Emily Tested 3 “Self-Heating” Mugs At 3 Different Price Points And Here Is Her Honest Review Of Each One

When I first heard about this $120 robot mug I was like, “what has the tech world invented now?” I pictured a bunch of dudes in Silicon Valley sitting around, trying to find a problem to solve with a new ... The post Emily Tested 3 “Self-Heating” Mugs At 3 Different Price Points And Here Is Her Honest Review Of Each One appeared first on Emily Henderson.

Emily Tested 3 “Self-Heating” Mugs At 3 Different Price Points And Here Is Her Honest Review Of Each One

When I first heard about this $120 robot mug I was like, “what has the tech world invented now?” I pictured a bunch of dudes in Silicon Valley sitting around, trying to find a problem to solve with a new product to sell us. But then I realized how many times I go to the microwave to heat up my coffee when it goes cold. AH. That’s why. But I still couldn’t believe it was that expensive and I thought surely there was a more affordable version on the market. So before Christmas I bought all three (with the intent to review them in December, thus the holiday styling) and then regift them for Christmas gifts. None of which happened because, LIFE, but heck maybe it’s a better time now as people are hunkered down in the cold and wanting their life-blood/coffee to stay hotter longer. So I bought three at three different price points and after weeks of trying them out here is my review:

Wait, What Exactly Is An Electronic Mug?

Well. These bad boys sit on their little pad, which heats them up (through different methods) and the idea is that they stay hot for hours, tasting fresh and not disgusting. In theory I’m into this, but I’m also skeptical that this is something we NEED and doesn’t in fact just create more “stuff”. We drink a decent amount of coffee in the mornings – usually a cup while I walk the pups then I sip on another cup for a couple of house (thus the reheating). So technically I am a great candidate for this mug, but I’m also easily annoyed by technical difficulties so I avoid unnecessary tech at all times. So we need to explore the pros and cons and ensure that the pros outweigh the cons

Mug #1: Ember Mug² Temperature Control Smart Mug

Ember Mug² Temperature Control Smart Mug

This is the most famous and expensive of them all. The Ember was first to market (or first to social media) and runs $130. That’s a lot for a mug, so he better heat your coffee and change the oil in your tires or at least our AC filters twice a year. This is what it says:

“Enjoy hot drinks longer with an innovative mug that stays at your preferred temperature for up to 1.5 hours or all day on the charging coaster. Pair the smart mug to the Ember app on your smartphone to set the temperature, customize presets for your favorite drinks, receive notifications when your desired temperature is reached, personalize your mug and more. Advanced technology intelligently turns the mug on and off and keeps every sip the same temperature from top to bottom.”

This cracks me up. While it’s my preferred mug of the three because of portability, no bros, we don’t need to set different temperatures for different drinks via an app and I certainly don’t want more push notifications on my phone.

Pros: The biggest pro with this one is that it can be cordless (for an hour and a half) while the other two have to remain plugged in and on charging coasters. For me, this becomes the instant deal breaker and preference as I don’t sit at a desk against a wall and their cords aren’t long. I would be knocking over my mug every time I got up, or if the pups came over to say hi. Having this one cordless made it essentially the only one that I can use. Now if you have a desk against a wall or with an outlet directly underneath it you have options. I also like that the mug nestles into the charging coaster (not just sitting on it) as it feels more secure and you know if/when it’s plugged in right. It holds a decent amount of coffee (seems around 6 ounces) and the handle is comfortable.

When I remember to charge it and I’m sitting in one spot (I like to move around). It’s pretty darn wonderful to have hot fresh coffee for hours to sip slowly. I would prefer for the temperature to be controlled on the device itself (sometimes I’ll look at the app and it’s turned down for some reason and I like my coffee really hot). Per usual, the frustrations with tech are often not worth the “convenience” they provide. I’m really selling this thing aren’t I?

