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    Updated on Apr 10, 2020. Posted on Apr 10, 2020

    The Best Travel Mugs To Keep You Caffeinated Wherever And Whenever

    *Takes big gulp of coffee* Yep, these are great.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    If the best part of waking up is coffee in your cup, you’d better make sure you’ve got a great cup. As anyone who habitually turns water into coffee (or tea) knows, investing in a trusty travel mug has its perks. Not only will it save you money, but it’ll also cut down your dependency on single-use disposable cups, which is a win for the environment and probably your favorite barista.

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    To find the best travel mugs, we tested over 20 options across three price points with an eye on form, function, and general usability. Of course, a good travel mug needs to be leak-proof, and it should keep your beverage of choice fresher longer. But we also took into account other factors: aesthetics, whether it was easy to clean, if it retained flavors and odors — and if it simply made the act of drinking a slightly more pleasant experience. Below, our picks for the best travel mugs across three price points.

    Contigo SnapSeal Byron Travel Mug

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    Look, we don’t ask much from a budget travel mug — just a vessel that’s reliable and leak-proof, with enough insulating power to keep drinks at a stable temperature for a couple of hours, or however long it takes you to get to work. Easy enough, right? Wellllll…many options in the low-end price range can’t even do that.

    But after many a caffeine-fueled debate, we believe the Contigo SnapSeal Byron Travel Mug offers all those important features, not to mention a nifty lid design atypical of its modest price. Granted, a few testers noted the mug looks “generic,” but what the SnapSeal may lack in style, it makes up for in performance and value.

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    A great travel mug should be able to go the distance, and the first thing we learned is if you’re looking to spend less, you don’t have to settle for something made of plastic (see: Bodum and Oxo). While low-priced travel mugs with plastic bodies may be tempting, they simply won’t last. Plus, they retain flavors and odors, which makes ’em a bit trickier to clean. What you want instead is stainless steel, and luckily that’s what you get with the SnapSeal Byron. Another big advantage of stainless steel: It’ll keep your liquids hotter longer than anything else.

    To test how long each mug would keep liquids piping hot, we filled each travel mug with hot water and kept track of the temperature throughout the day. The SnapSeal Byron, which fared the best out of the budget range, began with a temp of 170ºF that, after an hour, dropped to 137º before going down to 113º after three hours, and 100º at the five-hour mark.

    The SnapSeal takes its name from the lid, which features a seemingly simple but surprisingly useful design that requires drinkers to “snap” a tab to open the sipping hole. When thirst is quenched, the tab snaps back into place with an audible click, thus sealing the mug back to its leak-proof state. The action takes some effort depending on your hand strength, but we were able to pop the seal with a swift flick of the index finger. Let’s just say it’s easy to operate, but not so easy that we were afraid it might accidentally open when thrown into a bag.

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    Once you’re accustomed to how the lid works, you’ll be able to manage the mug one-handed, which is a blessing if you drive to work or commute through crowded spaces. For the most part, the sipping hole, which features a curved design to match the contour of one’s lips, provides a pleasant drinking experience. While most testers approved of the design, some sensitive drinkers wished for a more room around the brim so their lips didn’t press up against the plastic, citing the lid nearly burned their top lip.

    So if you’re ultra sensitive to hot (or cold), or if you prefer an option with a traditional lid, we recommend our $ runner-up, the Mira Stainless Steel Travel Mug. This travel mug, affectionately described by our testers as “the gas station mug, perfected,” offers more room for your lips while you drink, and a simpler lid means fewer moving parts, which decreases the chance of the sealing mechanism breaking or malfunctioning. For what it’s worth, the Mira came in just behind Contigo in our heat retention test, but the decision ultimately came down to the fact that the SnapSeal offers a better overall travel mug at a lower price.

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    Chalk up the win to the SnapSeal Byron’s wide, streamlined silhouette that feels substantial in hand. A rubber grip makes it easy to hold, while adding a shot of texture around the glossy body, which is available in several colors (depending on what’s in stock at the moment). More notable features include a wide mouth, which makes it easier to fill and clean, and a top-rack dishwasher-safe lid. The SnapSeal also fits under a Keurig single-use coffee maker and snugly in most, if not all, car cup holders.

    Between its tolerable heat retention abilities, wide mouth, and functional lid design, we’d recommend this travel mug even if it were double the price. Luckily for everyone, it’s not. When it comes to the best price and value, there’s no better deal than the Contigo SnapSeal Byron.

    Get it from Amazon for $9.99.

    Zojirushi Stainless Steel Mug

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    Once you hold the Zojirushi Stainless Steel Travel Mug, it’s easy to see why it’s our midrange pick. It’s got a sleek figure, tight-locking cap, and a delightful pop-up lid that reveals a handy drinking spout. Plus, the name is fun to say (it’s zo-gee-roo-shee), which is great when you’re enthusiastically recommending it to anyone who asks, “Where in the world did you get that thing?”

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    But allow us to settle the score right away: This travel mug isn’t perfect. Its size is great in a lot of ways — slender and compact — but the 16-ounce model is too tall to fit under a single-serve coffee maker. Also, the mug’s height coupled with its narrower opening makes it near impossible to hand-wash this thing without a bottle brush.

