Best Thermal Coffee Mugs 2020 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

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a thermal coffee mug

People who are always on the go need their coffee to get each day started. If you have a commute to work or school, you may not have enough time to sit down, relax, and enjoy a fresh cup before you leave. That’s where thermal coffee mugs come in.

Travel mugs are more convenient for a single serving of coffee than a thermos. They’re much smaller and not as bulky to carry around, but there are so many on the market. Which one should you get? We have reviewed a bunch of them and compiled a list of our favorite five to share with you. We list some of the pros and cons of each to help you narrow down your search.

Comparison of Our Favorite Products

ModelPriceWarrantyEditor Rating
YETI Rambler 14 oz Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Mug
YETI Rambler 14 oz Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Mug(Best Overall)

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5 Years4.7/5
FreContigo AUTOSEAL West Loop (2034154)
Contigo AUTOSEAL West Loop (2034154)

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Rubbermaid Leak Proof Flip Lid Thermal Bottle
Rubbermaid Leak Proof Flip Lid Thermal Bottle(Best Value)

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90 Days4.4/5
Thermos Stainless King 16 Ounce Travel Mug
Thermos Stainless King 16 Ounce Travel Mug

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30 Days4.2/5
Maars Townie Insulated Coffee Mug
Maars Townie Insulated Coffee Mug

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10 Days4.1/5

The 5 Best Thermal Coffee-Mugs

1. YETI Rambler 14 oz Thermal Mug – Best Overall

YETI Rambler 14 oz Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Mug

The YETI Rambler 14 oz Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Mug is made of stainless steel that’s covered with Duracoat color. Duracoat is known to be tough, so your mug shouldn’t get scratched, peel, or fade.

You’ll enjoy the desired temperature of your drink longer in this cup due to its double-wall vacuum insulation. Your coffee will stay hot, and your iced tea will remain icy cold.

When you have cool liquids in a cup, it tends to sweat on the outside, especially in warmer weather. The Yeti Rambler is designed not to sweat, so you don’t have to worry about it getting damp and losing your grip on it.

Another big plus for this thermal mug is that it’s dishwasher safe, so those of you who are allergic to hand washing dishes are all set to go.

The full-loop triple grip handle is large enough for you to get a good hold on the mug. That’s important when traveling, because this mug is too big to fit into any standard cupholders. You’ll either have to hold it in your hands or with your legs.

This mug is also on the heavy side. It’s okay if you’ll be sitting with it somewhere, but this is not the mug for you if you want to carry one on any kind of hike.

  • Tough stainless steel
  • Duracoat color
  • Full-loop triple grip handle
  • Double-wall vacuum insulation
  • No-sweat design
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Doesn’t fit into car cupholders
  • Heavy

2. Contigo AUTOSEAL West Loop – Best for Travel

Contigo AUTOSEAL West Loop (2034154)

The Contigo AUTOSEAL West Loop (2034154) is the best mug that we found for traveling. The lid seals automatically, making it easy to use with one hand. Just push in a button to open the seal on the mouthpiece, and let it go to reseal it.

This 16-ounce mug is made of stainless steel with THERMALOCK Vacuum Insulation to keep your drink at the desired temperature as long as possible. It’s BPA-free, and the lid is dishwasher safe. Be sure to disassemble it as much as possible, and make sure that nothing’s stuck around the spring, before putting it in the dishwasher, though. The lid has lots of little nooks and crannies that can hold on to dirt if you don’t get it sufficiently clean. Make sure everything is clear, and then let the hot water of your dishwasher disinfect it. The cup must be washed by hand.

You can’t sip from this mug like a standard coffee cup. It requires you to put your mouth around the opening and tip the mug and your head back to get a drink. It pours out fast. When you push the button to open the seal, there’s no way to control the amount of fluid that comes out. You can easily burn your tongue if you aren’t careful.

