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The 10 Best Coolers for the Money in 2020

Actually in September 2020
29 Products Tested
2620 Reviews Scanned
Research for You
LAST UPDATE June 28, 2020
READING TIME loader Minutes
Sports & Outdoors
The 10 Best Coolers for the Money in 2020

You can rest assured that all our picks offer great value for the money.

Most Buying Pelican ProGear Elite Cooler Pelican ProGear Elite Cooler
4.4/5
Show Me
PROS

Can keep ice for up to 10 days

High durability

Robust construction

Polyurethane freezer grade seals

Fully insulated lid

Measurement on the lid with inches and centimeters

Tacky rubber prevents slipping

Sturdy pull up handles

Press and pull latches for easy opening

Garden hose attachment

Affordable price

CONS

Heavy (36 pounds when empty)

Plastic drain plug attract lots of condensation

Best of the best Engel High-Performance ENG35 Cooler Engel High-Performance ENG35 Cooler
4.1/5
Show Me
PROS

Well-insulated roto-molded design

Shockproof

Bear proof

Ideal for rugged terrain

Decent insulation (2-inch polyurethane)

Reasonably priced

CONS

Drain plug tends to get broken

Doesn't seal properly

Poor ice retention

Best for the money YETI Tundra 45 Cooler YETI Tundra 45 Cooler
4.5/5
Show Me
PROS

Retains ice long

Easy to handle

Bear-proof

Reliable and durable

CONS

No leash on the drain plug

Lisa J. Humphrey

Bestazy Chef Editor. Journalist with more than 7 years of experience. Likes to conduct interviews and write cool product reviews.

Writer Lisa J. Humphrey
How we decided
  • 35Products
    Tested
  • 45Hours
    Spent
  • 03Experts
    Interviewed
  • 12Consumers
    Consulted
RUNNERS UP Also good products

Orca Cooler

4/5

Best Cooler for Camping

pros
  • Keeps drinks and food cold for about 7 days

  • Seals extremely well

  • Ideal for camping

  • Easy to handle

  • Rigid roto-molded construction

  • Comfortable to portage with flex grip handles

  • Cargo net attachment

  • Back pouch for small items

cons
  • Heavy when loaded

  • Seal is a slightly difficult to open

AO Coolers 24 Pack Canvas Cooler

4.3/5

Best Insulated Cooler

pros
  • Extremely affordable

  • Thick insulation coating

  • Durable exterior lining

cons
  • Problems with stitching leading to risk of breakage

  • Cheap zipper

Grizzly Cooler

3.5/5

Best Cooler for Hunting

pros
  • Well-constructed ice chest

  • Impressive ice life

  • Incredibly durable

  • Easy to carry

  • Easy to drain

  • Thick rubber gasket

  • Aggressive look

  • Perfect for hunting

cons
  • Very expensive

  • Heavy

YETI Hopper 20

4.4/5

Best Soft Cooler & for Anglers

pros
  • Well constructed cooler

  • Waterproof DryHide Shell

  • Keeps the elements out

  • Completely leakproof

  • Perfect for anglers

  • Easy to carry around

  • Comfortable hauling with tapered body

  • Can lock in cold

cons
  • Pricey

  • Heavy when filled up

  • Zipper is a bit hard to open and close

Coleman 54-Quart Steel-Belted Cooler

4.5/5

Best Stainless Steel Cooler

pros
  • Durable steel construction

  • Steel belting for extra strength

  • Large ice-retention capacity

  • Suitable for road journeys, camping, boating, and any outdoor activity

  • Easy to clean and maintain

  • No need for tilting and electricity source

  • Ridiculously cheap

cons
  • Ice can't last for more than five days

  • Water can penetrate food inside the chest

  • Plastic parts in the handles, drain plugs, and hinges

Igloo Glide PRO Cooler 110Qt

4.5/5

The Most Spacious Cooler & With Wheels

pros
  • Impressive capacity of 110 quarts

  • Smooth rolling wheels

  • Ultratherm insulated body

  • Slide-and-lock rigid handle

  • Zinc-plated metal hinges

  • Can keep ice for 4-5 days

  • Rugged yet attractive styling

cons
  • Hard to raise when fully loaded

  • Not intended for long trips

  • The latches are prone to get wobbly

  • Plastic side handles feel flimsy

Igloo Iceless Thermoelectric Cooler

4/5

Best Cooler for Road Trips

pros
  • Thermoelectric technology with convection cooling

  • No mess with ice

  • Brushless motor runs a quiet fan

  • Long 8-foot power cord fits in any 12V outlet

  • Ease to use

  • Cool on the go

  • Ergonomic sleek design

  • Comfortable carrying with molded hands

cons
  • Short lifetime

  • Power cord is prone to get melted

  • Lid is prone to break off

  • The fan housing is poorly secured

Table of Contents

Comparing The Best Coolers for the Money

  1. Pelican ProGear Elite Cooler
  2. Yeti Tundra 45
  3. Orca Cooler
  4. AO Coolers 24 Pack Canvas Cooler
  5. Grizzly Cooler
  6. YETI Hopper 20
  7. Coleman 54-Quart Steel-Belted Cooler
  8. Igloo Glide PRO Cooler 110Qt
  9. Igloo Iceless Thermoelectric Cooler
  10. Engel High-Performance ENG35 Cooler
    Davi Martins Melo
    EXPERT CONSULTANT

