7 Best Thermos Travel Mug Picks of 2024: Find Your Absolute Best Travel Mug Ever

Best thermos travel mug

There’s nothing like the ice storm we’re currently experiencing here in Oregon to make you take a closer look at your mug collection.

A mug that keeps drinks hot isn’t nice to have. It’s a must. And when throwing travel into the mix, its ability to keep your coffee hot becomes even more critical. So, if you don’t have any of the best Thermos travel mug picks on my list here, there’s no time like the present. 

I’m a former barista and I tested 19 different travel mugs. The best mug we tested here at Coffee Hex was the THERMOS vacuum-insulated stainless steel mug. What makes it the best travel coffee mug? It’ll keep coffee hot of course, but the insulated stainless steel offers another level of heat retention.

Want to learn what else we picked for our best travel mugs of 2024 list? Then pour yourself a big cup and keep reading!

Best Travel Mug Shortlist

BEST OVERALL
THERMOS Stainless King Insulated Travel Mug

THERMOS Stainless King Insulated Travel Mug

  • Size: 16 oz
  • Heat retention: 7 hours
  • Material: 18/8 stainless steel
  • Dishwasher safe
BEST CERAMIC
Funkrin Insulated Coffee Mug

Funkrin Insulated Coffee Mug

  • Size: 16 oz
  • Heat retention: 3-4 hours
  • Material: Ceramic-coated 18/8 stainless steel
  • Not dishwasher safe
BEST LEAK-PROOF LID
Contigo Luxe

Contigo Luxe

  • Size: 16 oz
  • Heat retention: 5 hours
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Dishwasher safe
BEST HEAT RETENTION
STANLEY Classic Trigger-Action Travel Mug

STANLEY Classic Trigger-Action Travel Mug

  • Size: 16 oz
  • Heat retention: 9 hours
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Dishwasher safe
BEST DESIGN
Kinto Travel Tumbler

Kinto Travel Tumbler

  • Size: 16.9 oz
  • Heat retention: 6 hours
  • Material: Stainless steel, polypropylene, and silicone
  • Not dishwasher safe
BEST MUG WITH A HANDLE
Hydro Flask Mug

Hydro Flask Mug

  • Size: 12 oz (also available in 6 or 24 oz)
  • Heat retention: 6 hours
  • Material: 18/8 pro-grade stainless steel 
  • Not dishwasher safe
BEST DEAL
Zojirushi Stainless Steel Mug

Zojirushi Stainless Steel Mug

  • Size: 16 oz 
  • Heat retention: 6 hours
  • Material: 18/8 pro-grade stainless steel and BPA-free plastic
  • Not dishwasher safe



Best Travel Coffee Mug Reviews

BEST OVERALL
THERMOS Stainless King Vacuum-Insulated Travel Mug, 16 Ounce, Matte Steel

THERMOS Stainless King Vacuum-Insulated Travel Mug, 16 Ounce, Matte Steel

  • Size: 16 oz
  • Heat retention: 7 hours
  • Material: 18/8 stainless steel
  • Dishwasher safe
Read more

The THERMOS Stainless King Vacuum-Insulated Travel Tumbler has hands-down proven to be the best overall traveling coffee mug in the market due to its outstanding performance and innovative design. 

Embedded with state-of-the-art vacuum insulation technology, this 16-ounce wonder exceeds expectations when it comes to heat retention capabilities. Buyers and our rigorous testing have validated THERMOS' claim that this travel mug is capable of keeping your drinks hot for up to 7 hours, which is significantly longer compared to other brands on the market.

The exceptional heat retention property can be attributed to the vacuum-insulation technology incorporated within the double-wall design of the mug; this not only effectively traps heat, but also prevents the exterior from getting warm to the touch.

This travel mug became our top pick after a series of extensive product tests. The fact that it still managed to keep beverages scalding hot after long hours of storage is truly remarkable. With its leak-proof DrinkLock lid technology, you can have peace of mind carrying your drink around without worrying about spillage.

Who Should Buy This Best Thermos Travel Mug?

Anyone who wants the most effective thermos travel mug around! Its high-grade stainless steel construction facilitates long-term heat retention, while the advanced vacuum-insulation technology prevents your coffee from cooling down prematurely. This efficient travel mug is more than just a stylish accessory, it's a reliable companion for all your coffee-included ventures. 

