Ice chests and coolers are pieces of equipment that is useful to almost everyone at some point in their lives, if not on a daily basis. They are used for picnics and BBQs, for transporting food and drinks to family gatherings or company picnics and by hunters and fishermen who are looking to keep their catch or their bait fresh. And of course, it can be used for a variety of other purposes, too.
In the past, coolers were simply big metal boxes that either held ice and some of them were even equipped with refrigerator units that kept its contents cold. Nowadays, they come in a variety of different shapes, colors, and styles. Which can make it hard for people to find the best ice chest available that fits their particular needs. With that in mind, the following list has some of the top models currently available.
Best Coolers and Ice Chests – Reviews
10Coleman 54-Quart Steel-Belted Cooler
Sporting a classic design that is reminiscent of the 1950s, this cooler may be a nostalgic choice as far as looks go but it has modern features that many people want. It has a huge 54-quart capacity that can hold up to 85 cans and can keep ice cold for up to 4-days, even when temperatures reach the 90s. 2-Liter bottles can be placed in this unit standing up and this model has easy-to-grip handles that allow it to be carried from one destination to the next. This retro cooler is sure to be a hit at the next company picnic or family reunion.
9Yeti Tundra 65 Cooler
Designed to be tough and durable, this cooler is equipped with all of the features one would expect from a high-quality cooler. It’s equipped with a never-fail hinge, heavy-duty latches, lip-grip handles, handles made from military-grade polyester rope and a rugged drain system that’s made to drain quickly and efficiently. Other features of this cooler include an Interlock lid system that keeps the cold air in and the hot air out, tie-down slots for easy mounting in a truck bed or on a trailer and a bear-resistant design that can hold up to just about anything.
8Rubbermaid 34-quart Chest For Ice
This American made cooler comes in a 34-quart size that is spacious enough to service the needs of most users and has an easy-to-clean liner that is not only stain resistant but is also odor resist as well. This ice chest is also durable and is designed to last a lifetime. The best feature of this cooler, however, is the fact that it’s manufactured using advanced materials that help with its thermal retention. In other words, this cooler is designed to do what it was designed to do – which is keep all of your foods and beverages cold.
7Coleman 16-Quart Wheeled Personal Cooler
This Polyethylene cooler is designed with a number of features which make it quite useful to take on the next family picnic, BBQ or other special occasions. It has a 16-quart capacity that can hold approximately 22 cans of soda pop and has large sided handles that make it easy to lift and carry. This model also has a telescoping pull handle and recessed wheels which allow it to be pulled along on the floor. This cooler is not only durable but also keeps food stored it insulated from the outdoor elements, which makes it a great cooler to keep your cold foods cold.
6Coleman Flip Lid 5-Quart Personal Cooler
This 5-quart Coleman cooler may not be able to pack an entire family’s food for a picnic or BBQ, but it is big enough to hold up to 6-cans of pop or maybe one person’s lunch. It’s big enough to bring just a few food items and isn’t bulky like many of the larger coolers. It also has a flip top hinged lid that has molded beverage holders in it and can be used as a tray. It’s an ideal cooler to take to the job site to hold your sandwich in or to use as an ice bucket. Whatever is put in it, however, most users can expect this unit to keep their items nice and cool.
5Coleman Xtreme 70-Quart Cooler
This cooler is approximately 23-inches by 17.5-inches and weighs around 12-pounds. This means that this durable and tough cooler can hold about 70-quarts of food or beverage items in it. Which is approximately 100 cans of soda or about 40-pounds of ice. This cooler has a hinged lid that has four molded cup holders and can be used as a seat because it will hold up to 250-pounds of weight placed upon it. The insulation used in this cooler doesn’t contain any HCFCs, CFCs or HFCs – all materials which can deplete the ozone layer and cause other environmental harm. This cooler is good for keeping foods and drinks cold, all without harming the environment needlessly.
4Iglo 60-Quart Roller Cooler
This cooler has a 60-quart capacity that allows it to hold a lot of bottles of soda pop or beer and with its Ultratherm insulated body, it will keep all of these bottles cold for quite awhile. It has a lid that has 4 cup holders molded into it, so you always have a place to set your drink and it has side handles which make it easy to load and unload into vehicles. It also has a telescopic handle and wheels which make moving the cooler from one place to another a whole lot easier. This cooler seems to be made for picnics and family reunions.
3Coleman 40-Quart Wheeled Cooler
Made to be taken to camping trips, family reunions and other large outdoor gatherings, this 40-quart cooler is large enough to handle the cooler needs of most people and is mobile enough to take just about anywhere. It can hold approximately 59 cans and has a tow handle and durable wheels that allow it to be drug from one place to another. It also has large molded side handles and cup holders molded into the top of its lid so drinks are always accessible. And after it has done its job, it’s leak resistant drain will allow the user to easily and quickly drain out any excess water.
