The Best Hard Coolers for 2023

Easy solutions for the chill you want.

A cooler is designed to keep items cool. It does this through insulation. A cooler with higher insulation can keep lower temperatures for longer periods of time, requiring less ice. That’s vital, especially if, like most people, you don’t have a freezer large enough to create enough ice to fill a cooler and must rely on bags of ice from the grocery store or liquor shop. Those bags aren’t cheap, but if you can use less ice or reload less frequently, you’ll save money in the long term and save the trouble of having to leave mid-party for more ice or dumping your cooler every few hours to delay the melting of the ice.

The best coolers will keep your refreshments and products cold all day, which is ideal for summer gatherings or outdoor excursions. Furthermore, the greatest coolers will be easy to transport no matter where you go.

However, with so many top coolers on the market, it might be difficult to choose the appropriate one for you. There are several sorts to suit everyone, ranging from soft and classic hard cases on wheels to backpack forms. However, there are certain things to think about before you buy. What capacity do you require, and how much space does it have? If you’re throwing a party, you don’t want something too little to hold all of your beverages and goodies.

How We Picked

  • Effective

    How effective the goods you're about to acquire appears to be the first thing you should consider before acquiring it, since the conclusion will be the feedback you receive for the money paid.

  • Size

    When shopping for coolers, one of the first things to consider is the size. Most importantly, not all coolers calculate interior capacity the same way. The size and depth of your cooler are important considerations for adequate packing.

  • Durable

    When purchasing a product that you expect to use for an extended period of time, durability is critical. Make sure to pick coolers that are sturdy enough to endure for the amount of time you want to use them.

  • Price

    Buying affordable coolers does not usually imply sacrificing quality. We made an effort to create a balance between pricing and quality.

Our Top Picks

Best Pick

Yeti Tundra Haul Hard Cooler

Best if you need to roll along

The Yeti Tundra Haul has the greatest handle and wheels we've seen. This cooler appears to be able to roll over anything without the handle straining or bending, or the wheels breaking.You believe it is impossible to transport a huge cooler by its handles across great distances. The Tundra Haul combines the indestructibility of all roto-molded coolers with top-of-the-line handles and wheels for easy transportation.

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It has a solid, single-piece tire structure that is impact and puncture resistant, a strong welded aluminum arm with comfortable grips, and a curved shape that tracks left or right for heel-friendly towing.

Runner Up

Coleman 70-Quart Xtreme 5 Marine Hard Ice Chest Cooler

Best For Most Weeklong Adventures

Coleman 28 Quart Coastal Xtreme Series Marine Cooler to keep your food and beverages chilled for a prolonged period of time on the water, and make the enjoyment linger longer. Xtreme technology combines an insulated top and additional insulation in the walls to keep your stuff cold for up to three days.

Buy Now for $85.63

It's large enough to store 48 cans and tall enough to carry 2-liter bottles upright. The freezer can hold ice frozen for up to a week, and has an easy-to-clean drain outlet.

Most cost-effective

RTIC Soft Pack Cooler 20 Can

Best soft cooler

This simple lunch-box-style cooler is composed of a sturdy coated nylon and insulated with thick closed-cell foam. As with other soft coolers, do not keep the RTIC Soft Pack Cooler out in the sun or on particularly hot surfaces for an extended period of time, such as the back of a pickup truck or on top of a picnic table.

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You require a simple soft cooler for a lunch box or everyday carrying that is sturdy enough to withstand reasonable usage and time in the sun without wearing out.

Everything We Recommend

Best Pick

Yeti Tundra Haul Hard Cooler

Best if you need to roll along

Buy Now

Most cost-effective

RTIC Soft Pack Cooler 20 Can

Best soft cooler

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Who This Is For

Coolers may be used by anyone, but it is important to know what they are intended for.
Coolers are frequently brought on picnics, vacations, and holidays. In warmer weather, they may also be used to transport chilled items home from the shop, such as protecting ice cream from melting in a hot car. Even without ice, this can be useful, especially if the travel home is long.
Hard coolers vs soft coolers – what’s better?
The most important factor to think about when picking between a soft-sided cooler and a hard-sided cooler is how you want to use the cooler in the first place. Yes, they both do the same thing: they keep things cool.
However, there are many additional factors to consider, such as what you want to keep cool, how long you want to keep them cool for, and in what context you want to keep them cool.

