The Best Cooler for the Money: Reviews and Complete Buying Guide

Bill Taylor
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We live in a society where many people enjoy the outdoors and nature. Whether it’s going to a park and having picnics, spending time at the beach, summer barbecues, or even just sitting by the poolside, we love to be around nature.

Naturally, if you love being outside like I do, something you should make sure to have is some kind of cooler to store ice or other refreshments. Otherwise, you run the risk of burning a hole in your pocket buying ice cold beverages every time.

A good cooler will allow you to save money and keep your drinks cool.

That said, there are several factors to consider when picking out a cooler to suit your needs.

First is the size. The size of the cooler greatly affects the weight. Small and midsize coolers can be easily transported with several hands. But if you’re going to be traveling for a long time and don’t want to be carrying this cooler for an extended period of time, you’ll need something bigger and more heavy-duty.

Coolers vary in size and shapes, with manufacturers coming up with new designs to cater to not only users, but also to those who wish to transport their drinks easily.

NameCategoryProduct
Igloo Ice Cube Roller CoolerBest OverallIgloo Ice Cube Roller Cooler
Coleman 48-Quart Performance CoolerBudget PickColeman 48-Quart Performance Cooler
Coleman CoolerUpgrade PickColeman Cooler

1. Igloo Ice Cube Roller Cooler

Our rating: 9 / 10

Igloo Ice Cube Roller Cooler

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Pros:

  • Easy to carry with smooth rolling
  • Can store a lot of things
  • Lightweight
  • Conveniently sized
  • Very well made
  • Can handle the wear and tear of everyday use
  • Looks great and stylish
  • Warranty
  • Value for money
  • Easy to clean

2. Coleman Cooler

Our rating: 9 / 10

Coleman Cooler

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Pros:

  • Has an ice retention of up to 4 days
  • Easy to use, very portable, and locks and transports easily
  • Steel-belted construction makes it more durable
  • Interior is thickly lined with an insulation that has up to 6 layers
  • Has a twist and lift lid
  • Very affordable

Cons:

  • Handles could have been better
  • Plastic hinges could have been made better

| Folding Handles, Soft-side Lid and Tie-down Straps for Portability.

The Coleman Steel-Belted cooler is decent in performance and is very durable for the price that it is being sold. It is a highly recommended cooler if you are looking for the best camping cooler but are operating on a tight budget. It is not the most durable cooler of all but it is ideal for the casual and occasional user.

Style Wise:

Cons:

3. Coleman Rolling Cooler

Our rating: 8 / 10

Coleman Rolling Cooler

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Pros:

  • Keep beer or food cold for four to five days
  • Convenient and sturdy rollers
  • Good customer service

Cons:

  • Cannot be used on rugged or slippery terrain
  • Not very compact

This product is a portable ice chest and cooler which stores and extends food or drinks while on the move. It is known for its high quality and is well constructed. With a capacity of up to 54 quarts. It is admirable for transporting the product on a self-propelled vehicle such as a bike or a boat. It provides extreme ice retention of the stored foods. It has a removable lid gasket which could be the last hope in combating the leaking. Its foam insulation is removable which is best for folding up the canisters. There are a lot of space for storage essential items for camping, boating or shooting such as goggles, food and drinks. Its lid gadders are commendable as they provide a tight seal and are easy to adjust. They have a rubber handle which is a unique feature. The main feature is the carrying handle which is made of plastic and is comfortable to use. Its black exterior is best for the kind of terra it is built for.

To sum it all up, this cooler is best for traveling in a vehicle and for extended periods of time. It is not recommended for anyone who wishes to take short trips or is planning to use it for ice fishing.

4. Coleman 48-Quart Performance Cooler

Our rating: 8 / 10

Coleman 48-Quart Performance Cooler

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If you’re looking for a cooler that’s designed with convenience in mind, the Coleman Performance cooler Manger is the one for you. This cooler is designed with internal latching storage compartments so that you don’t have to open up the entire lid to get to the food. Plus, it’s also designed with convenient molded tie handles and lid latches, so that you can easily carry it around. This cooler comes with a drain tap which you can use to pull out the ice core without having to open up the entire compartment. You can also easily refill the cooler with ice through the drain plug.

