The best coolers in 2024

The best coolers are essential for keeping your beverages and snacks cool all day. Whether you're hosting backyard parties, picnics or road trips, these should also be practical and light to carry around.

But with so many types on the market, it can be tricky to find one to match your needs. That's why you need to consider some practical things before buying. For instance, what size, capacity and type of material do you prefer? Do you want a heavy-duty one or lightweight to easily carry. Generally, the best ice coolers range from soft and traditional hard cases on wheels, to backpack styles should you wish to go on hikes. 

In addition, if you're catering for a large party or road trip, you want to make sure you have sufficient space to accommodate all your beverages and treats. So you might need an XL capacity as well as performance. 

Also, what other features are you after? These days, the best ice coolers can do much more than keep your drink chilled. You can find coolers with a range of handy features, such as cup holders and bottle openers so you're never searching for one when you need it! We've selected the best coolers to suit every lifestyle, need and budget. 

The quick list

Here’s the best coolers you can buy right now based on our testing and reviews. Scroll on for our full in-depth reviews. 

Best cooler overall

RovR RollR Wheeled Camping Rolling Cooler (Image credit: RovR)

1. RovR RollR Wheeled Camping Rolling Cooler

Best cooler overall

Specifications

Quart Capacity: 45, 60, 80
Can Capacity: 60 (plus 10 pounds of ice) to 80 cans (plus 20 pounds of ice)
Ice Retention (Days): 7 to 10
Size: 24.0 x 22.0 x 21.0 inches to 28.0 x 25.0 x 25.0 inches
Weight: 37 pounds to 64 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Optional bike attachment
+
Puncture-resistant tires
+
Lots of customization options

Reasons to avoid

-
Less spacious than advertised, according to reviews
-
5-year warranty could be longer

If we’re talking outdoor essentials with a sense of flair, nothing comes close to the RovR Wheeled Cooler. In fact, this thing is practically a mobile home for food and drink. Let’s start from the bottom up: the 9-inch high-performance, puncture-resistant tires are perfect for any terrain, from concrete to deep sand. A pop-up storage bin converts the RollR into a temporary wagon--perfect for short trips into bear country. (Did I mention this cooler is certified bear resistant? Well, it is.)

What’s unique about the RollR cooler is its upgradeability. What does this mean, exactly? It’s all about the accessories. For a few extra bucks, you can install cup holders, electric lanterns, and even an umbrella holder to the RollR itself. And speaking of trips, the optional bike rack lets you tow this cooler/wagon/tiny house with aplomb. 

When it comes to innovative functionality, the RovR RollR is tough to beat. It’s quite possibly the best cooler (and camping accessory) you never knew you needed. (And if you have a little more to spend, the 80-quart option is worth the splurge.)  

Best cooler for those on a budget

Coleman Steel-Belted Cooler (Image credit: Coleman)

2. Coleman Steel-Belted Cooler

Best cooler for those on a budget

Specifications

Quart Capacity: 54
Can Capacity: 78
Ice Retention (Days): 4
Size: 25.1 x 17.5 x 17.2 inches
Weight: 19.0 lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Classic design
+
Rock-solid construction
+
250-pound weight limit

Reasons to avoid

-
Less portable than other models
-
Only one size option

Over the age of 30? You might recognize this cooler from your childhood. Heck, you might recognize it no matter what. That’s because the iconic Steel-Belted Cooler is an oldie but a goodie. This no-nonsense stainless steel unit has a 54-quart capacity (or 85 beverage cans), and like other models in the Coleman line, its Have-a-Seat lid supports up to 250 pounds. The scorching heat is no match for this bad boy; it offers 4-day ice retention, even in temperatures as high as 90 degrees Fahrenheit. 

While aesthetics should come last when considering a cooler, this one sure aims to please. Combined with excellent portability, ease of use, and a competitive price point, this is one of the best coolers on the block. For the nostalgia types, you can get this cooler in the traditional Coleman green, or opt for matte black, red, silver, stainless steel, or turquoise models.

