The Best Flash Drive for a Small Business


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The ability to transfer large files in a flash drive is a huge convenience. It allows small businesses to be more efficient in an increasingly more mobile ecosystem. And as the price for storage continues to fall, it is both affordable and convenient to carry large amounts of storage in a small form factor. The best flash drive for a small business in this list provides plenty of storage with the latest transfer speed specifications.

The key to getting the right flash drive for your business is to find out what you will be storing and transferring in them. While documents without images are easy enough to transfer in any flash drive, media files can take some time. Flash drives with the latest transfer rate specifications are the way to go because you can use them on any computer, and they are backward compatible.

Security is also an issue as some files are much too important to fall in the wrong hands. From transfer speeds to security, the flash drives on this list give you an idea of what is available in the market.



Best Flash Drive for a Small Business

SAMSUNG BAR Plus 256GB

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Top Pick: Samsung is the leading supplier of memory in the world, and the company’s flash drives are the best in the world. This particular drive has 256GB of storage with the USB 3.1 specification. Samsung uses V-NAND technology with enhanced read/write performance and transfer speeds of 400MB/s. and it is backward compatible with USB 3.0, USB 2.0.

The drive has a rugged metal casing to safeguard your data. And it is waterproof, shockproof, magnet proof, temperature proof, and x-ray proof.

This drive is ?1.58 x 0.61 x 0.47 inches and weighs 0.04 ounces.

SAMSUNG BAR Plus 256GB – 400MB/s USB 3.1 Flash Drive Champagne Silver (MUF-256BE3/AM)

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SanDisk 256GB Ultra Dual Drive USB

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Runner Up: Like Samsung, SanDisk is also a leading manufacturer of flash memory. This flash drive has both USB 3.1 and Type-C connectors. This allows you to use it on PCs as well as smartphones with Type-C ports with a retractable design.

You get high-speed transfer speeds of up to 150MB/s across Type-C enabled smartphones, tablets, and PC/Mac computers.

This drive is ?1.5 x 0.81 x 0.37 inches and weighs 0.321 ounces.

SanDisk 256GB Ultra Dual Drive USB Type-C – USB-C, USB 3.1

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PNY 1TB Turbo Attaché 3

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Best Value: As a leading manufacturer of flash memory cards, PNY offers some of the best value in the market. This is a 1TB USB 3.1 flash drive with read speeds up to 200MB/s and write speeds up to 100MB/s. The transfer speeds are up to 30 times faster than standard PNY USB 2.0 flash drives.

It is compatible with the current USB 3.1 Gen 1/USB 3.0 PC and Mac laptops and desktops. Likewise, it is backward compatible with USB 2.0 host devices at USB 2.0 speeds.

This drive is 2.11 x 0.76 x 0.37 inches and weighs ?0.634 ounces.

PNY 1TB Turbo Attaché 3 USB 3.1 Flash Drive

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SanDisk 1TB Extreme PRO

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This SanDisk uses Solid State Drive technology to store your data. And in this case, you will get read speeds up to 420MB/s and write speeds up to 380MB/s. This will require a USB 3.2 Gen 1 or USB 3.0 port.

SanDisk includes its SecureAccess encryption software to keep critical files safe. And it also offers RescuePRO Deluxe data recovery software, which recovers accidentally deleted files. This drive has USB 2.0 and 3.0 backward compatibility and comes with a Lifetime limited manufacturer’s warranty.

This drive is 2.79 x 0.84 x 0.45 inches and weighs 0.64 ounces.

SanDisk 1TB Extreme PRO USB 3.2 Solid State Flash Drive

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Corsair Flash Voyager GTX 512GB USB

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This Corsair uses a high-speed 3D NAND memory to deliver read speeds up to 440MB/second and write speeds up to 440MB/second. The drive uses USB 3.1 Gen 1 protocol, but it is USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 backward compatible.

The drive is CORSAIR SSD Toolbox ready so you can format, partition, and optimize drive performance. And the Universal Operating System compatibility lets you work on Windows, macOS, and Linux without installing a driver.

This is a rugged flash drive with a zinc-alloy housing and aluminum accents coming in at 0.42 x 1.04 x 3.07 inches and weighing 1.82 ounces.

Corsair Flash Voyager GTX 512GB USB 3.1 Premium Flash Drive

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iStorage datAshur PRO² 128 GB Secure Flash Drive

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Increasing the security of your data is always a good thing. And the iStorage datAshur PRO² gives you the ability to secure your drive with a physical and software encryption solution. With this 512GB device, you get a PIN authenticated hardware encrypted USB flash drive. All you have to do is enter a 7-15 digit PIN to authenticate and use it as a normal USB flash drive.

As soon as you disconnect the drive, it encrypts your data using AES-XTS 256-bit hardware encryption. Best of all you don’t need any special software, the datAshur PRO2 will work on any device with a USB port. It is also FIPS 140-2 Level 3 certified to help you stay compliant with data regulations such as HIPAA, GDPR, and CCPA.

It is compatible with: MS Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome, Android, Thin Clients, Zero Clients, Embedded Systems, Citrix, and VMware. The USB 3.2 provides up to 168MB/s read speeds and up to 116MB/s write speeds as well as backward compatibility with previous USB versions. If that is not enough, it is dust and water-resistant (IP68 certified).

This drive is 3.44 x 0.76 x 0.53 inches and weighs 0.704 ounces.

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Lexar JumpDrive S47 128GB

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Another manufacturer of flash drives, Lexar offers some great storage value. This drive has a very small factor but still manages to provide 128GB of storage with USB 3.1. The 3.1 (Gen 1) is backward compatible with USB 3.0 and 2.0 devices. It has read speeds of up to 250MB/s and it is compatible with PC and Mac operating systems.

Additionally, Lexar provides DataVault Lite software, an advanced security solution with 256-bit AES encryption to protect your data.

