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Compare the best coolers

Only the best for your food and drinks.

Not all coolers are created equal. They range in price from $15 to $300 or more and come in a variety of sizes, types and styles. They’re also the life of the party, so choose wisely.

Compare top coolers

NameAvg. price
TypeCapacity (liters)ColorPurchase
Coleman Fliplid 6
Coleman Fliplid 6
$42.72Hard5BlueShop now
$299.95Hard45Pink, White, Blue,
Tan, Green
Shop now
Igloo BMX 52 Quart Cooler
Igloo BMX 52 Quart Cooler
$100.00Hard49Carbonite Gray/Carbonite BlueShop now
YETI Hopper Flip Portable Cooler
YETI Hopper Flip Portable Cooler
$249.99Soft11.7Charcoal, Tan, GrayShop now
CleverMade SnapBasket 50 Can
CleverMade SnapBasket 50 Can
$34.99Soft30MultipleShop now
YETI Tundra 45 Cooler
YETI Tundra 45 Cooler
$299.99Hard45White, Tan, Coral, Ice Blue, Reef BlueShop now
Data obtained February 2019. Prices are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

Hard vs. soft coolers

Choosing between a hard or soft cooler depends on how you want to use it. Soft coolers are usually lighter, easier to transport and collapsible, so they take up little space when not in use. This makes them handy for short or day trips.

Hard coolers are more durable, offer more storage and typically keep items colder for longer — but they can be bulky. These coolers are ideal for longer trips and outdoor use.

How much do coolers cost?

Coolers range in price from $15 to $300+ based on size, material, insulation and brand. Cheaper ones are typically small and can only keep food cold for a few hours.

If you need a cooler for an extended trip, it might be worth investing in a more expensive and durable option that offers multiple days of ice retention.

How to choose a cooler

The main factors to consider — aside from cost — are the size of the cooler and how long it can keep ice frozen.

Additional features to consider

  • Wheels for easier maneuvering
  • A drain plug that allows you to remove melted ice from the bottom without tipping it over
  • Sturdy and easy to grip handles for lifting without straining
  • Latches and lids that are durable enough for outdoor activities and don’t come undone if the cooler moves around or tips over
  • A lifetime warranty or a warranty of more than one year
  • Additional outer storage pouches
  • Easy to clean surfaces

Tips for keeping your food and drinks cool

Keep these tips in mind to help make your cooler more efficient on your next trip:

  1. Chill the inside of your cooler for at least a few hours before you pack. This way, the cooler will already by the right temperature when you start loading your food and will stay colder longer.
  2. Use ice blocks instead of cubed ice. Ice blocks melt more slowly and help keep your cooler cold for longer.
  3. Freeze water in plastic bottles in advance. You can place them in the cooler to help keep things cold and drink the water when the ice melts.
  4. Pack the coldest, most frozen items on the bottom and fruit and vegetables on top. If you’re packing raw meat, wrap it well and place it beneath any fresh foods.
  5. Keep your cooler out of the sun and limit the time it will spend in hot environments like the trunk of your car.
  6. When your ice melts, don’t drain the water. The cold water will help to keep your food cool better than air would. If you have to drain the water, try to fill the empty space with more ice.
  7. Open the lid as little as possible. Every time you open the lid, you let out cold air.
  8. Limit the amount of air space in the cooler, since air is not very efficient at keeping food cool. Pack your items with as few air gaps as possible.

Bottom line

To help you choose the right cooler, think about what you’ll primarily be using it for. Then compare features like size, material and extras like wheels and easy-grip handles.

How did we choose these products?

To compile our list of the best coolers, we looked at overall features, price, size, hard or soft material and other factors. We also took into consideration online reviews and our own online research.

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