Stainless steel travel mugs have become a status symbol in many offices. Metal mugs have become so popular, that they are often imprinted with the names of ball teams, luxury cars, or even cartoon characters so that users can enjoy a product linked to their favorite brands.

Still, many people balk at the higher price charged for metal mugs. While slightly more expensive than their plastic counterparts, these mugs generally offer much better benefits.

Everyone knows all mugs are not the same, but in fact most don’t know how widely different brands and models can vary in features and quality. The differences between plastic mugs and metal mugs is well-known, but less well-known are the differences that exist between different models of stainless steel mugs.

For instance, not all metal mugs are double walled for insulation. Even among those that are double walled, there are many different types of insulating materials used to fill the space between walls. Some mugs use a dead air space while others fill this area with foam or some other insulating material. The best travel mugs (metal or plastic) use a vacuum insulation system, which draws a vacuum in the space between inner and other shells much like insulated bottles do.

This double walled vacuum insulated construction can result in few or no condensation rings left on furniture when the mug is used to hold a cold beverage in a hot and humid climate. Anyone who has enjoyed a cold glass of lemonade on a hot day has noticed condensation on the outside of the glass. That condensation is what makes the glass wet on the outside. When you set a glass covered with condensation down on a table or other surface water will often run off and leave a ring where the glass was setting. A good vacuum insulation system will prevent the outer shell of the mug from getting cold enough to cause condensation even in the most humid environment. This can easily prevent condensation rings on furniture.

There are also a number of features that differ from mug to mug. One of these is the type of handle. Sometimes tumbler style mugs have no handles at all, which makes them very easy to stash in a coat pocket, purse, or briefcase. Other mugs have metal handles, or better yet polypropylene handles that are a little easier to hang on to.

When considering a tumbler style mug the type of lid is very important. If the intent is to carry the mug either full or partially empty in a purse or briefcase, then a tight seal both on the mug lid and the sipping port is crucial. Even when the mug is carried in a coat pocket or in your hand a tight fitting lid can prevent the risk of burns. Top end metal mugs often include special pushbutton closure systems and other locking mechanisms designed to be nearly 100% leak proof. All

There are also many different designs of mug that allow you to brew espresso coffee directly in the mug through a “French Press”design. These French Press travel mugs have a plunger system and a tight fitting screen that allows you to add espresso grind directly to the mug and make fresh espresso while commuting. Extending this concept further, other mugs have been designed to brew fresh tea from loose tea leaves right in the mug. Like the French Press mugs these tea brewing mugs make use of ultrafine screens that allow the leaves to steep in the hot water contained in the mug body but still be filtered from the tea when you drink it.

Yet other mugs are designed with small pockets in the lid that allow you to store a tea bag or a packet of sweetener. To reach these hidden treasures there is usually a small door that opens the hidden compartment.

It is quite easy to see that there are a wide number of options available in stainless steel travel mugs, and new choices seem to appear almost daily. With so many neat features it is easy to see why these mugs can be a bit more pricey than their plastic cousins.