Best outdoors cooler

Pelican Elite Cooler (Image credit: Pelican)

3. Pelican Elite Cooler

Best cooler for outdoorsy types

Specifications

Quart Capacity: 20, 30, 50, 70, 150
Can Capacity: 15 to 216
Ice Retention (Days): 5 to 10
Size: 18.8 x 17.7 x 12.6 inches to 45.0 x 25.0 x 24.4 inches
Weight: 12.5 pounds to 66 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent ice retention
+
Self-draining beverage holders
+
Materials are built to last
+
Lifetime warranty

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

It might be on the expensive side, but the Pelican Elite Cooler is built like a tank. (Which is probably why it comes with a lifetime warranty.) Boasting up to a 150-quart, 216-can capacity, the Elite Cooler will take anything you throw at it--or inside it, for that matter. This monster has two inches of polyurethane insulation with a 360-degree freezer-grade gasket, which means exceptional ice retention for the long haul. (Up to 10 days, depending on weather conditions.) You won’t have to worry about rotting food anymore. 

The ergonomic design is held to a higher standard, and it shows. Durability is the standout feature here, and the hard-molded plastic is meant to withstand the harshest of elements. Add in a few more perks—a fish ruler, built-in bottle opener, easy-to-open latches—and this is one of the best coolers money can buy. It might even be the last cooler you ever need to buy.

Best affordable cooler

Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Zipperless Hardbody Cooler (Image credit: Arctic Zone)

4. Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Zipperless Hardbody Cooler

Best bang for your buck on a budget

Specifications

Quart Capacity: 12 to 55
Can Capacity: 9, 16, 30, 48
Ice Retention (Days): 2 to 3
Size: 9.6 x 9.5 x 8.0 inches to 16.5 x 10.3 x 9.0 inches
Weight: 2.0 pounds to 4.3 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Water- and stain-resistant
+
Convenient zipperless lid
+
Limited lifetime warranty

Reasons to avoid

-
Underwhelming insulation
-
Lower-quality materials

Arctic Zone proves that the best coolers don’t have to break the bank. Available in four different sizes (and three earthy colors), the Titan Deep Freeze cooler is a great companion for budget-conscious adventurers. The flip-up lid is ideal for easy access to food and drinks, and the FDA-compliant HardBody liner is equipped with a removable shelf. It’s perfect for city dwellers and food couriers--or for when cleanliness needs to be top-of-mind.

The adjustable shoulder strap lets you move your perishables around with ease, and you’ll be the talk of your friends’ next beach day with the detachable bottle opener. (Oh, the zippered/mesh pockets on the outside are a welcome addition, too.) Arctic Zone sweetens the deal with a limited lifetime warranty. 

Reviewers reported poor insulation performance, but for the price, this is the cooler to beat. 

Best premium cooler

Yeti Tundra 45 Cooler (Image credit: YETI)

5. Yeti Tundra 45 Cooler

Best premium cooler

Specifications

Quart Capacity: 38
Can Capacity: 28
Ice Retention (Days): up to 10 days
Size: 25.8 x 16.1 x 15.4 inches
Weight: 27.7 lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Materials are built to last
+
Excellent ice retention
+
Easy-to-carry handles
+
Molded tie-down slots

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

If you haven’t yet heard of Yeti (the cooler brand, not the Himalayan humanoid), it’s about time you did. Since 2006, this company has been churning out high-end outdoor gear, but everything started with its cooler line. Meant for the “serious outdoor enthusiast,” these coolers are absolutely designed for maximum use and abuse--from mountaineers to fishermen to big game hunters. 

It’s the extreme attention to detail that puts this cooler ahead of the pack. The freezer-quality Coldlock gasket keeps your ice retention on point; the Lipgrip handles make transporting the cooler more comfortable; the leakproof design is easy to drain; the T-Rex lid hatches keep everything in place; and the molded tie-down slots make it easy to attach the cooler to a boat, trailer, or truck bed. You won’t find any extra features—like built-in cupholders or bottle openers—but the Yeti Tundra does its job, and well. 

