Published on August 20, 2021

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Hardworking drinkware is a worthy investment, but finding the best coffee mug these days requires more than answering the question of what gets you going in the morning. Do you want fun handles that make you smile while savoring your favorite beverage? The easiest way to knock back a latte while dashing out the door? A sleek, minimal design or something with the warmth and weight of stoneware?

Casey Simring, the buyer for table- and barware at Food52, has tested dozens and dozens of mugs, so much so that her personal collection has spilled over from her kitchen to a box beneath her bed. “It really has to have the right hand feel, capacity, and shape for your personal habit,” says Simring of the ideal mug. “I really enjoy having the maker’s hand as part of my morning routine.” 

As a mood ring for your morning and a steady work-from-home companion, there’s good reason to swap out that chipped mug from a 5K you didn’t even run for something that does double duty: looking good and making your caffeine consumption more pleasurable. Here are our 11 favorites.

A Few Things to Keep in Mind

Ritual: Consider both the practical aspects of your routine and that hard-to-articulate reason you’re drawn to one mug over another. Potter Helen Levi designed her Daily Mug using skill and intuition, only to subsequently realize it’s the exact size as her childhood favorite mug

Size: Eight to 12 ounces is considered the standard size for a coffee mug, with larger sizes used more commonly for lattes, teas, and iced beverages. Levi’s Traditional Mug (8 ounces) is beloved by “coffee people,” she says; she drinks tea with milk out of the Daily Mug (14 ounces); and the Mega Mug (“24 friggin’ ounces!”) was designed to accommodate her husband’s iced coffee habit. 

Material: Porcelain is thin and light, while stoneware has heft to it. A matte glaze or unglazed surface chips more easily. Enamel is superdurable but absolutely cannot go in the microwave, so chronic reheaters should consider another material. Glass is particularly appealing for teas, allowing rich hues to show through. But unless the mug is double-walled, it can get very hot with a fresh cup or sweat with a cold beverage. Be sure to review dish-washing and microwave instructions before purchasing to make sure any mug you buy aligns with your preferences. 

Our Top Picks

Best Porcelain: Dansk Kobenstyle Porcelain Mug 

As an homage to its iconic Kobenstyle cookware collectionwhose casserole dish you may recognizeDanish design studio Dansk introduced matching porcelain dinnerware. This set of four 12-ounce mugs can be the starting point of a larger collection of Dansk goods, but they work just as well on their own. The mid-century handle doesn’t lean into kitschy territory, and while the design dates back decades, these mugs are dishwasher- and microwave-safe for daily use in the 21st century.

Best Handle: Lolly Lolly Mug

In 2019, Lalese Stamps started a #100DayChallenge, making 100 mugs in 100 days, each one with a different handle. It was an exercise in creativity, and she found handle inspiration all over the place, from fences to kitchen utensils to doorknobs. Choice designs are available via her studio, Lolly Lolly Ceramics, including this one from Day 12. Handmade in black stoneware with a glazed interior, the 14-ounce mug is a functional piece of art. As such, it needs to be handwashed and air-dried. Lolly Lolly goods go fast, so sign up for email alerts on product pages and keep tabs on the studio’s Instagram account for restock dates.

Best Memphis Inspired: Recreation Center Blue Doodle Mug

Guaranteed to make you smile in the morning, this mug features a rubber-dipped handle and a speckled glazing on the interior. It’s a low-commitment way to bring the Memphis trend into your home. The studio recommends handwashing, and this mug can’t go in the microwave. 

Best Enamel: Bornn Multi Swirl Mug

Bornn was founded by two sisters from Istanbul who grew up in Tokyo, Barcelona, and Los Angeles, so it’s no surprise that they’d produce enamelware meant to move. Toss this one in a tote for a picnic or bring it on a camping trip without stressing about breakage. It’s dishwasher-, stovetop-, and oven-safe, but enamelware can’t go in the microwave.

