While watching TV yesterday and moaning about how lazy we are, we saw a review of commuter mugs (free registration required) on “America’s Test Kitchen”: “We ordered 11 mugs of different materials, shapes, and sipping structures and organized a battery of tests designed to define the ideal mug, which left us feeling a little like test drivers as we careened around corners trying to spill the coffee or dislodge the mugs.” (Yes, they like the royal “we” too!) See their testing criteria, as well as their top two picks, bottom rung losers, and oddball favorite after the jump.
ATK chose the following criteria to test their mugs: heat retention, spill-proofness, clean taste, handles (no handles = easier to grab while driving), sippability, visibility (whether or not it blocks your view of the road when you’re near the bottom of the drink), cleaning, the ability to fit into a wide range of mug holders, and stability.
Top Two Picks
The Thermos Stainless Steel Travel Mug was the best of the bunch, particularly because of its radial symmetry that allows you to pick it up and sip from any direction without worrying about orientation (*snicker*). Because it took a while for excess liquid to drain back in, there was some risk of splashing on bumpy drives.
Their other pick was the OXO Click LiquiSeal Travel Stainless Mug, which “is comfortable to hold and has excellent insulation” but had some small issues with liquid getting trapped in an inner layer and around the button. They don’t suggest the plastic version, however.
They also liked the compact Nissan Dual Purpose Can Insulator/Travel Cup, although not as a travel mug: “It’s an unsatisfactory beverage cup–the lid doesn’t have any closure, and it leaked like a sieve–but it’s a good can insulator and holder. A soda can fit in snugly and stayed well chilled.” They demonstrated it on the show, and it looks like a stainless steel can cozy with a screw-on lid to completely cover your drink.
Bottom Rung Losers
At the very bottom of their “Do Not Want” list were two ceramic/stoneware mugs—they were poor insulators and didn’t have traps to contain any liquid overflow.
“Equipment Corner: Commuter Coffee Mugs” [America's Test Kitchen] (Free registration required)
(Photo: The Infamous Gdub)