10 Best Beach Coolers for Every Budget and Need: Find Your Perfect Companion
When it comes to enjoying a day at the beach, having the perfect cooler can make all the difference. Whether you're packing a picnic for the whole family or just looking to keep your drinks and snacks chilled, a beach cooler is an essential item. With so many options on the market, it can be overwhelming to find the best one for your needs. That's why we've put together a list of the top beach coolers that we absolutely loved. From budget-friendly options to high-end coolers with all the bells and whistles, there's something for everyone. So, let's dive in and discover the best beach coolers of the year!
Other Coolers We Loved
Awesome Extras: Igloo Trailmate Wheeled Cooler
Longest Ice Retention: RTIC 45 Cooler
Most Maneuverable Hard Cooler: YETI Roadie 48
Best Packable Cooler: ICEMULE Jaunt
Best Heavy-Duty Hard Cooler: Pelican Elite 65 Wheeled Cooler
Dual Compartments: Pelican Dayventure Backpack Cooler
Most Stylish Cooler: The Pouch by Kanga Coolers
YETI Tundra Haul Wheeled Cooler ($450)
Insulation: Rotomolded Plastic
Capacity: 82 cans (without ice)
Weight: 37.5 lbs
Pros: It has a legendary reputation and is easy to maneuver.
Cons: The cost is higher due to the brand name.
Yeti is widely regarded as the top choice for coolers. However, their previous coolers were not very convenient to transport. The Haul is the first Yeti cooler with wheels, which is a major advantage when you have to walk long distances on sand under the scorching sun. While the wheels and towing handle are excellent, the only downside is the lack of a handle on the other side for lifting purposes, which affects its portability rating. The Haul is constructed using rotomolded plastic, making it exceptionally durable. The solid, single-piece tire construction of the wheels ensures resistance to impact and punctures, guaranteeing that your items will stay cold during transportation.
ICEMULE Boss ($375)
Capacity: 24 cans (with ice) extra pockets = 30L
Weight: 6.6 lbs
Pros: It has an ergonomic design, is durable, and offers exceptional ice retention.
Cons: The price is higher, and the size to capacity ratio could be improved.
The ICEMULE Boss is not only fully waterproof but also an incredible backpack cooler that offers ample storage space. The shoulder straps and back padding provide comfort when carrying a heavy load. You can easily fit up to 24 cans (with ice) in the main compartment, but you can add even more depending on your strength and endurance. The waterproof side compartments and larger back compartment provide additional storage for items such as a first aid kit, dry food, and sunscreen.
This cooler stands out not just for its ability to keep drinks cold but also for its external storage options. It features webbing for attaching a rain jacket, clip loops on the bottom, and 16 loops on the side for attaching various items. It's a versatile and durable cooler that surpasses the competition.
Best Powered CoolerAnker EverFrost (9)
Capacity: 38 cans (33 L)
Weight: 49 lbs
Pros: It includes a power bank for recharging devices, and no ice is required.
Cons: It is heavy and requires a power source for recharging.
Anker, a well-known brand for power stations and mobile charging units, has stepped into the cooler market with the EverFrost cooler. This cooler not only keeps things cold but can also function as a freezer with a minimum temperature setting of 4°F. By connecting a solar panel, you can enjoy virtually unlimited cold storage time. We have extensively tested this cooler, including in harsh beach conditions, without encountering any issues.
The EverFrost has a removable 299Wh battery that can also be used to charge devices while outdoors. It comes with additional accessories such as durable wheels and a fold-out shelf that can be used as a cutting board or food preparation area. It even has a built-in bottle opener. The only drawback is its weight due to the compressor, which may make it a bit challenging to carry single-handedly when fully loaded.
Best Budget CoolerMaelstrom Backpack Cooler ($40)
Capacity: 35 cans (32 L) front pocket for cutlery dishes
Weight: .95 lbs
Pros: It is leakproof and offers a large capacity for a backpack cooler.
Cons: Ice doesn't last longer than an afternoon, and the materials are not ultra-durable.
There are several affordable coolers to choose from, but we have found that the Maelstrom Backpack Cooler offers a good balance of features for a great beach day. It effectively keeps drinks cold for an afternoon, and it claims to maintain the temperature for up to 7 hours without ice (assuming the cooler is not frequently opened). Adding some ice will enhance its cooling performance, ensuring a pleasant day at the beach. The extra pockets are well-designed, with the front pocket providing space for cutlery and dishes, perfect for a beach date. While the quality may not be top-notch, considering the price, it is a sturdy cooler that will last if handled with care.
Most Maneuverable Hard CoolerYeti Roadie 48 ($450)
Insulation: Rotomolded Plastic
Capacity: 48 qt
Weight: 28.3 lbs
Pros: It is easy for one person to move on their own.
