We Put 10 Reusable Coffee Mugs to the Test: Here Are the Best Ones
Having a reusable mug or thermos is a great way to reduce waste (by using fewer single-use cups) and to keep your hot drink of choice warmer longer. With all of the options on the market, it's hard to know what to look for in a cup (if you need to upgrade your food-storage containers, we've got those too: Best Food-Storage Container Ideas to Break Your Plastic Habit).
We tested 10 mugs from some of our favorite retailers to see which one performed the best for your daily coffee habit.
What We Tested
We compiled mugs from some of our favorite brands for the testing. Here are the top 10:
- Corkcicle Sports Canteen (Buy It: $34.95, Amazon.com)
- Otterbox Elevation 20 Tumbler (Buy it: $29.99, Amazon.com)
- Hydro Flask 16-oz. Coffee Mug with Flex Seal Lid (Buy it: $34.95, Amazon.com)
- Contigo Luxe Travel Mug (Buy it: $16.95, Amazon.com)
- Yeti Rambler 20-oz. Tumbler with MagSlider Lid (Buy it: $29.99, Amazon.com)
- Contigo Autoseal Premium Pinnacle (Buy it: $18, Amazon.com)
- Corkcicle Coffee Mug (Buy it: $27.95, Amazon.com)
- Hydro Flask 12-oz. Insulated Mug (Buy it: $29.95, Amazon.com)
- Otterbox Elevation 14 Mug (Buy it: $24.99, Amazon.com)
- Yeti Rambler 10-oz. Lowball with Standard Lid (Buy it: $19.99, Amazon.com)
The Best Insulated Mugs Ranked
After all of our investigation, these are our favorite mugs ranked.
1. Best Cold Beverage Mug: Corkcicle Sports Canteen
- After 1 hour: 177ºF (Hot Water)/ 34ºF (Iced Water)
- After 4 hours: 146ºF (Hot Water)/ 37ºF (Iced Water)
- After 24 hours: 92ºF (Hot Water)/ 47ºF (Iced Water)
Pros: I am truly impressed at how insulated this Corkcicle canteen is. After 24 hours, the hot water in the mug was just shy of 100 degrees, which is actually a pleasant drinking temperature for coffee or tea. It has an adhesive coating on the bottom to help it stick in place when set down. It fit in my cup holder and backpack, and when I filled it up with water I stayed hydrated all day. This insulated thermos is a canteen style, so it was easy to drink out of compared to its competitors, though not your typical coffee mug.
Cons: My only qualms with this mug are that it was almost a little too insulated. Hot liquids stayed at a "burn your mouth" temperature for several hours, though cold liquids were pleasantly chilled all day. Given the style of this thermos, it is best suited as a water bottle or for storing hot liquids for drinking later. Additionally, it may have had an unfair advantage, having a screw-on top instead of a coffee-mug top.
2. Best Hot Beverage Mug: Otterbox Elevation 20 Tumbler
- After 1 hour: 176ºF (Hot Water)/ 34ºF (Iced Water)
- After 4 hours: 146ºF (Hot Water)/ 35ºF (Iced Water)
- After 24 hours: 84ºF (Hot Water)/ 43ºF (Iced Water)
Pros: If you need a perfect coffee or tea mug that can go with you anywhere, look no further. This was the most pleasant mug I used during these tests, and it's not just because of the gorgeous purple color (it is also available in stainless steel and 10 other vibrant colors). Because it holds 20 ounces, my entire French press of coffee fit snugly in this mug, and stayed warm enough that I was able to slowly sip it all day. The lid secures in the open and closed positions, and is totally leakproof when closed. It also fit easily into a cup holder, backpack and grocery store cart (yes, I loved it so much I took it to the store with me).
Cons: Honestly, I am drawing a blank for cons with this mug. The boiling water used in the hot water test was still over 160 degrees after two hours, which was a little too hot to drink comfortably. If you are looking for a mug to hold hot water for immediate enjoyment, this might be more than what you bargained for.
3. Hydro Flask 16-oz. Coffee Mug with Flex Sip Lid
- After 1 hour: 177ºF (Hot Water)/ 38ºF (Iced Water)
- After 4 hours: 142ºF (Hot Water)/ 37ºF (Iced Water)
- After 24 hours: 81ºF (Hot Water)/ 46ºF (Iced Water)
Pros: This mug is the perfect size for most coffee or tea drinkers, holding two standard-sized coffee cups at a time. The updated Flex Sip lid on this mug is totally spill-proof and allowed for the lid to be open without cooling the beverage too much. It is super versatile with its easy-to-carry handle, and fits perfectly in cup holders and backpack pockets. This is an ideal commuter mug.
Cons: My only con with this mug is that, though the lid is spill-proof, it was slightly tricky to use on my first few tries. To close it you twist the lid in the opposite direction to how you twist the cap to secure it on the mug.
4. Contigo Luxe Travel Mug
- After 1 hour: 165ºF (Hot Water)/ 34ºF (Iced Water)
- After 4 hours: 130ºF (Hot Water)/ 36ºF (Iced Water)
- After 24 hours: 78ºF (Hot Water)/ 48ºF (Iced Water)
Pros: This new style of Contigo was notably more insulated than their other coffee mug, the Premium Pinnacle. The sleek design looks luxurious, while being practical enough to fit in cup holders or a backpack pocket and is completely spill-proof. It also was one of the more affordable mugs we tested.
Cons: The button on this mug is slightly less natural to use than the other Contigo styles, because it's flush with the back of the mug. And, it was not the best-insulated mug we tested.
