There’s nothing worse than taking a gulp of tea or coffee that’s gone cold. Avoid this with our pick of the best mug warmers from Amazon, Selfridges and more
Anyone who has ever had the misfortune of accidentally forgetting a freshly made cup of tea and coming back to it when it’s cold will know temperature affects the flavour of your favourite brew. The chances are you took a sip, grimaced and put the kettle on again for a fresh cuppa.
That is because the perfect tea-drinking temperature is between 60C and 65C, according to the Royal Society of Chemistry. The scientists recommend this heat to “avoid vulgar slurping which results from trying to drink tea at too high a temperature”.
They also suggest sipping in a favourite spot “where quietness and calm will elevate the moment to a special dimension” while reading George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London. It’s the stuff dreams are made of.
But if you’re among those putting in long working hours, especially during the pandemic and homeworking, or running around after little ones all day, you’ll likely settle simply for tea at the right temperature. If that’s the case, a mug warmer might just become your new best friend, especially if you’re too busy to be watching over your brew to make sure it doesn’t pass the sweet spot.
Mug warmers come in the form of heated coasters or as mugs with heating elements to maintain a perfect drinking temperature, and some will even let you know when your drink gets there. Some devices are plugged into the mains, while others can be kept on your desk and plugged into your computer while you work because they’re powered by USB. To help you decide which one is best for you, we’ve rounded up some of the hottest on the market and given them a spin.
How we tested
We tried out a range of different mug warmers, including heated coasters, self-heating mugs and app-controlled smart devices. We selected those that are powered in different ways too, including by mains plug and USB, to see if this affected performance.
We looked at the quality, design, features and functions of each device we tested and compared them on price point. We also drank a hell of a lot of tea, coffee and hot chocolate and attempted to keep them warm and even heat them – and found you always need to use a flat-bottomed mug, so don’t try using your warmer with a domed-bottom vessel.
The best mug warmers for 2021 are:
- Best overall – Ember mug2: £99.95, Ember.com
- Best mains-powered mug warmer – Welltop coffee mug warmer: £26.09, Amazon.co.uk
- Best budget buy – Joom USB wood grain mug warmer: £10, Joom.com
- Best for fun – Mustard sleepy bear cup warmer: £15, Justmustard.com
- Best self-heating mug – techBAR glowstone self-heating smart mug: £129.95, Selfridges.com
- Best for cat lovers – Purrfect Cat Gifts black cat USB mug warmer: £9.99, Purrfectcatgifts.co.uk
- Best stylish mug warmer – Samnate coffee mug warmer: £28, Amazon.co.uk
- Best for music fans – Mustard hot tracks vinyl record cup warmer: £12, Justmustard.com
We use apps for everything, so why not your mug? Doing so with this smart device gives you total control over the temperature of your drink and it will even notify you when it is perfect for sipping via both the app and the LED indicator on the mug itself. The app is simple to use and has many features, including allowing you to set the temperature you prefer best between 50C and 62.5C, personalising the colour of the LED, tracking your caffeine consumption and keeping your mugs’ software up to date. Plus, it works with Apple and Android devices.
The black mug we reviewed has a 295ml capacity but it is also available as a generous 414ml model for those who like a bigger hot drink, and it also comes in white. It has a fantastic mouthfeel because it is super smooth and not too thick, thanks to the ceramic coating over its stainless-steel core, and it stays cool to the touch no matter how hot your drink is.
The mug² will keep your beverage at the optimum temperature for hours if left on the charging coaster, but it can be removed and taken anywhere in the home or office for 1.5 hours of battery life. It also knows when to turn itself on when a hot liquid is poured in and off when empty. This smart mug is at the higher end of our price scale, but it packs in plenty of features, so you’re definitely getting your money’s worth.
Welltop electronic mug warmer
Best: Mains-powered mug warmer
If you don’t want to worry about charging a device, this mains-powered coaster-style mug warmer is an excellent choice. The stylish black design features a glass top with plenty of space for even giant mugs and a touch-activated light-up switch. The numbers on the control panel – one to five – show the temperature setting to allow you to choose the one that suits you. The range is between 35C and 100C, but we would question why it would need to go so high because no one is going to drink boiling tea or coffee. We were impressed by how quickly this mug warmer heated up and that it uses a gravity sensor to switch itself off when a cup is removed – but keep it out of reach of children who could burn themselves on the hotplate.
