coffee

The 12 Very Best Travel Mugs

Cut back on waste and enjoy a better cup of coffee.

The best travel mug is the MiiR Travel Tumbler With Flip Lid.
Photo: Marcus McDonald
The best travel mug is the MiiR Travel Tumbler With Flip Lid.
Photo: Marcus McDonald

In this article

When I walk into any coffee shop, I see at least a handful of people asking for their morning brew to be poured into their own reusable vessel instead of something disposable. And trust me: Baristas are more than happy to oblige. Every single one of the pros I talked to for this story said that not only are ceramic, glass, and stainless-steel options better for the environment, but they actually make your coffee tastier than paper or plastic. They’re also more convenient — I make my coffee and tea at home the vast majority of the time, but now, I pour it into one of the few reusable mugs I tested for this story whenever I want to take it with me on the go. Not only does that save money, but it keeps my drink hot or cold for longer. And I can sip some, throw it in my bag, and save the rest for later.

All the travel mugs on this list have temperature retention for at least a few hours, with the exception of three, which I’ve noted and explained. While all of them work well, if you’re going to invest in this long-term good habit, you want to find the one that best fits your coffee habits and, of course, aesthetic preference. Read on to help determine which reusable cup, mug, or tumbler is best for you. And if you’re in need of a water bottle, I’ve got you covered there, too.

What we’re looking for

Volume

Most of these travel mugs come in various sizes, and obviously that’s an important feature to pay attention to when buying. Eight or 12 ounces is on the smaller side; both are good for standard cappuccinos or cortados or if you don’t consume all that much coffee or tea. Twenty ounces is pretty big, useful if you’ll be toting your drink around all day without the chance for refills. And then, of course, 16 ounces is somewhere in between.

Lid type

The type of lid on your travel mug can make a fairly big difference in how you experience drinking. Some have bigger openings, some smaller. Some snap shut; others twist open and close. This can come down to personal preference — meaning the literal mouthfeel of each one. But it’s also important to consider when and how you’ll be using your travel mug, whether that’s commuting by train or car, sitting at a desk, or running errands around your neighborhood.

How to clean

Some travel mugs on this list are dishwasher safe; others need to be cleaned by hand. Take note if that’s an important factor for you.

Best travel mug overall

Volume: 12 to 20 ounces | Lid type: Flip lid | How to clean: Dishwasher safe

The MiiR Travel Tumbler is my personal favorite travel mug. I own the smallest size (12 ounces) and love the compact build and sleek shape. I find the grip itself to be secure, too, and slim enough to fit in one hand. The whole lid screws on tight; I’ve never experienced any leaking. It’s especially easy and comfortable to sip from, thanks to the small piece on the lid that flips up and reveals a hole that allows a stream steady enough to get a good mouthful but not so wide open that it spills when I tilt the mug back. This is even the case with iced coffee; the cubes never obstruct the opening or cause uneven flow (though if you mainly drink it this way, one of the larger sizes might be a better choice).

The temperature retention is fantastic, too; I’ve had coffee stay hot — not just warm, but piping — for six hours. Jerad Morrison, co-founder and co-CEO of Sightglass Coffee in San Francisco, explains that this is thanks to the double-walled interior, which also means it’s never too hot or too cold to hold on the outside. “It’s stainless steel, so it washes really easily,” Morrison says, “and doesn’t hold on to any flavors.” Will Pratt, founder and owner of Tandem Coffee Roasters in Portland, Maine, agrees that its material makes it a breeze to clean — and that if you have one, you can even just throw it in the dishwasher. “Coffee has sticky oils that leave residue, and there’s nothing worse than a mug that holds that flavor over time,” he says. The final bonus, as mentioned by Morisson, is that it fits into cup holders in both cars and bikes, which “is not always the case.”

Michael Philips, director of content and copy at Blue Bottle, recommends Miir’s standard tumbler. Like the travel model above, the body is made from the same material, slightly tapered towards the bottom, so it still feels good in the hand and fits in cup holders, Philips says. The clear lid “gives you a chance to see what you’re drinking,” he says, and “does a great job stopping sloshes from getting out and onto your hands.”

