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Best travel mugs 2021: Top travel cups from Thermos, CamelBak and more on sale for Black Friday

Rachel Erdos
26 Nov 2021
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Want tough, leak-free mugs that keep coffee hot for hours? We're here to help with our best buy roundup

The best travel mugs should be well designed and well insulated, keeping hot drinks toasty and cool drinks ice-cold, while also being able to make the journey from A to B without leaking. Whether you're taking a leisurely stroll through a forest or trekking in the Himalayas, a decent drinking vessel is a wise investment. From classic coffee-shop cups to thermos-shaped designs, travel mugs come in all shapes and sizes, meaning you're bound to find a design that's both practical and stylish.

At first glance, insulated travel mugs can seem expensive in comparison to standard travel mugs. If you're thinking about using one on your daily commute, you might find it hard to justify spending what might be ten times as much as an Americano from your local coffee shop. But do a bit more thinking, and you'll see how walking out of your door already holding a coffee will save you many more pounds in the long run. Plus, you'll avoid those annoying queues.

To help you make an informed decision about which travel mug is right for you, we've put together a short buying guide below. If you already know what type of mug you're looking for, scroll on just a little further for our pick of the best travel mugs you can buy right now.

Save almost 25% on the Thermos travel mug during Black Friday

Get the lowest price of the year on our favourite travel mug for hot drinks during the Black Friday sales. Thermos' stainless steel travel mug will keep your beverage hot for up to five hours and cool for nine, but most consumers say drinks stay warm for a lot longer - even eight hours or more. Get £6 off the average retail price today.
Amazon
Was £25
Now £19

Best travel mug: At a glance


How to choose the best travel mug for you

How much do I need to spend?

Travel mugs vary in price from a couple of quid up to over £30 and, generally speaking, you get what you pay for. If you only need a travel mug for occasional use, you can make do with a standard option for less than a tenner, but if you want to use it every day for outdoor activities or on your commute, you'll want something that promises to perform in terms of heat retention, spill protection and robustness.

What features should I look out for?

Look out for features such as autoseal, lockable lids and easy-to-clean materials, 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, you’ll need a double-wall, vacuum-insulated option, preferably constructed in stainless steel.

Again, you will always pay more for stainless steel, but it’s worth it if heat retention is a priority. If you have a tendency to drop things, it’s also wise to choose a mug that's easy to grip. If you can’t quite allow yourself to part with over £20 for what's essentially a coffee cup, opt for the next best composition, but ensure that the mug is double-walled.

Does it matter which size of mug I buy?

If you'll be travelling by car with your mug, ensure you find a travel mug that fits a regular drinks holder and can be picked up 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 a smaller size, which fits better in your hand and under single-serve coffee machines.

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The best travel mugs to buy

1. Camelbak Forge: Best travel mug for features

Price: £30 | Buy now from Amazon

This travel mug may have a high price tag but it’s worth every penny. It keeps drinks hot for up to six hours, thanks to a double vacuum-insulated stainless steel wall, and the one-handed, intuitive self-sealing cap makes it easy to drink on the go.

It’s also proved impressively watertight. Slightly frilly features include the strangely dubbed “aroma bowl”, which, according to the manufacturer, allows for a “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 function back to the fore, however, as it simply pulls out to be rinsed under the tap. This makes it perfect for non-fussy users 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 surprisingly handy too for when your hands are full.

2. Thermos: Best travel mug for hot drinks

Price: £25 | Buy now from Amazon

If you need to keep a drink hot for up to eight hours, look no further. Of all the mugs here, the Thermos retains its optimum temperature for the longest. 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 consumer reviews on Amazon claim drinks stay hot for far longer – even eight hours or more.

It also features a slow flow option, which proves pretty 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; 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.

3. Oxo Good Grips: Best cheap travel mug

Price: £18 | Buy now from Amazon

It might be smaller than your average mug but this leakproof vessel from Oxo is super-sturdy and can be opened and closed with one hand, making it a great choice for carrying coffee from A to B. Its double-wall insulation keeps drinks hot for up to five hours and three silicone seals ensure it stays completely leakproof, even if your flat white is sloshing around inside it at the bottom of your bag.

There's a handy non-slip band around the rim, which you can detach in order to chuck all the other parts in the dishwasher for easy cleaning.

4. Contigo Autoseal West Loop: Best travel mug for commutes

Price: From £35 | Buy now from Amazon

If you’re looking for a travel mug that has some frills but 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 one 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 a drop of precious early-morning coffee.

Its easy-to-clean lid doesn't have any 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.

5. Stanley Classic: Best one-handed travel mug

Price: £29 | Buy now from Amazon

This classic, retro-inspired offering from Stanley – which has been making vacuum flasks since 1913 – is about as rugged as you can get. Available in green, black, white, dark red and navy, the rust-proof stainless-steel finish looks the part if you like a bit of industrial chic.

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, whether it’s browsing on your phone or operating a pickaxe. The Stanley Classic One Hand is the best choice for multitaskers.

6. Zojirushi SM-SA: Best all-round travel mug

Price: £31 | Buy now from Amazon

The Zojirushi SM-SA hits nearly every mark and is a great all-rounder. Its stainless steel vacuum-insulated walls keep drinks hot for more than six hours, and its tough design is virtually unbreakable yet still light to carry. The mug also features a unique SlickSteel corrosion-resistant interior, a wide opening for filling and a slim design for fitting into all drinks holders. It’s also available in a choice of colours including “cinnamon gold” and “pearl pink”, and there's a larger 480ml option. The only flaw of this otherwise-perfect travel mug is the fiddly lid system.

The mug is only leak-free when closed, and due to the difficulty of opening it, many users are likely to keep it open, thus increasing the likelihood of a spill. But once you’ve conquered the lid, this travel mug couldn’t be better for robustness, temperature retention and style. A great choice for those who like a bit of colour.

7. S’well: Best for hot and cool beverages

Price: £18 | Buy now from Amazon

Available in a range of eye-catching designs, this sturdy and stylish bottle from S'well keeps water cool for up to 24 hours and keeps liquids hot for up to 12, thanks to its clever vacuum design and triple-walled technology. Made from BPA-free stainless steel, it serves as an eco-friendly alternative to plastic bottles but it also performs well as a travel mug to transport your hot drinks around town. It's far from cheap but it's well worth the money if you're looking for a versatile drinking vessel.

8. Contigo Autoseal Luxe: Most stylish travel mug

Price: £25 | Buy now from Amazon

When looks are as important as functionality, the Contigo Luxe is the travel mug to choose. Its sleek, stainless steel body not only keeps drinks hot for three hours, but also comes in six beautiful colours. Like all Contingo mugs, it’s completely leakproof due to the Autoseal button on the side, but there’s also an additional lock button on top for added peace of mind when it’s in your bag. It can also be used one-handed, which is ideal if you’re travelling with luggage.

In testing, the Luxe kept our drinks hotter for longer than three hours in many cases and chilled for up to ten, though the temperature did drop during this time. We think it’s a decent price for a travel mug that’ll last you for years. Moreover, its slick design and impressive leak-proof features make it well worth the price.