Coffee cup warmers are devices that keep your brew at the hot temperature you prefer for as long as you want. They’re essentially small hot plates (minus the cooking aspect) that you can easily fit on a desk to heat up the bottom of your mug. This keeps the liquid inside warm without burning or scorching it. Thus you can enjoy your cup of joe as if it were right out of the brewer, without needing to make trips to the microwave. If you want to invest in a coffee cup warmer for your home or office, here are a few models we recommend.
We researched dozens of coffee cup warmers before making our selection. We started by going over manufacturer claims and reputation, then checking these claims against user reviews. This gave us a good idea of what actual consumers liked or didn’t like about the products, the sorts of features they want from a coffee cup warmer, and the properties each item possesses.
Once we had narrowed our selection down to fewer than 10 products, we turned to the experts for further in-depth advice. With their input and insight, we were able to narrow down the product selection to the best five options.
Then we went right to the source itself. We received several of the products directly from the manufacturers and tested them ourselves in order to best determine how useful their features are. This also gave us the chance to compare and contrast the coffee cup warmer directly to each other for a clearer picture of their individual benefits and drawbacks.
Why buy a coffee cup warmer?
A coffee cup warmer will prevent your coffee from losing its heat in the first place. Rather than reheating coffee that’s gone cold (and possibly stale), it will stay warm until you finish drinking it as long as the mug is sitting atop the warmer.
Coffee cup warmers can be more practical than a microwave as well. If you’re in the middle of an important work or school assignment, you won’t have to get up to reheat your coffee and break your workflow to reheat your lukewarm coffee. You won’t have to wait your turn for your co-workers or family to finish with the microwave. And if you like to read, study, or work at your local coffee shop or library, you won’t have access to a microwave. Since coffee cup warmers are portable, you can bring them along to these locations and use them to keep your drink warm for much longer, possibly for several hours.
As a bonus, you can even use a coffee warmer to melt candle wax; just make sure you research the proper technique and never leave the candle unattended.
What should you look for in a coffee cup warmer?
- Safety: A safe coffee cup warmer is one that’s resistant to spills, compatible with high temperatures, and durable overall. Some also have automatic shutdown features that switch the device off if they start to grow too hot. This feature is especially useful should you forget to turn it off before you leave your home, and it helps conserve your electricity.
- Temperature: Being able to adjust your coffee’s temperature can be handy. It’s important to keep your brew hot but not to the point where it scalds your tongue. Likewise, you probably don’t want your coffee to be lukewarm. Some coffee cup warmers have two or three settings, while others allow you to select the specific temperature you want. Also be sure to check whether the temperature settings are listed in Fahrenheit or Celsius.
- Features: Some coffee cup warmers provide other helpful features, like easy-to-wipe surfaces or LED displays. Some brands come with an app you can download to your smartphone and use to control the temperature of the coffee cup warmer even when you’re not in the same room, which can be very handy on busy mornings. Others are pressure-activated or have lights that signal when they’re turned on and actively warming. Some even have a USB port that allows you to charge your phone and keep your coffee warm at the same time.
Should you buy a corded or cordless coffee cup warmer?
It depends on where you plan to keep and use your new coffee cup warmer. If your desk or kitchen countertop has easy access to a wall outlet or plug, you may prefer a corded model. You won’t have to worry about the coffee cup warmer dying in the middle of its task. This is extremely handy if you plan to have a cup or cups of coffee over the span of several hours. However, this will run up your power bill if you use it at home, and the cord can very easily get in the way. You’ll also have to ensure the cord is long enough for your needs.
On the flip side, cordless coffee cup warmers can be used almost any place or any time. They’re small enough to tuck away into a backpack, laptop bag, or even some purses to take with you. You don’t have to worry about sitting near an outlet or tripping over a power cord. But they will have a limited timespan, unlike corded models. Most will last somewhere between one and four hours. This may not be a problem for some, but those who drink multiple cups of coffee in one workday may prefer a corded model.
Does it matter which mug you use with your coffee cup warmer?
Yes, the mug in question is important. Never place a plastic mug on a coffee cup warmer, for instance; they’ll burn and melt if they get too hot. Paper cups, styrofoam cups, and bagged drinks are also a no-go. Stainless steel or aluminum cups are usually okay, especially if they have a silicone bottom to keep the metal from conducting too much heat to touch. If your coffee warmer doesn’t come with its own matching mug, as a decent number do, you’re best off sticking with a classic ceramic mug.
