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The Essential Buyer’s Guide to Custom Travel Mugs and Promotional Tumblers

published: May 15, 2019  |  updated: May 11, 2020

If you’re thinking about buying promotional products for your employees, clients or prospects but don’t know what to get, we have the answer: Customized travel mugs and tumblers.

  • Nearly 90 percent of consumers own promotional drinkware, according to research from the Advertising Specialty Institute.
  • People don’t throw away travel mugs and tumblers — they keep them and use them for an average of one year, as reported by that same study.
  • A commuter-friendly travel mug or tumbler will make employees feel valued and appreciated.
  • Reusable travel mugs and tumblers are both eco-friendly and cost-saving. Some cafes even offer discounts for customers who bring their own.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about buying the perfect customized travel mugs and tumblers for your brand.

Consider Your Budget and Occasion

If you want to give out custom travel mugs and promotional tumblers at a big corporate event, you may want to eschew pricier options in favor of more affordable ones. But, if you’re trying to make a particularly lasting impression on employees, top clients or important prospects, you probably won’t want to be as frugal. Luckily for you, there’s a vast variety of choices, all in an array of price ranges. These are the best custom travel mugs and tumblers for every budget:

Under $5

Ideal for large events (think trade shows and conferences), these custom travel mugs and tumblers all cost less than $5

Silver stainless steel travel mug with black logo, lid and handle
17 oz Stainless Steel Travel Mug

Portable, durable and equipped with a full handle, the 17 oz Stainless Steel Travel Mug is a foolproof choice. It features a leak-resistant drink-thru lid, as well as a liner and insulation to keep drinks nice and toasty.

White plastic coffee to-go cup with dark blue logo and lid
15 oz Insulated Café Cup

While the 15 oz Insulated Café Cup might look like a standard, disposable coffee cup, it’s far from it. With double-walled insulation, dishwasher safe materials and a rainbow of fun colors, this coffee cup is in it for the long haul. It even maintains a 40-degree difference between the contents of the cup and the outside of the cup.

Black tumbler with stainless steel grip and rim imprinted with a black logo
16 oz Express Tumbler

Designed to make on-the-go coffee breaks a breeze, the 16 oz Express Tumbler is both simple and practical. It’s outfitted with a high-impact plastic liner and base, stainless steel accents and a screw-on lid with a leak-proof slide opening.

Under $10

Have a moderately-sized event coming up, like a company picnic or trail day? These under-$10 travel mugs and tumblers will be right up your alley.

Deep blue tumbler with white logo and clear plastic lid
11 oz Sherpa Vacuum Tumbler & Insulator

Want to bring a hot drink out in the field? Or maybe just pop in a drink can to keep it cold? The 11 oz Sherpa Vacuum Tumbler &Insulator is just what you’re looking for. With its double-wall construction, vacuum insulation, and clear press-on lid, this tumbler is ready for anything.

Mint blue tumbler with white logo and clear plastic lid
10 oz Yukon Tumbler

Small but mighty, the 10 oz Yukon Tumbler is both ultra-portable and ultra-sturdy. It features a luxe copper lining for ultimate temperature retention, plus double-wall vacuum insulation and a stainless steel finish.

Under $25

If you want to say “we appreciate you” in a big way, you can’t go wrong with these custom travel mugs and tumblers, all priced at less than $25.

Green stainless steel tumbler with white logo and clear plastic lid
20 oz Himalayan Tumbler

The 20 oz Himalayan Tumbler is a high-quality option that’s perfect for the daily commute. It’s built from durable stainless steel both inside and out, and features double-wall, vacuum-sealed insulation, a non-slip bottom and a clear slide-action lid.

Red stainless steel tumbler with white logo, three black stripes and black lid
16 oz Kona Vacuum Tumbler

The sleek and slim 16 oz Kona Vacuum Tumbler is eye-catchingly stylish. Available in a selection of elegant colors, it features double-wall vacuum insulation, leak-proof screw on lid and a patent-pending lid with finger and lip grooves.