5. Yeti Rambler 20-oz. Tumbler with MagSlider Lid
- After 1 hour: 170ºF (Hot Water)/ 35ºF (Iced Water)
- After 4 hours: 134ºF (Hot Water)/ 37ºF (Iced Water)
- After 24 hours: 76ºF (Hot Water)/ 55ºF (Iced Water)
Pros: This Yeti tumbler is popular for a reason. As far as insulation goes, this mug is right in the middle of our list, which is all that most coffee or tea drinkers need (are you really making coffee 2 hours in advance?). It comes in a variety of colors, fits in a cup holder and is all-around a solid choice.
Cons: The sliding lid on the top of this mug was not totally spill-proof, which left me with a little bit of coffee on the side of my bag when I bent over to pick up something I dropped. Worth noting, if you're looking for something that won't leak.
6. Contigo Autoseal Premium Pinnacle
- After 1 hour: 168ºF (Hot Water)/ 36ºF (Iced Water)
- After 4 hours: 132ºF (Hot Water)/ 37ºF (Iced Water)
- After 24 hours: 79ºF (Hot Water)/ 64ºF (Iced Water)
Pros: Before I started testing coffee mugs for this story, this was the mug I used for months. It fits easily into a cup holder or backpack pocket and is completely spill-proof. This mug keeps coffee at a perfect temperature (not too hot, not too cold) for drinking throughout the morning and is great for travel. It's also relatively affordable.
Cons: Over the temperature-testing period, this thermos kept the water least warm (or cold) of any of the other mugs. For sipping throughout the morning, it works better than a regular old coffee cup, but for saving a hot drink for later, it's not the best choice.
7. Corkcicle Coffee Mug
- After 1 hour: 164ºF (Hot Water)/ 35ºF (Iced Water)
- After 4 hours: 123ºF (Hot Water)/ 37ºF (Iced Water)
- After 24 hours: 72ºF (Hot Water)/ 63ºF (Iced Water)
Pros: Along with its beautiful design, this Corkcicle cup was well-insulated compared to similar mugs. I used this mug in the car on a trip to the ski mountain, and I was pleasantly surprised with how well-sealed the sliding lid was. It didn't spill and it kept hot water several degrees warmer than other insulated mugs I tested.
Cons: My only cons for this mug are that it is not quite as well-insulated or large (though it does hold 16 ounces) as any of the larger cups we tested.
8. Hydro Flask 12-oz. Insulated Mug
- After 1 hour: 162ºF (Hot Water)/ 35ºF (Iced Water)
- After 4 hours: 120ºF (Hot Water)/ 36ºF (Iced Water)
- After 24 hours: 70ºF (Hot Water)/ 55ºF (Iced Water)
Pros: This cute little mug made me want to go camping. It has an adhesive texture on the bottom, so when you set it down it actually stays put. The handle means it may not fit in your cup holder, depending on the design.
Cons: Though it was very secure on the cup, there was no covering over the opening on the lid, making spilling a little too probable for my liking. This mug can hold a generous cup of coffee, and would be best for keeping drinks hot (or cold) when you don't have to travel.
9. Otterbox Elevation 14 Mug
- After 1 hour: 165ºF (Hot Water)/ 36ºF (Iced Water)
- After 4 hours: 118ºF (Hot Water)/ 38ºF (Iced Water)
- After 24 hours: 69ºF (Hot Water)/ 62ºF (Iced Water)
Pros: First of all, we love the look of this Otterbox mug. The lid on the top can be secured in the closed and open position, making this mug spill-proof when you need it to be and easy to drink from when you need it to be. Plus, it kept hot water well over 100 degrees for over six hours in our test.
Cons: Similar to the Yeti Lowball, this mug is more suited for sipping around the house or office than taking on a trek. It did not fit in a backpack pocket or cup holder for travel. Though it kept hot (and cold) water at more desirable temperature for a workday, it was the least insulated over a full 24-hour timespan.
10. Yeti Rambler 10-oz. Lowball with Standard Lid
- After 1 hour: 159ºF (Hot Water)/ 36ºF (Iced Water)
- After 4 hours: 114ºF (Hot Water)/ 39ºF (Iced Water)
- After 24 hours: 68ºF (Hot Water)/ 65ºF (Iced Water)
Pros: Though it may be small, this little mug is a great fit for keeping your coffee warm while you multitask. Over the weekend, I used this mug to keep my coffee at the perfect drinking temperature while I made breakfast and cleaned up around the house. Bonus: It fits in a standard-size cup holder.
Cons: Compared to the other mugs we tested, this kept drinks hot (or cold) for the shortest amount of time. It also has an open lid with no covering, which could be part of the reason why. It was also the smallest coffee mug we tested, holding only 10 ounces. So, if you are a person who likes to enjoy more than one cup, this may not be choice for you.
How We Tested
For our experiment, we tested the mugs' ability to keep hot water hot and cold water cold. For the hot water test, each mug was filled with boiling water and, once the initial temperature was taken, the mugs were sealed closed. Temperatures were checked and recorded at 30 minutes, one hour, two hours, four hours and 24 hours.
The second part of our test was to see how long each mug could keep ice water cold. Ice-cold water was added to the mugs, temperatures were taken, and they were again sealed. Temperatures were checked and recorded on the same time intervals as the hot water test.
On top of our water temperature testing, I used each mug for a day to see how it fit into my routine. I checked things like whether it spilled in the side of my backpack, if it fit in my cup holder or if my coffee or tea stayed at a nice, drinkable temp for as long as I needed it to.
All of these mugs are great options to cut down on waste and keep your drinks hot (or cold). Not to mention, they also all come in beautiful colors and styles. However, in our tests, the Otterbox and Corkcicle came out on top, but Hydro Flask, Yeti and Contigo were close behind. Our pros and cons will help you pick out the best insulated mug or thermos to meet your needs. Now that you are all set with a mug, check out Rules for How to Make a Perfect Cup of Coffee to fill it up with something delicious.