Glass mugs and cups will work okay, too (though they shouldn’t be left on the warmer for hours at a time), but a ceramic mug will insulate your drink better than a glass one will. Some coffee cup warmers have their own specific requirements for the types of mugs they’re compatible with, so check before buying.
Besides taking the mug’s material into consideration, also use a flat-bottomed or slightly concave-bottomed mug when possible. The more contact the mug has with the warmer, the more effective it’ll be. Cups and mugs with thinner walls will work better, too, since the heat will penetrate them quicker. Larger mugs in general won’t work as well, either. Even if they fit on the warmer, cups larger than 8 ounces are going to take longer to heat up than typically worth waiting for.
VOBAGA Coffee Mug Warmer
This safe, effective, and easy-to-use warmer is one you can rely on.
Pros: There’s a lot to love about this coffee cup warmer. It heats up quicker than most. It’s user-friendly, too. There are only two buttons: one to turn the warmer on and off and the other to adjust the temperature settings between low (104 degrees F), medium (131 degrees F), and high (149 degrees F). The lights are also color-coded for your convenience. The blue on/off button even flashes for a while once turned off to indicate that the warmer is still hot; the light only switches off once the device is fully cooled. And it has an automatic shutoff feature after four hours for your safety.
Cons: Be careful when pressing the buttons of this coffee cup warmer. While they’re nice and easy to use, they’re also quite touch-sensitive. When you first turn on this device, it will automatically start on the highest of the three temperature settings. It’s not compatible with double-insulated or double glass mugs.
Bottom Line: You likely won’t find a coffee cup warmer as reliable as this one from VOBAGA. You can adjust it between three temperature settings. The spill-proof device is also heat- and fire-resistant, so rest assured you can use this warmer safely. Additionally, it’s designed with an automatic shutoff after four hours. As long as you have reliable access to a power outlet, you should love this coffee cup warmer.
Mr. Coffee Mug Warmer
If you're going the economical route, this warmer is definitely worth the investment.
Pros: If you’re trying to be careful with your finances but still want to invest in an effective coffee cup warmer, this might be the model for you. It costs less than most warmers but still warms your coffee (and other hot beverages) effectively. It’s also incredibly straightforward and simple to use. All you have to do is flip the warmer on, set your drink on it, and wait for the indicator light to let you know when it’s heated to completion. The switch is located on the body of the warmer, so you won’t have to fiddle around with the cord, either. And said cord is nice and long, making it easier to find an outlet within reach of your work or study space.
Cons: Its simplicity means there aren’t a lot of handy features that other, similar models possess. There aren’t any temperature adjustment settings. There also isn’t an automatic shutoff safety feature, which could be a fire hazard. It takes a longer time than most for the surface to completely cool down.
Bottom Line: Consider this low-priced but highly effective mug warmer from Mr. Coffee. It’s a 17-watt mug warmer with an easy-to-clean surface, on-and-off indication, and a long power cord. With its useful features and low price, it’s a low-risk, high-reward investment, even for those who don’t drink coffee every single day. It’s the perfect choice for those on a tight budget or those who don’t require fancy features and settings from their coffee cup warmer. However, if you’re prone to forgetting to unplug your devices before leaving the house, you’ll want to opt for a model with an automatic shutoff feature instead.
COSORI Coffee Warmer & Mug Set
This is a high-quality, high-value coffee cup warmer that comes with a matching mug.
Pros: This warmer comes with a matching mug, a built-in silicone mug sleeve to protect your hands, and a mug lid that will help insulate your coffee. Mug and warmer alike are made of rust-free, food-grade stainless steel that gives the whole set a sleek, modern look. The LED display screen and settings buttons only add to this impression. You can use the screen to set the heat to the exact temperature you desire rather than selecting “high”, “medium”, or “low” as your only options. You also have the choice to display the temperature in either Fahrenheit or Celsius.
Cons: While not ridiculously expensive, this coffee cup warmer does cost a bit extra since it comes with its own mug and lid. Despite the price tag falling on the higher end of average, there isn’t a shutoff feature. While you can use the warmer with one of your own regular mugs instead of the included one, it won’t heat your coffee quite as effectively. Keep in mind, too, that it’s strongly recommended to wash the mug by hand.
