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The Best Small Hard Cooler - 2021

Last updated on September 14, 2021

We looked at the top 12 Small Hard Coolers and dug through the reviews from 110 of the most popular review sites including and more. The result is a ranking of the best Small Hard Coolers.

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Our Picks For The Top Small Hard Coolers

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  Best Overall

Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Zipperless Small Hardbody Cooler

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval

Arctic Zone

Titan Deep Freeze Zipperless Hardbody Cooler

Overall Take

Easy to TransportAlthough this small hard cooler has a 16-can capacity, you can also purchase it in a 30 or 48 can capacity.

Experts Included
DWYM Outdoor and Garden Experts plus Good Housekeeping, The Cooler Zone, Best Cooler, No Place Called Home, Coolers Junkie. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" Kept drinks cold for 12 hours in our tests. Easy to open and pack. Easy to clean. No staining or odor retention. Padded adjustable shoulder strap makes it easy to carry"
Cons
"Struggles with cooling life. We aren’t in love with this asking price due to the somewhat lacking ice life."
  Upgrade Pick

YETI Roadie 24 Small Hard Cooler

YETI

Roadie 24 Small Hard Cooler

Overall Take

Multiple Color OptionsYou'll find this small hard cooler comes in eight different colors, including ice pink, navy, king crab and sagebrush green.

Experts Included
DWYM Outdoor and Garden Experts plus . Along with user reviews from Amazon.
  Best Basic

Coleman Flip Lid Personal Cooler, 5-Quart

Coleman

Flip Lid Personal Cooler, 5-Quart

Overall Take

Best for PicnicsThe flip lid on this small hard cooler makes it perfect for outings like picnics, with the lid providing a handy tray or table.

Experts Included
DWYM Outdoor and Garden Experts plus CTOP Reviews, The Lake And Stars, Globo Turf, Camping & Camping, Notting Hill Carnival, Coolers On Sale and 6 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" It is just the ideal personal cooler for a perfect picnic. You can even use it to compliment a larger cooler and match the current trend among campers."
Cons
"This 5-quart Coleman cooler may not be able to pack an entire family’s food for a picnic or BBQ."
  Doubles As Tray

Igloo Profile Cooler, 16-Quart

Igloo

Profile Cooler, 16-Quart

Overall Take

Great for TailgatingIf you purchase more than one of these small hard coolers, you'll be able to stack them on top of each other for easy storage when not in use.

Experts Included
DWYM Outdoor and Garden Experts plus Top Best Spec, BestReviews, Trustorereview, Idea Hacks, ATV Parts Shop. Along with user reviews from Amazon, Walmart, Highby Outdoors and Igloo Coolers.
Pros
" The lunch cooler features a convenient bail handle that folds flat into the liner for simple storage and stacking."
Cons
"Not waterproof; water can easily leak into the cooler. Some reports of this cooler arriving damaged."
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.
19

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the small hard coolers available to purchase.
12

Products Analyzed

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

View All Product Rankings

110

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: Good Housekeeping, The Cooler Zone, Best Cooler, No Place Called Home, Coolers Junkie.

29,255

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including

Our experts reviewed the top 12 Small Hard Coolers and also dug through the reviews from 110 of the most popular review sites including and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Small Hard 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.

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

The Best Overall

Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Zipperless Small Hardbody Cooler


Our Expert Score

7.7
5 expert reviews

User Summarized Score

8.4
1,600 user reviews

Our Take

Cleaning this small hard cooler is a breeze, thanks to the built-in removable SmartShelf. The cooler has many other attractive features as well, including a handy shoulder strap and two front pockets for storing utensils, napkins or your cell. There are even mesh pockets on the side that provide additional storage, should you need it.

