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The Best Cooler

Last updated on July 18, 2019

We looked at the top 10 Coolers and dug through the reviews from 55 of the most popular review sites including New York Times Wirecutter, Outdoor Gear Lab, Wiki EZ Vid, Best Cooler, Shedheads, Coolers World and more. The result is a ranking of the best Coolers.

Best Cooler

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Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in a category.

Our Picks For The Top Coolers

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  The Best Overall

YETI

Tundra 65 Cooler

Overall Take

Top-Notch CoolerA sturdy build and special technology will keep your foods and beverages cool for days.

Experts Included
DWYM Outdoor and Garden Experts plus BestReviews, Outdoor Gear Lab, Busted Wallet, Globo Turf, SOutdoors and 1 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" 65-ounce capacity makes this Yeti cooler about as large as you'll be able to get and still have a cooler that you can legitimately call "portable.""
Cons
"Our testers didn't particularly enjoy their experiences in draining this model. The handle hangs at exactly the level of the drain plug, meaning it must be held away from the stream of water to prevent splashing."

AO Coolers

Canvas Soft Cooler

Overall Take

Unique DesignThe canvas exterior keeps the contents tool while making this cooler extremely portable.

Experts Included
DWYM Outdoor and Garden Experts plus New York Times Wirecutter, Outside Pursuits, Trustorereview, The Cooler Zone, Best Cooler, SOutdoors. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" The AO Canvas Series is lightweight, sturdy, well-insulated, and easy to pack"
Cons
"Some users have had leaking and sweating issues on the outside."

Igloo

MaxCold 70 Quart Cooler

Overall Take

Easy To Use With a drain and a capacity of 70 quarts, this is one cooler you'll want to bring to your next beach day.

Experts Included
DWYM Outdoor and Garden Experts plus New York Times Wirecutter, The Cooler Zone. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" Igloo MaxCold’s drain has a slightly wider diameter, so you can drain it a bit faster than you can the Coleman Xtreme, and it comes with a screw-on cap, which means less chance of your accidentally unplugging the cooler."
Cons
"Weak handles, limited color choices"
  The Best Value

Coleman

Steel-Belted Portable Cooler

Overall Take

Strong and Easy to UseWith a drain and a capacity of 54 quarts, this is one cooler you'll want to bring to your next beach day. The stainless steel hardware makes it a durable long lasting companion.

Experts Included
DWYM Outdoor and Garden Experts plus BestReviews, Outdoor Gear Lab, The Top Pro, The Z8, Outside Pursuits, Idea Hacks and 7 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" Solid stainless steel latches remain secure under pressure."
Cons
"The lid latch takes some getting used to, and one must occasionally get down and visual with it in order to assure that it is secured."
Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
17

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the coolers available to purchase.
10

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

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55

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: New York Times Wirecutter, Outdoor Gear Lab, Wiki EZ Vid, Best Cooler, Shedheads.

19,314

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon, Walmart and 6 others.

Our experts reviewed the top 10 Coolers and also dug through the reviews from 55 of the most popular review sites including New York Times Wirecutter, Outdoor Gear Lab, Wiki EZ Vid, Best Cooler, Shedheads, Coolers World and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Coolers.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

YETI Tundra 65 Cooler

Our Expert Score
9.2
6 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.7
3,000 user reviews
Our Take

YETI has built a name for itself, thanks to its insulated tumblers. With the YETI Tundra 65 Cooler, you'll get similar technology, allowing your items to stay cool for days, not hours. It also has such a sturdy build that you can use it as a seat. It can be on the heavy side, so if portability is a concern, you may want to avoid using its full 65-ounce capacity.

