travel mugs will withstand hard knocks better than plastic mugs, but they'll be
Double-walled construction. Double-walled mugs help
keep your drinks hot or cold.
Leak-proof seals. A travel mug should
be easy to drink from without fear of dribbles or spills -- be sure the mug
offers a tight seal, and don't overfill it.
An easy-to-clean design. Many
travel mugs aren't dishwasher-safe, so look for wide openings and
easy-to-disassemble lids, without lots of nooks and crannies, that will be
easiest to wash thoroughly.
before you go
Will you use your mug on the road? Car commuters need a mug they can use with one hand that fits in cup
holders -- keep in mind that this may rule out mugs with handles. Make sure the
lid doesn't obstruct your view. Temperature retention may not be quite as
important for relatively quick commutes, since drinks won't have as much time
to cool down (or warm up).
Do you want to reheat your mug in
the microwave? Plastic mugs win here, since stainless steel isn't
microwave-safe. The trade-off is that plastic won't keep drinks hot from the
get-go nearly as long as stainless steel. Also be sure to check all
instructions and labels -- some manufacturers of plastic mugs still recommend
against microwaving, depending on the type of plastic and seals used.
Are you picky about flavor? Stainless-steel mugs are less likely than plastic mugs to impart or
retain tastes, but keep in mind that many still have plastic lids. Also note
that coffee begins to lose its flavor fairly soon after it's brewed, making
travel mugs an iffy product for true coffee connoisseurs, according to experts at Tested.
Plan ahead for the best results. Many manufacturers recommend filling your travel mug
with hot or cold water about 10 minutes before adding your beverage to improve
the mug's insulation.
Closely follow cleaning
recommendations. If your mug's manufacturer doesn't recommend
dishwasher use, be sure to listen -- the heat could damage the mug's vacuum
seal. Also, use plain dish soap instead of abrasive cleaners.
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