A thermal mug, although admittedly not a major purchase, is something that will likely be used almost every day, more often than not on the daily drive to work. To make sure that the mug you buy is right for you, it is important to consider a variety of factors.
Nearly all thermal mugs are made of plastic or stainless steel, although there are glass and ceramic thermal mugs available. For travel though, it’s best to stick with the first two types. Plastic mugs are generally less expensive, but have some drawbacks. Plastic tends to retain the flavor of whatever you have in it, so if you use your coffee mug for a different beverage, it may give it a bit of a coffee taste. Stainless steel doesn’t have this problem (at least if you clean your mug regularly!), so if you plan on using your thermal mug for more than one type of beverage, stainless steel is the way to go. Plastic is difficult to break, but overall isn’t as durable as stainless steel, so a plastic mug may not last as long. Although usually a bit more expensive, stainless steel thermal mugs are generally best. One exception to this is if you tend to lose your mug. In this case, a cheaper plastic mug is probably the best choice!
The Lid (or Cap)
The lid of your mug is another important consideration. There are two main types of lids that are used, screw on and snap on. Overall, a screw on lid is best as it is less likely to accidentally pop off while you are driving. It also tends to make a better seal, so there is less chance of coffee leaking from between the mug and the lid.
If you are just going to be drinking coffee or tea from your cup, pretty much any spout will do. But if you if you are going to drink anything other than a normal beverage, such as soup, the type of spout can be important. Most thermal mugs are designed for coffee or other “thin” liquid beverages. Due to this they usually have a thin or small spout. Although this is actually beneficial most of the time as it helps to limit spills, it can be a problem if you plan on using your mug for soup or other “thick” beverages. If this is your plan, you will want a lid with a larger spout.
Size / Base Size
The size of your mug depends on how much coffee you want to bring with you. This is easy to determine – how much coffee do you drink on the way to work? You want a mug that will hold all your coffee, but not much larger than that. A thermal mug that is full will retain heat better than one that is only half full. It’s also easier to deal with a smaller mug than a larger mug. The base size is also important. Most thermal mugs designed for travel have a base that will fit in a standard car cup holder, but some have larger than normal bases. Occasionally the design of the handle will also cause trouble with car cup holders, so that should be taken into consideration.
Design and Colors
Thermal mugs are available in countless colors and designs. Which one is best? This is really up to the buyer. There are a couple factors worth considering though. If you’re going to be using your mug in a shared kitchen or space, you may want to buy one with a more unique color scheme so it’s easy to find. Likewise, if you work in a cluttered office, a brightly colored mug can be easier to find. Mugs are also available with or without handles – again both are fine, and it’s just personal preference. If you can’t find a mug that is just right, there are even companies that make unique custom mugs!