This drive is only 0.68 x 0.58 x 0.29 inches, weighs a mere 0.08 ounces, and comes with three-year limited product support.

Lexar JumpDrive S47 128GB USB 3.1 Flash Drive

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Features of Flash Drives

When you are looking to buy a flash drive, choose one with a large capacity. One because you don’t want to run out of space when you need it, and two the price difference is not that significant up to 256GBs. With that in mind, here are some of the features you should look out for when buying the best flash drive for a small business.

  • Portability: It is given flash drives are small and portable. However, make sure they are not so small you can lose them. Look for loops and clips so you can attach them to your keys, belt loops, bags, etc.
  • Durability: The very design of a flash drive makes it durable. The key is to buy drives with a hard case made of metals, alloys, or very hard plastics.
  • Capacity: You can get drives from hundreds of megabytes to terabytes. But storage capacity alone is not enough, transfer rate being another important factor.
  • Transfer rate: When you connect devices with different USB specifications, the transfer rate is going to be limited by the slowest of the connected devices. If you have 500GB of data you want to transfer, you don’t want a 2.0 drive with megabytes per second rate. The latest specification in USB drives can transfer up to 20Gbs, which will zip through those 500Gbs in a breeze.
  • Compatibility: Make sure your flash drive and computer are compatible when it comes to formats. If you have a 2.0 USB computer and a 3.1 USB flash drive, the transfer rate is going to throttle down to 2.0. And vice versa if the flash is 2.0 and the computer is 3.1.

Failure Rate of USB Flash Drives

Flash drives will fail as you write and delete more files. You can write over the standard USB flash drive between 3,000 to 100,000 before it fails. However, it can go as high as millions of write and erase operations. But technology being what it is, anything can happen at any given moment.

Other factors responsible for your flash drive failing include eject/mount and electrical component failure. This means you shouldn’t remove the drive while it is still accessing files or communicating with your computer.

As the drive starts to reach its limit, segments of the memory may start failing resulting in data corruption and even loss. That is why it is always wise to store your data in more than one place. And of course, the longevity of your flash drive will greatly depend on the quality of the manufacturer. Look for manufacturers using grade A memory and have ISO-9001:2008 certified factories.

Storage Capacity

First, the capacity of a drive is more likely to be lower than the stated amount once the drive is formatted and mounted on an operating system. But there is a larger discrepancy, such as seeing 7.48GB on an 8GB flash drive on a Windows PC.

This is because storage manufacturers use the 1KB = 1000 bytes denomination and RAM manufacturers use 1KB = 1024KB denomination. So, when you insert the 8GB flash drive, your PC is reading it in denominations of 1024. And while it reads less than 8GB, you still have 8GB of available storage, minus the formatting.

Flash Drive Security

If you are using your flash drive to store extremely sensitive information, you must look into more robust security measures. The good news is you can now get flash drives with physical pins to access the drive. Furthermore, there are additional encryption tools you can use to access the drive as well as the files within the drive.

USB Formats

Even though USB 2.0 (60MBs transfer rate) is still around, USB 3.0 is now the standard manufacturers are using. Technically, 3.0 is supposed to have top speeds of 5Gbps, but many factors come to play in achieving those numbers.

Now there are 3.1, 3.2, USB 3.2 Gen1, and Gen 2×2 with max speeds of 20Gbps. There is also a USB 4 on the way with 40Gbps. Again, it is worth mentioning, your computer must be compatible in order to achieve these high transfer rates. There are also flash drives with USB-A and USB-C connectors so you can hook them up on phones, tablets, and laptops with these ports.

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Should I Start My Business as a Sole Proprietor or a Limited Liability Company?


When times get tough, the tough start new businesses. Or at least that was the case in 2020 when the Census Bureau recorded a substantial uptick in business formations. And so far, the trend hasn’t slowed. In May 2021 alone, more than  500,000 new business applications were filed across the U.S. Want to join the crowd? Here’s how to get started.



Sole Proprietor vs. LLC

The first step to business ownership (after you’ve thought up your million-dollar idea, of course) is structuring your startup. By far, the simplest and least costly option is a sole proprietorship. But simple doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right choice for your new venture. Gaining in popularity is the single-member limited liability company or LLC. Let’s break them down to help you make an informed decision. 

The Sole Proprietorship

As we mentioned above, the sole proprietorship is the easiest business structure to form. Unless a business owner registers the company as a formal legal entity, the state where the business owner lives and conducts business considers the company a sole proprietorship by default.

Sole proprietors are self-employed, but all self-employed individuals are not necessarily sole proprietors. The difference is murky and lies in the operational aspects of the business. “Self-employed” could refer to an independent contractor with one or many clients. Independent contractors are paid by other companies or individuals and receive 1099s during tax season. Sole proprietors typically have a separate business name and business bank account. However, if the business owner doesn’t register the business name with the state, the business owner’s first and last name is, by default, the business’s name.

Many sole proprietors prefer to run their companies under a name that better describes what their business does. In that case, an owner must file for a “fictitious name” or a “trade name” with the Secretary of State of their state. Referred to as “Doing Business As (DBA),” its purpose is to give consumers protection against dishonest companies. For sole proprietors, DBAs help establish a separate professional business identity.

There is no legal separation between the sole proprietor and the business. Sole proprietors are not deemed employees of their companies and, therefore, do not receive W-2s. Profits and losses are passed through to the owner and filed with the owner’s taxes on a Schedule C (IRS Form 1040) “Profit or Loss From Business.” The tax deadline is the same as the personal income tax deadline.

Typically, a sole proprietor pays quarterly estimated tax payments and is also responsible for paying self-employment taxes such as Social Security and Medicare taxes. Many sole proprietors do not have employees; they file taxes and business documents with their social security numbers. However, some banking institutions do not allow a business bank account to be opened without a Federal Tax ID number, which is available from the IRS. Also, when employees are hired, the sole proprietor must obtain a Federal Tax ID number or Employer Identification Number (EIN).

Limited Liability Company (LLC) 

In a sole proprietorship, the owner and the business are one legal and tax-paying entity. Not so, in an LLC. An LLC is a business structure registered in and regulated by the state. The LLC structure can be single-member (one owner) or multi-member (more than one owner). Owners are called members, and in a multi-member LLC, the entity can be member-managed or managed by a designated manager. 

The main difference between an LLC and a sole proprietorship is the LLC is considered a separate legal entity from its owner/s. Like a corporation, the separation offers the owner some protection from the liabilities of the company. However, unlike a corporation, the registration fees are manageable, and the ongoing compliance requirements are less stringent.

Other key points about LLCs include:

  • LLCs are recognized in all U.S. states; however, the fees and regulations vary.
  • LLCs protect their members by providing a level of personal liability protection from debts and legal mishaps of the business.
  • LLCs create and file formation documents, register in a state, and pay a filing fee.
  • LLCs are required to keep company records and finances separate from those of the members.
  • LLCs, by default, pass through the business’s profits and losses to the owner(s) unless the members choose to file as a C Corp (which taxes the company and the members on income).

As we explained, although the LLC is considered a separate entity from its members, the default tax method is pass-through. In other words, income taxes get paid at the individual member level rather than at the entity level. Profits and losses get reported on the owners’ tax returns, and salaries are subject to employment tax. LLC members do have flexibility on how they choose to be taxed, however. LLC members can determine their allocations and be taxed accordingly. If they choose to be taxed as a C Corp, they will have to pay taxes at the entity level and the member level, but they can also take advantage of the tax credits and deductions only allowed to corporations. 

Which is Right for You?

The most significant advantage to the LLC over the sole proprietorship is the protection it offers the owner from the liabilities of the business, so you’ll need to carefully consider what kind of things could go wrong and what insurance won’t cover if they do. 

Operating a sole proprietorship works for many startups, especially if you don’t want to deal with the compliance formalities of the LLC, you don’t plan on hiring employees, and if you sell products or services with minimal associated legal risks.

If your business has inherent risks or plans to bring on investors or additional partners, a more formal legal structure like an LLC is a better idea. Confer with an attorney and accountant before deciding, and be sure to consider every legal and tax angle. 

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Why This Nobel Prize Winner Did Not End Up Where He Thought


When I was growing up, my mother told me that life would be linear; every year I would get promoted and I would make money. I expected that “my happiness” with my career would constantly increase. As we all know, life doesn’t quite work out that way.

On the Small Business Radio Show this week, I talk with Dr. Bob Lefkowitz who is a Nobel-Prize-winning scientist for Chemistry who is best known for showing how adrenaline works via stimulation of specific receptors. He was trained at Columbia, the National Institutes of Health and Harvard before joining the faculty at Duke University. He is the author of “A Funny Thing Happened on The Way To Stockholm” with Randy Hall.

Interview with Dr. Bob Lefkowitz

Bob explains that “there is so much pressure to decide what you want to be when you grow up. College is for having many different experiences. You want to find something you love and that you have aptitude for…” In his late 20’s, Bob dreamed about being a family physician. He went to a special high school, then medical school to become a cardiologist. But in 1966, because of the Vietnam War, he was drafted to do research stateside. By the time Bob finished his assignment, he decided to stay in the lab and be a physician scientist.

According to Bob, the ideal career is one what you are so focused on what you are doing that it just flows. He recounts one of his favorite stories; “I was busy working in a lab, had to give a seminar in the next building. I rushed to the classroom and found very eager looking graduate students. I talked for 5 minutes, and the kids were scribbling, and I thought they were taking notes. But then one student interrupted me and said ‘I am afraid you are in the wrong place- this is the final for biochemistry 101!’ I asked why didn’t you stop me? The student explained that I seemed so into what I was talking about, I didn’t want to stop you!”

Bob also recounts his service in the Public Health Corps with Dr. Anthony Fauci and what they learned there. Listen to the entire interview on the Small Business Radio Show.

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More Consumers Demand Shipping Transparency from Retail Businesses


Online consumer purchases are increasing, and this means more shipping. And according to the latest research from ShipStation, more consumers are demanding shipping transparency from retail businesses.

Consumers Demanding Shipping Transparency

It is only natural for consumers to want a better shipping experience as they make more online purchases. And part of this experience now demands transparency in how retail businesses ship their products. ShipStation says, “COVID-19 and the supply chain issues of 2020 have heightened consumers’ expectations for visibility into their shipping and delivery.”

According to its research, more than 85% of consumers want full visibility into shipping timelines before making any online purchase. Simply put, they want to know when they will get their item before they buy anything. Furthermore, they also want better visibility into the cost and timelines associated with shipping.

So, what is a retailer to do? The report says businesses have to provide real-time shipping rates and delivery estimates during the checkout. This will encourage more sales and inspire customer loyalty because they can better gauge when they will get their items.

Consumers also have higher expectations from the companies they do business with. In a similar survey from ShipStation, 87% say shipping and delivery experience directly impacts their decision to shop with the merchant again. For retailers who are seeing more of their sales coming from online purchases, shipping is going to be the new customer service measuring stick.

The survey goes on to reveal online spending is trending upward as well as:

  • 57% feel more financially stable than last year and more comfortable spending.
  • 74% of consumers say they will prefer to shop online vs. in-store even after the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
  • 43% of consumers say they are less likely to shop with brands not offering curbside pickup options indefinitely.
  • Even after the pandemic is over, more than half say they expect brands to offer free shipping.

Offering More Options

The key, according to the ShipStation report, is to give customers more options when it comes to getting their products. For local small businesses that are not shipping, offering curbside pickup is a great option. Likewise, you can also use local delivery services to get your products to your customers. You can add a surcharge for the convenience to customers that are willing to pay for it. The key is to provide the option.

The report says providing these options is responsible for increased customer satisfaction. Adding, “Retailers should continue to find ways to incorporate these options as standard practice to keep consumers long-term.”

