There are several items that should not be missing from a backpack when going out on a trip. Hikers and people that like to spend their time in the middle of nature surely appreciate having a reliable travel mug. It is an excellent accessory that can be used to hold pretty much any type of liquid. It can be used for coffee, water, smoothies, soda and much more. It is a practical accessory that works like a charm for outdoor activities or it can just be used to carry and keep coffee warm.
What most have noticed is that the vast majority of travel mugs are made of some sort of plastic material which works fairly well. It can survive drops and shock but plastic will never beat stainless steel. A good travel mug needs to be made mostly out of stainless steel and should have some sort of thermal insulation. This will help it maintain the liquid inside either cold or warm.
Fortunately, they are not that expensive and there is no true reason to get a plastic travel mug. Stainless steel travel mugs are inexpensive, well made and can be found in a wide range of sizes.
Best Stainless Steel Travel Mugs in 2021
For our list, we picked some of the most popular stainless steel mugs out of the thousands available. Let’s jump right into our list of the top 10 best stainless steel travel mugs in 2021.
Last update on 2021-07-20 / Affiliate links / Price / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
10. LifeSky Stainless Steel Insulated Travel Coffee Mug
LifeSky stainless steel insulated mug is a great travel companion. It has a large capacity without being too large and it offers excellent performance. The mug can retain temperature for up to 8 hours. While the body is made out of stainless steel, the inner mug and the lid are made out of BPA-free plastic. It was designed to fit most car cup holders and it has a fingerprint-proof finish. This makes it very easy to clean and very practical. The mug is available in two different colors and can hold up to 16 ounces of liquid.
- Stainless steel and BPA-free plastic construction
- Can retain temperature for up to 8 hours
- Secure locking mechanism
- Paint will peel off easily
The construction of the mug feels premium but the paint used is not that great. It will peel off after some time but it should be fine for the first few months. This is a common issue with travel mugs that have a paint coating. The heat and superficial scratches will accelerate the process and have the paint chip down faster.
9. Contigo SnapSeal Superior Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Travel Mug
Contigo SnapSeal is a good pick for the ones that like to drink their homemade coffee at the office. It is inexpensive and has a large 20 oz. capacity. The mug is made out of stainless steel with a plastic lid and a large handle. To make it easy to clean the mug was made to be dishwasher-safe. It has a leak-proof design and should fit into most car cup holders. Last but not least it is worth mentioning that it includes a lifetime warranty but for the price, it is being offered for, most people will just end up buying a new one.
- Large 20 oz. capacity
- Dishwasher safe
- Does not retain temperature for more than a couple of hours
Despite being a rather large and well-built insulated travel mug, it does not retain temperature very well as other mugs on our list. On average, the mug will be able to maintain the liquid hot for about 2 hours after which it will start cooling slowly. It also depends on how hot the liquid inside is and the ambient temperature.
8. Contigo Autoseal Randolph Stainless Steel Travel Mug
Contigo Autoseal stainless steel travel mug is a good companion for the ones that are always in a rush. It has a premium construction using brushed stainless steel and a large handle with a lid locking mechanism on it. The mug is completely spilled proof and quite large. It is also very easy to clean and it is dishwasher safe. The manufacturers made the mug large enough to fit into most car cup holders. According to their own claims, it can keep a drink hot for up to 4 hours and cold for up to 12.
- Keeps drinks hot 4 hours and cold for 12 hours
- Brushed stainless steel, fingerprint proof
- Dishwasher safe
- Poor quality control
Most mugs shipped have no issue with the lid but some that do not work properly seems to have slipped through the production lines. It is possible to get a mug with an autoseal lid that is not completely leak proof. As long as it is not knocked over it should be fine but that does not negate the quality control problem that they have.
7. ATLIN Tumbler Double Wall Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulation Travel Mug
ATLIN Tumbler double wall stainless steel insulated mug is a great pick for the ones that are looking for a premium product without having to pay a fortune. It is a simple mug made completely out of stainless steel, with double walls and a large removable lid. The mug is very easy to clean and dishwasher safe. In terms of capacity, the mug can hold up to 30 oz. of liquid.
- Holds up to 30 oz. of liquid
- Double walls
- Made entirely out of stainless steel
- Does not have a handle
Not everyone will be bothered by the fact that it does not have a handle but truth be told, the mug can be a bit slippery when holding it. Also, it can get warm but not hot enough to be difficult to hold. A handle would have made it much more convenient and easier to use.
6. Thermos Stainless King 16 Ounce Travel Mug with Handle
Thermos stainless still travel mug offers excellent value for the money. This travel mug is a bit more expensive but it feels premium. It is made out of stainless steel almost completely except for the upper part of the lid and the handle. The mug has a dual wall system and a leak-proof sealing lid. It has a large capacity of 16 ounces and can maintain the liquid hot for several hours. The model is available in one size but in several different colors to choose from.
- Double walls
- Made mostly out of stainless steel
- Large capacity of 16 ounces
- Sealing lid is difficult to handle
Sometimes it can be quite difficult to get the valve back onto the stem correctly. At times, the lever tends to spin the valve into the closed position which means that the mug is still sealed thus no liquid will be pouring. This does not happen to everyone and it seems to be happening only with a handful of them.
