Stainless-steel travel mugs are recommended often by experts because they do the best job of keeping drinks hot or cold, and the Contigo AutoSeal Stainless Steel Travel Mug is a reviewer favorite. The mug is made with double-walled stainless steel that is vacuum insulated, and users say it keeps drinks hot for more than four hours. The Contigo AutoSeal Stainless Steel Travel Mug holds 16 ounces and fits in most car cup holders. Reviewers love that the BPA-free plastic lid automatically reseals when you're done drinking to prevent spills or leaks. However, this lid is very hard to clean, according to reviews. A number of users say they are disgusted by the residue that gets trapped under the lid, but others are willing to spend a little extra time cleaning it. The lid also has a unique drinking spout that doesn't have a lip; some say it's easy to burn your tongue. If you prefer something you can throw in the microwave or dishwasher, the plastic Aladdin Recycled and Recyclable Travel Mug (*Est. $9) is recommended and BPA-free, but it won't keep your coffee hot for very long.
The Contigo AutoSeal Stainless Steel Travel Mug is evaluated by a number of sources, including travel publications, blogs and user-review sites. The best review is at Men's Journal magazine, where editors put six travel mugs through various tests and rate each one. Good Housekeeping also includes the Contigo travel mug in a comparative test, but its analysis is brief. Helpful reviews are available at Automobile and Budget Travel magazines, in addition to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Amazon.com is the best spot for user reviews, which have the best information on the mug's drawbacks.
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1. Men's Journal
Among six travel mugs tested by Men's Journal, the Contigo AutoSeal Stainless Steel Travel Mug receives the highest rating of 9 out of 10. The mug kept coffee hot for four hours, and the leak-proof lid gets very high marks.
Review: Tested: Travel Mugs, Stan Horaczek, April 21, 2009
2. Good Housekeeping
The Contigo AutoSeal Stainless Steel Travel Mug is one of the top-rated travel mugs among 28 mugs tested by Good Housekeeping. Testers like the sipping mechanism, which they say is leak-proof, but they find the mug hard to clean due to its narrow shape.
Review: Best Travel Coffee (and Tea) Mugs, Editors of Good Housekeeping
In over 100 reviews at Amazon.com, the Contigo AutoSeal Stainless Steel Travel Mug gets above-average ratings of 4.5 stars out of 5. Most users praise the mug for being truly leak- and spill-proof, and they also love that it keeps drinks hot for hours. However, multiple reviewers say the lid is hard to clean and can retain a coffee taste.
Review: Contigo Double Wall Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Tumbler, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of Jan. 2010
4. Automobile Magazine
The editors of Automobile magazine pick the Contigo AutoSeal Stainless Steel Travel Mug as the best travel mug in this comparison test. Testers say the mug is easy to carry and doesn't leak, but they note that it is easy to burn your tongue on the auto-sealing lid.
Review: Coffee Mug Comparo, Editors of Automobile magazine, Sept. 2009
5. Budget Travel
Sean O'Neill carries the Contigo AutoSeal Stainless Steel Travel Mug upside down in his backpack for a week, throws it down a flight of stairs and drops it off his bicycle multiple times. Although the lid did come off during one of the bicycle drops, O'Neill gives it a thumbs-up, saying the mug "doesn't lose a drop."
Review: Indestructible, Eh? We'll See about That, Sean O'Neill, Sept. 2009
6. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
Jackie Loohauis-Bennett tests the Contigo AutoSeal Stainless Steel Travel Mug, saying it resists leaks and meets the manufacturer's claims for keeping drinks hot or cold. "It may well be the most leak-proof cup ever," she writes. "Not a drop was spilled in any of the tough-love slams we gave the mug."
Review: Testing 1, 2, 3: Contigo AutoSeal Travel Mug, Jackie Loohauis-Bennett, May 1, 2009
GreenThinkers.org, a blog about eco-friendly products, recommends the Contigo AutoSeal Stainless Steel Travel Mug. In fact, the anonymous reviewer calls it the site's "official" travel mug. No leaks or spills were reported while using the mug, and the Contigo mug held up to its claims of keeping drinks hot or cold for hours on end.
Review: BPA-Free: Contigo AutoSeal Travel Mug, "Nathan", Aug. 27, 2008
8. Shape magazine
Shape magazine recommends the Contigo AutoSeal mug for those "crazy, on-the-go days." Editors like that the travel mug can be throw in a bag or backpack without risk of leaks or spills.
Review: Go-Anywhere Travel Mugs, Editors of Shape magazine, May 1, 2009
The GoGreenTravelGreen blog highly recommends the Contigo AutoSeal Stainless Steel Travel Mug, saying it is leak-proof. Editors also appreciate that the plastic parts are BPA-free. However, this reviewer finds that the mug can retain coffee flavors if not rinsed thoroughly.
Review: Stainless Steel Travel Mug: Contigo Mug Review, "Elizabeth", Nov. 25, 2009
Contigo and the AutoSeal mug are featured in Consumerist.com's Above and Beyond section, which highlights excellent customer service. One reader reports a problem with a leaky mug, and he receives a prompt response from a product engineer and a replacement mug.
Review: Leaky Mug? Contigo's Senior Engineer Can Explain the Problem and Send You a Replacement, Carey Alexander, Aug. 7, 2007
11. Business Week
Business Week names the Contigo AutoSeal Stainless Steel Travel Mug one of the coolest products of the 21st century, saying its award-winning design is great for commuters on the go.
Review: 50 Coolest Products of the 21st Century, Editors of Business Week