    He is fond of football and other sports since 5 years. In college, he played for the local team.

    Davi Martins Melo

    When you wanna keep your foods and drinks outside the fridge in the summer, the best way to do it is to use a cooler. It allows you to keep your food on ice for a prolonged period of time.

    But with so many coolers out there to pick from, you may have a hard time finding the best cooler for the money.

    They are designed to keep the contents cold and intact for days while being submerged, beaten, and dropped.

    That makes them suitable for different uses and activities, such as grocery shopping, road trips, camping, fishing, and more.

    You might not put all the food items on cooler during outdoor. In such a case you need a quality refrigerator which can make make your food fresh and stay longer.

    When shopping for a cooler, compare the different aspects before buying. Consider high portability, ample space and long ice retention.

    Comparing The Best Coolers for the Money

    Pelican ProGear Elite Cooler

    4.4/5

    The Pelican ProGear Elite is our top choice for many reasons. It's not only one of the most affordable coolers but also one of the top-performing models in terms of durability, ease of use, ice retention, feel, and look. That's why it is ranked the #1 best cooler of 2018.  When compared to other major brands on the market, all these features make it the best cooler for the money.

    First and foremost, this exceptional cooler is the absolute winner with regard to ice retention. It is proven to keep ice for 7 to 10 days. So you can rest assured that it's gonna keep ice for at least one week in hot temperatures.

    One of the first things you will notice at the ProGear Elite is its robust plastic pull up handles on each side of the unit. These beefy handles are really amazing to hold, whether you are carrying the cooler with a friend or by yourself. Alternatively, you can use the handles molded into the exterior when carrying the cooler. Compared to the rope handles, they are less prone to break off.

    The next brilliant feature you'll appreciate is the press and pull latches. This robust cooler is proven to seal exceptionally well while preventing the lid from accidental opening. While many coolers use the pull-down rubber latches, which are a bit hard to use, the Pelican boasts one-of-a-kind press and pull latches that are extremely easy to use.

    You can unhook the cooler in a jiffy by pressing the red buttons and lifting the lid up; press them down and they will click into place. That lets you close and open the cooler at the push of a button which is not possible with most coolers.

    Why the Pelican ProGear Is The Best Cooler for the Money

    Other neat features worth mentioning include the molded-in ruler on the lid, tie-downs, and drain plug. The first feature is particularly useful for fishermen, allowing them to quickly measure the fish and decide whether to throw it back or keep. Also, if you're going fishing, consider bringing along a kayak tackle box.

    As far as the drain plug, it comes with a hose attachment that lets you drain the cooler away from the place where it is located. Be sure to drain the water every day to prevent condensation build-up.

    For easy transporting, there are molded-in tie-down points, which make the cooler suitable for taking on a truck or boat. It won't move an inch thanks to the tacky rubber that prevents the cooler from slipping and sliding around. A great feature when using it on a slippery boat floor.

    At last, let's say a few words about durability and construction. The Pelican ProGear Elite is designed to last for years. The exterior is made of high-impact military-grade polyurethane that makes the unit incredibly durable and difficult to break. You can throw it around or drop it off the back of a truck while driving at high speed. Yep, it will survive!

    There's one catch though. This product is on the heavy side because of its robust design, which is actually the only significant issue of the Pelican coolers. Weighing about 10 pounds more than the coolers with similar size, it's certainly a bulky one.

    pros

      Can keep ice for up to 10 days

      High durability

      Robust construction

      Polyurethane freezer grade seals

      Fully insulated lid

      Measurement on the lid with inches and centimeters

      Tacky rubber prevents slipping

      Sturdy pull up handles

      Press and pull latches for easy opening

      Garden hose attachment

      Affordable price

    cons

      Heavy (36 pounds when empty)

      Plastic drain plug attract lots of condensation

    Best for the money

    Yeti Tundra 45

    4.2/5

    If you are looking for a cooler that can match all your requirements and that too within a budget then Yeti Tundra 45 is surely the right choice to make. Yeti, the company has been popular among many because of its rotomolded coolers that promised to offer great performance but within a limited budget. 

