Getting the best cooler for the money is not easy task. After all, it can sometimes be difficult to tell when something is worth the price you pay for it or not. Even that sentiment can go two ways. If you buy something expensive and you get your money’s worth, then it’s a good thing. However, if you buy something cheap and the product is exactly worth what you paid for it, then that’s not good. It’s best, of course, if you can buy something affordable yet high-quality.
We have reviewed a lot of coolers on this site and after much though wanted to put together our best coolers for the money list. In this review we didn’t want to worry about brand but we did focus “bang for the buck”.
- 1 What Is The Best Cooler For The Money?
- 2 Grizzly Coolers 40-Quart Cooler – Very good looking and the perfect size.
- 3 Igloo Yukon Cold Locker Cooler – Best Lockable Cooler
- 4 Engel Coolers – A great value in comparison to the alternatives
- 5 Nash Sub Z Cooler – Great Quality cooler as good as Yeti and less expensive.
- 6 Cooler Buyer’s Guide
- 7 Conclusion
What Is The Best Cooler For The Money?
|Grizzly 40 quart|
|Nash Sub Z||A+|
Grizzly Coolers 40-Quart Cooler – Very good looking and the perfect size.
The Grizzly 40 quart cooler weighs 24 pounds empty due to its superior insulation and rugged design. It is designed using patented RotoTough™ molded plastic so it will not break or crack no matter what abuse you put it through.
Environmentally Friendly Design
Any quality cooler can keep ice frozen for several days but can they protect you against bears and other animals that may want some of your favorite foods and beverages? Grizzly ensures that not only are your contents kept safe but the animals are safe as well. If an animal eats from your cooler they will ingest items that are harmful and possibly deadly. That is why Grizzly has made their coolers IGBC certified bear resistant.
Grizzly uses environmentally friendly insulation that is injected under pressure to give this cooler optimal performance. One of the ways this cooler keeps your contents so cold is by utilizing a rubber gasket in the lid that creates a perfect seal every time. It helps keep the cold air in the cooler and the warm air out. After all most of the cold air is lost through the lid of a cooler.
To keep your well insulated lid attached to the body Grizzly engineered this cooler with stainless steel hinges that are molded in. This method gives the cooler maximum strength and ensures your lid stays attached at all times. Plus they won’t rust in a corrosive marine environment.
Convenient Features and Easy Clean Up
A nice feature this cooler offers is a 22 inch ruler on top of the cooler that is built-in so you never have to bring your own ruler with you again. Having a ruler built-in is a nice feature if you want to determine if your fish is a keeper. You don’t want to get in trouble with the authorities by keeping an under-sized fish. At least I know I don’t.
One of the best parts of Grizzly Coolers is how easy and fast the cleanup is. To drain the Cooler Grizzly has designed it with a full length drainage channel on the inside leading to a large two-inch drain. The feet are made of non-skid rubber that help keep your cooler in place without leaving any marks or skids. This is great if you are using the cooler on a boat where you don’t want to leave marks.
One Of the Best Coolers for the Money
Grizzly makes a fantastic cooler and they stand by it. To give you peace of mind the Grizzly Cooler is made in the USA and has a lifetime warranty. It is also generally found at a lower price point than many of its competitors. You get great ice retention, easy cleanup, environmentally safe, and a rugged design. In my opinion this is one of the best coolers for the money.
Igloo Yukon Cold Locker Cooler – Best Lockable Cooler
Made in Katy, Texas, the Igloo Yukon Cold Locker is strong and durable. Igloo decided only the most durable rotational-molded polyethylene would suffice for this cooler. Knowing that you have a durable cooler that won’t crack or be damaged by the sun gives you peace of mind that this cooler will last a lifetime. The hinges and pins are stainless steel so you know this cooler won’t rust and will perform exceptional in all environments.
This cooler is insulated with 3’’ foam in the lid making it one of the thickest insulated lids on the market. The lid also uses a gasket to make an airtight seal every time you close it. Airtight seals are essential to help keep your ice for as long as possible. The cooler’s walls and base have 2’’ foam insulation. The great insulation this cooler provides will keep your ice for up to 14 days. Imagine how much time and money you’ll save when you only need to change ice once every two weeks!
Lockable Cooler and So Much More!!!
Having a safe and lockable cooler is a great feature to have that is why the Igloo Yukon Cold Locker is lockable. You can use the two locking holes on either side of the lid to lock your cooler.
The cooler uses wide grips making it easy to carry even if you are wearing gloves. You can also use the handles as a tie down loop. This cooler also has a textured lid making it non-slip. Having a non-slip lid is great for marine and wet environments.
Easy to Carry and Won’t Leave Marks
The cooler also comes with anti-skid pads that are reversible and become ski pads. It is important to be able to make your cooler slide or stick depending on the circumstances. Plus the pieces are reversible so you don’t need to worry about losing the feet you are not using. The Igloo Yukon Cold Locker Cooler has an over-sized drain plug to make draining quick and easy. The drain plug is tethered allowing you to control the rate of the flow. This is a great feature because it allows you to drain your cooler carefully if it is necessary.
Another Great Cooler for the Money
This cooler comes with many features that you generally find in more expensive products. You get non skid feet, rotational molded construction, and its even lockable. Not to mention it is generally less expensive than other models of similar quality.
Engel Coolers – A great value in comparison to the alternatives
The Engel ENG65 roto-molded Cooler is a strong and well insulated cooler. Manufactured with seamless rotational molded UV-Resistant plastic this cooler is as durable as they come. Having a UV-Resistant outer shell is necessary for a cooler to stand up to the sun for years without any deterioration.
