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28 June 2021

Best reusable coffee cups and travel mugs for 2021

We've tested a selection of reusable cups and travel mugs to see which ones are built to last, less likely to spill and easy to clean – and will keep your drink hot, too.
Rebecca Marcus
Reusable cups advice main_v2 484294

If you enjoy a hot drink on the morning commute or on a weekend walk, investing in a reusable cup or travel mug can score you discounts on your drinks and also benefit the environment.

Reusable coffee cups and travel mugs are more popular than ever, and there's never been a better time to get one. With the environmental impact of single-use disposable cups in mind, a number of big-name coffee chains, including Costa Coffee, Pret and Starbucks, now offer discounts to customers who bring in their own cup.  

Below, we've rounded up the reusable coffee cups and travel mugs that will keep your favourite drink warm and prevent spills, as well as cutting down on waste.

Fancy making yourself a coffee at home? Find out the best coffee machines for quick and easy espressos and lattes.

Reusable cup or travel mug: which is right for you?

Reusable cup

Literally, a reusable version of a disposable takeaway cup. Prices range from £1 to around £30 - pricier models are usually insulated stainless steel. Most have a capacity of around 350ml - a regular-sized coffee. Usually not fully spill-proof - intended for transporting coffee short distances

Travel mugs

Prices range from £5 - £30. Typically available in either a regular 350ml size, or a larger 470ml option. Designed to be more leak-proof than reusable cups - good if you're travelling further or want a hands-free commute

Best reusable coffee cups

We've tested all the big brand coffee cups, from the Keepcup to Chilly's, rCup and Stojo. 

Only logged-in members can view which models came out on top in the table below. If you're not yet a member, sign up to Which? today for instant access to the best cups - and all our reviews.

NameDishwasher safe?CleaningBuild qualityOverall score
Bru-Reusable-Coffee-cup-Table
Bru Double Walled Reusable Coffee Cup (£17)
Stainless steel
340ml
Bru describes its reusable cup as ‘dark, bold, contemporary’. It’s certainly got style, but will it keep your coffee piping hot? Our review reveals all – log in now or join Which? today.
 
Cafe Nero Cup
Caffe Nero KeepCup (£13)
Plastic340ml/454ml
The KeepCup comes in two sizes, and the body, lid and plug can all be recycled. We got our hands on Caffe Nero's cup to see how sturdy it is.Uncover this cup's test score – log in now or join Which? today.
Chilly's-Reusable-Coffee-cup-Table
Chilly's Vacuum Insulated Travel Cup (£23)
Stainless steel
340ml
Chilly’s, known for its reusable water bottles, also offer reusable coffee cups in a range of colourful designs.
They’re pricier than many other reusable cups on the market, so check whether it’s worth investing in before you buy – log in now or join Which? today. 
Corkicle-Reusable-Coffee-cup-Table
Corkcicle Stainless Steel Turquoise Travel Cup (£20) 
Stainless steel
355ml

Best travel mugs

To see which travel mugs pair a sturdy, secure design with excellent heat retention, see our comparison table below for our top picks. We've tested travel mugs from Thermos, S'well, Tefal and Bodum, as well as a cheap own-brand option from Wilko. 

Only logged-in Which? members can access the results. Not yet a member? Join Which? to get instant access to all our test scores and reviews.


Dishwasher safe?CleaningBuild qualityOverall score
Aladdin-Reusable-Travel-Coffee-cup-Table
Aladdin Leak-Seal Travel Mug (£18)
100% recycled BPA-free plastic
350ml
It’s not just the colour that’s green with this travel mug – Aladdin says its eco-friendly mug is made from 100% recycled and recyclable material.
See how it scores on heat retention, leakage and more in our review – log in now or join Which? today.
 