Cons: I don’t want an app for everything. I love a good old-fashioned on-and-off button. I know I’m not alone, but boy the tech industry wants us to have every device controlled by our phone (unsure if this is mostly to track behaviors). Sure, on the app you can control the temperature and know the amount of charge you have but again, I’d rather that be just on the pad.

OVERALL CON: This is for all of them – they need to be charged nightly and they don’t seem to hold their charge for hours. Now that’s fine, we can’t have everything in life but that means it’s another device you have to remember to charge at night or it’s useless. When I first started using it, it kept running out and then getting cold. But then you can’t microwave the mugs (or put them in the dishwasher) so you have to transfer to a microwaveable mug to heat up your tepid coffee that you spent $120 buying a mug for. I just couldn’t believe that it didn’t hold the charge for longer, that’s all. But I’m not an inventor so maybe this is really hard?

Mug #2: OHOM Ui Mug & Warmer Set

OHOM Ui Mug & Warmer Set

This one is electromagnetic (maybe they all are) so it’s not hot to the touch and keeps coffee hot for a pretty long time. I didn’t test it for more than 2 hours, but for those 2 hours, it was indeed hot.

Pros: This is dishwasher safe (not all of them are) and it also charges your iPhone (this is a lovely addition). It’s also a nice color and design. It’s also more affordable than the Ember, coming in at $88 (check their site for the second-run versions that are functional but have imperfections on the outside. You get 2 for 44$ random colors chosen).

Cons: Needs to remain plugged in to heat. The mug itself keeps the coffee hot for 10 or so minutes (in my experience) without being on the charging coaster, but typically it needs to sit on it to remain really hot. It also says “self-heating” but that feels misleading to me because you aren’t meant to put in cold coffee to make it hot (I don’t think) so it’s more about retaining heat and maybe making it slightly hotter. This one also has a strainer you can buy separately so you can do a pour over coffee or tea straight into the mug. From my experience to keep it super hot you have to put the ceramic lid on it, which is another task for me to do. If you don’t it does cool down a bit. Again, I like really hot coffee so it kinda defeats the purpose (Ember stayed hotter).

Mug #3: Amazon BestSeller – Apexx Induction Mug

Apexx Induction Mug

This Apexx Induction Mug one was an Amazon bestseller during the holidays, likely because it comes in at $32 – a huge drop in price from the other two. It looks nice for sure but I found that it was hard to get it to charge (which it needs to in order to stay hot) and was frustrated easily by it. When it did work, it would stay hot for 20 minutes or so but you’d have to put the ceramic lid on it.

Pros: Affordable and looks nice. The packaging was strangely high-end if you are into that sort of thing. Charges phone or earbuds on the coaster as well. No app needed.

Cons: Mine was glitchy, you have to keep it plugged in, use the ceramic lid, and even so it didn’t keep it scalding hot – just warmer than if you didn’t have the coaster. But if someone likes warm coffee for longer, I suppose it does that job (just not super hot).

And The Best Self-Warming Mug Goes To…

All in all, I’m sorry and not terribly surprised to admit that the expensive Ember Mug does this particular job the best. It stays hotter for longer without the need for the ceramic lid, can be cordless so less of a risk to knock over, and you can move around the house. I just recently read that you don’t have to download the app and that it will default at 135 degrees (which is very hot and hotter than the other two) and there is a dial on the bottom that I didn’t realize. It’s splurgy though. For my life, I only really sit one day a week when I write, so it’s not enough of a value add for my life (especially because there are more parts to keep track of). I’d rather just use a to-go thermos or microwave my mug. However, if you sit at a desk for many hours in the morning, one near a wall or have an outlet on your desk, I will say this is a solidly good purchase or gift. But it’s not for the casual morning drinker or someone who drinks coffee at the dining table. The convenience of all of these becomes inconvenient when you have to remember to plug it in and keep it charged, so IMHO you have to give it a designated desk and outlet and use it daily to make it worth it.

*Photos by Kaitlin Green

The post Emily Tested 3 “Self-Heating” Mugs At 3 Different Price Points And Here Is Her Honest Review Of Each One appeared first on Emily Henderson.