"Unveiling the Ultimate Performance of Coleman's 48-Quart Cooler: A Comprehensive Review"

Looking for a moderately priced cooler for a day trip? The Coleman Performance 48-Quart might fit the bill. This plastic cooler has injected walls filled with carbon dioxide for insulation. It boasts a pair of plastic handles and a height of 13 inches, perfect for most average-sized wine bottles and 2L sodas. The Coleman 48 also includes a drain with a tethered plug for quick and easy draining.

coleman performance 48-quart cooler review - without latches or a seal, the coleman 48 is easy to open but not...

A Comparison of Performance

Planning to keep your food safe and chilled for an entire weekend? The Coleman 48 may not be the best option. In our insulation testing, it maintained sub-40 degree F temperatures for only 2.3 days without being opened, which is less than Coleman's advertised 3-day claim. It maintained sub-50 degree F temperatures for a few more hours, providing a total of 2.6 days of cool beverages. It's worth noting that we didn't attempt to maximize insulation by supplementing with ice or other methods. However, the Coleman 48's insulation falls short compared to rotomolded and thickly insulated models. Its walls are made of plain plastic and insulated with carbon dioxide gas. It also doesn't have a seal around the lid to keep cool air inside.

coleman performance 48-quart cooler review - the plastic hinges on the coleman 48 aren't well attached, aren't...

The Coleman 48 features no seal or latches, making it simple to open but lacking in insulation. This model's walls are insulated with carbon dioxide gas rather than foam.

Credit: Maggie Brandenburg


In terms of its durability, the Coleman 48 falls short in comparison to its more rugged counterparts. Furthermore, it's not particularly sturdy on its own. The lack of a seal around the lid allows air to seep in and water to leak out. Even sitting on the lid releases a loud whoosh of air, and the cooler's body isn't built to withstand much tugging. The hinges are thin plastic screwed into the lid and attached to the cooler's body with a single plastic piece that seems poised to break under moderate pressure. Although we didn't attempt to forcefully open the lid, it's clear that it could be ripped off the cooler's body with little effort. The mobile pegs holding the handles in place aren't especially durable, and their ability to withstand heavy loads or prolonged UV exposure is questionable. Though we didn't observe any damage during our testing, we handled the cooler gently because it seemed less robust than the others we evaluated. Online user reviews support our concerns, with other people reporting damage to their Coleman 48s.

Build Quality

The Coleman 48 is an average-sized cooler that boasts a simple yet functional design. However, its plastic hinges, which are poorly attached, are not very robust, and they produce an ominous creaking sound when opened. With just a slight tug, the hinges easily detach alarmingly far from the body of the cooler making it appear weak.


The Coleman 48 is a no-frills cooler that is straightforward and easy to use. The lid presses tightly closed and quickly opens without any latches required. Although the lid stayed closed at first, we were able to stretch the plastic hinges to keep it open for easier loading and unloading. Due to the indented lid, the cooler's interior is low and wide, providing a maximum internal height of about 13 inches, which is sufficient to accommodate most average-sized wine or 2L soda bottles standing upright. Our measurement revealed that it had a capacity closer to 49 quarts than its advertised 49 quarts, making it a comfortable medium-sized model. It is also equipped with a drain that can be easily popped open with one hand but fails to evacuate the inside entirely unless the cooler is tipped completely, leaving nearly an inch of meltwater in the bottom on a flat surface.

coleman performance 48-quart cooler review - though the flip-flopping design of the handles makes them easy to...


At only 7.3 pounds, the Coleman 48 is one of the lightest coolers we've tested, but filling it with heavy food, beverages, and ice increasingly counteracts its low starting weight. Despite this issue, the size is narrow enough for an individual to carry, though lifting it in and out of the car may become too heavy for one person. The simple plastic handles located on either side can be utilized by two people for co-carrying it a short distance. However, since the handles are too narrow to allow more than one hand at a time (except when they're stacked on each other), the hard plastic spindles can be uncomfortable to your fingers. Nevertheless, since no one expects a cooler of this size to be transported for long distances, the Coleman 48's starting weight sets an impressive base.

coleman performance 48-quart cooler review - though it's not rugged or exceptionally insulatory, the coleman 48...coleman performance 48-quart cooler review - an indented lid allows the coleman 48 to accommodate most...

Looking for a no-frills cooler that gets the job done without breaking the bank? The Coleman 48 might be just what you need. While its flip-flop handles are easy to grab, their flimsy plastic peg attachments and narrow width make them less comfortable over long distances or heavy loads. However, the Coleman 48 does have a few convenient features, such as an attached drain plug and an indented lid that can accommodate most average-sized wine bottles and 2L sodas.

In terms of value, the Coleman 48 is priced well below other models, making it an attractive option if you're on a budget and only need a cooler for short-term use. However, if you're planning to take it on rugged camping trips or long weekends at the lake, this medium-sized ice chest might not withstand the wear and tear.

All in all, the Coleman 48 offers a simple and inexpensive cooling solution for those with modest needs. While it may not be the most durable or insulatory option out there, it's still a useful size for occasional use on hot summer days at the park or quick trips to the store.

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