Best Coolers For The Money (2018): Our Ice Chest Reviews For Maximum Refreshment

Whether you like chilling in your backyard and having a couple of cold beers at hand or keeping your catch fresh as you cast your fishing rod over and over for the rest of the afternoon, you got to admit that having a fine cooler can be very useful.

Nothing can keep your food, beverages, and catch completely cool and fresh outdoors as effectively as a cooler can. If you are currently looking for a cooler that you wish to take with you on your next camping trip or beer party at your house, you have come to the right place.

In this article, I will share with you all the basics you need to know in order to get the best ice chest for the money conscious buyer.

Quick Comparison: Top Ice Chests 2018

**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.


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Why You Should Get A Cooler

Imagine yourself hanging out in your porch taking the last sip out of your beer can. You want to drink more beer, but the cool ones are in the kitchen, and you would still have to walk all the way there just to get a can from the fridge. Don’t you think it would be a whole lot more convenient if you just had a handy cooler by your side?

Another situation wherein a cooler can be really handy is during hunting or fishing. If you are a long way from home, there’s just no better way to keep your catch fresh for hours without using a cooler.

Having a fine cooler in your possession will provide you with the means to store all sorts of food and produce for long periods of time. Come to think of it, a cooler can also be very handy during emergency situations where electricity has been cut. I mean, where else would you put the food in your fridge right?

It’s also a necessity for your camping needs. Who wouldn’t want to enjoy a fresh cold beverage while camping, right? 

Needless to say, if you require appropriate storage, especially for outdoor activities, getting a cooler is a wise choice that would keep you from having wasted food.


How Coolers Work

Coolers are fairly simple tools. Coolers can keep all sorts of food and beverages cold for long periods of time. The best coolers can even keep some food fresh and icy for days.

The way a cooler works is that it comes with an insulated exterior. Coolers are often made with insulated materials that do a good job at keeping the heat to a minimum, thereby creating a cold zone where stuff can be kept cold even without a cooling element.

However, do not expect a cooler to make your food and beverages turn cold. A cooler’s main function is to keep food and beverages that are already cool from being warm.


How To Choose A Cooler

Before you decide on which cooler you should get, you should first go through a couple of factors that you may or may not need to find in a cooler.

To ensure that the product you will get will meet your personal needs and preferences, try to look out for these following features that are quite important when it comes to coolers:

INSULATION

Not all coolers are made the same. Some coolers that are cheaper come with insulation that does not work as effectively as those that come with more expensive ones. Depending on what you will use your cooler for, try to choose a cooler that is so well-insulated that it can keep your stuff cool for at least half a day.

If you are willing to shell out a bit more cash, you may want to check out coolers with new designs that are made with polystyrene, blow-molded plastic, polyethylene, polypropylene, and ABS resin. If you like to go fishing, you may also be interested in coolers that are designed with a waterproof lining for added protection against moisture leakage.

ORGANIZATION

Depending on which cooler you decide to get, it may come with built-in storage options such as well-spaced mini-closets or panels. Some coolers even come with a compartment for objects that you want to keep cool and dry.

If you plan to use your cooler to store an assortment of food such as raw meat, cooked foods, and beverages, getting a cooler that comes with built-in panels for an added organization can really help you go a long way.

​PORTABILITY

Since coolers are meant to be used outdoors, you ought to make sure that the one you are getting is easy to transport. Try to look for coolers that come with handles that are ergonomic and easy to grip despite the weight of your cooler.

Also try to look for coolers that come with wheels. Such coolers can be a lifesaver during long exhausting hunting days where you have to lug your cooler down to your car.

DURABILITY

As with any type of product, it goes without saying that you should always be mindful of durability. And when it comes to coolers that cost some money, you’d always want to choose one that’s made to last. 

I know coolers worth $200 and above may seem too much, but you’d really get what you pay for. Coolers that come with heftier price tags ultimately last longer and can withstand harsher conditions, making them ideal for any outdoor trip.

But in the end, it would always boil down to your personal needs. If you don’t really need a rugged cooler, and you’re just going to use it for backyard parties, then you may do just fine with an affordable one that’s made with less sturdy materials. Otherwise, you should opt for models that are made with highly durable materials that won’t get loose or won’t crack easily when something falls on it or when it gets dropped from a certain height.


Top 5 Best Coolers You Can Buy Online

YETI Tundra 35

The YETI Tundra is the ideal cooler for any outdoorsman. Whether you are a camper, an angler, or a hunter, this cooler is guaranteed to keep your food fresh and cool for a long period of time.

What’s great about the Tundra is its large capacity that will allow you to put in several cans of beer or several pieces of fish inside it. It also comes with a rugged design that’s built to last. This thing can literally take a beating during camping trips where you’re required to lug this bad boy on rough terrain.

Other interesting features of this cooler is its airtight lock-down system and its thick walls that are sure to keep warm temperatures out and cool ones in.

