Yeti Tundra Haul Wheeled Cooler
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

The 11 Best Coolers to Stay Refreshed All Summer Long

Your snacks and drinks will stay fresh with the Yeti Tundra Haul Wheeled Cooler.
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

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Once the weather's warm, there's no feeling like heading outdoors and enjoying the sunshine. Whether you're hosting in your backyard or heading to your local beach or lake, you'll need a good cooler to keep your snacks and beverages fresh

"Buying a cooler is more than a fashion statement. Invest in a cooler that will not let you down," says Misty Banchero, a backyard barbecue expert from Seattle, Washington. "Keeping your food safe while on the go is important for your health and peace of mind."

To help you choose which is the best cooler for you and your family, we researched a variety of picks, taking into consideration each cooler's ice retention, style, material, and capacity. We also spoke with Misty Banchero, a Seattle-based backyard barbecue expert.

Overall, we recommend the Yeti Tundra Haul Wheeled Cooler, a wheeled style that can hold lots of ice and cans. 

Here are the best coolers. 

What We Recommend

Related Items

YETI Tundra Haul Portable Wheeled Cooler
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Overall: Yeti Tundra Haul Wheeled Cooler

View at Amazon (From $399)

Also available at L.L.Bean and Yeti

Why You Should Get It: The cooler is large and wheeled, so it's easy to transport from one location to another. 

Keep in Mind: It's 37 pounds when empty, which is fairly heavy compared to other styles on the market.

The Yeti Tundra Haul Wheeled Cooler is the best cooler if you're looking for a durable, wheeled option that'll make it through sand and gravel alike. The cooler has extra-thick, insulated walls and a freezer-grade gasket along the length of the lid to lock in the cold. Plus, it also has impact and puncture-resistant wheels and a durable aluminum handle with comfortable grips, making it easy to tote your cooler around with you wherever you go. 

Banchero is a fan, too. "[It's] perfect for outdoor events to hold drinks and cold food items for the entire weekend," Banchero says. "My refrigerator shut down in the middle of summer, and this cooler saved us. It will keep ice longer than any cooler I have ever had."

The cooler features tie-down slots that allow you to secure it to your boat or truck bed as well as non-slip feet so you won't have to worry about it sliding while you're in motion. Once you get to your destination, you'll appreciate the cooler's two inches of insulation paired with a tight lid and a freezer-quality gasket that helps keep food fresh. 

Just keep in mind that the cooler is 37 pounds when empty, so it may be on the heavier side once it's packed. However, the durable cooler has a bear-proof design, designated by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC), so it's certainly worth the effort if you're using it to camp.

Product Details: 

  • Size: 18.6 x 19.5 x 28.3 inches 
  • Capacity: 55 pounds of ice, 45 cans 
  • Empty Weight: 37 pounds  
  • Ice Retention Time 10 days 
  • Material: Aluminum, polyurethane foam
  • IGBC Bear-Proof Approved: Yes, with appropriate locks
Coolers
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Budget: Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Premium Ice Chest Roto Cooler

View at Amazon ($175)

Why You Should Get It: The cooler includes Microban protection, which helps prevent the growth of bacteria. 

Keep in Mind: Since it has a single handle, it may be difficult to carry long distances. 

Whether you're meal-prepping for a weekend away or just heading to the beach for the day, the best budget-friendly hard cooler is the Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Premium Ice Chest Roto Cooler. The 20-quart cooler is bear-proof and lightweight when empty, so you'll be able to fill it up with your favorite snacks and beverages. 

"This is a premium hard cooler that I use for resting smoked pork shoulder after 12 plus hours on the grill—the size is perfect for two to three," Banchero says.

Like all Arctic Zone coolers, this cooler features a freezer-grade rubber gasket that goes around the entire lid and corrosion-resistant T-latches that create a tight seal to keep the cold inside and pesky critters out. Plus, it has a stainless steel handle that makes it easy to transport it short distances, like to the car, cabin, or boat. 

Product Details: 

  • Size: 21.26 x 13.98 x 13 inches 
  • Capacity: 22 pounds of ice, 30 cans
  • Empty Weight: 13.89 pounds
  • Ice Retention Time: 4 days 
  • Material: Polyethylene, polyurethane insulation
  • IGBC Bear-Proof Approved: Yes, with appropriate locks
Coolers
Credit: Courtesy of Dick's Sporting Goods

Best Backpack: Yeti Hopper M20 Backpack Cooler

View at Yeti ($325)

Also available at Verishop and Dick's Sporting Goods

Why You Should Get It: The backpack style means it's a handsfree way to carry snacks and drinks on the go, an ideal design if you're traveling with pets or small children. 

