If you are an avid camper and loves to go on camping, traveling, fishing, or any other outdoor trip then you are going to need a cooler. In modern life, you can’t imagine such outdoor activities without having a good cooler. With a portable ice cooler, you can keep your food and beverages cold for a longer time.
But, finding the best cooler for the money is quite difficult for both new and experienced buyers. There’s a huge number of brands available on market. Each brand is offering coolers of different shapes, sizes, features, and prices.
This post is devoted to all of the people who are looking for the best outdoor cooler for their upcoming outdoor trip. We reviewed more than hundreds of coolers from the market and finally come up with the top 10 best coolers that you can consider to buy in 2019. Check our reviews and pick the right cooler that fulfills most of your needs.
Top 10 Best Coolers of 2019
When choosing the best hard cooler, this is very important to make sure that the quality and ice retention capacity of the cooler is great. There are some other factors that you should consider in order to have a good quality cooler for your regular outdoor trip.
The following cooler review will show you the quality, ice retention capacity, features and value of each of the above-listed coolers. After that, we’ve included a comprehensive cooler buying guide which will help you to pick the right cooler for your needs. Also, don’t forget to check our cooler packing guide to get maximum ice retention from your cooler.
01. YETI Tundra 45 Cooler
- Available Size: 35-350 Quart
- Ice Retention: 5+ days
- Warranty: 3 years
When it comes to choosing the best cooler from the market, there is no other alternative to YETI coolers. They manufactured a wide range of coolers that must fulfill most of your needs. The Tundra series is made for both versatilities with durability. You will get a complete range of sizes and features on YETI’s Tundra series cooler.
The Tundra 45 comes with Rotomolded Construction which makes it super durable. It has the capacity of 26 cans with 2:1 recommended ice-to-contents ratio. You can also put your foods inside the cooler. There’s a dry goods basket which you can use to preserve your snacks. YETI uses PermaFrost Insulation which ensures better ice retention. If you pack your foods and drinks perfectly on this cooler you can expect to have more than 7 days of ice retention during summer. The extra thick FatWall design is certified Bear-Resistant. So, you can take this cooler wherever you want. There are varieties of sizes ranging from 35 to 350 and five different colors available to choose from.
Overall, YETI Tundra 45 is ideal for any type of tough condition. You can use this cooler on any type of outdoor trips. The company is offering 3 years of warranty which is also great.
- Rotomolded construction
- Certified bear resistant cooler
- Great ice retention capacity (5+ days)
- Best for all kinds of outdoor trips
- 3-year warranty
02. ORCA Heavy Duty Cooler
- Available Size: 35-350 Quart
- Ice Retention: 5+ days
- Warranty: 3 years
The ORCA Extra Heavy Duty Cooler comes with durable roto-molded construction and extremely longer ice retention capacity. ORCA is an American brand of coolers and outdoor gears. All the coolers are made in USA. There are three different sizes available – 20 quart, 26 quart and 75 quart.
According to the advertisement, ORCA cooler can hold ice for up to 10 days. Though this is not true for all condition, you can expect to have more than 7 days of ice retention on this cooler. It features lid gasket which ensures a perfect seal. For easy and comfortable carrying there’s Flex Grip handles. There is Cargo Net Attachment included in the cooler for additional storage.
Overall, this is another best cooler for the money. The best part about this cooler is the price. ORCA cooler comes at a very reasonable price. The company is providing a lifetime warranty on this cooler. So, this is really the safest investment of your money.
- Durable roto-molded construction
- 100% USA made cooler
- Extremely longer ice retention (7+ days)
- Easy carrying handle
- Lifetime warranty
03. Pelican Progear Elite Cooler (45 Quart)
- Size: 45 Quart
- Ice Retention: 10 days
- Warranty: Lifetime
The Pelican ProGear comes at number three in our list. This is a 45-quart medium size cooler. People who are looking for super heavy duty cooler, this one is a perfect option for them. Along with the heavy duty construction, the cooler features up to 10 days ice retention. The cooler is made of stainless steel hardware which is corrosion resistant. It includes dual handle system one is molded-in and another is hinged handle. Both handles make the cooler easy to carry anywhere.