Pros

  • Is built with heavy duty materials
  • Is ideal for outdoor use
  • Has a large capacity
  • Has an airtight lock
  • Has very thick walls for added insulation

Cons

  • The handles can be a bit painful on the hands when the cooler is very heavy
  • The airtight cover can get loose over time
Engel

This cooler is best known for its capability to keep ice frozen for long periods of time. This Engel cooler is ideal for anglers who have to keep their catch as fresh as possible before they get home. 

This ice chest is also very durable. In fact, Engel’s coolers always come with an “IGBC Certified Bear Resistant Container” stamp, which is basically a testament to its durable construction. Needless to say, with this cooler in your possession, you will always end up with a fresh catch until you get home.

Pros

  • Ideal for anglers
  • Is very durable
  • Is affordable
  • Can contain plenty of food and drink

Cons

  • Can be a bit difficult to clean
  • Can retain odors
Grizzly

The grizzly cooler is one of the easiest ice chests you can carry around outdoors because of its ergonomic design. If you are looking for a cooler that won’t give you a pain in the neck even when it’s completely full, the Grizzly coolers may be the best choice for you.

This cooler is also fairly cheaper than most coolers its size. You can easily fit a large salmon or two inside this bad boy without having to worry about the lid lifting up. And since it’s very easy to bring with you, it’s totally ideal for any outdoor activity such as camping and hunting.

Pros

  • Great for camping and hunting
  • Can easily be cleaned
  • Can easily be carried around
  • Has an eye-catching design
  • Sturdy and can last for a long time

Cons

  • Can retain odors
  • Isn’t as airtight as other coolers
Igloo Products Sportsman 5 Quart Cooler

If you are looking for an indestructible cooler to bring with you for tailgating or all sorts of outdoor activities, this is a good choice. Construction-wise, you won’t be disappointed with it. It has a good insulation property that can keep everything in the cooler fresh and cool. It comes with 3-point grab handles that make this so easy to carry even if you aren’t asking for additional help from others. 

It also offers a lot of nifty features such as its anti-skid feet that prevent the cooler from sliding at the back of your car. It comes with a lockable lid as well – great if you are keeping certain beverages from kids. It is perfect for those with storage problems as well because it can be folded flat.

Pros

  • It has a good capacity for all your food and beverage cooling needs
  • Has good insulation properties
  • Sturdy and can last for a long time
  • Has a locking mechanism
  • Easy to carry around
  • It has anti-skid feet to keep it in place
  • Can be folded flat for easier and more convenient storage

Cons

  • Some said it is too heavy for them
  • Might not have the best seal
Coleman Quart Heavy-Duty Super Cooler

If you need a cooler at home that you can use in case of emergencies such as power outages, this is a sterling choice. It has reliable insulation functions that can keep things cool inside for as long as 7 days. You can store just about anything in it, even stinky stuff like fishes, as it has been equipped with an antimicrobial liner that keeps its interiors fresh and clean. Molds and mildew won’t grow in your cooler, thanks to this feature. 

It also comes with a storage basket. This can help you separate food from drinks and ice to keep everything sanitary. It also comes with a drain, so you can easily get rid of water from melted ice and not have to tip the entire thing over.

Pros

  • Convenient to use because of its drain functions
  • It stays fresh-smelling and doesn’t transfer or retain odor
  • It is molds and mildew-resistant
  • Can keep food and drinks cold for a long period of time
  • Comes with a basket for easier food storage

Cons

  • There is a customer that said the drain valve leaked

Which One Should You Get?

If you are looking for the best ice chest for the money, the YETI Tundra 35 Cooler is the one for you as it has a large capacity for putting many beer cans. We recommend that you get the Yeti Tundra 35 Cooler if you do a lot of camping and outdoor trips. It is a durable cooler with a good seal, which makes this really reliable for outdoor usage.

You should get the Engel Coolers High Performance Cooler if you do a lot of fishing. It’s a good choice because of how it keeps fishes fresh for a long time. It shouldn’t be too difficult to bring with you on your fishing excursions as well.

If you are looking for something that is easy to carry around, the Grizzly Coolers Cooler has functions ergonomic enough for your needs. It won’t hurt your back carrying this.

For those who do a lot of backpacking trips and tailgating, get the Igloo Products Sportsman Cooler. It doesn’t move around easily, great for those who often do off-road riding.

Get the Coleman Quart Heavy-Duty Super Cooler for your home. It’s not just great for backyard parties, it can be relied on to keep your food fresh during power outages.

Have you decided which one to get? Click the links of the products to read more about their features. Don’t forget to check out our homepage to read more product recommendations, buying suggestions and reviews.

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Paula Ghosh
 

I am Paula. I have a happy family with my husband and our 2 children. I like cooking and making delicious dishes for my family brings me happiness. I hope to associate with other cooking blogs to have more recipes and we will cook better for our families.