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Best reusable coffee cups and travel mugs for 2018

By Tom Morgan

We've tested a selection of reusable cups to see which ones are built to last, less likely to spill and easy to clean – and will keep your drink hot, too.

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If you enjoy a hot drink on the morning commute or on a weekend walk, investing in a reusable cup 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. We've tested popular options including reusable cups from Costa, Pret and Starbucks as well as the Contigo travel cup, KeepCup and the Stojo collapsible cup. 

In our quest to find the best cup for your tea or coffee, we've paid close attention to build quality, and also checked to see how easy the cups are to drink from and clean, too, so you don't give up and return to the disposable options within a few weeks.

Fancy making yourself a coffee at home? Head over to our coffee machine reviews to see models we recommend for a quick and easy espresso or latte.

Things to consider

Reusable coffee cups start from as little as £1 and go up to around £30 for more premium, heavy-duty or insulated options. If you just want a reusable cup for your commute, you shouldn't need to spend more than around £15. Pricier cups are likely to be made of steel and have double-wall insulation for better heat retention.

Most mugs come in either a medium 350ml size, or a larger 470ml option. For a daily coffee, 350ml is a good option and should be easier to hold.

Best reusable coffee cups

These are like a non-throwaway version of your classic takeaway coffee cup. Some have spill-proof lids, making them more versatile, but on the whole they are meant for transporting coffee short distances, such as from the coffee shop to work. For sturdier, insulated options, check our travel mug reviews

We rated each cup on how easy it was to drink from and clean, and how well it retained heat and prevented spills. We also assessed how easy it was to grip, and how slip-proof it was if you set it down on a smooth surface. The best cups we tested aced these tough tests, while the worst scorers were let down by cheap-feeling materials and flimsy lids.

Only logged-in members can view our recommendations in the table below. If you're not yet a member, sign up to Which? today for instant access to this and all our reviews.

Caffe Nero KeepCup (£11/£12) Dishwasher safe? Cleaning Build quality Overall score

 Cafe Nero Cup

340ml/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. 

KeepCup Brew - Cork Edition (£19/£20/£21) Dishwasher safe? Cleaning Build quality Overall score

 KeepCup cup

227ml /340ml/454ml 

The KeepCup is made from recyclable materials and 'durable, toughened glass'. In our tests, we checked to see how well it retains heat and how easy it is to clean.

Make sure the KeepCup is worth your hard-earned cash – log in now or join Which? today. 

Pret A Manger Cup (£10) Dishwasher safe? Cleaning Build quality Overall score

 Pret A Manger Cup

355ml

Pret launched its own branded version of the eCoffee bamboo cup in summer 2018, and if you take one in store, you'll get a 50p discount on your drink order.

Find out how this cup compares with a Starbucks cup – log in now or join Which? today. 

rCup (£12) Dishwasher safe? Cleaning Build quality Overall score

 rCup cup

340ml

This reusable coffee cup is made from recycled materials. A push-down lid aims to prevent spills while you're on the move, but does it do a good job?

Find out how the rCup fared in our tests– log in now or join Which? today. 

Starbucks Reusable Cup (£1) Dishwasher safe? Cleaning Build quality Overall score

 Starbucks cup

473ml (grande)

The low price of Starbucks' reusable cup makes it a tempting offer, but are you better off spending more elsewhere?

Read our thoughts on this cheap cup – log in now or join Which? today. 

Stojo Collapsible Coffee Cup (£10/£19) Dishwasher safe? Cleaning Build quality Overall score

 Stojo cup

340ml/454ml

A unique collapsible design means this reusable cup stands out from the crowd, but will it keep your drink warm?

To see how this cup compares with similarly priced alternatives – log in now or join Which? today. 

Waitrose Coffee Cup (£3) Dishwasher safe  Cleaning Build quality Overall test score

 Waitrose cup

355ml

This affordable cup from Waitrose is nice to look at, but can you trust it to keep your drink warm on a chilly morning?

To see how this reusable coffee cup scores, log in now or join Which? today. 

Last updated October 2018.