Keep in Mind: The cooler is more expensive than similar options on the market.

For a hands-free option, the best cooler is the Yeti Hopper M20 Backpack Cooler. The backpack works as a softshell cooler that fits right over your back for an effortless carry, a must-have especially if you're traveling with small children or pets.

The cooler uses strong magnets at the opening that create a leak-resistant shield while also making it easy to access the content on the go. It's further secured with two buckles for added peace of mind. No matter what you store in the backpack, you can be sure that it'll stay cool and fresh. 

Plus, unlike many cooler backpacks, this one has a huge top opening, so you see inside and won't\t have to fish around for your drinks and snacks. The Hopper M20 can fit around 18 cans total using a two-to-one ice ratio. 

Product Details: 

  • Size: 18.5 x 9.5 x 18.75 inches
  • Capacity: 26 pounds of ice, 18 cans 
  • Empty Weight: 4.8 pounds
  • Ice Retention Time: Not listed
  • Material: High-density fabric
  • IGBC Bear-Proof Approved: No
Coleman 24 Can High Performance Soft Cooler Backpack
Credit: Courtesy of Walmart

Best Budget Backpack: Coleman 24-Can High Performance Soft Cooler Backpack

View at Amazon ($95)

Why You Should Get It: The spacious style is hands-free and will keep up to 24 cans cool for 34 hours. It also has a built-in bottle opener that'll come in handy in case you forget one. 

Keep in Mind: The cooler may get too heavy for some to carry long distances.

The Coleman 24 Can High Performance Soft Cooler Backpack is the best cooler if you're in the market for a lightweight, spacious design. The hands-free style will hold up to 24 cans and keep them cool for up to 34 hours, so you'll have refreshments ready to drink all day long. 

The backpack is less expensive than other options on the market and even has bungee straps on top for extra storage, a great spot to stow sunscreen or granola bars. There's even a built-in bottle opener on the strap that's sure to come in handy if you forget to pack one. 

With so many cans stored, you're sure to appreciate that the backpack is leak-proof and has thick insulation. Plus, it also features padded straps and top handles, allowing you to comfortably transport the cooler in more ways than one. 

Product Details: 

  • Size: 19.125 x 9.125 inches
  • Capacity: 24 cans
  • Empty Weight: 4.1 pounds
  • Ice Retention Time: 34 hours
  • Material: Not listed
  • IGBC Bear-Proof Approved: No
Igloo Recool 16 Qt Cooler
Credit: Courtesy of Igloo

Best Eco-Friendly: Igloo Recool 16 Quart Cooler

View at Dick’s Sporting Goods ($10)

Also available at Target

Why You Should Get It: The cooler is significantly less expensive than other options and air dries easily, so you won't have to worry if any of your beverages spill. Plus, the lid features four cup holders. 

Keep in Mind: You'll likely only be able to reuse it a few times before it will start to fall apart. 

Igloo's Recool Cooler is the best cooler if you prefer a non-traditional, eco-friendly option. Unlike most other styles, the lightweight cooler is made with recycled paper that won't get soggy and damaged if you spill a drink. 

The cooler is designed to keep ice cool for up to 12 hours, so it's ideal for shorter beach or lake days. It comes with a lid that features four cup holders, making it the perfect place to set your beverage between sips. And while it's made of compostable materials that make it disposable, you can reuse it several times—just dump out the water, let it air dry, and grab it the next time you need it. 

Product Details: 

  • Size:‎ 15 x 11 x 11.38 inches
  • Capacity: 20 cans 
  • Empty Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Ice Retention Time: 12 hours
  • Material: Recycled paper, AKD (alkyl ketene dimer)
  • IGBC Bear-Proof Approved: No
Coolers
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Lunch Bag: Arctic Zone Titan X Fridge Cold Dual Compartment Expandable Insulated Lunch Pack

View at Amazon ($28)

Why You Should Get It: It has multiple compartments that'll allow you to store smaller items like ketchup packets and utensils. 

Keep in Mind: It won't fit a lot, so it's not ideal for camping or long days. 