Below are the differences between soft coolers and hard coolers:

Soft Sided Coolers: Can Be Used Daily
These coolers are extremely adaptable and ideal for everyday usage. This is the type of cooler you take to the sports field, the gym, work, school, your day’s fishing expedition, the golf course, and so on.

Soft Coolers Lighter

Hard-sided coolers are considerably heavier than soft-sided coolers. The exterior is often constructed of fabric or vinyl and weighs far less than the rotomolded plastic seen in hard-sided coolers.

They are also, on average, substantially smaller, which means they have a lower capacity than hard-sided coolers. The majority of the weight will come from the contents of the cooler.

With such a little weight, hauling a soft-sided cooler should be easy, which is one of the reasons they are ideal for everyday usage. That leads us to the other distinguishing feature of soft-sided coolers.

Soft Coolers Are Quite Portable.

This is a terrific selling point for soft-sided coolers. Part of it is due to their small weight. Another reason they are so portable is that they include convenient shoulder straps. On the outside, a soft-sided cooler resembles a conventional backpack. You may carry it as a rucksack or a backpack, with the weight equally distributed on your shoulders.

Unlike hard-sided coolers, which normally require some form of vehicle for long-distance transportation, soft-sided coolers may go almost anyplace. Because they are fastened to your shoulders, they free up your hands to carry anything else you may require.

Soft Coolers Are Simple To Store.

A soft-sided cooler has one advantage that a hard-sided cooler does not have: it is collapsible. A hard-sided cooler has a stiff form that retains the same size whether or not it contains anything. That means you’ll need plenty of room to keep the cooler, whether it’s empty or full.

A soft-sided cooler, on the other hand, may be readily folded or rolled up for storage, taking up far less room when empty than when full.
HARD COOLERS

Hard Sided Coolers: Adventure Ready

The opposite side of the coin is hard-sided coolers. They’re a terrific alternative if you’re going to be in harsh settings or need a cooler that will last you a long time on those lengthy excursions. Here are some of their distinguishing features.

Hard Coolers have better Ice Retention
Hard-sided coolers offer far better ice retention than soft-sided coolers. This, of course, is dependent on the brands being compared (check K2 on the picture). However, when comparing brands, the hard-sided cooler will have far superior ice retention than its soft-sided counterpart.

Hard Coolers have much greater Capacity

Soft-sided coolers are lightweight and portable. As a result, they will inevitably have a carrying capacity limit. Carrying too much will make carrying a soft-sided cooler on your back appear impractical. A hard-sided cooler, on the other hand, is unrestricted.

Because soft-sided coolers are mostly used to transport drinks, the number of cans of beer they can hold is generally used to compare them. Hard-sided coolers, on the other hand, are built to transport both food and liquids for extended periods of time and have far larger capacity. If you want a hard-sided cooler, you should get one.

Hard Coolers are more Durable.

Since they are composed of strong, rotomolded plastic, hard sided coolers are more durable than soft sided coolers. As a result, they can tolerate significantly harsher circumstances than soft-sided coolers. If you spend a lot of time in the wilderness, you should invest in a hard-sided cooler.

Hard vs Soft Coolers: Conclusion

You can see that the selection is based on your demands. Capacity needs, long journeys, climatic circumstances, and ice retention requirements should all help you decide which cooler is ideal for you. That being said, whether you choose a hard cooler or a soft cooler, make sure you pick with a reputable brand.

 

Is it worth the splurge?
Longevity is an important consideration when purchasing a high-end cooler. Simply explained, coolers are not like most other types of outdoor gear, which may only last a number of seasons before needing to be replaced. This implies that if you’re debating whether investing $300 or $400 on a cooler is worthwhile, you’re getting a product that should endure for decades. However, if you don’t require multi-day ice retention, even a less expensive hard-sided cooler should last for many years.

Why You Should Trust Us

Everyone enjoys shopping, but it appears that buying wisely is a superior strategy. We are the people to go to since we have done all of the necessary research to guarantee that you get anything worth the quality of what you buy.

