The 11 Best Coolers for Every Occasion

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These durable, highly portable coolers ice the competition with innovative features.

<p>Travel + Leisure / Marcus Millan</p>

Travel + Leisure / Marcus Millan

Whether you're planning a camping trip, hosting a barbecue, heading to the beach, or spending the day on a boat, you need something to keep drinks and perishable foods cold. The solution, of course, is a cooler — but which one?

To help you narrow down your options, we researched top-rated ice chests of various sizes, materials, and styles. From traditional hard-sided coolers and rugged rolling designs to oversized carts and portable insulated totes, there's something for everyone and every occasion. Some of our favorites can keep ice frozen for up to 10 days and boast standout features, like built-in bottle openers, cup holders, fishing rulers, and all-terrain wheels.

Best Overall: BrüMate BrüTank 55-Quart Rolling Cooler

Buy at

Buy at

Why We Love It

  • This all-star cooler has a generous capacity, a removable drink tank, a bottle opener, and all-terrain wheels — and it retains ice for up to a week.

What to Consider

  • It doesn't come with cup holders and might require two people to lift it in and out of a car or boat.

If we could only choose one cooler, we'd have to go with the BrüMate BrüTank. The spacious design has a 55-quart capacity that can hold 48 cans, 12 wine bottles, or 40 pounds of ice with room to spare for drinks. There's also a separate removable 2.8-gallon drink tank where you can mix your own beverages and serve them through the built-in tap.

Thanks to the thick, highly insulated construction, it promises to keep ice frozen for up to seven days. This rolling cooler has two all-terrain wheels, allowing you to easily pull and maneuver it over concrete, grass, dirt, and even sand. Other standout features include a bottle opener and a bench-top lid that doubles as a seat.

Though the BrüTank doesn't have built-in cup holders, you can buy them as add-on accessories. The price is a bit steep for a cooler, but considering the high-quality, feature-rich design, we think it's worth the investment. Plus, BrüMate backs it with a five-year warranty.

Price at time of publish: $400

The Details: 32 x 19.5 x 19.5 inches | Holds 55 quarts

Best Splurge: Yeti Roadie 60 Wheeled Cooler

Buy at

Buy at

Why We Love It

  • The high-end Roadie 60 is durable and rugged yet easy to maneuver, and it keeps things cold for several days.

What to Consider

  • It's one of the heaviest options to lift, and, in order to be dry ice-compatible, it’s leak-resistant but not 100 percent leakproof.

If you have a bigger budget for a cooler, you should definitely consider the Yeti Roadie 60. We tested it firsthand and were impressed by how easy it is to maneuver, even when filled with ice and drinks. (However, it weighs 29 pounds when empty and may require two people to lift in and out of a car.) The puncture-resistant wheels can roll over pretty much any terrain, and the balanced design prevents it from tipping over.

This high-end cooler has excellent insulation, keeping ice frozen and drinks cold for several days. It also has a handy dry-goods basket for keeping things like bread and sandwiches cool but not soggy. The Roadie 60 is incredibly durable too. You can count on it to last many years, and the brand backs it with a five-year warranty.

Price at time of publish: $500

The Details: 29 pounds | 23.5 x 20.5 x 20 inches | Holds 60.2 quarts

Best Budget: Coleman Chiller 48-quart Insulated Portable Cooler

Buy at

Buy at

Why We Love It

  • This simple yet effective cooler keeps drinks cold for over 24 hours and is easy to carry, thanks to the rotating handles.

What to Consider

  • It doesn't have wheels and may not be as durable as pricier options.

For those on a budget, we recommend the Coleman Chiller. This simple yet effective cooler features the brand's TempLock insulation that promises to keep drinks ice-cold for over 24 hours. While it doesn't have wheels, it weighs just over 7 pounds when empty and has two-way handles that make it easy to lift.

The mid-size design can hold up to 31 cans plus 24 pounds of ice, and it's even tall enough to fit wine bottles and two-liter sodas upright. This cooler isn't as durable as more expensive options. Coleman backs it with a one-year warranty, but depending on how much you use it, you might need to replace it every year or two.

Price at time of publish: $40

The Details: 7.3 pounds | 25.5 x 14 x 13.5 inches | Holds 48 quarts

Related: The Best Coolers for Camping, From Hardcore Chests to Lightweight Totes

Best with Wheels: YETI Tundra Haul Portable Wheeled Cooler

Buy at

Buy at

Why We Love It

  • With puncture-resistant wheels, this cooler effortlessly rolls over any terrain while keeping ice frozen and drinks chilled for days.

What to Consider

  • The heavy-duty design is ultra-durable and protective but also notably heavy.

As you can expect with all Yeti products, the Tundra Haul stands out for toughness, durability, and ice retention. Thanks to the solid, puncture-resistant tires, it rolls effortlessly over grass, gravel, concrete, sand, dirt, and marina docks. Though it weighs 37 pounds when empty, the balanced design and handle make it comfortable to pull one-handed.

