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It’s hot out there. And if you’re like me, sometimes the most refreshing thing you can drink is a cold beverage. However, when your home-cooler is dripping wet and full of warm water, it can be hard to find anywhere to cool off. Take the guesswork out of finding the best ice cooler so that you can enjoy an iced drink anytime and anywhere (even with no power!) by reading this review analysis!
Coolers: Keeping It Chilled
With so many options in ice coolers on the market today, it’s hard to know which one will suit your needs best. It’s important to consider a few things when picking the best portable cooler.
How heavy should it be? How easily can you get ice into it? How big can you get ice in it?
The very first thing you should consider is price. Is the price of the cooler worth spending money on something that will not last long or will break easily because of not being strong enough? While some companies like Yeti and Tundra tend to be much more expensive than other brands, they do have very high-quality products.
Stay on top of your game by taking care of your cooler when it’s not in use. What happens is that we throw them in the back of our trucks, or in the garage and they are constantly being hit and banged around. Since they are made out of plastic, this constant banging around can damage it and will wear it down faster than if you take better care of it.
The main body should be made out of tough material, but the rest should be flexible enough to withstand heavy duty boxes within it without breaking. The lid should have an airtight seal to ensure that food and drinks inside stay cold for long periods of time.
It should be easy to store with a foldable lid, and well equipped with an opening for ice. It should also allow you to carry it around on the go.
Generally, a cooler should be between 1-3 inches of insulation. The higher the insulation, the more durable it will be and the colder your drinks will stay. More likely than not, there is going to be a little bit of space between the actual contents and the walls of your cooler which can help insulate even more. If you are looking for a long term investment, high-quality products are better, as they will last longer than cheaper products that break easily.
The material used for the cooler should be durable enough to withstand frequent use. While some companies use cheap materials like vinyl or styrofoam, high-quality products are made out of stainless steel, aluminum, steel, hard plastic, insulation and durable rubbers. If you can afford it, a premium product will last longer than cheaper models that break easily. The handle should be insulated and padded for your comfort in carrying the cooler on your shoulder or on your back while hiking or traveling.
Here we listed down our top 5 coolers that we found to be the best on the market:
AT A GLANCE – THE TOP 5 ICE COOLERS (SEE ON AMAZON)
1. TOP PICK: YETI Roadie 24 Cooler
The Roadie 24 is 10% lighter in weight and holds 20% more than a Roadie 20, it even performs 30% better thermally
It’s got a taller build than its predecessor, so it now accommodates a standard bottle of wine (or 2 liter bottle) upright, and is a better fit behind the driver’s or passenger’s seat of a car
ROTOMOLDED CONSTRUCTION – Evolved to be thinner and lighter-weight for easier transport, while still incredibly tough
QUICKLATCH – Flexible, simple, and built for quick, one-handed cooler access
WHAT WE THINK:
Folding down to a third of its full height, the Roadie is Yeti’s most portable cooler yet. It positions the cooler’s lid above its base, so it will protect contents even when it’s placed upside down—you know, in case you’re driving off road or tailgating at a high-octane sporting event. A sturdy telescopic handle makes for easy transport and an ice-grip bottom ensures great stability on any surface.
WHAT CUSTOMERS THINK:
“This Yeti cooler is an incredible upgrade from the Roadie 20. It can fit more, has better insulation, and is lighter. If you are on the fence about this just buy it. It will keep your food/drinks colder than any other cooler out there. Plus it comes with some cool stickers.“
“Had my Roadie for 7 months and love it! Wife is just as happy with it since it can hold wine and prosecco bottles. One thing to note, I find a really cool deal on dry goods trays that are compatible with this cooler. You can use 2 trays side by side with these. Not sure how to post a link but just search for beast 2-pack of yeti 24 compatible dry goods tray and they should show up. They are clear and have air holes for the cold air to circulate. Enjoy!”
Holds ice pretty well during a hot day at the beach in florida.
Needs a drain
2. BUDGET PICK: Coleman Cooler Steel-Belted Cooler
High-capacity, heavy-duty cooler features a charming retro design
54-quart capacity accommodates up to 85 cans
Premium insulation offers 4-day ice retention in temperatures as high as 90°F
Built to deliver years of performance with rust-resistant stainless steel hardware
Comfort-grip steel handles allow for easy, controlled lifting and carrying
WHAT WE THINK:
The Coleman Steel Belted Cooler is a high-capacity cooler with good looks. The durable, double-insulated body will keep food and drinks cold for up to three days. It has a tight-sealing top with a convenient latch to keep the lid secured when the cooler is in motion. A comfortable carry handle makes it easy to transport and it folds flat for convenient storage when not in use.
