Top 10 Best Coolers for the Money [Updated – 2020]

best coolers

Portable coolers are a lifesaver for people who love camping, fishing, traveling, or any other outdoor trip. In modern life, you can’t imagine such outdoor activities without having a good performing cooler.

When it comes to choosing the best cooler for the money, you will find a lot of options available on the market. There are so many brands offering various types of coolers. Since coolers come at various sizes, shapes, features, and prices, it’s very difficult to find the right cooler for the money.

To make your choice easier, we reviewed more than hundreds of coolers on the market and finally come up with the top 10 best coolers that you can consider buying in 2020. All the coolers listed on this page are independently chosen. However, we may earn some commission (without adding additional cost to you) when you buy through our link.

Top 10 Best Coolers for the Money

If you are looking for a good performing roto-molded cooler for your regular outdoor trips, the following coolers could be a good option for you:

Last updated on February 20, 2020 3:44 am

While choosing the best cooler for the money, we focused on the build quality, ice retention capacity, features and price of each cooler. The products featured on this page are ranked based on the overall quality and real customer reviews.

Read Also: Top 10 Best Backpack Coolers

01. YETI Tundra 45 Cooler

most popular cooler

YETI is the number #1 brand when it comes to choosing the best cooler from the market. They manufacture a complete range of coolers for any kind of outdoor trip. The Tundra 45 is the mid-range cooler on YETI’s store.

  • The first thing about this cooler is that it is not a 45-quart cooler. The 45 is just a model number. This cooler can hold up to 28 cans of beer and 34 pounds of ice. YETI recommends keeping 2:1 ice-to-content ration to get the best ice retention. There are 8 different colors available to choose from.
  • YETI uses durable rotomolded construction and up to two inches of PermaFrost insulation all the way around which not only makes the cooler last for life but also keeps your contents ice-cold even in very hot condition. On top of the lid, there is a cold cell gasket that creates a solid seal.  Usually, this cooler can keep ice frozen for 7-10 days once you pack it properly and use it in the proper way.
  • There are t-rex latches that do a really good job of keeping the cooler shut. The whole container is grizzly bear certified which means that the grizzly bear cannot successfully break the latches to get into the cooler.
  • There is also a spot for the lock which is very useful to secure your items inside the cooler. The polyester rope handles are also very useful for easy and comfortable carrying of the cooler.
  • YETI uses non-sleep pads on the bottom which is great for people like fishermen because the cooler is not going to slide around.
  • There is a vortex drainage system which ensures that the water exits quickly.

Overall, this is a great cooler for any purpose. If you want a cooler for your life, this one is definitely a good choice for you.

Pros:

  • Extremely durable construction.
  • Great ice retention capacity (7-10 days).
  • One dry goods basket included.
  • Made in the USA.
  • It comes with a 5-years warranty.

Cons:

  • Expensive cooler.
  • A little heavy for the size.
  • No bottle opener and cup holder included.

Video Review


02. RTIC 45 Quart Cooler

best cooler for the money

If you look at the landscape of cooler brands on the market, YETI and RTIC are the big names out there. YETI obviously is one of the most popular choices among most people because of its quality and features. However, RTIC is like a carbon copy knockoff of YETI. Except the capacity and price point, there are not many differences between the RTIC and the YETI cooler. RTIC is quite a bit more affordable than YETI.

  • The RTIC 45 comes with true 45-quart capacity. This medium-sized cooler can hold up to 36 cans and 45 lb of ice. For better ice retention RTIC recommends keeping 2:1 ice-to-content ratio. The cooler is available in 4 different colors.
  • The cooler is made of roto-molded construction with 3 inches of insulated walls. The best thing about this cooler is the tight seal gasket which makes the cooler almost 100% leakproof. Once you pack the cooler perfectly, it can hold ice for 7-10 days in outdoor and home temperature.
  • For easy and comfortable carrying, the cooler includes both rope handles and molded side handles.
  • It also has heavy-duty T-latches that keeps the cooler shut.
  • Like the YETI, the whole container of this cooler is grizzly bear certified. So, the grizzly bear will not get access to this cooler.
  • Additionally, there is an integrated locking system that helps to keep the cooler secure.
  • There are solid rubber fits on the bottom of the cooler. So, the cooler will not slide at all when standing up.
  • The v-drain system ensures easy and quick cleaning of the cooler.

