By the time I make it to the subway during the winter, my coffee is already cold. I can’t think of a worse way to start a commute. After repeating this experience one time too money, I sought out a travel mug that keeps coffee hot for hours. I researched many different options on the way. Here’s our list of the best coffee mugs that keep coffee hot.
1. Contigo Autoseal West Loop- A Solid Pick
The Contigo travel mug wins our top pick not because of its ease of use and very reasonable price point. The West Loop keeps coffee hot for up to 5 hours. We like that it’s easy-to-clean and locks automatically– two very important factors for the traveling coffee drinker. You can easily drink from one hand. No matter which way you tip the Contigo, it won’t spill.
The Contigo comes in a variety of colors: black, white, several shades of green, blue, and more. We especially like the polar white and grayed jade colors.
2. Ello Cole- A Stylish Travel Mug with Personality
The Ello Cole insulated travel mug is a good choice that combines style with function. We’re a big fan of the cork accent, which adds a nice touch of warmth and protects surfaces against scratches. Like the Contigo, this travel mug keeps coffee hot for up 5 hours and has a leak-proof lid. It’s dishwasher-safe, so there’s no need to spend time cleaning it by hand.
3. Ember Travel Mug– The Best Travel Mug for Techies and Coffee Purists
The Ember is a stylish smart travel mug that keeps coffee at whatever temperature you designate via the iOS or Android app. You can also set profiles for different drinks. The built-in battery keeps your drink temperature stable for up to 2 hours, and there’s also an option to control drink temperature manually if you do not have a phone. The Ember also displays the current temperature on the exterior of the mug, which we think is a nice touch.
Ember also isn’t clear about how long it keeps coffee hot, how much it relies on thermal insulation vs. active heating through the battery, and to what extent the battery is replaceable. We think these details are important.
4. OXO Good Grips Thermos– Pure Simplicity
From first sight it’s clear that OXO put a lot of thought into the aesthetics of this travel mug, which is also designed to fits its On-Barista coffee maker. This is a good choice for keeping coffee warm on your desk or seated during a commute. Since it has a screw-on lid, it’s not a good option for driving, however.
5. Zojirushi Stainless Steel Travel Mug- The Best Travel Mug that Keeps Coffee Hot
The Zojirushi stainless steel mug can keep liquids warm for 10+ hours, making it the best choice if you’re serious about keeping coffee hot. We also like the simple Japanese design, though it may be too plain for some. It’s available in black, pink, blue, stainless steel, and other colors. It’s a great choice if you’re looking for a coffee mug that keeps coffee hot all day
6. Thermos Stainless King– Perfect for the Truck Stop
This travel mug is made out of stainless steel and has a double wall insulation to keep coffee either hot or cold. The mug is designed to prevent condensation from building up on the outside, so it works for iced coffee in the summer as well as steaming hot coffee in the winter. The mug holds 16oz. and is not dishwasher or microwave safe. The bold and aggressive design may not appeal to everyone. Let’s face it– this mug fits in better at a truck stop than your local hipster cafe.
7. Braun BRSC001 Insulated Travel Mug– Another Great Design Pick
Braun is famous for its no-frills, functional design, and this insulated travel mug is no exception. Like the Contigo, you can open and drink from it with one hand. It’s also leak-proof and dishwasher-safe.
8. Huswell Double-Wall Glass Tumblr– A Cool Alternative
Let’s get two things straight: Glass breaks and glass does not keep coffee as warm as the other picks on this list. This travel mug is for people who care more about looks than practicality, and that’s fine by us. The Huswell is a good choice for those with shorter commutes who want to stand out and make a statement. Just don’t plan on throwing it in your bag.
At less than $13, it’s also one of more affordable options on our list. We just wish the manufacturer had better stock photos.
Other Considerations: Thermos vs Travel Mug
Keep in mind that a thermos and a travel mug are not the same thing. Thermoses are designed as accessories to drinking cups and often have more insulation to keep liquids hot much longer. Travel mugs are designed for drinking now.
How to Keep Coffee Hot without Electricity
These coffee mugs that keep coffee hot are the best option, but what if you have a coffee mug that you already like or just don’t want to buy a new one? Here are a few options:
- Knit a coffee sleeve that you can add to any paper, plastic or metal coffee cup. There are also a lot of cute choices on Etsy.
- We once reviewed coffee joulies, which promise to keep coffee warm for hours. We tried them and weren’t impressed.
- This cool-looking mug uses a sodium acetate reaction to keep liquids warm. We’d love to try it if it’s ever produced.
What about USB coffee cup warmers?
We can’t recommend USB coffee cup warmers for two reasons: 1) they don’t work very well and 2) they consume a lot of electricity. In order to warm your coffee, coffee cup warmers must pass heat from a hot plate through the bottom of your mug, which is often thicker than the rest of the mug. Meanwhile, heat will leak out of the open coffee cup top. Try an insulated mug or just get an Ember instead. Your energy bill will thank you.
We didn’t mention that all of the mugs on this list are BPA free, which is an important feature that should not be overlooked. Whether you choose the Contigo, the Ember, the OXO, the Braun, or any of the other coffee mugs on our list, we wish you well on your coffee journey.