We run through so many travel mugs, and not all of them are winners. These are a few we like, just not as much as the ones above.
Contigo Luxe Autoseal for $36: What makes the Contigo “automatic” is a button on the side of the lid that opens the sippin’ hole. There’s a lock to prevent the button from opening the hole too. With or without the lock activated, the Contigo never leaked a single drop. Of all the tumblers and bottles I’ve tested, this is the easiest to reach down and quickly use one-handed. You don’t want to mess with latches while you’re piloting a wheeled missile down the road. Some buyers have complained that the metal lid gets too hot, but I filled up the Luxe Autoseal with scorching, molten coffee, and the lid barely even got lukewarm, so consider that myth busted.
KeepCup Thermal for $33: The answer to those who like the KeepCup LongPlay’s ergonomic shape and paper-cup-imitating feel but long for a cup that can keep their coffee warmer for longer. The Thermal is, like most of the vessels in this guide, vacuum-insulated stainless steel that insulates against heat loss or, in the case of cold beverages, heat gain. It shares the Brew Cork’s slightly dribbly lid, although it loses some of the novelty of the Brew Cork’s glass.
Miir Camp Cup for $28: Miir’s insulated coffee mug doesn’t fumble any crucial details. It doesn’t leak, it insulates hot and cold drinks just fine, and the coating is as tough as any Miir. But it’s up against tough competition, and for the same money the Hydro Flask Mug is a bit nicer. The Miir lacks the stainless steel rim, and the transparent plastic lid feels a little cheaper.
Hydro Flask All Around Travel Tumbler for $35: With its soft, pastel colors and chunky handle, the All Around Travel Tumbler seems to be crying out, “Hold me!” The rounded handle is comfortable to hold, which is important in an 18.4-ounce mug loaded with up to 32 fluid ounces of drink. Like most Hydro Flask products, it comes with the same bomb-proof powder coating that resists scratches and chips like a nuclear fallout shelter, with the addition of a straw poking through its lid. There’s also a 40-fluid-ounce version for $40.
GSI Outdoors Glacier 15-Fluid-Ounce Camp Cup for $20: Not too easy to find at retailers, unless you count Backcountry’s limited selection of two colors, this is an insulated version of GSI Outdoors’ classic camp cups. It’s awfully simple, particularly the incredibly basic lid, but it’s more than a little endearing. There’s a brushed stainless steel version and, my favorite, a “blue speckle” that imitates the classic enameled blue camp cups of past generations, although both of these colors are plain steel. Other colors come in a more durable-seeming pebbled coating.
Zojirushi Stainless Steel Mug for $29: Zojirushi’s classic 16-ounce travel mug is a favorite around these parts. The stainless-steel interior is BPA-free and has a wide-mouth opening to accommodate ice cubes. The lid locks to avoid accidental spillage, and I accidentally left hot tea in it for 18 hours and found it still hot when I cautiously opened it again. It’s also small enough to fit in my jacket pocket on chilly morning walks. It’s not my preferred mug for daily use, simply because the lid has three separate parts—a mouthpiece, a gasket, and a lid—that are deeply ridged and hard to clean. I also need a bottle brush to wash the interior.
Rambler Stackable Pint Glass for $22: Never mind the fact that Yeti calls it a glass when there’s no glass—this insulated cup holds 16 fluid ounces, which is the capacity of a typical tall drinking glass. The best aspect of these is that they stack, so you can keep a bunch in your pantry without taking up much room. It comes with Yeti’s durable powder coating, too, making them among the toughest options out there.
Hydro Flask Mug for $28: This style of mug has become increasingly common. The Hydro Flask Mug merges a durable powder-coated, vacuum-insulated construction with the traditional, handle-sporting shape of a diner or camp mug. Hydro Flask does it better than most. The stainless steel rim makes it nicer to sip from than competitors’ mugs, and it comes with Hydro Flask’s usual drip-proof lid and bomber-tough powder coating that is nearly impossible to scratch. But it is more at home on a desk than at a campsite or in a car’s cupholder, which it can’t fit into.
Owala FreeSip for $28: Drinking from the FreeSip while wearing a full-face motorcycle helmet (by tilting the helmet up slightly and sipping from under the chin bar) was surprisingly easy, thanks to the built-in straw on this mug. If you’ve got mobility or pain issues that make tilting your head a hassle, this mug is a solid performer. It’s easy to grip too, with its flattened sides, which can come in handy for those with reduced hand dexterity.
OtterBox Elevation for $30: At 8.5 inches tall, the Elevation 20 looks a lot bigger than it is. It has a copper lining to maintain your beverage’s perfect temperature, and the clear press-on lid has a locking mechanism. You can also switch it out for a straw lid or a French press lid if you’re in a hurry. It comes in a variety of stunning ombre hues.
Purist Mover for $48: Ever empty a stainless-steel bottle of one beverage and fill it up with a different one, only to notice that the taste of the first drink lingers? The Purist has applied a thin layer of glass over the interior of the Mover, which keeps this taste transfer from happening. You can down a mug full of coffee and then fill it with herbal tea without risking a coffee aftertaste. I didn’t experience leaks from the Element top, but a high number of customers have reported their Purist lids leaking over time. I’ll keep using the Purist and update this page with information on how it performs over the course of the year.
S’well Traveler Tumbler for $30: S’well boasts that its tumblers are triple-walled, but we’re not convinced that has much real-world benefit over a normal double-walled tumbler. What really sets the S’well apart are its designs. There are 12 finishes, from plain colors and bare stainless steel to elaborate patterns, such as blue marble and faux wood, and a slide-open lid so you don’t have to pop it off every time you want a swig of coffee.
Stanley Classic Vacuum Pint for $26: Stanley’s vacuum pint includes a press-on lid with a deeply pebbled exterior that’s reminiscent of classic flasks, and also hard hats and construction sites. Although it’s billed as a 16-ounce pint, Stanley has added a few extra ounces to accommodate foam (or splashing hot coffee), and the lid comes with a slide-in metal bottle opener if you like to go immediately from work to happy hour.