Overall, RTIC is another best cooler cheaper than YETI. If the price isn’t so important to you, YETI is a bang-up cooler. On the other hand, if the price is really important to you, RTIC is definitely the best option for you.

Pros:

  • Durable roto-molded construction.
  • Great ice retention capacity (6-10 days).
  • 100% leakproof cooler.
  • Easy and comfortable carrying handle.
  • Best value for the money.

Cons:

  • No dry goods basket included.
  • Limited warranty (Only 1 year).
  • No bottle opener and cup holder included.

Video Review


03. Pelican Elite Wheeled Cooler (45 Quart)

toughest cooler on the market

If you are familiar with Pelican, you probably know that they make the strongest cooler out there. The best thing about these coolers is the warranty. Pelican offers a lifetime guarantee on each of its coolers. So, whenever you found any problem with these coolers you can ask for repair or replacement. Pelican manufactures a wide variety of coolers ranging from 20 quarts to 250 quarts. So, you will find your required size from Pelican.

  • The 45-quart elite cooler comes with a true 45-quart capacity where you can preserve up to 28 cans while maintaining a 2:1 ice-to-content ratio. This is good enough for multiple-day trips. However, if you need more space to preserve a lot of items, you can choose the 80-quart version.
  • The 45-quart elite cooler comes with a true 45-quart capacity where you can preserve up to 28 cans while maintaining a 2:1 ice-to-content ratio. This is good enough for multiple-day trips. However, if you need more space to preserve a lot of items, you can choose the 80-quart version.
  • Pelican uses Polyethylene materials in the body, Polyurethane materials for insulation and freezer-grade gasket to ensure maximum ice retention. The company advertises to have 10 days of ice retention capacity on this cooler. Though the ice retention time depends on a lot of factors, you can expect to have around 7-10 days of insulation from this cooler.
  • The cooler comes with heavy-duty wheels and trolley handle for extreme comfort on carrying.
  • There are easy press & pull latches to ensure easy access to your items. The rubber feet are durable and ensure no sliding around.

Overall, this is one of the best coolers with wheels. The only noticeable downside of this cooler is the price. This is a premium cooler and you need to pay a good amount of money for getting cooler. However, the price can be considered since you are getting a lifetime guarantee.

Pros:

  • Strongest cooler on the market.
  • Great ice retention capacity (7-10 days).
  • Built-in bottle opener and fish scale.
  • Made in the USA.
  • Lifetime guarantee.

Cons:

  • Expensive

Video Review


04. Orca Hard Sided Classic Cooler [58-Quart]

american made cooler

ORCA is one of the closest alternatives to the premium YETI. They manufacture different sizes of coolers ranging from 20 quarts to 120 quarts. The best thing about ORCA coolers is the price. These coolers are not so cheap but not very expensive. Additionally, ORCA is offering a lifetime warranty for these coolers.

  • This 58-quart classic cooler is big enough to store a lot of items for multiple-day trips. You can preserve up to 72 cans on this cooler.
  • ORCA uses durable roto-molded construction with integrated insulation to ensure maximum ice retention capacity. Another important thing about this cooler is that – it is completely leakproof. There is a lid gasket to ensure a perfect seal. So, you can expect to have good insulation from this cooler.
  • The lid of this cooler is ultra-strong. There is almost zero flex and you can sit or stand on this cooler without any issue.
  • There are molded handles on the sides along with rope handles. The handle works pretty well, and you will not face any problem with carrying this medium-sized cooler.
  • ORCA uses t-style latches to ensure a strong seal. They work fine but not as simple to use as some other coolers like Pelican.
  • There are non-skid pads on the bottom of this cooler to ensure no sliding around. Additionally, there are lock holes on the corners. So, you can lock the cooler easily.
  • Another unique thing about this cooler is the cargo net attachment. You can store all your small and necessary items there.

Overall, this is really a great cooler within the reasonable price range. If you are looking for a cooler for life, ORCA can be a great option for you.

Pros:

  • Completely leakproof cooler.
  • Great ice retention capacity (6-10 days).
  • Cargo net on the back for added storage.
  • Ultra-strong lid for standing and sitting.
  • Lifetime guarantee.

Cons:

  • No bottle opener, cup holders and fish ruler.

Video Review


05. Driftsun 75 Quart Roto-Molded Cooler

best budget cooler

Driftsun is a newcomer to the cooler industry. They manufacture heavy-duty roto-molded coolers that withstand the unbearable heat of hot temperatures. The company is offering a wide range of sizes to meet every people’s needs. The best thing about these coolers is the price. You will find almost the same features and benefits of premium coolers but at a very reasonable price.