Pros
  • Cup holder compatible
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Matte steel finish enhances grip and durability
  • Design is suitable for both casual outings as well as formal business settings
  • Flexible stainless steel handle
  • Built-in tea hook capable of holding tea bags and most loose-leaf infusers
Cons
  • Cleaning the lid is not the easiest
  • Some people say it keeps drinks hot for TOO long



BEST CERAMIC
Funkrin Insulated Coffee Mug with Ceramic Coating

Funkrin Insulated Coffee Mug with Ceramic Coating

  • Size: 16 oz
  • Heat retention: 3-4 hours
  • Material: Ceramic-coated 18/8 stainless steel
  • Not dishwasher safe
Read more

The Funkrin Insulated Coffee Mug with Ceramic Coating is loved for its immaculate design, unbeatable insulation capabilities, and double-walled vacuum seal technology that ensures your beverages remain at the desired temperature for longer. 

Its leak-proof construction works well, eliminating potential messes in your bag or car. Moreover, its ceramic coating offers a clean, pure taste that's free from metallic or plastic flavors often experienced with other mugs. This feature alone makes it a favorite amongst coffee connoisseurs who never compromise on taste.

The mug's hard-wearing construction contributes to its long life span, giving you solid value for your money. And we love that the bottom of the mug is made out of non-slip silicone, so if you forget it on top of your car (knock on wood), you'll have longer to remember it before it flies off the roof.

Who Should Buy This Best Thermos Travel Mug?

The Funkrin Insulated Coffee Mug with Ceramic Coating is perfect for coffee aficionados who appreciate the pure, unadulterated taste of their brew, thanks to its ceramic coating. If you are sensitive to aftertastes and put a lot of work into making your coffee taste a certain way, then this is the best thermos travel mug to preserve that!

Pros
  • Excellent insulation with double-wall vacuum technology
  • Leak-proof design means no spills or messes
  • Ceramic coating offers a clean, pure taste
  • Will fit in most cup holders
  • Robust construction translates to longevity
  • Easy to wash by hand 
Cons
  • May require a tighter lid to prevent occasional leaks
  • Some people find the wide lip hard to drink from



BEST LEAK-PROOF LID
Contigo Luxe Vacuum-Insulated Stainless Steel Thermal Travel Mug

Contigo Luxe Vacuum-Insulated Stainless Steel Thermal Travel Mug

  • Size: 16 oz
  • Heat retention: 5 hours
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Dishwasher safe
Read more

The Contigo Luxe Vacuum-Insulated Stainless Steel Travel Mug is a solid best thermos travel mug pick if you want an insulated travel tumbler that's also designed to be used one-handed.

With a spout lid engineered to prevent leakages, Contigo's AUTOSEAL® technology means you don't have to worry as much about spills in between sips. 

In addition, it conveniently fits under most single-serve coffee brewers and is dishwasher safe—making it extra easy to clean, store, and look after.

The other thing I love is its push-button for easy one-handed drinking. It makes using this mug very straightforward and safer in different contexts, whether it be driving, working, or simply lounging at home.

Who Should Buy This Best Thermos Travel Mug?

The Contigo Luxe Vacuum-Insulated Stainless Steel Travel Mug fits the bill if you drink a lot of hot beverages while traveling and multi-tasking—and want to be able to do so one-handed without worrying about spills. Out of all the mugs we tried, carrying the Contigo Luxe around full of coffee and tea made me the most confident. Not once did I feel like 'I almost spilled that'. 

Pros
  • One-handed drinking experience makes it great for traveling
  • Insulation that consistently performs well in keeping drinks at their optimal temperature for an extended period
  • Stylish and cool design
  • Leak-proof lid prevents messes and features an extra safety lock
Cons
  • Some users have reported that the mug's paint scratches off easily, which can affect its visual appeal over time
  • The lid can be hard to clean without the right tools as residue can accumulate in hard-to-reach corners



BEST HEAT RETENTION
STANLEY Classic Trigger-Action Travel Mug | 16 OZ

STANLEY Classic Trigger-Action Travel Mug | 16 OZ

  • Size: 16 oz
  • Heat retention: 9 hours
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Dishwasher safe
Read more

The Stanley Classic Trigger-Action Travel Mug is one the best Thermos travel mugs out on the market.