    Yeti Tundra 45 for a very affordable price promises to offer what everyone is looking for. No matter how many coolers you have tested, Yeti Tundra 45 has contributed to the longer lasting property as far as ice retention, ambient temperatures and others are concerned. Although you may have a tough time to handle the cooler because it is not pretty portable. Moreover, the cooler is a little smaller than your expectations but as far as performance is concerned, this cooler has the best to offer. 

    Yeti Tundra 45 is available in a wide range of colours. The Yeti Tundra 45 is one of the strongest and bold Yeti coolers. With a simple and clean design, the cooler offers a sturdy structure which is smooth and has high-quality construction. Moreover, the cooler also contains hinged lids and thick rubber latches to ensure that it can be pulled or carried. 

    Yeti Tundra 45 looks more like a tank that you can easily store at the back of your car. When empty, the cooler weighs around 23 pounds. The thick walls of the cooler prevent it from becoming as spacious as the customers expect it to be. As the name suggests, it is very natural for the users to believe that Yeti Tundra 45 holds 45 quarts. But, it does not because it holds 38 quarts. However, it isn't much of a problem too. Filling up more than 38 quarts may pave way for overflowing when the lid is closed. Therefore, it is necessary to focus on the capacity and offer as much as it can hold. 

    As far as cooling capacity is concerned, Yeti Tundra 45 surely has the capacity to keep the temperature down for a long time. It can keep the interiors cool for 48 hours without any problem. Although it is a small cooler, this cooler surely does have a lot to offer without having to work much on it. 

    The coming together of performance and durability of Yeti Tundra 45 has made its one of the most popular investments. 

    pros

      High Insulation Capacity

      Better Functioning

      Affordable

      Sturdy design

      Durable

    cons

      Lesser Features

      Only 38 quarts

      Hard to carry

    Orca Cooler

    4/5

    If you are one of those outdoorsmen sick of ice chests that can't withstand extended trips, go for Orca coolers and you'll be able to stay at campsite much longer. Those roto-molded coolers are suitable for long camping trips, so they are perfect for campers, hunters, fishermen, and other people who spend a lot of time outdoors.

    ORCA is a famous American brand that has been around for many years with superb coolers. Unlike some other brands, such as YETI that have been outsourcing Hopper Series to China, ORCA products are still produced in the US. That makes a big difference, right?

    You can find Orca coolers in different colors and sizes, ranging from 20 to 140 quarts. Start with the smallest 20-quart cooler for weekend trips and switch to a massive 75-quart model when you want to spend all week in nature. The 140-quart Orca coolers are ideal for big-game hunters needing the extra storage.

    What makes these coolers stand out from the crowd is their build quality and design. They look classy thanks to the sleek design and cubic shape. Being made of high-quality materials, these roto-molded coolers are extremely durable and heavy-duty. On the back, there's a nifty pouch that can be used to keep small items like a pocket knife, phone, or keys.

    More on the Orca Cooler

    Orca coolers also set themselves apart from the rest with their excellent ice retention capability. According to the manufacturer, these coolers are capable of retaining ice for 10 days when properly prepped. While consistently providing safe temperatures of 90ºF+, the smaller sized models can keep ice for 4-5 days. As the quarts go up, the ice retention gets increased, too.

    These robust coolers come with a cargo net attachment, which is something not many brands include in their coolers. That useful attachment allows for added storage so that you can store your dry goods aside from putting drinks inside.

    The latches perform pretty well locking down a water- and air-tight seal. Besides, this cooler features premium flex-grip handles that make portage comfortable, as well as a drain plug that won't splash when you are taking out meltwater.

    pros

      Keeps drinks and food cold for about 7 days

      Seals extremely well

      Ideal for camping

      Easy to handle

      Rigid roto-molded construction

      Comfortable to portage with flex grip handles

      Cargo net attachment

      Back pouch for small items

    cons

      Heavy when loaded

      Seal is a slightly difficult to open

    AO Coolers 24 Pack Canvas Cooler

    4.3/5

    The AO Coolers 24 Pack Canvas has a bag like feature with a zip opening on the top. It is extremely efficient to carry and is small. There are a wide range of features that contribute towards increasing the popularity of the cooler among the customers. 

    Priced at an affordable rate, the AO coolers 24 Pack Canvas Cooler is one of the best performing coolers. Whether you are going out to a picnic or heading out for an adventure or ball game, you might prefer choosing the AO Coolers 24 Pack Canvas Cooler. The cooler also serves the best purpose for short trips or for carrying your beverages. The AO 24 Pack holds ice upto 24 hours in limited temperature. Although it represents the style and size of the different coolers, it does not hold up to the capacity of other coolers. While some coolers can offer cooler upto 72 hours, AO 24 Pack offers 24- 48 hours only. The AO 24 Pack Canvas provides a ¾-inch insulation with a durable exterior lining. You can choose from the different materials such as woven vinyl, vinyl and even canvas depending on your requirements. 

