If you look around your home you are sure to find at least one cooler. How do you know that cooler is the Best Cooler for you? When I purchased my first cooler I didn’t give it very much thought. I simply went down to the nearest big box store and picked one up. After using it a few times I realized I wasted my money. It was extremely difficult to transport because it didn’t have wheels, I had to constantly purchase ice due to poor insulation, and the shape didn’t allow me to put much in it. Don’t make the same mistake so many of us make. Check out my best coolers review site and get the best cooler for you the first time.
Best Coolers – Comparison Chart
|NAME BRAND||SIZES||ROTO-MOLDED||PRICE||RATING (1-5)|
|Yeti Tundra||20 – 420 QT||Yes||$$$$||4.6|
|Pelican ProGear||20 – 150 QT||Yes||$$$||4.8|
|Grizzly Coolers||15 – 400 QT||Yes||$$||4.4|
|Engel Coolers||25 – 320 QT||Yes||$$||4.2|
|Pelican on Wheels||20 – 150 QT||Yes||$$$||4.9|
|ORCA||20 – 140 QT||Yes||$$$||4.5|
|K2 Coolers||20 – 120 QT||Yes||$$$||4.7|
Our Top Rated Coolers | Ice Chest Reviews
So, if you are looking for a great cooler you may be asking yourself what makes a cooler great in the first place. Some questions to consider and what we have tried to answer are
- How long will the cooler keep ice frozen?
- What type of insulation is used?
- Is the cooler rotational molded or not?
- What sizes are available?
- How will you use the cooler?
- How much does the cooler cost?
This particular article is about the best coolers which generally means they are meant to last a lifetime, have the best construction, and the best insulation. This generally leads to a cooler that is a bit more expensive. While that is the goal of this article our overall site focuses on all types of coolers. Whether you are looking for a cooler while camping, going to the beach, or a cooler bag to take your lunch to work we have you covered.
Yeti Tundra Coolers | Yeti Cooler for Sale
Yeti is world-famous for making some of the best coolers and to go cups in the world. They aren’t the cheapest coolers but we feel you get what you pay for. Most users on Amazon give Yeti Tundra Coolers 5 out of 5 stars and say they are well worth the money.
The Yeti features PermaFrost insulation which is pressure injected. This patented type of insulation will give you unmatched ice retention. In fact we have seen reports of people having ice stay frozen for up to 10 days in 90 degree heat. Gone are the days of having to empty out the water and adding ice every day.
Yeti also gives you a ColdLock gasket. This helps keep the cold air in the cooler and the warm air out. This is also a factor that leads tot he great ice retention you get with the Yeti Tundra line of coolers.
The Tundra series is available is various sizes. The smallest size is a 20 quart and the largest is 420 quarts. They have a size that will fit your needs and budget.
Have you ever dropped your cooler and had everything spill out? Not going to happen with a Yeti Tundra. The Tundra includes T-Rex latches. They are built to keep the cooler lid in place and are built to last.
If you want to read more about the Yeti Tundra and other coolers by Yeti read my Yeti Cooler Reviews post.
Yeti Cost Too Much?
On a side not I can’t stress enough how impressed we are with Yeti coolers but they are expensive. If you can’t spend that kind of money on a cooler you may wan to check out our coolers like yeti but cheaper article where we reviewed 4 coolers that have a lot in common with the Yeti line.
The Bottom Line on Yeti Tundra coolers
In our opinion if you can afford a Yeti cooler it is well worth the investment. You get great durability, heavy-duty everything, and ice retention for up to 10 days. This may be the last cooler you ever need to purchase.
Pelican ProGear Elite Coolers | Best Cooler for Keeping Ice
Are you sick and tired of having to change out your ice everyday while you are camping? If the answer is yes the Pelican ProGear series of coolers is your answer.
We give the Pelican ProGear a 5 out of 5 star rating. In our testing we kept the cooler in our garage during the summer. The temperature outside was in the 90’s everyday and we still had frozen ice after 9 days. That proves how well Pelican has insulated this cooler. With that type of ice retention you can save a lot of money if you use the cooler on a regular basis.
The Pelican comes in a number of sizes and colors. You can purchase the cooler anywhere from a 20 quart and up to an 150 quart. You will be able to get the right size cooler to fit your needs and budget.
