This post has been most recently updated as of June 28, 2018.
If you read the following post you’ll see that I’ve always been a big believer in the Thermos Stainless King for maximum thermal retention but I decided to do a proper scientific test and test the effectiveness of the mug against all the mugs main competitors.
You can see the video I made for this test below.
Since I made that video the Yeti Rambler has been a new comer to the market. It is an obvious competitor to Thermos and although it’s not in the video I think it’s worth looking closely at. It does have really excellent thermal retention but it is also roughly twice the price of the Stainless King. For me that’s a deal breaker but for you maybe not.
From here on is the original post in it’s entirety.
One of the biggest gripes I have about thermal mugs, be they travel tumblers, desk mugs, or whatever is that they don’t all keep your coffee hot for all that long.
I like sipping my coffee slowly. It keeps the volume of coffee I drink a bit lower and it means I have to go pee a little less frequently after having my morning Joe. When my coffee cup or cheap thermal mug doesn’t retain heat up to my standard then I either end up drinking my coffee way to fast or letting a lot of it go to waste once it get’s to cold for my liking.
Enter The Stainless King Travel Mug by Thermos
I actually bought this mug for my wife 2 1/2 years ago for Christmas. She was going to school and she always took he tea with her in a mug. I wanted to find her a good mug that would leak on her and so I bought her this one.
Truth be told this mug is pretty amazing for keeping drips and spills at bay but having used it for a solid 30 months now I can say it’s number on selling point is it’s aesthetic look (cool and sleek) and it’s ability to keep coffee (or tea) extremely hot for a ridiculous amount of time.
Back when we got this mug my wife actually forgot her morning tea on the counter in this mug. It was sealed and the next morning she picked the mug up to make a new batch for herself and found the day old tea inside still warm! That’s insane if you ask me.
We use the Stainless King every day basically for 30 months straight. It’s held up well but showing some slight wear on the outside. Not much but a little. It still keeps our coffee and tea hotter longer than we need and it still never leaks on us.
Since we got the mug I’ve done more research on it and it appears that even in published expectations prepared by manufactures the Stainless King really is the mug that is supposed to keep coffee hot longer than any other and in my experience it really does.
Of course there are some worthy contenders which are amazing mugs in their own right.
Contigo for instance makes arguably one of the most popular mugs out there. The Contigo Auto-seal also keeps coffee piping hot for the better part of a day if left sealed and it’s main selling point beyond that is it’s ability to stop spills and splashes. With the Stainless King you have to manually close the lid to stop spills or splashes but with Contigo it seals automatically.
I personally don’t care for that because i means I have to manually open the lid every time I want to take a sip. To each his own I guess.
Here are a few other top of the line travel coffee mugs that keep drinks hot for hours upon hours.
Caveat: Some of the following mugs I have not tried myself.
Also, see our travel mug store for different types of insulated containers.
Travel Mug Comparison of Heat Retention
I wanted to do a small follow-up post here to my post from earlier in the year (way back in the summer of 2013): The Best Travel Mug To Keep Coffee Hot.
In this post I’m introducing a video comparison I put together on some of the best selling travel coffee mugs.
Originally in that earlier post I pretty much said that the Thermos Stainless King travel mug was the best travel coffee mug for keeping coffee hot all day long. What I didn’t provide in that initial post was the proof.
I went off my own experience using the mug having not actually tested it side-by-side with other top alternatives.
In this comparison I decided to actually test out the other mugs against the Stainless King and compare the various features that most people find important in an insulated tumbler.
How Long Do the Mugs Keep Coffee Hot?
Because heat retention is such an important feature in a vacuum insulated mug I wanted to follow that post up with a test to prove that the Stainless King is indeed the best travel mug of it’s kind as of my original writing back in 2013.
You’ll see in the video embedded below (filmed in the Fall of 2013) that I pitted the Contigo Autoseal, The Oxo Good Grips, and the Trudeau Umbria desk mug against the Thermos Stainless King to see which one could keep boiling water hot the longest.
In the test I poured boiling hot water into the mugs and then sealed them all for about 8 hours and 15 minutes. I then opened them up and tested the temperatures with a meat thermometer.
The Thermos mug won by a land slide and the funny thing was that the Thermos mug I used in the test was almost 3 years old compared to the other mugs ranging in age from a few months to brand new.
Here’s the actual video comparison I keep talking about:
Since that time in 2013 there have been a number of excellent travel mugs that have hit the market, some of which are really expensive too like the Zojirushi Stainless Steel Mug, the YETI Rambler, and Hydro Flask mugs just to name a few.
This comparison deserves an update to see if the Stainless King still holds the heat in the best.
Which Of The Mugs Are The Most Durable?
In the near future I’ll be picking up some of the newer vacuum insulated travel mugs that have achieved top ratings by actual customers and I will re-do this experiment to see if any other mug can contend with “The King”.
Thermos’s mug is somewhat expensive but it’s still cheaper than many of the newest brands to hit the market so this will be an interesting experiment to say the least.
For years now I’ve featured the Thermos mug prominently on this site as the best travel coffee mug hands down so hopefully this test helps confirm that with you.
I’ll even have to pick up a new Stainless King for this experiment too because I totally lost my old mug a couple of years back.
And for those that didn’t watch the video note that after eight hours and fifteen minutes boiling water sealed in the Thermos mug still measured at 134 degrees, a temperature I would still consider to be a good coffee drinking temp.
I’d love to see some mug out there beat that mark but at the same time I’ve come to realize that extreme insulation isn’t something I value as much these days.
When I make coffee I want to drink it not sit around holding it for the better part of the day.
When I update this comparison video later this year (2019) I’ll be looking at other important features like whether the mug is spill or leak proof, whether the mug is easy to use one-handed, and whether the mug is durable or not.
There’s a time and place for extensive amounts of thermal insulation but on a day-to-day basis I find that a marriage between high-end features and convenience (usability) is more important to me.
I look forward to this project and hope you’ll check the video out when it goes live.
In the mean time check out this post on how moka pots work! You’ll love the coffee these things make, I promise. 🙂