Our favorite is the Bestinnkits Smart Coffee Warmer.
Summer is a freelance food and travel writer who began by writing about Swedish cheesemaking traditions in 2018.
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Food & Wine / Jaclyn Mastropasqua
We’ve all been there: You pour yourself a nice cup of coffee, get settled in for a productive morning at your desk, then somewhere between your inbox and today’s Wordle, you realize your coffee has gone cold. While most of us probably shuffle over to the microwave for a quick and dirty reheat, this is just about the worst thing you can do to your coffee, according to Heather Calatrello, owner and head roaster at San Diego’s ShedLight Coffee Roasters.
“Coffee should never be reheated in the microwave,” she says. “Actually, coffee should never be reheated — period.” Calatrello says that this is because the chemical composition of coffee changes as it cools, releasing volatile compounds that lead to less nuance and aromatics. “When coffee is reheated in the microwave, the heat accelerates the release of molecules from the already bland coffee, resulting in a bitter, acidic flavor.”
So, what’s the alternative? Not allowing your freshly brewed coffee to go cold in the first place. But this doesn’t mean you need to chug as soon as you’ve poured — with the help of a coffee mug warmer, you can sip to your heart’s content without that pesky, rapid loss of flavor and aroma. Along with Calatrello, we’ve rounded up the best coffee mug warmers. Topping the list is the Bestinnkits Smart Coffee Warmer, thanks to its good looks, agreeable price, and reliable heating — but read on to find out more and explore the options.
Pros: Affordable, sleek, and effectively keeps your coffee hot.
Cons: Works best with flat-bottom mugs.
Calatrello says that the Bestinnkits warmer “will do exactly what you’re expecting it to do,” which is keeping your coffee at a comfortable drinking temperature for as long as you like.
This 19-watt mug warmer features a gravity sensor that activates the warming plate — meaning you won’t have to remember to switch it on or off — and has a waterproof design to protect it from the occasional splash or spill. The Bestinnkits mug warmer also comes in a few different colors along with a conveniently long cord, and it’s versatile with most coffee cups; though a thin-walled, flat-bottom mug will best absorb the heat.
Price at time of publish: $30
Pros: A basic and budget-friendly mug warmer.
Cons: No auto-shutoff or other features.
There’s nothing fancy about this coffee mug warmer, but it’s certainly easy on the wallet! For just a few bucks, you’ll have the convenience of a mug warmer with a temperature range of 120 degrees to 140 degrees Fahrenheit and a simple on/off switch.
This warmer is compatible with just about any mug, though a flat-bottomed option will absorb and retain heat better than a concave design. The relatively short cord will require an outlet without easy reach to your desk or tabletop, but this is a solid pick if you’re looking for a budget buy.
Price at time of publish: $11
Pros: The mug itself keeps coffee warm, not just the base.
Cons: It’s pricey and not dishwasher-safe.
If you’re up for a splurge, the Ember Mug is a worthy luxe alternative to the conventional coffee mug warmer.
“The Ember Mug sets itself apart from other mug warmers in that the heating element is in the mug itself rather than having a contact heat source,” says Calatrello. “Additionally, the mug features sensors to regulate the temperature of the liquid inside. It does the best job of keeping coffee at an optimal temperature without sacrificing flavor.”
You can even control your Ember with an app on your phone, and it automatically goes to sleep after it senses two hours of inactivity. The biggest downside of this swanky mug — aside from its ambitious price point — is that you can’t put it in the dishwasher.
Price at time of publish: $130
Pros: Offers multiple color choices and effective heating.
Cons: Mug not included despite matching photos.
While it’s true that any mug warmer can be used at a desk — that’s pretty much the purpose they were designed for, after all — we especially like this one as a desktop companion, thanks to its favorable price point, variety of color options, and automatic shut-off.
It’ll keep your coffee heated to 104 to 131 degrees Fahrenheit and turn off automatically after four hours. It’s also splash-proof and has an indicator light to let you know when the plate is hot. Just be aware that despite the matching mug shown in photos, no mug is included with this warmer.
