The Best Coolers for Camping, BBQs and Ice-Cold Drinks, Tested by Editors

Updated: Feb. 01, 2024

Keep your drinks and food fresh for days with our picks for the best coolers. Pass us a cold one!

Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.

Yeti Tundra 45 Cooler Cosmic Lilac Ecomm Via Yeti.com

There are few things worse than reaching for an ice-cold beverage only to discover that it’s lukewarm, especially after a long day of hiking during a camping trip. Actually, there’s one thing that’s worse—spoiled food that wasn’t properly stored. Yuck!

The best coolers eliminate both of these concerns. Coolers are essentially portable refrigerators, capable of carrying water, your trusty Stanley tumbler, adult beverages and food. These coolers are perfect for campers, beachgoers or those of us who just don’t want to leave our backyard to get a drink (oops—it’s me).

The Best Coolers

1 / 7

Yeti Roadie 24 Hard Cooler
via merchant

Best Overall Cooler

Yeti Roadie 24 Hard Cooler

Yeti is the go-to for many adventurers who are looking to bring food and drinks on and off-road, and the Yeti Roadie 24 Hard Cooler is a perfect example of how they’ve earned that reputation. This cooler can hold more than two dozen cans and 20 pounds of ice, is tall enough for wine bottles and slim enough that it won’t take up too much space.

The main attractions are the insulated lid system that locks in the cold and the freezer-quality gasket that keeps all heat away from your drinks. The non-slip feet and anchor points are designed to prevent excessive movement when the terrain gets rough, so you can truly take it anywhere. While you’re at it, also check out their newest launch—the Yeti Rambler Beverage Bucket.

Pros

  • Durable construction
  • Tall enough to fit wine bottles
  • Comes in three sizes
  • Available in multiple colors

Cons

  • Not leak-proof

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2 / 7

Brütank 55 Quart Rolling Cooler
Caroline Lubinsky/ Family Handyman

Best Wheeled Cooler

BrüTank 55-Quart Rolling Cooler

Coolers are heavy even before you start packing them with ice and drinks, not to mention the fact that dropping them can result in shattered glass. Enter the BrüTank 55-Quart Rolling Cooler, which is our favorite wheeled cooler thanks to the all-terrain wheels that can conquer sand, dirt, or gravel. We also love the grippy handles that ensure you won’t let go of them at any time.

On top of being able to keep ice cold for up to a week (really!), the BrüTank 55-Quart Rolling Cooler has a removable drink tap that can be filled with the beverage of your choice and poured straight from the cooler. What could be easier than that? In addition, there’s plenty of room for your favorite BruMate water bottles.

Pros

  • All-terrain wheels
  • Up to a week of ice retention
  • Drink tap
  • Financing is available

Cons

  • Some parts are not durable

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3 / 7

Yeti Roadie 48 Wheeled Cooler
Mary Henn/Family Handyman

Best Cooler for Camping

Yeti Roadie 48

With puncture-resistant wheels, tons of room for snacks and drinks and durable side handles, the Yeti Roadie 48 is our top pick for camping. Because it includes a drain plug in the back, it’s so easy to empty when the trip is over.

As outlined in our review of the Roadie 48, Associate Editor Mary Henn notes that “transporting the cooler (even when it was full) was a one-woman job—without wheels, I surely would have needed assistance carrying the cooler when it was full. I was able to roll the Roadie over grass, gravel, concrete, you name it, which was great for moving it from the deck to the car and then the river.”

Pros

  • Puncture-resistant wheels
  • Easy-to-use telescoping handle
  • Drain plug in the back
  • Nonslip feet

Cons

  • Pricey

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4 / 7

Igloo Trailmate Journey
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Best Cooler for Tailgating

Igloo Trailmate Journey

What cooler boasts features like bottle openers, a butler tray, cup holders, dry storage pockets, a mobile device stand and a food basket? Answer: the editor-loved Igloo Trailmate Journey. Apart from durable all-terrain wheels that easily tackle bumps and uneven ground, the Trailmate Journey’s myriad features make it a shoo-in for the best tailgate cooler.