    Needless to say, AO 24 Pack is extremely easy to use. It has a pocket on the front and zipper on the mouth. The pocket is a bit tight so you cannot store much in it. So, if you stuff your cooler with everything you need, there won't be much space to use the cooler. The top zipper is however extremely easy to use because it is spacious. The cooler won't be prone to any risks because it offers protection against leaks. 

    AO24 isn't much durable because holding it a little may get a bit tight. Since it has plastic clips, putting too much pressure would lead to it breaking. Therefore, the risk of shoulder straps breaking is too much. The exterior canvas however is a little fragile as it leads to the increased risk of damage and breakage. But, it can however suit the purpose of daily usage. 

    Portability is the best feature of AO 24, because the handles and shoulder strap allow you to carry it effectively to different places. Being slightly heavy, it may be hard for you to carry it. Therefore, you will need handles and straps to carry it effectively. The shoulder strap may be a little less comfortable but you can always hold it. 

    AO 24 is a simple yet effective cooler. It fits all the requirements without much delay. If you want a cooler that can suit your needs, this is the best value for money. 

    AO 24 is effective and easy to use but not expensive. Not only is the best option for carrying hot and cold things, but you can use it if you are going for it too long. This is surely one of the best insulated coolers that can keep the things cool for a long period of time. 

    If you are looking for an affordable cooler that can be effective for saving money but also has the required features then AO 24 is very efficient. It is strong, durable and has a high functioning capacity. Moreover, it is easy to use and proves to be a tough competition to the other higher cost, high-quality products. 

    pros

      Extremely affordable

      Thick insulation coating

      Durable exterior lining

    cons

      Problems with stitching leading to risk of breakage

      Cheap zipper

    Grizzly Cooler

    3.5/5

    Grizzly coolers possess all the features and traits a hunter could ever need, including bear-proof design, large capacity, rugged construction, and a decent ice retention time. This is why they are considered to be the best hunting coolers. Besides hunting adventure, those heavy-duty coolers are also convenient for a camping trip or picnicking with friends.

    These American-made ice chests are engineered to be a "do-everything" ice chest. The size range from 15 to 400 quarts to provide anything and everything you could ever need. Whether you are on the lookout for something larger that can be placed in the back of your truck or smaller that can fit into your car backseat, Grizzly coolers have got you covered!

    All the Grizzly coolers aim to hold out against the hard outdoor setting while maximizing ice life at the same time. And this is where roto-molded design comes into play. It implies a piece of solid plastic accompanied with metal and rubber to provide tough build.

    They are equipped with non-slip rubber feet which ensures that the unit stays put in your truck when you drive on rugged roads. The rubber is also used in the lid for the gasket. To resist rust and failure, the cooler uses stainless steel hardware. To improve and ease mobility, there's a nylon grip sleeve on each side along with side rope handles. Everything else on this cooler is made from solid plastic.

    When speaking about a cooler, one of the most important considerations is how well it performs in terms of ice retention. Well, Grizzlies will not disappoint you at all. To maximize ice life, these coolers use secure latches, a well-fitted gasket rubber gasket, thick roto-molded walls, and pressure-injected insulation. That combination results in the top-end insulation ability and relatively long ice life.

    In a 90-degree environment, you may expect that your ice will be retained 7-10 days in the larger models and 4-6 days in the smaller ones. That's pretty impressive! Other useful features include an embossed ruler onto the lid, a 2-inch drain plug, a dry goods tray for better organization of stored items, and trademarked BearClaw latches for a secure grip.

     

    pros

      Well-constructed ice chest

      Impressive ice life

      Incredibly durable

      Easy to carry

      Easy to drain

      Thick rubber gasket

      Aggressive look

      Perfect for hunting

    cons

      Very expensive

      Heavy

    YETI Hopper 20

    4.4/5

    Despite being known for the hefty price tags, Yeti is one of the market leaders when it comes to the ice chests. The Yeti Hopper line offers a great value for the money, including some of best soft-sided options on the market.

    As opposed to flimsy soft-sided coolers, these two portable coolers are designed to withstand a heavy abuse by keen outdoorsmen, such as anglers packing a fresh trout or salmon out of the wilderness.

    Constructed from a DryHide shell and fitted with sturdy D-rings, the soft Yeti Hopper is anything but soft. Thanks to the welded seams on the shell (which can be found in heavy-duty whitewater rafts), this cooler is watertight, puncture resistant, mildew resistant, and resistant to UV rays as well.