Joom USB wood grain mug warmer
Best: Budget buy
The price of this gadget shows that a mug warmer is never out of reach on any budget. It is ideal for those looking for a no-nonsense heated coaster that will reliably keep drinks warm but not too hot. The design is simple yet attractive, with a pretty convincing wood-effect trim around the silver metal hotplate. It keeps a constant temperature of 55C and evenly heated our mugs, as promised. It also features a non-slip base for safety. We like the simplicity of just plugging this in when you need it and taking it out when you’re done – no fiddling with switches required.
Mustard sleepy bear cup warmer
Best: For fun
Let sleeping, erm, bears lie, especially if they are keeping that cup of tea you’ve forgotten about toasty. This mug warmer certainly has the fun factor and almost mimics a mini taxidermy rug. It is made from silicone and sturdy enough for daily use. The device is USB powered and it heats up quickly, maintaining a temperature of up to 70C. We particularly like that it can be wiped with a damp cloth or sponge if there are any spillages to keep your mug warmer clean and fresh.
The Tech Bar self-heating smart mug
Best: Self-heating mug
Take one look at this fine bone china mug and you’ll see just that, an attractive 325ml mug. But concealed within is smart technology that means you’ll never again have to drink tea or coffee at anything other than the ideal temperature. In the core of its base is tech that waits for your drink to reach that scientifically proven perfect 60C to 65C point – you will know when it gets there because the light bar on the front of the mug will stay bright red – and then keeps it there for an hour in two half-hour heat cycles. And when you take your last sip, it intelligently powers off.
This is a beautiful mug to drink from because of its fine bone china construction and it never feels too hot to handle because the base stays cool even during heating. It comes with its own coaster, on which it charges wirelessly, and amazingly, the mug is dishwasher safe too. It is the most expensive we tested, but it is a worthy buy if you refuse to drink tea from anything other than china.
Purrfect Cat Gifts black cat USB mug warmer
If you can’t bear to leave your feline friend while you go to the office, this cat mug warmer will at least keep their likeness close by throughout your working day. It is made from silicone, feels high-quality and features cute details, including a pink heart-shaped nose and white whiskers. It warms up quickly and reaches a max of 65C while plugged in to maintain the ideal drinking temperature. And because it is USB powered, this charming mug warmer will be your purrfect desk companion.
Samnate coffee mug warmer
Best: Stylish mug warmer
The gorgeous design and quality of this durable mug warmer belie its reasonable price tag. It looks super stylish, with a coloured metal warming plate that is framed by a pillow-like trim made from matte silicone and features an LED screen at the front. Two buttons are concealed within the raised circular border and displayed as arrows for increasing and decreasing the heat intensity of the hot plate with a simple push. The temperature ranges from 55C to 75C in 10C increments and this gadget can even heat drinks that are below the temperature you choose – but we found it takes a while to warm up tepid beverages, so we don’t recommend trying to get cold drinks to 75C, or you’ll be waiting longer than you’d probably like. The Samnate mug warmer is available in green, pastel pink and an adorable pink design with bunny ears. It comes fitted with a US plug, but a UK mains adapter is included in the box.
Mustard hot tracks vinyl record cup warmer
Best: For music fans
Lovers of music and all things retro will flock to this cool (or should we say hot) mug warmer. It is a simple plug-in-and-go USB device that keeps drinks warm at a toasty 70C for as long as it is powered. The design is excellent fun, looking exactly like a miniature vinyl, and it is made entirely from silicone, so there’s no risk of stickers peeling off over time. And just like the other full silicone gadgets in our roundup, it can be wiped clean with a damp cloth or sponge when it is not plugged in.
The verdict: Mug warmers
For a personalised, fun and enjoyable drinking experience, we love the Ember mug². The features and sophisticated tech are second to none and the cup itself has a superb mouthfeel. Most importantly, it reliably keeps your tea or coffee at the perfect drinking temperature for you. We also love the look and functionality of the Samnate coffee mug warmer and we’d highly recommend Mustard’s hot tracks vinyl record cup warmer as a fun, budget-friendly choice.
For more kitchen and home deals, try the links below:
Now you’ve got your mug, pick out the ideal coffee pod machine to fill it from
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