What other experts liked
65-ounce capacity makes this Yeti cooler about as large as you'll be able to get and still have a cooler that you can legitimately call "portable."
- BestReviews
The Tundra was one of the top insulation performers in our test, scoring an 8. It maintained safe food temperatures for 5 full days, breaching the 40˚F mark midway through day 6.
- Outdoor Gear Lab
This sturdy feel makes the Tundra 65 capable of being a seat for you and a buddy that can be climbed on, jumped on and dropped without fear of damage.
- Busted Wallet
December 17, 2015 | Full review
It completely lives up to its motto “Wildly Stronger, Keeps Ice Longer”. The cooler outperforms the majority of other coolers in its ability to keep ice longer and endure the harshest heat
- Best Advisor
January 7, 2019 | Full review
The Tundra 65 has the large space and long ice life you require when you need a fishing cooler, need to keep drinks frozen for a large outdoor party, or are going on a long trip and need to keep...
- Globo Turf
This particular model is going to keep everything that you have very cool. It’s so well insulated that you will be able to put dry ice into the cooler without worrying too much. This is great news for people who...
- SOutdoors
January 28, 2019 | Full review
What other experts didn't like
It's 29 pounds when empty, so imagine the weight of it when ice and food are added.
- BestReviews
Our testers didn't particularly enjoy their experiences in draining this model. The handle hangs at exactly the level of the drain plug, meaning it must be held away from the stream of water to prevent splashing.
- Outdoor Gear Lab
The price tag for the Tundra 65 is $399.99 so this is definitely not a “value” cooler.
- Busted Wallet
December 17, 2015 | Full review
The overall storage space makes 52 lbs. And no wonder that the cooler is rather heavy.
- Best Advisor
January 7, 2019 | Full review
It will be a bit heavier than the others. You’ll definitely be able to move it in and out of your car, but it isn’t one that you would probably want to take on a hike.
- SOutdoors
January 28, 2019 | Full review

The Best Bang For Your Buck

Coleman Steel-Belted Portable Cooler

Expert Summarized Score
8.7
13 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.4
1,284 user reviews
Our Take

For the price, the Coleman Steel-Belted Portable Cooler provides a very durable cooler option. The 54-quart capacity will keep your items cold for up to 4 days. The key differentiator that sets this cooler apart from the rest at this price point are the metal hinges and handles that gives it a more sturdy feel.

What other experts liked
Solid stainless steel latches remain secure under pressure.
- BestReviews
If the legion of similarly designed coolers still in active use after 30 or more years is any indication, this is a very durable design. Our testing supports the same. We had no problems with the overall structure or hardware.
- Outdoor Gear Lab
March 24, 2015 | Full review
If you invest your bucks here, expect 4 days ice retention without disappointment in places where temperatures rise up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Carrying and transporting this cooler is a breeze, thanks to the ergonomic steel handles.
- The Top Pro
The cooler is built in such a way with rust-resistant stainless steel framework which makes it extremely durable.
- The Z8
Remember when we talked about durable handles? Coleman’s steel handles and metal brackets are sturdy and durable.
- Outside Pursuits
Rust-resistant stainless steel hardware will give you years of high-quality performance
- Idea Hacks
One of the selling points of this cooler is the excellent insulation system that can keep drinks ice cooled for up to 4 days.
- Trustorereview
Kept drinks cold for 12 hours in our tests
- Good Housekeeping
Its solid steel latch ensures it is securely sealed to prevent leaks during transportation.
- All Listings
Further, since comfort is a priority during transportation, Coleman enhanced the rough handles with rubber grips to make carrying this thing less painful.
- Coolers World
January 18, 2019 | Full review
This Coleman 54-quart steel cooler is the most popular contemporary steel cooler available today – it boasts a nice combination of value, construction, and timeless old-school style.
- Best Cooler
Anyway, taking into account the price tag of these coolers (that is significantly less than rotomolded coolers) such good options as the Coleman Steel Belted cooler described in this paragraph can be a worthy replacement to high-end coolers.
- Best-Cooler
It is portable and simple design cooler with a wide-opening lid and the solid lid latch. It has a comfortable and effective handle for easy carrying.
- Pikroll
What other experts didn't like
Ice melts faster than advertised.
- BestReviews
The lid latch takes some getting used to, and one must occasionally get down and visual with it in order to assure that it is secured.
- Outdoor Gear Lab
March 24, 2015 | Full review
Very heavy to carry when full and no wheels.
- Idea Hacks
Few users have pointed out the packaging being a bit flimsy.
- Trustorereview
Be prepared to do some heavy lifting to bring it to the picnic though: because it doesn't have a telescoping handle or wheels for transporting, you'll have to carry it in two hands or enlist a buddy to help.
- Good Housekeeping
As simple as it would have been, Coleman actually didn’t bother make a unified belt, instead the steel is bent around the cooler and meets around the back, leaving an annoying line right in the middle.
- Coolers World
January 18, 2019 | Full review
We will say one negative thing though; the construction of this cooler doesn’t really live up to the standards of the original Coleman steel ice chests, which were truly full-on metal brutes.
- Best Cooler
We want to pay you attention on one thing that has disappointed us when we were considering this option. The generation of these Coleman coolers differs from the old original ice chests by their structure. The manufacturers of this new Coleman coolers lineup added a lot of plastic in their...
- Best-Cooler