5. Igloo Maxcold Cooler

Our rating: 8 / 10

Igloo Maxcold Cooler

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With Wheels, 2-Liter.

The 2-Liter Maxcold is a dependable cooler that’s great for short trips or day’s outings. It’s durable and can store more than what you might expect from a cooler this size. The Maxcold is a relatively new cool-box but it seems to have hit a chord with people looking for a convenient option. It’s a great option if you’re looking to avoid the hassle of having to constantly refill your ice.

At 2-liters, the Maxcold is smaller than a lot of coolers though it does have a larger shoulder strap. This makes it easier to carry over longer distances compared to the almost-identical 2-liter Igloo Maxcold. It also features a higher-quality fabric that’s better-equipped to deal with the wear-and-tear of outdoor use.

6. Igloo 49271 Party Bar Cooler

Our rating: 5 / 10

Igloo 49271 Party Bar Cooler

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Pros:

  • Easy-push handle makes it easy to move around
  • Energy-efficient condensation drainage system
  • 2-way top lid: opens from either side
  • 6 ice pack holders (unlike 6 cylindrical ice packs that are more easily lost)
  • Heavy-duty material is shatterproof
  • Reversible and removable liner

Cons:

  • Short power cord restricts the placement of the cooler
  • Relatively small ice cubes
  • Compressor is loud
  • Holds only 1.2 gallons of beverage (so you have to refill it often)
  • The drip tray becomes wet when ice is melting, so you may have to line it with a plastic trash bag

The Party Bar Cooler is an upgrade from the 48 quart Boss. This is a great cooler, with a lot more room for ice, drinks (plus room on top for snacks) and parties – that is, if you don’t mind on having a bit more noise and a slightly longer cord. The Party Bar Cooler’s great for picnics, tailgating, camping, and what-not.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best cooler for the money?

What factors should you consider when shopping for a cooler?

A cooler is one of those things you kind of take for granted until you don’t have it. You need it to keep food and drinks cold during summer and ice is an essential ingredient in your festive drinks and frozen snacks!

So, for all your outdoor activities, when you’re camping, tailgating, or picnicking, you need a cooler that’s capable of withstanding the elements and of course keeping the contents cold. But they’re not all created equal.

So, what is the best cooler for the money? Is it worth it to spend a lot of money on a premium, high-performance cooler that specializes in keeping ice? Can’t I just buy the cheapest one and be done with it?

What brand Cooler keeps ice the longest?

Many that have the highest capacity for ice retention (that means they can hold the most ice) include the Coleman Xtreme 70-Quart, the ORCA 58-Quart and the Pelican 72-Quart Cooler.

What is the best hard sided cooler?

This Coleman is probably the best cooler for a family picnic somewhere out in the wilderness.

Keep in mind that this can be used for long term food storage but it has wheels and is easy to move around. So if you have a job that you have to cover or you need to travel with it all the time then you should look at other models with handles.

What is the best cooler with wheels?

Coleman Montana Series 60 Quart Wheeled Cooler is the perfect choice if you’re looking for the best cooler with wheels. It is very large and spacious inside, so you can store many food items or drinks inside and it will still look organized and neat.

Made with Xtreme ThermOx insulation technology, it will keep your cool items cold for up to two days. If you’re looking for the best cooler for your money, you should consider the Coleman Montana Series 60 Quart Wheeled Cooler as your top choice.

It’s really nice and has a great look. The materials are solid, and it should last for years.

Conclusion

A cooler is a must-have item if you’re a fan of picnics, camping or long road trips. If you’re lucky enough to have a car with a spare spot, then plan on getting yourself the best cooler for the money.

Here’s a quick guide on how to select the right size and where to look for the best cooler for your money:

Get a cooler that’s the right size for your needs.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Igloo Ice Cube Roller CoolerBest OverallIgloo Ice Cube Roller Cooler
Coleman 48-Quart Performance CoolerBudget PickColeman 48-Quart Performance Cooler
Coleman CoolerUpgrade PickColeman Cooler