I’m sure that all of us at some point has drunk a warm beverage thinking it would taste much better if it were cold. If you are going somewhere, traveling or driving and carrying food or beverages with you, a must have item is a cooler. However, decent coolers can be quite expensive and not everyone needs such a high-end cooler. In fact, you most likely won’t use it more often than 2-3 times a month and if it’s so, your best bet is a cooler that fits in a tight budget. In this article, we have combined the best coolers you can buy on a budget. Whether you’re looking for a small or large cooler, the one with wheels or without them, electric or not – we have listed them all so you could find your best fit. So what are we waiting for?! Let’s take a look!
How to choose a cooler?
You can’t only rate a cooler by its looks. We usually don’t say this but with coolers, a design isn’t the main criteria and probably is one of the last things to look for. While choosing one, you should decide such factors as size, performance, and budget as well as build quality and brand.
Probably the most important factor of all. You want a cooler that fits your needs the best. If you’re going to carry few Cola cans and that’s it, then it’s no point of getting a super large cooler. It will only take up space and will be harder to manage around. Also, make sure you chose the one that has enough of space to store everything. If you’re not sure about what size cooler you need, we advise choosing average sized cooler, you can’t go wrong with that.
The second most important criteria is performance. You definitely want a cooler that can keep your food and drinks ice cold. There’s simply no point of getting a cooler with low performance that won’t function as it should
- Build quality
This is one of the most important things to look for when buying anything. You want an item that will last not break after few months, year or two and a proper cooler is a thing that can last. How to know if the cooler has an adequate build quality especially when buying it online? Take a look of materials that are used in it, then look up the manufacturer. Read reviews and customer feedbacks.
This goes hand in hand with previous criteria. Choose a cooler with well-known branding made by a renowned manufacturer.
Our 16 Top Coolers
1.Rubbermaid Cooler – best choice for average consumer
This is probably the most basic and simple cooler you can get. It looks exactly like most people would imagine a cooler – made from plastic with one large compartment and a handle. Rubbermaid is one of the most popular coolers on the market and it will do more than great if you’re doing a picnic or a short hike.
You can get it in red or blue as well as in one of four sizes. One of the best things about coolers like Rubbermaid is that they are super easy to clean and they work very well. As well as they have a very reasonable budget.
2. Coleman 50 Quart Xtreme 5 Wheeled Cooler – Best wheeled cooler
Have you ever moved a large cooler that’s full? If you have, you know what a struggle it can be. Not only it’s hard to manage, but it also strains your body. A solution is a cooler with wheels – it can ease your life by a lot. So why did we choose exactly Coleman? Frist, because this is one of the best brands that manufacture coolers and second – it’s really good product. With wheels, you also get a telescopic handle making it super easy to manage around.
Performance and build quality are also impressive – Coleman claims that this cooler can store ice for up to 5 days. Of course, it depends on the outside temperature, but you will get 2-3 days for sure. Also, we loved that you can use it a furniture. It’s a very sturdy and robust cooler, it can support up to 250lbs so at picnic or BBQs you can use it as a seat or as a cup holder or small table. To be honest, this is one of the best large coolers on the market and it’s relatively cheap.
3. Coleman 30-Can Soft Cooler – superb hikes
For those who want something that won’t stand out and even won’t look like a big boxy plastic cooler, you can get a Coleman 30-Can Soft Cooler. One of the main pros of getting a soft cooler instead of hard one is practicality – they are easier to carry. If there is a long hike to the beach, you definitely want a cooler like this one. It’s super easy to carry around with its straps rather than a single plastic handle.
However, you should remember that a soft cooler isn’t great for keeping things cool for long periods of time. They can also be harder to clean and if you leave something in for too long periods of time, a bad odor may show up. Otherwise, this is superb and mobile cooler that can handle well if you don’t use it for more than 24hours for cooling something.
4. Igloo Playmate Elite Cooler
Igloo is another very well-known cooler manufacturer. It’s unique by its lid, it can swing open to either if the side. Thanks to its unique design, Igloo Playmate Elite can store things cool for long periods of time, although it’s relatively cheap. We also loved how lightweight it is. Combination of design and lightweight makes it super easy to carry.
5. Arctic Zone Titan Zipperless Cooler
Arctic Zone Titan zipperless cooler is similar to Coleman 30-Can Soft Cooler, however, there’s one significant difference – it doesn’t have a zipper but a patented zipperless lid. It comes in one of four colors and sizes. Behind its performance lies a deep freeze high-performance insulation with radiant heat barrier, it ensures everything will stay nice and cool for long periods of time.
Might you think it’s hard to clean? Think again, it’s water and stain resistant. Another great choice if you’re on the move with your cooler.
6. Igloo Polar Cooler 120-Quart – best large cooler
Sometimes a small portable cooler isn’t the best choice. Especially if you’re having a BBQ party or just want to drive your food and drinks from one place to another. If it’s so and you still want to fit a budget, Igloo Polar cooler is your best bet. It has a whopping 120-quart capacity.