Sometimes we could taste the plastic of the lid in whatever drink we had. It doesn’t happen all the time, and there doesn’t seem to be any pattern to when it does. We also didn’t have this issue with every mug that we had.

  • Auto-sealed lid
  • One-handed use
  • 16-ounce capacity
  • Stainless steel
  • THERMALOCK Vacuum Insulation
  • BPA-free
  • Dishwasher safe lid
  • Lid hard to clean
  • Cup must be hand-washed
  • Can’t sip from it
  • Can taste the plastic from the lid

3. Rubbermaid Thermal Coffee Bottle – Best Value

Rubbermaid Leak Proof Flip Lid Thermal Bottle

The Rubbermaid Leak Proof Flip Lid Thermal Bottle is made of durable stainless steel and has double-wall vacuum insulation to keep your liquids at the desired temperature. We did notice, though, that hot drinks only stay hot for about 30 to 45 minutes before they’re lukewarm. This is better than a standard coffee cup, but not what you’d expect out of anything with insulation.

If you like to brew your coffee directly into your mug, you may be in luck. This mug is designed to fit under most single-serving coffee makers. It fits in standard car cupholders too. For additional convenience, the mug and its lid are safe to wash in the top rack of your dishwasher.

However, it has no handle, so you don’t always get the best grip on it. Most important, though, is the one-piece leak-proof lid. The top has a section that flips to open and close it. It’s challenging to get it to snap open, and impossible with one hand unless you’re really strong. It’s equally as hard to get it locked shut again. You may have to put the mug on a flat surface and pound it to get it to close all the way.

Due to the snap being so hard to release and reseal, the tab that actually locks the flap into place cracks pretty easily. When it does, you lose any vacuum seal it had, and your drink temperatures won’t be maintained.

  • Durable stainless steel
  • Double-wall vacuum insulation
  • Fits most single-serving coffee makers/car cupholders
  • Top-rack dishwasher safe
  • One-piece leak-proof lid
  • Doesn’t keep drinks hot too long
  • No handle
  • Flip lid hard to open and close
  • Snap feature cracks

4. Thermos Stainless King Travel Mug

Thermos Stainless King 16 Ounce Travel Mug

The Thermos Stainless King 16 Ounce Travel Mug is made of durable stainless steel, and has Thermos brand vacuum insulation to keep your beverages at the right temperature. No matter how hot your drink is, the outside of this mug remains cool to the touch. It’s also sweatproof, so it doesn’t get damp.

If you’re a tea drinker, you’ll love this mug. It has a hook on the underside of the lid that holds your tea bag for you. This makes it very convenient to get the tea bag out without having to dig it out with your fingers.

We did find a couple of things to be wary of. The lid has a lot of nooks and crannies that are hard to get clean. If you have any dairy products that settle there and don’t get washed out, you will have mold growing.

There are problems with the seal separating from the metal of the lid. This means it doesn’t seal correctly anymore. It also makes it hard to get the top off. It likes to just spin in circles and not move at all. When you call customer support about the problem, they are not very supportive. They also informed us that the lid, the only piece of this mug with moving parts, is not covered by the warranty.

The exterior paint flakes off, causing a mess. The open and close labels wear off after a while, so the only way to tell if your seal is open is to tip the cup upside down to see if anything comes out. These things aren’t dealbreakers, but they are significant enough to mention.

  • Durable stainless steel
  • Thermos vacuum insulation
  • Cool to the touch
  • Sweatproof
  • Built-in tea hook
  • Lid hard to clean
  • Seal separates from metal of lid
  • Poor customer service
  • Lid not covered by warranty
  • Open/Close labels wear off
  • Exterior paint flakes off

5. Maars Townie Thermal Coffee Mug

Maars Townie Insulated Coffee Mug

The Maars Townie Insulated Coffee Mug is a 12-ounce mug that’s made of durable stainless steel, with double-walled vacuum insulation. The insulation, combined with an extra thermal copper lining, is supposed to help drinks maintain their temperatures. We say “supposed to” because it doesn’t keep hot drinks hot for very long.