Silver stainless steel tumbler with black logo and clear plastic lid
30 oz Yukon Nova Tumbler

How do you make our best selling 10 oz Yukon Tumbler even better? Add 20 extra ounces for all-day caffeination, of course. The 30 oz Yukon Nova Tumbler has double-wall, vacuum-sealed insulation, a stainless steel exterior and interior and a press-in drink-thru lid.

Take Location Into Account

Custom travel mugs and promotional tumblers aren’t the kind of items that get left at home or buried at the back of a desk drawer. Instead, recipients take them on-the-go to a variety of locations. When selecting your custom travel mugs and tumblers, take into account where your recipients will take them.

People typically take their custom travel mugs and tumblers:

  • Commuting
  • Hiking and camping
  • To class
  • To work
  • To fundraising events
  • To restaurants and cafes
  • To conferences and trade shows
  • On lunch breaks

When deciding which travel mug or tumbler to go with, keep these examples in mind:

  • Light and small models are ideal for outdoor events, conferences, seminars, trade shows and the like.
  • Extra-sturdy models are perfectly suited for traveling, vacations and workouts.
  • High-quality and aesthetically pleasing models are great for yoga classes, meetings and everyday use.
Tumbler Lid Styles Infographic

Select the Right Material

Just as custom travel mugs and promotional tumblers come in a wide variety of price ranges, they’re also available in a range of materials. The tumbler above, for instance, is composed of a stainless steel exterior, a plastic lid and a copper lining.

How do you choose which material is best for you? Keep reading to learn the pros and cons of each potential material, so you can select the option that’s best for you and your recipients’ needs.

BPA-Free Plastic

BPA, officially known as bisphenol A, is an industrial material that’s used to manufacture specific types of plastic and resin. Recent studies suggest that it may have negative health effects, so many customers are seeking out products that are BPA-free, especially when it comes to drinkware. Fortunately, all of Crestline’s custom travel mugs and tumblers are made from BPA-freeplastic, so you can choose a plastic product you love without worrying about BPAs and their harmful effects. One of the best brands of BPA-free plastic is Tritan®, which is present in many of our most popular drinkware products.

In addition to being BPA-free, Tritan plastic is:

  • Crystal clear, and won’t dull with use or time.
  • Sturdy, shatter-resistant, dent- and ding-proof and designed for regular washings. Plus, it’s dishwasher safe.
  • Tested by third-party labs to ensure that it’s free of all bisphenols and won’t affect hormonal activity.
  • Aesthetically pleasing, with vivid colors and the look and feel of glass.

One of our favorite BPA-free travel mugs is the 19 oz Acrylic Himalayan Tumbler, which features double-wall insulation and a slide-action lid. Another fantastic option is the 20 oz Mountain Country Tumbler, which features a Tritan plastic construction, a push-button silicone spout and a convenient carrying handle.

Stainless Steel

One of the most popular materials for custom travel mugs and promotional tumblers is stainless steel. This steel alloy is composed of a mixture of steel and other metals, the most essential of which is chromium. That’s the metal that’s responsible for stainless steel’s corrosion-resistant properties.

Here’s why stainless steel is such a well-loved material:

  • Highly durable and more damage-resistant than normal steel.
  • Dishwasher safe.
  • Won’t pick up and retain flavors or stains, even if it comes in contact with flavored or colored drinks.
  • Provides wonderful heat and cold retention when double-layered (more on insulated travel mugs and tumblers in the next section).
  • 100 percent recyclable.

However, stainless steel is also:

  • More expensive than plastic and aluminum.
  • Not as lightweight as plastic and aluminum.
  • Somewhat susceptible to dents.
  • Known to sometimes make liquid taste metallic.

One great stainless steel tumbler is the 27 oz Stainless Steel Tumbler with Lid, which features vacuum insulation and a clear spill-resistant lid. Or check out the 14 oz Jolt Double Wall Stainless Tumbler, which features double-wall, vacuum-sealed insulation and a momentary valve for easy drinking.

