Reusable coffee mug Finder: How to find the perfect reusable cup for your takeaway coffee

Learn the benefits of switching to a reusable coffee mug and which BYO cup suits your coffee drinking habits best.

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Best Reusable Coffee Mug

Best Rated Reusable Coffee Mug Brand: Thermos

Thermos is well known for producing high quality insulated food and beverage containers and its resusable coffee mugs are no exception. Top rated across the board, Thermos's reusable coffee mugs beat out the competition for heat retention, durability, ease of cleaning and value for money.

Quick facts about reusable coffee mugs

  • It's a great option for those who are environmentally conscious and often buy coffee on the go.
  • If you use a BYO reusable cup, you could save about 50 cents off your next coffee at a participating responsible cafe.
  • A reusable coffee cup could cost you from about $9 to $34 depending on brand, range and size.

What should I know about reusable coffee mugs?

With a reusable coffee cup, you could save money on your takeaway coffee while significantly reducing your environmental footprint. In contrast, most disposable coffee cups are non-recyclable and a huge strain on landfills, waterways and our environment in general. The production of a disposable plastic, paper or polystyrene cup itself requires an enormous amount of water and energy that gets wasted after its single use and contributes greatly to greenhouse gas emissions. According to a 2016 World Economic Forum report, only 5% of a single-use plastic cup's invested value remains after its one-time use.

There are a wide range of reusable BYO cups available to suit everyone from the occasional coffee drinker to the serious coffee aficionado. For more information on the most popular reusable coffee mugs out on the market, check out our guide to the best reusable coffee cups.

Types of reusable coffee mugs

Reusable coffee mugs can be categorised according to the material they're made of: glass, ceramic, plastic or stainless steel.

Material typeProsCons
Glass
  • No aftertaste/odours remaining
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Easy to clean
  • Good for hot or cold drinks
  • Doesn’t retain heat as well
  • Breaks easily
  • More prone to scalding risk
Ceramic
  • Microwave safe
  • Insulates better than glass
  • No aftertaste
  • Fragile
  • Can be heavy
  • May stain
Plastic
  • Retains heat well
  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Cheapest
  • Stains and retains odours
  • Can impact flavour of drink
  • Lid is more difficult to remove
  • Higher risk of BPA leaching
Stainless steel
  • Best for heat retention
  • Most durable
  • Easiest to clean
  • Not dishwasher safe
  • May produce metallic taste
  • Heavy

How to compare reusable coffee mugs

Before deciding which reusable coffee cup is right for you, consider the following key features:

Size

Do you usually order a small or large coffee? If your go-to coffee order is an espresso shot or piccolo, you won't need a BYO cup larger than 125ml whereas a regular flat white drinker will need one that's around 295ml. Meanwhile, those that like their coffee on the larger side or prefer cold brews or teas should opt for a cup size around 450ml.

Lifestyle

Is the reusable cup compatible with your day-to-day routines? Test out its weight, check how easy it is to remove the lid and see if you can comfortably hold it in one hand. Consider whether the mug can fit into your car's cup holder and if it's dishwasher and microwave safe if these features are also important to you.

Design

Ask yourself whether you like how the reusable cup looks and if you feel comfortable holding and sipping your favourite hot or cold drink in it. Some models may also be collapsible or tailored for carrying both hot and cold beverages, so it's best to consider the features you value to work out which range suits your coffee drinking needs.

Leak and spill proof

Not all reusable coffee cup lids are leak and spill proof. Some designs may automatically lock the lid and cover the cup sipper, whereas others will require you to carefully secure the lid to prevent spills. You may want to test out how leak and spill proof your chosen reusable cup is before making your purchase.

Insulation

If you want your BYO coffee cup to keep in heat for as long as possible, your best bet is getting a double-walled, stainless steel reusable cup. Alternatively, consider a reusable cup made from plastic, which also retains heat well.

Replacement parts

Some reusable coffee cup brands will also sell replacement parts including bands, lids and plugs separately, so you don't have to buy a whole new cup every time a part gets damaged or goes missing.

How energy efficient are reusable coffee mugs?

The number of times you'll need to use your reusable cup to "break even" and make it a more energy-efficient investment than purely relying on disposable coffee cups depends on the type of reusable cup you invest in.

Below is a brief guide to how many times you need to use your reusable cup for it to be as energy efficient as producing a disposable paper cup. The following figures are extracted from a University of Victoria study on this "break even" matrix:

Cup TypeNumber of uses to break even
Glass15
Plastic17
Ceramic39

Five ways to be an eco-friendly coffee drinker

Here are five easy ways you can reduce your environmental footprint while still enjoying your cup of coffee:

  1. Sit down and order your coffee in.
  2. Bring your own reusable coffee cup.
  3. Use a disposable coffee cup without the lid.
  4. Throw your disposable cup in the waste bin, not the recyclable one.
  5. Only use cups from renewable resources such as managed plantation paperboard.

Best rated Reusable Coffee Mug award breakdown

Overall rating Value for money Durability Ease of cleaning Heat retention
Avanti 4.20 3.96 4.24 4.36 4.24
Frank Green 4.15 3.88 4.09 4.06 4.06
KeepCup 4.41 4.10 4.45 4.39 4.12
Kmart 4.08 4.48 3.98 4.22 4.12
Sistema 4.20 4.14 4.31 4.33 4.08
Sttoke 4.15 4.15 4.31 4.08 4.08
Thermos 4.63 4.53 4.71 4.53 4.67
Other 4.36 4.19 4.33 4.40 4.19
Data: Finder Retail Brand Survey, 2020, Kantar. Metric out of 5 stars unless indicated. Methodology and more info. Kantar logo

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