5. Zojirushi SM-KHE48BA Stainless Steel Mug
Zojirushi SM-KHE48BA is quite different from the rest of the travel mugs on our list. It has a sealing lid that actually works and a vacuum insulation that keeps the liquid hot or cold for many hours. The mug has a larger mouth opening which makes it easier to drink directly from it. The interior of the mug is entirely made out of stainless steel which makes it much more sanitary. In terms of design, the mug is quite slim but it can still hold about 16 fluid ounces of liquid.
- Wide mouth opening
- Stainless steel interior
- Vacuum insulation system
- Rubber seals change texture after some time
The rubber used to keep the mug sealed do a great job but they tend to become less effective after more than one year of usage. It seems that the rubber changes texture, becomes harder and it loses its ability to keep the mug properly sealed. This means that it can also spill liquid.
4. Ello Ogden BPA-Free Ceramic Travel Mug with Lid
Ello Ogden is one of the few brands that offer a ceramic travel mug. This does make it heavier but it is also much more eco-friendly and safe than the ones made out of plastic. The mug uses an insulated silicone boot that does a great job at retaining heat. It has a capacity of 16 fluid ounces and comes with a BPA-free sealing lid. The model is also surprisingly inexpensive and has a very appealing design that makes it stand out.
- Made out of ceramic with a silicone boot
- Large 16 fluid ounce capacity
- Dishwasher safe
- Does not keep the liquid hot for long
Ceramic mugs are good at conducting heat and they do not make up for good heat insulator. Even with the silicone boot, the travel mug is not stellar when it comes to keeping the liquid hot. It is decent but there are plenty more mugs that perform better from this point of view.
3. Hydro Flask Double Wall Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle
Hydro Flask double wall insulated water bottle is just like any other travel mug but with a wider mouth opening. This makes it easier to drink directly from the mug. The model has a double wall design to help it retain heat and a BPA-free plastic sealing lid. For the outer wall, the manufacturers used stainless steel that is available in several different colors. Only food grade materials were used for the mug.
- Made only out of food grade materials
- Double wall design
- Wide mouth opening
- Leaks after some time
No travel mug is perfect and the hydro flask is no different. It can keep coffee warm but it may also spill some of it. The lid is leak-proof for a while but as it is used, it tends to lose this ability. The plastic material will become the subject of wear and tear which in return makes it unable to perfectly seal the mug.
2. Contigo SnapSeal Byron Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Travel Mug
Contigo SnapSeal Byron travel mug is a great pick for the ones that are looking for something inexpensive that does not feel cheap or poorly made. The mug has a stainless steel outer layer with a plastic lid that becomes leak proof when closed. The mug also has a rubber coating near the top which makes it much easier to grip with one hand. It is available in several different sizes and multiple colors to choose from.
- Available in 16oz, 20oz and 24oz sizes
- Easy to clean
- Rubber grip requires proper cleaning often
The rubber material used for the grip is not the best. One issue some would have with the grip is the fact that it can develop an unusual odor. This happens if the mug is not cleaned often. It needs to be washed every other day to avoid having an oddly smelling travel mug.
1. Contigo AUTOSEAL West Loop Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Travel Mug
Contigo AutoSeal West Loop is a great travel mug that manages to keep a drink hot for much longer than other mugs. It can actually keep a drink hot for 7 hours or cold for 18 which is quite impressive. It is also reasonably priced. The mug is made out of stainless steel with a spill proof lid and a rubber grip on the top side. Last but not least, the mug can be found in several different sizes such as 16, 20 and 24 ounces and in many different colors.
- Available in 16oz, 20oz and 24oz sizes
- Keeps drinks hot for 7 hours and cold for 18 hours
- Difficult to clean the lid
The sealing mechanism inside the lid does a great job at preventing the liquid from spilling. It is however quite difficult to clean by just rinsing it. In order to clean it properly after several uses, it is better to just soak the mug in a bowl of water for a few hours. It should help clean it a bit.
Picking A Decent Travel Mug
It is a bit difficult to create a ranking of the best travel mugs but there are a few ways to judge which one is better. Build quality plays an important role and for our list, we managed to avoid the badly made ones. A good mug does not have to be expensive, it just needs to fulfill the role it was made to fulfill. Here are some things to keep in mind when looking for travel mugs.
- Capacity: Not everyone needs 24 oz. of coffee. There are different mug sizes and in some cases, it can be the exact same model with different capacities. Also, it is worth mentioning that the larger the mug the more difficult it is for it to retain heat.
- With or without a handle: Not all travel mugs have handles. The ones that do not have a handle are more convenient to throw inside a bag but this also means they need to be completely leak-proof. The ones with a handle are just more convenient to hold.
- Shape and size: Shape and size can be important depending on how the travel mug will be transported. Not all mugs will fit properly inside the cup holder in a car. They can be thinner or wider. It is important to check the mug dimensions as well.