What other experts liked

Kept drinks cold for 12 hours in our tests. Easy to open and pack. Easy to clean. No staining or odor retention. Padded adjustable shoulder strap makes it easy to carry
- Good Housekeeping
July 5, 2017 | Full review
We think this cooler looks awesome. It has a very modern look to it and the bright color-contrasting schemes really make it stick out. The shoulder pad on the strap gives it a premium look and with the...
- The Cooler Zone
June 16, 2019 | Full review
The cooler itself isn’t actually totally soft – the body is made of a hard polyethylene material similar to (albeit much thinner than) a high-end rotomolded ice chest. So in that regard they’ll hold ice much longer than a traditional...
- Best Cooler
Adjustable and padded shoulder strap provides stability when you are carrying heavier loads. With plenty of zippers and an internal compartment, this small personal icebox is designed to help you stay organized.
- Coolers Junkie
August 1, 2019 | Full review

What other experts didn't like

Struggles with cooling life. We aren’t in love with this asking price due to the somewhat lacking ice life.
- The Cooler Zone
June 16, 2019 | Full review
However, they don’t have the benefits of being able to fold down to size like other true soft coolers do.
- Best Cooler
Although the bag doesn’t leak or sweat, unfortunately, it doesn’t hold ice for more than a day.
- Coolers Junkie
August 1, 2019 | Full review

The Best Bang For Your Buck

Coleman Flip Lid Personal Cooler, 5-Quart

Our Expert Score

8.8
12 expert reviews

User Summarized Score

9.0
996 user reviews

Our Take

For shorter outings like picnics, consider this small hard cooler, which can keep ice frozen for six to seven hours. The lid flips around to provide indented cupholders for your canned beverages and a tray or table for setting food. The capacity is small, holding only up to six cans of soda, but it's big enough to hold lunch or snacks for a couple of people.

What other experts liked

It’s a small, portable cooler that helps keep food and drinks cold.
- ReasonBuy
It is just the ideal personal cooler for a perfect picnic. You can even use it to compliment a larger cooler and match the current trend among campers.
- CTOP Reviews
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...
- The Lake And Stars
It can hold up to 6 cans cool, and the hard exterior allows you to use the cooler as a small picnic table, reading surface and so on. You can also use it around the house as a small wine cooler, especially if you opt for red version of the...
- Globo Turf
September 22, 2019 | Full review
Provides better insulation than most fabric lunch boxes. Easier to wash and dry. Offers longer lifespan compared to fabric lunch boxes.
- Camping & Camping
January 23, 2019 | Full review
The flip lid is easy to wipe. It can contain about six bottles of drinks. The flip lid can be used as a table for drinking and eating. There's a bottle holder on the flip lid.
- Notting Hill Carnival
August 3, 2019 | Full review
The FlipLid top though is what truly sets it apart from other coolers. The lid itself is reversible so that it can be used as a serving tray, which also includes molded can holders so that when it is time to eat, you can eat worry free regardless of where...
- Coolers On Sale
Quality cooler that is made in the United States and makes your adventures fun.
- Home N Outdoors
It is just the right size to hold a six-pack and some ice. Customers appreciate the craftsmanship of this cooler, specifically that when you fully open the lid, it stays solidly open, revealing cup holders and a space that can be used as a small table. The insulation of this...
- Ice Maker Pro
August 29, 2019 | Full review
It’s the best one-person hard cooler to use for camping trips. It holds plenty of storage capacity in its durable exterior.
- Jen Reviews
This cooler features the heavy duty Pebax hinges that last up to 8 times longer than the standard plastic hinges.
- Portable Beasts
The FlipLid has a beverage holder built molded into it to provide a stable surface for drinks. Once done eating, close it up and get ready to move on. The top is easy to clean and wipe away any mess made.
- SOutdoors
August 30, 2019 | Full review

What other experts didn't like

But because it’s so small, there are also some complaints about its size.
- ReasonBuy
This 5-quart Coleman cooler may not be able to pack an entire family’s food for a picnic or BBQ.
- The Lake And Stars
May not an ideal choice for Tupperware. The lid can’t be locked. Insulation is not that impressive.
- Camping & Camping
January 23, 2019 | Full review
Some customers complained about the handle and lid, lack of insulation, and the fact that it is cheap.
- Notting Hill Carnival
August 3, 2019 | Full review
Lack of insulation. Lid and handle of questionable durability
- SOutdoors
August 30, 2019 | Full review

