Best Coolers – Top 6 Picks

cooler with beverages

Even if you don’t think you do now, everyone needs a cooler in their possession.

Think about all the times you’ve wanted to hit the beach, take a long car ride to a new place, or just hike up into the mountains for the day.

Now, remember all the times you couldn’t take an ice-cold beer or soda with you?

These are the scenarios that having one of the best coolers around can remedy.

Coolers are meant to, well, keep your cold or frozen items in the same state they left your home in.

After all, no one likes warm cheese or slimy lettuce from being left out in the warm air, right?

Of course, picking the right cooler for your needs can be a difficult task. There are many different models, types, and sizes to consider when choosing your new everyday companion.

Having a solid cooler can up your travel and adventure game, so let’s see if we can provide you with the best options around.

Why the Cooler Is a Crucial Piece of Equipment


It’s hard to understand, at first, as most people think that lugging around a big, bulky, and cumbersome cooler will be detrimental to their trip.

One thing that no one considers about bringing these containers with them is their ability at multiple-uses. Sure, the main thing coolers are great at is keeping food and drinks cold like a refrigerator, but they also have other purposes.

Need somewhere to sit while around the campfire? Use the top of your cooler as a bench. What about a table to eat? Yes, flattop coolers are the best.

Coolers really do have many ways of being used, so remember that before skipping one on your next trip.

Moreover, the best coolers allow you to misuse them without any consequences. Portable refrigerators, as we sometimes call them, are built to last, with many companies purposefully making their models tough and rigid.

No one wants a piece of outdoor equipment to break after the first use, anyway.

3 glasses of ice tea

It’s hard to understand, at first, as most people think that lugging around a big, bulky, and cumbersome cooler will be detrimental to their trip.

One thing that no one considers about bringing these containers with them is their ability at multiple-uses. Sure, the main thing coolers are great at is keeping food and drinks cold like a refrigerator, but they also have other purposes.

Need somewhere to sit while around the campfire? Use the top of your cooler as a bench. What about a table to eat? Yes, flattop coolers are the best.

Coolers really do have many ways of being used, so remember that before skipping one on your next trip.

Moreover, the best coolers allow you to misuse them without any consequences. Portable refrigerators, as we sometimes call them, are built to last, with many companies purposefully making their models tough and rigid.

No one wants a piece of outdoor equipment to break after the first use, anyway.

How We Chose Our Ratings


Again, this might seem like a weird idea, but to come up with the best coolers around, we had to set some guidelines.

One of the first things anyone should consider before purchasing a cooler is the materials it’s made from. A lot of cooler companies will back in the plastic everywhere they can to save money on manufacturing costs.

While coolers are a plastic-first product, having a bunch of plastic hinges or snaps that are easily breakable may not be the best for every-week usage.

The materials and insulation methods directly correlate to how long a product will stay cold enough to refrigerate goods (measured at below 40-degrees Fahrenheit.)

Likewise, we also had to consider the different types of coolers available. Why is this important? Well, if you’re planning on buying a cooler, chances are you have a specific reason to do so (even though we mentioned before you should have one regardless.)

That means there’s a certain activity they plan to take it on.

Point is, there’s no reason to consider a rugged, expensive, or heavy cooler if you only need a small model to get you by. Thus, we had to keep an open mind about a cooler’s intended use.

This allowed our list to not be filled with all expensive products, for example.

Lastly, we had to consider overall value when determining our order of the best coolers. While you can buy the sturdiest product around at the highest price, that doesn’t always translate to the best bang for your buck.

So, we considered the price to performance ratio of all the models we found. All coolers are scored on a 5-star scale, with the values listed at the end.

The results? Let’s see them.

bottle of beer in ice cubes

The Top 6 Best Coolers Today


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You might know them as one of the best case manufacturers around, but OtterBox also makes other quality products.

Case in point: the OtterBox Venture 65 quart cooler.

In terms of everything that we wanted to see out of a cooler, this took the cake as the best available. This container fits any usage, such as hunting, camping, or for those sporting team trips. The Venture also sports 10 different colors for some nice variety of design.  

One thing to note is that the Venture does come in multiple sizes, with smaller 25 and 45-quart options available for those that don’t need the bulk of the 65-quart model.

As for the specs, you’ll find the Venture is composed of polypropylene for the shells while using silicone for latches and seals. This allows some variation on pressure to keep everything sealed and cool for longer portions.

There’s also anti-slide rubber feet and a mounting system for good measure.

Don’t be fooled: this is a premium large capacity cooler that is made for maximum performance and does come with a price tag of $350. That said, it will easily keep anything cold for up to 7 days and is built like a rock to withstand varying conditions.

It might be a little heavy, at 33-pounds, but again, it’s made in the USA and built to last.

The OtterBox Venture is our favorite cooler and comes highly recommended. OtterBox has a lifetime warranty as well, and we rate it 5 stars.

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If you’re into the outdoors, you’ve probably heard of the name YETI.

This company prides itself on products that keep your drinks or food cold or warm, wherever you take them. Naturally, they have an extensive range of coolers to pick from.

  1. While you’ll find their bigger, hardtop model further below on this list, their Hopper Flip 18 Portable is our number-2 choice.

The biggest selling factor of any YETI-made item is that it’s superior to the competition. They’re well-built, well-designed, and do what they’re marketed to do: keep your stuff cold.

Yes, you’re going to pay a price for any of their products. It’s a premium brand that provides premium products, and we feel the Hopper Flip 18 feels a specific niche perfectly. If you need a smaller portable and leakproof container that can keep anything cold for days on end, this is among the best coolers for you.

