Does the Catergator Cooler Live Up to Its Low Price Tag?

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Readers, welcome to another review on our fun blog. Today, we'll examine the CaterGator, a little-known cooler with a lot to offer. As we dive into this Catergator cooler review, fasten your seatbelt.

The CaterGator brand is now cooler, but the company itself isn't cooler. It is owned by Clark Associates, a bigger business that sells a wide variety of goods.

CaterGator logo

You can see that Clark Associates offers dozens of brands, ranging from dinnerware to coolers, by taking a quick look at the company's home page. Each of their brands could easily grow into a separate company.

Particularly, the CaterGator is offered for sale on the Webstaurant Store, a website run by Clark Associates. It appears to be sold only on the website, which has a number of drawbacks of its own.

But let's not rush into things. Those are the topics we'll cover in this article.

Review of a CaterGator Cooler

It has become commonplace in the Yeti-obsessed world we live in to see many brands that resemble Yeti while only slightly deviating from the iconic Yeti design. It creates the unsettling appearance that the coolers market is made up of many siblings who are somewhat too similar to one another.

That's why discovering a cooler that truly stands out, coming up with a distinctive design that sets it apart from the competition, always feels like a breath of fresh air.

That kind of cooler is CaterGator.

These coolers have a decently appealing and tough appearance, the kind of appearance that inspires confidence in their sturdiness and strength.

As one might anticipate from a high-end cooler, this one is rotomolded. That not only affects its resilience and strength as a cooler but also provides a strong, favorable indication of its capacity to hold ice.

Rotational molding is a unique cooler manufacturing method that is inspired by the way boats are built. It was first utilized by Yeti to create coolers, and it is one of the factors that caused Yeti coolers to sell so well and gain popularity right away.

It entails filling the plastic mold with polyethylene powder, heating it while rotating it continuously to maintain uniform thickness. The resulting ice chest is extremely sturdy and has no seams, making it practically unbreakable. In actuality, these ice chests are the ones that earn certifications for being gator- and bear-proof.

The design is straightforward yet tough, which serves as a good reminder of what a cooler is intended to do, which is to keep things cool. This cooler doesn't try too hard to be extravagant or bizarre-looking. The aesthetic is straightforward and practical, with a subdued appearance that still manages to look elegant.


It has smooth straight lines running across its face, giving it a panel-like appearance on the front. Rubber T-latches on the lid serve to firmly close it. T-latches are quite popular among high-end coolers because they are simple to open and close and can firmly hold the lid down when closed.

There is a hole that makes it simple to open in the center of the front face of the lid where it connects to the cooler's lip. The cooler has lock holes on the corners that allow you to lock it with padlocks to prevent unauthorized access.

Although this cooler doesn't have a bear-proof certification, the lockability probably makes it very difficult for bears and curious people to get into.

A large 24-inch fish ruler is engraved on the top of the lid so you can easily measure your fantastic and impressive catch. This cooler is likely sturdy enough to support you standing or sitting on top of the lid to facilitate casting because it is rotomolded.

Additionally, More Features

Two cup holders are located on the sides of the lid, so you won't have to worry about where to put your beer bottles or drink tumblers when you're outside. You'll be happy to know that integrated bottle openers are also located on the corners of the lid, in case the cup holders aren't enough.

Not only do you have to struggle with where to put your beer bottles, but you also don't need to carry a bottle opener with you.

The lid's back has self-stopping hinges. Self-stopping hinges are incredibly convenient if you've ever had to struggle to get an ice chest lid to stay open while you're attempting to get something out of the ice chest.

Using the CaterGator's self-stopping hinges, you can open the lid at any angle and have confidence that it will stay in place without requiring your support. This allows you to pick up the contents with both hands.

A single aluminum rod that runs through each hinge adds to their overall structural strength.

An industrial-grade rubber gasket is located beneath the lid to help keep everything airtight and enhance ice retention.

CaterGator 45 Qt Cooler
45 QT

CaterGator ice chest

CaterGator Rotomolded Cooler back view

CaterGator CG65SFW wheeled cooler
65 qt. on wheels

Built-In Cup Holders CaterGator

Handles rubber grip cater gator cooler

Self Stopping Hinges

wheels ice chest CaterGator

  • Non-slip shoes
  • Retention of ice:
    According to the manufacturer, up to 10 days
  • Construction made of triple-insulated polyethylene
  • Integrated cup holders
  • 3 bottle openers
  • Side handles and indentations
  • Comfortable rubber grips
  • Sense-Aware Hinges

Ice retention and Insulation

You're going to like what's inside regarding increasing ice retention. You don't often see a cooler with as thick of insulation as this one. Triple insulation is used in the CaterGator's design.

A layer of high-density polyethylene, or HDPE, is present on the exterior. We have a layer of foam and polyethylene in the middle, and a layer of food-grade polyethylene on the inside, which is what ultimately comes into contact with the ice and your food and beverages.

You should anticipate some periods of mad ice retention when there is insulation like that. On its website, the company itself states that ice can be kept for 10 days.

To be completely honest, we haven't yet put this cooler's ice retention to the test. However, based on reports from friends and reviews we've read online, it appears that most users only get a maximum of 7-8 days of ice retention from these coolers.  

The smallest Catergators won't be able to produce the same results as the larger ones, however, because the larger the cooler, the longer it can keep the ice icy.  

