My commute to work every day is over an hour each way, and I like to have coffee 1) before I go to work, 2) while I'm in transit to work, and 3) while I'm sitting at my desk, taking in the aroma from the coffee maker that now sits next to me.

I'm always looking for the best travel coffee mug, which is very hard to find. A travel mug needs to be easy to hold and drink from while on the go. It needs to be incapable of leaking so I can put it in my bag when I grip the subway handrail. And it needs to actually keep my coffee warm. Wanting to find the definitive answer for commuters of all kinds, I tested 16 highly rated travel coffee mugs.

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How I Tested

I filled all of the mugs with piping hot water. Then, I let them sit on my desk for five hours. Then, I sipped from them to determine if they had retained heat. Then, I put the containers through a stress test, shaking them and tipping them up and down to see if anything leaked. Finally, I took some brisk walks around my office to mimic the frantic conditions of my morning commute, coffee mug in hand.

NOTE: I did not preheat the mugs by filling them with hot liquid first because I figured the typical user would not do this and I wanted to see how well they would retain heat without this step.

Factors I Evaluated

When it comes to a to-go coffee mug, I only had four simple criteria in mind:

1. Does it Retain Heat?

After five hours, I was looking for a mug that kept coffee hot. I didn't measure the water temperature with a thermometer. Rather, I just sipped from the mug to determine if it was still a good coffee drinking temperature. And, I compared the various levels of heat, sipping the mugs alongside one another.

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That’ s longer than any of us likes to keep the same mug of coffee around, so we’re more than satisfied. (Any insulated mug is also far, far better than a These mugs represent what really has become the baseline for travel mug use: to beat Contigo at their own game, a mug must be easy to drink from

The best coffee mugs and thermos are specifically made to keep coffee at the right drinking temperature. What ' s more, the vacuum insulated travel coffee mug is powder coated for durability and vacuum insulated to keep your brew hot for hours.

2. Does it Leak?

I wanted a coffee mug that was leak-free, even when I jostled it around, tipped it upside down, shook it, and mimicked the conditions of a jostled morning on the packed L train in New York.

3. Is it Easy to Hold and Drink From?

I didn't want a mug that was too heavy or too big, as this would make it more difficult to carry around in transit. I wanted a mug that was easy to sip from, without having to weirdly maneuver your mouth, and without any spilling.

4. Is it easy to clean?

Does it go in the dishwasher? Is it easy to scrub manually, including the including the nooks and crannies of the lid?

The Results

a close up of a bottle© Epicurious

1. Zojirushi Stainless Steel Mug

This Japanese-made mug retains heat incredibly. After five hours on my desk, the liquid inside was still piping hot—almost too hot to drink, even. Like a heavy-duty camping thermos, it's made of double-walled stainless steel that's vacuum-insulated for expert heat retention, and it even has a five-year warranty on its ability to keep beverages hot or cold. Unlike massive camping thermoses, though, the Zojirushi has a slim, sleek design that fits perfectly in your hand or bag. It comes in a variety of colors and sizes—12 ounces, 16 ounces, 20 ounces—but all of them are narrow, unobtrusive, and easy to hold.

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The Zojirushi is leak-free. The lid has a lock on the top that makes it impossible to open or spill. Shake, rattle, roll this thing—it's not going to let any liquid spill out. Plus, it's stylish and sleek, something that I definitely want in a mug I'll be carting around. The parts of its lid come apart for easy manual cleaning, and the interior is non-stick, so it's easy to rinse.

The Zojirushi only has two minor downsides. It is not dishwasher safe. And its opening for drinking at the top can be a bit awkward to sip from. No, it won't spill or anything; it's just a little less comfortable than the sipping mechanisms of two other mugs I tried, OXO and the Chantal. Still, on the more important grounds of heat retention and leak preventing, the Zojirushi wins by an absolute landslide.

BUY IT: Zojirushi SM-KB48VJ Stainless Steel Travel Mug, 16-Ounce, $24.49 on Amazon

Other Solid Options:

  What's the Best Travel Coffee Mug? © Epicurious

2. Ello Travel Mugs

I tried three travel mugs from the brand Ello, all of which are highly reviewed online: a double-walled ceramic mug, a vacuum-insulated stainless steel mug, and a Campy Vacuum-Insulated Stainless Steel Mug, which features a handle.

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The mug is definitely a high end travel coffee mug and it will keep your coffee hot for a long time will almost eliminating the chance of spills or leaks but for Keurig single serve machines it’s still not my favorite. What ’ s The Best Coffee Grinder You Can Buy.

Here’ s what features define the best standard and travel coffee mugs that will keep your cup of joe piping hot. What makes great standard coffee mug ? These are my top choice, check them out on Amazon.

While the ceramic one was too heavy and inferior in heat retention to be considered a good contender, Ello's two vacuum insulated stainless steel mugs hold heat well, are shockingly spill-proof, and are cute and stylish. The Campy mug looks like a retro travel mug you took from your grandparents' house, while the regular stainless steel mug is simple and white, with a built-in cork coaster at the bottom. Neither are as compact or sophisticated in design as the Zojirushi, but they're dishwasher safe and highly effective at keeping drinks hot and contained. A solid option if you want a vintage aesthetic and are less concerned about a bottle that will last and tuck neatly and compactly into your bag.

BUY IT: Ello Campy Vacuum-Insulated Stainless Steel Travel Mug, $14.95 on Amazon

BUY IT: Ello Cole Vacuum-Insulated Stainless Steel Travel Mug, $16.59 on Amazon

a close up of a bottle© Epicurious

3. OXO Travel Mug & Chantal Travel Mug

People love and swear by OXO travel mugs, and I can see why. The mug is easy to hold and comfortable to sip from. It keeps beverages nice and warm, thanks to that same trusty double wall of stainless steel vacuum insulation. However, I'm sad to report that the OXO leaks a little bit when it's tipped upside down. I wouldn't trust it to be tossed in my bag and jostled around during my commute. However, if you just need a mug for a car cup holder, or are planning on always holding it upright, this is a comfortable and high-quality option.

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Tied with the OXO mug is the Chantal mug, which also has quality insulation. And, I like the button on the top, which releases a seal and allows you to sip from any side of the cup. It's easy to use and easy to drink from. The mug is also small and compact, and has a cute shape. Like the OXO, it barely passes the leak test: a few pesky drops of water drip from the top when you shake it upside down, so I wouldn't trust this in my bag.

BUY IT: OXO Good Grips Double Wall Travel Mug, $21.99 on Amazon

BUY IT: Chantal Single Serve Stainless Steel Easy Travel Mug, 10-Ounce, $19.95 on Amazon

Other Mugs I Tried:

  • YETI Rambler

  • Klean Kanteen

  • Thermos

  • Aladdin

  • Zyliss

  • Stanley

  • Bino Twister Mug

The Takeaway

Buy a Zojirushi for the all around best travel mug. It's leak-proof, keeps drinks hot or cold for hours, and is compact and easy to cram in your bag. It has a five year warranty and is built to last. For a slightly cheaper, less-compact, but very stylish option, choose an Ello mug. They're cool-looking, leak-proof, and they'll keep your drink warm.