Even in triple-digit heat, you can count on the extra-thick insulated walls to keep ice frozen and drinks chilled for days on end, and the bear-proof design makes it a wise choice for wilderness retreats. With rotomolded construction, this heavy-duty cooler can be used in any weather while standing up to rough-and-tumble use. It's a bit of an investment, but Yeti's five-year warranty can give you peace of mind about your purchase.

Price at time of publish: $450

The Details: 37 pounds | 28 x 19.5 x 18.5 inches | Holds 55 quarts

Best for Camping: Rovr RollR 60 Cooler

Buy at

Buy at

Why We Love It

  • The RollR 60 has all-terrain tires, a bear-proof closure, and superior insulation that retains ice for up to 10 days.

What to Consider

  • At 45 pounds, lifting it out of a car or camper might be a strain.

Going on a camping trip? The Rovr RollR 60 might be your best bet. We tested it out and are happy to report the tough rubber tires roll easily over virtually any terrain. Not only that, but the superior insulation keeps ice frozen for up to 10 days. This large-capacity cooler can hold up to 60 cans, plus 20 pounds of ice, and the built-in drain plug makes it easy to empty when you're ready to head home.

The RollR 60 has a tightly sealed lid with heavy-duty latches to provide secure, bear-proof protection while you're camped out. Whether you haul it deep into the wilderness or to a campsite at the beach, the sturdy design is up for the adventure. The only thing to note is that, at 45 pounds, lifting it out of a car or camper might be a strain, so you may want to recruit a buddy.

Price at time of publish: $360

The Details: 45 pounds | 26.5 x 21 x 20 inches | Holds 63 quarts

Best for Boating: Pelican 30QT Elite Cooler

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Buy at

Why We Love It

  • Backed by a lifetime guarantee, this rugged cooler has a freezer-grade gasket, an impenetrable seal, and non-skid feet that prevent it from sliding around.

What to Consider

  • You might need two people to lift it into a boat, especially when filled with ice and drinks.

The Pelican Elite is a great choice for boating adventures. With a freezer-grade gasket, thick insulation, and an impenetrable seal, you can bet this cooler keeps ice frozen and drinks frosty for several days. Larger models are available, but this 30-quart option is the perfect size for a speed boat or sailboat. It'll fit easily under a bench or in the cabin and isn't so large that it'll be hard to lift.

This cooler has secure yet easy-to-open latches, integrated cup holders, a built-in bottle opener, and non-skid raised feet that prevent it from slipping around on wet surfaces. The extremely durable construction is designed to hold up through rugged outdoor adventures. And Pelican backs it with an unbeatable lifetime guarantee.

Price at time of publish: $190

The Details: 21.7 pounds | 23.5 x 19 x 18.5 inches | Holds 30 quarts

Best for Barbecues: Black+Decker 60-Quart Mobile Cooler Cart

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Buy at

Why We Love It

  • This attractive cooler flaunts a raised design, swivel wheels, a removable split-door lid, and a built-in bottle opener.

What to Consider

  • The cart design is best for hosting at home, as it'll be hard to fit in a car.

If you like to host cookouts, go with the Black+Decker Mobile Cooler Cart. This attractive ice chest is the perfect addition to your backyard entertaining area, with a glossy white exterior, a raised counter-height design, and a handy storage tray underneath. The 360-degree swivel wheels make it easy to move around your space and roll into your garage or shed when it's not in use.

This barbecue-ready cooler has a split-door lid, allowing you to divide drinks by category. You can also remove the top entirely to display your iced beverage selection. Other notable features include an integrated bottle opener with a little receptacle for catching bottle caps and a handy drain that lets you empty the basin without tipping the cooler.

Price at time of publish: $188

The Details: 42.5 pounds | 35 x 35 x 29 inches | Holds 80 quarts

Related: The 10 Best Backpack Coolers of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

Best Small: Yeti Hopper Flip 12 Portable Soft Cooler

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Buy at

Why We Love It

  • This compact cooler holds up to 16 cans, plus ice, and leans on closed-cell insulation and a DryHide shell to keep things cold.

What to Consider

  • The price is a bit steep for the size, but the reliable design is backed by a three-year warranty.

Interested in something smaller? Check out the Yeti Hopper Flip. This soft-sided cooler has a 16.7-quart capacity that can hold up to 16 cans, plus ice, or about six cans, plus a packed lunch. We tested this product and loved the sturdy, leakproof design and lightweight portability (it weighs just over 3 pounds when empty).

The Hopper Flip has closed-cell rubber foam insulation and a special DryHide shell that repels the sun's rays to help the contents stay cold longer. Not only that, but its heavy-duty zipper keeps everything tucked in and secure when you're out and about. It doesn't have backpack-style straps, but it's easy to carry using the shoulder strap or grab handle. And although the price is steep for such a small size, the durable design is backed by Yeti's three-year warranty.

Price at time of publish: $250

The Details: 3.1 pounds | 14 x 14 x 11 inches | Holds 16.7 quarts

Best Extra-large: Igloo Sportsman 30

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Why We Love It

  • It has a 110-quart capacity that can hold nearly 170 cans, plus ice, and keeps things cold for up to five days.