Therefore, even though I would be conservative about the 10-day claim, based on what I've learned thus far, I still believe that this cooler has some strong ice retention, which is a good thing.

Additional Features

There are some additional cool features on the exterior that you will undoubtedly enjoy. Carrying this cooler is made straightforward by the side nylon rope handles with attached rubber grips.

Even more convenience is provided by the larger ones having wheels. Additionally, a sizable drain is located close to the bottom for swiftly draining the melted ice water. To prevent loss, the drain cap has a chain tether.

The standard anti-skid rubber feet are on the bottom to elevate the cooler off the ground and improve insulation.


Round CaterGator Cooler

20 Qt Round catergator To top it all off, CaterGator also includes a round cooler.

Now, if you're not familiar with what a round cooler is, we have reviewed one in the past.

Check out our Kula review to learn more about them and their benefits. Although we haven't personally tested it, it appears to be just as good as the Kula and much less expensive.

Available colors and sizes

The 20 quart, 45 quart, 65 quart, and 100 quart sizes are available for this cooler. We sincerely appreciate that the 65 and 100 quart coolers have wheels to make moving them around incredibly simple.

Additionally, it should be noted that space is 100%, even on wheeled options. There are no wheel cavities to be concerned about that could cause your beers to spill.

Six colors are offered: Seafoam, Tan, White, Gray, Camouflage, and Beige. Even though this isn't much, it's still not bad.

6 available colors

Ice Chest from CaterGator: Cost and Availability

From the perspective of the customer, this cooler provides crazily high value for the money. We had a difficult time locating a sturdy cooler for this price.

We also value how different it appears. It has a distinctive appearance that stands out from the majority of coolers we've reviewed, which typically have a factory-like appearance.

Unfortunately, the Webstaurant Store appears to be the only place where this cooler is currently available, which reduces its visibility. Recently, though, we also discovered some of them on Amazon, albeit with limited stock.  

Hopefully that will change after reading this review, and more people will start to value this gem in the rough.

Yeti vs. CaterGator

In comparison to Yeti coolers, how does this cooler fare? To begin with, Yeti offers more sizes and colors. With only 4 sizes and up to 6 colors, CaterGator is somewhat constrained.

Both have high-quality construction and are equally tough. They are both high-performance coolers, and the CaterGator appears to be able to compete with the Yeti.

Catergator vs yeti cooler

We have to lean toward Yeti in terms of ice retention. Field-tested Yeti It is well known to last for quite a while. We don't really believe the 10-day claim either because even coolers with better insulation, like Cordova and Blue Coolers, require pre-chilling to maintain ice for that long.

Despite this, customer reviews of the cooler's ice retention are overwhelmingly positive, and we don't believe it falls far behind the Yeti in this regard.

Of course, Yeti has more extras like dividers, baskets, and the like. Additionally, it's possible that CaterGator replacement parts are less widely available than Yeti ones.

The price is the clearest sign against the CaterGator. In essence, this cooler is either almost as good as the Yeti or is on par with it, but it costs less than half as much. It's very difficult to ignore that.

One of the least expensive rotomolded coolers we have seen so far this year is this one. If you read our article on inexpensive rotomolded coolers, you'll see how Catergator fared in comparison to other brands included in the quart price comparison

Choose the CaterGator if you're on a tight budget but still desire a tough cooler that can maintain ice for a few days.

You should probably stick with the Yeti if you want a tested cooler from a well-known company.

Check Out These Alternative Coolers to CaterGator

If you're still not sure, why not do some more research to find out what other options might be worth taking into account? Similar coolers are shown here:

Cordova - Catergator alternative

Unlike Catergator, which is extremely affordable but not made in the USA, Cordova Coolers are the cheapest 100% American-made coolers on the market, both in terms of price per quart and absolute dollars.

Interesting enough, Cordova coolers are among the most feature-rich coolers we've seen in a while despite their low cost (they are still slightly more expensive than Catergator). It was covered in our earlier review of the Cordova cooler.

Due to Cordova's use of a unique type of closed-cell foam that has no negative environmental effects, the insulation is both thick and environmentally friendly. The ice retention is fantastic, and the integrated bottle openers on each of the all-metal handles make them truly unique.  

Overall, we believe Cordova is a hidden gem in the world of coolers, and as long as they can continue to offer their products at their current low prices, they'll be among our top recommendations.  

Click here to view Cordova Coolers.

Blue Cooler Ice Vault

These rotomolded coolers are quite good. Although they cost a little more than CaterGator, they are still worthwhile.

They have thicker insulation than the YETI Tundra (and the Catergator as well), which is one particularly interesting fact about them. Even with the small or mid-sized Blue coolers, ice retention over a week is not a problem. Their large cooler, the 110q, has a 10-day ice retention period.

Overall, Blue coolers are pretty great and, like Catergator, they have a great price to quart ratio; however, unlike Catergator, they are not US-made, which explains why they are less expensive.

You can check out their coolers or read our complete Blue cooler review here.

Review of the CaterGator Cooler: Evaluation and Verdict

This concludes our evaluation of the CaterGator cooler. This new cooler, as you can see, has won a special place in our hearts.

It occupies that sweet spot between premium and entry-level prices where a high-performance cooler can be purchased without breaking the bank.

We certainly anticipate that more people will become aware of it.

Updated on January 15, 2023; affiliate links; Amazon Product Advertising API images


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