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.