The mug comes with a classic trigger-action guaranteeing a spill-proof experience, making it incredibly user-friendly. Its stainless-steel construction ensures durability, even under harsh conditions, while also affording it the ability to keep your drinks hot for nine hours, cold for 12 hours, or iced for as long as 40 hours.

It's the only travel mug we tested that kept coffee hot for over the full 9 hours promised, earning it our title of best insulated and heat-retaining travel mug that will keep coffee hot for as long as you expect it to.

Who Should Buy This Best Thermos Travel Mug?

If you want a travel coffee mug to keep coffee hot for a full workday, then this Stanley model is one of the best travel mugs available right now. Hands down. The mug's spill-proof feature protects your belongings from potential spillage while the long hours of temperature maintenance mean you can enjoy your beverage of choice at just the right heat or coldness throughout the day. 

Pros
  • Ensures liquid contents stay hot or cold for very long periods
  • Sturdy and rugged, but different color options are nice
  • Conveniently sized to fit in most car cup holders
  • Lifetime warranty makes the travel mug easy to buy with confidence
  • Easy to clean with the lid being dishwasher safe
Cons
  • Inability to fully disassemble the lid for thorough cleaning may lead to mold build-up if not adequately dried
  • Some users find the trigger-action challenging to use
  • This mug isn't winning any awards for its sophisticated or sleek design. The color options help, but if you prefer a travel mug to complement your personal aesthetic, this one isn't it. (Unless your aesthetic is outdoorsy, camping, nature-esque!) 



BEST DESIGN
Kinto Plastic Travel Tumbler

Kinto Plastic Travel Tumbler

  • Size: 16.9 oz
  • Heat retention: 6 hours
  • Material: Stainless steel, polypropylene, and silicone
  • Not dishwasher safe
Read more

The Kinto Plastic Travel Tumbler got a lot of compliments when I took it out for the day! Presented in a crisp matte white finish, this best thermos travel mug immediately impresses with its elegant and minimalistic design. This tumbler holds approximately 16.9 fluid ounces (500 ml), making it perfectly convenient for carrying your favorite beverages on the go, whether hot or cold. 

The chief features and benefits of this travel mug include its vacuum-insulated double wall which keeps drinks hot or cold for hours, a lid with an opening for drinking that prevents spills, and a compact design that nicely fits in your car cup holder or bag. 

Who Should Buy This Best Thermos Travel Mug?

If you prioritize design aesthetics along with functionality and are willing to invest in a quality product, the Kinto Plastic Travel Tumbler is worth considering. The Kinto embodies a perfect balance of form and function, thus making it the best thermos travel mug for coffee in terms of design. 

Pros
  • Sleek and modern aesthetic design
  • Spill-proof functionality
  • Excellent thermal retention
  • Compact for easy portability 
  • Stickers look extra cool on the side of the mug for some reason
Cons
  • The plastic exterior may not be as durable as fully stainless steel mugs



BEST WITH HANDLE
Hydro Flask Mug - Stainless Steel Reusable Coffee Travel Mug

Hydro Flask Mug - Stainless Steel Reusable Coffee Travel Mug

  • Size: 12 oz (also available in 6 or 24 oz)
  • Heat retention: 6 hours
  • Material: 18/8 pro-grade stainless steel 
  • Not dishwasher safe
Read more

There's a lot to love with the Hydro Flask Stainless Steel Reusable Mug.

This non-toxic, BPA-free travel mug has been designed with vacuum insulation to perfectly retain temperature. So if you want to enjoy your beverage at the perfect temperature for hours.

Aside from its thermos capabilities, many users have noted its robust handle, which provides a solid and comfortable grip.  Foremost for me, its handle makes it feel like a traditional mug. I've found that a lot of travel mugs with handles feel flimsy, fit weirdly in my car, or are annoying AF to clean.

Out of all the travel tumblers we tested that have handles, this handle made the travel mug easy to clean. Perhaps it's because it's all in one piece, but the mug is also well-weighted. I tried another mug that was too heavy with a handle due to the design. And actually, I think that's why so many of these thermos-style travelers don't have handles (because they tend to be heavy and easier to grip right from the body).

