A couple walks on the beach carrying a cooler

The 20 Best Coolers of 2021

In this day and age, choosing the best cooler may seem daunting. Do I need one with wheels? How big does it need to be? Are soft coolers better than hard ones? All of these questions depend on your specific needs, and lucky for you, there are enough coolers under the sun that finding the perfect one should be no problem. 

There are backpack coolers, rotomolded coolers for additional insulation, and coolers that keep your food warm and cold. A cooler is one of the most essential parts of any summer BBQ or camping trip, no matter what you select. The only issue is where to start; well, we’ve broken the best coolers of 2021 into many categories.

Best Coolers Overall

When selecting the best coolers overall, you’re looking at various things. Ice retention, weight, capacity, features, and ultimate price are all compared to decide which cooler provides the best bang for your buck.

DEWALT TSTAK Rolling Cooler (DWST17824)

Exterior Dimensions:24.8 in. x 20.5 in. x 17 in.
Capacity:30 Quarts
Weight:14.49 lbs

Although a little pricier than other essential coolers, this DEWALT TSTAK Rolling Cooler is the best cooler on the market for your money. It provides a decent-sized option that won’t break your back, hauling it around. The most significant shining moment for the TSTAK Cooler is its ice retention. Three days of ice retention is more than enough to compete with other models on the market and give you the service you need for your party or trip.

Milwaukee Jobsite Cooler (48-22-8250)

Exterior Dimensions:15 in. x 13.8 in. x 11.1 in.
Capacity:21.65 Quarts
Weight:2.5 lbs

The Milwaukee Jobsite Cooler is one of the lightest coolers on the market for its size, and its price is one of the lowest on the market as well. With its 1680D ballistic material base and metal zippers for a soft cooler, it will stand the test of time. Where the Milwaukee cooler really excels is essentially doubling as a toolbox. A tape measure clip, tech pocket, and five outside pockets provide unmatched flexibility, so you can carry everything you need in one place.

Klein Tools Ice Cooler Box (55650)

Exterior Dimensions:25.9 in. x 17.6 in. x 13.6 in.
Capacity:48 Quarts
Weight:16.5 lbs

This cooler from Klein Tools comes loaded with features. A built-in stainless steel bottle opener cuts out all those moments searching for the handheld one around the campsite. The side mounts that hold the Klein LED Work Light or Wireless Speaker is a nice touch that adds convenience. On top of its features, it is one of the lightest coolers of its size. It’s a little more expensive, but the Ice Cooler Box makes up for it in other areas.

Best Coolers with Wheels

The main area of focus when buying a cooler with wheels is how durable the wheels are. If the wheels leave you stranded somewhere, your money is wasted. You will also have to consider the typical terrain you’ll be pulling the cooler on and how long the distance will be to properly evaluate the effectiveness of the wheels.

YETI Tundra Haul (10060010000)

Exterior Dimensions:19.5 in. x 18.625 in. x 13.625 in.
Capacity:55 Quarts
Weight:37 lbs

The Neverflat wheels on this Yeti cooler are built to be durable and traverse the most challenging terrain. It’s one of the most significant wheeled models on the market. A capacity of 55 quarts and a weight of 37 pounds makes transporting large quantities of food or beverages easy. With Permafrost insulation and the other Roto features, your food and drink will stay cold for days.

Igloo Profile Rolling Cooler 30qt (00050344)

Exterior Dimensions:24 in. x 18.25 in. x 17.875 in.
Capacity:30 Quarts
Weight:15 lbs

If you don’t have a large budget for a cooler, the Igloo Profile Rolling Cooler is for you. The sleek wheels will not hang up on surrounding items while moving. The cooler’s vertical design improves cooling performance, keeping your beverages cold longer. A telescoping handle makes it easy to pull at many heights, and the handle hangers are great for hanging bags. The lid features a media slot securely holding your phone or other electronics.

Best Affordable Coolers

Not everyone has an endless budget when shopping, so these options are excellent without sacrificing quality. When looking for the best affordable cooler, look for an option that fits your needs without breaking your wallet.

Cool-It Six-Pack Can Cooler (AN5100D)

Cool it freezer pack cooler.
Exterior Dimensions:10.5 in. x 11.5 in. x 3.25 in.
Capacity:6 cans
Weight:3.85 lbs

If you need something light and portable, the Cool-It Six-Pack Can Cooler fits the bill. It doesn’t come with many bells and whistles, but it makes up for its quality. The entire cooler is placed in the freezer for 4 to 6 hours and keeps six 12-ounce cans cold for up to 6 hours. Another great feature is that it floats, so you don’t have to worry about losing your drinks if it goes overboard on the boat.