Bottom Line: This coffee cup warmer is the definition of high-quality. It’s designed with an LED display, touch controls, and a water-resistant plate. The warmer can display temperatures in either Fahrenheit or Celsius and reads temperatures precisely. It also comes with a food-grade stainless steel mug with a cool-touch handle and an ergonomic sleeve. The mug fits perfectly on the warming plate and allows for better thermal conductivity.
COSORI Pressure-Activated Mug Warmer
This coffee cup warmer will only activate when in contact with a mug.
Pros: This slick, shiny, modern-looking coffee cup warmer will look great on a kitchen countertop or office desk. The digital LED display is extremely easy to read. It also offers more precise control than most. You can use the arrows to adjust the temperature anywhere within the warmer’s minimum and maximum temperature range. It also offers a long cord (70 inches) and an auto-shutoff feature. Most notable, though, is its pressure-activated design. It only warms up when a mug or cup is placed atop the device; you won’t have to worry about kids or pets fiddling with the buttons and turning the warmer on by accident.
Cons: Due to the pressure-activated system, this coffee cup warmer can be a bit more finicky about the type of mug you use with it. You also can’t use concaved-bottomed, double-walled, or insulated mugs with this model. It takes longer to heat up than other models.
Bottom Line: This warmer will only activate when a flat-bottomed mug is in contact with the warmer’s plate for maximum safety and energy saving. The warmer also features adjustable temperature settings, an automatic shutoff function, and an LCD display for precise temperature control. It does take longer to heat up than many other warmers on the market, but the end results are worth it, especially if you like to take your time to savor your coffee.
Ember Temperature Control Smart Mug
This mug-style coffee warmer and its matching charging plate offer a new spin on the classic, hot plate-like coffee warmers.
Pros: This warmer is built into the mug, making it the most portable option. You can set it down wherever you want or need to rather than atop the warming plate, without worrying about your coffee cooling down. The battery has a 1.5-hour lifespan on a full charge. If it ever runs low, simply place the mug down on the included charging plate for a while. The built-in LED light will let you know when it’s ready. There’s also an auto-sleep function; the mug powers down automatically after two hours of inactivity or when empty. Picking it up or pouring more liquid in will make it start up again right away. The whole set is scratch-resistant, and it comes with an optional smartphone app that allows you to control the temperature, customize and preset the temperature, and more.
Cons: As convenient and useful as this mug-style coffee warmer is, there’s no denying that it’s more high-maintenance. It’s not safe to use in the microwave or dishwasher due to the battery. Since this is a unique, modern, premium device, it’s much more expensive than most coffee warmers. And while it doesn’t strictly require the paired smartphone app in order to function, there are some features and instructions you won’t be able to access unless you download the app onto your phone.
Bottom Line: This coffee warmer offers a unique, modern spin on classic, hot plate-style coffee cup warmers. The mug, rather than the coaster, is the warmer, and the built-in battery towards the bottom ensures your coffee stays hot for longer. The cordless charger is extremely convenient. The mug itself is a bit high maintenance and the price tag may be too high for some, but as long as these factors aren’t deterrents, you’ll love your new device that is both a mug and warmer in one.
Can you use a coffee cup warmer for other types of drinks?
Yes, you can use a coffee cup warmer for teas, hot chocolate, milk, or any other hot or warm beverage besides coffee. You may want or need to tweak the temperature settings, though. The right temperature for warming a cup of coffee may be different for other drinks.
How expensive are coffee cup warmers?
One nice thing about coffee cup warmers is that they aren’t particularly pricey. Unless it comes as part of a set with its own specialty mug or is a premium mode, it’s rare you’ll see a coffee mug warmer that costs more than $50 or so. Most will run you somewhere in the realm of $20 to $30.
Will coffee cup warmers completely heat up a cold drink?
In theory, yes, although it will take quite a long time to do so. They are less effective than a microwave in this area, as coffee cup warmers were designed first and foremost for maintaining the warmth of already heated drinks. If you have the time to spare and decide you’re not in the mood for, say, cold brew and want a hot cup of coffee instead, you can use your coffee cup warmer to heat your drink.
A coffee cup warmer can be a huge asset to people who find they struggle to drink all their coffee before it goes cold. They’re much more convenient than the microwave, and you can keep them right on your desk. If you don’t want to deal with lukewarm coffee, try one of these coffee cup warmers.
If none of these five options seem quite right for you, here are several other coffee cup warmers we also considered and would recommend: