The first time we ever used the mugs was last August right after the handles were removed. At the time we didn't know why it was such a big deal to people, it seemed easy enough to just get a cardboard carrier if you needed one. When we were back in December, we were surprised to see the handles had returned. And as soon as we used them, we understood. It was massively easier, to us, for the mugs to have handles on them. We felt it every time one of us went to refill the mugs for the both of us. We couldn't believe it made such a difference.