Your favorite travel mug is bad

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We can do better than America’s favorite coffee mug. A lot better. Despite the fact that it explodes in your face when you push its button and occasionally leaks in your handbag, the virtues of the Contigo are extolled on every “Best Travel Mugs” list—and we’re freaking tired of it.

A travel mug has only three basic requirements: It keeps your coffee warm, it doesn’t leak, and you can drink from it on the go. And yet Americans consistently turn to a travel mug that is average, at best, at all of these things. This would make sense if we lived in a world without the Zojirushi travel mug.

Where other mugs keep their beverages warm till about noon, the Zojirushi keeps drinks warm all day long. In fact, it might even keep your drink too hot. Expert users know to let piping hot beverages cool off a bit before sealing it in the mug. America’s “best-selling travel mug” will keep your coffee an ambiguous level of hot for seven, five, or four hours, depending on where you read the description. Zojirushi’s will maintain heat at 154 degrees Fahrenheit for six full hours and 187 degrees for one hour.

Travel mugs comparison
The choice is obvious. Photos courtesy of Amazon/Zojirushi/Contigo

And while that other mug’s button is easily pressed by your keys or wallet, unceremoniously dumping its contents into your bag, once you lock the lid on the Zojirushi you can literally throw it in your handbag or backpack and it won’t spill a drop.

Or god forbid you want to cozy up with a hot beverage on a cold day, some mugs will spurt your coffee at you from the built-up pressure. The Zojirushi will pop open with the same ease, sans scalding liquid in your face, for one-handed access whether you’re driving or walking.

Beyond the basics, two additional benefits of the Zojirushi make it the clear winner. It’s lightweight—9 ounces compared to 11.68. And it’s easy to clean because, unlike that other mug, it doesn’t have a weird valve that resists the efforts of even the most aggressive scrub brush.

So how much does this legendary mug cost? Is it some ridiculous price that you’ll have to justify to yourself and all your friends? No. It’s $4.50 more than that other one. And it’s available on Amazon Prime. And its logo is an adorable elephant.

It’s not that we hate the other mug—truthfully, it’s fine. It’s just not great, or amazing, or the kind of product you find yourself waxing enthusiastically about in company meetings. We, on the other hand, slightly frightened our Pop Sci co-workers with our Zojirushi-mania.