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The Best Computer Microphone for Small Business Use


If you buy something through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

Running a small business in a digital ecosystem also requires being media savvy. And this means being able to communicate effectively, which entails having the right tools. The best computer microphone for small business use on this list will provide high-quality sound that will let everyone hear what you are saying clearly.

This is not to say the microphones that come with desktops, laptops, tablets, or even smartphones are bad. But it is safe to say they don’t deliver the highest quality audio. Especially if you are outdoors, in a big space, or have bad internet connectivity. This doesn’t mean you need to buy a studio-grade professional microphone setup.

At the end of the day, you want what you say to be heard as clearly as possible. And if you want to sound professional, you will need an external microphone. Take a look at the best microphones for computers on our list for your next small business conversation.



Best Computer Microphone for Small Business Use

Blue Yeti USB Mic

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Top Pick: The Yet is a multi-pattern USB microphone that combines three capsules and four different pattern settings. This mic can capture sounds in cardioid, omnidirectional, and bidirectional patterns. You can use it on everything from conference calls to podcasts and recordings.

It uses a high-quality A-D converter, a built-in headphone amplifier for zero-latency monitoring, and direct controls for headphone volume, pattern selection, instant mute, and microphone gain. And you get all these features without having to install a driver, just plug it in your computer to use it.

The mic is compatible with Windows 10, Windows 8 (including 8.1), and Mac OS X (10.4.11 or higher). It delivers a bit depth/sample rate of 16-bit/48kHz, frequency response of 20Hz k-20kHz, max SPL of 120dB.

This microphone is 4.9 x 4.7 x 11.6 inches, weighs 1.2 lbs. (the stand is 2.2 lbs.), and you get a 2-year Limited Warranty.

Blue Yeti USB Mic 3 Condenser Capsules, 4 Pickup Patterns, Headphone Output and Volume Control, Mic Gain Control

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Apogee Hype Mic

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Runner Up: HypeMiC balances audio dynamics to deliver broadcast-ready output with great clarity. It provides sound quality up to 24-bit/96kHz with its premium cardioid condenser microphone capsule. And the headphone output delivers zero-latency recording. The mic comes with a tripod, pop filter, and carrying case and it uses lightning USB (Type-C) and USB (Type-A) to hook up to your computer.

HypeMiC is compatible with any Mac/PC and iOS app that allows you to select an audio device. The mic is 4.88 x 1.5 x 1.5 inches and weighs 7.2 ounces.

Apogee Hype Mic – USB Microphone with Analog Compression for Capturing Vocals and Instruments, Streaming, Podcasting, and Gaming

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Samson G-Track Pro Microphone

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Best Value: This mic from Samson is an all-in-one professional USB microphone with an audio interface delivering 24-bit, 96kHz. On the mic, you get a front panel mixer with microphone level, instrument level, and headphone volume controls. You can also select Mono or 2-Track recording modes and Direct Monitor on/off.

Two 1″ (25 millimeter) condenser capsules provide three selectable pick-up patterns – cardioid (unidirectional), bidirectional and omnidirectional. This gives this mic frequency response rate of 50Hz–20kHz.

The microphone is made with die-cast zinc construction with a heavy gauge mesh grille and an integrated desktop base. It is 11 x 6 x 6 inches and weighs 3.72 pounds. 

Samson Technologies Samson G-Track Pro Professional USB Condenser Microphone with Audio Interface

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HyperX QuadCast – USB Condenser Microphone

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The HyperX QuasCast is a standalone condenser mic with quality sound. You can choose between the four polar patterns (Cardioid, Bidirectional, Omnidirectional, and Stereo) on the mic. It also lets you adjust the sensitivity by using the gain control knob. And when it comes to muting the mic, an ingenious sensor on top cuts the sound off with a simple tap.

An anti-vibration shock mount helps reduce the sound of any movements and a built-in pop filter also reduces muffles or popping noises. The mic has a sample/bit rate of 48Hz/16-bit, frequency response of 20Hz – 20kHz, and sensitivity at -36dB (1V/Pa at 1kHz).

You can plug in this mic into a PC, PS4 and 5, or Mac with a USB cable. At ?5.05 x 4 x 9.8 inches, the mic weighs 1.6 pounds with the shock mount and stand.

HyperX QuadCast – USB Condenser Gaming Microphone, Four Polar Patterns, Pop Filter, Gain Control,

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Rode NT-USB Cardioid Condenser Microphone

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Rode is one of the most widely used microphones by podcasters, vloggers, and musicians. The NT-USB is a side-address microphone ideal for everything from spoken application to musical recordings. A premium pop-filter that minimizes plosives during speech or singing is included along with a stand mount with industry-standard 3/8″ thread.

The NT-USB has a cardioid polar pattern with a 16-bit resolution, a frequency range of 20Hz – 20kHz, and a maximum SPL of 110dB.

This mic is fully compatible with all mainstream recording applications on both Windows and Mac OS-based computers. This mic is 2.44 x 1.97 x 7.24 inches and weighs 1.15 pounds.

Rode NT-USB Versatile Studio-Quality USB Cardioid Condenser Microphone, Black

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Audio-Technica Cardioid Condenser USB Microphone

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The AT2020USB+ is a cardioid condenser mic with a USB output. It has an A/D converter with a 16-bit, 44.1/48 kHz sampling rate to deliver accurate sound reproduction. The mix controls on the mic lets you blend your microphone signal and pre-recorded audio. And you can monitor the mic signal from the headphone jack volume control with no delay.

With this mic, you get frequency response rates of 20- 20,000Hz,

This mic is 6.38 x 2.05 x 2.05 inches and weighs 2.6 pounds.

Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ Cardioid Condenser USB Microphone, With Built-In Headphone Jack and Volume Control

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Samson Go Mic Portable USB Condenser Microphone

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A portable microphone allows you to generate a quality sound when you are outside of your office. The Samson Go Mic Compact USB mic has a fold-up design for professional recordings anywhere you go. This mic has cardioid and omnidirectional pickup patterns.