Best portable cooler at an excellent price

Igloo BMX 25 Quart Cooler (Image credit: Igloo)

6. Igloo BMX 25 Quart Cooler

Best portable cooler at an excellent price

Specifications

Quart Capacity: 25
Can Capacity: 34
Ice Retention (Days): 4 to 5
Size: 19.6 x 15.7 x 13.3 inches
Weight: 11.3 lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable and portable
+
Excellent insulation
+
Comfortable carrying handle

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks airtight/watertight seal
-
Somewhat flimsy hinges, according to reviews

Some of the best coolers out there can be on the pricey side, but Igloo proves you don’t need to break the bank to get one. This 25-quart cooler boasts heavy duty blow-molded construction and a reinforced base, which means the BMX 25 can take a little abuse; the rust-resistant, stainless-steel hardware should provide peace of mind while it’s bouncing around in the back of your truck. (Or getting rained on in the driveway.)   

Thanks to Cool Riser Technology—which elevates the molded base to improve cooling performance—you can count on up to 5 days of ice retention; the extra-thick foam walls and insulated lid do the rest. A fish ruler and four tie-down points are both welcome perks, and the skid pads on the corners add an extra layer of protection. Not bad for a cooler that costs less than $100.

Best leakproof cooler

YETI Hopper M30 Portable Soft Cooler (Image credit: YETI)

7. YETI Hopper M30 Portable Soft Cooler

Best leakproof cooler

Specifications

Quart Capacity: 30
Can Capacity: 20
Ice Retention (Days): Unspecified
Size: 25.0 x 17.5 x 12.0 inches
Weight: 7 lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Attractive, leakproof design
+
Useful accessories
+
Easily portable
+
Lots of compatible accessories

Reasons to avoid

-
Magnets are so strong it’s tricky to keep it open while you use 

This is a fantastic cooler for keeping your stuff chilled, but that’s not all it does. The YETI Hopper M30 Portable Soft Cooler stands out for its wide mouth and magnetised closing with buckles. This means it can withstand impacts without opening up. And that’s just the start. The dryhide shell is also resistant to mildew, punctures, and UV rays, and the liner is constructed from FDA-approved food-grade material.  

The “hitchpoint grid” lets you clip stuff to the cooler itself, such as a bottle opener or YETI Sidekick Dry bag (not included). The wide strap makes the Hopper easy to lug around, and the added grips on the side are a welcome design choice. This cooler isn’t cheap, and the magnetised closing can be awkward to keep open as you load and unload, but for busy parents and day-trippers, it just might be a chilly godsend.

Best cooler for full pedestrian mobility

OtterBox Trooper LT 30 Cooler (Image credit: Otterbox)

8. Otterbox Trooper LT 30 Cooler

The best cooler for full pedestrian mobility

Specifications

Quart Capacity: 30
Can Capacity: 50
Ice Retention (Days): 3
Size: 11 x 17 x 21 inches
Weight: 6.7 lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Includes padded shoulder strap or backpack carrying options
+
Leakproof seal
+
Lifetime warranty

Reasons to avoid

-
Some reviewers were not convinced by the strength of the lining 

That’s right, OtterBox doesn't just make phone cases. For those who don’t mind schlepping stuff around on their back, the Trooper LT 30 cooler might just be the perfect fit. Not only is this one of the best coolers around, but it’s also an uber-convenient option when you need to take your foodstuffs off the beaten path. And it holds an awful lot (for a backpack): up to 30 quarts or 50 cans. Another standout feature of the Trooper LT is the accessory mounting system, which lets you install cup holders, storage racks, and other useful goodies (not included). 

