A cooler is something most people eventually purchase for a variety of reasons. From a casual weekend tailgate to an extended hunting trip, there are many situations where an ice chest certainly comes in handy. While those who only need a dash of extra insulation for day trips may prefer an affordable softpack, someone who needs a cooler with longer ice retention capacity needs a heftier model.
The market covers a broad spectrum of needs and — as one could imagine — there are thousands of options to choose from. With summer in full swing, you want to spend less time scrolling through Amazon and more time enjoying the sunshine — and your warm weather beverage of choice. Without further ado, here are our picks for the best coolers you can buy.
At a glance
|Igloo Trailmate Journey Cooler||Best overall|
|Coolest Cooler||Best cooler for glamping|
|Yeti Tundra 105||Best rugged cooler|
|Poler Mega Camera Cooler Bag||Best softpack cooler|
|Igloo Iceless 28||Best electric option cooler|
|Kelty folding cooler||Best budget cooler|
|Cooler Cannon||Best for lazy Sundays|
Igloo Trailmate Journey Cooler
Why you should buy this cooler: The Trailmate is the most functional cooler on the market.
Who it’s for? Those who often take their cooler away from base camp.
How much will it cost? $276
Why we chose the Igloo Trailmate Journey cooler:
A traditional stationary base camp cooler is fine for most individuals, however, those who prefer to take their cooler with them to the beach or further down the trailhead know how frustrating it can be to tow a heavier or basic wheeled model. On more rugged terrain or sloppy sand, you’re more than likely dragging the cooler, rather than efficiently utilizing the stubby plastic wheels.
The Igloo Trailmate Journey cooler, on the other hand, has 10-inches of ground clearance and oversized, furrowed wheels to ensure traction on even the most stubborn soil. The Trailmate also touts a rather impressive 70-quarts of cooler space to boot, meaning you could theoretically cool up to 112 12-ounce brews inside.
Water-resistant storage pockets keep your items stowed and dry, and a series of tie-down loops along the top allow you to pack plenty of larger items such as chairs and towels. Dual bottle openers ensure quaffing no matter which side of the unit your closest to. After 111 beers, pivoting to the other side of the cooler can be quite the tall order.
The best cooler for glamping
Why you should buy this cooler: Because there’s no cooler like the Coolest.
Who it’s for? Individuals who want a cooler that can do it all.
How much will it cost? $449
Why we chose the Coolest Cooler:
While many individuals enjoy a rugged weekend getaway under the stars, some prefer a more glamorous camping trip. For these casual glampers, we highly recommend the Coolest Cooler. This particular idea started as a Kickstarter campaign and — although the project notoriously hit a few snags along the way — the Coolest Cooler eventually became the most funded Kickstarter of all time.
The Coolest is loaded with completely unnecessary, albeit useful, features. The unit comes with a built-in, rechargeable blender for cocktails and smoothies on the fly, and a pair of waterproof USB ports allow you to keep all of your compatible devices charged. There’s even a removable, splash-proof Bluetooth speaker for up to eight hours of continuous music.
With 55-quarts of storage space, the cooler itself isn’t too shabby either, and the thick insulated build keeps your beverages cold long after you’ve exhausted the speaker. There are plenty of functional design touches as well. There are four plates and a ceramic knife built into the lid. Similarly, the removable plastic divider doubles as a cutting board for meal preps. A bottle opener on the side has been designed with a magnetic bin to catch and store all of your bottle caps. Watch our full video interview with the Coolest Cooler founder here.
Yeti Tundra 105
The best rugged cooler
Why you should buy this cooler: Individuals looking for a cooler that will last a lifetime.
Who it’s for? Hunters and fishermen.
How much will it cost? $450
Why we chose the Yeti Tundra 105:
While glampers and casual campers will certainly prefer the more versatile coolers on this list, hunters and fishermen require larger models with extended ice retention capacity. For these individuals, we recommend the sturdy Yeti Tundra 105. This model has three inches of PermaFrost insulation for optimal cooling capacity on longer trips.
The entire Tundra series utilizes a Rotomold construction, with a durable T-Rex lid to meet Yeti’s bear-resistant standards. Yeti suggest using an ice-to-storage ratio of 2:1; nonetheless, the Tundra 105 still holds up to 59 cans or 92 pounds of ice.
Rubberized latches and an interlocking lid system ensure a tight seal to extend the ice retention capacity. Unlike other models on the market, the Yeti Tundra 105 is dry ice compatible, allowing you to keep foods and beverages frozen even longer. At nearly 34-inches in length and 18-inches in height, the Tundra 105 is certainly one of the bulkier options on the market, but near indestructibility certainly does come at a cost.