Price at time of publish: $20
Pros: Two temperature settings and compatible with many different mug materials.
Cons: Auto shut off only after eight hours.
The round shape of this mug warmer is a natural pairing with your favorite vessel — and it’s compatible with ceramic, stainless steel, and even glass mugs. We think the dual-setting temperature control is convenient, too, with a low setting of 104 and a high of 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
This mug warmer is ideal for either coffee or tea, and its generously sized base will even accommodate a small bowl or carafe. Just keep an eye on it when you’re done because it won’t automatically shut off for eight hours.
Price at time of publish: $28
Pros: No wall outlet required.
Cons: Not as reliable as conventional plug-in warmers.
The nice thing about a USB coffee mug warmer is that you can use it wherever — no wall outlet required! Simply plug it into your laptop and enjoy warmer coffee for longer.
That said, a USB-powered warmer is not going to be as powerful as a conventional plug-in model (and it’ll likely drain your computer battery faster), so we recommend this one for occasional warming purposes rather than daily use. Think of it as a fun, just-in-case tool to keep stashed in your desk drawer or computer bag.
Price at time of publish: $19
Pros: A great-looking warmer with a matching mug.
Cons: Larger than some alternative warmers.
From a design standpoint, we love the black and brushed stainless steel of this coffee mug warmer by Cosori. But good looks mean nothing if it can’t perform, and fortunately, this one delivers consistent heat with an LED display, a spill-resistant plate, and — at least when purchased through Amazon — the warmer even comes with a matching stainless steel Cosori travel mug.
We already love Cosori’s gooseneck electric kettle, so it’s no surprise we’d be happy to pair it with this sleek mug warmer.
Price at time of publish: $40
Pros: An eco-friendly, ultra-portable way to keep your coffee warm.
Cons: No active heating element.
Add a cozy touch to your favorite mug while keeping your coffee warm — no batteries or electricity required. This mug sleeve is available in different colors and is secured in place with a large button. It’s hand washable and made of 100% acrylic yarn, so it can be used for years to come.
While a sleeve won’t keep your coffee as hot as an electric warmer, this is a fun alternative that won’t take up space on your desk.
Price at time of publish: $13
We favor the Bestinnkits Smart Coffee Warmer for its comfortable price point, effective heating, and simple good looks. For a splurge with performance to back up the cost, you can’t beat the Ember Temperature Control Smart Mug.
Most mug warmers offer adjustable temperature and an automatic shut-off, but if either (or both) of these are a must-have for you, be sure to shop accordingly.
Again, mug warmers have a pretty standard footprint — they’re either round or square and are generally neutral in color unless you choose otherwise. Feel free to choose your mug warmer based on aesthetics as well as one that will fit your favorite mug.
Consider whether you’re fine with a plug-in mug warmer or if you need something cordless — or at least USB-powered. If a plug-in option is fine, be sure the cord length of your chosen warmer will be long enough to reach the outlet most convenient to where you plan to use it.
“A mug warmer works just like a hot plate in a drip coffee maker,” says Calatrello. “It does a decent job of keeping your coffee hot, so long as the mug is placed on the warmer while the coffee is still hot.”
Calatrello advises that a mug warmer shouldn’t be used to heat already-cooled coffee. “It won’t do much for you once the coffee has begun to cool significantly.”
Mug warmers are generally safe to use, but like any small appliance, be sure to unplug them when not in use. Stop using your mug warmer if it becomes damaged, starts to smoke, or otherwise presents a hazard.
Most mug warmers perform best with a thin-walled, flat-bottom ceramic mug. Double-check the manufacturer's recommendations for your mug warmer of interest if you plan to use it with stainless steel or glass mugs. Don’t use plastic cups with mug warmers.
This article was written by Summer Rylander, a food and travel journalist who has written about food, beverage, and cooking products for Food & Wine, Allrecipes, Serious Eats, and The Kitchn. She made her selections based on in-depth research and conversation with coffee roasting expert Heather Calatrello.
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