Notable benefits include the high-grade stainless steel used in its construction, ensuring durability and resistance to rust or odor. The Hydro Flask Travel Mug also features a sweat-free design, eliminating the risk of damp spots or rings on your furniture. And the top of the mug has a nifty lid to prevent splashes.

Who Should Buy This Best Thermos Travel Mug?

If you often travel and need a reliable mug with a handle that can keep hot beverages hot, this short Hydro Flask coffee mug could be your best choice. It's become a favorite travel mug of mine! That said, it's also the best pick if you want a mug that feels more like a coffee cup you have at home, and less like gear you might pack on a camping trip. I like to call my Hydro Flask Mug more of a running out the door late vs. 2-week road trip tumbler. 

Pros
  • High-temperature retention 
  • Durable and rust-resistant
  • Features a sturdy handle that's part of the mug - not an add-on
  • Sweat-free design 
  • Splash proof lid
Cons
  • Higher price point compared to other mugs
  • Does not fit some cup holders 
  • The exterior can scratch fairly easily 



BEST DEAL
Zojirushi Stainless Steel Mug, 16oz, Smoky Blue

Zojirushi Stainless Steel Mug, 16oz, Smoky Blue

  • Size: 16 oz 
  • Heat retention: 6 hours
  • Material: 18/8 pro-grade stainless steel and BPA-free plastic
  • Not dishwasher safe
Read more

The Zojirushi Stainless Steel Mug ensures heat and cold retention for 6 hours. What makes it good for travel is the lid. It's designed with a safety lock to avoid accidental opening and spills—a must-have feature for on-the-go users.

Furthermore, the slim and lightweight design renders it incredibly portable and fit for virtually any cup holder. Another thing I love about it is that it doesn't use any chemicals or added materials to coat the inside. That means there isn't a weird taste transfer (for the most part - you still need to clean it well and can't use the dishwasher with this one, which I did not like) or corrosion over time.

Who Should Buy This Best Thermos Travel Mug?

If you're looking for a durable and reliable thermos travel mug, Zojirushi offers excellent value for money here. Snatch up a great deal if you're seeking a mug that maintains its temperature admirably without breaking the bank.

Pros
  • Awesome value for the price
  • Corrosion resistant thanks to the electro-polishing technology used to finish the product instead of coating)
  • Safety lock that prevents accidental spills
  • Lightweight and portable design
Cons
  • Requires careful cleaning due to its complex cap structure
  • Not dishwasher safe



Buying Guide: What to Look for in a Travel Mug?

Best thermos travel mug

While choosing a travel mug might seem like a simple task, there are certain crucial factors to consider to ensure you have a comfortable and enjoyable experience on your journeys. 

One of the prime features to look for is the insulation quality. A properly insulated mug will not only keep your beverages hot or cold for extended periods but also prevent external temperatures from affecting your drink.

Material

Stainless steel mugs are often the first choice for travel mugs due to their durability and ability to preserve the temperature of the beverage. These mugs are sturdy, resist stains and odors, and retain the heat/cold of the contents much longer than their plastic or ceramic counterparts. Furthermore, their resilient nature means they survive drops, knocks, and spills better, ensuring longevity.

Handle or Not?

While it might seem insignificant at first, a handle can significantly enhance your comfort. A handle provides better grip, reducing the chances of accidental spills, and makes it easier to drink while on the go. 

Size Matters

Size is another aspect to consider, and for many, a 16-ounce travel mug turns out to be an ideal fit. It holds just the right quantity of liquid – not too little to fall short of a fulfilling sip and not too much to make it heavy or bulky to carry around.

Will It Fit In Your Car?

Lastly, if you frequently travel in your car, ensure that your travel mug fits a car cup holder. It’s an essential factor to maintain safety and convenience while driving. Not every travel mug is designed to fit cup holders, leading to precarious balancing and potential spillage. An appropriate-sized mug will securely slot into your car’s cup holder, keeping your drink within easy reach and preventing any spills.

Buying a travel mug involves careful consideration of various factors that can drastically improve your travel and refreshment experience. The importance of features like insulation, material, handle, size, and compatibility with car cup holders cannot be overstressed. Choose wisely and enjoy your journeys with your favorite beverage always at the perfect temperature. 