Bodum Travel mug
Bodum Vacuum Travel Mug (£11)
Stainless steel/plastic
350ml
Dubbed the perfect mug for an 'on-the-go lifestyle', this travel mug comes in several vibrant colours.
Find out how we rated this mug – log in now or join Which? today.
Camelbak-Reusable-Travel-Coffee-cup-Table
CamelBak Forge Travel Mug (£22)Stainless steel/BPA-free plastic
340ml
CamelBak says it has ‘reinvented the travel mug’, offering a self-sealing cap that enables you to drink one-handed.
Discover whether this unique mug could be your ideal on-the-go drinking vessel – log in now or join Which? today.
 
Contigo travel mug
Contigo West Loop Autoseal Travel Mug (£23)
Stainless steel/silicone
470ml

How we tested reusable coffee cups and travel mugs

We rated each cup on how easy it was to drink from and clean, and how well it retained heat and prevented spills or leaks. 

Our in-house scientists tested the mugs for heat retention and spillage, but we also got a panel of testers to try out each mug, assessing how easy they were to use and drink from, how touch-comfortable they are to carry when filled with hot water and how easy it is to remove the lid. 

We also rated how easy they are to clean and grip, and how slip-proof they are when placed on a smooth surface.

Looking after your reusable cup or travel mug

We washed up many reusable cups in our quest to find the best. Here are some top tips (learned the hard way) on how to keep your mug squeaky clean, and what to do if it breaks.

Cleaning

While some coffee cups and travel mugs can be popped into the dishwasher (usually top-shelf only), others need to be washed by hand. Check the packaging that came with your cup or head to the brand's website for detailed instructions.

If you want to give your travel mug a thorough clean, remember the following:

  • Rinse out after each use An obvious tip, but an important one. If you rinse out your travel mug with water after each use, you won't have to deal with stains on the inside of the mug. Cleaning the mug regularly also prevents odours.
  • Baking soda and vinegar Pair baking soda with white vinegar to effectively clean the inside of your travel mug. Wait for the reaction to finish, rinse out the cup and repeat if necessary.
  • Pay attention to the lock If your travel mug has a complex lock mechanism to prevent spills, make sure you clean it thoroughly. Dirt can build up around the lid over time in tough-to-reach areas.
  • Dry it with the lid off As most travel mugs are leakproof, leaving them to dry with the lid on will likely trap humidity and odours inside.

If the lid has fiddly parts, you could invest in a small round cleaning brush for getting into the nooks and crannies. You could also buy some cheap sterilising tablets or a little baking soda, and sterilise the lid once a week by adding the tablets to water and leaving it to soak for a short while.

Replaceable parts

If you lose or damage part of your cup, such as the lid or seal, many brands offer replacements you can order online, including Bru, Chilly's, Keepcup, Stojo, rCup, Thermos, Bodum and Contigo. Check the manufacturer website for information.

Coffee shop discounts available with your reusable cup

Switching to a reusable cup doesn’t only benefit the environment; it can save you money too. 

Many high street coffee shops offer money off or reward stamps if you bring in a reusable cup, which can add up to big savings over time. The most generous discounts could save you more than £100 a year if you're a regular coffee drinker.

Below, you can see the discounts offered by popular coffee shops and the potential saving you could make over a year:

CafeDiscount per visitDiscount over a year*
Pret50p£130
Patisserie Valerie50p£130
Paul50p£130
Starbucks25p£65
Costa25p£65
M&S cafe25p£65
Greggs20p£52

*Based on five visits a week. Accurate as of October 2019.

Want to save even more on your coffee habit? Consider buying a coffee machine and making your own brew at home. 

To find out how to choose the right model for you, see our full coffee machine buying guide.

Costa cup: the travel mug you can pay with

Costa’s Clever Cup is a unique travel mug that can be used for contactless payments. The cup costs £15 and is available from Costa coffee stores across the UK. The cup’s removable base has space for a chip that you register to the Barclaycard bPay app and top up like a prepaid account. You can then use it instead of a card or phone to make contactless payments of up to £30.

We tried it out as a contactless payment method in a coffee shop and tested it during a commute, to see how it would fare with contactless payment ticket barriers. Watch our video report to see how we got on.

Costa has also launched its own branded version of the rCup, made from recycled disposable Costa cups.