In 2015, there are more insulated Stanley travel mug cups than ever. It’s a good thing. Any tool that keeps our coffee hot and our whiskey chilled during a day out in the backcountry is a favorite of ours. Not all mugs are equal. Six top-rated models, all weighing between 16 and 20 ounces, were put to the test. Here’s how they stack up.
First, I evaluated drinkability. Is it easy to open the lid? Is it easy to open the lid with one hand? Next, I checked the mugs for leaks. I filled them with water and dropped them into my sink at a height of 2 feet. I filled the mugs in 196-degree water and let them rest in my 70° kitchen for two hours. Then, I measured the water temperature inside the mug. After that, I emptied the water from the mugs and let them rest for eight hours before refilling them with 196-degree hot water. When talking about the thermoregulation capabilities of their products, most brands refer to two and eight hours. Below are the results, beginning with the sixth-placed finisher.
GSI Glacier Stainless Commuter mug 17-Ounce ($27)
Usability: The Glacier lid screws into the cup and rests below the lip. It is difficult to remove but it is easy to clean. To open or close the lid, a tab slides backward baby boys photography and forth. Although it was less complicated than other lids tested, it was easy to use with one hand. The tab was slightly too large to open and pushed against the noses of testers as they drank. This, however, wasn’t a problem.
Avex Recharge Automotive 20-Ounce ($30)
Usability: You must first press the safety button before you can open the Avex lid. Although it sounds difficult, it is easy to do and prevents leakage. This stanley travel mug is similar to the GSI Glacier, but has a textured rubber bottom.
Yeti Rambler tumbler 20-ounce ($30)
Usability: The Rambler Tumbler is a sturdy, comfortable product that feels great in the hand. We also liked the ease of cleaning the transparent plastic lid. The lid is not as thick as a standard stanley travel mug cup and it doesn’t seal fully since Yeti designed this tumbler to be used for hot and cold beverages.
Hydro Flask Wide Mouth 16 oz ($25)
Useability: The lid is a latch-like cover. It snaps into a hole for sealing shut. The mug was very easy to use and the powder coating made it pleasant to hold.
Stanley Classic One Hand Vacuum Mug 20-Ounce ($30)
Usability: The ergonomic, trigger-like opening lid makes this stanley travel mug easy to use. Although it’s large, it won’t fit into a car’s cup holders. However, I found this to be my favorite for bringing to work.