In our review of the cooler’s features, we mention that the spacious 70-quart capacity fits up to 112 cans. Because it’s so well insulated, expect food and drinks to stay chilly for a full three days!

Pros

  • Priced competitively
  • Phone stand
  • Butler tray
  • Dry baskets for food
  • Cup holders
  • All-terrain wheels
  • Dry storage pockets for keys and phones

Cons

  • No latch

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5 / 7

Stoic Hybrid Backpack Cooler
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Best Backpack Cooler

Stoic Hybrid Backpack Cooler

Whether you’re backpacking across the country or need a hands-free way to transport your drinks, the Stoic Hybrid Backpack Cooler is the answer. This lightweight and budget-friendly backpack can keep up to 24, 12-ounce cans at below-freezing temperatures for up to 16 hours. Additionally, this backpack comes with a compression-molded bottom for better durability.

One thing you won’t have to pack is a bottle opener because there’s one on the backpack strap. The backpack is also available in multiple colors, which is always a big plus in our book. Who says functionality can’t be fashionable?

Pros

  • Comfortable and lightweight
  • Bottle opener on straps
  • Keeps drinks cold for 16 hours
  • Durable compression-molded bottom

Cons

  • Can’t withstand heavy weight
  • Can leak when overfilled

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6 / 7

Oyster Tempo
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Best Water Cooler

Oyster Tempo

The Oyster Tempo can keep water (or any other beverage) cold for the entire day and is leakproof, perfect for parties or construction crews. Because it uses a single cold pack, there’s no need to make room for ice. That means more space for camping drinks and snacks.

If the price gives you sticker shock, consider that this cooler is made with an insulated container wall that helps the cooler reach freezing temperatures almost instantly. It’s also simple to fix and modify with easy-to-replace parts. It’s meant to last generations, not months!

Pros

  • Easy to fix and modify
  • No ice needed
  • Leak-proof
  • Made sustainably from recycled materials

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Pricey

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7 / 7

Bodega Refrigerator And Portable Freezer
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Best Smart Cooler

Bodega Refrigerator and Portable Freezer

The feature that separates the Bodega Refrigerator and Portable Freezer from other powered coolers is the dual cooling zones: one acts as a fridge and one as a freezer. After setting up the divider and packing your cooler with drinks and food, simply use the app to control the temperature of each zone.

The cooler can be powered by solar energy, a home electrical outlet or your car’s power adapter. Customer reviews state the cooler was able to get to sub-zero temperatures in under an hour. 

Pros

  • Multiple power sources
  • Dual cooling zones
  • Can hold 41 cans
  • Wi-Fi capabilities

Cons

  • App setup can be difficult

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What to Consider When Buying a Cooler

Two of the most important things to consider when buying a cooler are size and ice retention. Personal coolers are great for lone travelers, couples or anyone who might want to use them as a lunchbox, but party hosters might want to look for a larger vessel.

When it comes to ice retention, or keeping ice frozen for as long as possible, look for coolers with insulated seals and commercial-grade gaskets.

Types of Coolers

  • Hard-sided coolers are made of hard materials like plastic. They’re generally more durable and have better ice retention, but the trade-off is that they’re heavier than other coolers.
  • Soft-sided coolers are made of soft materials like fabric. They’re generally more lightweight and portable, though they’re not as durable and are not as good at keeping drinks cold as their hard-sided counterparts.
  • Backpack coolers can be worn as a backpack for ease and convenience.

How We Found the Best Coolers

As shopping experts, our only job is to help you find a winning product. Whether you’re looking to store the best tumblers while tailgating or need a fridge for camping, we aim to find the very best coolers for the occasion.

To find the best coolers, we considered all the different types—from fun floating coolers to durable Yeti coolers (and their numerous accessories). After reading reviews, comparing specs and even testing a few that were in the running, we were able to narrow down our list to the 10 best coolers out of the hundreds available.