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The 5 Best Coolers (2021 Review)

Coolers can keep your food and beverages cold and fresh for an outing. In this review, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the five best coolers on Amazon to help you find the product that’s right for you and your home. The products included in this article are available at various home improvement stores, local home centers, and online retailers like Amazon.

Best Coolers This Old House Production

No matter where you’re headed, a good cooler is an essential item to pack to ensure your food and beverage items stay cold and fresh. To help you select the cooler that’s right for your next outing, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the best coolers on Amazon. Here are our top five recommendations.

Best For Hiking: TOURIT Cooler Backpack

The TOURIT Cooler Backpack has a waterproof, durable fabric body with an insulated leakproof liner and padded shoulder straps. These materials work together to keep food warm or cold for up to 16 hours, making this cooler bag perfect for those who need a comfortable, accessible cooler for walks or hikes.

Key Features

  • 30-can capacity
  • 16-hour ice retention
  • Adjustable shoulder straps
  • One large main pocket
  • Two side pockets
  • Three front pockets
  • Beer and bottle opener
  • Oxford fabric and foam material

What Customers Are Saying

The TOURIT Cooler Backpack has about 9,700 global reviews with an average rating of 4.8 stars out of 5 stars. Ninety-five percent of customers gave the product a 4- or 5-star rating, while 3% of reviewers gave this cooler 1 or 2 stars.

Customers said that the TOURIT Cooler Backpack balanced sturdiness and portability well. However, some customers complained that the bag was uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time and that it didn’t hold as many cans as advertised.

Best Wheeled Cooler: Coleman Portable Cooler With Wheels

The Coleman Portable Cooler has heavy-duty wheels that provide reliable transportation across nearly any terrain, including grassy hills and smooth pavement. It also holds up to 250 pounds to double as a cooler bench and weighs just over 12 pounds to make lifting it easy.

Key Features

  • 50-quart or 84-can capacity
  • 250-pound weight capacity
  • Five-day ice retention
  • Locking telescoping handle
  • Two wheels
  • Four molded cup holders
  • Two side handles
  • Leak-resistant drain
  • Plastic material

What Customers Are Saying

The Coleman Portable Cooler With Wheels has collected around 3,200 global reviews to give it an average rating of 4.7 stars out of 5 stars. Ninety-three percent of customers gave the product a 4- or 5-star rating, while 3% of reviewers gave this cooler 1 or 2 stars.

Many customers were pleased with this Coleman cooler because of its durability and sturdiness. However, some customers said that the ice melted too quickly in warmer temperatures and that the lid was hard to open once it was sealed.

Best Heavy-Duty Cooler: Coleman 70-Quart Xtreme Heavy-Duty Cooler

With the ability to hold ice for up to five days in temperatures of up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, the Coleman 70-Quart Xtreme is built for customers who need a heavy-duty cooler. Featuring molded cup holders and weighing just over seven pounds, the Coleman 70-Quart Xtreme is ideal for camping trips, backyard barbecues, or other events.

Key Features

  • 70-quart or 100-can capacity
  • 250-pound weight capacity
  • Five-day ice retention
  • Four molded cup holders
  • Two side handles
  • Leak-resistant drain
  • Plastic material

What Customers Are Saying

The Coleman 70-Quart Xtreme has about 1,700 global reviews with an average rating of 4.7 stars out of 5 stars. Ninety-four percent of customers gave the product a 4- or 5-star rating, while 3% of reviewers gave this cooler 1 or 2 stars.

Satisfied customers liked this cooler’s large size, its ability to keep ice from melting, and its tight-fitting lid. However, some customers said that its hinges broke off after normal wear and tear and that it was overpriced for its material.

Most Versatile Cooler: Lifewit Soft Cooler Bag

The Lifewit Soft Cooler Bag is ideal for customers who are seeking a portable cooler because it can be carried with a shoulder strap or handle or attached to your suitcase. Available in 27-, 32-, and 48-can sizes, this cooler works for anything from a day on the sand to a day in the office.

Key Features

  • Six-gallon or 32-can capacity
  • 12-hour ice retention
  • Detachable shoulder strap
  • Carrying handle
  • One top pocket
  • Two side pockets
  • Two front pockets
  • Oxford fabric and polyethylene foam material

What Customers Are Saying

Out of over 4,400 global reviews, the Lifewit Soft Cooler Bag has an average rating of 4.6 stars out of 5 stars. Ninety-one percent of customers gave the product a 4- or 5-star rating, while 4% of reviewers gave this cooler 1 or 2 stars.

Positive reviews mentioned that this cooler was made from quality material, was easy to clean, and was able to hold a large number of items. Customers who left negative reviews said that the cooler was prone to leaks and that it didn’t keep items cool for long periods of time.

Best For Picnics: OlarHike Cooler Bag

The OlarHike Cooler Bag has a load capacity of over 50 pounds to hold up to 48 cans or 12 lunchboxes. It also uses anti-snap technology to increase its durability and keep its strap and handle from breaking. With a 12-hour cooling time, the OlarHike Cooler Bag is ideal for outdoor lunches at a picnic table.

Key Features

  • Eight-gallon, 48-can, or 12-lunchbox capacity
  • 12-hour ice retention
  • Detachable shoulder strap
  • Carrying handle
  • One side pocket
  • One front pocket
  • PEVA foil, polyethylene foam, aluminum foil, and Oxford fabric material

What Customers Are Saying

With nearly 5,000 global reviews, the OlarHike Cooler Bag has an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 stars. Eighty-eight percent of customers gave the product a 4- or 5-star rating, while 5% of reviewers gave this cooler 1 or 2 stars.

Customers said that they liked the OlarHike Cooler Bag’s value and ease of cleaning. They also appreciated the roominess and foldability of the cooler. However, dissatisfied customers said that its soft-top allowed leaks and its shoulder strap broke after minimal usage.

Buyer’s Guide

There are several factors to consider when purchasing a cooler, including size and durability. Keep reading for more information on these factors and others.

Size

If you plan on using your cooler for tailgates, outdoor parties, or camping trips to hold multiple pounds of ice and food, a larger, heavy-duty cooler may be best. However, if you’re simply looking for a place to hold food and drinks while you’re going on a hike, heading to the beach, or planning a picnic, consider a smaller, more portable cooler, such as a backpack cooler.

Durability

Expect your cooler to be dropped, thrown about in a car, and potentially even sat on. Even for smaller coolers, it’s important that they can withstand normal wear and tear without breaking.

Portability

Find a cooler that’s easy to transport, especially if you’re planning on bringing your cooler with you on a trip. Several coolers come with shoulder straps, handles, or wheels. Others can be folded and put into your luggage.

Insulation

You will need a cooler that keeps your food and beverages cold for as long as possible. The insulating material used for a cooler will determine how effective it is at keeping your food fresh. For example, closed-cell foam insulation keeps air in to provide you with more cooling time, while open-cell foam is permeable to air and water.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best cooler for storing food?

Hard coolers with a minimum capacity of 65–70 quarts are the best options for storing food.

What are rotomolded coolers?

Rotomolded coolers get their name from rotational molding, a process used to give plastic its desired shape. Rotomolded coolers will keep your food and beverages insulated for a longer period of time. They’re also less likely to break or sustain damage. However, they’re considerably more expensive than coolers made from other materials. If you are a frequent camper or need to store food for an extended period of time, you may want to spring for a rotomolded cooler.

How do I pack my cooler correctly?

Tightly packed coolers allow you to fit more items. Add ice on the bottom and food and beverages on the top. If you know when you plan on eating or drinking which items, you can add them accordingly. For example, pack the food you plan on eating first toward the top.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.