An adjustable shoulder strap offers alternative carrying options to even out the load, and exterior pockets (OtterPockets?) are an added bonus. The Duraflex tie-downs are ideal for sporting events, road trips, and fishing expeditions; it’s even rated IP-65 to protect against rough river rapids and relentless riptides.

Best large-capacity budget cooler

Coleman Xtreme 5 Wheeled Cooler (Image credit: Coleman)

9. Coleman Xtreme 5 Wheeled Cooler

Best large-capacity budget cooler

Specifications

Quart Capacity: 62
Can Capacity: 85
Ice Retention (Days): 5
Size: 31.5 x 17 x 15.5 inches
Weight: 14 lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Inexpensive
+
Good insulation
+
Super portable

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as durable as other models
-
Wheels are a little clunky

Coleman is an affordable outdoor brand that’s been around for ages. When it comess to quality materials that are built to last, their cooler line has always been top-notch. Case-in-point: The Xtreme 5 Wheeled Cooler is perfect for casual camping trips, baseball games, family reunions, and more. This model holds up to 62 quarts (or 85 soda pop cans, if you prefer), and it’s easy to cart around with the included flip-up handle. (Though some reviewers found the wheels to be a tad clunky.)

A good cooler is also a good travel accessory, and Coleman includes four molded cup holders built right into the lid. The Xtreme 5 is meant to be sat on, too; as an ad-hoc stool, it can hold up to 250 pounds without breaking a sweat. (Pun intended.) The extra insulation retains ice for up to 5 days, and the leak-resistant channel drain makes clean-up a snap.

How to choose the best cooler

How to choose the best cooler for you 

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Before you choose a cooler, you must consider its size. Size ultimately affects the portability. On top of that, you need to decide on the external material — whether you want a hard or soft case. If you need to carry it for extended times, opt for soft, but if you want one for large get-togethers, or you need durability, a hard case would be best. 

Portable vs. non portable: If you don’t plan to move your cooler once it’s placed, then you don’t need to worry so much about its portability. But, if you’re planning to take it on vacation or on road trips, then consider how much it will weigh at full capacity and whether you will be comfortable carrying it. 

Durability: The latches must seal securely and shouldn’t ease up when travelling. The cooler won’t be able to insulate effectively if the seal is broken. 

Insulation: You want your cooler to be effective at insulating, so it keeps its contents chilled for as long as possible. The performance in this can vary — some models will keep ice frozen for up to a week, while others will only last a day.   

Extra features: If you want the latest features and you’re happy to pay for it, look out for external storage compartments, cup holders, bottle openers and even umbrella holders. There are also models available which offer bike attachments.   

What size cooler should I buy?

The size cooler you buy will depend on how you intend to use it, the number of your party and how long you will need to keep items cool. If you are going on a day excursion, and you are in a small group, you’ll probably be fine with a small soft-sided cooler, which will also be easier to carry than one with hard sides.

For a group of three people on a daytrip, a 40-quart cooler will probably meet your needs, but if you are going away for a couple of days a cooler with a 50-60-quart capacity will be more suitable. However, do remember that the larger the cooler the heavier and more awkward it will be to carry, unless you are able to pull it along on wheels or a trolley. If weight is going to be an issue, purchasing two smaller coolers may be the answer.

How much ice do I need to put in a cooler?

This will depend on the size/capacity of your chosen cooler. However, the ideal ice-to-contents ratio is 2:1. This will ensure you have sufficient ice to keep everything nice and chilled.

Cooling tips

 —  Pre-chill your foods or beverages before putting them into the box. This will keep them cooler for longer, and even save ice. Plus, nobody likes warm snacks!

—  Always keep the cooler box lid closed as much as possible, to prevent the cold air escaping. So try not to keep it open for long periods of time. 

—  If you fill your cooler box to the top, this can also prevent the cold air escaping each time you open it. 

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Cynthia Lawrence
Content Editor, Homes

As the Homes Content Editor, Cynthia Lawrence covers all things homes, interior decorating, and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 

Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.

With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!