Best travel mug for cappuccinos

Volume: 12 and 16 ounces | Lid type: Flip lid | How to clean: Hand-wash only

KeepCup was also mentioned by many of our experts, and in my own testing, I liked it, too. The lid here functions pretty much the same as the MiiR, which means you can sip from the hole or take the whole thing off. Both make for comfortable sipping. But I will note: while there’s a small silicone tag that fits into the sip hole to seal it, it isn’t perfectly leak-proof, meaning this isn’t a mug I would casually throw in my bag. But it’s very nice for taking on walks or bringing coffee-shop brew home.

I was initially nervous the glass would be delicate, but it’s thick and feels sturdy, with a wide cork ring around the perimeter so I can grip without my fingers getting too hot. The glass body also means that there’s not as much heat retention going on as some of the others. (And for Ryan Fisher, director of coffee and roasting at GoodBoyBob Coffee in Santa Monica, California, that’s actually a benefit instead of a problem: The glass gets his coffee to the exact temperature he likes quickly.)

KeepCup was also praised by coffee pros who say its size and shape works well on their side of the counter, too. The small glass vessels were designed by two former baristas in Melbourne, Australia, making it easier for people like Joanna Lareau, coffee manager at Stumptown, and Samya Said, former barista training manager at Fairgrounds Coffee & Tea, to do their jobs. Both Lareau and Said say that having a wide mouth and inner slope allows baristas to pour amazing coffee art. Lareau also notes that the small size fits cortados and cappuccinos well. “Some reusable cups are so big they don’t fit into the espresso machine,” she says.

Best travel mug for iced coffee

Volume: 8, 12, and 16 ounces | Lid type: Twist-off lid | How to clean: Hand-wash only

Fellow is generally a favorite brand among industry folks (I’m a big fan of their electric kettle in particular). As with all their products, the travel mug has a streamlined look. Even though you can’t throw it in the dishwasher, Morrison says the stainless steel interior makes it easy to clean. And it retains hot and cold temperatures with the best of them. But the coolest feature of all? “There’s a small guard insert at the top,” Morrison says, “so if you’re drinking iced coffee, the cubes don’t fall back onto your face when you get towards the bottom.”

Best travel mug for commuting

Volume: 12 and 16 ounces | Lid type: Flip lid | How to clean: Hand-wash recommended

The Zojirushi, which was also a top pick for reusable water bottles, comes with a lot of the same perks as many others on this list — namely fantastic temperature control and a slim, sleek, and lightweight body. We’ve been recommending it since 2016 in large part because the water bottle keeps drinks at the same temperature as they were when you initially filled it. “One time, I made coffee early one winter morning and brought it to work in my Zojirushi. When I got to the office after walking through freezing temperatures and snow, the coffee was too hot,” wrote Laura Perciasepe in her review of this Japanese mug. “I put an ice cube in it like a philistine.”

But according to tea consultant Sara Shacket, its most impressive quality is that it’s completely airtight. “It really doesn’t leak,” she says. “I’ve used it during many commutes on the subway, thrown in my bag, and was never worried. Same if I was hiking on a trip. It could be upside-down and it wouldn’t leak.” Cookbook author and recipe developer Carla Lalli Music, who owns multiple Zojirushi models, echoes this sentiment, saying, “It has the most bustproof cap in the biz.” Ilana Glazer likes her so much, she brings it onstage, in large part because it’s “so sleek in its design and so quick to open and close.”

