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The Best Travel Coffee Mug

Best Travel Coffee Mugs

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.

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. 

Travel Coffee Mugs

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

#1 Contigo Aria is my top rated coffee mug

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
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bart malone on August 24, 2015:

thermos rocks

Paul Edmondson (author) from Burlingame, CA on January 22, 2012:

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

Jim R on January 22, 2012:

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 from San Francisco, California on December 06, 2011:

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 (author) from Burlingame, CA on December 03, 2011:

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

Greg Argent on November 10, 2011:

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

Tracey on October 17, 2011:

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 on August 11, 2011:

Excellent hub! Great ideas here. THanks.

Paul Edmondson (author) from Burlingame, CA on February 18, 2011:

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.

max on February 18, 2011:

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.

John on February 10, 2011:


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

electricians swansea on November 30, 2010:

Really nice.must get myself one of those!

Leptirela from I don't know half the time on June 07, 2010:

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

Thank you

coffeeguru2010 from Las Vegas on March 05, 2010:

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 from New York on January 26, 2010:

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.

Mike Chronos on January 20, 2010:

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 on November 20, 2009:

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.

Jennifer from Canada on July 30, 2009:

Great article. Useful tips!

Laura Spector from Chiang Mai, Thailand on July 04, 2009:

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 (author) from Burlingame, CA on June 28, 2009:

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.

ramon on June 27, 2009:

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....

Y-N-A on June 27, 2009:

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 from Pennsylvania on June 14, 2009:

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 (author) from Burlingame, CA on February 27, 2009:

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

Michael Desrosiers on February 27, 2009:

copco is the best travrlling mug

Clara Ghomes on January 20, 2009:

Really useful info. Thanks for this :-)

Paul Edmondson (author) from Burlingame, CA on January 09, 2009:

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 Woods from Houston, Texas on January 09, 2009:

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

foxility on January 08, 2009:

Finding the perfect mug is so hard. Great article!

Fran Horvath from Universal on January 08, 2009:

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 from Blackpool on January 08, 2009:

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

jim10 from ma on January 06, 2009:

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 from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on January 06, 2009:

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 from Land of Enchantment - NM on January 06, 2009:

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

Property Finance on January 06, 2009:

cool things i am looking forward to buy one from above

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