Overall Product Rankings

YETI Roadie 24 Small Hard Cooler

2. YETI Roadie 24 Small Hard Cooler

Overall Score: 9.5
Reviews Included: 1

Coleman Flip Lid Personal Cooler, 5-Quart

3. Coleman Flip Lid Personal Cooler, 5-Quart

Overall Score: 9.3
Reviews Included: 17

Igloo Profile Cooler, 16-Quart

4. Igloo Profile Cooler, 16-Quart

Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 11

Stanley Hard Cooler, 16-Quart

5. Stanley Hard Cooler, 16-Quart

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 26

Igloo Cooler, 12 Quart

6. Igloo Cooler, 12 Quart

Overall Score: 8.9
Reviews Included: 13

Klein Tools Work Cooler, 17 Quart

7. Klein Tools Work Cooler, 17 Quart

Overall Score: 8.9
Reviews Included: 22

Igloo Personal Sized Cooler, 7 Quart

8. Igloo Personal Sized Cooler, 7 Quart

Overall Score: 8.5
Reviews Included: 6

Igloo Mini Cooler, 4 Quart

9. Igloo Mini Cooler, 4 Quart

Overall Score: 7.9
Reviews Included: 5

Coleman Wheeled Cooler, 50-Quart

10. Coleman Wheeled Cooler, 50-Quart

Overall Score: 7.8
Reviews Included: 27

Coleman Cooler, 18 Quart

11. Coleman Cooler, 18 Quart

Overall Score: 7.5
Reviews Included: 4

Igloo Cooler, 25 Quart

12. Igloo Cooler, 25 Quart

Overall Score: 6.7
Reviews Included: 17

Our Small Hard Cooler Findings


Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Zipperless Small Hardbody Cooler

What We Liked: Cleaning this small hard cooler is a breeze, thanks to the built-in removable SmartShelf. The cooler has many other attractive features as well, including a handy shoulder strap and two front pockets for storing utensils, napkins or your cell. There are even mesh pockets on the side that provide additional storage, should you need it.


YETI Roadie 24 Small Hard Cooler

What We Liked: If you’re searching for a small hard cooler with a taller build to accommodate bottles of wine, this model is your best bet. It’s been upgraded to have a thinner and more lightweight build, while also keeping your drinks colder than previous models. The cooler is able to hold up to 18 drinks with an astounding 24 pounds of ice.


Coleman Flip Lid Personal Cooler, 5-Quart

What We Liked: For shorter outings like picnics, consider this small hard cooler, which can keep ice frozen for six to seven hours. The lid flips around to provide indented cupholders for your canned beverages and a tray or table for setting food. The capacity is small, holding only up to six cans of soda, but it’s big enough to hold lunch or snacks for a couple of people.


Igloo Profile Cooler, 16-Quart

What We Liked: This 16-quart small hard cooler has a tough outer shell that is extremely durable. It’s the ideal choice when camping or tailgating, as the lid also doubles as a tray with cupholders. The cooler is designed using cool riser technology, so your drinks stay ice cold and refreshing.


Stanley Hard Cooler, 16-Quart

What We Liked: If you’re packing items for a long road trip or camping weekend, this small hard cooler has you covered. The lid is leakproof to enhance the insulated walls, providing up to 27 hours of cooling for your food or beverages. It also has a large capacity, holding up to 21 cans.

Our Small Hard Cooler Buying Guide

Whether you’re heading out to the beach or going to work at a job site, a small cooler can keep you stocked in cool beverages, snacks and even lunch until you return home. But small coolers vary dramatically in build and features, so it’s important to research the many options before you buy.

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One big variation between coolers is capacity. You’ll want a cooler that’s small enough to be portable while also being able to hold everything you plan to take along for your outing. Some coolers will only hold a six-pack, while others have the capacity for long-neck bottles, cases of canned beverages and snacks for a large group.