The plug-and-play operation makes it compatible with a Mac or PC laptop. The frequency response is 20Hz–18kHz with a 16-bit, 44.1kHz resolution.

This mic is 6 x 1 x 5 inches and weighs 8 ounces.

Samson SAGOMIC Go Mic Portable USB Condenser Microphone

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Features in a Computer Microphone

There are many technical aspects to choosing the right microphone. These are some of the more important features you need to look out for.

  • Compatibility: Make sure the microphone you choose is compatible with Mac, Windows, Linux, or your smartphone operating system.
  • Connectivity: You need to ensure the mic plugs in directly to the USB port without additional software or drive. Professional-grade microphones will require additional tools to make them work.
  • Pop Filter: The more you talk on a microphone, the more you will appreciate a pop filter. In addition to reducing the popping noises when you talk, it will also protect your microphone from saliva.
  • Stand: If you are in a long meeting or a podcast, a stand will make it much easier to carry your conversation.
  • Headphones: The ability to plug in a headphone is a good option, even though computers already have a headphone jack.
  • Volume or Mute Control: Having an easy way to quickly adjust and control the output of your microphone is important. Whether you want to mute or increase the volume.
  • Power: If you are going to use your microphone on a laptop or other portable device, you have to make sure it doesn’t draw too much power. If this is the case, you will have to provide additional power with a USB hub.
  • Sensitivity: This is the lowest level of decibels at which a microphone can pick up sound. The more sensitive a mic is, the lower sounds you can hear through the microphone.
  • Sound pressure level (SPL): The SPL tells you the maximum level of decibels a mic can pick up without any distortion in the sound.

Types of Computer Microphones

There are several options when it comes to the type of microphones you can get for your computer. However, for the vast majority of small business use cases, you only need to know about a couple of them.

Condenser Microphone

A condenser microphone is also called an electrostatic or capacitor microphone. It works by condensing the vibrations of sound waves in the main body, which acts as a plate. This produces changes in the variation in the distance between the body and the plate of the microphone.

You can find condenser microphones in studios as they do a great job of reproducing voices and instruments. These microphones have more of a studio feel delivering clear and crisp vocals.

Dynamic Microphone

A dynamic microphone, also known as magneto-dynamic microphones, works through electromagnetic induction. These microphones are more rugged, moisture resistant, and considerably cheaper. The quality of the sound is not as high as a condenser mic, but if you are going to be outdoors it is the right microphone.

Directionality

The polar pattern or directionality lets you know how well a microphone can pick up and differentiate sound from different directions around its central axis. The types of directionalities include omnidirectional, bidirectional, and unidirectional.

Omnidirectional mics capture sound from 360-degree or all around, bidirectional receives sound from the front and back, and unidirectional captures sound coming from one direction. 

The Right Microphone

The world of microphones can get extremely complicated really fast. If you are a small business looking to just have good quality sound, the computer microphones on this list are more than adequate and they will work with your computer or tablet.

Don’t think you have to pay a lot of money to achieve quality sound, especially if you are just having conversations. 

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Small Businesses Have Consumer Trust, But They Need to Do More


Almost two-thirds or 62% of consumers say they trust small/local businesses more than major retailers. This is compared to 36% who said they trust large, national retailers. But even though small businesses have consumer trust, they need to do more to keep it going.

The data comes from Avions’ “New Habits Die Hard: How Trust Will Define Shopping in Summer 2021,” U.S. shopping report. The report highlights some of the measures retailers, small and large, must take as spending increases this summer.



Consumer Trust and Small Businesses

It is not surprising consumers trust their small/local businesses. After all, they probably see them more often, know the owner, and they feel a sense of community with them. However, this alone is not going to get customers to keep buying from these businesses.

Add the way the ongoing pandemic forever changed the way consumers shop, and small businesses will have to do more. According to the report, consumers trust small businesses when it comes to trust-building offerings like fair prices and delivering orders on time. And this must continue if they want to keep their customers.

This is because more than three-quarters (77%) of shoppers have come to trust certain brands. Moreover, 99% of these customers will continue shopping with those brands after restrictions ease. They say this is due to the actions these brands have taken during the pandemic.

Whether the business is big or small, the summer of 2021 is going to provide great opportunities. And as Dan Neiweem, co-founder and principal at Avionos said in the release, “… nearly 40% of consumers are ready to buy experiences like vacations and other big-ticket purchases.” Adding, “Retailers should capitalize on the shift in sentiment by innovating on opportunities to make shopping as reliable and frictionless as possible.”

Frictionless Experience

The Avionos report goes on to say, consumers now expect more than simply great online experiences. Adding streamlining your online shopping and fast deliveries is not enough. There must be more focus on building trust within their consumer base. And this will require offering fair prices (48%), delivering correct, accurate orders (43%), and following COVID-19 procedures (40%), such as social distancing and regular sanitization.

In addition to these demands, consumers are also looking for reliability. Close to half or 45% say brands need to deliver what they expect when they expect it. And this is a top consideration when trusting a brand. They also want fairness in prices and policies (21%), great online reputation (11%), easy online purchase experience (27%), responding quickly to inquiries (20%), and taking extra safety precautions (17%).

Considering 48% of respondents are set to spend more on shopping in summer 2021, businesses of all sizes must take these concerns seriously. After all, for 37% of the respondents, the spending is going to include big-ticket items like cars and vacations this summer.

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Land a Corporate Client for Your Small Business


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If you are a small business looking to get a corporate client, 2021 might be the year. According to Win Corporate Clients: The Real Deal 2021, for the first time in nearly three decades, companies are re-thinking, re-imagining, and re-engineering every single aspect of how they do business.

This means there are new opportunities as corporations reassess their methods of operation. The Win Corporate Clients: The Real Deal 2021 event will teach how to capitalize on this watershed moment.

