Best thermal mugs 2017

6 Jul, 2017 11:45am

We put three thermal mugs to the test to find out which is the best buy for hot beverage consumers

According to the British Coffee Association, the UK gets through around 55 million cups of the stuff each day. With tea, the figure is even more staggering – an estimated 165 million cups daily.

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For the millions of hot-drink connoisseurs who also drive, an insulated travel mug is a great solution to keep your brew hot. So which is the best travel companion? We hit the road with three to find out.

How we test them

We spent plenty of time drinking from the mugs to ensure they were good to use. Stability was assessed, as was the capacity to withstand leaks. And of course, we tested how well each mug retained heat.


The Thermos mug is so far ahead of the competition for retaining heat that it wins here. It’s not perfect, though, and it’s a narrow victory over the Contigo Autoseal. The Bodum is good value, but can’t compete.

1. Thermos Stainless King
2. Contigo West Loop
3. Bodum Vaccum Travel Mug


Thermos Stainless King

Price: Around £25
Rating: ★★★★☆

This attractive tumbler manages to lose a point straight from the start of the test. The smooth stainless steel lid is very tricky to remove, making cleaning and refilling harder than it should be. It’s impressively leak-proof when closed, although the catch on the top isn’t as easy as the Contigo’s to open with one hand while on the move. It also feels slightly top-heavy, so needs a good in-car cup-holder.

Where the Thermos really stars is its heat-retention abilities – they’re absolutely staggering. It lost less heat than both of its rivals here, even after double the time, and remained cool to the touch throughout. If you like your drink to stay piping hot for near enough an entire day, this has to be the mug for you.

Contigo West Loop

Price: Around £35
Rating: ★★★★☆

The West Loop is the priciest mug here (although at the time of writing it was listed on Amazon at £18), but the clever lid prevents leaks. Press a button and it opens up, while it reseals when you release your grip. It works brilliantly, and the mechanism is easy to clean.

The Contigo didn’t retain heat as well as the Thermos, but our coffee was kept hot for several hours without a problem. The Contigo felt stable when knocked, but the wide base didn’t fit into in-car cup-holders as easily as the other two.

Bodum Vacuum Travel Mug

Price: Around £20
Rating: ★★★☆☆

This is Amazon’s best-seller – and we found it there for as little as £13.99. It looks smart and comes in an array of colours, and we liked the soft plastic ring around the body. The rubber base meant it stayed put on smooth surfaces, but this mug leaked even when closed.

The flip-up catch isn’t as easy to use as the other two, and the mug retained the least heat in our temperature test.

If you can find it cheap, it’s a reasonable budget alternative to the others here.