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20 Dec 2019

Should you buy a Thermos travel mug?

We've tested three Thermos travel mugs, uncovering two Best Buys as well as one low-scoring mug that doesn't deserve a place in anyone's Christmas stocking
Three Thermos travel mugs lined up on a table

If a reusable travel mug is on someone's wish list this Christmas, you could be tempted to opt for a mug from popular brand Thermos.

As a well-established brand you might assume you can rely on Thermos for high-quality products, but our tests show that not all of its travel mugs are created equal.

We've tested three Thermos travel mugs: Thermos Stainless Steel King Travel Mug (£22),Thermos Direct Drink (£18) and Thermos Thermocafe Translucent Travel Mug (£10).

Two of them did brilliantly in our tests and are Best Buys, scoring 82% and 81%, respectively.

However, one failed to impress our testing experts, letting hot drinks cool far more rapidly than we'd have liked. It's our lowest-scoring travel mug of the 13 we've tested in total, with just 46%.

Make sure you don't end up gifting a dud by checking our travel mug reviews before you buy.

Thermos mugs on test

We've tested three Thermos mugs, ranging in price from £10 to £22. The best felt strong and sturdy, had excellent heat retention and a fully leakproof design.

The worst had poor build quality and didn't hold in heat well, so hot drinks quickly turned lukewarm.

Thermos Stainless Steel King Travel mug, £22

Thermos Stainless Steel King Travel Mug
  • 470ml capacity
  • Stainless steel/BPA-free plastic

This travel mug comes with a built-in teabag hook for on-the-go tea drinkers, and has a DrinkLock sealing lid to prevent liquid escaping. But at £22, it's more than double the price of the cheapest Thermos travel mug we've tested.

Find out whether it's worth paying more for in our travel mug reviews.

Thermos Direct Drink, £18

Thermos Direct Drink travel mug
  • 470ml capacity
  • Stainless steel

Thermos claims this travel mug, which comes with a push button release lid, is super light, leakproof and keeps drinks hot for 10 hours. We've analysed whether it lives up to claims.

Thermos Thermocafe Translucent Travel Mug, £10

Thermos Thermocafe Translucent Travel Mug

  • 420ml capacity
  • Stainless steel/BPA-free plastic

At just £10, this cheap Thermos seems like great value. It has double wall insulation that Thermos says will retain hot and cold temperatures, a slide lock lid and a useful carry handle.

Find out if it's a bargain worth snapping up in our reviews of the best and worst travel mugs.

What are the alternatives to a Thermos travel mug?

Woman drinking from a travel mug on the go

We've tested travel mugs from a wide range of brands including Bodum, Contigo and Nespresso and found some great options.

Our highest-scoring travel mug (which isn't from Thermos) got an impressive 85% in our tests.

Opting for another brand could also save you money - the cheapest travel mug we've tested costs just £5 from Wilko.

If you're carrying drinks on shorter distances, consider a reusable coffee cup instead of a travel mug. This is essentially a reusable version of a disposable takeaway cup, usually with a 350ml capacity (the size of a regular coffee).

Unlike travel mugs, they tend not to be fully spill-proof, though, so some liquid might escape if they're knocked.

Head to our reusable coffee cup reviews for our top picks.