Igloo Playmate Elite Cooler (00032645)

Exterior Dimensions:20.875 in. x 16.125 in. x 15.625 in.
Capacity:16 Quarts
Weight:10.1 lbs

The Igloo Playmate is a classic, affordable cooler that has been around for years. It adheres to the adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The push-button lid design conveniently slides open and is easy to operate one-handed. A molded-in carry handle is comfortable and durable for transport. The plastic exterior is durable enough to withstand dents, chips, or rust. 

Klein Tools Tough Box Cooler (55600K)

Exterior Dimensions:16.75 in. x 13.5 in. x 12.5 in.
Capacity:17 Quarts
Weight:6.75 lbs

With this one, Klein Tools put about as many features as possible in a 17-quart cooler. The lid features an interior compartment for storing utensils, napkins, or smaller condiments. The lid stays open at either 90- or 180 degrees and is recessed so 1-liter bottles can stand upright in the cooler. The Tough Box keeps items cool for up to 30 hours, making it one of the best for its size.

Best Soft Coolers

When selecting the best soft cooler, try to focus on durability. Many soft coolers are made of fabric and don’t contain plastic, so you need something that will suit your needs. If you plan on using it as a lunch bag and bringing it to and from work, consider the conditions of where you work. 

YETI Hopper M30 2.0 (18025180000)

Exterior Dimensions:25 in. x 17.5 in. x 12 in.
Capacity:30.5 Quarts
Weight:7 lbs

The YETI Hopper M30 is built for long-lasting life while still being user-friendly. A wide mouth makes loading and unloading items into the cooler easy. A strip of ultra-strong magnets creates a leak-resistant seal and keeps food cold longer. Two quick-release buckles create additional security in case the cooler gets tossed around. The outside features a HitchPoint Grid to easily attach accessories like a bottle opener.

YETI Hopper Flip 8 Insulated Soft Cooler (18010130014)

Exterior Dimensions:11.5 in. x 10.5 in. x 8 in.
Capacity:1.875 Quarts
Weight:2.8 lbs

The YETI Hopper Flip 8 is excellent if you don’t have many items to haul around. Its lightweight design is perfect for keeping your lunch cold or needing a few drinks for a long car ride. The Hopper’s high-density fabric is waterproof and resistant to mildew, punctures, and UV rays, so it’s durable enough to handle any job site. COLDCELL insulation provides superior cooling abilities compared to other soft coolers.

Best Hard Coolers

Hard coolers are for something more durable and larger than most soft coolers. When choosing the best-rugged cooler, look for ice retention, build quality, and lock mechanisms. These are three areas you don’t want to skimp on.

DEWALT 25 Quart Roto-Molded Cooler (DXC25QT)

Exterior Dimensions:23 in. x 15.55 in. x 15.04 in.
Capacity:25 Quarts
Weight:19.4 lbs

The DEWALT Roto-Molded Cooler is desiRotomoldedvirtually indestructible and can be handRotomoldednditions during transport. Reinforced pressure-injected insulation keeps ice cold for days, so your food will stay cold during longer trips. Easy-open cam latches keep the cold in and are ultra-durable for longer life. The cooler also features a built-in bottle opener, cup holders, and non-skid feet.

Best Backpack Coolers

Comfort is the key to selecting the best backpack cooler for yourself. You’ll be carrying this cooler on your back, and the last thing you want is shoulder pain, especially if you have to wear it for a prolonged period. 

Pelican Dayventure Backpack Cooler (SOFT-CBKPK-LGRY)

Exterior Dimensions:21.7 in. x 12.1 in. x 7.1 in.
Capacity:19.4 Quarts
Weight:9.3 lbs
Material:Plastic and Fabric

This backpack cooler is the epitome of versatility. The Pelican Dayventure Backpack Cooler has dual insulated storage compartments on the top and bottom. The bottom, a dedicated cooler compartment, holds up to 6 cans. The lightly insulated top can double as another cooler compartment or dry storage. Ergonomic padded shoulder straps and a rubberized carry handle provide comfort for all-day journeys.

YETI Hopper Backflip 24 Charcoal (18050125000)

Exterior Dimensions:19.125 in. x 13.75 in. x 8.5 in.
Capacity:25 Quarts
Weight:5.3 lbs
Material:Fabric and Rubber Foam

The Hopper BackFlip 24 turns the Hopper Flip into a hiker’s best friend. Taller and broader than the Flip, the BackFlip is designed to distribute weight evenly. The design, combined with the ergonomic shoulder straps, will make any journey more comfortable. A removable chest strap and waist belt adds stability and comfort. Additionally, this cooler can hold 20 cans for hours.