Another variation of stainless steel travel mugs and tumblers utilizes plastic liners. This combines two great materials to create one versatile piece of drinkware.

The benefits of stainless steel drinkware with plastic liners include:

  • The stylish look of stainless steel.
  • Highly durable.
  • No metallic taste.

One beautiful example is the Stardom Tumbler, which features double-wall insulation and a stain-resistant BPA-free plastic liner.

Know Your Insulation

It’s easy to see why insulated travel mugs and tumblers are so popular: Proper insulation can typically keep cold beverages nice and chilly for 24 hours, and keep hot beverages warm and toasty for two to 12 hours. This means your employees, clients or prospects can enjoy refreshingly crisp drinks over the course of the entire work day, or sip on some hot coffee or tea for hours without ever needing a microwave.

As an added bonus, insulation can keep your recipients’ hands from getting uncomfortably hot or cold while holding their custom travel mugs and tumblers. Let’s take a look at all the different types of insulation and their efficacy.

Double-Wall Insulation

Double-wall insulation is a form of insulation that forces hot or cold temperatures to pass between a layer of air before coming into contact with the outside wall. Double-wall insulated travel mugs and tumblers can utilize multiple materials. Both plastic and stainless steel travel mugs and tumblers can be double-wall insulated. Let’s look at some plastic options.

Clear acrylic tumbler with blue logo and straw
Clear plastic tumbler with blue plastic lid and a red, white and blue embroidered logo
Stainless steel tumbler with black logo and black plastic lid
Stainless steel tumbler with purple logo, base and top band

Vacuum-Sealed Insulation

Vacuum-insulated travel mugs and tumblers are double-wall insulated, with the added feature of a vacuum seal between the inner and outer walls. This adds another layer of insulation by removing the air between the walls, which makes it even more difficult for heat and cold to travel.

Take for example the 10 oz Bevie Insulated Tumbler, which is double-wall and vacuum-insulated and features a unique shape and press-on lid. Not just for coffee, tea, the Bevie is also ideal for wine and other cocktails. Another great option is the 20 oz bubba® Hero Classic, which is double-wall and vacuum-insulated and features a leak-proof lid.

Copper-Lined Insulation

One of the biggest trends in custom travel mugs and promotional tumblers is copper-lined insulation. It works so well because copper is an excellent thermal conductor, and thus helps both hot and cold temperatures spread evenly across the copper layer. This helps keep beverages at the desired temperature for an exceptionally long amount of time. One gorgeous example of a copper-lined travel mug is the 16 oz Ombre Spiral Stainless Steel Tumbler, which features an ombre finish and clear lid.

This is the absolute best form of insulation and has received major publicity thanks to its adoption by some of the major brands. In fact, our customers have even reported that our copper-lined travel mugs and tumblers keep ice frozen for 24 hours, are highly resistant to corrosion and are exceptionally durable.

We confirmed their findings in our own tests, where we found that our copper-lined 20 oz Yukon Nova Tumbler kept 27 °F water from rising above 36 °F after 24 hours, while a similar tumbler by the leading competitor allowed the water to reach 37 °F after 24 hours.

Photo of one stainless steel tumbler with a thermometer that reads 36℉, and another that reads 37.1℉

What Type of Lid Should You Choose?

Custom travel mugs and promotional tumblers come with a variety of lid options to suit every drinking style. For example, one of the most popular lid styles in the thumb slide lid, also known as the drink-through/drink-thru lid, as shown in the image above.