Best travel mug with a handle

Volume: 10 to 24 ounces | Lid type: Slide lid | How to clean: Dishwasher safe

Steven Sadoff, founder of New York City’s Ground Support, has many travel mugs (including the MiiR and the Fellow above), but he turns to his Yeti when he wants a handle. He says he finds this feature particularly convenient when he’s driving because even though it doesn’t fit in a cup holder, he can easily grab it and sip with control. “It makes for a pretty comfortable drinking experience,” he says, “especially as you get close to the end of your coffee.” The same applies when he meets friends for a coffee outside because “you can gesticulate wildly without spilling.” Aside from the handle, he appreciates that the mug seals incredibly tightly, keeps liquid hot for hours, and is dishwasher safe. Rhiannon Giddens is another fan, saying that Yeti bottles keep liquid “hot or cold for a millennia.”

Best less expensive travel mug with a handle

From $28
Photo: retailer

Volume: 8 to 20 ounces | Lid type: Slide lid | How to clean: Hand-wash recommended

Recommended by multiple experts, MiiR also makes a sweet travel mug that mimics an actual handled mug. Em Orendorff, former manager at Intelligentsia Coffee, likes it because “it’s shaped just like the mugs we use in the café (short and wide with a great handle), so it’s a breeze for baristas to make your drink in it as well as easy to clean and to drink out of.” Caleb Chauncey, former barista at East Pole Coffee Co. in Atlanta, likes that its insulated interior keeps drinks warm or cold for long periods of time, and it keeps a consistent temperature on the outside too. “It won’t burn your hand if you have a hot beverage inside, and it won’t sweat when you have a cold one,” he says. To me, it seems like the perfect camping companion. It’s also worth noting that it comes in the largest range of sizes of any of the mugs we’ve listed.

Best travel mug with a replaceable lid

Volume: 12 to 20 ounces | Lid type: Twist-off lid or sip lid | How to clean: Dishwasher safe

Hydro Flask is another go-to for water (in fact, it was named our best-overall bottle because so many people — including myself — sing its praises). The materials and build that keep liquid cold also keep liquid hot, as Strategist editor and avid coffee drinker Maxine Builder can attest to. She particularly likes the model with a Flex Sip lid. “It’s a lot easier to manipulate on the go and actually keeps the hot coffee in there,” she says. The other advantage of this lid is the addition of a hook, which means I can carry it with one finger while I walk my dog in the morning.” Best of all, if you already own a Hydro Flask, you can buy the new lid separately and just replace your old one. The company says it’s dishwasher safe, but hand washing is recommended — though both my boyfriend and I have been putting our own Hydro Flasks in the dishwasher for months now with no damage.

Best no-leak travel mug

Kinto Travel Tumbler
$27
$27

Strategist writer Jeremy Rellosa loves his Kinto Travel Tumbler because of its double-lid system, which prevents leaks. You take both off to fill the bottle, then twist in the first one that has a few holes around the perimeter to sip from, and then add the fully closed screw top over that. It stays extra-secure, Rellosa says, because there are no small flip-up or sliding parts that can open by accident. Once, he had to stuff it into his backpack while traveling and thought he was going to open it to find coffee stains on his clothes, but everything inside stayed clean and dry. Plus, “the actual lid where you drink from and makes contact with your lips never touches the exterior of your bag, or wherever you’re stashing it,” Rellosa says. Julia Shaw, director of marketing at NYC’s Devoción Coffee, is another fan. She says the bottle keeps liquid hot or cold for a long time and has an “elegant” aesthetic appeal.

Best travel mug with open hole lid

Volume: 12 ounces | Lid type: Sip lid | How to clean: Dishwasher safe

Kinto’s To-Go Tumbler has a very small but always-open sip hole, which means it’s best suited for when you’re sitting at a desk or on a walk holding the tumbler in your hand. This means your drink will stay hot for about an hour and cold for several hours, but it’s not going to retain its temperature all day long. That said, it’s still a favorite of a couple of our experts. For ​​Haley Boyd, a designer and sustainability enthusiast, this is mostly because of the aesthetic. “It’s an attractive, simple shape in a solid color without a huge logo, which is surprisingly hard to find,” she says. But for Noah McKeown, general manager at Go Get Em Tiger in Los Angeles, who uses his nearly every day, it’s more than just looks. “I like the small-hole sip lid,” he says. “I think the flow-out of it is really nice. It never spills, but you still get a lot of the coffee aromatics out of it.”

