Well-designed travel coffee mugs can make your morning commute a more pleasant experience, while a poorly designed version will be a source of frustration and annoyance. Whether you're new to travel mugs or shopping for a replacement, here are a few factors to consider before you buy:
Material: Most coffee travel mugs are made from plastic or stainless steel. While stainless is the preferred material for odor resistance, heat retention, and durability, these benefits can come with a hefty price tag. If a stainless travel mug isn't in your budget, consider a plastic mug with a stainless liner.
Size: In order to fit in a typical cup holder, you'll need a travel coffee mug with a diameter of 2 ½" or less. Measure your vehicle's cup holder clearance to determine the maximum height.
Sipping mechanism: Sipping holes are the most basic design, but offer little protection against spillage. While hinged covers offer spill resistance, they're prone to leaving a droplet of coffee on the tip of your nose, which can certainly be annoying. For spill resistance without the frustration of " coffee nose", look for a lid with an open/ closed sipping mechanism that can be easily operated with one hand.
Ease of cleaning: If you'll be hand-washing your coffee travel mug, make sure you're able to reach your hand all the way in for a thorough cleaning. Look for a lid that can be easily cleaned and sanitized, and that is free of extraneous nooks and crannies to prevent build-up.
Heat retention. Vacuum mugs will hold heat for 4-8 hours, while double-walled plastic mugs will keep coffee hot for about an hour. Choose the mug that offers the best heat retention within your budget, and one that will hold heat throughout your commute.
Good quality travel coffee mugs typically cost between $20 and $30, and are available in 12, 14, 16, and 20 ounce sizes. While there are many manufacturers of travel mugs, popular choices include Thermos, Nissan, Trudeau, and Brungo.