How Does a Travel Mug Keep Drinks Hot or Cold?

Best thermos travel mug

Travel mugs are a vital accessory for many of us, ensuring we can take our favorite beverages with us, hot or cold, wherever we roam. At the heart of a travel mug’s thermal retention capabilities is its insulation.

The magic of how a travel mug keeps drinks hot or cold lies in vacuum insulated stainless steel

Two walls of stainless steel with a vacuum in between create an exceptional degree of insulation. Because there’s no air in the vacuum, heat or cold can’t be transferred through it, meaning the temperature of your drink is preserved – whether hot or cold.

What Makes a Travel Mug a Travel Mug?

Best thermos travel mug

A travel mug is an ideal item for both hot and cold beverages for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, the design ensures minimal exposure to outside temperatures, ensuring that hot drinks stay hot while cold ones stay cold.

Secondly, the lid of a travel mug is designed for on-the-go sipping with a tight seal that minimizes leaks or spills while helping maintain the drink’s temperature.

Even in unfavorable weather, a quality travel mug maintains your beverage’s temperature for hours.

When it comes to distinguishing factors of a travel mug for hot coffee, several things come to mind. The vacuum insulation prevents any heat from escaping, thereby keeping your coffee as hot as just brewed. The tight lid avoids any heat loss that usually happens from the top, and the stainless steel is resistant to absorbing flavors; hence you can enjoy your coffee without any unwanted tastes.

Getting into the science behind insulated travel mugs and cold drinks, it’s about the prevention of heat transfer again. When a cold drink is poured into the mug, the vacuum between the stainless steel walls stops the heat from the environment from warming up your drink. 

This combined principle of insulation and vacuum ultimately helps to keep the drink cold for a long time. 

How to Keep Iced Coffee Cold in a Travel Mug

When it comes to keeping iced coffee cold in a travel mug, it’s all the more advantageous. Keep the travel mug in the fridge for a few minutes before pouring the beverage in, it will add extra coldness. This method will further boost the duration for which the coffee remains cold. Otherwise, the science works pretty much the same – just reversed from hot!

Final Thoughts on the Best Thermos Travel Mug

In the collective quest to keep our coffee piping hot for as long as possible on the go, there are many worthy travel mugs from which to choose! For me and the Coffee Hex team, the THERMOS Stainless King Insulated Travel Mug presents the best balance between form and function. You can pick one up for yourself right here on Amazon. Cheers!




Best Thermos Travel Mug FAQs 

  1. What should I look for in a mug to keep my coffee warm on my commute?

    When selecting a mug to keep your coffee warm during your commute, consider factors such as insulation, leak-proof capabilities, and the size that will fit in your vehicle's cup holder. 

  2. How did you measure how long each mug preserved initial temperatures?

    We filled each mug with boiling water and measured the temperature drop over time. The best performers, like the Ember Travel Mug, were able to keep the coffee nice and hot for hours.

  3. Which insulated mug is the absolute best for a coffee shop to-go?

    The absolute best insulated mug for coffee shop to-go is the Hydro Flask Mug we recommend above. It not only controls coffee's temperature for a long period but also fits standard coffee shop cup sizes.

  4. Can I use the same mug with my home coffee maker and to take it on the go?

    Yes, depending on the size of your coffee maker and the mug, you can brew your coffee directly into the mug. The Ember Travel Mug, for instance, is compatible with most at-home coffee makers.

  5. The coffee was still cold in my mug after a few hours. What could be the problem?

    If your coffee was still cold after a few hours, it could be that your mug isn't insulated enough or that your coffee wasn't hot enough to begin with. 

  6. Can the Hydro Flask All Around Travel Tumbler mug keep coffee warm for more than 6 hours?

    Yes, and it is supposed to work for up to 12 hours.

  7. How did you test the mugs to keep the coffee hot?

    We filled each mug with boiling water and then measured the temperature over time. The mugs that were able to keep the water hot were also able to keep coffee going hot for an extended period.

  8. If I use a regular mug, can my coffee be still cold after an hour?

    Yes, it is possible. Regular mugs don't have the insulation that travel mugs do.

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