Best Ice Chests

9 Best Ice Chests Reviews-Buyer Guide 2021

Quest for the best Ice chests – Intro

What are the best ice chests on the market?

On a hot day when the sun is beaming, your body feeling dehydrated and your mouth yearning for the taste of a refreshing beverage, you start thinking is there a way for you to take a drink with you whilst keeping it as cold as a refrigerator?

What you should look for in the best ice chest:

The big question arises what should you look for on the quest for the best ice cooler?

Well, although there may be a lot of factors that others assess on, such as design/look, although this may be important.

We believe to be the major factors when assessing what we believe to be the best ice chests.

The following are the major factors:

  • Size / Capacity
  • Ice retention
  • Durability
  • Portability
  • Price

Size / Capacity

Ice Chests Capacity

When looking for the best ice chests around, Size affects them mobility and the portability of a cooler the bigger the cooler the harder it is to transport so this is a major consideration when we going for an ideal cooler.

If you’re going on a mountain hike, it will be better to use a smaller cooler in order to move with accessibility and ease as compared to a larger cooler which would be more ideal for a family picnic or a nice sitting at the beach.

There are different types of sizes for example; the orca cooler comes in 20, 26, 40, 58, 75, 140 Quarts.

As one quart = 0.95 litres (US)

1 quart (UK) = 1.14 litres.

The quart is typical measurement used for cooler capacities and this is the equivalent court to around 1 US liter (0.95L).

In that case as a reference point, an ideal size for going out on a picnic with your significant other would be 6-quart, camping with a few people would be off around 20 quarts. Depending on how many people you have along with you.

Name ModelSize
Coleman Cooler48 Quart
Igloo Polar Cooler120 Quart
Coleman Soft Cooler16 Cans

Ice retention / Cooler Insulation

What makes a cooler that is $50 different from another, which is $500. This becomes a key factor when looking for the best ice chests.

Cooler Insulation

The general trend in the difference between a $500 ice chests from a $50 cooler is ice retention or insulation, hence a more efficient cooler.

A high-end cooler such as the yeti, the pelican or even the Coleman cooler has a ice retention time for up to 9 days, whereas a cheaper model of a $30 cooler would only keep contents cool for up to s few hours before the contents begin to warm up to its surrounding.

This could be vital if you’re using it for events and hobbies such as fishing, as you want the all the fish to stay as fresh as possible, a few hours or couple of days may not be enough to keep the fishes fully preserved, coolers such as the Pelican or the Yeti are great for long term preservation.

Name ModelAvg. Ice Retention
Coleman Cooler5-6 Days
Igloo Polar Cooler6-7 Days
Coleman Soft Cooler3-4 Days


Now there’s no point of having a cooler that can store contents for up to 9 days without being sturdy enough to last for a while, and this is why durability is also a factor.

When searching for the best ice chests the ideal cooler should be able to withstand a number of damages that others coolers would damage from, For example, scratches blemishes falls from heights, weight exertion and more.



The last thing you would want is having a durable Cooler with great ice retention that hasn’t got much portability to it if you’re traveling.

Big coolers could be an inconvenience to carry around mainly because of the handle issue there is that much space to grab to transport the cool around and if it is possible you need at least two people to grab on either side.

It is a good idea to look out for ‘easy to grab handle’ coolers or preferably a wheeled cooler.

Your price range?

Price range is an important aspect to consider, based on your budget it won’t be ideal to go for a high end $500 cooler for a one-time picnic event at the beach.

So, it is important to know your budget and what type of coolers you can get for that price like most products quality increases with price. 

Well, good thing we have coolers!

There are many reasons why to get a cooler, either for a simple drink at a picnic to the advance; fishermen keeping their prized catch fresh for days, there are many why to reasons why it worth looking for the best ice chests.

Best Ice Chest Reviews 2021 – Comparison Table

Name ModelSizeAvg. Ice RetentionWeightPrice
Coleman Cooler48 Quart5-6 Days9.48 pounds Check Price
Igloo Polar Cooler120 Quart6-7 Days18.21 pounds Check Price
Coleman Soft Cooler16 Cans3-4 Days1.75 pounds Check Price

Top 5 reviews:

We at the cooler reviews have gone through many categories of ice chests, from the heavy-duty coolers to the soft backpack coolers to present to you what we have deemed best ice chests of 2021.