You're not going to always need a massive, or even midsize, cooler for every activity this summer. Sometimes you might just want to take a couple of sandwiches and drinks to the beach or park, and for that, the best cooler is the Arctic Zone Titan X Fridge Cold Dual Compartment Expandable Insulated Lunch Pack. 

"This mini cooler/lunch bag has been awesome for plane trips and for work road trips where I don't want to stop for lunch," Banchero says. "It keeps the food cold and fresh and has pockets for the ice packs. After using mine for over a year, it still looks new."

The lunchbox may be compact, but it's packed with a leak-proof Microban lining that'll help protect against bacteria that can cause odors and stains. It also has padded handles, a shoulder strap for easy transport, and three reusable ice packs that slip into pockets inside the cooler to keep everything chilled. Plus, it's expandable—just unzip and you'll have twice the carrying capacity.

Product Details 

  • Size: 8.5 x 5.68 x 10.5 inches
  • Capacity: 152 ounces 
  • Empty Weight: 2.7 pounds
  • Ice Retention Time: 8 hours
  • Materials: Polyester
  • IGBC Bear-Proof Approved: No
Pelican 20 Quart Elite Cooler
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Portable: Pelican 20 Quart Elite Cooler

View at Amazon (From $180)

Also available at Dick's Sporting Goods 

Why You Should Get It: It has a high ice retention time, which is ideal for camping and long road trips. 

Keep in Mind: The hard exterior may make it difficult to store between uses. 

The Pelican 20 Quart Elite Cooler is a small but mighty cooler that will work hard for you. Designed with 2 inches of polyurethane insulation and a freezer-grade gasket for extreme ice retention, the bear-resistant cooler is the best portable cooler for camping or long road trips. 

This cooler holds four bottles of wine or 15 cans, and it also has four built-in cup holders as well as a stainless steel bottle opener. Plus, the rubberized carrying handle makes it easy to bring this cooler along on all of your adventures.

Product Details: 

  • Size 18.8 x 12.6 x 17.7 inches
  • Capacity: 19 pounds of ice, 15 cans, or four wine bottles
  • Empty Weight: 12.52 pounds 
  • Ice Retention Time: Two days
  • Materials Polypropylene, polyurethane foam
  • IGBC Bear-Proof Approved: Yes, with appropriate locks
Coolers
Credit: Courtesy of Dick's Sporting Goods

Best with Extra Features: Igloo 70 Quart Trailmate Roller Cooler

View at Amazon (From $230)

Also available at Home Depot, Target, and Dick's Sporting Goods

Why You Should Get It: It has a high ice retention time, so it's great for both beach days and long road trips. 

Keep in Mind: The cooler might be difficult to store if you're tight on garage or closet space. 

The Igloo 70 Quart Trailmate Roller Cooler is a great option if you're looking for a cooler that does more than just keep your food and drinks fresh. The design has tons of additional features that'll come in handy, whether you're enjoying a beach day or going on a road trip for the weekend. 

To start, the spacious cooler has oversized wheels that can take on both sand and tougher terrain alike, so you'll be able to use the cooler for different activities. There's also a metal telescoping locking handle that can double as a mounting point for the included serving tray, making it easy to share snacks with your companions. The serving tray, perfect for presenting a cheese board, tucks into the lid for onboard storage.

You'll also appreciate that the cooler comes with a dry basket, two bottle holders, four cup holders on the lid, a built-in mobile device stand, and two bottle openers, so you won't have to worry about bringing a ton of extra accessories. There's even accessory holders and mounts to secure an umbrella or fishing rods, making it a versatile pick you can enjoy all summer

Product Details: 

  • Size: 34.59 x 19.7 x 23.61 inches
  • Capacity: 112 cans
  • Weight: 34.7 pounds
  • Ice retention time: Four days
  • Material: Plastic
  • IGBC Bear-Proof Approved: No 

Related: The 13 Best Outdoor Storage Essentials for Your Backyard

Coolers
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Basic: Coleman 24-Can Party Stacker Portable Cooler

View at Amazon ($35)

Also available at Target

Why You Should Get It: The cooler has a simple design that's ideal for entertaining or a trip to the beach. 

Keep in Mind: It only features two side handles, so it may be difficult to transport long distances.