One issue that we found while testing this cooler is how much it weighs. Depending on what size you purchase the cooler can weigh up to 40 pounds empty. It can easily take two people to load the cooler in to a truck when it is filled with ice and drinks. The weight is primarily due to the coolers heavy-duty construction and insulation but it can be a burden at times. If you have to carry the cooler for any distance you may want to get the Pelican cooler with wheels.
The Pelican ProGear line of coolers also work very well for a cooler on your boat. It has feet that won’t slide and they are designed to not leave skid marks. This is great for use on a boat where you may get a lot of movement from the waves. To get the full review and benefits please read my best marine coolers review.
Pelican Vs. Yeti Coolers
In our opinion the Pelican ProGear is a great alternative to the Yeti. You get many of the same features including
- Rotational molded construction for durability
- Heavy duty hardware that won’t break
- Great insulation for superior ice retention
- Heavy duty gasket to keep warm air out
If you are looking for a great alternative to the Yeti you can’t go wrong with the Pelican. Not to mention on average you will save a few hundred dollars on the same sized Pelican cooler compared to a Yeti. If you want other options that are cheaper than a Yeti but still have great features please read our coolers like Yeti but cheaper article.
Update From Pelican | Bear Safe
Pelican is proud to announce they are now Grizzly Bear Certified by the IGBC. This means you will be safe from animals trying to get in your cooler. It also means animals will be safe from eating the food in your cooler. Many times animals will eat the plastic and other materials your food is wrapped in. This can lead to them getting sick and even death. This is great for the environment and for your safety as well. Another reason we love Pelican coolers.
The Bottom Line on Pelican ProGear Coolers
Pelican may not be the huge brand name that Yeti has become but they shouldn’t be over looked. You get many of the same features as a Yeti but Pelican is a lot less expensive. If I was in the market for a new cooler this is the one I would purchase.
Grizzly Hunting Cooler | Best Cooler for the Money
Grizzly is a great company that makes the best coolers for hunting. Not to mention their coolers have a lower price point than Yeti and Pelican. This is why I feel Grizzly is the best cooler for the money.
You are probably asking why this is the best cooler for hunting.
- Grizzly uses a bear claw latch that does not require hardware but keeps the lid securely closed
- Their coolers have a molded in hinge with stainless steel pin so they won’t rust
- Bear resistant certified by the IGBC
- Molded in heavy-duty handles
- 2 inch tie down slots
The Grizzly coolers come in many colors and sizes ranging from 16 Quarts all the way up to 400 quarts. With smaller sizes available you can find a cooler that will easily fit in the back seat of your car. This is great if you don’t own a pickup truck or a SUV. They also use a true quart system. This means you can fit more in to a similar sized Grizzly cooler compared to their competitors.
Final Thoughts on Grizzly Coolers
Grizzly Coolers are the ultimate brand when it comes to the outdoors. If you love the outdoors this would be our pick. It is rotational molded so you know it won’t crack, it has great ice retention, and it is bear resistant. This cooler was made by an outdoor enthusiast for other outdoor enthusiasts.
Pelican ProGear Elite Wheeled Cooler | Best Cooler on Wheels
Do you want a great cooler but know with all that insulation and heavy duty construction it will be too heavy to carry? Carrying a cooler that can weigh up to 40 pounds while empty is generally not a good idea if even possible. You will hurt your back and possibly ruin your entire day. If you have to carry a cooler for any measurable distance you are going to want a cooler with wheels. In this case we recommend the Pelican ProGear Cooler with Wheels.
The Pelican ProGear Wheeled cooler is the best color with wheels we have found. It gives you all the great features of a Pelican without breaking your back.
The top features of the Pelican include
- Press & Pull Latches
- Molded-In Tie Downs
- Non-Skid Feet
- Sloped Drain
- Stainless Steel Hardware
- Heavy Duty Wheels
The Pelican ProGear Wheels
The wheels are heavy duty and over-sized. This makes wheeling the cooler over any surface easy. This means you can wheel the cooler on the beach as easy as on pavement.
Two Sizes to Fit Your Needs
The Pelican cooler with wheels comes in two sizes. The 45 quart and a massive 80 quart model. Some users mentioned the 80 quart model is even heavy to wheel around but you can fit a lot of items with the large size. This is 100% our best pick for a cooler on wheels.
The Bottom Line
If you need a cooler that has wheels this is the one for you. We know you can buy a wheel assembly for the Yeti Tundra but why go through that trouble when the Pelican has them built-in. You get all the great features of a Pelican cooler plus you can wheel it anywhere. This is our best pick for a cooler with wheels.