Overall Product Rankings

1. YETI Tundra 65 Cooler

Overall Score: 9.4
Reviews Included: 9

2. AO Coolers Canvas Soft Cooler

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 9

3. Igloo MaxCold 70 Quart Cooler

Overall Score: 8.7
Reviews Included: 4

4. Polar Bear Coolers

Overall Score: 8.6
Reviews Included: 10

5. AO Coolers Water-Resistant Vinyl Soft Cooler

Overall Score: 8.6
Reviews Included: 7

6. Coleman Steel-Belted Portable Cooler

Overall Score: 8.6
Reviews Included: 17

7. AO Coolers Soft Canvas High-Density Insulation

Overall Score: 8.6
Reviews Included: 5

8. Coleman Xtreme Marine Cooler

Overall Score: 8.5
Reviews Included: 7

9. Outdoor Recreational Company of America Cooler

Overall Score: 7.9
Reviews Included: 6

10. Igloo 3-Piece Camping Combo

Overall Score: 7.7
Reviews Included: 6

Our Findings

YETI Tundra 65 Cooler

Best Overall

YETI Tundra 65 Cooler (Desert Tan) (Automotive)


List Price:
New From: $349.99 USD In Stock
Used from: $349.99 USD In Stock

What We Liked: YETI has built a name for itself, thanks to its insulated tumblers. With the YETI Tundra 65 Cooler, you’ll get similar technology, allowing your items to stay cool for days, not hours. It also has such a sturdy build that you can use it as a seat. It can be on the heavy side, so if portability is a concern, you may want to avoid using its full 65-ounce capacity.

Coleman Steel-Belted Portable Cooler

Best Value

Coleman Steel-Belted Portable Cooler, 54 Quart, Black (Sports)


List Price: $129.99 USD
New From: $82.80 USD In Stock
Used from: $82.80 USD In Stock

What We Liked: For the price, the Coleman Steel-Belted Portable Cooler provides a very durable cooler option. The 54-quart capacity will keep your items cold for up to 4 days. The key differentiator that sets this cooler apart from the rest at this price point are the metal hinges and handles that gives it a more sturdy feel.

AO Coolers Canvas Soft Cooler

Also Consider

AO Coolers Original Soft Cooler with High-Density Insulation, Red, 24-Can (Sports)


List Price: $69.95 USD
New From: $69.99 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

What We Liked: The AO Coolers Canvas Soft Cooler is different from other coolers, with a canvas exterior design used to keep internal contents cool. You’ll get enough capacity for up to 24 cans, making it perfect for a day at the beach. This model also excels in portability. Both its smaller capacity and lightweight design make it easier to take along with you.