The Coleman 24-Can Party Stacker Portable Cooler is a simple, no-frills design that'll keep beverages cool for up to four hours. The lightweight design can hold up to 24 cans and is ideal for a beach day or entertaining at home. 

The plastic cooler is significantly less expensive compared to other coolers and is available in three colors—red, blue, and gray. It features two built-in handles on the side which make it easy to transport, but keep in mind that it may not be easy to carry for long distances. 

With a low-profile design, the cooler will be easy to place in your backyard by the grill or pack in your trunk with other items. Just be sure to secure the lid into the base as it's the only way the unit locks. 

Product Details: 

  • Size: 22.25 x 8.25 x 13.63 inches
  • Capacity: 25 quarts, 24 cans with ice
  • Weight: 5.7 pounds
  • Ice Retention Time: Three to four hours
  • Materials: Plastic
  • IGBC Bear-Proof Approved: No 

Related: The 10 Best Grills to Up Your Backyard Barbecue Game

Coolers
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best for Wine: Tirrinia 4 Bottle Wine Carrier

View at Amazon (From $24)

Why You Should Get It: It has two handles, so you can decide which way is most comfortable to transport it. 

Keep in Mind: This is primarily for wine and a few small snacks, so it's not ideal if you need to bring full meals and other beverages. 

The Tirrinia 4 Bottle Wine Carrier is a pretty and practical wine carrier that's great for beach days and picnics in the park. The design has a leak proof interior that'll prevent any major messes as well as thermal insulation that will keep bottles cool. 

One of the most notable details is the carrier's foam padding that will help protect your bottles from breaking—you'll still want to be mindful of how you carry them to be on the safe side, however. There's also a divider for four bottles to keep them from smashing into each other, but it's removable if you want to use the cooler for snacks or sandwiches. 

The stylish tote comes in 10 colors and patterns, including jaunty stripes and a denim look. Regardless of which color you choose, the cooler features both a top handle and a long shoulder strap, making it easy to carry on day trips or to the park. 

Product Details: 

  • Size: 11.9 x 12.3 x 2.6 inches
  • Capacity: Four wine bottles
  • Empty Weight: 1.19 pounds
  • Ice Retention Time: Not listed
  • Materials: Nylon oxford, faux leather
  • IGBC Bear-Proof Approved: No
Coolers
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Collapsible: Maelstrom Soft Cooler Bag

View at Amazon ($43)

Why You Should Get It: Since it's soft, the cooler is easy to tuck away when not in use. 

Keep in Mind: The cooler is not bear-proof, so it's not ideal for camping in areas where bears might be located. 

For a collapsible style with tons of space, the best cooler is the Maelstrom Soft Cooler Bag. The cooler maximizes every inch of space and has the capacity to hold 75 cans of your favorite beverage. Plus, it's under 2 pounds when it's empty so you won't have to worry about it being too heavy. 

With a wide zipper top and a small velcro clasped opening, you can fit a lot in the cooler. In addition to front and back pockets, multiple carabiner hitch points, side mesh pockets and a built-in bottle opener, the cooler also has both top handles and a shoulder strap, so you can decide the easiest way to transport it. Plus, once it's empty, you'll be able to easily store it in your car, garage, or storage closet between uses. 

Product Details: 

  • Size: 18 x 12 x 13.8 inches
  • Capacity: 15 pounds of ice, 60 cans
  • Weight: 0.9 pounds
  • Ice Retention Time: 18 hours
  • Materials: ‎Polystyrene
  • IGBC Bear-Proof Approved: No 

Related: The 13 Best Portable Fire Pits for Patios, Backyards, Camping, and More

The Bottom Line

Overall, we recommend the Yeti Tundra Haul Wheeled Cooler because it can take on different types of terrain, carry enough food for days, and wheel around easily. However, if you need a smaller cooler for shorter adventures, we suggest the collapsible Maelstrom Soft Cooler Bag. 

What to Know About Coolers Before Shopping

Size

Something important to consider when choosing a cooler is size and how much space you'll need—for both food and beverages as well as for storing the cooler when it's not in use. Consider how many people you usually pack for when going on a trip with your cooler. You may want to get a slightly larger cooler than you think you'll need so you can be flexible if another guest decides to join.

You'll also want to measure the storage capacity in your home and your vehicle. If you're tight on space, you'll want a smaller or collapsible option that won't take up too much room. 

