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The Best Travel Coffee Mug

Updated on February 17, 2013

Best Travel Coffee Mugs

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The Perfect Travel Coffee Mug for 2013

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It might not seem like a big decision, but it's definitely worth investigating to find the perfect travel coffee mug. As an experienced coffee drinker and traveler, here are a few of the most important attributes for a travel coffee mug.

Go to the bottom to see my #1 rated mug. It's incredible!

Travel Coffee Mug Seals

There are two main types of seals for travel coffee mugs. The twist and the the push down. The twist type works like most jar lids with the key difference in the locking mechanism. This is usually inserted into the top of the mug with the locking device located inside the mug. Sometimes it requires a little force to push the lid down onto the mug to set the locking bars below the ledge so the lid can be locked into place.

The push down type of lid usually comes with a lid that has a portruding insert designed to fit snuggly into the top of the mug. The material of the insert may be a bit spungy so that in can be compressed into the mug and held tightly into place.

A good seal is critical for a travel coffee mug. They perform two main functions. First, they help prevent spills or leaks while you drink coffee. Secondly, they help retain heat that will keep your coffee hot on long drives or if you just want to sip coffee over a couple of hours. Make sure the lid has a history of not leaking.

Photos Travel Coffee Mug

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Best coffee travel mug depends on how you travel

Yes, there are important differences that distinguish the purpose and usefulness of various travel mugs. The top mugs fit the way a person travels. For example, if you go by foot, a clamp to attach the mug is more important than the type of handle. However, that's not to say handles don't matter. Just ask the person with a narrow cup holder in their car and they will tell you how annoying it is when a coffee mug's handle is to large to fit in and therefore rests on the handle and is always out of balance. The top mug will be one that fits the uniqueness of the traveler - very important to know the person if you are picking out a mug as a gift for them.

The Base of the Travel Coffee Mug - Critically Important

Another critical feature of any travel coffee mug is the base. The base can add stability to a full mug, impacts the aesthetics of the mug, but most importantly it impacts how well the coffee mug will function in your car. Please check out the type of cup holders your car has and where they are located. Some cup holders are fairly narrow and that will require a mug with a small base. Others are shallow or deep and this impacts how flush the mug will sit in the holder or if a tall mug will remain balanced on a turn. Sometimes handles will interfere and cause the mug to sit at an angle if they run the entire length of the mug.

The Clip and Handle of a Travel Coffee Mug

Two other features of a multifunctional Travel Mug are the handle and the clip.  While most travel coffee mugs are insulated similarly to a thermos and a handle isn't necessary to avoid getting burned, but they do help you control the mug.  I prefere a travel coffee mug that allows for the entire four fingers to easily wrap inside the handle.  This is comfortable and allows for the best control of a full cup of hot coffee.

While most people think of travel coffee mugs for the car, many people will take them on the bus, bike, or as they walk.  If this describes how you may use your mug, than the clip of the mug is an important feature.  The clip will allow you to attach your mug to your backpack, belt or just about anything.  This is particularly handy after you have finished your coffee and would like to store your mug as you continue your journey.  Clips can be part of the handle and designed like the clips that rock climbers use that make it easy to attache and detach the mug. 

The Travel Mug Drinking Spout

The drinking spout is a good combination of personal preference and functionality.  The most important functionality is that the spout is able to be closed so that it won't leak if the mug is tipped over or placed on its side.  The second feature of the best travel mugs is that the spouts don't let too much heat escape.  If the spout is left open, your coffee will get cold quickly, but if you close it and your spout has an insulated closing mechanism, then your coffee will stay hot longer. 

Double Walled Travel Coffee Mugs

It doesn't matter if you want to keep your drink hot or cold, the mug will have to be well insulated.  Most travel coffee mugs work like a thermos and have double wall stainless steal interiors.  A well insulated coffee mug will do a few key things.  They will be cool to the touch when they are filled with hot liquids.  This prevents burns or having to hold an uncomfortably hot mug.  Also, a well insulated coffee mug will prevent water from condensing on the sides of the mug.  This is also known as sweating.  When a mug gets the sweats, they can leave water rings on wood tables and stain the inside of your car. 

