When it comes to universal products that every home should have, a cooler is definitely on our list. Whether you live somewhere that’s warm year-round or you experience all four seasons to full effect, a cooler is a must-have. Do you like to spend holidays camping in the great outdoors, or even stay close to home where you can invite friends over for a backyard party? The same cooler can go anywhere you want, even if you just need a safe way to get groceries home without the ice cream melting. Of course, not all coolers are created equally, and only the coldest coolers can keep food and beverages chill for hours or even days.
For a cooler to be worth the space it takes up in your closet, garage or car, it needs to be well designed and durable, which means keeping ice frozen and not leaving a melted mess after a couple of hours in the sun. Instead, you want a cooler with a large capacity, enough insulation to protect your goods, and a durable exterior that can withstand bumpy roads, uneven terrain and the occasional spill. Because there’s always a spill. And, if that’s not enough, some of our favorite coolers are even rated to stand up against hungry grizzly bears. That might sound like a joke, but bear testing is serious business, and the best cooler brands take it seriously, too.
Whether you need a cooler big enough to hold all the food and drinks for your next tailgating party or one that won’t take up much room on a solo camping trip, the coldest coolers will keep your items cold and ready to consume.
1. Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Cooler
Keep food and drinks cold without adding extra bulk using the Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Cooler. The 16-can cooler uses Rhino-Technology for a bag that is water, odor and stain-resistant. The Hardbody liner makes the cooler durable, with the patented zipperless lid providing easy access to the bag’s contents when you’re on the go. The leakproof container has a triple layer cold block base and a removable smart shelf for small items. An exterior zippered compartment gives users a safe place to store personal belongings like keys, wallet and a cell phone. The Article Zone is available in larger sizes which have longer cooling periods and come with extras like bottle openers and side carry handles.
Pros: At 2.2 lbs, the Arctic Zone is the lightest cooler on our list and is still strong enough to keep ice frozen for up to two days.
Cons: The zipperless top is super convenient, but the feature is also prone to wear and tear. Due to the smaller size, the cooler can’t hold as much ice as other options on this list when full.
2. Pelican Elite 20 Quart Cooler
The Pelican Elite 20 Quart Cooler comes with a lifetime guarantee that includes replacing any cooler that breaks. Designed for outdoor adventures, the Pelican includes 3” locking latches, a reinforced lockable fastener, an anti-shear hinge system and molded tie-down slots that make it easy to attach to a roof rack or boat. Contents stay cold with the Pelican’s 2” of polyurethane insulation with a 360-degree freezer-grade gasket. The 20-quart cooler can hold up to three bottles of wine or 15 cans.
Pros: The top of the Pelican includes four self-draining cup holders that provide users with a convenient space to put their drinks, as well as a built-in bottle opener. This cooler comes in a variety of attractive colors.
Cons: The Pelican is one of the smallest coolers on our list but still has a considerable price tag (thanks to its admittedly impressive features).
3. Igloo Maxcold Cooler
Stop carrying heavy coolers filled with ice and food and start rolling your belongings instead with the Igloo Maxcold Cooler. The Igloo is designed with reinforced swing-up handles and a tie-down loop that allows users to attach extra items to the cooler. Drinks and food stay cold for hours thanks to Igloo’s Ultratherm insulation in the body and lid of the cooler. The 40-quart cooler can hold up to 56 cans at once.
Pros: When filled with ice, the Igloo can keep food and drinks cold for up to five days.
Cons: The Igloo doesn’t have a drain on the bottom, which makes it difficult to dispose of melted ice.
4. Coleman 70-Quart Xtreme
Whether you’re throwing a big party and need space to keep up to 100 cans at once or you’re planning an extended camping trip and want to keep your food safe to eat for five days, the Coleman 70-Quart Xtreme is an excellent choice. The extra-large cooler can keep ice cold up to five days, even in 90°F weather, thanks to its insulated lid and body. Not all of the coldest coolers are easy to clean, but the Coleman is thanks to a leak-resistant channel that enables users to empty the cooler without tilting it. Two side handles allow for pinch-free, comfortable carrying.
Pros: The Coleman is designed with a Have-A-Seat lid support that can hold up to 250 lbs, perfect for sitting or stacking.
Cons: The Coleman is 31.1” long, making it cumbersome for one person to carry on their own.