Capacity 

Most hard-sided coolers are bigger and hold more food than their soft-sided counterparts, as they require less ice or freezer packs to stay cold. Most cooler companies suggest a 2:1 ratio of ice to your food, so you can take more food and pack more ice with a hard-sided cooler. 

"If you are a camper and plan on staying put for a few days but need a reliable cooler for all of your packed proteins, fruits, veggies and dairy then you'll want the same thing, a nice medium or large sized hard sided cooler," Banchero says.

Hard-side coolers are also a great choice for outdoor patio parties and any situation where the cooler might be squashed, such as in a packed car on a road trip, since hard-side coolers are sturdier than their soft-sided counterparts. 

On the other hand, a smaller, soft-side cooler is a better choice for day trips as well as for storage between uses. 

"If you're just meeting a few friends at the beach and you want to bring along a snack and a couple drinks, the soft sided cooler makes more sense," Banchero says. "If you're a parent who needs to be hands-free on your outing you may consider a cooler backpack."

Weight 

Weight is another consideration. Hard-side coolers, overall, are going to be heavier than their soft-side counterparts, due to the materials and difference in insulation. It's worth keeping in mind if a cooler starts on the heavier side, as it'll only get tougher to transport once it's full of ice and cans. 

For hard coolers, look for longer handles that will keep the bulk away from your body as you carry them. Consider investing in a cooler with wheels if you need an extra-large cooler. 

Soft coolers are going to be lighter when they're empty, and many are collapsible, allowing them to be stored more easily. Once they're filled with food and ice, however, they're going to be heavier, so look for soft coolers with shoulder, cross-body, or backpack-style straps if you'll be hauling your cooler a distance. 

Ice Retention

Some hard-side coolers can keep ice cold for a week or longer, making these a great choice for extended camping trips. Keep in mind, though, that these coolers are usually the most expensive models on the market and might be overkill if you don't need ice to last for days at a time.

Soft-sided coolers and cheaper, less-insulated hard coolers have a shorter ice retention time, sometimes only a few hours. But these models are generally more comfortable to carry and are budget friendly. 

Your Questions, Answered

What is the best type of material for a cooler?

According to Banchero, the kind of cooler you need, whether it be hard-sided or soft-sided, all depends on what you'll be doing with the cooler. 

"The soft coolers are fantastic for a quick on-the-go day trip where you will be moving about frequently. They are just so much easier to carry," she says. "The hard-side coolers offer stability of the temperature. They just perform better, especially for longer periods like a weekend getaway or at a baseball tournament in the heat."

Most hard-side coolers are made with closed-cell polyurethane foam. This type of insulation is very dense, which allows for increased insulation along with added strength. On the other hand, this foam also makes coolers heavy. Soft-side coolers (and some cheaper hard-side coolers) usually use regular polyethylene foam, which is lighter and less dense.

What activities should you use a cooler for? 

As you're shopping, you'll want to keep in mind your plans for the season, and beyond, so that you select the right cooler for your activities. For example, if you're using it to go camping, double check that it has durable wheels, is easy to carry, and is bear-proof, as approved by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC).

If you're planning a beach trip, are sitting on the sidelines at a sporting event, or are going on a picnic, you'll have more flexibility in the cooler style you choose. Just keep in mind how long you plan to be out for, as some may only keep food and beverages cool for just a few hours. 

What is ice retention and why does it matter?

Ice retention refers to how long the cooler can keep ice cool before it melts. While many brands claim days of ice retention, a lot can come down to how you use and place your ice.

"For soft sided coolers, I like to use ice packs. That way you keep the lining in top shape," Banchero says. "For hard coolers, I use large ice blocks at the bottom of a large, hard-sided cooler. I also use ice packs near the top in between my food and drinks, keeping it all fresh for a very long time."

Who We Are

Tanya Edwards is an award-winning writer and editor with bylines at The Boston Globe, CNN, Glamour, Yahoo, Allure, Refinery29, Aol, Huffington Post, and many more. She spent half a decade running culinary programming for Food Network digital and has been writing about food, dining, and food products for over a decade. Due to the pandemic, she's spent a lot more time outdoors in the past few years and has become quite an outdoor cooking and eating enthusiast, and food safety is always a priority. To make this list of the best coolers, she considered each pick's size, capacity, and ice retention. She also consulted Misty Banchero, a backyard barbecue expert from Seattle, Washington.