Best customizable travel mug

Volume: 12 and 16 ounces | Lid type: Button lid or straw lid | How to clean: Dishwasher safe

Not only does this ceramic-lined mug hit the mark on functionality, but it allows you to customize way beyond size. You choose between a lid with a button-release or a built-in straw and then pick from a bunch of pretty, muted tones, either making it monochrome or designing it so that the body, lid, and button are all different colors.

It’s super effective, too. I tested a button-release version: While you unscrew the lid fully to fill the vessel, you press down on a circle flush with the top that opens another much smaller hole to sip from. This releases a slow and steady stream of liquid when you tip the mug back. Even when I was walking around with it, I never had to readjust how I was holding or maneuvering it, and no amount of turning it upside down or jostling led to any leaking. And the temperature retention (for both hot and cold drinks) is great — my coffee stays hot for about four hours, and last summer, I could hear ice clinking around after that same amount of time when I was out and about on a hot day.

Best glass travel mug for brewing tea

Volume: 7 ounces | Lid type: Twist-off lid | How to clean: Dishwasher safe

Daniela Titiun, tea sommelier and author of Tea Cachai, tried many different glass tea mugs before landing on one she calls “the smartest system” for its game-changing tea-brewing mechanism. Normally, she explains, tumblers have a metal insert that’s filled with tea leaves and steeped in water. That means that once the appropriate amount of time has passed, you either have to remove the strainer — which can be impractical, if you’re on the go — or just leave the leaves inside, which can cause your drink to get bitter. The Oneisall, however, functions by dividing the vessel in half with a filter. One side houses the leaves; the other, the water. This allows you to turn the bottle upside down to infuse and then right side up when you’re ready to unscrew and sip. (There’s a helpful video on the product page.) While the glass means this mug is non-insulating, the double walls help retain heat for about an hour, and at only seven ounces, it should be easy to finish by then. Plus, as Titiun notes, you can easily re-brew for a second time with the same leaves.

Best stainless-steel travel mug for brewing tea

Volume: 16 ounces | Lid type: Sip lid | How to clean: Hand-wash recommended

Like the model above, this travel mug (which was gifted to me by the brand) brews tea without an infuser sitting in your water — but instead of the flip method, it has a more traditional tea press that you push down once the steep time is over (similar to a French press). The grip is comfortable, so I often take it with me on late-afternoon walks, and the twist-off lid is extremely tight. It hasn’t ever spilled, even when jostled in my tote bag. There are small sip holes around the perimeter of the top of the infuser so you can drink from any angle, all while the flow of liquid is slow and controlled. Finally, because of the stainless-steel insulation, it stays at temperature for hours; when I brew it before I go upstairs for the evening, it’s still hot when I drink from it before bed.

Some more travel vessels we’ve written about

Our experts

• ​​Haley Boyd, designer and sustainability enthusiast
• Maxine Builder, Strategist editor
• Caleb Chauncey, former barista at East Pole Coffee Co.
• Ryan Fisher, director of coffee and roasting at GoodBoyBob Coffee
• Joanna Lareau, coffee manager at Stumptown
• Noah McKeown, general manager at Go Get Em Tiger
• Jerad Morrison, co-founder and co-CEO of Sightglass Coffee
Carla Lalli Music, cookbook author and recipe developer
• Em Orendorff, former manager at Intelligentsia Coffee
• Michael Phillips, director of content and copy at Blue Bottle
• Will Pratt, founder and owner of Tandem Coffee Roasters
Jeremy Rellosa, Strategist writer
• Steven Sadoff, founder of New York City’s Ground Support
• Samya Said, former barista training manager at Fairgrounds Coffee & Tea
Sara Shacket, tea consultant
• Julia Shaw, director of marketing at Devoción Coffee
• Daniela Titiun, tea sommelier and writer of Tea Cachai

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The 12 Very Best Travel Mugs