“I am a fan of coffee drinking, but my preference is for hot cappuccino, which I like in a travel mug. This review is personal to me, for it took me several years to find a sturdy travel mug for my beverage that did not affect the taste. From personal experience and the data collected on this topic, the coffee tumbler you end up with should at least be spill proof, maintain the right temperature for your beverage, and be easy to keep clean“
A Travel Mug Should at Least be Spill Proof & Easy to Open
Rarely do I get emotionally involved on any blog topic but this evaluation of travel mugs is different, for I have dedicated countless hours looking through different brands and I can point you towards the features a perfect travel mug should come with.
Different Names for Travel Mugs
Why are there so many different names for coffee mugs one can use while on the road? The confusion is quite annoying, and I will try to set the record straight.
When we mention travel mugs in this review, we’re referring to the type of container uniquely designed to hold different types of beverages you want to take with you on the road.
Based on industry publications, the different names travel mugs go by are: thermos mug, ceramic travel mug, travel coffee mug, coffee candle, inspirational mug, personalized funny travel mug, coffee travel mug, travel mug ceramic, auto mugs, commuter mugs, and travel insulated drink tumblers.
So for clarity sake, any container with a lid that you can use to carry your coffee, tea, chocolate, or other beverages, can be called a travel mug.
Comprehensive Guide for Durable Travel Mugs
The main function of a travel mug is to hold your hot or cold liquid until you’re ready to consume the beverage. A well-made travel mug should be spill-proof, easy to clean, and not easily breakable. It should not also affect the taste of your beverage by altering it.
How Will You Use the Travel Mug?
Finalize in your mind how you intend to utilize the mug before commencing your research and online shopping. You stand a better chance of finding a reliable travel mug if you can honestly answer the following questions.
Will it be for Road Use Only?
I have a friend that travels constantly to different cities as a financial life planner and his needs for a mug to hold his beverage might be different from regular folks with a 9-to-5 gig. To use your mug on the road and in your car, it must be made to fit into the cup holder.
So as a point of reference, a travel mug with handle might not fit inside of a regular cup holder. The setup of the lid for the travel mug must not interfere with your ability to see the road ahead of you while taking a sip of your hot or cold beverage.
Since you’ll be using it on the road most times, it should have the right features to keep your beverage hot or cold for hours at a time.
Should the Travel Mug be Microwaveable?
I’m not a fan of using a microwave oven for food ingredients that I intend to consume, including hot beverages that might need reheating. But most people enjoy using one, and if you would like to use it to reheat your beverage just make sure the travel mug is safe for use in a microwave oven.
My personal travel mug is made out of stainless steel and able to retain heat for many hours at a time. Most times my beverage is finished before it gets cold anyway. The features of the travel mug you have in mind will let you know if it is safe for microwave use.
Do You Prefer Stainless Steel Travel Mug or One Made Out of Plastic?
You might not have much of a choice anyway, as the majority of the travel mugs are made out of stainless steel. Stainless steel will retain heat or coldness better and not hold on to the odors of your beverage.
On the other hand, travel mugs using plastic for the holding container will probably retain some of the odors of the different beverages used over time. Stainless steel travel mugs are easier to keep clean and better at resisting scratches even with rough daily use.
Other Factors to Consider Before Choosing Your Own Best Travel Mug
Travel Mugs with Infusers
It sure would be nice to simply pour your loose tea inside the travel mug and have it do the rest as you rush off to your daily commute for work. Few brands of travel mugs come with infusers to make that happen.
Those having double insulation tend to perform better at keep beverages hot over a long period of time regardless of the outside temperature. If you enjoy your morning or afternoon tea, a travel mug with an infuser will allow you to expand the types of tea you can brew.
Life Vacuum Insulated Travel Mug with Infuser
This is one of the premier travel mugs that also come with an infuser. The manufacturer claims it can hold cold beverages for 24-hours and hot beverages for 8-hours, regardless of the outside temperature. This is made possible by the use of the latest vacuum insulated technology.