  • This 75-quart roto-molded cooler comes with heavy-duty roto-molded construction which makes it sturdy and durable. The interior is large enough to preserve a lot of items.
  • To ensure the longest ice retention, Driftsun uses 3 inches of commercial-grade insulation. In addition to this, they use the ThermalLock freeze style gasket which prevents any kind of unwanted airflow into the cooler so that the ice lasts longer. You can expect to have more than 5 days of ice retention from this cooler.
  • The Quick-Clip latches are very easy and comfortable to use.
  • There are military-grade textured grip handles on each side for easy and comfortable carrying.
  • Driftsun uses GorillaGrip non-slip feet on the bottom of the cooler. So, it will not move around in your truck.
  • There is a no-leak drain plug for quick draining and cleaning the cooler. The good thing about the drain plug is it is attached to the cooler. So, there’s no issue of losing the plug.
  • Unfortunately, the company is offering only a 1-year warranty. So, if you want to make a safe investment on your cooler, this might not be your option.

Overall, Driftsun coolers are not expensive. These are the best cheap alternatives to the premium coolers. If you are looking for the best coolers for the money, this can be a good option for you.

Pros:

  • Good ice retention capacity (5+ days).
  • Durable construction.
  • Built-in bottle opener and fish ruler.
  • Quick-Clip latches for easy open and closing.
  • Best value for the money.

Cons:

  • Limited warranty (Only 1 year).

Video Review


06. Arctic Zone Titan Premium Cooler [55 Quart]

best multipurpose cooler

Arctic Zone an underrated brand in the cooler industry. They manufacture high performing and premium quality coolers but at a reasonable price. The best thing about these coolers is built-in Microban product protection. This protection prevents any bacterial odors and stains.

  • This 55-quart cooler can hold a lot of items for several days. A perfect cooler for any camping or outdoor adventure.
  • The one-piece roto-molded construction makes the cooler super durable and ready to withstand any condition.
  • The cooler is made of thick polyurethane insulation with a premium blend to provide maximum ice retention. Additionally, a 360-degree freezer-grade rubber gasket ensures no airflow inside the cooler. According to the company, this particular cooler can hold ice for up to 8 days. But we found that most people get around 5-7 days of insulation from this cooler.
  • Surprisingly, this cooler comes with a wire basket. So, you can keep your dry foods separate inside the cooler.
  • Like the YETI, this cooler also comes with t-style latches which ensures a tight seal. There are two built-in locking mounts which ensure extra security.
  • The company uses a padded handle for comfortable carrying. There is a fish ruler on the top of the lid. So, if you are a fisherman, this will help you a lot.
  • Finally, the oversized drain plug ensures quick draining.

Overall, the Arctic Zone Titan is a great cooler for camping or any outdoor adventures. The price is very reasonable, and you are getting almost the same features as the most premium brand offers.

Pros:

  • Good insulation (5-7 days).
  • Super durable cooler.
  • Dry goods basket included.
  • 5-years warranty and 30-days return policy.
  • Good value for the money.

Cons:

  • No bottle opener and cup holder included.

07. Grizzly 40 Quart Rotomolded Cooler

bear resistant premium cooler

When it comes to choosing the best bearproof cooler, Grizzly coolers are one of the best options among all brands. They are in business since 2002. They offer a wide variety of coolers to meet your camping needs. The best parts about these coolers are the durable construction, longer ice retention, and lifetime warranty.

  • This 40-quart roto-molded cooler from Grizzly comes with true 40-quart capacity. So, you can easily preserve a lot of items inside it.
  • The heavy-duty roto-molded construction ensures proper ice retention when the silicone rubber gasket protects the outside air to come inside. During our research, we found that this cooler can hold ice for 5-7 days.
  • The cooler is made from roto-molded LLDPE plastic. This kind of construction makes the cooler super durable and provides optimum performance over time.
  • Grizzly uses exclusively designed Bearclaw latches that are interchangeable, easy to use, and ensures a bear grip on the lid. All Grizzly coolers are IGBC certified bear-resistant.
  • The cooler features rope handles along with molded-in handles for easy and comfortable carrying.
  • Another good feature of this cooler is the plastic dry goods tray. Grizzly is providing a free plastic dry goods tray that you can use for preserving dry foods.
  • There are grip feet on the bottom which prevent the cooler from sliding around.
  • A large 2-inch drain plug is included for faster draining.

