If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, SPY.com may receive an affiliate commission.
Given the change in seasons, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we’ve officially kissed summer goodbye until next year. Beach days, backyard BBQs and pool parties are but a wee memory for the majority of the United States as we begin layering up in the best winter coats and head-warming beanies. But, just because it’s getting chillier outside doesn’t mean we have to let go of some of our most-used summer items — especially the best cooler you took to the lake every weekend.
Your best cooler is an essential fall and winter staple just as much as it is in the summer. Your favorite beer still needs to be chilled on your fall camping trip. The best hard seltzer from your local liquor store still deserves an ice-cold pour around your backyard bonfire. Hell, did you forget about tailgates? Leaving your best cooler at home during the pregame will almost certainly make your team lose. You’ll find all the same need in a great cooler now than you did six months ago, and that’s something we’re certain about.
As coolers come in a variety of forms, you can bet you’ll find one for your needs below. There are styles for more sedentary activities, like tailgating and at-home barbecues, as well as options for more active pursuits, like hiking and days out at theme parks. This versatility means you can keep your food and drinks cool while you’re away from your kitchen. In general, coolers come in the following forms:
Take a look through our list of the best coolers available and find the right fit for your cooling needs. We’ve included at least one of each type of cooler. Whatever you require, make sure you’re never without a refreshing drink.
1. Coleman Xtreme 5 Cooler
The Coleman Xtreme 5 Cooler has everything we look for in a cooler — plus a nifty, all-black design. This extra-wall insulated cooler will keep ice cold for five whole days in temperatures up to 90°F. It’s built to last with heavy-duty handles and a holding capacity of 250-lbs and up to 100 cans. Best of all, it’s more than half the price of YETI coolers.
2. YETI Tundra Cooler
With its easy-carry handles and heavy-duty T-Rex Lid Latches, the YETI Tundra Cooler is a convenient and durable cooler choice. The construction of the cooler boasts three-inch permafrost insulation and a fat-wall design to ensure your drinks stay cool inside, even when it’s baking hot outside. There’s also enough space for up to 20 cans with the recommended 2:1 beer to ice ratio. This nearly indestructible cooler is an ideal choice for fishermen, tailgaters, road trippers and backyard hosts. It also comes in a range of attractive colors.
3. Coleman 62 Quart Xtreme 5 Wheeled Cooler
BEST COOLER WITH WHEELS
When your cooler is packed full of ice, beer and food, a good set of wheels makes it a lot easier to lug around, which is why we’re partial to coolers with wheels. But the Coleman Xtreme 5 Wheeled Cooler has a lot more than wheels. It also boasts superior thermal retention, keeping food cold for up to five days in temperatures up to 90-degrees. It’s leak-resistant and has an easy-to-clean liner. And, best of all, you don’t have to carry it around; just roll it. Finally, it’s made in the USA. Close the lid, and the drink holders turn this cooler into a nifty side table.
4. YETI V Series Stainless Steel Cooler
BEST STAINLESS STEEL
It should go without saying that stainless steel is incredibly good-looking. And, plastered on the exterior of a cooler? Well, it seems like our knees have gotten weak all of a sudden. YETI’s brand-new V Series cooler is a striking, vacuum-insulated cooler that uses rough and tough, kitchen-grade stainless steel on the exterior. This baby won’t rust, it’s meanly durable and is even food safe. Visually speaking, this might be the most gorgeous cooler we’ve ever seen, and because it’s from YETI, you can be sure this is the cooler of your dreams.
We love this cooler so much, we named it one of our favorite products of the year in our 2021 SPY Man Awards.
5. Carhartt Deluxe Insulated Lunch Cooler Bag
If you’re headed out for a picnic with a friend, this is a great cooler on the more personal size. It has room for a meal and drinks for two and a little extra. Large enough for a six-pack or your favorite snacks, this is a great cooler to take to a game, a day in the park or at the beach with no heavy lifting required. Just sling this baby on your shoulder and you’ll be good to go.
6. Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze
BEST SMALL WITH WHEELS
The Arctic Zone Titan holds up to 60 cans and is a rolling cooler that comes in handy if you’re in for a bit of a hike. this is the ultimate party cooler for days with friends. It can store everyone’s favorite snacks or as many drinks as everyone wants. It has an expandable front compartment for even more room. It can hold up to 100 pounds.
7. YETI Hopper Backflip 24 Soft Sided Cooler / Backpack
BEST FOR OUTDOOR ADVENTURES
The best combo has arrived — the YETI backpack cooler. This is the ultimate companion on hikes, climbs, or any kind of adventure where you need to be hands-free. An average-sized cooler, this YETI holds up to 20 cans or a 2:1 can to ice ratio. This can be the party packer or the picnic crusade saver. If you’re going up the mountain and want to have a cool drink at the summit, this is the cooler for you.
8. Igloo Trailmate Journey 70 Qt Cooler
BEST FOR THE BEACH
Pardon our French, but bringing a cooler to the beach can be a bitch. We’ve all been there. It’s the hottest day of the summer. You get to the beach a little later than you anticipated, so you have to park miles from the shore. You think, “okay, I’ll carry the cooler, might as well get a little workout in.” So, you pick up the cooler. You get one block, notice you’re at least six more away and completely regret your decision to be on cooler duty. Well, never regret again with the Igloo Trailmate Journey Cooler. This baby is made to be wheeled so you don’t have to do any heavy lifting. Once you get to the sand, the all-terrain wheels kick it up a notch and allow users to pick up the pace, unlike other coolers on the sand. To top it all off, you’ll get an included bottle opening, storage pocket, butler tray and be able to fit a whopping 112 cans in total. Talk about a beach day!