The infuser or strainer is removable, which can be helpful when trying to brew a perfect cup of your favorite hot tea. The Life vacuum insulated travel mug is made using 18/8 Stainless Steel that is considered premium grade, due to its higher corrosion resisting composition.
The exterior of this travel mug is also coated with a high-quality matte finish, which helps to prevent the liquid flask from sweating. Another reason why you should give this product the attention it deserves is the inclusion of a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer.
Ease of Cleaning
A travel mug is only as effective as the cleaning care from the manufacturer. The brands that allow you to take the mug apart will probably be easier to keep clean. Some of the leading travel mug brands are dishwasher safe, while some are partially dishwasher safe, and many others are not.
I am not a fan of using dishwashers on an item that can be washed in just a minute or two. If you’re too busy to spare two minutes to thoroughly clean out your travel mug, then your lifestyle needs examination.
I find that hand washing of your travel mug regardless if it is made out of steel, plastic, glass, or ceramics is the only way to guarantee most of the dirt and germs will be removed.
Availability of Color Choices
Since it is now possible to create travel mugs that contain both stainless steel and some type of plastic, your favorite brand would probably come in different colors.
Contrary to what some might think, color is a mood enhancer, and it would be nice to drink your favorite beverage out of a portable mug that comes in your favorite color.
The Reputation of the Manufacturer and the Warranty Terms
Since the increase in the popularity of travel mugs, a significant number of new firms are trying to get their own fair share of the sales figures. Contigo and Zojirushi are two of the leading brand names in this niche market, but there are many others.
The terms of the warranty for the mug you can use on the go is probably a reflection of the confidence the manufacturer places on the materials used. In this niche industry, warranty terms do vary widely, and it is up to you to decide if a shorter warranty is a sign of a bad product.
Feedbacks from Current Users
You can read all the evaluation of travel mugs you want online, but the most important pieces of information you must not ignore are the opinions of the current users of the drinking cup.
While even the most highly rated travel mug will have a few disgruntled users, the vast majority users should be happy with the product. That is why the travel mugs found in this post come with at least four-stars or more, out of a total 5-star rating system.
Types of Insulation Found in Travel Mugs
Basically, there are three types of insulation setup that can be found in travel mugs. The use of foam, vacuum, or air between double walls. The few plastic brands will most likely be using foam or air mechanism for the insulation setup.
Vacuum insulation is commonly used inside stainless steel travel mugs, which ensures your beverage remains hot for many hours. It is also the ideal insulation set up for holding colder beverages over a long period of time.
Different Types of Travel Mugs
While there are many types of travel mugs, the most dominant one is usually made out of stainless steel. In fact, it is quite difficult to find one made out of just one material in this modern technological age.
It is more common for the travel mug you select to be made out of several materials, which most likely will include steel. While I have included at least one product for each type, stainless steel is dominant in this niche market.
Travel Mugs Made out of Stainless Steel
You cannot beat the fact that stainless steel offers the most suitable insulation, as far being able to keep your beverage at the right temperature for hours. Not only is a travel mug made out of stainless steel tough and durable, a good brand will also serve your needs much longer.
It is also true that stainless steel travel mugs will not break if accidentally dropped on any type of floor. The travel mugs using stainless steel as the dominant material are much easier to keep clean.
Despite the higher pricing for this type of steel coffee mug, the performance will deliver greater value for the money. Some of the most durable stainless steel travel mug brands one can buy online are:
1 – Contigo Autoseal Stainless Steel Travel Mug
This Contigo travel mug is just one of the many products made by this company. It is available in three sizes 16-ounce, 20-ounce, and 24-ounce, with 9 different colors to choose from.
The Contigo West Loop greatest calling card is the auto-seal feature found in the lid, which is capable of sealing itself between sips to keep spills from happening.
You can forget about accidentally opening the Autoseal lid because it has a locking mechanism with a button to unlock it. It is the ideal and most convenient travel mug for both right and left-handed users.
This travel mug from Contigo is insulated using the latest double-wall vacuum insulation technology, which ensures hot beverages can remain so for about 5-hours and cold beverages for almost 12-hours.