The lid is not spill-proof. It has an open hole you drink through that remains open all the time. There isn’t a cover to close it, so it can spill easily, and heat transfers in and out of that hole to affect the liquid’s temperature. The lid also snaps firmly into place, but the seal is so tight that it’s challenging to get it to break to get the top off.

The Townie does have a strong handle for you to carry the cup with, but it really doesn’t sit very comfortably in your hand.

It seems that these thermal mugs don’t go through a good quality control system before leaving the plant. There were sharp edges and bubbles in a couple of our cups. They didn’t really affect the use of the cup; they just weren’t nice-looking like you’d expect any new product to be. Be aware that this product is not dishwasher safe, but handwash only.

  • 12-ounce capacity
  • Stainless steel
  • Double-walled vacuum insulation
  • Extra thermal copper lining
  • Durable handle
  • Doesn’t keep hot drinks hot
  • Lid isn’t spill-proof
  • Lid is hard to remove
  • Uncomfortable handle
  • Poor quality control
  • Not dishwasher safe

Buying Guide:

Everyone wants to get quality products that will do their jobs for a lifetime. To get a good insulated coffee mug, you need to know what features are essential before starting your search.

What to look for in a travel mug

Heat retention:

Heat retention tells you how well the cup will keep hot liquids hot.

Cold retention:

Cold retention tells you how long the mug will keep cold fluids cold.


The material the cup is made from determines its durability and lifespan. Stainless steel mugs are the best on the market.


The better the insulation is, the longer it will retain the temperature of its contents. Double-walled vacuum insulation is best.

One- or two-handed:

If you’re drinking while driving, it’s vital that the mug you choose can be used with one hand.


The lid on your thermal coffee mug should be leak-proof and spill-proof to avoid any mishaps. Some also offer insulation in the lid. That is an excellent addition, as it won’t let heat dissipate through the lid.

Things to consider:

Coffee maker:

Some people with single-serving coffee makers prefer cups that fit them, so they don’t have to brew coffee and then transfer it to an insulated mug. If this is how you want to use your cup, measure the space you have so you don’t get a mug that’s too tall.

Flavor transfer:

Some materials can absorb flavors, especially something as strong as coffee. Plastic is known for doing this. If you want your drinks to taste like they’re supposed to, we recommend a stainless steel one.

Microwave use:

If you need to throw your coffee in the microwave for a quick warm-up, you need to know if the mug is microwave safe. Not all are. Nothing metallic can be put into a microwave.


If you’re driving, you don’t need to be worrying about holding your cup of coffee or trying to keep it from tipping between your legs. The safest place for your hot drinks is in a cupholder. Make sure that the mug you’re looking at will fit the ones in your vehicle.

Pre-heat or pre-cool:

Some cups require you to pre-heat or pre-cool them before use. It may help to keep your drink from cooling or warming up when it’s put into a room temperature mug. This is an extra step that takes more of your time, though.

Cup capacity:

Purchase a mug that’s large enough to hold the amount of coffee you drink. Buying one that’s too big is just a waste of your money. Purchasing one that’s too small will cost you more in the long run, because you’ll be running to Starbucks for more.


Now you have a list of features to look for in a thermal coffee mug, and we have given you a few other things to consider. Have another look at the five mugs we chose, with you in mind, out of all the mugs we reviewed.

  1. YETI Rambler 14 oz Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Mug – Top Pick
  2. Contigo AUTOSEAL West Loop (2034154) – Best for Travel
  3. Rubbermaid Leak Proof Flip Lid Thermal Bottle – Best for the Money
  4. Thermos Stainless King 16 Ounce Travel Mug
  5. Maars Townie Insulated Coffee Mug

Hopefully, you have gained enough knowledge to determine which insulated travel mug is best for you. Now all you have to do is buy it and then enjoy!