Cons: The telescoping handle can get sand stuck inside and jam up.
Yeti's latest release, the Roadie, has revolutionized large coolers. Incorporating feedback from their loyal customers, the brand has created a high-capacity cooler that addresses the most crucial needs. The Roadie's box-like shape makes it easier to move around compared to other coolers that require lifting. Simply tilt the cooler and let the wheels do the work. The extra-long handle makes wheeling around a fully-loaded cooler surprisingly effortless. Its taller design allows wine bottles to stand upright, and additional inserts such as dividers provide convenient organization for beverages and food. Of course, all of this is backed by Yeti's exceptional reputation for quality and performance, with a 5-year warranty ensuring long-lasting reliability.
If we were to find fault, we would say that the telescoping handle tends to accumulate sand, which can cause it to get jammed. If you primarily plan to use the cooler at the beach, you may prefer a cooler with a fold-out handle, such as the Tundra or Pelican Elite. Additionally, the drain plug on the Roadie is not attached, so it is prone to getting lost. This is a common issue with all YETI coolers, and Pelican deserves recognition for their attached drain plug design. However, overall, the Roadie is a fantastic large-scale portable cooler.
We believe that the 48 qt size strikes the perfect balance between size and portability. However, if you require a larger capacity, there is also a 60 qt version available.
Best Packable CoolerICEMULE Jaunt 15L ()
Insulation: Muleskin (Proprietary to Icemule)
Capacity: 15 cans (with ice)
Weight: 2 lbs
Pros: It packs up for easy storage, is waterproof, and floats.
Cons: Ice retention is not great after 24 hours.
The ICEMULE Jaunt 15L is not just a stylish and comfortable waterproof backpack but also an excellent cooler. It can keep drinks cold and even float if necessary. ICEMULE stands out by creating cooler bags that are well-built, waterproof, and have long ice retention. This 15L version of the Jaunt series can comfortably hold a 12-pack with ice or even 4 wine bottles. With premium lining and an inflatable air pocket for added insulation, this cooler rivals many hard coolers in terms of ice retention.
What sets the Jaunt apart is its versatility and portability. You can carry it on your back and easily roll it up and stash it away when not in use. It's perfect for surf trips where space is limited, as you can simply roll it up and stow it in your board bag. Additionally, it includes a front pocket to keep keys, wallet, and phone safe and dry. The 15L size strikes the right balance between capacity and size.
Longest Ice RetentionRTIC 65 QT Hard Cooler ($250)
Insulation: 3 inch foam
Capacity: 65 qt (64 cans ice)
Weight: 36 lbs
Pros: It offers long-lasting ice retention and a lower price compared to similar models.
Cons: It can be difficult to move single-handedly when fully loaded.
RTIC claims that their 65 QT Hard Cooler is the best cooler on the market, and they have good reasons to make such a bold statement. While it lacks wheels, this cooler excels in maintaining cold temperatures for an extended period. With its three-inch insulated walls, ice can remain frozen for days. Similar to Yeti, it features rotomolded construction, ensuring exceptional durability. The 65 QT cooler includes heavy-duty T-latches, a freezer-grade gasket, no-fail hinges, a no-sweat exterior, molded side handles, and tie-downs to secure it in place.
If you prefer a slightly more manageable size, RTIC also offers a 45 QT version. However, we believe that the 65 QT cooler provides better value for your money.
Best ExtrasIgloo Trailmate Wheeled Cooler ($280)
Capacity: 112 cans (without ice)
Weight: 34.7 lbs
Pros: It is easy to maneuver and great for attaching extras such as a fishing rod.
Cons: The size to capacity ratio could be improved.
Igloo has been a well-established player in the cooler industry for many years, known for their expertise in keeping things cold. The Trailmate cooler lives up to that reputation but also offers extra features that make it stand out. Its oversized 10-inch wheels give it a rugged, off-road appearance. The glide handle, according to Igloo, makes it 50 percent easier to pull your load due to the comfort and leverage of the locking, telescoping, horizontal handle.
In addition to its excellent cooling capabilities, the Trailmate has several unique features. It retains ice for up to four days, has a butler tray that stores under the cooler's lid and sits on the handle for convenient use, and even includes a food tray to keep hotdog buns cool without getting soggy. It also features a fishing rod holder, and, surprisingly, can holders on the top. With the added bottle opener, this cooler offers numerous features that are not commonly found in other models.
Although it falls short in terms of size-to-capacity ratio, making it slightly awkward to carry, the Trailmate is a well-built cooler that gets the job done and sets the stage for a fantastic day at the beach.