What to Consider

  • The latches aren't the most durable, so be careful when opening and closing the lid.

Those in the market for an oversized cooler should consider the Igloo Sunset Glide. It has a 100-quart capacity that can hold a whopping 168 cans, plus ice. With the brand's MaxCold technology and innovative Thermecool foam insulation, you can count on drinks and perishables to stay cold for up to five days.

Of course, the extra-large design is somewhat heavy (especially when filled with drinks and ice). But thanks to the durable wheels and telescoping handle, it's not as cumbersome as you'd expect and is actually pretty easy to maneuver. One thing to note is that the latches aren't the most durable. You'll want to be careful when opening and closing the lid, but if they break within a year, they're covered under the product's warranty.

Price at time of publish: $130

The Details: 25.4 pounds | 40 x 19.5 x 18.5 inches | Holds 110 quarts

Best Backpack: Igloo Outdoor Pro Snapdown 42-can Backpack

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Buy at

Why We Love It

  • The spacious design can hold up to 40 cans, and the padded shoulder straps make it comfortable to carry long distances.

What to Consider

  • Ice melts faster than in regular hard-sided coolers.

After testing several backpack coolers, Igloo's Outdoor Pro was a clear winner. This thoughtfully designed carrier has a sturdy roll-top opening that makes it easy to pack with up to 40 cans. Even without ice, previously refrigerated drinks will stay cold for a few hours, so it's a great choice for hiking, picnics in the park, or a beach day.

Made of ripstop, water-resistant materials, the Outdoor Pro is exceptionally durable too. We shoved it off a table and are pleased to report there wasn't a single scuff, knick, or tear. The padded shoulder straps make it super easy and comfortable to carry, even when walking long distances. We also appreciate the various pockets, where you can stash dry snacks, sunglasses, a hat, keys, or your phone.

Price at time of publish: $140

The Details: 2.1 pounds | 17.5 x 13 x 7 inches | Holds 26.5 quarts

Related: The 11 Best Beach Coolers of 2023

Best Tote: Hydro Flask 35 L Insulated Tote

Buy at

Buy at

Why We Love It

  • This tote-style cooler has a generous capacity, soft-sided waterproof construction, and a collapsible design for easy storage and transport.

What to Consider

  • The one-shoulder design may not be comfortable to carry long distances when full.

We also like the Hydro Flask Insulated Tote. This generously sized carrier has a 37-quart capacity that can hold roughly 40 cans, two dozen bottles, a picnic lunch for a family, or a bag's worth of perishable groceries. Weighing less than 2 pounds, the lightweight design is a breeze to carry short distances. Though it doesn't have a long cross-body strap, you can sling the handles over one shoulder or carry it like a grab bag.

This soft-sided cooler tote is made of a highly durable fabric with water-resistant zippers to keep moisture out and a special waterproof coating that makes it easy to wipe clean. The sturdy base allows it to stand upright without support, and it's conveniently collapsible for easy storage and transport.

Price at time of publish: $57

The Details: 1.7 pounds | 20 x 15 x 8 inches | Holds 37 quarts

Tips for Buying a Cooler

Look for conveniences like drains, shelves, and cup holders

Don't miss out on getting a cooler with convenient features. This might include built-in cup holders, a bottle opener, shelves, separated compartments, or a drain valve for easy emptying. If you're buying a larger cooler or need to transport it on foot, consider getting a rolling design with heavy-duty, all-terrain wheels and a telescoping handle.

Consider the external environment and your specific needs when planning a budget

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the best way to pack a cooler?

Start with a layer of ice cubes on the bottom or larger ice blocks if you have them. Then add frozen food items, followed by another layer of ice, then a layer of drinks, another layer of ice, then fruits and vegetables, another layer of ice, then crushable items like bread or eggs, and a final layer of ice on top. If you're only using your cooler for drinks, just alternate layers of cans or bottles and ice.

What kind of ice should I use in a cooler?

Ice blocks will stay frozen about a half-day longer than ice cubes, so it's good to start with those on the bottom of your cooler if possible. However, ice cubes are better for filling in small gaps, and since you want to fill every cubic inch of space, you'll want to place layers of ice cubes between your drinks or perishable foods.

What's the difference between injection-molded and rotomolded coolers?

Rotomolded (short for rotational-molded) coolers feature extra-thick insulation within the walls and corners for long-lasting ice retention and stress resistance. The exceptionally strong, durable construction is often seen on more high-end models.

Injection-molded coolers are made by first connecting hollow walls, then filling them with polyurethane insulation. This type of ice chest typically uses less plastic and is often lighter-weight than its rotomolded counterpart.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Theresa Holland is a commerce writer and product reviewer specializing in travel, recreation, entertaining, and outdoor living. For this story, she reviewed insights from our tested products, then researched today's best coolers for various occasions. After considering dozens of options from a wide range of brands and retailers, she selected models that stood out for ice retention, durability, maneuverability, notable features, and value.

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