    It's available in three different sizes -- the 20, 30 and 40 -- as well as two different colors, white and tan. The Hopper 20 is so portable and hence ideal for trout fishing on the river. Alongside the ice, this model can accommodate up to 18 cans. However, if you're worried about having insufficient space, go for the larger 30 or 40 sizes. They are particularly favorable for the canoe or drift boat.

    Why We Love the Yeti Hopper 20

    Yeti soft-sided coolers are insolated with rubber foam and made of a food grade FDA-approved material. They are fitted with a special HydroLok zipper for hazmat suits. Tie downs, handles, and hitch points are double stitched. All of this ensures a great safety of inner contents.

    As far as the ice retention, the Yeti Hopper 30 and 40 are proven to keep ice 5-6 days, while the smaller Hopper 20 can go up to 3 days, which makes it suitable for shorter trips. Perhaps this ice retention doesn't seem so impressive, but you'll get a great portability and superb form factor in turn. This is why Yeti Hopper is such an amazing cooler for the money.

    pros

      Well constructed cooler

      Waterproof DryHide Shell

      Keeps the elements out

      Completely leakproof

      Perfect for anglers

      Easy to carry around

      Comfortable hauling with tapered body

      Can lock in cold

    cons

      Pricey

      Heavy when filled up

      Zipper is a bit hard to open and close

    Coleman 54-Quart Steel-Belted Cooler

    4/5

    When talking about the Coleman Steel Belted, it’s safe to say it’s one of those ice chests that falls right in the middle.

    It has a very simple, straightforward design, and a large lid that comes with its own latch. The lid is constructed well and it does keep the gasket tight.

    We can safely say the insulation is good.

    The overall structure is also very good and. As far as durability is concerned, the Coleman is a reliable and durable ice chest.

    It’s not heavy, and the handles are quite comfortable, which means it’s also highly portable.

    The handles are pretty safe, and they have a rubber grip to ease the carrying for you.

    As its name suggests, the Coleman has a steel body, with a leak-resistant channel drain and a Have-A-Seat lid.

    Just so you know, the lower part and the bottom are made of plastic.

    Its ice retention period is four days, and it’s super simple to clean and maintain.

    But there’s one problem with it.

    The lid latch is not the easiest to handle. And this is probably putting it too lightly.

    It takes a bit of time to get used to the way the latch works, but oftentimes – it simply doesn’t work. This annoys so many of the users we contacted.

    Not only that, but many users told us the latch broke after just a couple of moves.

    It appears the mechanism for the lid latch wasn’t constructed well. If there is one thing on the Coleman the users aren’t satisfied with, it’s the lid latch.

    Also…

    Some users have complained the ice chest started leaking soon after its first use, although this is not a very frequent complaint.

    All in all, the Coleman Steel Belted is a durable ice chest, which should retain ice for up to four days. It doesn’t have a ton of extra features, but it offers good insulation.

    Nevertheless, the flimsy lid latch is off-putting to the majority of the users, because it simply doesn’t do the job…

    Apparently, there is a 6-year warranty, but it depends on the date of original retail purchase.

    Features

    • 25.4 x 17.8 x 17.4 inches; 19.7 pounds
    • steel body
    • leak-resistant channel drain
    • comfort-grip steel handles
    • rust-resistant, stainless steel hardware
    • Have-A-Seat lid
    • can fit 85 cans
    • 4-day ice retention
    pros

      Easy to use and handle

      Solid

      A lot of space

    cons

      Lid latch is not good

      May leak

    Igloo Glide PRO Cooler 110Qt

    4.5/5

    If you are gonna be on the move and need a big cooler to store a lot of contents, choose the Igloo Glide PRO and you won't go wrong. While rolling it around at the beach or park on a hot day, this big wheeling cooler will keep your soda cold and make the transportation easy. It is designed to make pulling and storing a breeze.

    Its glide rally wheels and extendable, sturdy handle make it easy to ferry drink and food around the dock, campground, or boardwalk. It allows anyone to effortlessly roll this cooler in any terrain even if it is fully loaded. Considering its large size, it is the thumbs up for the Igloo Glide PRO Cooler.

    The horizontal telescoping handle comes with a slide-and-lock system, providing max leverage while facilitating lifting loads. There are plastic handles on both sides which are not so impressive, though. They feel a little flimsy, especially when you want to lift the cooler up. In our opinion, those handles need to be much stronger for such a big, 110-quart cooler.