One of the downsides of this cooler is the price. The ProGear is very expensive comparing other premium brands. Instead of the high price tag, this cooler is really a great option for any kind of adventure trip. There are 4 different colors available to choose from.
If you are looking for extremely heavy duty cooler for regular use, you should definitely go for this. Pelican is offering a lifetime warranty which is really a great thing about this cooler.
- Extremely heavy-duty construction
- Suitable for any kind of outdoor trip
- Dual handle system
- Up to 10 days ice retention
- Lifetime warranty
04. RTIC 45 Quart Cooler
- Size: 45 Quart
- Ice Retention: 5+ days
- Warranty: 1 Year
The RTIC 45 Quart is another medium size cooler. This is a multi-purpose cooler which you can use in almost all kinds of outdoor trips. It is made of heavy duty and long-lasting materials. It features longer ice retention for more than 5 days. Since it a medium size cooler and there is easy carrying handle, it can be carried by a single person.
This roto-molded cooler is certified bear proof and there’s an integrated locking system which allows you to keep your foods and drinks safe. The molded side handles allow comfortable carrying. There are five different colors available to choose from.
Overall, this is another best coolers for the money. The best part about this cooler is – you can use it on any kind of outdoor trips. RTIC is offering a 1-year limited warranty on this cooler.
- Roto-molded construction
- Certified bear resistant
- More than 5 days ice retention
- Integrated locking system
- 1-year limited warranty
05. Driftsun 75 Quart Roto-Molded Cooler
- Size: 75 Quart
- Ice Retention: 7-10 days
- Warranty: 1 Year
06. Grizzly 40 Quart Rotomolded Cooler
- Size: 40 Quart
- Ice Retention: 5+ days
- Warranty: Lifetime
07. Engel High Performance Rotomolded Cooler
- Size: 65 Quart
- Ice Retention: 10 days
- Warranty: 10 years
08. K2 Coolers Summit (30 Quart)
- Size: 30 Quart
- Ice Retention: 3-4 days
- Warranty: 7 years
09. Coleman Steel-Belted Portable Cooler
- Size: 54 Quart
- Ice Retention: 4 days
- Warranty: 6 years
10. Igloo Quick and Cool Cooler
- Size: 100, 150 Quart
- Ice Retention: 7 days
- Warranty: 1 year
What is a 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 during any long trip.
Types of Cooler
Typically there are two major types of coolers available on market – hard cooler and soft cooler. Let’s talk about these two types of coolers:
This is a kind of cooler that comes first to our mind when we think about a cooler. These 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:
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.
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 listing of top 10 best coolers. Roto-molded coolers can hold ice for 7-10 days which is really great.
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 soft-sided cooler and backpack cooler in the market.
Why you Need a Cooler?
Coolers are one of the must-have outdoor accessories for every outdoors-men. Taking foods 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. Portable coolers are a great invention that helps you to store foods safely for a longtime even without a freezer or power outage.
This is exactly why you need a cooler on your outdoor trip.You will be able to keep your favorite drinks and foods cold for a long time using a portable cooler. The best cooler will always give you the maximum ice retention so that you can enjoy your trip.
What are the Top Cooler Brands?
There are a lot of cooler brands available on market. Most of the brands claim their cooler to be the best one in the market. All have different features and price. We picked some of the best cooler brands after researching almost all available brands. Let’s talk about the top rated cooler brands:
YETI is world’s most popular premium cooler brand. They manufacture world’s best quality cooler. YETI is the perfect choice for people who love premium products. They have the complete range of coolers in both hard and soft line. The soft coolers are comes in Hopper series and hard coolers are comes in Tundra series. In addition, YETI made a small size personal cooler Roadie 20. YETI coolers are made with the best quality materials that last for life. Their Tundra coolers are manufactured in USA and the Hopper coolers are manufactured in China. Check our YETI cooler review.
Outdoor Recreation Company of America (ORCA) prides themselves as one of the paramount manufacturers of coolers and various outdoor gears. This is an America company. All of the products are made in America. ORCA uses the top-end materials on their products. They have a wide range of coolers with various size and color options. They provide the best cooler for the money. If you want to learn more about this company, feel free to check our ORCA cooler review.