Overall, this is one of the best coolers for fishing, hunting, camping, and tailgating. If you want to have an American made cooler, this one is good to go. If you like to have lifetime security for your cooler, this one is also good to go.

Pros:

  • Good ice retention capacity (5-7 days).
  • Easy to open Bearclaw latches.
  • Dry goods tray included.
  • Made in the USA.
  • Lifetime warranty.

Cons:

  • Expensive for the size.

Video Review


08. Bison Rotomolded Cooler [50 Quart]

portable camping cooler

Bison maintains higher standards in manufacturing their coolers and all of their coolers are made in the USA. When other premium brands in the US partially or fully outsource their coolers from other countries, Bison coolers are 100% American made. The best things about these coolers are the price and quality.

  • This 50-quart mid-sized roto-molded cooler can hold up to 42 cans while maintaining the standard 2:1 ice-to-content ratio. So, you can easily go on a multiple-day trip with this cooler.
  • The pressure-injected lid is 2 inches thick. The walls are well insulated to maintain maximum ice retention time. Bison uses a double-wall silicone gasket to ensure a tight seal and provide premium cooling. During our research, we found that this cooler can hold ice for more than 5 days.
  • The premium roto-molded construction makes the cooler extremely tough and durable. This will surely last for years.
  • Bison uses rubber latches that comes with a cantilever hinge system for more comfort on opening and closing the cooler.
  • There are rope handles with a comfortable grip system. So, you can easily carry this cooler to anywhere you want.
  • The large dual drain plugs are very useful for faster draining.
  • There is an integrated fish ruler on the top of the lid. This is a very useful feature for the fisherman.
  • Another important thing about this cooler is the trial system. Bison is offering a 30-days trial for this cooler. If you don’t like the cooler, you can send it back within the trial period and get a full refund. However, the company is also offering a 5-years warranty for this cooler.

Overall, this is a great multipurpose cooler for camping, fishing, hunting, sporting events, or tailgating. If you want to have good performing and purely American made cooler, this can be the best option for you.

Pros:

  • 5+ days of ice retention.
  • Extremely tough and durable cooler.
  • Integrated fish ruler on the lid.
  • 100% American made.
  • 5-years warranty and 30-days trial period.

Cons:

  • No bottle opener and cup holder.

Video Review


09. Seavilis Heavy Duty Rotomolded Cooler [60 Quart]

best ice chest

When premium coolers are leading the market, some non-brand coolers are doing great and Seavilis is one of the best examples of them. The company has implemented some new techniques to the roto-molding process like- 2nd drop plastic resin inside the wall. This technique ensures better adherence between the plastic and the insulation foam.

  • This 60-quart heavy-duty cooler comes with a true 60-quart capacity. So, you can preserve a lot of items inside it. The cooler is good enough for multiple-day trips.
  • During our research, we found that the cooler can hold ice for around 5-7 days. The company uses commercial-grade insulation along with the roto-molded construction. The surface is UV protected. There is a freezer style gasket that ensures a solid seal.
  • Like the most coolers, there are nylon rope handles on each side for easy and comfortable carrying.
  • The best thing about this cooler is the free accessories. The company is offering a divider, dry goods basket and a cupholder for free. So, this will save you around $50.
  • Unlike the t-style latches, this cooler comes with easy cam latches which make it easier to open and close.
  • There are two stainless steel bottle openers which may be a very useful feature for most people. Additionally, there are two lock holes on both sides. So, there will be no issues of keeping your items safe.
  • The non-slip feet ensure the cooler not moving around in your truck or boat.

Overall, this can be a great cooler for people having a limited budget. If you consider having a long-time warranty, this might not be your option because the company is providing only 18 months warranty.

Pros:

  • Good ice retention capacity (5-7 days).
  • Easy cam latches.
  • Free accessories included (divider, basket, cup holder).
  • Built-in bottle opener and fish ruler.
  • Great value for the money.

Cons:

  • Limited warranty.

10. Coleman Steel-Belted Portable Cooler [54 Quart]

cheapest cooler on the market

Coleman the oldest brand in the cooler industry. They manufacture the traditional steel belted cooler. The best thing about these coolers is the price. These are the cheapest cooler you will ever find on the market. The problem with these coolers is they cannot hold ice as long as the roto-molded coolers. However, Coleman cooler still performs well and can be a good option for people with a very tight budget.