    Further Review of the Igloo Glide PRO

    In addition to a great mobility, this rolling cooler performs very well when it comes to the insulation, maintaining a safe food temperature all the time. It can keep ice for 4-5 days when it is 90°F outside thanks to its thermal proof lid and ultratherm insulated body. That makes it suitable for a weekend camping trip, especially if you fill it up with pre-chilled food or drinks. However, if you are in need of a cooler for a 7+ day trip, then the Igloo Glide PRO cooler is not the best choice.

    Maybe the Glide PRO is not as strong as the roto-molded high-end coolers, but it still features a rugged construction. Unlike the traditional models which utilize flimsy hinges and press fit lids, it uses large latches and massive hinges to ensure that the lid is securely closed.

    On the downside, it's quite difficult to lift this 110-quart behemoth when fully loaded, especially when you want to lift it in or out of your vehicle. When filled to the brim, it easily weighs about 230 pounds! So you are advised to have at least another person available when lifting it up.

    pros

      Impressive capacity of 110 quarts

      Smooth rolling wheels

      Ultratherm insulated body

      Slide-and-lock rigid handle

      Zinc-plated metal hinges

      Can keep ice for 4-5 days

      Rugged yet attractive styling

    cons

      Hard to raise when fully loaded

      Not intended for long trips

      The latches are prone to get wobbly

      Plastic side handles feel flimsy

    Igloo Iceless Thermoelectric Cooler

    4/5

    Are you going to make a great family road trip? Tired of buying ice for a mini refrigerator that frequently needs cleaning and draining? Do you need something that is a bit more convenient? The chances are you're looking for something like the Igloo Iceless Thermoelectric cooler.

    This little iceless cooler is very convenient to use, letting you cool on the go. You just need to plug the cooler into a 12V port (it could be a cigarette lighter) and let it cool your vitals down. There's no inconvenience and mess of ice in your vehicle. Ice-free design allows you to have more space for your beverages and/or food.

    Thermoelectric Technology

    It's all about the convection cooling system and thermoelectric technology. The cooler uses a brushless motor and noiseless fan to circulate cold air. This way it can chill the temp to 36°F below the outside air temperature.

    NOTE: Don't put warm food or drinks into the cooler before plugging it because it will take you a lot of time (24 hours or more) to chill your items. As a matter of fact, it's recommended that you run the cooler for a couple of hours prior to adding your items, according to the manual.

    TIP: Make sure to cool your contents down before putting them into the cooler for the best results.

    There are two available sizes -- 26 or 28 quarts -- so pick one that will better suit your needs. The slim design and 8-foot power cord allow you to fit it easily behind the passenger seat while traveling. If you opt for the 26-quart version, than the exterior dimensions are 18.19" x 15.47" x 13.11"; the bigger 28-quart version measures 18.23" x 16.65" x 12.87".

    There are molded hands on each side for two-handed lifting and carrying. The unit features an ergonomic design with a bent back, which makes carrying more comfortable.

     

    pros

      Thermoelectric technology with convection cooling

      No mess with ice

      Brushless motor runs a quiet fan

      Long 8-foot power cord fits in any 12V outlet

      Ease to use

      Cool on the go

      Ergonomic sleek design

      Comfortable carrying with molded hands

    cons

      Short lifetime

      Power cord is prone to get melted

      Lid is prone to break off

      The fan housing is poorly secured

    Best of the best

    Engel High-Performance ENG35 Cooler

    4.1/5

    Those searching for a tough, well-insulated cooler that can keep their drinks and food ice-cold when camping, paddling, or fishing, should consider using the Eng35 Cooler.

    This roto-molded cooler highlights HardShell construction, which is suitable for rough water conditions and traveling on rugged terrain. Aside from being shockproof, this cooler is also bear proof. It proudly wears IBSC certification, meaning it will protect your food from hungry bears when you camp in a bear country.

    The Eng35 Cooler comes with airtight ArcticVault gasket and 2-inch insulation. According to the manufacturer, the cooler can hold ice frozen for up to ten days, but this mainly depends on the size and way of use. The truth is that you can use it for the 3-day trip with peace of mind. Every extra day could be risky for your food.

    Other features include the stainless steel Unity Latch system for a safe closure, a TruHold Lid for a secure grip, and the DuoLock holes for enhanced locking security against wild animals.

    There are also tie-down points to fasten the cooler to an all-terrain vehicle, boat, and the like. You'll also notice a grippy Cornerstone Feet and Flick Drain plug at the bottom. All is well engineered and wrapped up.

    pros

      Well-insulated roto-molded design

      Shockproof

      Bear proof

      Ideal for rugged terrain

      Decent insulation (2-inch polyurethane)

      Reasonably priced

    cons

      Drain plug tends to get broken

      Doesn't seal properly

      Poor ice retention

    Buyer's Guide

    Features of the Best Coolers

    image-1-text-cooler

    If you want to get the best cooler for the money, there are various features which you should check for first.

