Last updated: 16/10/2022

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The perfect thing that everyone takes with them to camping, picnics, parties or anywhere else to drink – mugs. The disposable cups are usually cheap and easy to dispose of. Then there are the ones we can use several times around the house. You think to yourself that these are the universal drinking vessels that are suitable for everything. But is it really like that?

Well, unfortunately there are a few complications with cups that you should know about if you are about to make a purchase. That’s why we have decided to give you the most important information in this article in a short and compact way. Here you will learn everything. Starting with different types of cups and their properties, right through to cleaning options.


  • Each material gives the cups their own areas of use. Not every mug is suitable for use everywhere.
  • Shiny engraved, metal and aluminium cups can damage your microwave. Soft plastic and hard paper cups, on the other hand, can melt or dissolve if used at too high a temperature.
  • The advice is always to pay attention to the product description, despite the typical properties of each material. It may be that the manufacturers have ensured that the cup is not suitable for a certain use, or only under certain circumstances.

The Best Mug in the United Kingdom: Our Choices

Buying and rating criteria for mugs

When buying mugs, there are various factors, each with their own weighting depending on their intended use. That is why we have included the most important ones in our test. They are as follows:

Below we have provided brief explanations of these aspects.


This feature is probably the most important compared to the others. What the cup is made of ultimately determines what you can do with it. Moreover, it does not only concern the areas of application, but also the cleaning. If there are small children in your household and the cups are bought for them, something fragile or life-threatening is not recommended.

Also, you may still want to use the cups for creative purposes, like painting. Here again, the fabric plays a role.

The material is the main difference between the various cups. For this reason, you can only divide the cups into different types on the basis of this property. This will be discussed later in this article.


The capacity of a cup describes how much of something fits in the cup. Here again, you have to consider what you want to use the cup(s) for. For example, when coffee is drunk from mugs, smaller sizes are often chosen. This is because strong coffee is often drunk and small doses of it are very common. The larger cups, on the other hand, are mainly used for drinking soft drinks, water or tea.

Of course, not every person has exactly this kind of drinking behaviour. It is still possible to drink coffee from larger cups. In any case, you have to pay attention to your own preferences.


This is mainly an aesthetic feature. In itself, it has no great functional value, except that one’s own preferences play a role here. Small children would prefer to drink from coloured cups. This makes feeding much easier. The colour can contribute to the enjoyment of a drink, even for adults.


Just as with colour, print is a matter of aesthetics. For smaller ones, it is tempting to see animals, cars or other drawings on it. Adults, on the other hand, prefer something plainer.

If a mug is to become a gift, a matching print could make or break everything. “Best Dad / Mom Ever”, “Co-Worker Of The Year” or similar makes the whole gift. If you want to make it more personal, you can grab a paintbrush and create your own imprint. However, the material should be considered here and the right colour should be purchased.

Guide: Frequently asked questions on the subject of mugs answered in detail

Everything about mugs may seem obvious. However, there are questions that might help everyone make the right choice of mug. Here are the most important ones.

What are cups?

For many people, the difference between a mug and a cup or glass is not quite clear. After all, who cares in everyday life anyway? Just pour it in and drink it. However, we answer this question for those who want to get to the bottom of it.

The first characteristic is the cylindrical shape. What distinguishes a cup from a mug is that cups have no foot or handle. The difference from a glass, on the other hand, is quite simple. A glass is made of the material glass. Mugs, on the other hand, are made of materials other than glass.

What types of mugs are there?

As mentioned before, we divide cups into different types based on their material. This is because it usually limits the areas of use.

  • Soft plastic cups: These cups are often used only once. They are good if there is a risk that the cups could be broken or lost. They are perfect for parties, picnics or other situations after which the accessories can be easily disposed of. What you should be careful of, however, is that hot drinks from this cup should be avoided. They can melt at higher temperatures or become very fragile.
  • Hard plastic cups: These cups are a good alternative to soft plastic cups. They can be used well for celebrations when waste should be avoided. They are more expensive but can be used several times. Because the material is so light and the cups are usually coloured, they are also good for small children.
  • Cups made of hard paper: Although they are also unique, like those made of soft plastic, these are also usually made of recyclable paper. This means that they are more environmentally friendly. Coffee or tea is usually taken from such mugs on the way.
  • Mugs made of melamine: Mugs made of melamine are very light and relatively difficult to break. These two properties make such mugs perfect for use with young children.

There are also many other materials that have different properties. However, there are also too many to describe them all.


Nowadays it helps if you use environmentally friendly materials. Recyclable paper cups are a good example. (Image source: Adnan Ahmed / Unsplash)

How much do cups usually cost?

There is a very abundant choice on the market when it comes to cups. Diverse types of cups with different price ranges and different quantities create a lot of confusion and ambiguity. Because of this, we have created a table that roughly summarises these parameters and shows what might be available at what price range.

Price range available products
4 – 10 € various sets of 50 simple soft plastic and hard paper cups, sets of 6 hard plastic cups, various simple single cups
10 – 15 € various sets of 50 to 100 soft plastic and hard paper cups, sets of 12 hard plastic cups, various individual cups with prints or engravings made of higher quality materials
15 – 25 € various sets of up to 250 soft plastic or hard paper cups, sets of 30 hard plastic cups, sets of 6 melanin cups, various individual cups with imprints or engravings made of high quality materials
from 25 € various sets up to 1000 sets of soft plastic or hard paper cups, high-quality individual cups with engravings and imprints

The distinctions between the price ranges are relatively fluid, as different suppliers offer the mugs with different quality and with individual pricing. Nevertheless, the table provides a rough overview.

Are mugs suitable for baking, and if so, which ones?

Again, we are forced to answer this question depending on the material of the cup. The “oak plastic cups are not suitable for cooking, i.e. microwave and oven. They melt at high temperatures. You should avoid using plastic when cooking anyway, because there is a risk that microplastics will end up in your food.

Things look better with hard plastic cups. Depending on their characteristics, they may be suitable for microwaving. But you would have to check the product description. Just like soft plastic cups, they are not suitable for ovens.

The hard paper cups can be heated in the microwave. However, they do not always last and may start to disintegrate after the second or third use. They are also not suitable for an oven. However, microplastic is no longer an issue with these cups.

Mellanine cups are perfect for feeding small children. However, you would have to heat up the food in another container beforehand. These cups are usually not intended for microwaves and certainly not for ovens.

For cups made of other materials, you would have to pay attention to the product description. For example, mugs made of stoneware can be used in the oven. In any case, the oven must not already be preheated. Mugs with shiny engravings must not be used in a microwave or oven. The same applies to aluminium and metal, because they can start to spark when exposed to high heat.

Can all cups be washed in the dishwasher?

In general, all cups except soft plastic and hard paper cups can be washed in a dishwasher. Hard paper cups would dissolve in large amounts of water, and soft plastic may start to melt as hot water is used in the wash. Nevertheless, the advice to pay attention to the product description still applies. Exceptions may still be present.


In itself, the topic of “mugs” seems to be a very superficial one. However, beneath this surface are several small nuances that may have a greater significance than you think.

If you make the right decision, it is possible to protect your own health, and especially that of your younger children. And if you are well informed, you can even save the life of your microwave or oven.

(Cover photo: Layne Harris / Unsplash)