  • Here’s a full rundown of all the various lid types you can choose from:
  • Straws: Straws provide drinkers with an easy way to enjoy their favorite beverages without the plastic waste of traditional disposable straws. We love the 20 oz Color Match Tumbler and Straw, which features double-wall insulation, a thumb slide lid and a matching straw.
  • Drink-through: Drink-through lids offer the same sipping experience as disposable to-go coffee cups in a less wasteful and more economical format. We’re fans of the Grip N Go Grande, which sports a non-skid bottom and textured grip.
  • Screw-on: Screw-on lids offer additional protection against spills, making them perfect for commuting and business travel. One popular option is the 20 oz Terra Vacuum Tumbler, which features patent-pending lip and finger grooves, as well as a silicone non-slip band.
  • Flip-top: These types of lids can be easily flipped open for instant sipping. We’re partial to the 16 oz Stardom Tumbler, which boasts a fun curved shape, double-wall insulation and a stainless steel rim.
  • Push button: These convenient lids can be opened with the push of a single button, which makes them ideal for one-handed use. One of the best is the 16 oz Stanley® Push Button Travel Mug, which also features vacuum insulation and a spill-proof lid.
  • Thumb slide: As mentioned earlier, thumb slide lids are some of the most popular thanks to their simplicity and convenience. One fantastic option is the 16 oz Accents Stainless Tumbler, which is also equipped with double-wall insulation.
  • Twist open: Twist open lids make it easy to keep beverages secure on-the-go. One of our favorite models is the 14 oz Adventure Tumbler, which is outfitted with a color slide button drinking spout and non-slip bottom.

Customization Options

When coming to your final decision, you can choose to add some finishing touches to your custom travel mugs and promotional tumblers by selecting from a number of customization options. Here are some of the ways you can tailor your travel mugs and tumblers to suit both you and your recipients’ needs.

Select Your Imprint Area and Type

First, consider whether you want to opt for a full-color design imprinted on your travel mugs and tumblers. If your branding and logo are reliant on a specific set of colors, this will likely be a great route for you.

Some models like the Thermal Traveller™ Travel Tumbler are particularly ideal for showcasing colorful designs. This model is double-wall insulated and features a slide-action lid.

Then, you’ll need to decide whether you want a wrapped or one-sided design printed on your custom travel mugs and tumblers. The tumbler above is an example of a wrapped design, while the 16 oz Chatham Colors Tumbler is a great example of a one-sided design. It’s constructed from BPA-free plastic and boasts a convenient carrying handle.

Finally, decide if you want your design to be printed or engraved. The tumbler above demonstrates what a printed design looks like, while the Stainless Steel Can Cooler & Tumbler Combo below shows the simple elegance of a laser-engraved design. This model features both a twist-on cap and drink-thru lid.

Evaluate Production Time

Be sure to plan ahead if you need to have your custom travel mugs and promotional tumblers ready before a specific date. After all, most of our travel mugs and tumblers take five to 10 days to customize, and some take a little longer.

If you find yourself crunched for time, though, you still have some great options: We offer a selection of travel mugs and tumblers with 24-hour service. The Accents Stainless Tumbler is one of our most popular models. It holds 16 ounces of liquid and features a gorgeous acrylic exterior, double-wall insulation, stainless steel accents and a full handle.

Additional Options to Consider

Here are some other things you can think about to ensure your custom travel mugs and tumblers meet your exact needs:

Determine the Right Capacity

Our custom travel mugs and promotional tumblers range from 8 ounces to 34 ounces, so you have plenty of capacity options to choose from.

Although you might assume that bigger is better, our smaller options are actually some of our most popular. That’s because they’re ultra-portable and can easily fit under a Keurig coffee maker. A perfect example is the 10 oz Yukon Tumbler we showcased above, which has double-wall vacuum insulation and a copper lining.

Ten-ounce tumblers are also popular because they’re perfect for holding wine as well as coffee or tea. This makes them perfect for annual company picnics, work retreats and outdoor dining of all kinds.

Want to make your next team brunch or company barbecue more memorable? Check out our wine tumbler options here. One of our favorites is the 12 oz Covina Copper Lined Tumbler, which features double-wall vacuum insulation, a wide-mouth opening and a push-on lid.

For a more standard-sized travel mug or tumbler, you’ll want to go with one that has a 13-18 oz capacity. Models in this size range typically fit in car cup holders, and are light enough to carry everywhere while still being able to hold a full-size caffeinated beverage.