9. Igloo Playmate Cooler
BEST PERSONAL COOLER
You don’t always need to haul a massive cooler from point A to point B to enjoy a cold, refreshing beverage. Whether you only need to keep your lunch cold or you want to carry drinks for you and a couple of friends, the Igloo Playmate Cooler will do the trick. This seven-quart capacity device can hold numerous cans, lunch and snacks if needed. It’s available in a number of colors and features a bail handle for simple, one-hand carrying.
10. YETI Hopper Flip Portable Cooler
BEST SOFT-SIDED COOLER
With ColdCell insulation, the YETI hopper is the best soft-sided, portable cooler you’ll find. It is 100% leakproof, fits a six-pack, and has a wider lid for larger items to fit inside. A great option to take boating or to the beach as it is waterproof and very durable; it will avoid punctures or abrasions so you can have a wild adventure without worrying about the cooler.
11. Igloo BMX Family
BEST FOR TRUCK BEDS
One of the best things about the Igloo BMX Family cooler is that it comes with built-in tie-down points for hauling in your truck bed or on any other vehicle. But, this cooler is packed full of other features, too. It’s built using heavy-duty, blow-molded construction and boasts a reinforced base. In addition, the cooler can keep ice for four to five days, and the UV inhibitors on the exterior prevent the sun from damaging the container. Finally, it should be noted that this cooler features cool riser technology and sports a built-in fish ruler for ease of use out on the water.
12. OtterBox Trooper Cooler
BEST MOUNTING SYSTEM
You know OtterBox makes some of the best phone cases around, but did you know they also make heavy-duty yet incredibly functional coolers? The OtterBox Trooper Cooler boasts an incredible 20-quart capacity, meaning it can hold up to 28 cans without ice. Beyond its capacity, this cooler includes many more interesting features, such as thermal insulation, a leak-proof seal and exterior pockets. But, the one feature we’re most impressed with is the mounting system, which allows users to attach accessories you may need out and about, like a bottle opener, grilling gear and more.
13. IceMule Pro Cooler
There’s a reason the IceMule Pro Cooler looks like a backpack, and that’s because it is one. The design includes built-in straps for easy carrying along with a waist buckle for an even more secure fit. This impressive portability makes this cooler an ideal choice for adventurous activities like tubing, trips to the park or even just hanging out in the garden with friends. The large capacity has enough room for 18 cans with ice, while the heavy-duty, flexible wall and Trifold DriTop closure is capable of keeping ice cold for up to 24 hours at a time.
14. Coleman Coastal Xtreme Series Marine Portable Cooler
BEST FOR FISHING
Sometimes you just need a heavy-duty cooler. The Coleman 70-quart Coastal Xtreme Marine Cooler has an insulated lid and extra insulation in the walls for longer ice retention. In other words, this cooler will keep your recently caught fish fresh until you get back to shore. Plus, you can sit on it if your legs get tired when stand-fishing.
15. Rubbermaid Cooler
BEST ICE CHEST
For a traditional ice chest that’s easily portable and does its job without any unnecessary bells and whistles, look no further than the Rubbermaid 5 Quart Cooler. It boasts a top swing handle and space for 6 cans as well as ice. The liner is both stain and odor-resistant. It’s also especially easy to clean. Plus, the cooler itself offers amazing thermal retention to keep everything you put inside as cold as possible.
16. Coleman Oversized Quad Chair with Cooler
It’s important to carry as few things as possible when camping. That’s why the Coleman Oversized Quad Chair with Cooler is so brilliant. It’s a cooler and comfortable folding chair all in one. Plus, it has a cup holder and adjustable armrests. Most importantly, the armrest cooler keeps your beverages frosty and food fresh all while providing a comfortable seating arrangement after a long day of hiking.
17. RTIC Day Cooler
BEST FOR PICNICS
This smaller cooler is great for a quick picnic or day at the park if you don’t want to lug around a heavy cooler full of ice. It holds up to eight cans and is very light. It keeps your drinks and food cool for up to 24 hours and also has room for little extras.
18. Igloo Limited Edition Playmate Coolers
BEST FOR FAMILIES
Who says your cooler has to be a boring piece of outdoor equipment? The Igloo Limited Edition Playmate Coolers add fun graphics and decals to a traditional Igloo cooler in order to create something that will put a smile on your face every time you use it. Your kids will love it, too. There are more than 40 designs to choose from, ranging from Disney to Spongebob and everything in between. The cooler itself has the Igloo trademarked tent-top design, meaning the handle is also the lid of the cooler. It swings to either side in order to allow access to the cooler’s contents. Grab one of these limited edition coolers before they’re gone.
19. TOURIT Cooler Backpack
The TOURIT Cooler Backpack keeps you hands-free while keeping your food and drinks cold. It’s convenient for picnics, camping, hiking and more. In addition, it uses soft, insulating cotton on the outside which makes lugging this thing around easy as cracking open a cool beverage.