21st July 2021
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.
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
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
We've tested all the big brand coffee cups, from the Keepcup to Chilly's, rCup and Stojo.
Bru Double Walled Reusable Coffee Cup (£17)
Chilly's Vacuum Insulated Travel Cup (£23)
Corkcicle Stainless Steel Turquoise Travel Cup (£20)
Sustainable bamboo fibre/silicone
Last updated November 2019.
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.
Aladdin Leak-Seal Travel Mug (£18)
100% recycled BPA-free plastic
CamelBak Forge Travel Mug (£22)Stainless steel/BPA-free plastic
S'ip by S'well Travel Mug (£25)
Stainless steel/silicone/BPA-free plastic
Thermos Direct Drink (£18)
Stainless steel/BPA-free plastic
Thermos Thermocafe Translucent Travel Mug (£10)
Stainless steel/BPA-free plastic420ml
Wilko Grey Travel Mug (£5)
Stainless steel/silicone/BPA-free plastic
Table last updated November 2019.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
Discount per visit
Discount over a year*
2x reward stamps
47 free drinks
*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.
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.
Costa has also launched its own branded version of the rCup, made from recycled disposable Costa cups.