2Yeti Roadie 20 Cooler
Backed by a manufacturer’s warranty and constructed of high-quality materials, the Yeti Roadie 20 is a cooler that’s designed to be durable and to endure a number of different conditions. It’s not the biggest cooler on the market, being only 18-1/2-inches long by 13-5/8th inches wide, but it is capable of holding approximately 14 cans of soda or beer. It’s manufactured using three inches of PermaFrost insulation and a thick Fat Wall design that keeps this cooler cool as well as making it resistant to bears. Whether it’s used as a backyard cooler or taken into the great wild outdoors, this cooler is designed to be at the ready with your favorite beverage.
1Coleman Party Stacker 25-Quart Cooler
This 25-quart cooler has the capacity to store up to 24 cans of soda or beer but canned beverages aren’t the only thing that can be stored in it. It has a wide base that can easily store 13-inch by 9-inch serving dishes and can also accommodate a number of food items. This cooler is designed to keep your food cold and has a special base that allows it to be stacked with other Party Stacker items. This gives the user the option of stacking several coolers on top of each other for storage or to use for multiple items that you want to keep separated.
Can’t Find What You’re Looking For? Check these suggestions:
Choosing the Best Ice Chest
When many people choose a cooler, they choose one that’s big enough to hold what they need to hold and that’s about all of the thought they put into it. While that may be a strategy that works for some people, it’s not one that takes into account all of the features these chests have nowadays. Most of the ones that are currently available can be bought with features that extend the usefulness or practicality of these devices. And that’s why some thought should be put into choosing one. Below are some of the guidelines which should be considered before one of the coolers is purchased.
Size of the Cooler
One of the first things that need to be considered is the size of the cooler. You don’t want to purchase one that’s too big but you also don’t want to purchase one that’s too small. If you’re looking for something to carry your lunch to work, then you can probably do with a cooler that’s 5-Quarts or smaller.
On the other hand, if you have a family of 4 and need a cooler for BBQs and picnics, then you may want to buy a model that’s 28 to 54-quarts. If you’re planning on camping with the cooler over the course of a few days or need a cooler for larger family gatherings, then you may want to get a cooler that’s over 66-Quarts in size. Ice coolers are now made in sizes above 100-quarts as well.
The main purpose of a cooler is to keep food and beverages as cold as possible, so it should be no surprise that this is another feature that really needs to be considered. Generally speaking, higher-end coolers do a better job of keeping things cooler than cheaper models. That’s mainly due to the fact that high-end brands are not stingy with the insulation and usually include plenty of it to give their coolers a thermal edge among its competitors.
Most of the coolers made nowadays are made either plastic or metal. Either material can be good, but it does depend on a few variables. Most high-end coolers which are made out of plastic are manufactured using rotomolding, which produces a higher quality and more durable plastic. Cheaper plastic models typically are injection-molded, which is cheaper but is also less durable.
Metal coolers are generally high quality but keep in mind that they can become dented after extensive use. And that’s why if you purchase a metal cooler, you should choose one that’s constructed from stainless steel. They are less likely to ding and dent than aluminum ones. As far as handles go, however, aluminum handles are generally preferred for most coolers because they are light and flexible.
Other Necessary Cooler Features
Now that the basic functions of the cooler have been established, size, cooling ability and construction material, it’s time to look at some of the other features that may be important to think about before buying a cooler. Here are some to consider:
Bear Resistance-If you’re not going into the woods or going to be areas frequented by bears, then you probably won’t need this feature. However, if you are in such areas, this feature makes a whole lot of sense.
Bottom Drain-You’ll probably want a bottom drain to drain out the excess water that’s left from melting ice, so the whole cooler doesn’t have to be dumped out.
Good Latch-If you’re cooler over 30-quarts and have a hinged lid, then you are probably going to want to make sure that it also has a latch. A latch will keep the cooler secure and will also help keep cold air inside the cooler.
Wheels & Telescoping Handle-These features make it easier to carry larger sized chests and allow you to push or pull the cooler to its destination.
End Handles-Handles on each end of the cooler is a great feature, especially if you intend to take it outside of the house.
Lid Gaskets-While most coolers don’t have lid gaskets on them, the high-end ones do and they help the cooler to stay cool longer. If you need a cooler that will stay cool 3 to 5-days, then you’ll want to get one with a lid gasket…end of story.
Molded Cup Holders-Molded cup holders allow you to keep your drinks close at hand without having to open and close the cooler all of the time.