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The Best Cooler

Last updated on May 8, 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

Why Trust The DWYM Score?

DWYM is your trusted product review source. Along with our in-house experts, our team analyzes thousands of product reviews from the most trusted websites. We then create one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

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

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.

Our Picks For The Top Coolers

Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  The Best Overall

YETI

Tundra 65 Cooler

Overall 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... Read More

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

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... Read More

Experts Included
DWYM Outdoor and Garden Experts plus New York Times Wirecutter, Trustorereview, The Cooler Zone, Best Cooler, SOutdoors and 1 more. 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."

Coleman

Xtreme Marine Cooler

Overall Take

With 76.1 quarts of usable space, the Coleman Xtreme Marine Cooler will hold more than 200 cans. It's sturdy enough to double as a seat, with a weight capacity of up to 250 pounds. But one of the best features of this cooler is a channeled drain that makes it easy to empty the cooler after use.

Experts Included
DWYM Outdoor and Garden Experts plus New York Times Wirecutter, CNET, Pikroll, The Cooler Zone. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" The Coleman Xtreme has a channeled drain, which made draining much easier and required very little tilting."
Cons
"The Coleman's sparse design includes an ineffective drain, and there's no latch for the lid."
  The Best Value

Igloo

MaxCold 70 Quart Cooler

Overall Take

The Igloo MaxCold 70 Quart Cooler has a capacity of 70 quarts. That makes it more than spacious enough to hold hundreds of cans. This cooler has a drain, making it easy to empty out the cooler after use. However, this cooler's drain isn't channeled, which means you may have... Read More

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"
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 to review and score.

View All Product Rankings

55

Expert Reviews Included

Reviews from our DWYM category experts 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.

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

Expert Summarized Score
9.2
6 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.7
3,000 user reviews
The DWYM Expert 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

Igloo MaxCold 70 Quart Cooler

Expert Summarized Score
8.5
2 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.6
5 user reviews
The DWYM Expert Take

The Igloo MaxCold 70 Quart Cooler has a capacity of 70 quarts. That makes it more than spacious enough to hold hundreds of cans. This cooler has a drain, making it easy to empty out the cooler after use. However, this cooler's drain isn't channeled, which means you may have to tilt it a little to get every drop of water out.

What other experts liked
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.
- New York Times Wirecutter
Good ice life for the price, easy access to items, nice selection of sizes, quite mobile
- The Cooler Zone
What other experts didn't like
Igloo MaxCold lacks a channeled bilge drain, which makes emptying wastewater a bit more difficult than it needs to be—you have to tilt and twist the cooler to drain the last bit of water.
- New York Times Wirecutter
Weak handles, limited color choices
- The Cooler Zone

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. Coleman Xtreme Marine Cooler
Overall Score: 8.9
Reviews Included: 7

4. AO Coolers Water-Resistant Vinyl Soft Cooler
Overall Score: 8.7
Reviews Included: 7

5. Polar Bear Coolers
Overall Score: 8.6
Reviews Included: 10

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. Igloo MaxCold 70 Quart Cooler
Overall Score: 8.5
Reviews Included: 4

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

An Overview On Coolers

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 Buying Guide

  • 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 Xtreme Marine Cooler offers 76.1 quarts of usable space inside, which totals more than 200 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. Both the YETI Tundra 65 Cooler and the Coleman Xtreme Marine Cooler are built to withstand the weight of someone seated on them. The Coleman Xtreme Marine Cooler can hold up to 250 pounds.
  • 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. The Coleman Xtreme Marine Cooler has 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.