The best reusable coffee cups and travel mugs 2021
29 December 2020
Switching to a reusable coffee cup or travel mug is a quick and easy change you can make to help the environment. From KeepCups to Ecoffee cups; collapsible to leakproof, check out our list of containers that come tried and tested by those self-confessed caffeine addicts, Mumsnet users.
Why buy a reusable coffee cup or travel mug?
You've all seen the Blue Planet footage and Greta Thunberg speeches (if not, where have you been?). Single-use materials such as paper cups are clogging up our landfill and our oceans.
But just because your favourite coffeeshop's cups are bad for the environment doesn't mean you should be deprived of your morning caffeine. While thermos flasks and reusable water bottles can also do the job of carrying hot liquids, thermoses can be a bit bulky if all you want is a cup of joe and drinking coffee from a bottle seems all kinds of wrong to us.
Enter the reusable coffee cup or travel mug. These terms can mostly be used interchangeably – however, those pitched as travel mugs tend to be a bit more heavy-duty (a bit more like a flask), meaning they are less likely to leak and are best suited for carrying your drink around for longer. Therefore, they also tend to be a tad more expensive than reusable coffee cups. The latter is a more sturdy version of the standard takeaway cup and is often more aesthetically pleasing.
Alongside the environmental benefits, a lot of chains offer money off if you bring your own cup. Discounts range from 20-25p (Greggs, Starbucks, Costa) to 50p in Pret and Paul. Caffè Nero also offers double rewards on its loyalty card stamp system.
Before you buy anything, it's worth considering your requirements:
- Do you need a collapsible coffee cup?
- Is it essential that your cup or mug is 100% spill or leak-proof?
- Would it be good to be able to bung it in the microwave or dishwasher?
- Is it made from 'good' plastic ie free from BPA (Bisphenol A), and also possibly BPS (Bisphenol S): chemical compounds commonly used to make plastics, which could reportedly also have long-term health effects?
- And perhaps you're looking for super-sustainability – something made from recycled materials, and/or that can be recycled once you've reused it to death.
Luckily, we've done the very serious business of researching so you don't have to – scouring the Mumsnet forums and trawling through over 500 mentions of reusable coffee cups and travel mugs in the last year alone. Read on for our hand-picked recommendations of the top transporters of the good stuff…
1. Best value reusable coffee cup
The natural fibre of this bamboo coffee cup means the Ecoffee is not only BPA- and BPS-free but also doens't contain any phthalates (chemical compounds that arguably have some health and environmental risks), making it fully deserving of its eco-friendly credentials. The resealable 'no-drip' lid and the sleeve are made with matte, latex-free, food-grade silicone which is designed especially for hot liquids; hence no unpleasant plastic aftertaste. What's more, the Ecoffee cup comes in a wide range of lovely patterns – from bright geometric numbers to William Morris florals.
“Another vote for the Ecoffee cup. Light, easy to clean and very pretty. DH and I have one each plus a spare. Fine to shove in your bag as long as it is dry.”
“Very light and definitely better than metal or plastic for how the coffee tastes.”
“I have an Ecoffee cup, which is my favourite thing ever! Mine is a really pretty one from William Morris Gallery in London but you can get them elsewhere. Just watch the little thing at the top that seals the holes, I lost mine early on.”
Related: If you love cooking as much as you love coffee, see our best kitchen knives here.
2. Best reusable coffee cup under £20
KeepCup 12oz Medium Glass Brew Reusable Coffee Cup
KeepCups are the original barista-standard reusable cup. A durable glass coffee cup, it's also made with non-toxic plastic which is free of both BPA and BPS (chemical compounds commonly used to make plastics, which could have long-term health effects). The KeepCup is easy to clean – just put it on the top shelf of the dishwasher – and, with the lid off, the cup can be heated to 110°C. The range also has a wide array of colours and styles which you can mix and match. And, when your cup eventually does wear out, the cup, lid and lid plug are all recyclable.
“KeepCups are great. I have a glass one. You can mix and match the different components to be as bright or as understated as you like. I've had mine a year now – it's dishwasher-safe and it doesn't leak.”
“You can also buy replacement seals etc, instead of replacing the whole cup should you need to. So good value and less wasteful too.”
Microwave-safe: Y (although there are some components KeepCup does not recommend you put in the microwave, eg the lid)
3. Best collapsible coffee cup
Stojo On The Go
The main selling point of the Stojo is that it's collapsible and can be transformed into a leakproof disk -perfect for stashing in your bag. It's made from food-grade material which is also glue-free, and the seamless, take-apart design makes for very easy cleaning. For price and practicality, Stojo simply can't be beat. They look pretty cute too.
“I've got a Stojo collapsible one and it's brilliant. It's definitely small enough to fit into a handbag. I was a bit dubious because it's so squishy, but it works perfectly.”
“I have a cool collapsible cup that will surely last a lifetime. I'll bequeath it to my daughter when I die.”
Related: Ensure that the contents of your cup are to barista standards with the best coffee pod machines on the market, as chosen by Mumsnetters.