Other Things you should know about the Contigo Autoseal travel mug
It will fit nicely into the standard cup holders found in most modern automobiles. The Contigo West Loop Travel mug an also be used with most of the single-serve brewers sold online.
The part that comes in contact with your cold or hot beverage is completely BPA free. Thorough washing of the portable travel mug from Contigo is recommended before first use.
The body and the lid of this travel mug from Contigo can be used safely in the dishwasher, but it is recommended you place them in the top rack only.
If you choose to wash this travel mug by hand, it is suggested you first soak all parts in a soapy water that is hot for the lid and warm for the body, for about to 10 minutes. The use of a mild detergent is suggested, and all parts should be thoroughly rinsed in clean running tap water before further use.
What you must not do with the mug From Contigo
You cannot put this mug inside of a microwave oven, neither can it be put inside of a freezer.
Refrain from using detergents or other cleaning products containing abrasives, chlorine, bleach, or other harsh chemicals.
Finally, to get the most use out of the mug try not to pour pulpy beverages into the container. While the manufacturer did not say why it safe to assume it might impact negatively the way the Autoseal and sipping mechanisms are supposed to function.
Bottom Line – If you want to get the most use out of Contigo Autoseal west loop stainless steel travel mug there is a tea infuser accessory, which is sold separately.
2 – Simple Modern Double Walled Stainless Steel Travel Mug
What a cool name for a travel mug that uses stainless steel? The Simple Modern travel mug is available in two sizes 20-ounce and 30-ounce with nine different colors, which means a higher chance of finding the right color scheme that you’ll like.
Since it is vacuum insulated your hot beverage will not cause the travel mug to sweat, which means it is appropriate to use one in a busy office desk with paperwork. The sleekness and durability of the travel mug from Simple Modern are enhanced by the use of double powder coating.
Some of the current users called this product the best coffee tumbler for those that enjoy beverages on the go. The use of premium 18/8 stainless steel and good insulation techniques ensure your beverages will retain the right temperature until you’re ready to consume it.
While the lid itself is tight and would not leak but the hole in the lid does not have a cover or locking mechanism so your beverage will spill if it is tipped over. It will fit nicely into the cup holder that is in most cars.
The clear lid design will allow you to take sips of your drink while driving or on the go, and the Tumbler is free of BPA materials. The LFGB and FDA certification means this is the right stainless steel tumbler with a lifetime guarantee.
This travel mug is not microwave or dishwasher safe. It is recommended you hand wash this best-insulated coffee mug after each use.
3 – Zojirushi SM-KHE36XA Stainless Steel Travel Mug
Based on the sales figures we saw, this is one of the top selling brands in this niche market. The Zojirushi SM-KHE36XA stainless steel travel mug can be purchased in two sizes 12-Ounce, and 16-Ounce, with five different colors to select from.
This portable mug uses vacuum insulation to help retain the temperature of your favorite beverage for hours at a time. The steel exterior of the Zojirushi SM-KHE36XA mug makes it easy to keep one clean and scratch free.
The plastic used in this product is free of BPA materials, while the lid enclosure design ensures no accidental opening will occur while transporting the mug.
The interior of the travel mug from Zojirushi is made from steel that is resistant to corrosion, while also repelling stains.
You get a five-year warranty from the manufacturer and it is to cover any defect that might occur in the vacuum insulation, which is the key component of the product.
4 – Thermos Stainless King Travel Mug
Despite the fact that the design of the Thermos stainless king travel mug includes a fancy handle, the manufacturer claims it can fit into most cup holder found in modern automobiles. It has a built-in tea hook, which can be used for tea bags or small tea leaves infusers.
Modern vacuum insulation technology is also applied to help this travel thermos mug retain the temperature of your favorite beverage. It is only available in a 16-ounce size, but there are 5 different colors to choose from.
Stainless steel is used in both the interior and exterior of this king travel mug from Thermos, which gives it the ability to retain the temperature of your beverage for many hours.
The most ideal of all the features found in this mug is the fact that the exterior will remain cool even if you have very hot coffee or tea inside the container. Also, the insulation layer ensures the mug will not sweat from the cold beverage inside the container.