The event is going to be held on October 4, 2021, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Click the red button and register now to get super early bird savings by July 30.

Register Now





Featured Events, Contests and Awards

WEBINAR: Best State to IncorporateWEBINAR: Best State to Incorporate
July 28, 2021, Online

Some say Delaware, others say Nevada while someone else may say your home state. What is the best state to register a business in? What if your business is expanding into new territory? At what point should you Foreign Qualify? Nellie Akalp, CEO of CorpNet.com, will go in-depth to answer these questions and more in this webinar.


Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses with Monique JohnsonSocial Media Marketing for Small Businesses with Monique Johnson
July 28, 2021, Online

Which social networks are most important for your small business? How do you know what to share and when? Craft a winning strategy using these tips from Virtual Event Producer, Speaker and Business Coach Monique Johnson.


Win Corporate Clients: The Real Deal 2021Win Corporate Clients: The Real Deal 2021
October 4, 2021, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

What if you could rapidly scale your consulting, coaching, professional services, outsourcing, certified diverse company or other corporate supplier business with lucrative B2B clients…clients who buy from you month after month, year after year, with a well that never runs dry. That’s exactly what we’ll show you how to do when you join us!


WEBINAR: Steps to Start Your BusinessWEBINAR: Steps to Start Your Business
October 20, 2021, Online

Starting a business can be an exhilarating time, where everything seems full of potential and purpose. But navigating the logistics of launching a business can be daunting. In this webinar Nellie Akalp, CEO of CorpNet.com, will outline the steps necessary to legally start a business and get up and running on the right foot.


More Events

  • Talent Acquisition Week | VIRTUAL
    July 19, 2021, Online
  • DigiMarCon America 2021 – Digital Marketing, Media and Advertising Conference
    July 21, 2021, Online
  • 6th Annual Advancing AEC Technology 2021 | July 26-28 | Chicago, IL, USA
    July 26, 2021, Chicago, IL
  • Thought Leader Liaison Engagement Summit
    July 28, 2021, Online
  • DigiMarCon Ireland 2021 – Digital Marketing, Media and Advertising Conference & Exhibition
    August 11, 2021, Dublin, Ireland
  • MoCannBizCon+EXPO2021
    August 11, 2021, St. Louis, United States
  • Innovation Review on Mapping & Localization
    August 12, 2021, Sunnyvale, CA
  • DigiMarCon New Zealand 2021 – Digital Marketing, Media and Advertising Conference & Exhibition
    August 18, 2021, Auckland, New Zealand
  • DigiMarCon Australia & New Zealand 2021 – Digital Marketing, Media and Advertising Conference & Exhibition
    August 25, 2021, Sydney, Australia
  • The Driving Change Conference
    September 14, 2021, London, UK
  • DigiMarCon Asia Pacific 2021 – Digital Marketing, Media and Advertising Conference
    September 15, 2021, Online
  • The Beauty Trends & Innovations Conference
    September 15, 2021, London, UK
  • 2nd Annual – The Print Event
    September 21, 2021, Online
  • Pitch Please! The Ultimate Women’s Power Pitch Summit
    September 27, 2021, Online
  • DigiMarCon South Africa 2021 – Digital Marketing, Media and Advertising Conference & Exhibition
    September 29, 2021, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • DigiMarCon Africa 2021 – Digital Marketing, Media and Advertising Conference & Exhibition
    October 7, 2021, Cape Town, South Africa
  • TECHSPO Dubai 2021 Technology Expo (Internet ~ Mobile ~ AdTech ~ MarTech ~ SaaS)
    October 12, 2021, Dubai, UAE
  • Real Cannabis Entrepreneur LIVE Conference 2021
    October 15, 2021, Newark, NJ
  • DigiMarCon EMEA 2021 – Digital Marketing, Media and Advertising Conference
    October 20, 2021, Online

More Contests

This weekly listing of small business events, contests and awards is provided as a community service by Small Business Trends.

You can see a full list of events, contest and award listings or post your own events by visiting the Small Business Events Calendar.

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10 Tips to Help Your Small Business Effectively Manage Employees


If you buy something through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

The workforce is changing, from adding more remote jobs to changing how employees are evaluated. If you want to keep up, you need to understand the relevant trends. Below, read insights from members of the online small business community to help you manage your own team.



Use These Tools to Manage a Hybrid Workforce

Many businesses are still finding a balance between working in their office and allowing remote work. A hybrid model leaves room for a little of both. If you’re considering this option for your team, consider the tips in this Noobpreneur post by Ivan Widjaya.

Offer Constructive Writing Feedback

Writing blog posts, social media copy, and client pitches takes skill. If you have team members responsible for writing, you can help them hone their skills with constructive feedback. Moss Clement of Moss Media shares tips for doing so in this post.

Run a Remote-First Company

If you’re thinking about making the jump to a fully remote workforce, your company may need some adjustments. The checklist in this Borderless Mind post by Rishi Khanna includes everything you need to get started.

Consider the Standards of Social Media Professionals

If you’re hiring a social media team or offering social media services to clients, it’s important to have standards to measure success. However, some expectations may be unrealistic. Read this post by Rachel Strella of Strella Social Media for more. Then head over to BizSugar to see what members are saying.

Choose the Right Business Structure

The type of corporation or LLC you choose for your business can impact how you hire and compensate your team. It can also affect many other factors. In this CorpNet post, Nellie Akalp goes over the difference between professional corporations and professional LLCs.

Uncover Tech and Team Difficulties with Remote Work

Remote work isn’t just about giving employees more flexibility. It can also teach entrepreneurs about deficiencies they didn’t notice with in-person work. Ivana Taylor discusses some of the difficulties you might notice in this DIY Marketers post.

Find a Better Employee Onboarding Strategy

Lots of small businesses use Excel to organize information for employee onboarding. But this isn’t actually the most efficient strategy. In this Process Street post, Jane Courtnell offers a better option for businesses.

