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The Best Hard Cooler | 2023

Last updated on May 22, 2023
Best Hard Cooler

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Our Picks For The Top Hard Coolers

Show Contents
Our Take
  Top Pick

Arctic Zone Easy Clean Slip-Open Hard Cooler

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval

Arctic Zone

Easy Clean Slip-Open Hard Cooler

Overall Take

Budget-Friendly PickThanks to the affordable price tag on this hard cooler, you'll have more money to spend on your trip.

  Runner Up

RTIC Rubber Foam Insulation Hard Cooler

RTIC

Rubber Foam Insulation Hard Cooler

Overall Take

High-Quality ModelYou'll find this large hard cooler has a 45-quart capacity.

  We Also Like

Igloo BMX Ice Retention Hard Cooler

Igloo

BMX Ice Retention Hard Cooler

Overall Take

Heavy Duty and DurableIf you're anticipating hard use during truly rugged adventuring, this cooler is a great choice.

  Strong Contender

Coleman Xtreme HIgh Capacity Hard Cooler

Coleman

Xtreme HIgh Capacity Hard Cooler

Overall Take

Large CapacityThis cooler is perfect for trips that include a large number of people sitting around the campfire or on the beach.

Guide written by Danielle Smyth
Last updated on May 22, 2023

Coolers are an essential item for trips to the beach, camping, fishing, sporting events, tailgates and other excursions. There are a wide variety of hard coolers on the market, so choosing one comes down to identifying your specific needs as well as taking into account some general considerations.

First, you’ll want to think about the size or capacity and insulation abilities of the cooler. With size, it’s important to look at both internal and external size, as well as what part of that volume is insulated. Insulation commonly takes up a fair amount of room between the external and internal walls of the cooler, so a cooler that’s medium-sized on the outside (making it easier to store and transport) might not have sufficient capacity on the inside for your needs.

The insulation itself needs to be evaluated on how long it will keep items cool and is usually measured in the number of days it can protect ice. This can be essential for longer trips, but maybe less important for tailgating or making sure your child’s sports team has cold drinks at the end of the game.

In addition, consider how heavy the cooler is, how it will be transported and additional features, such as dry storage or cupholders. To get the cooler where you need it to go, will you carry it with handles on either side, a central lid handle or shoulder strap? Does the cooler also have wheels?

Many coolers feature cupholders or can double as seating. There are even some coolers that have a built-in ruler for measuring fish.

The Best Hard Coolers

1
  Top Pick

Arctic Zone Easy Clean Slip-Open Hard Cooler

Available in blue, pine, moss and citrus, this hard cooler is designed to impress. The inner compartment keeps up to 48 soda or beer cans ice cold, while the many outer pockets provide storage for eating utensils, snacks, keys and cellphones. Use the adjustable anti-slip shoulder strap to easily transport your food and drinks.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Arctic Zone
Model
2
  Runner Up

RTIC Rubber Foam Insulation Hard Cooler

Thanks to the 3-inch insulated walls on this large hard cooler, you'll be able to keep your drinks cold all weekend. The heavy-duty T-latches and freezer-grade gasket add to the functionality of this cooler. You can purchase this unit in four different colors, including white, tan, gray and blue.

Features


Specifications

Brand
RTIC
Model
3
  We Also Like

Igloo BMX Ice Retention Hard Cooler

This hard cooler comes with almost every component reinforced and calculated for wear-and-tear and maximum temperature retention. This cooler has a steel kickplate, UV inhibitors and rust-resistant hardware. With four-day ice retention, this cooler is perfect for long trips and keeping cool on-the-go.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Igloo
Model
4
  Strong Contender

Coleman Xtreme HIgh Capacity Hard Cooler

This hard cooler is a whopping 70 quarts, and it is able to fit up to 100 cans. It features cupholders to keep drinks close. The rugged lid also doubles as a seat that's rated for up to 250 pounds.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Coleman
Model
5
  Also Great

YETI Roadie 24 Lightweight Hard Cooler

Reliable is the best word to describe this hard cooler. Not only is the outer shell extremely durable, but the inner compartment is designed to keep food and drinks cold 30 percent longer than other options on the market. It's also more vertical and able to fit both wine and 2-liter soda bottles.

Features


Specifications

Brand
YETI
Model
7

Grizzly G15 Thermal Shoulder Straps Hard Cooler

Made from eco-friendly materials, this cooler features great temperature retention. Extra security is provided by two locks to keep your contents safe.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Grizzly
Model
8

Pelican Elite Portable Hard Cooler

Featuring thoughtful reinforced construction, this cooler includes an anti-shear hinge system, molded tie-down slots, a reinforced lockable clasp, non-skid rubber feet and an over-molded carry handle. At an easily portable 20-quart capacity, this cooler can hold 15 cans or three wine bottles.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Pelican
Model
9

Klein Tools Hinged Lid Work Small Hard Cooler

The Klein Tools Work Cooler, 17 Quart is designed to work as a lunchbox and includes a strap for easy carrying. The lid can handle up to 300 pounds, so you can set it down and use it as a seat wherever you are. It can keep items cool for up to 30 hours, even in 90-degree temperatures.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Klein Tools
Model

Our Hard Cooler Buying Guide

Coolers are an essential item for trips to the beach, camping, fishing, sporting events, tailgates and other excursions. There are a wide variety of hard coolers on the market, so choosing one comes down to identifying your specific needs as well as taking into account some general considerations.

First, you’ll want to think about the size or capacity and insulation abilities of the cooler. With size, it’s important to look at both internal and external size, as well as what part of that volume is insulated. Insulation commonly takes up a fair amount of room between the external and internal walls of the cooler, so a cooler that’s medium-sized on the outside (making it easier to store and transport) might not have sufficient capacity on the inside for your needs.

The insulation itself needs to be evaluated on how long it will keep items cool and is usually measured in the number of days it can protect ice. This can be essential for longer trips, but maybe less important for tailgating or making sure your child’s sports team has cold drinks at the end of the game.

In addition, consider how heavy the cooler is, how it will be transported and additional features, such as dry storage or cupholders. To get the cooler where you need it to go, will you carry it with handles on either side, a central lid handle or shoulder strap? Does the cooler also have wheels?

Many coolers feature cupholders or can double as seating. There are even some coolers that have a built-in ruler for measuring fish.

DWYM Fun Fact

The need for coolers — to preserve and transport perishable goods — has existed for much longer than the technology behind modern coolers.

The origin of coolers can be traced back to barrels used throughout history, then to an early prototype that caught the attention of Thomas Jefferson. Modern cooler technology originated around World War II, when Styrofoam was invented.

The Hard Cooler Tips and Advice

  • When considering cooler size and capacity, don’t forget to take into account the shape or how it’s distributed. While a 6-quart cooler may sound sufficient for a bottle of wine, if it’s cube-shaped rather than rectangular or tall, it might not be able to accommodate a long object, either horizontally or vertically.
  • Materials that make up coolers can often be less than eco-friendly. However, more and more coolers on the market are being made from greener materials. If this is a priority for you, look for this to be called out in the cooler description.
  • Surprisingly, not all hard coolers are waterproof. Pay attention to the lid seals and drainage features, which are also helpful for cleaning your cooler.

About The Author

Danielle Smyth 

Danielle Smyth is a writer and content marketing expert based in New York. She has been writing on business and finance, home and garden, DIY, travel and tourism, and a variety of other topics for over a decade, and she holds a Master of Science in Publishing from Pace University. Danielle loves working on product reviews and helping others find the highest quality items and the best values. An avid gardener and home improvement fanatic, she is always looking for new products to make life easier.