How We Picked

Effective
When looking for coolers, we appear to have prioritized effectiveness. We’ve chosen the best sorts of coolers that will accomplish the job properly. This cooler produces the greatest results and sometimes leaves you in awe of its incredible results.

Size
The size of your chosen cooler should be determined by two factors: the amount of food and drink you want to keep cool, and the amount of room available for the cooler itself. The majority of cooler hulls are measured in quarts, with some smaller alternatives being assessed by the number of cans they can safely contain.

Capacity
The capacity of your cooler refers to how much volume it can contain, and we’ve looked for the top coolers that can hold big amounts of storage when needed, especially when dealing with a busy workload.

Durable
Consider how much exposure it will receive when deciding the cooler to buy. If your cooler will merely be resting beneath a picnic table or in the bed of your truck for a few hours, you won’t need to look for durable outer materials. Softshell coolers that are light and portable might be a much more convenient and efficient solution in these scenarios.

But we searched for the best type of cooler that will stay durable in all weather situations, and we made sure we got the best types of coolers that won’t leave you wondering about obtaining a new one, but because of their long-term features, we’re confident it’s a good choice for you.

Price
Not everyone has a large budget to splurge on coolers, therefore we’ve chosen the greatest sort of coolers that might work well with your budget, not just economical coolers but coolers whose price matches their quality.

Easy to carry around

It’s great to have a cooler with unmatched insulation and durability, but it’s useless if you can’t move it to your intended location or event. Consider how bulky the cooler’s design will be and how this would affect mobility while making a purchase.

However, we have chosen the best sort of coolers that are portable enough to travel to their destination and would provide less stress while in transit.

Overall build
While looking for a new cooler, you may come across a few special models that either serve a specific function or have distinctive design elements. Aside from fabric coolers and hard-shell variants, thermoelectric coolers provide superior travel refrigeration.

These containers function as little refrigerators and may be charged by either a house or a car outlet. These coolers’ electric-powered refrigeration mechanism removes the need for ice and allows for improved temperature adjustment. However, because of their power requirements, thermoelectric coolers are not suggested for camping or long-distance journeys away from power sources.

Our Picks For You

Best Pick - Yeti Tundra Haul Hard Cooler

Best Pick

Yeti Tundra Haul Hard Cooler

Best if you need to roll along

The Yeti Tundra Haul has the greatest handle and wheels we've seen. This cooler appears to be able to roll over anything without the handle straining or bending, or the wheels breaking.You believe it is impossible to transport a huge cooler by its handles across great distances. The Tundra Haul combines the indestructibility of all roto-molded coolers with top-of-the-line handles and wheels for easy transportation.

Buy Now

Who it is for

Yeti is well-known for paying a high price for its products, generally a third to double the amount of their real material worth. Having said that, Yeti's over-engineered leeway occasionally permits it to set the norm in certain categories. The Yeti Tundra Haul Hard Cooler is pricey, but when it comes to wheeled coolers, it's worth it to spend for gear that won't crack or strain under high loads.

The Tundra Haul's arm is built of thick-gauge welded aluminum, the quality of which is instantly apparent as you raise it. The wheels are made of a single piece of plastic and are not hollow or feeble-feeling like those seen on many other coolers. Surprisingly, when we pulled this cooler—full of cans, food, and pounds of ice—by the handle, it seemed like we were wheeling around a high-end piece of luggage. (Another plus: the IGBC has certified this cooler, like other Yeti Tundra versions, as bear resistant.)

Potential flaws

One improvement we'd like to see is more internal division (or at least the ability to add a divider). You can expect the contents of your cooler to shift about a little as you tilt it up at an angle, and it would be wonderful to have a little more control over that scenario when you shuffle and roll your cooler across, say, a boardwalk or a pool deck.

Other features

This legendary hard cooler is known for its absolutely astounding toughness and unrivaled insulation power that goes the extra mile, as well as its good grace of cold-holding, making it an undefeated warehouse for your cold refreshments, making this amazing cooler unsurpassed for a competition.

Runner Up - Coleman 70-Quart Xtreme 5 Marine Hard Ice Chest Cooler

Runner Up

Coleman 70-Quart Xtreme 5 Marine Hard Ice Chest Cooler

Best For Most Weeklong Adventures

Coleman 28 Quart Coastal Xtreme Series Marine Cooler to keep your food and beverages chilled for a prolonged period of time on the water, and make the enjoyment linger longer. Xtreme technology combines an insulated top and additional insulation in the walls to keep your stuff cold for up to three days.