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Best travel mugs 

A reusable coffee cup is a good fit for a short commute, but travel mugs are made of sturdier stuff. You should be able to chuck them in your bag without any worries about leaking, so they're a better option if you have further to go or want a hands-free commute. 

To see which travel mugs pair a sturdy, secure design with excellent heat retention, see our comparison table below for our top picks. Only logged-in Which? members can access the results. Not yet a member? Sign up to Which? today.

Bodum Vacuum Travel Mug (£18) Dishwasher safe? Cleaning Build quality Overall score

 Bodum Travel mug

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.

Contigo West Loop Autoseal Travel Mug (£22) Dishwasher safe? Cleaning Build quality Overall score

 Contigo travel mug

470ml

Contigo says that its travel mug is the ideal companion for commuters, but does the push-to-drink mechanism make it a pain to clean?

Find out how we rated this mug – log in now or join Which? today.

Costa Stainless Steel Travel Mug (£22) Dishwasher safe? Cleaning Build quality Overall score

 Costa travel mug

450ml

This is one of the priciest options on our list, arriving with a thermal double wall.

Find out how we rated this Costa mug – log in now or join Which? today.

Eva Solo 'To Go' Flask (£30) Dishwasher safe? Cleaning Build quality Overall score

 Eva Travel mug

350ml

We look the metallic look of this travel mug, but were our team of testers impressed by the build quality?

To see if the Eva Solo Flask scores well for heat retention, log in now or join Which? today.

Lakeland Insulated Coffee Cup (£13) Dishwasher safe? Cleaning Build quality Overall score

 Lakeland travel mug

350ml

61%

This insulated travel features a double-walled design and a press-down lock.

Find out how we rated this budget travel mug – log in or join Which? today.

Nespresso Touch Travel Mug (£18) Dishwasher safe? Cleaning Build quality Overall score

 Nespresso Touch travel mug

345ml

The sleek Nespresso Touch Travel Mug looks great up close, but will you dread cleaning it when you're back at home?

Find out how we rated this stylish Nespresso mug – log in now or join Which? today.

Tefal Travel Mug (£20/£25) Dishwasher safe? Cleaning Build quality Overall score

 Tefal travel mug 2

360ml/500ml

This travel mug has a soft-touch silicone sleeve that makes it grippy. It's described as '100% leakproof', but do our tests agree?

Find out how we rated this mug – log in now or join Which? today.

Thermos Stainless Steel King Travel Mug (£19) Dishwasher safe? Cleaning Build quality Overall score

 Thermos travel mug

470ml

Thermos is a big name in the world of travel mugs, so does this mug deserve a spot in your backpack if you're travelling?

Find out how we rated this mug – log in now or join Which? today.

Table last updated October 2018.

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How we tested reusable coffee cups and travel mugs

We set out to uncover the reusable cups and mugs that can effectively retain heat and stop any unfortunate spills. 

For each coffee cup and travel mug we tested, we paid close attention to:

  • Heat retention: We placed water at 85°C into each cup and measured the rate of temperature loss over an hour.
  • Spillage: Each cup was filled with liquid and spun around a number of times to simulate the movement of carrying them around during the day.
  • Ease of use: We 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 if they stayed put when placed on a smooth surface.

We split up reusable cups and travel mugs as we had different expectations of how spill-proof reusable cups should be. On the whole, they were less leakproof than the travel mugs, although some exceeded expectations and could be comfortably stashed in your bag if needed.

We found that while the best travel mugs offered a better rate of heat retention, most reusable cups weren't actually too bad on this front. Most will keep your drink acceptably warm for up to an hour.

If you're looking for a long-lasting solution, the travel mugs generally scored better for build quality, although the coffee cups tended to be easier to drink from.

Looking after your reusable cup or travel mug

We washed up many a reusable cup 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 in 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.

Replaceable parts

If you lose or damage part of your cup, some brands (including Caffe Nero) offer replacements that you can order online.

If you own a KeepCup, you can order a new lid (£2.50), plastic grip (£2), plug mechanism (£2) and more on its website.

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 get the right model for you, and how much you could save, see our full coffee machine buying guide.

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