Have you ever gone camping and ran out of ice in your cooler or ice chest way sooner than you thought you would? Those cheap coolers just don’t work too well and this happens far too often. Sure for just a few hours almost any cooler will work, but wouldn’t it be nice if you had one that could keep ice from melting, and thus your drinks nice and cold, for multiple days? That is why we sought out to review the best coolers and ice chests.
Buyers should be aware that many models of ice chests come in different sizes, so if you like one particular style or brand then they probably have a size close to what you need. You should also be aware that some of the top versions are heavy due to the thick insulation.
To maximize the ice retention of your cooler you should pre-cool your cooler with ice 24 hours prior or at least store it in a cool spot – not in a 90 degree garage. You should also put cans of pop or beer in the fridge and only put them in the cooler once cooled. If you are bringing water, we recommend freezing some in a reusable bottle which you can then drink as it melts.
We took a look at many models and varieties to come up with our list of the best. We also tried to choose models in all price ranges, because we know spending $300 on a cooler just isn’t feasible for everyone. Below you will find the top 10 best coolers plus two extra picks. At the bottom of these cooler reviews you can find a comparison chart as well.
The 40-quart roto-molded version weighs 24 pounds and has a lid gasket to keep an air tight seal. You can expect the ice to last up to as many as 10 days under favorable conditions.
The Orca 40 is not for everybody due to the price, but for those of you who take extended camping or hunting trips then you will think it is worth every penny. It is also the cheapest of the thickly insulated roto-molded coolers that have long lasting ice retention.
The Venture 65 is made in the USA and has ice retention that is as good or better than any other ice chest you can buy. The thick insulation means it can hold ice for 16 days under ideal conditions as Otterbox claims.
That thick insulation, however, causes this cooler to be heavy and somewhat difficult to move around since it weighs 33 pounds and has exterior dimensions of 40″ x 18.76″ x 18.83″ which is larger than some brands 75 quart models.
You should consider buying the Otterbox Venture 65 if cooling capability is your primary concern regardless of price.
The Tundra has excellent insulation thanks to its roto-molded construction and several layers of pressure-injected insulation which can hold ice for many days even in extreme heat. There are also many other sizes of Yeti models available if want a smaller or larger version.
Buyers should be aware that once fully loaded with food, beverages, and ice this thing could weigh close to 80 pounds. The Yeti Tundra 75 is also the most expensive cooler on our list, so look at other options if price is a big concern.
This Grizzly cooler is also bear resistant, made in the USA, and is backed by a lifetime warranty. Full length drain channels and a 2-inch drain plug make for quick, complete draining. Some other features include a rope handle with rubber handle, 2-inch tiedown slots, and dry goods tray.
Overall the Grizzly Coolers 40 Quart ice chest is a really solid buy with a decent price for what you get.
The YETI Hopper Flip 12 has a wide-mouth opening for easy loading and access. It is leakproof and the compact, soft shell makes it very portable. There are also smaller and larger version available.
The biggest negative is the price. It is by far the most expensive soft cooler to make our list, and also very costly for the amount it holds. That means it is not for everybody, but if you want a soft cooler with the longest ice retention possible then this is the model for you.
It comes in multiple colors and is capable of holding up to 85 cans. This Coleman model is a good choice for anyone who needs a large cooler for short trips or a weekend get-together. For extended trips more than 4 days then you might want to consider a more expensive unit or just plan on adding more ice occasionally.
Other features of this Igloo model include drain plug, molded-in side handles for lifting, integrated tie-down loops allow you to attach extra gear to your cooler, and four self-draining cup holders built into the lid. It weighs 13 pounds when empty.
There is a lot to like about the Igloo Max Cold Quantum 52 Quart Roller Cooler which is why we would not hesitate to recommend it for almost all users. The only exception would be for long camping, fishing, or hunting trips where you need the longest lasting ice retention possible – in which case you should step up to a more expensive ice chest.
The Coleman 62 Quart Xtreme 5 Wheeled Cooler is made in the USA and comes with a tow handle, wheels, and 2-way handles to make it very portable. You can sit on the lid which also has 4 cup holders built-in. It weighs 16.8 pounds empty.
Overall the Coleman 62 Quart Xtreme 5 Wheeled Cooler makes a good choice for the family camping or road trip, or if you have a get-together with a lot of people.
This thing has twice the insulation of most soft coolers and can hold ice for about 2.5 days. It comes in a variety of sizes and colors as well.
The AO Canvas 24 Can Cooler is perfect for anyone who is looking for a cheap soft cooler that can still retain ice for multiple days.
The Stanley Adventure Cooler, which comes in 7 quart and 16 quart versions, is a good choice for a personal or family cooler for work or for short trips.
The main downside for this Igloo model is that you need to keep it plugged in at all times for it to work effectively. One tip is that can help is that you can get an adapter to which allows you to plug-in to a normal outlet.
This Coleman cooler can hold 36 cans and is tall enough to hold 2-liter bottles upright. It has a hinged lid and has a bail handle for easy carrying. It weight 5.3 pounds.
The Coleman 28-Quart Cooler is not for anyone who needs multi-day cooling unless you can replenish your ice. It is a budget ice chest for when you need ice retention for about half a day.
Best Cooler Comparison Chart
|12 oz Can
|Appx Ice Retention
w/ Ideal Conditions
( L” x W” x H” )
|Orca 40 Quart Cooler||9.4||$226.96||40||48||24 lbs||10 days||26.25″ x 18.125″ x 17.625″||26Q, 40Q, 58Q, 75Q, 140Q|
|Otterbox Venture 65||9.3||$349.99||65||36||33 lbs||16 days||40″ x 18.76″ x 18.83″||25Q, 45Q, 65Q|
|Yeti Tundra 75 Cooler||9.3||$449.99||75||57||34 lbs||10 days||33.5″ x 17.875″ x 17.5″||45Q, 50Q, 65Q, 105Q, 110Q, 125Q, 250Q|
|Grizzly Coolers 40 Quart||9.2||$269.99||40||56||24 lbs||9 days||25.5″ x 16″ x 15.5″||15Q, 20Q, 40Q, 60Q, 75Q, 100Q, 165Q, 400Q|
|Yeti Hopper Flip 12 Portable Cooler||9||$249.99||12.8||13||3.1 lbs||3 days||12.625″ x 10″ x 11.5″||8, 12, 18|
|Coleman Steel Belted Coolers 54 Quart||8.8||$94.95||54||85||15.7 lbs||4 days||24″ x 16.5″ x 16″|
|Igloo Max Cold Quantum 52 Quart Roller Cooler||8.8||$55.50||52||85||13 lbs||5 days||20.39″ x 18.12″ x 19.06″|
|Coleman 62 Quart Xtreme 5 Wheeled Cooler||8.7||$56.00||62||95||16.8 lbs||5 days||31.125″ x 15.875″ x 17″|
|AO Canvas Cooler – 24 can||8.4||$63.10||24||5 lbs||2.5 days||17″ x 10″ x 12″||12 can, 24 can, 36 can, 48 can|
|Stanley Adventure Cooler||8.3||$41.93||16||21||6.6 lbs||1.5 days||16.73″ x 12.80″ x 11.22″||7Q, 16Q|
|Igloo Iceless Thermoelectric 28-Quart Cooler||8.3||$113.99||28||40||10 lbs||NA||18.25″ x 12.88″ x 16.63″|
|Coleman 28-Quart Cooler||7.3||$17.81||28||36||5.3 lbs||.75 days||19.7″ x 12″ x 13.7″|