The Shape of the Coffee Mug

The shape or contour of the mug will determine how the mug is held. Small hands may require a more narrow mug. The grip of a mug can also be enhanced with a rubber ring around the cup. I personally prefer a narrow mug, but a mug tall enough to hold 16 to 20 ounces of coffee.

Other Uses for Travel Coffee Mugs

  1. Bring a travel coffee mug to the office instead of using a paper cup.
  2. Fill a travel coffee mug with hot soup on a cold day and eat it for lunch.
  3. On hot days the insulated mugs can keep liquids cool as well

Top Rated Coffee Mugs by Contigo

In the comments it was pointed out that Contigo makes Starbucks coffee mugs. I looked into these mugs and they are pretty incredible. The key feature are lids that don't leak, and I love that they have replacement lids. They also offer shapes that are easy to hold and that are slim so they will fit into most coffee cup holders. Right now they have a special where they will put a logo onto one of their mugs. It's a nice gift idea for a company to get for their employees.

I've been using one of these mugs and I have never had a better mug. The liquid remains hot for hours. The top is easy to drink out of and it has never leaked. It's also proved to be very durable. This is my top rated mug. Enjoy the find!

A few key features of the Contigo Aria Stainless Steel Mug - #1 Mug

  • Liquids hot for seven hours and cold for 20 hours
  • Dishwasher safe mug
  • BPA free
  • Easy to use with one hand
  • Button locks seal so it won't spill in bags or backpacks

Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        bart malone 2 years ago

        thermos rocks

      • Paul Edmondson profile image

        Paul Edmondson 5 years ago from Burlingame, CA

        Check out the Aria by Contigo. It doesn't have a handle and is much lighter.

      • profile image

        Jim R 5 years ago

        The mug you show has a major flaw IMO, its shape.

        Yes it is a 'travel' mug, but most of us also use our travel mugs in the house, before leaving, and at work if it is still got hot coffee. This mug is way too top heavy with way to big a handle making things worse. It's an accident waiting to happen if more than half full setting on a flat surface.

      • gredmondson profile image

        gredmondson 5 years ago from San Francisco, California

        These are great mugs, and they are available at my Costco store in a two pack for $20.00. Such a bargain!

        They do work well, But just recently Cooks Illustrated did a review of such coffee mugs (this one was not reviewed).

      • Paul Edmondson profile image

        Paul Edmondson 5 years ago from Burlingame, CA

        I updated this with the experience of the Contigo Mug. It's incredible. Let us know how you feel about it here!

      • profile image

        Greg Argent 5 years ago

        i think the maker is IGNITE USA LLC they go out under the brand "contigo" - hope this helps if anyone is still looking

      • profile image

        Tracey 5 years ago

        The mug pictured can be found at

        many retailers have stopped seling them due to the issue of the pull tag on the lid breaking. Yo ucan buy replacement lids, but the company has done nothing to address the issue

      • MarkMAllen15 profile image

        MarkMAllen15 6 years ago

        Excellent hub! Great ideas here. THanks.

      • Paul Edmondson profile image

        Paul Edmondson 6 years ago from Burlingame, CA

        I've been looking for one as well and can't find it. I really like the clip on the mug for connecting to a backpack and the coffee stays hot.

      • profile image

        max 6 years ago

        I have a the pictured mug I bought at Starbucks and have seen at Bed, Bath and Beyond, but can't find them now. any idea what retail or onlind store sells them of the manufactures name.

      • profile image

        John 6 years ago


        I had one like the pictures from Costco, it was stolen from with my car, and I can't remember who made it, can anyone help

      • profile image

        electricians swansea 6 years ago

        Really nice.must get myself one of those!

      • Leptirela profile image

        Leptirela 7 years ago from I don't know half the time

        Interesting... I'd have never thought and now I'm going to invest in one of those monsters :)

        Thank you

      • coffeeguru2010 profile image

        coffeeguru2010 7 years ago from Las Vegas

        Very interesting hub. I absolutely love the photos. they are very unique. It always amazes me how ordinary every day objects can be turned into breath taking works of art by a skilled artist.

