I need the best - THE BEST - travel mug
May 30, 2015 5:07 AM   Subscribe

I need to solve a long-running problem and buy a top-notch travel mug for coffee. I have some very specific requirements.

1. This thing cannot leak, ever, if the lid is sealed as designed.

2. I don't want the hot coffee to touch PVC / plastic / etc. Would prefer all stainless steel construction.

3. It needs to fit in a standard car cup holder and not be so top-heavy when full as to pitch over at a sudden stop or sharp turn.

4. It needs to be easy to clean well, especially the cap - no interlocking parts that can't be separated, etc.
posted by ryanshepard to Shopping (27 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I feel that the answer to your question is the thermos stainless king.
posted by rabidsegue at 5:19 AM on May 30, 2015 [4 favorites]

You need a Contigo Autoseal. The new one has an easy cleaning mechanism for the top where everything pops open for access. I'm delighted with mine and it keeps things HOT.
posted by karbonokapi at 5:30 AM on May 30, 2015 [2 favorites]

Yes, definitely the Contigo (sold under the Avex brand name in Costco). The only thing is that the lid isn't stainless steel. But I don't know how you'd get a leakproof seal with an all-metal lid.
posted by essexjan at 5:36 AM on May 30, 2015 [4 favorites]

Sweethome did some legwork on figuring it out.
posted by deezil at 5:46 AM on May 30, 2015 [2 favorites]

rabidsegue's suggestion is spot-on. I have this mug (but mine has a handle). I fill it with hot tea, close it up and chuck it in my tote bag. It's never leaked and it insulates so well that I sometimes have to take the lid off to let my tea cool to where I can drink it.
posted by workerant at 6:20 AM on May 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Based on previous AskMe recommendations I got a Zojirushi cup earlier this year. It is amazing, never leaks, and will keep your coffee hot for 10 hours plus.
posted by vignettist at 6:32 AM on May 30, 2015 [7 favorites]

You know, my Zojirushi has been a disappointment despite my careful husbandry. Off to try the Contigo/Avex.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 6:38 AM on May 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

I think the roadblock will be a stainless steel drinking surface. If you want to be able to drink from it while driving, you'll almost certainly have some kind of plastic lid that houses the seals and such. If you don't mind that small amount of plastic, the Zojirushi is what you want. The lid comes completely apart for cleaning, the 16 oz is a great shape and sits nicely in a drink holder. If you prioritize the stainless steel top, go with a Kleenex Kanteen Insulated canister with the stainless lid. The completely sealed stainless screw top won't allow one handed drinking, but it will never leak and no plastic will ever touch your liquid. I have a thermos with a handle as linked above and it's not leakproof, nor does it keep drinks very warm over the course of several hours. The Zojirushi and the Kleen Kanteen Insulated, however, keep the temp so hot that I sometimes drop an ice cube into my coffee.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 6:40 AM on May 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

I like my Zojirushi a lot. Had it for about 7 months and I still appreciate it. My car commute is an hour and my coffee is warm when I get there....if it's not finished I'll pour the rest into a mug in the office. All I can add that the above didn't is that unlocking the lid makes a very satisfying "Psssssss" sound.
posted by Spumante at 7:31 AM on May 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

You need a Contigo Autoseal.

You definitely don't. Check out all the reviews of these on amazon and elsewhere - they accumulate mold and other disgusting debris in the lid in areas you cannot easily get to to clean.

I had a similar question a few years ago. Didn't find exactly my perfect solution, but I'm very, very happy with my Klean Kanteen vacuum-sealed bottle. I use the loop lid on it for bomb-proof transport, I use the cafe lid when I want to drink out of it (but the cafe lid is not intended to prevent spills).

Cafe lid comes apart for cleaning, everything is dishwasher safe, I've been VERY happy with this.
posted by arnicae at 7:34 AM on May 30, 2015 [4 favorites]

+1 to the insulated Klean Kanteen. Mrs. CC actually burned her tongue 3+ hours after sealing it. The water in it was boiling when poured in, so that might have something to do with it. Also, even with boiling water in it, the bottle itself doesn't even get warm (the lid gets warm, but not hot). Haven't had any trouble cleaning it.
posted by carrioncomfort at 8:26 AM on May 30, 2015 [3 favorites]

I love the hydro flask. It keeps a 16 oz coffee hot on the way to work, is stainless steel except for the easy clean lid, and fits both car cup holders and bike water bottle cages.
posted by monotreme at 9:08 AM on May 30, 2015

The contigo is fine of you soak it for a few minutes in hot soapy water then give it a good rinse and air dry, cleaning instructions are included if you follow them there are no problems. If you don't dry it properly of course there will be problems, same with any travel mug. Heck there is a button to push to unlock it so it opens up for easier cleaning & drying.
posted by wwax at 10:28 AM on May 30, 2015

Our Contigos have been fine for years with just the dishwasher.
posted by zamboni at 10:33 AM on May 30, 2015

I've been using this Stanley one-hand travel mug for a couple weeks and love it. It doesn't leak. It keeps things hot. It does plastic lid parts; it comes apart easily for cleaning. It fits in the normal-size cup-holders in my car and doesn't tip out.
posted by rtha at 10:34 AM on May 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