    Keeping the common problems people have with coolers that we mentioned above in mind, here are the features which you can find in any of the best coolers.

    Plenty of Space for Everyone

    Before you purchase a cooler, consider your personal circumstances. Think about how you will use the cooler, how many people will use it, and how many days worth of food and drinks it will need to store.

    For best results, purchase a cooler which has more space than you anticipate needing. That way, you will never encounter problems with not having enough space.

    Strong Material

    Coolers can be made from a wide variety of materials. This can include rubber, fabric, metal, plastic, and even Styrofoam. Usually, plastic will be used in a cooler which has a nice balance between quality and price. Plastic is relatively strong and great for insulation. Styrofoam tends to be used on the cheapest coolers and is not strong enough for extended use.

    How the Cooler is Carried

    Once you put all the items inside your cooler, it can get really heavy fast. In order to take some initiative and prepare for this, think about how you will carry your cooler around with all that weight. The easiest way to carry your cooler is typically to get one with a handle and wheels.

    As you know, there are times where wheels aren’t practical. Especially if you are camping in an area where there are lots of rocks and bumpy paths. For times like these, you will need to ensure that your cooler has handles on both sides or a shoulder strap.

    Quality of Insulation

    Just about any cooler on the market will keep your ice frozen for at least a few hours. If you get one of the best coolers on the market, you can expect ice to last up to a week. Usually, though, people will get a cooler which keeps ice frozen anywhere between 2 to 5 days.

    Waterproof Seals

    When your ice melts, you don’t the water to leak out. If the cooler you purchase doesn’t have a waterproof seal, both in the interior and exterior, then you will quickly encounter problems. Make sure your cooler is completely waterproof.

    Things You Must Know Before Buying a Cooler

    image-2-text-cooler-outside

    As a buyer, your decision about the brand and model depends on various factors. Aside from the price, you need to consider the cooler design, ice retention, capacity, key features, and more.

    So read on to find out about the critical factors you should check out when buying a cooler.

    Cooling Ability

    The coolers come with a similar design, appearance, and features. Yet, those are not equal when it comes to cooling ability. All manufacturers claim their coolers are able to keep food cool and fresh.

    But the question is, for how long? Some don’t keep foods cold on a hot day, while others are prone to leak or run out of ice quickly. That’s why you should be careful when shopping.

    When shopping a particular cooler, try to find out how long it can keep food and drink chill before requiring extra ice. Each cooler should serve its main purpose – to keep stored items cold. You should believe to customer reviews rather than sellers.

    In general, the heavy, big, and roto-molded models provide the better ice retention. There’s still lots of competition and variance within these coolers, though.

    Insulation

    image-3-text-scheme

    Insulation is certainly the key performance metric when it comes to coolers. When speaking of insulation performance, there are two different categories: ice retention and maintaining food-friendly temperatures.

    As for the safe food temperatures, it mustn’t exceed 40˚F for perishable food. The cooler must be able to maintain a temperature below 40˚F in the airspace where the food is usually stored, i.e. above the ice.

    As its name suggests, the ice retention implies the time ice can be retained, i.e., how long a cooler can keep ice. It mostly depends on the construction, type of insulation, and lid. The pressure-injected PermaFrost insulation and roto-molded construction yield the top insulation performance. The lid also needs to be well insulated and to seal well.

    Pelican Elite and Yeti Tundra are two brands that excel at insulation and ice retention. Orca, RTIC, Grizzly are also exceptional in terms of ice retention, so you can’t go wrong with any of them.

    Durability

    Since the coolers are often subjected to some kind of abuse (e.g. bouncing around, throwing, striking, and beating), those products have to be very durable. This is especially true when you rambling down the local bumpy roads with a cooler in your car.

    Increased durability commonly results in a longer lifetime of the cooler, while lowering chances of makeshift duct tape repairs.

    However, it’s difficult to quantify the durability when buying goods. This is where online user reviews come in. If there is any salient durability issue, the users will identify it. So it pays to read the customer reviews before going shopping.

    Features

    All customers love features. The today’s coolers aren’t only the simple ice chests for food and/or drinks, but also fish scales, bottle openers, picnic tables, cutting boards, and more.

    Any additional feature should serve the purpose, either to improve insulation or simplify chores like storing, transporting or emptying water out.

    Nonetheless, the majority of the newest models are armed with plenty of nifty features, such as:

    • Cupholders
    • Rulers
    • Emergency bottle openers
    • External latches
    • Pin style hinges
    • Drain plug leash, etc.

    Let’s reiterate again, extra features should ONLY tangential to the primary functions of coolers.

    Size/Quarts

    image-4-text-3-coolers

    Once you have clarified how you’ll use a cooler, you will be able to pick the right size. The coolers range from small, handy models to the huge ice chests that can hold enough food for a 14-day camping trip.