WHAT CUSTOMERS THINK:
“Love this cooler. Retro looks with modern technology. The first time we used it was in August…In Louisiana. We left it outside for 4 days and used it, opening and closing the entire time. It still had ice and was still cold. (Did I mention this was August…In Louisiana?). Very nice cooler. A true Coleman. “
“I rarely review but this was an experience worth mentioning. This cooler was the first thing I ordered with my prime membership. We ordered the cooler because we were driving from south FL to upstate NY with stops and wanted to do it on a budget. The cooler arrived with a broken latch. I called Coleman, and the sent me a new lid assembly 2-day air. They would’ve sent the latch only but they didn’t have any. There was no hesitation on their part. The cooler performs well. It’s not a yeti or any “super cooler” but I think value wise it can’t be beat. I pre-cooled it with 2 bags the night before we left. The next morning I drained the water and added 2 bags. We took 4 1/2 days to drive to NY. We opened it a couple times a day, left the car in the sun, and never added ice. There was plenty of ice inside when we arrived and all of our stuff was freezing cold. I don’t expect anything more from a cooler. I don’t know that it’s the same rock solid design that my parents had, but it’s a damn fine substitute. “
Aesthetic wise, this cooler wins hands-down.
Keeps ice for daaaaays!
If you’re looking to get a standard cooler, you might want to check other products. This one’s got a premium price point.
3. VALUE FOR MONEY: RTIC 20 Hard Cooler
BEST COOLER ON THE MARKET: Up for any occasion, the RTIC 20 will be the star of the show at any barbecue, fishing trip or campout. Roto-molded construction with heavy duty T-latches and a freezer grade gasket will store all your necessities with ease.
INSULATION THAT DOESN’T QUIT: Going on a long trip? No problem. Up to 3″ of insulated walls will keep your ice cold for days.
THE BEST OF THE BEST: No fail hinges, no sweat exterior, cool lift design, molded side handles and tie downs so your cooler is always where it needs to be.
OVERBUILT, NOT OVERPRICED: At RTIC we don’t see the reason for making products that our customers can’t afford. That’s why our products are the HIGHEST QUALITY for the LOWEST PRICE.
OUR RTIC PROMISE: If you have an issue with your product, let us know and we will make it right.
WHAT WE THINK:
The RTIC 20 is a cool-designed hard cooler with a high-capacity lid. This 20-quart cooler has a lot of space to store your food and drinks to keep them cold for up to three days. The all steel construction keeps your stuff safe from splashes and bumps, and the locking lid makes sure it stays shut when you’re on the go.
WHAT CUSTOMERS THINK:
“I brought this cooler to an open air camping environment in South Texas during a heat wave for 3 days. The average temperature outside ranging from 100-105 degrees until about 6pm with evening lows of 85-90; the car was never parked in the shade. This cooler was left in the trunk of the car and was pre-chilled with ice the night before the outting and filled with new ice the morning of. By day 3 a lot of the ice was melted as to be expected sitting in a hot car for 72 hours during a Texas heat wave. Much to my pleasure, the cooler kept everything cold during the whole trip and I am very pleased with this product. I highly recommend this if you are looking for a quality cooler that can keep your drinks cold for 3 days during extreme temperatures. This cooler can probably stay cold for 5 days with mild temperatures based upon the performance it had during a Texas heat wave for a 3 day camping weekend.”
Rock solid build, resistant to damage
Easy to drain
Can retain ice up to 10 days
4. BEST HEAVY DUTY: REYLEO Portable Rotomolded Cooler with Wheels
Upgraded Ice Retention: Can keep 12 bags of ice for up to 7 days. 50 quart max capacity holds up to 78 cans without any ice. With a ratio of 2:1 ice to cans, ice can be kept for 5 days.
Durable Tow Handle: Strong and non-slippery steel handle. A layer of foam covered on top of handle to enhance stability and comfort during movement. A curved design handle creates a convenience for towing even on an inclined surface.
Steady Big Wheels: Heavy-duty and resistant to punctures, non-slippery, suitable for moving on beach, riverside and outdoor camping area.
Multifunctional Features: Built in cup holders embedded on top of the sealed lid for easy access to beverages. Bottle opener, fishing ruler and tie-down points are also added for more convenience. A wire basket will also included in the package for more division of storage place.
Rotomolded Construction: Seat lid can support up to 300 pounds and always provide you with a seat. REYLEO cooler can vigorously resist external forces and hard to be broken.
WHAT WE THINK:
The REYLEO 50 is a high-capacity, hard-plastic cooler that’s designed to keep ice cold for days. It’s rotomolded with top and bottom handles for easy transport and two built-in cup holders offer a spot for drinks during your trip. The durable, double insulated body will keep food and drinks cold for up to 3 days. It has a tight-sealing top with a convenient latch to keep the lid secured when the cooler is in motion.
