Do These Coolers Have What It Takes to Get You Hooked?
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If you're on the fence about whether or not to buy from Hooked, our review of their coolers should help put your mind at ease.
There are dozens of brands that sell coolers like the ones that Hooked offers, so there's nothing particularly unique about them.
However, Hooked is owned by veterans, which is not only impressive but also implies special benefits for military members who shop there (more on this later). This isn't something you see every day, but we've reviewed a few veteran-run cooler companies before, and we've been impressed by both Taiga and Hooked.
Finally, how do Hooked coolers stack up against the competition, such as YETI and RTIC?
Should you think about purchasing them at all See what you can learn by reading on!
Analyzing the Hooked Cooler
First, let's take a look at what makes "hook" coolers so special.
Strength and durability in building
Let's start with a quick discussion of how the Hooked coolers were constructed.Chilly Bag for 35s with a Hook
Because of their construction as rotomolded coolers, these ice chests can withstand almost any abuse imaginable. To be honest, there's nothing special about this cooler that you wouldn't find in any other rotomolded model (YETI included) - Hooked coolers are nice and sturdy, making them ideal for outdoor excursions.
Small hardware in these coolers appears to be pretty sturdy as well; you get a lockable lid and heavy-duty rubber latches on the doors, and the rope handles and lid seem sturdy enough to withstand bear attacks.
However, for economic reasons, IGBC does not certify that hooked coolers are bear-resistant; some brands (e.g. g IGBC certification is expensive, so RTIC and maybe even Hooked are avoiding it to keep their cooler prices low.
However, a cooler with a lockable lid and rotomolded shell is likely to be bear-resistant even without IGBC certification, so the certification is more for prestige than necessity.
Insulation comes next. Also, as is our custom, we've paid special attention to how well Hooked coolers keep ice frozen.
Over two inches of closed-cell polyurethane (PU) foam provides the insulation in the Hooked cooler, which is par for the course for high-end rotomolded coolers. Once again a standard feature of coolers, the freezer-grade gasket in Hooked coolers creates a hermetic seal that keeps warm air where it doesn't belong: in the cooler.
The ability of Hooked coolers to keep ice for as long as possible is touted in the company's marketing as follows:
- 25 - 5 days
- 35 - 6 days
- 50 - 7 days
- 75 – 10 days
What we really like about Hooked is that it provides ice retention figures for each cooler size. In most cases, the ice retention time of the largest cooler produced by a given company is advertised as being representative of that company's entire size range. As a result, the provided statistics are exaggerated when applied to compact coolers. I don't understand why that is the case.
The reason is that larger coolers have an advantage over smaller ones when it comes to ice retention, even if they are otherwise identical in construction and insulation. This is due to the fact that smaller coolers' insulation can be rendered useless by even moderate temperatures much more quickly than larger ones. Smaller coolers simply can't compete with their larger counterparts in this respect. Therefore, a large cooler is the best choice for ice retention.
Though we have not yet conducted extensive ice retention tests on Hooked coolers, the company's claims seem to be on par with those of the much more expensive YETI models. Can we have faith in them
That's a pretty accurate description. With dozens of other brands under our belts, we can say that the Hooked cooler's construction and insulation are among the best we've seen. What we can say up front is that if you follow these guidelines, you should regularly achieve the stated results (or very close to them):
- Packing requires a preliminary chilling of your Hooked cooler and its contents.
- Use both flake ice (which chills quicker) and block ice (which melts more slowly) in addition to the standard cube ice. Instead, you can use premium ice packs, such as Cooler Shock, which have a lower freezing point and melt at a slower rate.
- If it's not absolutely necessary, don't open the cooler. It's important to keep the cooler closed as much as possible and not leave it open for too long when using it.
- Keep the cooler in the shade.
- When the cooler is not in use, a thermal blanket should be used to keep it at a constant temperature.
Again, from our prior experience, we can say that even with proper packing, a 90°F day will only allow the ice in your Hooked cooler to stay cold for about a day. They would still have excellent insulation even in that situation.