The manufacturer claims it is capable of keeping a hot beverage for 5-hours and a cold beverage for 9-hours. This vacuum insulated travel mug by Thermos is made from BPA-free materials, and you get a five-year limited warranty from the manufacturer.
5 – RTIC Tumbler
This a 30-ounce Tumbler with also a double wall vacuum insulation to help it retain the temperature of the beverage. The manufacturer claims it can hold small ice cubes for up to 24-hours, a claim we did not test but was confirmed by some of the current users’ feedbacks.
The use of premium stainless steel ensures greater durability, while the design of the travel mug from RTIC will allow it to fit into any cup holder. The lid is spill-proof.
Your RTIC coffee tumbler is not dishwasher safe and must be hand washed. On the downside, the warranty for this travel mug is only 90-days, which is not as generous as the other leading travel mug brands.
6 – Yeti Rambler Tumbler with Lid
The Yeti tumbler is so popular that it was almost impossible to find one at any price during the holiday season 2015. Is the Yeti rambler the ultimate product in beverage temperature insulation? I will give you several things I like about this travel mug, before getting to some of the dislikes.
What I like about the Yeti Rambler Tumbler
The simplicity of design is quite appealing to those that like it simple and functional.
It is made using kitchen grade 18/8 stainless steel and probably can withstand very rough treatment. At my local gym, I have seen one or two members with this drink container and they seem to be in love with the Yeti Mug based on the way they were holding it. A lady that took the time to talk to me while she saw me staring at the mug revealed that the theft ratio for this item is quite high.
I like that you can buy one in three special sizes 10-ounce, 20-ounce, and 30-ounce.
The use of double wall vacuum insulation technique ensures the temperature of your hot or cold beverage will be adequately maintained. Thou a few of the users claim it will hold colder beverages far longer than it would hot ones, which is understandable.
The manufacturer claims this product is rust resistant and also puncture resistant, both claims have not been adequately confirmed, and I doubt anyone would be volunteering to use their Yeti rambler cup for the test.
Your cold drinks will not make the travel mug from Yeti sweat neither will your hot beverage make it too hot to hold or carry with you on the road.
Whether you select the Yeti rambler 20 or the Yeti rambler 30, both will be safe to put in the dishwasher. This travel mug is also free of any BPA materials.
Some of the Cons of the Yeti Rambler Tumbler with Lid
It is quite pricey, and I bet you can buy two products from another brand that might deliver the same benefit.
It is not spill proof, for if you drop it your beverage will spill a little through the hole in the lid, which means carrying one in a bag with your other personal items is out of the question.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Yeti Rambler Tumbler with Answers
1 – Why is the yeti rambler so popular?
Simply because consumers like yourself are searching online to determine if it comes with the right features to justify the asking price.
2 – Is the yeti rambler dishwasher safe?
Based on the information from the manufacturer, yes it is.
3 – Is the yeti rambler good for hot drinks?
From the available data including the feedbacks from many of the current users of the Yeti travel mug, yes it is good for both cold and hot beverages.
4 – Is the yeti rambler spill proof?
It comes with a tight lid that has a hole for sipping your beverage, so the answer to your question is no, it is not spill proof, which means you can forget about carrying the Yeti mug in a bag turned over or laying sideways.
5 – Can the Yeti rambler be personalized?
Definitely yes! In fact, there is a growing cottage industry dedicated to improving the functionality of the Yeti rambler with different types of accessories. You can search on Amazon.com for yeti rambler accessories.
6 – Is the yeti tumbler made in the USA?
It claims to be designed in America, but not manufactured here.
7 – Is the yeti tumbler made in china?
Yes, it is made in China, while the manufacturer also claims it is designed in Texas, USA.
8 – Is the Yeti Tumbler Worth the Price?
At my age, I have come to realize that value is in the eye of the beholder, just like beauty. Will I be willing to pay the asking price for this portable mug despite some of its limitations? Maybe, based on what I intend to use one for.
If your intention is to carry your travel mug with you because it is spill proof, the Yeti rambler will not work for you. It is a well-designed and highly functional best travel mug with the ability to keep your beverages at the right temperature for long stretches at a time.