Safe for Animals and You
The cooler is great for the outdoors and is IGBC certified to be bear resistant. With a IGBC certified cooler you can go hunting or camping in bear country and your food and beverages will stay safe inside the cooler for when you want them, not when the bear does. Not to mention it helps keep animals safe. When they eat food from your cooler they will eat the plastic and foil your food is wrapped in harming wildlife.
Great Insulation and Ice Retention
The Engel is rated as the best in its class when it comes to ice retention. With two inches of polyurethane insulation throughout the lid, walls, and base, the ENG65 will hold your ice for up to ten days! It is not just the insulation that makes this possible. Most coolers exchange air through small gaps in between the lid and the cooler walls but not the ENG65. This cooler utilizes silicone airtight gaskets to give a perfect seal every time you close the lid.
Engel Makes One of the Best Coolers for the Money
Engel makes a great product that is built tough. They use rotational molding and stainless steel hardware. This cooler will last you a lifetime. Not to mention it is bear resistant to keep you and the animals safe. It has a great price point and in my opinion this is one of the best coolers for the money. We highly recommend Engel coolers to anyone that loves the outdoors.
Nash Sub Z Cooler – Great Quality cooler as good as Yeti and less expensive.
The Nash Sub Z cooler is a lightweight cooler that is built with Rotational Molded durable plastic. The cooler is double walled with one and a half inches of insulated foam to make sure your contents stay ice-cold! The high quality foam insulation used will ensure your cooler lasts for many years of use and will keep ice frozen for up to 5 days.
Lightweight and Portable
This cooler will hold up to 20 cans and can even accommodate standard size bottles standing up inside. The capacity is 23 quarts and weighs only 16 pounds. Nash claims that this cooler, when compared to a similar product, weighs 30% less.
This cooler has a lid that is double locking making it easy to close and keep closed. The cooler also has a gasket on the lid to ensure that your ice does not melt. It can easily be carried with the stainless steel over the lid handle. This type of handle allows you to easily carry the cooler even while wearing gloves.
Quick and Easy Cleanup and No Marks
The Nash Sub Z cooler has a drain plug that is over-sized to make draining simple. Cleaning up at the end of an outing can be a hassle. With the Nash Sub Z Cooler you have more time to relax after an outing because the cooler empties and drains quick. This cooler has non-skid feet so no matter how much you drag your Nash Sub Z around, it won’t leave any marks or skids!
How much storage space do you need? How much food or drinks are you planning to bring? Coolers come in so many sizes, so you have to consider how much space you will usually need. Are you a big family of campers or is just going to be a few people camping?
Cooler are usually measured in quarts and can dictate how much you can fit in it. Sometimes, the manufacturer will indicate how many cans it can fit. This is very helpful when you decide how long your trip will be and how many you are packing for.
For instance, 25 quarts or less is ideal for carrying food for a single person camping for one night, 40 quarts can keep food for people camping for two or three nights.
Coolers are probably one of the heaviest things you’ll bring when you go camping. Obviously, the smaller cooler is, the easier it will be to carry around. You should get the size that’s enough for you needs. Anyways, a fully loaded cooler is most likely going to insulate better.
If your supplies don’t need a large cooler, then stick to a smaller one. It’ll be easier to lug around. If not, consider how easy it will be to move around. Large coolers may require two people to carry. Look into the handles, the width, and the weight of the empty cooler.
For hard wall coolers, you might want to consider wheels. For soft wall coolers, check the straps, the handles, and how you can carry it. There are backpack styles, shoulder bag style, and lunchbox style soft coolers.
What will you be storing in the cooler? This is critical to consider because some food such as meat and cheese need 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. It will be unsafe to eat if it is at room temperature even if it’s just two hours.
Some coolers can keep ice frozen for days, while others can only do a day or less. It depends on the kind and the quality. Hard wall coolers have excellent insulation. However, if you’re trip is only overnight, then a large soft cooler may do just fine. Still, you should always check the manufacturer’s recommendations.
You also have to remember that when a cooler is fully loaded, it is most likely to stay colder longer than a half empty cooler. With that in mind, don’t forget to get just the right size for your needs.
Considering how tough the outdoors can get, coolers tend to take some beating. Some may even encounter bears! As consumers, we want to get the best out of our purchase, and not something that’s going to give up after one or two uses.
Generally speaking, hard wall coolers are more durable than soft wall coolers. However, it also depends on how well you take care of your things.
When looking for durable coolers, be sure to check their locks, zippers, and hinges if any. You should also check what material it uses and how they are put together.
Soft or Hard Cooler?
Choosing between a soft or hard cooler shouldn’t be so difficult. You just have to base it on your needs and intent of use. Hard coolers insulate better than a soft cooler. However, you won’t necessarily need a hard cooler for a short camping trip.
Soft coolers can keep perishable goods for short excursions; they’re easy to maintain and carry.
For longer camping trips, a hard cooler might be better because they can keep things cold longer. They’re also more durable, so it’s a better choice if you’re a frequent camper.
Also, ask the following questions to narrow down your choices:
- How long are you camping?
- What are you bringing and for how many people are you packing for?
- How often do you go camping?
- Will you be using the cooler for other occasions?
No matter what type of cooler you pick, just remember to read the manufacturer’s recommendations. They may not always be right, but they still know more about their product than you.
Finally, think of it as an investment. We’re sure you’ll find other occasions where you’ll need a cooler, aside from camping.
Overall, I think the “best” cooler varies from from person to person because each person is different and has different needs. When you’ve considered the factors, then it won’t be long until you find the right one.
Before you buy anything, though, make sure to read through the specifications of each product so you’ll know exactly what you should expect. With just a little preparation, you’ll be able to buy the best cooler for the money.