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Hot, hot, hot: Top-tested insulated travel mugs

Lauren Verno takes a look at consumer reports top travel mugs to see which one is best!
Lauren Verno takes a look at consumer reports top travel mugs to see which one is best!

Even if your morning commute is now just a walk from the bedroom to your home office, a hot cup of coffee can make it a little easier. And keeping the coffee hot is key, which is where a good insulated mug comes in handy. Consumer Reports just tested some popular brands and reveals which ones deliver hot coffee to the last drop.

First things first: Will your beverage stay hot or get cold? To check temperature retention, CR testers fill each mug with boiling water, immediately replace the lid, then open each mug at set intervals to take the temperature of the water until it reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit, a temperature that’s on the cool side for many coffee and tea drinkers. Testers do the same temperature checks for cold liquids, too. It turns out a good mug can keep liquids hot or cold.

Testers also look at how easy each mug is to clean, whether it fits into a variety of cup holders, and whether the lid can be opened with one hand, which is crucial when you’re taking a sip of coffee while you’re doing something else.

If temperature retention is at the top of your list, look no farther than the 16-ounce Zojirushi for $28, which kept liquids hot for 13 1/2 hours in CR testing. It’s easy to open, leakproof, fits into most cup holders, and has a lid that comes apart, making it easier to clean than similarly designed mugs.

For a little less money, the 16-ounce Thermos Stainless King for $20 can keep your coffee hot for about 7 hours. It also has a handy tea hook so you can suspend a tea bag in water.

If easy cleanup is key, the 16-ounce Ello Campy for $18 is your best bet. It earned top grades for cleaning, plus it’s leakproof.

But CR says the Ello Campy might be too wide for some cup holders. It’s always a good idea to check that no matter which mug you choose. Another feature to check is whether or not your mug is dishwasher-safe or hand-washable only.