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. To learn more about their cooler check our pelican cooler review.
RTIC manufactures hard cooler, soft cooler, day cooler,tumbler, bottles, drink ware, food container, backpack cooler, cooler accessories, and a lot more products. RTIC coolers are another great alternative to YETI coolers. In order you give you the best quality at the lowest price, their coolers are made in China.
Driftsun comes to the market in 2014. It 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 for ensuring the best value and quality of their products.
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.
Engel is another direct competitor to YETI. They manufacture the best quality cooler at a premium price. Both their soft and hard coolers are popular on market. With impressive ice retention and 10 years of warranty, Engel cooler comes to the list of the best coolers.
Where to Buy Portable Cooler?
You can purchase a portable cooler directly from themanufacturer’s website. There’s a lot of local dealer 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 is a variety of price options. The price typically depends on the size of a cooler and the materials used to make it. Followings are the price range of each type of coolers:
- Very small, portable cooler costs mostly $20.
- Small size soft cooler usually ranging in price from $20 to $100.
- Traditional hard cooler cost around $50 to $150.
- Roto-molded coolers usually range from $$100 to$500.
Cooler Buying Guide – How to Choose the Best Ice Chest?
A portable cooler is an important outdoor gear for many people. This is an essential element for any kind of outdoor activities like camping, hiking, long day trip etc.
There are so many coolers available on different sizes,shapes, functions, designs, and prices. So, it’s very easy to get confused about choosing the best cooler among all available coolers.
Coolers are not so cheap instead some cooler comes with a big price tag. You will never want to purchase a cooler frequently. So, it is very necessary to pick the best ice chest.
In order to pick the right cooler to fulfill your needs, you have to be clear about 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 figure out the purpose for 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 kind of purpose.
- If you love fishing, camping, hiking or other outings you must need a hard cooler. Here, according to the size of your group you can pick either small 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. There are a lot of cooler available ranging from $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:
The size and the capacity most often end up being the main factor of 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.
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 size 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 sizes 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 coolers 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 the range of 95quart to 350 quart.
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 option some have not. Some cooler have several handle system some have a simple traditional handle. You will get some cooler having 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 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.
This is probably the most important factor that makes every cooler different from other. 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.
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.
Most of the people want to have a durable cooler. This is because purchasing a cooler is really a 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 means hoe easily you can carry your cooler to your trip. Small coolers are extremely portable and anyone can carry them. But 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 becomes heavier after packing with your items. So, you should try to avoid these cooler. Smaller and lighter coolers are great for portability.
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.
If you are in a bear area, you should especially check to look for this 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.
When you are in a 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 coolers are good if you don’t need longer ice retention. Some cooler like ORCA and RTIC provides premium features at very reasonable price. Depending on your budget you have to determine whether to go for a cheap cooler or a good quality cooler.
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.
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.
Finally, customer review is another important factor to consider before buying a cooler. We always recommend you to 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 before 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Then, layer the foods that need to stay super cool and that you probably won’t need for a while.
- 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.
- Layer more ice around these items.
- 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.
- 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.
Check the following video better understanding:
A combination of drinks and your favorite snacks will make you smile when you open your smartly organized cooler. If you 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.
- Keep the cooler closed and locked perfectly.
- Close the drain plug and don’t drain the water out.
- Don’t store the cooler under the hot sun. Try to keep it in a cool place.
- Try not to open the cooler frequently.
Hope this tips will help you to get the maximum ice retention from your cooler.
Frequently Asked Questions
According to Wikipedia, hard coolers are made with plastic shell in both interior and exterior with having with a hard foam between them.
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.
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.
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.
YETI Roadie 20 is the best portable cooler you will find on market.
Engel Soft pack Cooler is the best soft cooler for the money.
Polar Bear Nylon Series cooler is the best backpack cooler in terms of quality and money.
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.
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 coolers.
Since there’s a lot of cooler brand 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 manufactures. 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 check all the customer reviews, don’t worry, go and pick anyone among our listed top-rated coolers. We hope that you will be able to find out the best cooler from our list to fulfill your needs.