4. Best leakproof travel mug
Contigo West Loop Autoseal Mug
Contigo is well-known for its reusable products – indeed Mumsnetters also rave about the brand's water bottle. While the West Loop is on the pricier end of the travel coffee mug scale, this is the only one that boasts a complete lack of leaking potential. It features the one-touch Autoseal lid that (surprise, surprise) automatically seals between sips to prevent spills. And, if that wasn't enough, the lid-lock button prevents the Autoseal button from accidentally being pushed, releasing your hot drink, while on-the-go. Contigo claims that the double-wall vacuum-insulated mug can keep drinks hot for up to four hours or cold for up to 12 hours – and Mumsnet users have confirmed this. The mug also fits in most car cupholders, so if you need to stay awake on long drives, this one is definitely for you.
“I've got a Contigo, as recommended by Mumsnet. It's fantastic – leakproof, stays warm for hours and the Autoseal function means you just have to press and release a button when you drink.”
“Another vote for the Contigo Autoseal. It's sealed until you press the button which moves a lever to open the drinking hole. It's amazing (and because its default is closed, not open, it might also be allowed in a computer lab).”
5. Most sustainable coffee cup
If this is your first reusable coffee cup and you've got eco-guilt about all that time that you weren't using one, perhaps the rCup will provide some comfort. That's because it's actually made from used paper cups. The whole lid unscrews, unlike other models where the small drinking hole plus white shirt can equal disaster (just us?). In addition to that, while the cup keeps your drink hot, you can pick it up without burning your hand. It's also very easy to open – even possible with one hand while you're on the go, the manufacturers claim. They also boast a lifetime of 10+ years. David Attenborough would be proud.
“It's light and not bulky, doesn't leak, easy to clean, keeps warm for an hour or so, you can sip all the way around, and it's made from 40% recycled plastic.”
Related: Attempting to live a more eco-friendly life? Here's how to go plastic-free this year
6. Best spillproof travel mug
The MightyMug Go is more than just a travel mug – it's an absolute office staple. The creators claim it is impossible to knock over, due to some very nifty technology in the base. One Mumsnetter claims it even doubles as a fun game, actually trying to knock it over. Just in case you were wondering how you'll actually be able to pick it up, the 'Smartgrip' base only releases its grip from a surface if you lift it straight upwards, holding it above the wavy line. Genius. So if you find yourself forever mopping up desktop spills
like us, the MightyMug could be your saviour. HR requests for another new keyboard, be gone.
“A colleague has one and it's brilliant!”
Related: Drinks sorted, how about on-the-go food? Look no further for the best tupperware for you and your family.
7. Best stainless steel cup
Klean Kanteen Unisex Outdoor Insulated Tumbler Cup
If you're after a stainless steel option, the Klean Kanteen could be the one. It retains heat (or lack thereof if you're after a cold beverage) for hours, as well as flavour – the food-safe steel its made of is free of any metallic taste. Indeed, one Mumsnet user says that it keeps drinks so hot that you have to watch out for a burnt mouth, even hours after preparing. It comes with a simple press-fit lid which isn't fully leakproof so, if that's your number one requirement, you'd probably be best off with one of the other models. It also looks super slick.
“I have a wide-neck insulated Kleen Kanteen. Never had a funny taste and keeps things warm for hours and hours. It keeps ice lollies frozen for a good four hours for days out with the children. The cafe cap is good, I find it easy to clean and put back together after a few practices. I personally wouldn't chuck it in my bag, it takes a lot of knocking around but the lid can shift enough to leak and the instructions say not to. I use the loop cap if I need to do that.”
Related: Check out our pick of the best espresso coffee machines to buy.
8. Best travel cafetière-mug combo
Bodum Travel French Press Coffee Maker Set
Don't have time to even wait for your brew to erm, brew, in the morning? The Bodum Travel French Press mug is the answer. A vacuum-sealed, double-walled stainless steel travel mug with a french press top (which can be replaced with a normal lid when it's ready). Any strange looks on your commute will soon turn to total cup-envy when you're sipping on freshly-brewed coffee and they're, well, not.
“Bodum travel cups, from Amazon or John Lewis (as well as other places I assume) – they're the bee's knees. I use mine every day. You can also get a plunger top so you can make ground coffee in it like a mini cafetière.”
Related: Our pick of the best milk frothers to elevate your morning coffee.
Why you should trust us
Mumsnet has been helping parents make their lives easier since 2000 and, in those years, we’ve seen, tried and reviewed thousands of products.
We work hard to provide honest and independent advice you can trust and we spend hours scouring the Mumsnet forums and online bestseller lists to find products that real parents rate.
Transparency is really important to us and that's why we're always upfront about where we find our recommendations. We write about products that we feel offer the best value to most parents – the ones that our users would recommend to their own friends and family.
If you decided to buy something that we recommended as a result of our research, we usually (not always) get paid affiliate commission from the retailer where you make a purchase. But, if you weren't impressed with the product and decided to return it, we wouldn't make a penny.
Prices correct at time of publication.