Pelican Light Gray Dayventure Sling Cooler (SOFT-CSLING-LGRY)

Exterior Dimensions:18.3 in. x 7.5 in. x 7.5 in.
Capacity:9 Quarts
Weight:7.9 lbs

The Pelican Dayventure Sling Cooler features a padded shoulder strap to carry slung over your shoulder. Its lightweight design makes it easier to carry for longer trips. The cooler can hold up to 12 cans or 8.5 total liters and features a side pocket for additional dry storage. A compression-molded base makes it easy to stand on its end. Puncture-resistant material provides longer life in harsh conditions.

Best Coolers for Camping

A cooler is an essential item during summer camping. When choosing the best cooler for camping, look for one with good latches to keep out any wildlife that might come calling for your food at night. Secondly, select one that can be used as a comfortable seat, so you don’t have to pack chairs and a cooler.

YETI Tundra 105 Cooler (YT105W)

Exterior Dimensions:30.5 in. x 20 in. x 19.5 in.
Capacity:85 Quarts
Weight:36 lbs

Certified bear-resistant, the YETI Tundra 105 Cooler is guaranteed to keep Yogi from claiming your food at night. It is built vertically, so the cooler has a smaller footprint and takes up less valuable space on the boat or truck. Permafrost insulation keeps food or beverages cold for days. The Tundra is perfect for sitting while watching the fire or checking your fishing reel with a rounded flat top.

Igloo IMX Cooler (00049858)

Exterior Dimensions:32 in. x 21 in. x 19 in.
Capacity:70 Quarts
Weight:33 lbs

The Igloo IMX Cooler features an injection-molded design, so it’s super durable. Weighing 40 percent less than coolers with similar performance makes it easy to transport without sacrificing capacity or quality. It features a bottle opener, cup holders, a lockable lid, and a fish ruler on the lid. At 32 inches wide, there is plenty of space to sit while roasting marshmallows comfortably. 

Best Small Coolers

Not everyone needs a cooler to hold items for an entire party. If you’re looking for a more personal cooling option, focus on size and portability when choosing the best small cooler. 

DEWALT 10QT Roto-Molded Cooler (DXC10QT)

Exterior Dimensions:17.7 in. x 12 in. x 12 in.
Capacity:10 Quarts
Weight:11 lbs

The DEWALT 10 Quart Roto-Molded Cooler provides the same level of durability as the 25-quart model but is small enough to easily transport from job to job. The easy-open cam latches and Rotomoldedet creates unmatched ice retention that will keep food and drinks cold for days. It also features a built-in bottle opener, non-skid feet, and cup holders for convenience.

Milwaukee PACKOUT 16QT Cooler (48-22-8460)

Exterior Dimensions:16.3 in. x 12.9 in. x 9.8 in.
Capacity:16 Quarts
Weight:6.2 lbs

The Milwaukee PACKOUT Cooler can hold ice for over 30 hours and is IP65-rated, meaning it can stand up to the harshest working and natural environments. Impact-resistant polymers create maximum durability. An integrated storage tray makes it easy to hold condiments, utensils, or napkins away from the ice in the cooler. This cooler is also part of Milwaukee’s Modular Storage System, so you can stack it with the rest of your tool loadout.

Orca 20 Qt Cooler (ORCSF/SF020)

Exterior Dimensions:19 in. x 15 in. x 13.75 in.
Capacity:20 Quarts
Weight:17 lbs

The Orca 20 Quart Cooler’s roto-molded construction creates a durable solution. Integrated insulation and a lid gasket create maximum ice retention and keep food fresh for 10 days. Throtomolded features a cargo net attachment for adding accessories or storage for dry goods. A single flex-grip stainless steel handle creates additional durability and comfort during transport.

Best Large Coolers

Sometimes, you need to go big or go home. These coolers are designed to hold large quantities of food or beverages, making them good candidates for parties or camping trips. When choosing the best large cooler, emphasize capacity and ice retention.

YETI Tundra 125 Cooler (YT125W)

Exterior Dimensions:40 in. x 20 in. x 19.5 in.
Capacity:113 Quarts
Weight:45 lbs

The YETI Tundra 125 is perfect for hunting, fishing expeditions, or big family vacations. Its walls and lids are insulated with 2 to 3 inches of pressure-injected polyurethane, keeping ice frozen longer. It’s big enough to hold up to two people, so you’ll have less to put on the boat. An included dry goods basket makes it easy to keep dry foods from getting wet.

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