    The coolers are available in different sizes, ranging from 10 to 400 quarts. The more quarts, the more space for your items. That’s fine but bear in mind that the biggest models are usually the heaviest ones.

    Price

    Logically, the price plays an important role in choosing the best cooler for the money. Maybe the price is not everything when shopping a cooler, but it is supposed to be quite reasonable and in accordance with what you’re getting.

    Many people cannot afford high-end, costly coolers, and that’s why we’ve singled out ten models that offer great value for money.

    THE WINNERS

    Expert tip:

    A cooler shouldn’t only keep your food cold but also provide convenience and comfort. That said, you must take into consideration different models when buying a cooler.

    Make sure to check on the reputable brands, in particular. That will help you narrow down your choices and pick one that would work best for you.

    If you’re the type of person who does not like to waste the food. You can consider taking back the remains and use some best quality food dehydrators to save it for later.

    Pelican ProGear Elite Cooler
    Most Buying

    Pelican ProGear Elite Cooler

    You can rest assured that all our picks offer great value for the money.

    Engel High-Performance ENG35 Cooler
    Best of the best

    Engel High-Performance ENG35 Cooler

    You can rest assured that all our picks offer great value for the money.

    YETI Tundra 45 Cooler
    Best for the money

    YETI Tundra 45 Cooler

    You can rest assured that all our picks offer great value for the money.

    FAQ

    Frequently asked questions

    How do coolers work?

    The cooler's insulation lets you carry lots of perishables, keeping them cool for a continuous period of time. This works by the reduction of the process of heat transfer. Basically, insulated materials stop the heat in its track from coming in or leaving the cooler.
    For that reason, cool items such as perishables or drinks remain cold since heat doesn't get into the container. A cooler has what's known as thick thermal insulation around it. Normally, such coolers have a urethane composition. Coolers with new designs often sport various types of materials, such as polystyrene, polyethylene, and polypropylene.
    There are other types of insulation materials we didn't even mention, since there many. The best coolers are often made using insulated fabrics. There are also thermoelectric coolers, which are heavier in nature but can keep your food cool in pack form. Modern cooler designs also showcase reliable waterproof lining which helps keep moisture away.

    Which coolers compare to the Yeti?

    Yeti coolers are clearly the best coolers on the market. However, because of their reputation, the cost significantly more. Remember, the Yeti is a cooler injected with PermaFrost. It can keep your ice frozen for 4-7 days. The makers also argue that not even a grizzly bear can tear it apart. It is, apparently, indestructible.
    However, there are other coolers on the market which function just as well, at a lower price. Engel and Pelican coolers are the best in terms of keeping ice cold as long as the Yeti. On the other hand, Pelican coolers have the largest capacity. If you are concerned about weight, however, the Pelican cooler may not be the best choice for you.

    How do I keep my cooler cold the longest?

    Your first consideration should be the type of ice in the cooler. Most cooler owners purchase regular bagged ice for their cooler. However, blocks of ice will last the longest in your cooler. To do this, we recommend freezing ice in containers or in plastic bags.
    You can also use dry ice, but remember, this requires incredibly special know-how, as you can burn yourself with the dry ice. This is an option, but not an excellent one. The best option available to you is blocks of ice.
    Additionally, you should make sure that you are not opening your cooler more than necessary. This can cause heat to enter the cooler more quickly, and you will lose ice.
    You should also be aware of where you keep your cooler. Keeping your cooler indoors somewhere would naturally be best. However, it may be that you will want to keep your cooler outside. In this case, try to keep your cooler in the shade as much as possible.
    The last option is to cool your cooler before adding ice. You can do this by putting your cooler in a fridge or freezer. This allows your cooler to begin at a colder temperature, which will keep the cooler and the items inside cooler for a longer period of time.

    Which cooler is the best for keeping ice?

    The best coolers for keeping ice are those with a tight seal, or, preferably, a rubber gasket. A rubber gasket creates a tight seal between the lid and the cooler, causing no excess air to pass over the ice.
    Another cooler feature allowing you to keep your ice frozen is that the insulation is of high quality. The best cooler insulation material is polystyrene. This creates incredibly heat-resistant insulation.
    Additionally, some coolers are injected with additional thermal resistant liquids, creating the ideal cooler. These injections add PermaFrost, which helps your cooler stay below the freezing temperature.

    THE TEAM

    We made this review
    Davi Martins Melo

    He is fond of football and other sports since 5 years. In college, he played for the local team

    Soccer Player Davi Martins Melo
    Helen Mao Writer Helen Mao
    Ruzica Mastelic Writer Ruzica Mastelic
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