  • This is a true 54-quart cooler. It can hold up to 85 cans. The cooler is tall enough to preserve 2-liter bottles. So, you will get plenty of space for preserving items for a whole group of people.
  • If ice retention is your priority, this cooler is not for you. Since this is a steel-belted cooler, it cannot provide extreme ice retention. During our research, we found that this cooler can hold ice around 4-5 days.
  • You will love the design of this cooler. There are six different colors available to choose from.
  • The cooler is made of stainless-steel hardware and ready to provide you years of performance. The lid is very strong and supports up to 250 pounds to sit or stand.
  • There are steel handles with a comfort-grip feature which allows you very easy carrying.
  • The drain plug is leakproof and provides quick draining.

Overall, this is one of the best coolers for the people having a tight budget. The ice retention may not the best, but good enough for multiple-day trips. You can easily take this cooler for your upcoming camping, tailgating or other outdoor trips.

Pros:

  • Stainless-steel body.
  • Eye-catching design.
  • Made in the USA.
  • 6-year warranty.
  • Best value for the money.

Cons:

  • Ice retention is not so good (4-5 days).
  • No bottle opener, cup holder and fish ruler.

Video Review


What is Cooler?

According to Wikipedia, a cooler or portable ice chest is an insulated box that is used to keep foods and drinks cold. It was first invented by Richard C. Laramy on February 24, 1951.

The Coleman Company make the cooler popular by offering galvanized cooler in 1954. After three years, the company developed a process to make a plastic liner for the coolers.

This is a little history about cooler. But modern coolers are very effective and comes with a lot of advanced features. The main purpose of using a cooler is to keep items cold for a longer time without any refrigerator.

Types of Cooler

There are two major types of coolers available on market – hard cooler and soft cooler. Let’s talk about these two types of coolers:

Hard Cooler

This is a kind of cooler that comes first to our mind when we think about cooler. This type of cooler comes with hard plastic material and foam insulation implicated between the interior and exterior plastic. Hard coolers are known as the best cooler that money can buy. These are available in a wide range of shapes, sizes, colors, features, and prices.

When you are looking for the best hard coolers there are two main categories:

  1. Regular Cooler: These are the coolers that come from no-name brands. These coolers are made with normal plastic materials and can’t hold ice longer than 2 or 3 days.
  2. Roto-molded Cooler: Roto-molded coolers were first introduced in 2006. These coolers are made with strong rationally molded plastic and feature super thick insulation and extremely durable exterior. These are the coolers that we’ve reviewed in our above listing of the top 10 best coolers. Roto-molded coolers can hold ice for 7-10 days or even more which is really great.

Soft Cooler

Soft coolers are usually smaller in size and made of durable canvas. These are not so much durable like hard coolers. But you can carry them very easily by yourself. You will find a wide variety of soft-sided cooler and backpack coolers in the market.

Why you Need a Cooler?

Coolers are one of the must-have outdoor accessories for every outdoorsman. Taking food and drinks on any kind of outdoor trip is a must. And it’s very important to keep these foods fresh during the trip.

Without a freezer, you can’t keep your food fresh or cold. Portable coolers are a great invention that helps you to preserve your foods safely for a long time without a freezer.

Top Cooler Brands

There are a lot of cooler brands available on the market. All of them offering coolers in different sizes, shapes, colors, and prices. We picked some of the best cooler brands after researching almost all available brands on the market. Let’s talk about the top-rated cooler brands:

yeti coolers

YETI is the most popular premium cooler brand. They manufacture the best quality cooler that money can buy. YETI is the perfect choice for people who love premium products. They have a complete range of coolers in both hard and soft lines. These coolers are made with the best quality materials that last for life. Their Tundra coolers are manufactured in the USA and the Hopper coolers are manufactured in China.