Our Cooler Buying Guide

Yeti has revolutionized the way consumers keep beverages cool, with a line of insulated tumblers that seem to be in every home. But Yeti isn’t the only company building insulated products. In fact, almost every tumbler manufacturer out there has created a competing product at this point.

Now, that technology has moved to coolers. Using insulation within their walls, many of today’s coolers can keep ice, drinks and food cool even when you’re outdoors in 100-degree-plus heat. Although you’ll pay more than you would for a traditional type of cooler, you’ll get the convenience that comes with tossing drinks, food and ice into your cooler in the morning and having those items remain cool late that afternoon. In fact, some coolers can even chill items for several days.

One thing you’ll have to know before you choose a cooler is just how much capacity you’ll need. Do you plan to pack up covered dishes for family picnics, or will you simply use it to cart around beverages and maybe some sandwiches when you head to the beach? If you invest in a much larger cooler than you need, you may find it is more difficult to carry than if you’d chosen something smaller.

If you’ve ever tried to empty a larger cooler at the end of the day, you know how tough it can be. For that reason, many newer coolers come with bilge drains, allowing you to release the water from the bottom of the cooler. You may have to tip the cooler a little to get the last of the water out, but you won’t have the extreme tilt that you have with a cooler that doesn’t have a drain.

One bonus you may not think about initially is the fact that some newer coolers allow you to use them as a seat. This can come in handy whether you’re on a boat or enjoying a day at the park. If you plan to use that feature, look for a cooler sturdy enough to handle it.

DWYM Fun Fact

The technology behind how Yeti coolers are made explains their impressive insulation. It starts with the way the liquid polymer is built into the walls, which provides a thick, durable build. Inside the walls is two inches of insulation, with up to three additional inches of insulation in the lid.

Yeti coolers also eliminate seams, as well as attaching the lid directly to the body, thereby providing as strong a seal as possible to keep outside air from seeping in. The result is a level of cooling that holds up, no matter how hot it is outside. Other brands now have their own methods of combining insulation and seam reduction for improved effectiveness.

The Cooler Tips and Advice

  • Coolers come in varying sizes, even among specific brands and models. Determine up front what you’re likely to carry in your cooler and how much room that will take. The Coleman Steel-Belted Portable Cooler offers 54 quarts of usable space inside, which totals more than 85 cans if you’re only using it to keep drinks cold. You’ll get 70 quarts of space with the Igloo MaxCold 70 Quart Cooler and 65 ounces with the YETI Tundra 65 Cooler.
  • One thing to decide when you’re going for a larger-capacity cooler, though, is portability. As convenient as the space is, coolers will get much heavier when they’re loaded down. If you want a cooler that’s easier to carry around, consider one like the AO Coolers Canvas Soft Cooler. It still provides space for up to 24 cans but keeps things lightweight with a canvas design.
  • When it comes down to it, though, you’re looking for a cooler that can keep everything you put in it chilly, even on the hottest days. For that, it’s hard to beat the YETI Tundra 65 Cooler, which was proven to keep food at a safe temperature for five days.
  • One bonus you may not think about is whether you can sit on your cooler or not.  The YETI Tundra 65 Cooler, for instance, is built to withstand the weight of someone seated on it.
  • Once you’re finished using it, your cooler will need to be emptied and cleaned. Some coolers make that easier by including a bilge drain toward the bottom, similar to the drain found in the bottom of some boats. Some coolers have a channeled drain, which directs the water in the right direction, reducing the need to tilt. You’ll also get a drain with the YETI Tundra 65 Cooler. The Igloo MaxCold 70 Quart Cooler does have a drain, but it isn’t a channeled bilge type, so you’ll need to tilt the cooler more for those final drops.

About The Author

Avatar
Stephanie Faris 

Stephanie Faris is a novelist and professional writer. She lives in a beautiful one-acre home in the suburbs on the outskirts of Nashville. Her home and garden work has appeared on sites like GoodHousekeeping.com and Hunker. She's a true homebody and loves looking at new houses for sale for inspiration on her own home remodeling projects.