      • Food Wine Travel profile image

        Food Wine Travel 7 years ago from New York

        OXO 's travel mug rules. I own 4 and use them all the time, for walking my son to school at 8:15am and in the summer out in the garden at 7am to help wake me up and keep me warm before the sun is up over the trees.

        Oxo's mug truly keeps the coffee in and quite warm. I've thrown away several other brands that leak.

        And Oxo's come in groovy metallic car colors.

      • profile image

        Mike Chronos 7 years ago

        It really depends on where you are going with it... driving, desktop, etc. Photo mugs are the best since they are personalized and you can't mix them up with someone else's in the office.

      • Jessay profile image

        Jessica 7 years ago from USA

        The company "Life is Good" makes an awesome push down (not twist) that can go in the dishwasher and last forever. They also get a ton of compliments.

        You have created an amazing company and should be very proud.

      • Jenny30 profile image

        Jennifer 8 years ago from Canada

        Great article. Useful tips!

      • Laura Spector profile image

        Laura Spector 8 years ago from Chiang Mai, Thailand

        Thanks for this hub! It's very timely - I've been eyeing one at Starbucks recently...And, now inspired to buy one.

        By the way, I noticed you had little ones...I have loads of art projects for kids - come on over and get some ideas! Cheers!

      • Paul Edmondson profile image

        Paul Edmondson 8 years ago from Burlingame, CA

        Mine travel mug was purchased at Starbucks. I've tried to find the maker as well, but no luck so far. Let us know if you do find out.

      • profile image

        ramon 8 years ago

        i came across your great article whilst searching to replace my favourite destroyed travel mug and behold my favourite mug is pictured here in your article! mine was a gift from a friend years ago from starbucks... but they no longer carry it. is yours a starbucks make or perhaps the original company that starbucks licensed from? if so could you tell me tha brand as i am eagerly looking to replace my now destroyed mug....

      • profile image

        Y-N-A 8 years ago

        What's good about your article is that you showed variety of travel mugs. People can actually choose from the different pictures.... well, mugs are absolutely greater than that of the plastic or paper cups. Let's all use it instead.

      • BetsyIckes profile image

        BetsyIckes 8 years ago from Pennsylvania

        What I find to happen to mine is after a time, the lip will leak coffee out while sipping. If you have a white outfit on, this can become a neusense!

      • Paul Edmondson profile image

        Paul Edmondson 8 years ago from Burlingame, CA

        Has anyone tried a travel coffee mug with logo from zazzle or cafepress? I've been thinking of ordering them for our office...

      • profile image

        Michael Desrosiers 8 years ago

        copco is the best travrlling mug

      • Clara Ghomes profile image

        Clara Ghomes 8 years ago

        Really useful info. Thanks for this :-)

      • Paul Edmondson profile image

        Paul Edmondson 8 years ago from Burlingame, CA

        Absolutely. Travel mugs are much better than disposable cups when it comes to conserving paper. If you fillup at Starbucks, in your home, or at the office travel coffee mugs will not only keep your coffee hot, but it's a nice green touch to your lifestyle.

      • Peggy W profile image

        Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

        Using them instead of using paper ones also helps the environment. Thanks!

      • foxility profile image

        foxility 8 years ago

        Finding the perfect mug is so hard. Great article!

      • Fran Horvath profile image

        Fran Horvath 8 years ago from Universal

        Thanks for the article. I am a closet travel mug addict. I love them and buy new ones every couple of months. I wonder if there is a 12 step program for me?

      • J_Eds profile image

        J_Eds 8 years ago from Blackpool

        Its amazing just how many are out there that don't work! A peeve of mine!

      • jim10 profile image

        jim10 8 years ago from ma

        It is only a big decision when you buy the wrong travel coffee Mug. Spill it all over your car and end up smelling coffee for weeks. You definitely need the right seal for the top and size for the base.

      • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

        Patty Inglish 8 years ago from North America

        I'll have to try Thermos, like every camera I've every touched, every travel mug has exploded in my hands so far. LOL

      • Netters profile image

        Netters 8 years ago from Land of Enchantment - NM

        This is a very important hub. I have tried so many different coffee mugs and still haven't found that "perfect" one. Thank you.

      • profile image

        Property Finance 8 years ago

        cool things i am looking forward to buy one from above