Pictures Above: Spiller & Tait recommends the Kinto Travel Tumbler, 350ml, available until December 31st 2017 for only £28.50, click here to view the Kinto Travel Tumbler.
We are regularly asked by customers and friends for our thoughts on the best travel mugs. It seems many of you like your coffee on the go and feel these mugs make great gifts for coffee lovers.
A good travel mug will keep your drink hot (or cold if it’s cold brew) until you’re ready for it, whether that’s on your commute, at your desk, during a long meeting or even when you’re hiking or biking in the hills!
The options we’ve assessed may seem expensive compared to some standard travel mugs on the market. But, those coffee (and tea) drinkers who favour making their coffee at home rather than frequenting coffee shops, will soon break even and begin to see the savings adding up. And for those who continue using coffee shops, there are also savings to be had - now that many cafes and coffee shops offer discounts to customers who bring their own reusable take-away cup, reducing reliance on disposable take-away cups, many of which can’t be recycled.
So, if you’re looking for a travel mug that keeps drinks hot for hours, refuses to leak, and makes a stylish gift, read on!
Travel mugs vary in price and, generally speaking, you get what you pay for. Those who only need a travel mug for occasional use can make do with a standard option for under £10, but those who want to use it regularly for outdoor activities, or their commute to work, will want something that promises to perform in terms of heat retention, spill protection, ease of use, robustness and style.
Look out for features such as lockable lids and being easy to clean, as these are what set the best travel mugs apart from the cheaper options. If you need a mug that keeps drinks hot (or cold) for longer, then you’ll need a double-wall vacuum-insulated option, preferably constructed in stainless steel.
You will always pay more for stainless steel, but it’s worth it if heat retention is a priority for you. If you have a tendency to drop things, it’s wise to choose a mug that is easy to grip. If you can’t quite allow yourself to part with over £20 for a coffee cup, then opt for the next best composition, but ensure the mug is double-walled.
Should you be travelling by car with your mug, ensure you find a travel mug that fits a regular drinks holder and can be operated with one hand. Travel mugs generally come in two sizes: around 360ml and around 470ml. The large options are perfect for carrying water or soup, but if it’s only ever going to be tea or coffee, you may want to get the smaller option, which fits better in your hand and under single-serve coffee machines.
Our short list of the best five travel mug options are listed in no particular order. We’ve described what we feel each mug is “best for” and we’ve chosen the best all-rounder, the Kinto Travel Tumbler 350ml, as our “S&T Recommendation.”
Camelbak Forge Vacuum Travel Mug 473ml: Best for features
Price when reviewed: £30
This travel mug has a high price tag, but we think it’s worth it. The mug keeps drinks hot for six hours thanks to a double vacuum-insulated stainless steel wall. The one-handed, intuitive self-sealing cap makes it easy to drink on the go. It has also proved itself to be impressively watertight. Slightly frilly features include the strangely dubbed “aroma bowl”, which, according to the manufacturer, allows for “superior drink interface”. This basically means you can test your drink’s temperature by allowing a small amount to be released.
The easy-clean cap puts functionality back to the fore as it simply pulls out to be rinsed under the tap. This makes it perfect for non-fussy users who are happy with a quick rinse. It also features a plastic cap underneath to minimise the ill effects of a breakage to the main body of the mug. The finger loop is handy too for when your hands are full.
Available on Amazon UK
Thermos Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Double Wall 470ml: Best for heat lovers
Price when reviewed: £24.95
If you need to keep a drink hot for eight hours, this is the mug for you. The Thermos option retains optimum temperature for the longest of all the mugs we’ve tried. This is thanks to its vacuum-insulated, stainless steel wall that stays cool to the touch even after boiling water is poured into it. According to the manufacturer, drinks will stay hot for five hours and cool for nine, but product reviews on Amazon claim drinks stay hot for far longer, even eight hours or more.
It also features a slow flow option, which is handy when your coffee is still steaming hot after a few hours. The lockable seal makes it ideal for long train journeys without any worries about spillages and a nice additional touch is the teabag holder. The only real drawback is that it doesn’t fit into all standard car drinks holders - a considerable compromise given the price.
Available on Amazon UK
Contigo Autoseal West Loop Stainless Travel Mug 470ml: Best for long commutes
Price when reviewed: £21.79
If you’re looking for a travel mug that promises no spills, then this clever travel mug may be your new best friend. In their locked positions, none of the mugs on this list will leak, but this travel mug has the added advantage of having the best autoseal. Liquid is only released when your finger presses the button, so if you drop it mid-sip, it would seal up, without you losing even a drop of your morning coffee!
It's easy-to-clean lid features no loose parts and it can keep drinks cool for an impressive 12 hours. It’s also one of the best-looking mugs out there. This is a great choice for those with a bumpy journey to work... or butterfingers.
Available on Amazon UK
Stanley Classic One Hand Vacuum Mug 473ml: Best for multitaskers
Price when reviewed: £22.19
Stanley, the well known hardware firm, was one of the first companies to come up with insulated travel mugs. When Stanley started in this sideline, the company wasn’t considering 21st-century commuters - it was thinking about builders, mountain climbers and wild campers. As a result, this classic, retro-inspired offering is about as rugged as you can get.
Available in a hammertone red or army green, the rust-proof stainless steel finish certainly looks the part for a construction site or factory. The most outstanding feature on this mug is its one-handed function in the form of a push button lid, which allows users to drink while using their other hand for their phone, spanner or hammer. The Stanley Classic One Hand is the best choice for multitaskers.
Available on Amazon UK
Kinto Travel Tumbler 350ml: Best all-rounder (S&T RECOMMENDATION)
Price when reviewed: RRP £34.00, Spiller & Tait promotional price £28.50
The Kinto Travel Tumbler meets all the criteria as a great all-rounder travel mug. It’s stainless steel vacuum-insulated walls keep drinks hot for more than six hours, and its tough design is virtually unbreakable. The mug is a great size – easy to carry around and narrow enough to fit in most cup holders, including the water bottle holders on bikes. That said,it’s one you won’t mind being seen with on the train or bus as it’s one of the best-looking travel mugs around.
While the smallest of all the mugs reviewed, we prefer this size as we don’t like to dilute our espresso shots with too much water, or milk! And, if we’re having a drip coffee, we go for quality over quantity and, for that, this mug is the perfect size. The Japanese design is very stylish and available in a choice of colours including: black, red, khaki, white and stainless steel. The coloured tumblers have a powder coat finish on the surface which prevents scratches.
The mug is only leak-free when closed, with the screw-on lid in place. Once the lid is removed, the cap is nice and simple, enabling you to drink from any angle pleasantly, like drinking out of a glass or mug, which is a feature we really love. A special structure catches ice cubes, so that drinks come out in the perfect amount. In this regard, drinking from the mug is stress-free until the very last sip. However, we recognise that the need to remove the lid in order to access the drinking cap won’t necessarily suit everyone.
This travel mug couldn’t be better for heat retention, spill protection, ease of use, robustness and style. Which is why it’s our “S&T Recommendation” and sold on our own website and below the recommended retail price of £34.00. As a relatively new entrant to the shelves of the UK, this mug is not widely available via other retailers in the UK and is not available on Amazon.
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