I've used my Thermos Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Travel Mug for years. This mug
1) Will not leak from the top.
2) Is mostly stainless but the top and lid are plastic
3) Fits in a standard cupholder but is a little top-heavy, but I never found it to be a stability problem.
4) is very easy to clean

Also, because it's a vacuum mug will keep your beverage hot for a long time.
posted by achrise at 10:35 AM on May 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Cool Tools very recently highlighted the Chantal stainless steel travel mug.
posted by yclipse at 11:15 AM on May 30, 2015

You need a Contigo Autoseal.
You definitely don't. Check out all the reviews of these on amazon and elsewhere - they accumulate mold and other disgusting debris in the lid in areas you cannot easily get to to clean.
The older version was, as I understand it, pretty annoying to clean properly. The new / current version (which I own) was redesigned to remedy this - it is no longer an issue.
posted by kickingtheground at 11:38 AM on May 30, 2015

Came in to also say Contigo. I had one for about two years, misplaced it, bought another, about two years into that. I use it maybe 300 days out of the year. I iterated through a lot of commuter mugs before the Contigo, the really clever part of their design is using a spring loaded "ball" to seal the drinking hole, there is nothing fiddly that you have to slide open, you just press (and hold) a button to drink and as soon as button isn't pressed, the thing is sealed. I saw arnicae's comment about bad reviews and mold. Trying not to be snarky here, but you do have to wash the thing. There are a bunch of different Contigo models and they aren't all equal; not all are the "autoseal" design, and some have a coating inside (instead of just stainless steel). If you have a Target nearby, they seem to usually carry a wide selection of Contigo so you can inspect it in person.
posted by kovacs at 11:46 AM on May 30, 2015

I have the same Stanley mug as rtha and also love it. It's my second Stanley travel mug (I had my first one for two years and only had to replace it because I lost a part of the lid) and both have been totally leak-proof. I routinely throw a mug of coffee in my bag without paying attention to which way is up and have never had a spill. However, they do tend to have plastic lids.

I think that the S'well bottle is all stainless steel, but can't speak to how hot it keeps beverages or how leakproof it is, as I've never used one.
posted by snorkmaiden at 12:43 PM on May 30, 2015

I love my contigo, but I have actually managed to make it spill. I stuffed it in a coat pocket with my gloves in just the wrong way so the gloves pressed the release and later I had wet gloves.

It does stay nice and clean with just the dishwasher, though.
posted by nat at 2:49 PM on May 30, 2015

I approve of the Kleen Kanteen vacuum-insulated mug, which keeps coffee out of my Bodum press hot for absurd lengths of time. (Like "all day" lengths of time.) The regular plastic lid is BPA-free and it is very easy to use in the car, but it also comes with a "wide loop cap" that ensures your beverage will never touch plastic at all. (It will, however, be harder to drink on the road.) Seriously, I've gone through a lot of travel mugs in my day and this is one of my favorite things ever. Only complaint is the narrow mouth makes it a little hard to get into the thing for cleaning.
posted by Mothlight at 5:01 PM on May 30, 2015

If you don't need the mug to be spillproof while you're drinking from it and don't mind having to open it fully to drink, then you want a Klean Kanteen, Hydroflask, or S'well bottle. I've used all three and they're all spillproof when sealed, and they all keep my iced coffee cold enough that if I leave them in my bag overnight (which happens often because at the end of the day I am lazy), there are still ice cubes clinking around in the morning.

However, the reason I don't still use them as my daily coffee mugs is that to drink from them, you have to fully unscrew and remove the lids, which is difficult to do when squished into a crowded commuter train, driving, or biking. Also, the wider mouths on the Klean Kanteen and the Hydroflask mean that my clumsy self is likely to spill a little while drinking. The Swell bottle has a much narrower mouth that avoids this issue and is pleasant to drink from--but it's so narrow that it's challenging to pour liquid into, and if you drink iced coffee or tea, forget trying to stuff ice cubes in.

The new Contigo Autoseal mugs are indeed much, much easier to clean, and they're spillproof when sealed and locked, and they keep stuff hot/cold overnight, but the lids are plastic. The Zojirushis are lovely and spillproof and keep stuff hot/cold overnight, too, but they're awkward to drink from, and the lid is plastic.
posted by rhiannonstone at 5:53 PM on May 30, 2015

Another vote for Contigo - and they redesigned the lid to make it easier to clean. AT this point if you can't get it clean, the problem is not the mug, it's you.
posted by Miko at 7:17 PM on May 30, 2015

You want a Thermos Nissan mug.

Amazing. I bought one years ago when it was recommended here. These mugs used to just be called Nissan.
posted by fieldtrip at 11:31 PM on May 30, 2015

I bought a Contigo from Costco after reading all the rave reviews, and it smelled strongly of a chemical odor (which I didn't notice in-store, unfortunately); it was so bad, even after repeated cleaning, that I had to return it.

You're welcome to try Contigo, of course - lots of people like 'em - but there are many complaints about them as well, if you google you'll find them. This is my own experience - YMMV!
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 12:37 PM on May 31, 2015

The CamelBak Forge has a similar sealing mechanism to the Contigo, and it gets thrown in a backpack and ridden around on a bike with no spillage. Very easy to clean, too.
posted by amicus at 12:52 PM on May 31, 2015

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