Extreme durability. Stylish design.
Steep price. Heavy, so may be hard to carry for casual beach days.
Large capacity. Wheels for easy transport. Built-in cup holders. Made in USA.
Limited color variety. Lid doesn't latch, making it easier to accidentally leave it open.
Rugged, feature-rich design. Variety of colors. Tie-down hooks for easy transport.
Not as long ice-retention as a rotomolded cooler.
Stylish stainless steel exterior. Vacuum sealed cooling.
Can be heavy when filled. Nose-bleed-inducing price tag.
Economical yet rugged. Up to 5-day ice retention. Built-in cupholders.
Not much variety in colors.
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From camping trips to hikes to beach visits to boozin’ in the backyard, you simply need a hard cooler to do summer correctly. No cooler means unrefreshing, warm-to-the-tongue beverages nobody wants in their body as the sun blazes above you. Hard seltzers, brews, bottles of vodka and even your trusty non-alcoholic water bottle all need a chipper chest to sit inside on the majority of your summer excursions. We don’t make the rules, it’s just the way warm weather works.
But, as coolers come in a variety of forms, you might struggle when trying to find exactly what you need. What are the best cooler brands? What’s the most valuable cooler size for your specific needs? Do you need something travel-ready, easy to carry or effortless to wheel around? These are questions you need to ask yourself when choosing the best cooler for you. Below, we’ve featured the best hard coolers of 2022, but you may decide that a cooler with wheels is a better fit for your needs (and we have a guide for that too!)
One tried and true option is a hard cooler. A hard cooler has a hard plastic or metal exterior and the walls are filled with an insulating material to keep ice frozen and in turn, your drinks cold and food fresh. Hard coolers are less easy to carry than cooler backpacks, but they generally retain colder temperatures for longer.
Hard coolers include roto-molded options, which is a production process that results in better ice retention and greater durability. However, roto-molded coolers like those from YETI are more expensive and generally heavier, meaning they can be more trouble than they’re worth for a casual beach day. But for camping excursions and lengthy road trips, a roto-molded YETI can keep your food fresh for days on end. More affordable hard coolers like those from Coleman and Igloo are generally lighter weight, but they won’t keep ice frozen for as long.
To help you find the best cooler for every situation, take a look through our list of the best hard coolers available online and find the right fit for your cooling needs. For this list, we focused on hard coolers, and picked out top brands like Yeti, Coleman and Igloo. However, you can also check out our review of the best coolers of 2022 overall, which has additional options. Finally, after picking out your new cooler, don’t forget to check out the top-rated ice packs for coolers.
1. 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.
2. Coleman 316 Series Wheeled Hard Coolers
BEST 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. And for this extra-hot summer, the Coleman 316 Series Wheeled Hard Coolers isn’t just one of the best rolling coolers, but also one of the best coolers, period. Like our previous pick from Coleman, it boasts superior thermal retention, keeping food and drinks cold for up to five days in temperatures up to 90-degrees. It’s leak-resistant and has an easy-to-clean liner. In total, this Coleman cooler can hold 160 cans, and after you close the lid, the included drink holders turn this cooler into a nifty side table.
3. 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.
4. Coleman Xtreme 5 Cooler
The Coleman Xtreme 5 Cooler has everything we look for in a cooler — plus a nifty, all-black design. Let’s be clear: this isn’t the best cooler in the world (that award will always go to YETI), but it is the best cooler for most people. This extra-wall insulated cooler will keep ice cold for five whole days in temperatures up to 90-degrees Fahrenheit. 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.
5. YETI V Series Stainless Steel Cooler
BEST STAINLESS STEEL
It should go without saying stainless steel coolers are incredibly good-looking, but they’re also incredibly efficient at keeping food and drinks cold for days at a time. YETI’s sophisticated 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 stainless steel cooler of your dreams.
We love this cooler so much, we named it one of our favorite products of the year in The 2021 Man, our end-of-year awards. Yes, it’s definitely a splurge, but after testing this cooler on weekend getaways, we’re absolutely convinced it’s worth every penny.
6. Coleman Portable Hard 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 Coleman Portable Hard Cooler. It boasts a top swing handle and space for 4 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.
7. Igloo Trailmate Journey 70 Qt Cooler
BEST FOR THE BEACH
Even with wheeled coolers, bringing a cooler to the beach can be a challenge. The Igloo Trailmate Journey Cooler is one of the best coolers for tailgates, camping and beach adventures thanks to its all-terrain wheels and ultra-durable exterior. This hard cooller 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 and butler tray — plus it will be able to fit a whopping 112 cans in total. Talk about a beach day!
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. Igloo Special Edition 25 Quart Retro Cooler
One of the reasons people love YETI coolers is because they come in a range of stylish colors. Yet in terms of snazzy design, nothing compares to Igloo’s new Retro Cooler series. (Seriously, the Beer-Bandolier fanny pack is a must-have for hard partyers and tailgates.) If you’re searching for the best cooler for picnics, then make it this limited-edition retro Igloo cooler. The bright colors will get everyone in the mood for a fun weekend, and it has all the cooling powers you’d expect from the best Igloo coolers.
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SPY.com is a product discovery and reviews platform, connecting you with the latest tech, style, smart gadgets, and outdoor gear. We've been hard at work testing the best coolers in the world, and we've gathered the top options for every budget. When we finally log off and head outdoors, these are the coolers we're packing.