The Hopper Flip 18 retails for $300, and we gave it 4.5 stars.

Coleman 70-Quart

Coleman 70-Quart Xtreme 5-Day Heavy-Duty Cooler, Blue
  • Keeps ice up to 5 days at temps up to 90°F thanks to an insulated lid and extra insulation in walls
  • Holds 100 cans and has molded cup holders on top of lid to keep drinks close and prevent spilling
  • Leak-resistant channel drain lets you remove excess water without tilting cooler

One of the best values in outdoor equipment is Coleman, and their 70-quart Xtreme Cooler is no different.

While this container won’t win any awards for its design or looks, it’s still one of the best coolers out there, especially for the value.

Right off the bat, you’ll notice the extremely budget-friendly price of $47 to be the cheapest on our list. What does this $47 get you?

Well, with an overall capacity of 70-quarts, you’ll have enough space to fit 100 cans, which makes it great for different activities. You have standard carrying handles on the sides, and four cup holders on the top for easy use as a table.

This cooler is also composed of polypropylene and uses an easy-access drain design.

The lid can hold up to 250-pounds, providing a solid bench or seat when needed. The cooler is rated for 5 days of cool items, in up to 90-degree Fahrenheit temperatures, which is hard to beat for the price. Really, the only drawback here is the handles and latches being plastic made too.

We believe the Xtreme cooler is a 4.5-star product.

RTIC 65

RTIC 65, Tan
  • BEST COOLER ON THE MARKET: Up for any occasion, the RTIC 65 will be the star of the show at any barbecue, fishing trip...
  • INSULATION THAT DOESN'T QUIT: Going on a long trip? No problem. Up to 3" of insulated walls will keep your ice cold for...
  • THE BEST OF THE BEST: No fail hinges, no sweat exterior, cool lift design, molded side handles and tie downs so your...

One of the best large, hard coolers on the market is the RTIC 65-quart.

RTIC set out to create a cooler that was versatile in usage, and succeed they did. This cooler is perfect for camping trips, parties, or even as a spare refrigerator, should you need it. Everything is made from Rotomolded construction, making it certified bear-resistant. There’s also non-slip feet to keep everything in one place.

You’ll also find that there is an integrated locking system and marine-grade rope handles that allow for security and easy carrying.

The RTIC 65 is available in 5 colorways, in addition to 5 size options. The usable area on the inside is 64-quarts, allowing you to pack in 64 cans and ice.

Sure, it’s a bit heavy at 36-pounds, but everything else makes this among the best coolers around. RTIC sells the 65-quart version for $250, and we gave it a 4.5-star rating.

YETI Tundra

YETI Tundra 45 Cooler
  • The YETI Tundra 45 combines versatility with durability with a capacity of up to 26 cans with a recommended 2:1...
  • Ice stays ice thanks to up to 3 inches of PermaFrost Insulation and an extra thick FatWall design is certified...
  • The Rotomolded Construction makes the Tundra armored to the core and virtually indestructible so wherever you decide to...

The second YETI product on our list is a bit further down, but that doesn’t mean the Tundra 45 is a slouch of a cooler.

This cooler is made to last, using T-Rex Lid rubber latches and a Rotomold construction. YETI’s Tundra is also certified Bear Resistant, making it a good choice for those in bear country. There are 7 colors to choose from, along with multiple sizes if you need something bigger or smaller.

Upon first look, you’ll notice that this YETI product and the one higher on our list have the same prices. Yet, one is a full-size cooler while the other is a portable option.

Why the disparity in ratings then?

While you’ll notice the costs are the same, the designs and uses are different. While the Tundra is a quality product, we feel there are better values elsewhere in this size bracket. The handles are uncomfortable, and draining is not a clean activity.

Plus, the Tundra is only rated at 37-quarts of usable space inside, decreasing the overall value.

That said, the Tundra is still among the best coolers you can buy, despite its higher investment cost and branding. We rate it 4 stars.

Pelican Elite

Pelican Elite 70 Quart Cooler (Dark Grey/Green)
  • VOLUME: True 70 quart internal volume
  • EXTREME ICE RETENTION: 2 inches of polyurethane insulation with a 360 degree freezer-grade gasket delivers extreme ice...
  • FEATURES: Overmolded carry handle, 3 inch locking latches, reinforced lockable hasp, stainless steel bottle opener,...

Rounding out our list is the Pelican Elite Cooler 70.

If you’ve been searching for one of the best-looking coolers around, you may have found it with the Elite.

The latches are composed of button-pressing plastic, making it good for one-handed use and the cooler is a breeze to drain.

So why is it so far down our list?

You’ll find that this is the heaviest cooler we have listed, at 43-pounds, and it’s expensive with a measured carrying capacity of only 63-quarts, it fails to have the best carrying ability around.

Still, Pelican offers a lifetime warranty, in addition to 4 color choices. You can find the Elite Cooler for $350 retail price, and we rate it at 3.5-stars.

toast of cold beer at sunset

Coolers Should Be an Important Part of Your Gear List


At the end of the day, you want your goods to be cold.

To do this, you need a solid cooler to get you by. It’s hard to ignore the benefits of throwing one of these in your car for that campingtrip or for the weekend sports team tournament. Even the best coolers have uses that extend farther than just keeping things cold.

Remember, one of the best parts of having a cooler comes from the cleanup. Should something happen to the food or drinks inside of one, the cleanup will be quite a bit easier to deal with.

The point here is that investing in a cooler can ultimately save you money while providing you with convenient features you didn’t know you wanted.

Now, excuse us while we plan our next getaway.





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