You can get a hooked cooler in one of four different sizes, including 25, 35, 50, and 75 quarts. You can think of these as the quartage capacities of the coolers, and they're pretty close to being right. The following are the maximum allowable contents for Hooked coolers, based on their internal dimensions:
- Twenty-five less hot: twenty-three 36 quarts Multiplying the cooler's internal dimensions (height, width, and depth; for a 25-liter cooler, that comes out to 14) yields this value. 3” x 8 5” x 11 1” = 1,349 205 cu in) and multiplying by 2.718 to get the equivalent in imperial liquid quarts (about 23 36 When the quart capacity of your cooler isn't listed, and you know its interior dimensions, you can figure it out like this:
- Cooler than 35: 33 4 quarts
- The cooler of the two is number 51. 9 quarts
- A portable refrigerator that rolls: 75 3 quarts The wheel housings take up some of the interior space in this size, so the true capacity is probably closer to 75 quarts than 80.
Hooked coolers range in size from portable to moderate, making them suitable for a wide variety of consumers. Because so few people actually require 200 or 300 quart coolers, this line does not include any of those sizes.
In contrast to YETI coolers, the naming scheme of Hooked coolers is relatively simple, which is a plus. Many customers are confused by the fact that the YETI cooler size names do not include the quart capacity.
Transportable 75-quart ice chest with wheelsRolling cooler with 75 hooks
The Hooked 75-quart cooler rolls around on its own wheels for convenience. We're not sure how we feel about these wheels, to be perfectly honest.
The wheels aren't too big, so the cooler still has a decent amount of storage space inside despite their presence. Wheels have the potential to greatly improve portability on relatively smooth terrain.
However, the wheels are most certainly not designed for off-road use, as they are simply too small. In contrast, the Igloo Trailmate, ROVR coolers, YETI Haul, and this Blue Coolers 55-quart cooler all feature large wheels that are suitable for off-road use.
We've never seen wheels this tiny before, so that's a definite point of differentiation. a rotomolded cooler with wheels, However, we are not confident in their viability. Some people may find them useful, but anyone looking for off-road capability should look elsewhere.
The Functions and ExtrasIce Chest with a Hooked Lid
There are a few practical additions to hooked coolers:
- Slots for securing
These can be used to safely fasten the cooler to your boat or pickup.
- Fish ruler
The fishing ruler on the top is top-notch. The largest cooler, the 75, has two 20-inch rulers, while the smallest cooler, the 25, has just one 12-inch ruler.
- Storage for cups
The cup holders are ingenious; they are arranged in tiers to accommodate containers of varying heights. These holders are sturdy enough to support even a small cup.
- Openers for bottles
These are located on the right and left sides of the cooler's front panel.
- A pair of removable grips
With the exception of the 25-quart cooler, the rope handles on Hooked products are detachable. Take note that the 25-liter cooler has a metal grab handle rather than ropes.
The basic conveniences of non-slip feet and an instant drain plug are also included on hooked models.
Hooked provides accessories such as compartments and baskets. The review product we received had a removable drain plug and a rope handle, but no replacement latches, bottle openers, or other commonly broken hardware.
When and where do you manufacture Hooked Coolers?
Compared to YETI coolers, hooked coolers are significantly more affordable. They cost very little, and for that price, you get a lot.
Like other popular cooler brands, such as Blue Coolers, RTIC Coolers, and Cascade Mountain Tech (all made in China), Hooked designs and ships their products from the United States but manufactures them in other countries. We contacted the company for clarification, and they told us that their "hard coolers are sourced outside the US from multiple countries."
Details on the Guarantee and Discounts
Unlike many other budget-friendly cooler manufacturers, Hooked offers a lifetime warranty on all of its products. Additionally, 10% off discounts are offered to veterans, active duty personnel, and first responders.
Generally speaking, Hooked models are reliable substitutes for YETI and other rotomolded coolers, but they aren't for people who want to support American manufacturers.
Pitching Hooked Coolers Against YETI in a ShowdownHooked Fifty vs. Yeti Tundra Coolers
YETI is the gold standard of cooler brands, and rotomolded cooler manufacturers must work hard to keep up. Here is a comparison of a Hooked cooler to a YETI hard cooler (in this case, a Tundra):
- Constructing for longevity
Each is a tough, heavy-duty cooler, but only YETI Tundras have the International Ice Cold Storage Association seal of approval. The overall standard is comparable.
The design of the Hooked brand of coolers is obviously influenced by that of the YETI, down to the shells, latches, and other hardware. Nothing new or unexpected here; we knew that most rotomolded cooler manufacturers would try to copy YETI's designs.
Although Hooked provides four different sizes, YETI Tundra provides a whopping thirteen (not counting the miniature Roadie).
