mentioned above such as material, durability, and heat retention all determine the quality of your travel mug. You want the best material, longer lasting mug, and a mug that can maintain the same temperature of your beverage for at least 6 – 8 hours and more.
Most high-quality travel coffee mugs are constructed with 100% kitchen-grade stainless steel and finished with a double-wall vacuum insulation technology. To further enhance their insulating abilities, their lids are designed to have a constantly sealed closure with smooth sip and shut systems. For comfortability, the exterior is normally so insulated that the walls don’t sweat and your hand can directly carry the mug for hours without being burnt by hot temperatures or irritated by the cold.
On a more enlightening tone, don’t expect a high-quality travel mug to be cheap. However, an investment in the best travel mug can last you years depending on your use and its care. High-quality mugs, if made from stainless steel, tend to have a clean polished surface that shouldn’t be easy to clean, I mean, who doesn’t want that?!
Ease Of Cleaning
Most travel coffee mugs are machine washable, making it easy to clean and maintain them. If not, you can simply clean your mug by lightly scrubbing with dishwashing detergent, rinse with lukewarm water and let drain or a rack or wipe with a clean dry cotton cloth.
Some travel coffee mugs may come with labels that say dishwasher safe but in reality, it’s only the lid that is dishwasher safe whilst the rest of the boy should be hand-washed, drained of all liquids on a rack, and wiped clean. Thus, pay attention to these small details!
On those days when you feel like thoroughly cleaning and home polishing your stainless steel coffee mug, drop 2 tablespoons of baking soda into your travel mug. Then, pour a quarter cup of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar into the baking soda. Securely close the lid of your mug, trapping the now reacting baking soda and vinegar contents, and vigorously shake your mug for five seconds.
Pour out the contents of the mug and rinse your coffee mug with hot water. Repeat the rinsing process at least once or twice then let drain on a rack or wipe dry with a clean dry cotton cloth – you should have a clean and polished interior of your travel mug.
Travel coffee mugs can be used in a range of situations, however, you want – I mean you can be doing household chores and still drink your tea from a tea mug. Basically, we use travel coffee mugs to carry our beverages with us anywhere, they keep our beverages hot or cold for long periods of time, they cut costs (they are reusable and you can make your own beverage), environmentally friendly, you get to decide your filling and an array of other health advantages.
Some of the few situations where travel mugs are handy:
- Commuting to work/ at work (or school)
- Travelling (especial on a bus)
- At a sports event
- In hygienically unsafe locations (where you can’t purchase anything edible due to hygienic concerns)
- Can be used to store hot foods such as porridges or soup due to their heat retention qualities
Insulation is a very important feature for travel coffee mugs – as mentioned above, insulation pretty much affects heat retention (what travel mugs are meant to do). The better the insulation, the more heat or cold your travel mug can retain.
Top-rated thermos mugs are constructed with double-wall vacuum insulation. Take for example double-walled stainless steel coffee mug – there is basically an outer wall and an inner wall which is separated by space in the middle which is a vacuum.
The inner wall which is normally coated prevents heat transfer by radiation whilst the vacuum between the walls prevents heat movement by convection. Furthermore, the outer wall stops heat from entering or leaving the coffee mug by conduction.
And for mugs with outer casings, they have an added advantage because this feature provides additional insulation – so you can comfortably hold your travel mug without its contents losing their temperature or you burning your hands.
It goes without saying that high quality and durable travel coffee mugs will definitely cost more – I mean you may pay more for a 12oz stainless steel travel mug than a 20oz plastic one. Manufacturers will consider a lot of factors to decide the price. For example, a stainless steel mug may cost more simply because stainless steel as a material is more expensive than plastic.
I guess, to an extent, value also depends on what you are looking for. A good practice is to have a checklist of important features that you are looking for and compare it with the value. There are also very good reviews online that will offer a deeper comparison chart between cost and features to better help understand it. Typically, a good travel mug will cost a minimum of US$20 and above.
Q: Are Travel Mugs 100% Spill Proof?
Q: Are Travel Mugs Dishwasher Safe?
Q: Will The Capacity To Keep The Drink Hot/Cold Wear With Time?
Globo Surf Overview
The reviews above offer an insight that’s worth equipping yourself with. We all want to own the best travel mug and a sleek fancy design won’t hurt either. Empowering yourself with key knowledge on what to look for in a coffee mug goes all the way. What I can say for sure though is, even with this knowledge, you don’t need to look any further to get that killer mug you want so much – the list of 10 best travel coffee mugs in 2021 above is all you need to find your match!