ORCA Heavy Duty Cooler | Best Cooler with Extra Storage Space
If you want a cooler that has extra store space the ORCA Heavy Duty Cooler is for you. It comes in various sizes and it the best cooler with extra storage space. Where do you get the extra storage space you may ask. The ORCA includes a flexible netting on the back of the cooler. This is great for items that don’t need to be in the cooler. You can carry beach towels, paper products, or whatever you may need for your trip. This will reduce the number of times you have to go back to the car to make sure you have everything. The ORCA coolers also features extendable easy grip handles. They make carrying the cooler by yourself or with a partner easy and comfortable.
Lifetime Warranty and Custom Made
ORCA coolers are manufactured in the United States and come with a lifetime warranty. They stand by what they manufacture. You can even order the coolers in custom coolers and logos. This makes them great for a business or personal gift.
What is a Rotational Molded Cooler and Why you Should Care
Most coolers out there use a blow molded process that nets you a thin layer of cheap plastic. This thing layer leads to poor construction and insulation. Rotational molding also known as roto molding is a process that involves high temperature, low pressure forming process that utilizes dual axle rotation. It is a slower and more labor intensive process than blow molding but the end result is a more durable and insulated cooler that will last forever.
You will notice that roto-molded coolers are generally more expensive than other coolers. Keep in mind that they will retain ice significantly longer and are virtually indestructible. Not to mention they are more likely to not attract animals such as bears and raccoons.
Cooler Buying Guide | Buying an Ice Chest
Now that you have all this knowledge about the best coolers you may ask yourself how you can pick the best cooler for you. Here are some questions to ask yourself.
How long will the cooler keep ice?
If you are going to be on a long trip and secluded from the rest of the world ice retention becomes very important. The last thing you want is to lose all of your frozen goods in the middle of no where.
Recommendation: You will want to look for a cooler like the Pelican ProGear that keeps ice frozen for up to 10 days.
How rugged do you need the cooler to be?
If you are going to be using the cooler on a job site or out camping the best cooler for you in one that can stand up to the elements.
Recommendation: For this scenario I would recommend that Yeti Tundra. This line of coolers are virtually indestructible. They are built to last and many construction workers love how rugged they are.
How long will you have to carry the cooler?
If you are going to a place like the beach or a marina you may have to carry the cooler a long way. The best cooler in this situation may be a cooler on wheels. Why risk hurting your back if you don’t have to.
Recommendation: For moving a cooler a large distance I recommend the Pelican ProGear on wheels. The best coolers are often rather heavy even empty. You don’t want to carry a 75 pound cooler any further than you need to. Get a Pelican cooler on wheels and save your back.
What is your budget for a cooler?
If you have the money to spend on a cooler you can’t go wrong with the Yeti Tundra Series. Like I mentioned before they aren’t the cheapest but they are the best overall.
If you are trying to get the best cooler but save a few dollars I would look at the Grizzly cooler. You still get all the features you would want but at a lower price point. It may not be indestructible or keep ice for 10 days but it is still a great cooler overall.
Meet the Best Ice Chest Makers
The Yeti Company
The Yeti company was founded in 2006 by two brothers who wanted to build a cooler that would stand up to their abuse. They manufacture and innovate their coolers based on personal experience instead of market research. The coolers produced by Yeti are coolers the owners would love to use. They aren’t manufactured for the mass market that just wants a cheap cooler that won’t stand the test of time. Continue Reading about the Yeti company.
The Pelican Company was founded in 1976 in Torrance, California where they are still located. They don’t just make coolers but the coolers they make are some of the best. Pelican now manufactures everything from phone cases, flashlights, coolers, and backpacks. They strive to make quality products for the avid hunter, fisher, or camper. Continue Reading about the Pelican company.
ORCA Ice Chests
ORCA coolers were founded by Cliff Walker. He was a veteran of the building trades and also an avid hunter. Cliff wanted to take his business knowledge and make products in the USA that would stand the test of time. He also wanted to help put Americans back to work in the manufacturing industry. Continue reading about ORCA products.
Grizzly coolers are manufactured in Iowa by Rotocast Plastics Inc for over 30 years. They specialize in making rotational molded plastic products and stand by their products with a lifetime warranty. All of their coolers are also bear proof certified by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Agency. To read more go to Grizzly’s website.