We made a complete list of all the best YETI coolers. You can check them out.


rtic coolers

RTIC manufactures hard cooler, soft cooler, day cooler, tumbler, bottles, drinkware, food container, backpack cooler, cooler accessories, and a lot more products. RTIC coolers are another great alternative to YETI. If you are looking for the best coolers like YETI but at a cheap price, RTIC would be the right option for you.


pelican coolers

Pelican is known as a global leader in the design and manufacture of top-quality protective cases. If you are looking for an extremely durable cooler then Pelican is a perfect choice for you. They manufacture both hard and soft coolers. All the products are made in America. The only downside about these coolers is the high price.


orca coolers

Outdoor Recreation Company of America (ORCA) prides itself as one of the paramount manufacturers of coolers and various outdoor gears. This is an American company. All of the coolers are made in America. ORCA uses top-end materials on their products. They have a wide range of coolers with various sizes and color options. They provide the best cooler for the money.


driftsun coolers

Driftsun comes to the market in 2014. This is an American brand. They are best known as a manufacturer of water sports gear and equipment. They have some great quality coolers that you can purchase for your upcoming trip. They always work on ensuring the best value and quality of their products.


grizzly coolers

Grizzly is best known as a manufacturer of hunting cooler, fishing cooler, and ice chest. Their roto-molded coolers are IGBC certified bear-resistant and provide impressive ice retention. If you are looking for the long-lasting cooler at your budget, Grizzly will be a good choice for you.


Where to Buy Portable Cooler?

You can purchase a portable cooler directly from the manufacturer’s website local sellers. There’s a lot of local dealers selling various types of coolers. You can buy a cooler from them.

The best place to purchase a cooler is Amazon. You will find almost all the coolers available at the best price on Amazon.

How much you should pay for a Cooler?

Coolers are available in different prices. Price basically depends on various things like – size, build quality, design, additional features and lot more. Followings are the price range of each type of coolers:

  • Very small, portable cooler costs around $30.
  • Small size soft cooler usually costs around $20 to $100.
  • Traditional hard coolers cost around $50 to $150.
  • Heavy-duty roto-molded coolers usually cost around $100 to $500.

Buying Guide – How to Choose the Best Ice Chest?

A portable cooler is an essential gear for any kind of outdoor activities like camping, fishing, hiking, tailgating, etc.

cooler buying guide

Coolers are available in different sizes, shapes, functions, designs, and prices. So, it’s very common to get confused about choosing the best cooler among all available coolers. In addition to this, coolers are not so cheap. Some cooler comes with a very big price tag. You will never want to purchase a cooler frequently. So, it is very important to pick the best ice chest that lasts longer.

If you want to pick the right cooler to fulfill your needs, first, you need to determine the following things:

  • What is your purpose of buying a cooler?
  • What features you really want?
  • What is your budget for the cooler?

This is very important to determine the purpose of why you are going to purchase a cooler. This will help you determine what kind of cooler is required for you. According to your purpose, you will be able to find out whether you need a hard cooler, soft cooler, backpack cooler, small cooler, medium cooler, large cooler or even giant cooler. Followings are some of our recommendation that will help you to know what kind of cooler you really need:

  • If you are a worker and take your launch in your workplace every day, you are going to need a personal cooler. Here, soft coolers are the best option. You can pick a small size soft cooler for this purpose.
  • If you love fishing, camping, hiking or other outings you just need a hard cooler. Here, according to the size of your group you can pick either small, medium or large size cooler.

Every cooler comes with tons of features and functionality. You have to determine what features you need to meet your demand.

And finally, you have to fix your budget range. Coolers are usually cost around $30 to $500. According to your needs and demands, you can easily determine whether you should choose a cheap cooler or expensive cooler.

There’s a lot of variables that you need to consider before buying a cooler. If you really want to pick the best cooler for your next outing you have to consider the following features:

Cooler Size

The size and the capacity most often end up being the main factor in choosing a cooler. Cooler size impacts on choosing one cooler over another cooler. Storage space on a cooler is really a big factor because you are going to pack your foods and drinks on it. Everyone wants to have a large storage capacity with a possible smaller size.

cooler sizes

The storage capacity can easily be identified by the quart size of a cooler. Most often the entire space of a cooler is measured by its quart size. There’s a wide range of quart sizes available to choose from – 20, 30, 35, 45, 50, 65, 75, 95, 110, 150, 250, 350 and even larger than these. The quart size depends on the brands. Top cooler brand – YETI, ORCA, PELICAN offers almost every size of coolers.

20 to 35 quart is the ideal size of the small portable cooler. These coolers are perfect for individual use. These are the most portable cooler and anyone can carry these cooler easily.

45 to 75 quarts are basically known as medium size cooler. These are perfect for camping, fishing, hunting, tailgating or any other outdoor trip. These can be the best choice for the family trip. If you have a group of 5-6 people and going on an outing, this kind of cooler is a great fit for you.

If you have a larger number of people in your group, then you need a larger cooler. You can pick a larger cooler from 95 to 350-quart range.

