How Mug Warmers Work

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We all have some difficult and chaotic moments during our busy days. There are always a thousand things to do, and it seems that you can never get everything done on time. Often the cherry on top of a bad day is a cup of coffee, left forgotten on your desk, running disgustingly cold.

Right when you need that warm, delicious cup of joe, this little betrayal can hurt, especially if you don’t have the time to get up and make another cup.

Now you only have two choices remaining. You can either choose to save yourself from that lukewarm coffee and go caffeine-free until you have time, or bite the bullet and chug your tepid drink. But why limit yourself to those two choices? Get yourself a mug warmer, your one-stop solution to cold and neglected beverages, so that you never drink a bleak cup of coffee again.

What Is a Mug Warmer?

Mug warmers are small electric devices that keep your drink warm. They often come in the shape of a coaster. You put your drink on that coaster-like device and it stays warm for as long as you need. The more sophisticated the device, the more function it has.

An average mug warmer is large enough to heat up a cup of beverage, but there are some that might have more than one platform or a bigger base that can hold bowls. A big mug warmer might be able to heat up other food like soups and stews.

Different Features of Mug Warmers

Our basic mug warmer might have only one function, which is keeping your drink warm at one particular temperature. But you have to be careful with these as some can get boiling hot!

Other multifunctional mug warmers can come in various shapes and designs, with numerous temperature settings, auto on/off switches, light or sound indicators, mobile app control, and other cool features. Some even have their own matching cup.

While most mug warmers have a cord you can plug into an outlet or into your desktop/laptop’s USB port, some are cordless. Cordless mug warmers are indispensable when you have to go somewhere without electricity, like a camping trip or a picnic. There are two types of cordless mug warmers. Some need to be charged beforehand, while others run solely on battery.

How Do Mug Warmers Work?

A mug warmer works like a mini hotplate or an electric tea kettle. You need an electricity supply that sends power into the device. Inside the coaster-like device, there are heat coils. The electricity goes into the heat coils which are made of nichrome, an alloy made by combining nickel and chromium. This alloy coil has a high electric resistance, which is how it turns the electrical energy into heat energy, making the mug warmer hot. With a more sophisticated device, you will be able to manipulate and control the temperature using the control buttons or through a smartphone application.

Why Do You Need One?

Mug warmers are essential for busy people. During a busy workday, with no time to spare, no one wants to get up from their desk for a coffee break. All you need to do is make one large cup of coffee and drink it throughout the day as your mug warmer will never let it run cold. It can make you feel invincible, especially if you are addicted to caffeine.

What makes them great is how useful they are. They can heat up any of your beverages and are a lifesaver during winter. They are small and make perfect travel companions, especially the cordless variety. You can literally get stranded on an island and still drink warm beverages with the ones that run on batteries.

Mug Warmer

Mug Warmer Temperature Range

Don’t you just hate it when you get a cappuccino from a coffee chain and you excitedly take a sip without thinking and end up scalding your tongue? The ideal temperature of brewing coffee is between 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit, which is way too hot for drinking. This is why we wait for it to cool down before we drink it. The ideal temperature for enjoying your coffee is around 120-140°F.

Any decent mug warmer comes with a temperature control panel. Being able to control the temperature of your coffee is one of the best features of a good mug warmer. The basic mug warmer temperature range is 120°F to 145°F. Some have an auto shut-off function, which ensures that your coffee never gets too hot. 

So you don’t just get hot coffee; you get it at the exact temperature you want, and depending on the warmer, your cup of coffee can stay constantly at that desired temperature.

What to Look for in a Good Mug Warmer?

A mug warmer is a crucial coffee accessory for a coffee or any other warm beverage lover. Just as it is important to buy the right machine and beans to make a good cup of coffee, to ensure that your coffee stays toasty and delicious, you need the right mug warmer. Try looking into the following functions before setting your heart on a mug warmer:

Temperature Control

One simply cannot emphasize this point enough. This is the main function of the cup warmer. For your ideal cup of warm beverage, you need it to stay at the right temperature. As mentioned before, a cheaper mug warmer with fewer functions will be rigid regarding temperature control.

It is better to buy a mug warmer that has multiple temperature control options. Smart mug warmers that are connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth are fun to use, but they also happen to be way more expensive than generic ones. You can even find wireless chargers with a platform for warming cups!

The right mug warmer will at least have an LED display and buttons that allow you to set the temperature of your hot beverage.

Auto On/Off Plus Indicators

When you are heating up your beverage with a mug warmer, how will you know when it is done? Without an auto shut-off feature, your mug can run too hot, accidentally burning your hand when you reach for it. This basic yet necessary feature is another that you should keep an eye out for.

Some mug warmers have unique indicators, such as a whistle like a tea kettle or any other sounds that will let you know that your drink is sufficiently hot. Having a blinking or colored light feature can attract your attention in a way that is quiet yet pleasing to the eyes. A mug warmer with a ring of colorful LED lights is a great buy. You can also find mug warmers that work like colorful lamps and are quite decorative.

USB or Battery Powered

How efficient your mug warmer is will depend on its power source. We often have a desktop or a laptop on our work desks, which makes having a USB mug warmer more functional. We don’t always have enough switch outlets at work, so this will reduce the need for an extra one.

Battery-powered ones will work anywhere. Whether you are having to work at another office or on a bench at a park outside, you can always get your hot beverage, anywhere and at any time. Cordless battery mug warmers are great because it makes your cup of coffee more portable and travel friendly, so it is one function you might want to check off when selecting your mug warmer.


Do you like to keep your work desk organized and decorated? If you do, then how your mug warmer looks will matter to you. Your mug warmer will become a permanent fixture at your office desk, so it better look nice or you will hate the sight of it.

It is not surprising that after temperature control the next thing people look for in a mug warmer is its aesthetics, which is why you will see that most mug warmers come in at least one or two colors. Some have special designs on the surface like constellations or ceramic designs. You will also find them in various popping colors or with colorful lamp lighting settings.

Other Similar Accessories

If you don’t want to buy a mug warmer, there are a few other options you can check out. For example, you can simply buy a small hot plate, so that your heating option is not limited to beverages. You can also find self-warming cups, which are often more expensive than mug warmers, and there is also a limit on its liquid holding capacity. You could opt for a thermos instead, but you get more versatility with a mug warmer.

Final Thoughts

Mug warmers are a valuable tool for people who need their coffee or tea to stay warm day long. Now that you know how functional and useful they are, you can find one that fulfills all your beverage warming needs today!

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