    That being said, out of all the mugs we tested, regardless of price point, this mug was the one that kept liquids the hottest the longest. Seriously, the Zojirushi will insulate your coffee, tea, or whatever gets you up in the morning for a longer duration than you probably need. During our testing, the water inside the Zojirushi, which started at 168ºF, dropped just 13º after one hour. At three hours, it was 141º. And five hours? A perfect 130º. For reference, the optimal drinking temperature for coffee is between 120º and 140ºF.

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    Unlike our $ pick, which has a lid that could lend itself to a one-handed drinking experience depending on your hand strength, there’s no doubt that opening and closing the Zojirushi is easy for everyone. Press the button and a spring-loaded latch pops the top into place and out of the way, to expose a plastic drinking spout with an air vent that’s easy to drink from, even on the go. If you’re worried about the flip-top system accidently opening in a bag, there’s also a safety lock for good measure. Simply slide the lock in place, and you’ll be able to lug this thing around with confidence.

    And if that wasn’t enough, you can also take the lid apart for easier cleaning. One colleague, a former barista (he’s got the mustache for it) who’s been using this mug (and similar models like it) for close to a decade, recommends rinsing the inside daily, disassembling and cleaning the lid weekly, and going in with a brush monthly. Point is, the upkeep goes a long way.

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    It should be noted that we tested a few other Zojirushi travel mugs of various models and price points, and while the full range can be dizzying (there are SO many options), all you need to know is that the SM-SD model is your best bet; it’s identical to the SM-SC model in make, but with a slightly larger mount opening and available in more subdued colors. If you’re not picky, just follow this link and buy whatever is the cheapest at the time.

    At the end of the day, the differences are minuscule, and whether you go with the SM-SD or SM-SC (or the discontinued SM-SA model), you can count on quality double-wall construction that still manages to have a sleek and industrious design that’s hard not to appreciate. Sure, the lid may be a little extra, but it’s balanced by the rest of the mug’s minimalist styling. Plus, the finish not only looks great, it also feels great to carry.

    But it all comes back to this: Zojirushi offers the best heat insulation in the game. And it delivers the heat in a well-designed travel vessel that makes you feel like you know something others don’t. If you’ve been looking for the very best solution to your daily caffeine routine, stop your search right now — Zojirushi is the answer!

    Get it from Amazon for $25.98.

    Kinto Travel Tumbler

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    There are plenty of splurge-y travel mugs out there that’ll keep your liquids hot. And we’re the first to admit that choosing the best high-end travel mug is about personal preference, especially when it comes to looks. That said, our testers believe the Kinto Travel Tumbler — in all of its “status” mug glory — is worth a look because of its elegant build and versatile drinking experience.

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    If you’ve never heard of Kinto, chances are you will soon. On the heels of opening its first US retail store in LA, the Japanese home goods brand also just launched an online store for its US customers. The brand has garnered a healthy following for its stylish coffee-brewing gear and kitchenware, and the Travel Tumbler may be its most popular offering to date.

    The Kinto Travel Tumbler looks like it should be displayed in a museum (they’re sold at MoMA in New York — go figure), but that’s not the only reason why it’s our $$$ pick. There’s no denying that this high-design travel mug is easy on the eyes, and we’re happy to report that Kinto doesn’t sacrifice anything to accomplish such a feat.

    In short: The Kinto Travel Tumbler meets all the criteria of a premium travel mug, and it just so happens to look really good while doing so.

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    As minimal as it is, the mug still proves to be functional. Our testers loved the simplicity of the lid design, which comes in two parts. With the screw-top lid, you can bet your liquid’s staying in. Just below that, you’re also able to unscrew the drinking spout, which makes the mug super easy to clean and fill. With holes positioned in a circle, the spout allows you to drink from any angle, and the overall depth and width of the opening makes it seem like you’re drinking from a regular glass.

    And then there’s the mug’s streamlined body: No excess details anywhere, just a refreshing design that doesn’t compromise the product’s actual usability. The travel mug fits in most cup holders and looks mighty fine tucked into the pocket of a backpack or tote bag. The body of the mug is also finished with a powder coating, which helps prevent scratches.

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    As for keeping liquids hot, the Kinto performed great in our tests. Starting at 170ºF, the mug maintained optimal drinking temperatures well into the five-hour mark (127º). The only other mug over $30 capable of keeping liquids just as hot was the Ember Travel Mug, which makes sense, because it’s a battery-powered “smart” thermos that allows you to keep any drink at a precise temperature.

    The only problem? A measly two-hour battery life; and without power, the Ember failed to keep liquids hot for very long. The battery also makes it quite heavy to lug around on a daily basis. If you’ve got a situation where you can keep the Ember Travel Mug plugged into its charging coaster (ideal if you’re chained to a desk all day long), it’s certainly worth considering. For everyone else, we think the Kinto mug will serve you just as well — and, more importantly, won’t cost three times the price.

    Even with all the great travel coffee mugs at the high end, it’s hard to find one that’s more functional, convenient, and stylish than the Kinto Travel Tumbler.

    Get it from Kinto and Amazon for $32+.