Design

Design is another important factor that most people look at a cooler before purchasing. Coolers come with different designs and colors. The most common color of cooler is simple white. But there are a lot more color options available to choose from. Though color and design don’t impact much on choosing the best cooler, some people love to have a great looking cooler. So, this can also be considered when choosing a cooler.

Some have external storage options some have not. Some cooler have several handle systems some have a simple traditional handle. You will get some cooler having a built-in bottle opener or fish scale on the body.

Most of the cooler comes with a brand logo of the manufactured company on the body. But there’s an option you will find on some cooler that is offering a custom logo or any text on your cooler. You just need to order and send your logo or any text to them. They will design your cooler with your own logo.

Build Materials

This is probably the most important factor that makes every cooler different from others. Premium coolers are made with high-end materials. Quality materials make a cooler last longer. Therefore, this increases the ice retention time and give you the best outdoor experience with your favorite soft drinks.

Ice Retention Capacity

The main purpose of choosing a cooler is to keep things cold for as long as you can. A good cooler must have longer ice retention capacity.

cooler ice retention

Soft-sided coolers are very portable and easy to carry. But these are not appropriate for multiple-day trips. You can hold ice for up to 24hours on a soft cooler. So, if you are purchasing a cooler for day trips you can go for a soft cooler.

But if you need multiple day ice retention, you must have to choose a hard cooler. Hard coolers can hold ice up to 10 days. The best cooler always comes with longer ice retention capacity.

Though the ice retention depends on how you pack and use a cooler during your trip, you can still expect more than 3-4 days of insulation on each of our above-listed coolers.

Durability

Most of the people want to have a durable cooler. This is because purchasing a cooler is a really big investment. And people don’t want to waste money on less lasting coolers.

The durability of a cooler depends on the build quality of a cooler. Premium coolers are incredibly durable and made for last long. If you have enough budget to purchase a premium cooler, you should buy any one of them.

Portability

Portability means how easily you can carry your cooler to your trip. Small coolers are extremely portable and anyone can carry them. But a large cooler is not so easy to carry by one person.

Coolers come with several types of handle system so that you can carry it easily. Some coolers have traditional pulling handle, some have rope handle. Some coolers have a small hole to tie down the cooler in the back of your car.

Whatever the carrying option, you should pick a lightweight cooler. Some coolers are very heavy and become heavier after packing with your items. So, you should try to avoid these cooler. Smaller and lighter coolers are great for portability.

Bear Proofing

You will be happy to hear that most of the top-rated coolers now come with certified bear-proof features. Once you lock your cooler with the padlocks the coolers will keep out bears.

bear proof cooler

If you are in a bear area, you should especially check to look for these features on cooler before purchasing. Luckily, in our listing of the best coolers, all are certified bear-resistant. So, you can pick any one of them and keep your foods stay away from bears.

Cleaning and Maintenance

You have to clean your cooler every time you go on a trip. So, the cleaning and maintenance system of a cooler should be very easy.

Unfortunately, soft coolers don’t have a good cleaning system. What you have to do is turn over the cooler and pull out the melted water. After that put the cooler under the sun until it becomes dry.

In most of the hard cooler comes with a built-in drainage system. There’s a drain plug on the cooler which automatically pulls out the melted water once you open it. So it’s very easy cleaning.

Price

When you are in the market of a cooler, you will notice a wide range of prices. Coolers come with cheaper $50 to the premium $500. Premium coolers are expensive but offer the best features and insulation. Cheap ice coolers are good if you don’t need longer ice retention. Some cooler like ORCA and RTIC provides premium features at a very reasonable price. Depending on your budget you have to determine whether to go for a cheap cooler or a good quality cooler.

Warranty

Warranty plays an important role in determining the best cooler among all available coolers. If you are looking for a very few features on a cooler you should look at the warranty. Some cooler brand like YETI is offering 3-5 years of warranty when some brand like RTIC offering 7-10 years. Therefore you will get a lifetime warranty on ORCA cooler. Product warranty is really an important factor in choosing any product. The more warranty represents more safety of your money.

Additional Accessories

Some cooler offers some additional accessories like a dry basket. YETI offers a dry basket on their hard coolers. This is used to keep the dry items cold and separate inside the cooler.

Customer Review

Finally, customer review is another important factor to consider before buying a cooler. We always recommend you check out real customer reviews of a cooler before taking your decision. This will help you to understand the exact quality of a cooler.

We reviewed a lot of coolers to help you find the best cooler for the money. You can check our cooler review here.