Finally, the largest travel mugs and tumblers which have a 19-32 ounce capacity are ideal for use over a long period of time. That makes them perfect for all-day outdoor events, conferences, business trips and the like.

Choose Between Imported or USA-Made

If purchasing American-made products is important to you, there’s no need to stress. We carry a wide selection of USA-made travel mugs and tumblers. One of our all-time favorites is the 16-oz Thumbs-Up Travel Mug, which features a high-gloss finish, comfort grip handle, double-wall insulation and a thumb slide lid.

Special Features

While basic styles like standard tumblers and squeeze bottles are always a safe bet, there are some special features and trends that can make a particularly big impression on your recipients.

  • Here are some of the special features and trends to look for in your custom travel mugs and promotional tumblers:
  • Vacuum-insulated: As mentioned earlier, vacuum-insulated travel mugs and tumblers are exceptionally good at maintaining beverage temperatures. We like the 20 oz Basecamp® Insulated Tumbler, which features a copper lining and a color-coordinated flip top lid.
  • Can coolers: These versatile tumblers aren’t just great at holding coffee and tea — they also double as can coolers to keep canned and bottled drinks nice and cold. One of the best is the 12 oz Urban Peak® 3-in-1 Insulator, which features an unscrewable rubber base and copper lining.
  • Handles: Sleek tumblers have been king for years, but now handles are coming back in a big way. We love the 15 oz Basecamp® Zion Mug, which is decked out with a stainless steel rim, copper lining and double-wall vacuum insulation.
  • Camping-style mugs: Rustic design is popular in fashion and home decor alike, so it makes sense that camping-style mugs are a hot-ticket item, too. Check out the charmingly speckled 15 oz Gone Camping Mug, which is crafted from powder-coated carbon steel and features an ergonomic rim and handle.
  • French press travel mugs: For people who want easy access to top-quality coffee on the go, French press travel mug hybrids are the ultimate luxury. We’re big fans of the Brew & Go Portable Electric Coffee Maker, which also boasts copper-lined vacuum insulation and a spill-proof lid.
  • Grips and silicone accents: No one wants to ruin their morning with a spilled cup of coffee, and that’s why travel mugs and tumblers with grips and silicone accents are so well-loved. A great example is the 16 oz Stainless Grip Sip N Go, which features a rubber sleeve grip as well as a matching drink through lid.
  • Cork bases: Cork bases aren’t just visually pleasing — they also protect surfaces from heat and scratches. One of our favorite examples is the 14 oz Ceramic To-Go Mug, which sports elegant matte ceramic and a spill-resistant lid.
  • Ombre/gradient: Ombre isn’t just for hair: Ombre and gradient travel mugs and tumblers are also extremely trendy. We can’t get enough of the 16 oz Ombre Spiral Stainless Steel Tumbler, which also features stylish stainless steel grooves and a clear push-on lid.
  • Woodgrain:With their natural and unique pattern, woodgrain travel mugs and tumblers have become increasingly popular. Our customers love the 20 oz Woodtone Himalayan Tumbler, which is also equipped with double-wall vacuum insulation, a non-slip bottom and a spill-resistant lid.
  • Gift boxes: If an impressive demonstration of appreciation is what you’re after, you can’t go wrong with a travel mug or tumbler packaged in a beautiful gift box. Some models come with full-color gift boxes, and others even come boxed with sweet Godiva™ Tumbler Gift Set.

Regardless of the travel mugs or tumblers you choose, you’re bound to make an impression on your lucky recipients. Plus, branded travel mugs and tumblers are perfectly suited to be gifted at a wide array of occasions, including:

  • Corporate gifts
  • Student events
  • Trade show giveaways
  • Employee welcome kits
  • Customer loyalty rewards
  • Teacher appreciation
  • Nurses week

Next time you’re planning a business event, showing thanks or working to gain exposure, go the extra mile with a custom travel mug or tumbler — we guarantee both you and your recipients will be glad you did.