If you regularly need higher capacity, make sure your cooler has wheels and that the locations you’ll be visiting don’t include stairs or other difficult-to-navigate surfaces. For smaller coolers, a hinged lid can come in handy, as you’ll only need to open it partway to reach inside and retrieve items stored there.

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Many hard coolers also have lids that serve multiple purposes. Some will flip over and become tables, for instance, making them perfect for picnics. Lid indentations can come in handy for setting your drinks in between sips. Others have features that serve as storage for items like your thermos or a couple of bottles of water.

Small coolers aren’t limited to lunches and snacks. In fact, a new trend has campers taking a set of coolers along with them on their excursions, similar to a set of luggage. You can find a small cooler that matches your much larger one and tote all of it along with you to your campsite, beach towel or picnic table.

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Although many features are important, none are as vital as the cooling capacity of your chosen cooler. The build of the cooler itself influences this. Many of today’s coolers are built with insulated walls to keep outside temperatures out and ensure the inside retains its temperature for as long as possible. The lid of your cooler can be a leak hazard, though, so make sure you choose one that seals tightly.

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DWYM Fun Fact

The key to success with today’s coolers is something called “rotational molding,” which is simply the process of molding plastics to take on a specific shape. This eliminates the need to bolt multiple pieces together, creating seams that can easily leak. When buying a cooler, you’ll likely find it’s one big, seamless unit, with the lid being the only separate piece. To create a roto-mold, manufacturers fill a mold with hot plastic, then rotate that mold until the plastic is evenly distributed. This rotating process creates consistent thickness throughout the entire cooler’s build, reducing the risk of leaks.

The Small Hard Cooler Tips and Advice

  • Perhaps the biggest differentiator between coolers as a whole is size. If you’re looking for one that’s portable, make sure you choose a cooler that has a smaller build. Bulky coolers can be tough to tote around and store, especially if you’re using them for work.
  • There are a couple of features that can make a cooler easier to carry. One is the handle that you’ll use to tote it around. Some coolers feature molded handles to keep your hands comfortable even when they’re loaded down. Another useful feature, though, is a shoulder strap, which will help balance the weight across more of your body, rather than relying solely on your hands to transport it. As coolers get larger, they often include wheels that make even a big, heavy cooler portable.
  • You may want to invest in a few ice packs for a mess-free way to keep your items cool. Without them, you’ll be relying on ice, which can cause leaks and saturate items you want to keep dry, like sandwiches and chips.
  • As handy as a small, lightweight build can be, you may find that you sacrifice capacity. A cooler that will only hold a few cans won’t help if you’re trying to pack for a picnic or camping weekend. Still, in some cases, you may just need a small cooler to carry a few items around. Consider this when shopping and try to find a cooler that will fit your own lifestyle best.
  • As you’re shopping, take a close look at the lid. Some coolers come with lids that flip around so that you can use them as trays. If they have molded cupholders, you can even rest your drink. Other lids have a weight capacity that allows you to sit on them once you’ve retrieved your items, providing extra seating for your next adventure. You’ll also find coolers that include storage for keeping cutlery, napkins, thermoses or water bottles.
  • The big-name, vacuum-insulated coolers that have become popular have shown just how much consumers are willing to pay for a good cooler. But competitors have put similar insulating technology to use to keep your food and beverages ice cold without forcing you to shell out half your paycheck. Some well-known name brands have decades of history in the cooler market and have constantly tweaked their technology to provide the best cooling power available today at an affordable price.
  • Cooler manufacturers strive to outlast the competition when it comes to cooling power. Although you’ll find plenty of coolers that keep your items cold throughout the workday, there are still others that can go 24 hours or longer. Even if you’re only out for the day, though, these longer-enduring coolers may still be the better choice, as they can protect internal contents against extreme temperatures.
  • When you’re finished using your cooler, make sure cleanup is easy. With smaller coolers, this isn’t as much an issue as with larger ones. If you can’t easily tip your cooler and pour out the water, look for a drain plug that will let the water out from the bottom.

About The Author

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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 popular home sites. She's a true homebody and loves looking at new houses for sale for inspiration on her own home remodeling projects.