WHAT CUSTOMERS THINK:
“This is really great for keeping things cold. I did not test it out for how many days it would last maximum keeping things cold but I went to lake mead near Las Vegas several times when it’s well over 100 degrees and even 2 days in a row in the direct sun there was still a tiny bit of ice left when we went home. I’m sure if it wasn’t so hot and not I’m the sun it would last longer. It is a heavy cooler and the walls of it are thick so it looks like it’s gonna hold more than it does but that’s ok. I will bring it with me on camping trips when I have very perishable food and maybe if I don’t have enough room put other things in a separate cooler that won’t go bad if they warm up slightly or maybe I’ll buy another cooler but that would take up a lot of room so Idunno. All in all it’s really good. ”
Includes a bottle opener
Well made cooler but is as heavy empty as when totally full. Because of that it is clumsy to carry even when empty.
5. MOST CONVENIENT: RTIC Soft Cooler 30
HOLDS UP TO 30 CANS PLUS ICE: This bag is 100% leak proof, puncture-resistant, and has an antimicrobial liner that resists mildew. It is tough as nails and can hold ice for days.
NO LEAK ZIPPER. Coolers like this make other ones look like toys for children. Competitors have floppy and collapsible bags that happen to hold ice. Step up your game with RTIC.
WHAT WE THINK:
Designed to keep your food and beverage cold for up to 24 hours, the RTIC Soft Cooler is a high-capacity soft cooler with cool features. The durable, double insulated body will keep food and drinks cold for up to 3 days. It has a tight-sealing top with a convenient latch to keep the lid secured when the cooler is in motion. A comfortable carry handle makes it easy to transport and it folds flat for convenient storage when not in use. It can fit up to 30 cans or 30 pounds of ice! Not bad for the smallest one on our list, eh?
WHAT CUSTOMERS THINK:
“TThe RTIC Soft Pack is a nice sized cooler for two. Can fit ice, some drinks (cans, bottles, cups, etc.) and a couple of snacks that need to be chilled. Doesn’t quite hold ice all day as I will take it to the beach for 4-5 hours (Florida beach) and in direct sunlight it will develop a small water pool by the time I’m home. But it does keep items cold and is very convenient for the purpose of my use”
Can fit 30 cans or 30 pounds of ice
Various straps to make carrying the cooler more convenient
Expensive for what you get
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is a portable cooler?
A portable cooler is a cooler that can be moved easily from one location to another. They are designed to hold food and drinks on the go, whether for work or for outdoor activities like barbecues or picnics. Most of them have wheels, so you don’t have to worry about lugging it around despite the heavy load.
2. How do I take care of my portable cooler?
Although most coolers are built with high-quality materials, you can still make sure that they last longer by following a few simple tips:
Don’t leave ice or ice cold drinks in the cooler for an extended period of time. This can cause damage to the ice chest and may even leak.
When transporting, make sure that you are not going over bumps too quickly as this can cause damage to the cooler.
Make sure that you have the optimum amount of ice inside the cooler in order for it to keep drinks cold longer. You will also want to avoid packing too much so that everything fits comfortably.
3. How do I choose the best portable cooler?
While there are many factors that go into buying a portable cooler, here are some of the most important elements to consider:
Size: The size of your cooler is very important. Make sure that you plan ahead of time before you buy as you want to have at least a little extra room on top of what is included in the cooler.
The size of your cooler is very important. Make sure that you plan ahead of time before you buy as you want to have at least a little extra room on top of what is included in the cooler. Material: Go for a cooler that is made with premium materials such as stainless steel and not plastic. These will make the ice chest last longer and are easy to care for.
Go for a cooler that is made with premium materials such as stainless steel and not plastic. These will make the ice chest last longer and are easy to care for. Build: Make sure that the cooler is made of high-quality materials. A cool chest that is lightweight and easy to carry will be more convenient.
Make sure that the cooler is made of high-quality materials. A cool chest that is lightweight and easy to carry will be more convenient. Price: Make sure you are getting what you are paying for when it comes to portable coolers, as many cheap ones can be flimsy at best but still cost a lot of money. The good news here is that there are many affordable options, so you should be able to find something that fits your budget.
4. How do I know when my portable cooler is ready to use?
Most portable coolers come with a built-in fan to make sure that the food and drinks stay at an optimal level. When you are ready to use your cooler, simply turn the fan on and be on your way.
5. What can you pack in a portable cooler?
The most versatile type of portable cooler is made with space for storing hot food and cold drinks.