Buy Now for $85.63

Who it is for

If you need a large, dependable cooler, the Coleman 70-Quart Xtreme 5 Marine Hard Ice Chest Cooler is an excellent choice. Not only that, but it's still small enough to be moved and carried with ease. It fits in most car trunks and serves well as extra sitting, supporting up to 250 pounds. The Coleman Xtreme weighs 13.4 pounds empty, and even when packed with 60 pounds of ice, our testers found it easy to carry for a short distance. If the weight or size is too much for you, Coleman provides a comparable model with wheels.

Potential flaws

Coleman produces a number of nearly similar variants of the Xtreme cooler. We're not sure why they all have such similar names with such diverse appearances, but according to Coleman sources, they're all identical where it counts: in insulation and build materials. All of these models are considered to be part of the same line.

Other features

The amazing Coleman Marine Hard Cooler has a beautifully made hard body that is always ready to keep your refreshments cold and refreshing, an amazing UV guard that protects from the sun, and stainless steel hardware that resists rusting. This amazing cooler appears to lack a matching fit due to its amazing and unbeatable features that distinguish it from the many coolers available.

Most cost-effective - RTIC Soft Pack Cooler 20 Can

Most cost-effective

RTIC Soft Pack Cooler 20 Can

Best soft cooler

This simple lunch-box-style cooler is composed of a sturdy coated nylon and insulated with thick closed-cell foam. As with other soft coolers, do not keep the RTIC Soft Pack Cooler out in the sun or on particularly hot surfaces for an extended period of time, such as the back of a pickup truck or on top of a picnic table.

Buy Now

Who it is for

The RTIC Soft Pack Cooler 20 Can looks similar to the Yeti Hopper Flip but costs less than half as much. Of course, the low price comes with certain concessions, and if you want the very greatest quality and durability for the price, the Yeti Hopper Flip is the cooler for you. However, for the majority of individuals, the RTIC Soft Pack Cooler will suffice.

Potential flaws

The watertight zippers of the RTIC Soft Pack Cooler 20 Can are less user-friendly. We also discovered that the RTIC cooler's shoulder strap was a bit short.

Other features

No matter where your adventure takes you, these Soft Pack Coolers will keep your drinks cold for days. Its tough nature can be compared to a nail, and its lightweight feature sets it apart from other coolers. Its affordability allows it to be purchased, and it is also a perfect example of "Price matches Quality," as it leaves no room for competition because it is up to the task.

Almost made the cut - Polar Bear Original Nylon Backpack Cooler

Almost made the cut

Polar Bear Original Nylon Backpack Cooler

The Polar Bear Original is a decent-enough backpack cooler for most activities and an especially nice choice for parents.


Buy Now for $92.99

Who it is for

Your favorite picnic locations or beaches are typically off the usual way, or you frequently find yourself with your hands full with additional equipment, children, or both. This bag is light enough to carry on your shoulder while you attend to more essential matters.

Potential flaws

This cooler appears to have a relatively short lifespan, requiring purchasers to replace or consider replacing it. It also has little capacity for storing accessories, which does not appear user pleasant. This cooler appears to be useful, but only for a short while. This cooler is also not heat resistant, thus it will wear out if left in the sun.

Care and maintenance

How to keep clean

To keep your cooler clean, make sure it’s properly fitted and isn’t in a dusty or muddy place. You may use some water and a damp cloth to wipe stains if they appear, and if the stain is stubborn, you can use bleach.
How to wash and dry
Clean both the inside and outside of the house. Clean the interior with a moderate soap and warm water solution, preferably before the first usage. To remove difficult stains, wipe the interior with baking soda and water. Always clean up after yourself, especially if you work in salt water.

How to get rid of odor
Odors can be removed with a diluted mix of chlorine bleach and water. If the stench remains, clean the interior with a vanilla-infused towel and place it in the cooler overnight.
Before storage, always allow the cooler to air dry with the lid open. This lowers the likelihood of mold and mildew formation.