A Complete Guide to Custom Travel Mugs & Tumblers
Whether it is your morning commute or your latest backpack adventure, your favorite custom travel mug is an essential companion. Let’ face it your favorite café latte or cold brew would not be as warm and comfy or cool and refreshing without it. Unlike a paper cup, they are reusable and last for years, even decades. I’d bet you will want a new style before you truly need a new imprinted tumbler. In the world of personalized travel mugs and tumblers there are endless options.
What is the History of the Imprinted Travel Mug?
The earliest mugs were made of carved wood or bone. I would not call these travel mugs, but essentials to life. The modern travel mug – adding a lid and employing some insulation - was first introduced in the 1980’s and was popularized by convenience store coffee club promotions.
Which is the best type of printing for Logo Travel Mugs?
Let’s face it digital is the future! As such Full Color Digital printing will give your mug a modern and sleek look. It’s perfect for logos with more than one color or for complex designs with gradients, halftones or tight registration of multiple colors. Some advanced digital printers can even create a raised 3-D effect with your logo making for a truly cool custom travel mug.
Lasers are powerful digital tools that can cut, but when used at lower powers they are perfect for engraving or etching logos. Laser engraving shines with metals like stainless steel or copper. Though you can add engrave images with halftones, you can only create engravings with a 2-D effect.
Screen or Pad Printing
Screen and Pad Printing are the king of cost-effective travel mug customization. They both use ink applied mechanically, however, the ink logo application method differs. Screen Printing is great for larger imprint areas, like wrap around imprints and uses ink push through a chemically etched silk screen of your logo. On the other hand, Pad Printing is great for stylish, irregularly shaped logo travel mugs. Here a silicone pad picks up ink from a plate etched with your logo and then applies it to the mug.
What is the difference between mugs and tumblers?
Mugs and tumblers are nearly identical except for one major difference. Tumblers are handle-free. You can pick up from any side and go! Whereas mugs have handles. These can make them easier to hold. Which is better? – a custom travel mug or a custom travel tumbler? It’s really all a matter of personal preference or even your mood as to which wins the role of beloved coffee holder.
What materials are best for custom travel mugs?
Ceramic mugs are tried and true . . . an original travel mugs. These custom travel mugs are popular for both home and coffee shop use. They are non-porous, sturdy tumblers that have some heft. They also won’t hinder the taste of your favorite latte, because ceramic is a neutral material. That said, they can break under the right conditions. While they too can retain heat, they are not as efficient as stainless-steel mugs. On the upside they are usually affordable but be mindful that shipping drives up their price. Newer innovations have even added lids and double wall insulation to ceramic logo travel tumblers. However, when double wall ceramic, the weight increases significantly.
Plastic mugs are the best value in customized travel mugs – they are both lightweight and generally resistant to breakage. That said, heat retention is more basic like ceramic mugs unless you choose one with double wall insulation which boosts hot or cold thermal retention.
Stainless Steel (Best)
Personalized Mugs made from stainless steel are highly versatile and durable. When you add double wall insulation or even better vacuum double wall insulation, they can keep beverages hot or cold for hours. These guys are equally perfect for the morning commute or your next hiking adventure. When you add all the bells and whistles though, they can fetch a premium price. One popular brand that comes to mind is YETI ®.
The Insulation Types
Which insulation types are best for imprinted travel mugs?
Air insulation (Good)
These are logo travel mugs with double walls that have air in between the space. From my personal experience, this might add about 30 minutes of cooling or warmth.
Foam insulation (Better)
Similar to air insulation, it is double wall. However, rather than air a foam is added between the walls. I’d say these custom travel mugs can retain heat and keep your drink cold for up to an hour.
Vacuum insulation (Best)
Now we are talking! Vacuum insulation is one of the best ways to keep your drink hot or cold. Here your personalized travel mug is double walled, but all air is vacuumed out between the two walls. These mugs can keep beverages hot or cold for multiple hours.
Copper vacuum insulation (Premium)
The crème de la crème of logo travel tumblers. Copper insulated travel mugs are truly premium quality products. They can retain heat for around eight hours and keep the iced beverage cold for up to 24 hours. I’ve personally tested it! The added feature to these gems, is a layer of copper is added to the inner wall to aid temperature retention even further.
What are the top lids for travel mugs?
When you purchase a personalized travel mug, consider your lid options to prevent leakage, stop spills, and which is most convient for your use.
Lid Attachment Methods:
Screw On: Screw on lids are threaded on the lids and tumbler so they are near 100% secure. However, they can be bit more time consuming to put on and take off which can lead to spills in those moments.
Push On: Push on lids are easy to put on and take off. They generally are secure as long as the silicone seal ring is not worn out from repeated use. That's why retail brands commonly sell replacement lids. It’s not the mug that usually wears out but the lid!
Lid Closure Methods:
Flip Top: These sip covers flip up to open and down to close over the sip hole.
Thumb Slide: These covers usually slide forward and backward over the sip hole. New technology includes adding a magnet to keep the sip cover open. Solving a common problem encountered with many thumb slides especially after repeated use.
Sip thru: Old school and basic with no cover at all – just the slip hole.
Push to Sip: These are lids have integrated sip covers that open only when you push and hold the button to drink.
Sip Straw: Ok, its not truly a closure, but it is a common method for sipping where a straw is inserted through the sip thru hole.
How do you care for your mug?
Though we all love to sip our favorite beverages on the go, most of us don’t enjoy cleaning our logo travel mugs as hand washing is most commonly recommended and very few brands offer dishwasher-safe tumblers. When you wash your travel mug in a dishwasher, when it says hand washing recommended there are some pitfalls you may encounter. First, if it is a double wall travel mug the seal between the inner and outer walls maybe break. These are usually glued together and over time with hot water and extreme heat from the dishwasher that seal can break down. Second, if that seal breaks there is a chance that mold could start growing in between your mug’s double walls from water that gets trapped. Finally, over time that beautiful custom travel mug could have its logo print fade or if a painted exterior the ink may chip off from dishwasher cleaning. These are the risks you take when popping that hand wash only mug in the dishwasher.
When it comes to handwashing your personalized travel mugs, here are a couple helpful tips:
- A couple tablespoons of vinegar, baking soda or dishwashing soap each in hot water all can work great. Try each as needed.
- If you need to soak the lid, to ensure that it remains in place, set a plate on top of it.
The Bottom Line
What makes a logo travel mug a great gift?
Imprinted Travel Mugs are a common gift both in business and personal life. Customized travel mugs are perfect for customer appreciation gifts, staff recognition and even special achievement awards. Travel mugs are so desirable for a host of reasons:
Like new shoes, a new mug has become a fashion accessory and people definitely notice.
They can add a sleek and stylish finish to your outlook as well.
Your brand will be displayed day after day and year after year to both your gift recipient and also everyone around them.
Truly useful products. Customized travel mugs and tumblers are the best ways to enhance your experience with your favorite beverage.
Unlike an imprinted pen, a travel mug offers a large canvas for your brand expression. From simply adding your logo to creating a super cute design your customization options are limitless.