Best Double-Wall Mug: Poketo Double-Wall Mug

This mug is made from borosilicate glass, which is stronger than standard glass and resistant to thermal shock. The double wall adds insulation and makes it look as if your drink is floating. Simring points out that with double-wall glass, a cold beverage won’t sweat and you can enjoy a hot beverage without the intense heat conduction of a single-wall glass mug. It’s dishwasher-safe and perfect for those who like a small pour.

Best On-the-Go: Fellow Carter Everywhere Mug 

Because it fits most standard manual coffee brewers, this mug makes getting out of the house easier. Then you can use your commute to daydream about what you’ll do with all the money saved from avoiding overpriced cups of coffee. Fellow has swapped out that standard tiny hole for sipping (and burning your tongue) with what it calls a “mug-inspired mouth.” And instead of the usual stainless steel interior, there’s a ceramic one that claims to “keep your brew free of odors, oils, and ‘old penny’ tasting notes.” It retains heat for 12 hours and a chill for 24, and comes in two sizes.

Best Value: Cast Reactive Glaze White Mug

With a nice weight and a narrow half-moon handle, this mug is miles away from a generic white number. Each one is slightly different, so a set would look good together while playing up the uniqueness of each vessel’s glazing. It’s dishwasher- and microwave-safe.

Best Statement Piece: Luxe Eros Confetti Mug

Carefully crafted from start to finish in Los Angeles, this mug has a sunny disposition and a colorful confetti motif that will dispel that woke-up-on-the-wrong-side-of-the-bed feeling. “A mug is a perfect way to engage with handmade ceramics,” says Simring. “You can buy just one and support your local ceramics studios or start building a collection.” It’s dishwasher- and microwave-safe, but handwashing is recommended. 

Best Stackable: Kinto Stackable Japanese Mug

This set, made in Japan, offers a space-saving storage solution for those tight on cabinet real estate. The soft geometric lines and minimalist design serve as a nice counterpoint to a stressful morning and miles-long to-do list.

Best Oversize: Helen Levi Snow Drift Giant Mug

This 16-ounce mug is made of stoneware and features an abstract pattern clad in a textured white glaze. There’s a beautiful balance between the muted color palette and the dimensionality of the glazing. It’s dishwasher- and microwave-safe, but Levi recommends handwashing. It’s also available in an 8-ounce size.

Best Warming: Ember Smart Mug 2 

Say goodbye to cold cups of coffee. With a quick tap on the Ember app, yours will stay at the perfect temperature for satisfying sips no matter how long you nurse a cup. The battery will last for 80 minutes, but if you keep the charging station on your desk and treat it as a coaster, you’ll have hot coffee all day. You can control the temperature with your smartphone, but it’s also usable without the app, defaulting to your most recent setting. A light on the coaster will let you know when your coffee has reached your preferred temperature, and the mug enters sleep mode when it hasn’t been used for two hours or once it’s empty. It’s available in black or white.

Pro Tips for Mug Shopping

  • If you have open shelving, your collection of mugs will be on display, so consider either a matching set or a uniting principle—like collecting one designer or various designers in the same color scheme—to create cohesion.
  • A pair of mugs is a great housewarming gift or hostess present and will last much longer than a bouquet of flowers. Add a bag of your favorite local coffee and you’ll definitely be invited back. 

Ask Domino

How can I get stains out of my coffee mugs?

For stubborn stains, add soap and warm water, let sit for a few minutes, then scrub with a soft sponge. If that doesn’t work, put 1 teaspoon of baking soda in the bottom of the mug and add enough water to make a paste. Coat the stains and clean with a microfiber cloth. Rinse with water. 

How We Vetted These Products

Every product in a Domino guide meets these criteria: 

  1. They blend form and function. We believe the best-designed products reflect your personal style and are a joy to use. 
  2. They’re expert approved. In addition to our team of editors, we tap a range of designers, makers, renovators, and all-around knowledgeable people to share their intel. 
  3. They’re endorsed by people who actually own them. We pay close attention to real reviews to know that they pass the test IRL. 

Domino’s editors independently curate every product on our site, because we’re just as obsessed with a great deal and an under-the-radar discovery as you are. Items you purchase may earn us an affiliate commission.

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