While it won’t isolate your products from heat as long as high-end coolers would, it still does a respectable 1-2 day. The bottleneck of this cooler is its hinges. At first, they work flawlessly but after some time they might wear out.
7. BLACK+DECKER TC212B Travel Cooler / Warmer – Best car cooler
If you need to keep things cool while driving, Black & Decker’s TC212B is a great choice. First, you must understand that coolers like this one won’t cool anything. They are only great for maintaining a low temperature. I mean you won’t be able to make your own ice cubes in it.
It’s great if you have to spend your whole day in a car and want to keep your sandwich or yogurt cool, especially when it’s warm outside. Cool thing is that you can not only cool things but also heat them up.
8. CleverMade SnapBasket
Looking for something that doesn’t look like a cooler yet still functions as it? If that’s so, CleverMade SnapBasket is exactly for you. We loved that this cooler is completely foldable for easier storage when not in use. Also, an in-built bottle opener is a cool feature to have, if you have SnapBasket with you, you will be able to open all bottles.
At first, it might seem as this is a soft cooler, therefore, it’s not too great when it comes to cooling performance. However, you might be surprised that it can actually keep things cool for 36 hours and that’s impressive indeed.
9. Coleman Xtreme 5-Day Cooler – best cooler for carrying something heavy
Cooler Xtreme 5-day Cooler is ideal for large parties. You get it in one of three colors and it indeed performs well. As already mentioned, Coleman is one of the best cooler manufacturers. On Xtreme 5-day cooler, you get four cupholders, solid, sturdy build and two handles on each side meaning it’s super easy to carry by yourself as well as with someone else. As the name already says, it can keep food and drinks cool for 5 days which is very impressive. And the best thing – it’s super affordable.
10. AO Cooler Canvas – great allrounder
One of the best soft coolers on the market, that’s for sure. You can get it in a variety of sizes. AO claims that it can hold ice for 24 hours in 120-degree weather. Which is very respectable. Design wise this cooler is very sleek and qualitative looking. You get a strap for easier carrying. It’s superb for hiking, boating, fishing, hunting, parties, sporting events, as well as picnics. One thing to note, for a soft cooler, it’s quite expensive. However, you get what you pay for.
11. Coleman FlipLid Personal Cooler
Another super simple and very basic cooler – Coleman FlipLid Personal Cooler. You can get it in red or blue colors. While being super cheap, this product has its brands quality. It definitely can keep things cool for long periods of time. The lid is very well made and has a tight seal with the cooler box.
It’s perfect for beach trips, short hikes or anything else. This particular model has a capacity of only 5 quarts which may not seem a lot and it isn’t. However what else do you need for storing few bottles of beer and a snack? Actually, if you have to buy a small cooler, we advise getting Coleman FlipLid Personal as it’s small, cheap and does its job flawlessly.
12. Ozark Trail Premium Backpack Cooler
Ozark Trail Premium backpack cooler is very unique. First, it’s semi-soft meaning it’s somewhere in between a hard and soft cooler. You get not only a large storage compartment but also a small one at the front. However, the coolest feature is that you can wear it like a backpack. This is very cool if you have to carry cooler for long periods of time.
Superb for long hikes with your friends to a super beautiful place and then grabbing a drink or two. You have something like this in mind, Ozark Trail Premium Backpack is the best cooler you can get.
13. Coleman 54-Quart Steel-Belted Cooler
Some just don’t have a trust in plastic coolers and want something more robust. If that’s you, take a look at Coleman’s 54-quart steel belted cooler. It has a stainless steel construction, built-in bottle opener. It also offers a solid performance claiming to hold ice for up to 4 days. This is the heavy duty cooler that will last a lifetime.
14. Igloo Super Tough STX Cooler
This is one of the most expensive coolers on this list and there is a reason for that. It’s another heavy duty cooler that has a threaded drain plug. Meaning you can store ice in it and when you don’t need it anymore, just attach a hose and drain it easily. Ice will be frozen in it for four days.
15. Homitt Soft Pack Cooler
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Looking for a very reliable, heavy duty cooler that’s soft pack not hard? Take a look at Homitt. It’s a water-resistant cooler with that resists mold and mildew being super easy to clean.
16. eBags Crew Cooler II
At last our final pick is eBags Crew Cooler II. Why? Because it’s very versatile. You can get it in one of eight colors and it has tons of usable small compartments with zippers. It looks just like an average bag and that’s why it’s so great. Cooling performance isn’t the best. however, it should keep your drinks and food cool for around 12 hours
We hope that after reading this article, you got an idea about the type of cooler you were looking for. All of these coolers are good choices. You just have to choose which is the best for you.
A cooler is a must-have in warm summers or road trips. They can not only carry your food and drinks but also make life a bit more enjoyable. Imagine sitting at the quiet beach and drinking a cold beverage. I bet an affordable cooler is totally worth it.
TIP: The more you open the lid of your cooler, the quicker things will heat up. Try to open it and take things from it only when necessary.
Last update on 2020-08-20 at 15:37 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API