The Top Choice for Heavy-Duty Hard Coolers: Pelican Elite 65 Wheeled Cooler ($520)
Insulation: This cooler features injection-molded polyurethane insulation, ensuring excellent temperature retention and performance.Capacity: With a spacious 65 qt interior, this cooler can hold up to 64 cans along with ice.Weight: Weighing in at 53 lbs, this cooler is sturdy and built for durability.Pros: It is equipped with a wildlife-proof closure and is virtually indestructible.Cons: Due to its large size, it may be bulky and still heavy even with the addition of wheels.
Pelican is renowned for its wide range of products, extending far beyond coolers. Originating as a provider of cases for scuba diving gear in the 1970s, Pelican has since established itself as a trusted brand in various industries, including camera equipment and storage solutions for military and law enforcement. Having accumulated 40 years of innovation and expertise, Pelican recently entered the cooler market. Customers who have experienced Pelican products are highly satisfied with the reliability and durability they offer. The same applies to their coolers, which are among the toughest and most resilient options available.
We thoroughly tested the Elite 65 Wheeled Cooler and can confidently confirm that it lives up to Pelican's reputation. With 2" polyethylene insulation and exceptionally rugged wheels, this cooler keeps your supplies cold for days on end. Whether you're organizing a grand beach party, embarking on an epic deep-sea fishing expedition, or engaging in any other activity that demands a large-scale cooler, this model is an outstanding choice. While its price may seem steep, rest assured that this cooler will serve you well for years to come, whether you're at the beach, on a boat, in the desert, or any other location that calls for reliable cooling performance.
Pelican offers a wide array of accessories that allow you to further customize their coolers to suit your specific needs and preferences. It's definitely worth exploring the available options.
The Ideal Choice for Dual Compartment Coolers: Pelican Dayventure Backpack Cooler ($290)
Insulation: This cooler features closed-cell foam insulation for optimal temperature regulation.Capacity: With a generous 19 qt capacity, this cooler can hold all your essential items.Weight: Weighing only 3 lbs, this cooler is lightweight and easy to carry.Pros: Its durable nylon exterior and ability to keep drinks cold and food hot make it an excellent choice.Cons: The bottom compartment, though well-insulated, is relatively small.
When it comes to the convenience of keeping food and drinks separate, the Pelican Dayventure is the perfect companion. This backpack cooler not only offers ample storage space but also features padded shoulder straps that can comfortably handle heavy loads. The bottom compartment is designed to accommodate a six-pack, including ice, making it ideal for storing refreshing beverages of your choice during outdoor adventures under the sun. If ice is not necessary, the same compartment can easily fit up to 7 tall cans.
Featuring high-density closed-cell foam insulation, this cooler guarantees your drinks will remain cold throughout your journey and beyond. Positioned above the bottom compartment is a larger insulated pocket, providing the flexibility to keep your burritos hot or your sushi cold. The included straps and attachment points allow you to attach additional items such as a beach blanket, making it perfect for sunset dates or preparing for a long day at the beach, fully equipped with food and drinks.
The Most Stylish Cooler: The Pouch by Kanga Coolers ()
Insulation: Equipped with neoprene insulation to ensure your beverages stay cool.Capacity: Holds up to 12 cans.Weight: Weighing just 1 lb, this cooler is incredibly lightweight and easy to carry.Pros: It is highly portable and can accommodate a 12-pack of cans without any issues.Cons: Its cooling abilities are limited to an afternoon.
The Inertia team also highly recommends Kanga's line of iceless cooler bags for their remarkable cooling performance and stylish design. Apart from keeping your items cool, these cooler bags serve as fashionable accessories. If you only require your drinks to remain cold for a few hours and prefer to avoid dealing with traditional ice, The Pouch is the ideal choice for you. This cooler can easily hold a six-pack of bottles or a 12-pack of cans, ensuring your beverages stay cool for up to seven hours, an impressive feat without the use of ice.
Of course, if you desire extended cooling capabilities, you can always add ice to the cooler. Additionally, if you need to carry more than a 12-pack of cans, consider the Kase Mate, which has a capacity of up to 30 cans. To top it all off, Kanga coolers are available in various stylish colors, and with every purchase, a tree is planted to help offset carbon emissions.
In conclusion, whether you're a beach enthusiast or a frequent camper, having the best beach cooler is a must-have accessory to keep your drinks and snacks cool and refreshing. From the high-end options like the YETI Tundra Haul Wheeled Cooler and the ICEMULE Boss to the more budget-friendly choices like the Maelstrom Backpack Cooler and the ICEMULE Jaunt 15L, there is a cooler out there for everyone. If you prioritize long ice retention, the RTIC 65 QT Hard Cooler is your best bet, while the Pelican Elite 65 Wheeled Cooler reigns supreme in heavy-duty durability. For those who value style, The Pouch by Kanga Coolers is a sleek and fashionable option. So go ahead, pick your favorite beach cooler, pack it up, and embark on your next adventure in style and chilled comfort.
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