How to Pack a Cooler for longer Ice Retention?

Whether you’re going out on camping or fishing for several days or just go on a day single trip, there are some useful tips that you can use to keep the items of your cooler colder longer.

The first and most important thing is to find a cooler with a maximum amount of insulation capacity. This is one of the best things that will help you to keep the ice cold for longer. We already listed the best coolers that have an amazing amount of insulation. So, if you pick the right cooler you will definitely get good ice retention during your trip.

In most cases, ice retention depends on how you pack your cooler with your items and how often you open it in a day. If you know the exact way of packing a cooler and how to use the cooler perfectly, you will be able to maximize the ice retention capacity.

Let’s start out how to pack a cooler for maximum ice retention:

  1. First, before packing your cooler fill it full with sacrificial ice for several hours or overnight and then toss that ice before packing with your trip ice.
  2. The second step is to prepare the foods and drinks you are going to put on your cooler. You have to ensure that all the items you are going to pack on your cooler are cold. If not, put them into the refrigerator overnight whether it’s water, soda, beer or any other food. Pre-cooling the items before packing helps ice stay longer.
  3. So, your cooler and contents both are ready to be packed. First, put either block ice which lasts longer or ice cubes which are not as bulky in the bottom of the cooler.
  4. Then, layer the foods that need to stay super cool and that you probably won’t need for a while.
  5. After that, layer more ice on top and put foods that you may use in a day or two. You may wrap the meats and cheeses in double plastic bags to keep them dry.
  6. Layer more ice around these items.
  7. If your cooler has a tray or a wire basket feature use those to keep your dry foods like sandwiches or anything that you don’t want to get migrated to the cold watery depths of the cooler.
  8. Finally, after putting all the necessary foods and drinks, you have to ensure that there is no empty space. If there’s an empty space, fill it with ice and lock the cooler.

A combination of drinks and your favorite snacks will make you smile when you open your smartly organized cooler. If you are able to pack your cooler perfectly you will surely get better ice retention than before. But there’s something more that will increase the insulation even more.

  1. Keep the cooler closed and locked perfectly.
  2. Close the drain plug and don’t drain the water out.
  3. Don’t store the cooler under the hot sun. Try to keep it in a cool place.
  4. Try not to open the cooler frequently.

I hope these tips will help you to get the maximum ice retention from your cooler. However, you can also check out the following video to get more about cooler packing:

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is a cooler made out of?

According to Wikipedia, hard coolers are made with plastic shells in both interior and exterior with having a hard foam between them.

Q. How long a cooler can keep foods and drinks cold?

It depends on how you pack and use your cooler. The weather also impacts a lot on it. But you can expect at least 3-4 days if you are able to pick the best cooler from the market.

Q. Which cooler can keep ice longer?

In our test, YETI and ORCA coolers are the best in keeping ice longer. These coolers can hold ice up to 7 days. Pelican is another good competitor and they can also hold ice for a longer time.

Q. What is the best cooler to buy?

We reviewed a lot of coolers and found that the Tundra series cooler from YETI is the best hard coolers in terms of durability and ice retention capacity.

Q. Which one is the best portable cooler?

YETI Roadie 20 is the best portable cooler you will find on the market.

Q. Which one is the best soft cooler?

Engel Soft pack Cooler is the best soft cooler for the money.

Q. Which one if the best backpack cooler?

Polar Bear Nylon Series cooler is the best backpack cooler in terms of quality and money.

Q. What brand of cooler is the best?

In our opinion, YETI is the best brand of cooler. But there is some good competitor like – ORCA, Pelican, Engel, and RTIC who are manufacturing good quality coolers.

Final Words

While you are in the market of a cooler you should always keep the thing in your mind that the best coolers are not always the expensive one. Similarly, the cheap coolers are not the worst ones.

Since there’s a lot of cooler brands offering different types of coolers at a different price, you have to consider the features and quality before taking your decision. The premium brands are always great in terms of quality, insulation durability and portability.

Here in BestCoolersInfo, we’ve reviewed a lot of coolers and manufacturers. The coolers that we’ve listed above are a summary of all the best of our reviewed coolers. We listed all the best ice chest that can meet your outdoor needs.

If you don’t have enough time to research and check all available coolers on the market, you can still be able to find the best cooler for the money. We mentioned some of the best performing coolers on our above list. We hope you will be able to find the right cooler from the list to fulfill your needs.

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