The Yeti Tundra 105 may not be able to charge your electronic devices or help you if the frozen margarita mood suddenly strikes but if you’re in the market for a no-frills cooler with plenty of storage space on extended weekend trips, look no further.
Poler Mega Camera Cooler Bag
The best softpack cooler
Why you should buy this cooler: You’re seeking a multi-purpose cooler.
Who it’s for? The dabbling day-trippers, or run-of-the-mill hipsters.
How much will it cost? $110
Why we chose the Poler Mega Camera Cooler Bag:
For a casual day trip or a quick picnic, there’s really no need for a colossal cooler. Smaller softpacks are a solid, lightweight option to stow a few drinks and some snacks for a casual outing, and the Poler Mega Camera Cooler is one of our favorites. At just two pounds and with a pair of leather pockets on the side, the Cooler Bag looks like more of a casual accessory than a utilitarian cooler. For quick jaunts around town, a pair of retention straps along the bottom conveniently hold the model in place on your bike rack.
With an available padded, customizable camera insert, this cooler easily doubles as a camera bag, making it especially useful for individuals who want a cooler they can get some use out of in between irregular outings. As long as you know the storage limitations going in, this versatile softpack is one of the best you’ll find.
Igloo Iceless 28
The best electric option cooler
Why you should buy this cooler: It’s a great way to keep foods and beverages stored in your vehicle during games or road trips.
Who it’s for? Anyone looking for an efficient, compact cooler.
How much will it cost? $64
Why we chose the Igloo Iceless 28:
Models requiring ice certainly dominate the cooler market, however, there are plenty of electric options to help you save cash in the long run. The Igloo Iceless 28, for example, easily plugs into a cigarette lighter for a continuous chill. Without the need to lug around ice, you can store more perishables in a smaller area, saving you money and precious cargo space.
As the name suggests, the Iceless 28 delivers up to 28-quarts of storage space in a slim design that fits comfortably anywhere in most automobiles. Those looking for something a little smaller can also check out the Iceless 26. This model also incorporates an appreciated ergonomic curve, designed to fit against your side while being carried. With more than eight feet of cord to work with, this cooler can stow and cool virtually anywhere in or around your vehicle. The Iceless 28 is capable of cooling items down to 36 degrees Fahrenheit less than the temperature outside of the unit, making this model ideal for use in your vehicle.
Kelty folding cooler
The best budget cooler
Why you should buy this cooler: It’s an affordable, well-rounded option with plenty of storage space.
Who it’s for? Those seeking a reliable, budget cooler.
How much will it cost? $65
Why we chose the Kelty folding cooler:
The Kelty folding cooler is one of the more practical options on the market. At just four pounds and with room for up to 36 beers, this model delivers all of the storage space of clunkier models in a durable, lightweight semi-softpack. However, the real selling point is the collapsable design. In between trips, this cooler easily folds down and stows as a briefcase.
Reinforced feet, an abrasion-resistant base, and a ripstop polyester exterior add a layer of overall durability. Unlike many other options, the inside cooler lining is removable, making cleaning and disinfecting a breeze. If you want a sleek and sturdy cooler for under $70 dollars, this Kelty model is a sound bet. Oh, and just in case you’re still on the fence, the Kelty folding cooler comes with a pair of complimentary drink koozies. We’re just saying.
The best cooler for lazy Sundays
Why you should buy this cooler: It launches beers or other canned drinks right into people’s hands.
Who it’s for? Those looking for a neat party trick or don’t want to bother getting up.
How much will it cost? $195
Why we chose the Cooler Cannon:
After settling down into a chair, getting up to visit the cooler often feels like too much work. Fret not because the Cooler Cannon now exists to remedy this exact problem. Using a smartphone app, this innovative ice chest launches cold drinks right into your hands from up to eight feet away. Aside from a small flap on top, this cooler looks very much like a traditional cooler, featuring two wheels and a long hand for easy transportation.
With a carrying capacity of only 18 cans, the Cooler Cannon isn’t exactly the most efficient cooler on this list but the spectacle of launching a beer at the press of a button easily makes up for that. More importantly, it only takes two seconds to reload each can into the firing mechanism, so friends won’t have to wait long for their turn.
Technically speaking, the Cooler Cannon is not yet in production but genius can’t be rushed. Those who are patient enough to wait should sign up here for pre-orders when they become available.