It's great that Hooked comes in five different hues. If you're looking for a new YETI color, you can expect to see new releases every season.
When comparing YETI Tundra and Hooked coolers, it is clear that the former has the superior lid design due to its inclusion of fish rulers, cub holders, and bottle openers. In spite of this, molded tie-down slots are included in both cooler series.
Dry goods baskets are included with YETI coolers but not with Hooked models.
- Accessories More replacement and accessory parts, such as feet, drain plugs, latches, and many more, are available for YETI coolers. Examples of these include traction lid cushions, tie-down kits, padlocks, beverage holders, and so on. )
- Origin You can choose to have your YETI cooler made in the USA or the Philippines when you place your order. Hooked are not made in the United States, though exactly where they are produced is unknown ("multiple countries").
- Warranty If you're looking for a cooler, it's clear that Hooked has the upper hand because their products are guaranteed for life, while Tundras only have a 5-year warranty.
- Pricing Compared to YETI coolers, the price of a Hooked costs only about half as much, which may seem absurd at first, but both we and our jaded audience have come to expect such extreme price disparities. The higher cost of a YETI product can be attributed in part to the fact that it is a name brand product that is made in the United States and is certified by the International Green Building Council.
To sum up the debate between Hooked and YETI, we recommend Hooked coolers if you care more about price than about features. They are much more reasonably priced despite being of equivalent quality, durability, insulation, and features.
However, YETI is the better choice if you require a more well-known brand, extensive accessories, replacement parts, large sizes, or specialized hues.
Coolers of Comparable Cost That Are Worth Investigating
Here are some comparable options if you're still not sure that a Hooked cooler is the best for you; either you'll find something you like better, or you'll come to realize that Hooked coolers are the best option after considering these alternatives.
RTIC is a significant rival to YETI because it manufactures coolers that are virtually indistinguishable from YETI coolers, save for their lower prices. RTIC coolers are slightly more expensive than Hooked models overall, but the price per quart is very close to that of the former.
There are no bottle openers, fish rulers, or cup holders on an RTIC cooler. They are not IGBC-approved, but do have tie-down points, tough rope handles, and a rotomolded, bear-resistant build. In this respect, they are remarkably similar to YETI coolers. Our RTIC cooler vs. YETI comparison has more details.
The traction lid on RTIC coolers is an excellent casting support, making them preferable to Hooked and YETI alternatives.
Visit their shop to learn more about RTIC coolers >>
Cordova's rotomolded coolers are made in the US and cheaper than most other US-manufactured coolers on the market, making them arguably the most exciting alternative to Hooked and YETI coolers.
The price of a Cordova cooler is even lower per quart than that of a comparable Hooked model thanks to recent price cuts and aggressive coupons (such as "save10now").
As an added bonus, Cordova coolers come with a lifetime warranty, IGBC certification, patented aluminum handles with bottle openers, and easy-access top-down latches (even in tight spaces).
Click here to learn more about Cordova Coolers.
If you're thinking about purchasing the Cordova, you should check out our in-depth review first.
Blue Coolers, like Hooked, is a US-based brand whose products are made in China. Both brands of coolers are reasonably priced, but Blue Coolers appears to have superior insulation due to thicker foam in the walls compared to Tundra and Hooked coolers.
Blue Coolers only has 30, 55, and 100-quart options. The 55-quart version comes in both stationary and mobile on-wheels forms. If you want off-road capabilities, the wheeled cooler is preferable to the wheeled Hooked 75 cooler due to its large wheels.
Blue Coolers models aren't as well-equipped as their Hooked counterparts, due to the absence of features like tie-down points and cup holders. However, Blue Coolers could be a better option if thermal retention is a priority.
See what it costs to buy from Blue Coolers >>.
The Best Places to Buy Ice Chests with Hooks
At the time this review was written, Hooked's coolers were only available from the company's online shop; they hadn't yet made their way to places like Amazon. Hooked also provided free shipping, but this benefit was possibly short-lived.
Conclusions about Hooked Coolers
Our analysis of the Hooked cooler reveals that these products offer exceptional value for the price. We have one major issue with Hooked, and that is that its coolers aren't made in the USA, but we recognize that this isn't a dealbreaker for many buyers.
Hooked may be one of the better alternatives to YETI if you care more about price than about the brand itself and just want a good performer.
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