Keep Up with Sales Statistics

To effectively evaluate your sales team, you need to understand the landscape of the industry. That’s where statistics can come in handy. See updated stats in this Startup Bonsai post by Matt Moran. Then read what members are saying over on BizSugar.

Consider This List of Virtual Assistant Services

If you’re growing a business and just need a bit of extra help, a virtual assistant may come in handy. This post by Angie Nelson on The Work at Home Woman blog lists tons of services VAs can offer. Use it if you’re thinking of becoming a VA, or if you run a business and aren’t sure if a VA may be right for you.

Go from Lone Entrepreneur to Successful Business Owner

Many small business owners start out on their own. But if your goal is to grow your company, it helps to surround yourself with others. In this Startup Professionals Musings post, Martin Zwilling details how to go from lone entrepreneur to success.

If you’d like to suggest your favorite small business content to be considered for an upcoming community roundup, please send your news tips to: sbtips@gmail.com.

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In the News: Self-Employment is Best for Mental Health


To say the past 18 months with COVID-19 have been stressful for business owners is a huge understatement, which has shined the impact the pandemic has had on mental health. The 2021 Self-Employed Mental Health Report produced by Freshbooks in partnership with Mind Share Partners, sheds some light on the issue. And according to the report, people that are self-employed have experienced fewer mental health symptoms.

The data is in this week’s lead roundup up article, Self-employed Faring Better Mentally in Pandemic. The survey of 2,000 self-employed individuals also reveals 72% say their mental health is either “good” or “very good.” And a total of 85% of small business owners say self-employment is the best form of employment for mental health. This is despite the many challenges brought on by the pandemic. Only 10% of the small business owners say their mental health was very poor.

In addition to this article, this week you can take a look at how to protect your business from cyber attacks by reading about the partnership between McAfee and Visa as well as how to sell your domain names with GoDaddy’s List for Sale service.



Small Business News Roundup – July 16, 2021

Take a look at the rest of the roundup.

McAfee and Visa Form Partnership

As cybersecurity breaches continue to lead the news, McAfee and Visa have announced the formation of a new partnership. In this agreement, McAfee is going to offer internet security solutions to Visa Business cardholders. McAfee and Visa Partnership to Protect Small Businesses The goal of the partnership is to help protect Visa Business cardholders in North America and EMEA.

List for Sale from GoDaddy Simplifies Selling Unused Domains

If you have domain names you are not using, GoDaddy is making it easy to sell them with List for Sale. This is a tool/service that lets you sell any unused domain names you have easily and quickly as a GoDaddy customer. GoDaddy Launches List for Sale to Sell Domains The goal of List for Sale is to simplify the cumbersome process of selling a domain name online.

Online Craft Classes for Handmade Entrepreneurs

If you run a handmade products business, one of the best ways to grow your business is to offer customers new and innovative products. By taking online craft classes, you can not only create more products for your business, but learn new skills that can help you come up with craft ideas to sell.

How to Handle Different Communication Styles in Business

Have you ever come out of an important meeting feeling confused or frustrated? Was there ever an occasion where you found it difficult to explain yourself to a colleague or customer? When it comes to communication, there’s no one-size-fits-all style. All of us communicate differently and sometimes this difference can make matters difficult for your business.

Internal Customer Service: What You Must Know

Internal customer service involves everything an organization can do to help their employees fulfill their duties, reach their goals and enjoy their work. It covers how different departments communicate with each other and how individuals interact with their colleagues, subordinates and superiors.

How to Make a Photo Slideshow

Have you ever wanted to create a captivating photo slideshow? A photo slideshow can be a useful tool to organize and engage with your audiences by letting you deliver compelling stories. Through the use of photo slideshows, you get to provide information via images about your products and services while expanding your brand’s reach.

How to Fear Less and Sell More

You probably hate sales. You think it’s “low” or “beneath you”. Deep down you may believe if you have the best product or service in the marketplace, it will “sell itself”. More likely, you don’t like sales because you have a fear of rejection. On The Small Business Radio Show this week, I talk with Tom Stern who says he was the black sheep in a family of lions.

Image: Depositphotos


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The Best Travel Mugs for Small Business Owners


If you buy something through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

The morning cup of joe is a ritual for almost everyone that has to get up and go to work. However, if coffee is not your thing, the best travel mugs for small business owners on this list can be used for tea or other hot or cold beverages.

Another reason for using them is travel mugs made from ceramic, glass, or stainless steel make your drink taste better than paper, plastic, or Styrofoam cups. And they will keep your drink hot or cold for much longer. If those benefits don’t do it for you, think about the impact on the environment for every disposable cup you don’t use every day.

One more selling point is many cafes are rewarding customers for bringing their own mugs with discounts. So, travel mugs are a win-win all around.



Best Travel Mugs for Small Business Owners

Zojirushi Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Mug

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Top Pick: Zojirushi makes one of the highest-rated mugs in the industry. This Japanese company is more than 100 years old and has been making hand-blown vacuum bottles since 1918. This mug is made of BPA-free plastic and double wall vacuum insulated stainless steel. And it allows the content to retain heat at 190°F for 1 hr./163°F for 6 hrs. and cold retention at 46°F for 6 hrs.

Zojirushi flip-open lids release and hold, then flip open. The process allows condensation on the lid gasket to fall back into the mug instead of splattering.

The Zojirushi mug is 2.75 x 2.88 x 9.88 inches, weighs 9 ounces, and comes with a 5-year warranty on heat retention.

Buy on Amazon

S’well Stainless Steel Traveler

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Runner Up: S’well is another manufacturer with quality materials and solid construction. This mug has triple-layered insulation along with a vacuum-insulated structure. According to the company, this keeps beverages cold for up to 28 hours or hot for up to 15 hours. It achieves these numbers using its Therma-S’well Technology.

The copper wall layer insulation makes your mug sweat-free. And the leak-free top ensures your beverage will never spill. The mug is BPA-free and composed of 18/8 premium food-grade stainless steel.

This mug is 3.27 x 3.27 x 9.17 inches and weighs 14.4 ounces.

S’well Stainless Steel Traveler-20 Fl Oz Triple-Layered Vacuum-Insulated Travel Mug Keeps Coffee, Tea and Drinks Cold for 36 Hours and Hot for 15

Buy on Amazon

 

Contigo WEST LOOP 24OZ STAINLESS STEEL

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Best Value: Contigo uses its Thermalock, double-walled vacuum insulation to lock in the temperature. A patented Autoseal technology further seals the mug automatically after each sip. This keeps drinks hot for up to 7 hours or cold up to 20 hours.

The mug is made from premium 18/8 stainless steel and BPA-free materials. Coming in at 3.2 x 3.2 x 9 inches it weighs 13.8 ounces. The Contigo Lifetime Guarantee protects your mug against any manufacturing defects in materials and workmanship.

Contigo 2074786 WEST LOOP 24OZ STAINLESS STEEL

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Thermos 16 oz, Matte Steel Stainless King Travel Tumbler

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The Thermos brand is known for its ability to keep drinks warm, and this mug keeps liquids hot for 5 hours and cold for 18 hours. It is made with BPA-free materials and a durable stainless-steel interior and exterior. It achieves the insulation with the Thermos Vacuum insulation technology by creating an airless space between two stainless steel walls.

This mug is 3.9 x 7.6 x 3 inches and weighs 9.9 ounces.

Thermos 16 oz, Matte Steel Stainless King Travel Tumbler

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Takeya Traveler Insulated Travel Mug

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The double-wall vacuum insulation and 18/8 stainless steel construction of this mug allow beverages to stay hot for 12 hours and cold drinks cold for 24 hours. This insulation also prevents condensation and protects your hand from hot or cold beverages.

A hinged leak-proof lid opens with external springs but locks out of the way when you are drinking. And a visual red tab lets you know the container has a seal.

This mug is 10.83 x 4.96 x 3.27 inches and weighs 13 ounces.

Takeya Traveler Insulated Travel Mug w/ Leak Proof Lid, Onyx, 17 Ounce

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Hydro Flask Stainless Steel Coffee Travel Mug

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This Hydro Flask 18/8 stainless steel insulated travel mug features TempShield double-wall vacuum insulation. This will keep your coffee or tea hot for up to 6 hours or your cold beverage cold for up to 24 hours.

Hydro Flask’s new Flex Sip Lid comes with the flex strap leak-proof lid to keep your beverage inside and at the right temperature. The lid is BPA-free and phthalate-free.

This mug is 2.9 x 2.9 x 9.35 inches, weighs 11.6 ounces, and comes with a manufacturer’s lifetime warranty.

Hydro Flask Stainless Steel Coffee Travel Mug

Buy on Amazon

Ember Temperature Control Travel Mug

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If you take keeping your coffee at the right temperature seriously, then the Ember Temperature Control Mug is for you. You can keep your coffee between 120°F – 145°F for up to three hours with the battery in the mug. You can also use the charging coaster and keep these temperatures all day long.

The touch display on the mug lets you customize your temperature by tapping on the + or – symbol. You can also control these settings with your smartphone to set your temperature, customize presets, receive notifications, and more.

The Ember mug is 10.59 x 5.87 x 4.88 inches and weighs 2.4 pounds. The company provides a 1-year promise, and a 30-day return applies only for purchases “Sold By” Ember Technologies on Amazon.

Ember Temperature Control Travel Mug 2, 12 oz, Black, 3-hr Battery Life – App-Controlled Heated Coffee Travel Mug

Buy on Amazon

What to Look for in a Travel Mug

Travel mugs are made from many different materials and the quality of craftsmanship varies. Keep these factors in mind when you are looking to buy a travel mug.

  • Temperature retention: whether hot or cold, your mug should retain the initial temperature for as long as possible. Look at the specifications from the manufacturer along with word of mouth and reviews to see if it delivers on those specs.
  • Durability: Look for a travel mug that won’t chip, leak, or dent easily. If you are getting a well-made mug, it is not going to be cheap and you want to make sure it lasts a reasonable amount of time.
  • Size: Whether you want it to fit in the cup holder of your car or backpack and bag, consider the space where the mug will spend most of its time. This also includes whether they can fit under coffee makers.
  • Spill-resistant lid: This is a must-have feature on a travel mug. After all, you are going to be traveling with it and an accident will eventually take place.
  • Spill-proof: Your travel mug is going to be in motion most of the time. Without a spill-proof feature, you will eventually spill your coffee, tea, or other beverage.
  • Price: The price of travel mugs varies greatly, with some costing a couple of hundred dollars. While quality mugs will cost more, price is not always an indicator of how well they perform.
  • Handle-free: A quality travel mug with good insulation doesn’t need a handle. Furthermore, a handle won’t allow you to put it in a cup holder.
  • Dishwasher safe: A mug that is dishwasher safe is one feature that will make your life easier. Cleaning the lid and other small parts can be time-consuming.

Vacuum Insulation

Vacuum insulation and double-walled travel mugs remove the air between the outer and inner layers. And because there is nothing to conduct heat in a vacuum, these mugs can retain heat much longer. Makers of higher quality mugs also put copper or aluminum layers wrapped tightly around the outside of the inner material layer. This reflects heat to minimize the changes in temperature of the drink you put in the mug.

Material

Currently, the best travel mugs are made from stainless steel. The material is not only more durable, but it also retains heat longer. Manufacturers will then cover the stainless steel with different materials.

Other travel mug materials include aluminum, plastic, ceramic, glass, and silicone. Each has its pros and cons, such as price, retaining odors, leaching chemicals, and high insulating factors. Choose the material that best works for the product you will be putting in your travel mug.

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