Igloo Polar Cooler

Igloo Polar Cooler

The first on the best ice chests list, is the Igloo Polar Cooler, a great Yeti alternative.

we’re now onto the big dogs of coolers, With a whopping 120 quarts the Igloo polar cooler can be used for various uses, large/ heavy duty coolers such as the Yeti tundra and the Igloo cooler are great for keeping fish freshly preserve for up to 9 days after a long day of fishing.

Sizes and Measurements

With exterior dimensions of 38.31 x 17.38 x 17.75, the Igloo cooler has the capacity to hold up to 188 cans, a beast for when it comes to tailgate parties.

With Ultratherm insulation technology, the Igloo cooler can be kept warm up to 5 days in at temperatures of 90 degrees Fahrenheit.


The problems with most cooler is the problem with leaks, and spillage of contents, the Igloo cooler provides a secure lid closure, in the event that the cooler is put on its sides when packing.

Once used the ice and contents can be poured out with the use of a threaded drain plug.

Pros & Cons

  • Long Ice retention time for up to 5 days at 90 degrees
  • Large capacity of 120 quart
  • Great for keeping fish fresh
  • Strong and durable, can be use as a seat
  • Handles may not be that strong, there has been a few complaints of how the handles appear to snap off under pressure of load in the ice chest
Igloo Polar Cooler

Coleman 48-Quart Cooler

Coleman Performance Cooler, 48-Quart

The Coleman 48-quart cooler being rustproof and also having a leak resistant drain features the use of Hinged lids.

Although sounding mundane as a feature it is worth mentioning, since many coolers have a Snap-On lid, which can be a slight inconvenience from the fact you have a removable part to keep in mind.

Weighing 9 pounds, the Coleman cooler features a two-way handle for easier lifting and carrying, we are always in the situation whereby the weight of the cooler is too heavy to hold it ourselves this helps as two people can now lift it on either side.

Sizes and Measurements

The dimensions of the Coleman 48 quarts cooler are 14.5 x 14 x 26. This is great for a family picnic, as it has enough height and capacity to carry 2-litre bottles upright, if tightly packed, to reduce the amount of rattling loose cans moving around during transport if bottles are preferable.

Ozone Friendly

Plastic is a real problem, mass landfills like, and non-disposable and some can release harmful plastics such as free radicals.

The Coleman cooler provides a ThermOZONETM Insulation, which doesn’t contain ozone-depleting chemicals such as CFCs.

Pros & Cons

  • Easy of portability with the adjustable straps
  • Great insulation with the use of nylon pads
  • Easy to maintain / clean
  • Use of Antimicrobial technology resists moulds and odours
  • 2 external mesh pockets, 1 Interior
  • 3 Extra pockets (2 External, 1 Interior)
  • At its peak with 16 cans it is relatively packed when accommodating ice, it could be a bit of a tight squeeze.
Coleman 48-Quart Performance Cooler

Coleman 16-Can Soft Cooler With Hard Liner

Coleman 16-Can Soft Cooler With Hard Liner

If you’re traveling, either on a long walk alone or you’re with company, and you need to travel like why not get a soft cooler, which can act as a lightweight backpack.

Measurements and Design

Dimensions: 8 x 11 x 12 inches
Weight: 1.6 lbs.

Well, the Coleman 16 can cooler is a great choice for this, by its name it can hold up to 16 cans (4×4), As lights weight cooler weighing only 1.6 pounds, the dimensions are 8 x 11 x 12.

Being a soft cooler meaning the exterior not being of hard plastic, with a removable a stick Hatfield lining, the now flexible cooler can be folded into a bigger rucksack without the worry of space not being efficiently used.

The Coleman soft cooler can be easily cleaned, with built in antimicrobial properties within the flexible PEVA, it is a able to resist and resist moulds and prevent odours from lingering in the ice cooler.


• Easy of portability with the adjustable straps
• Great insulation with the use of nylon pads
• Easy to maintain / clean
• Use of Antimicrobial technology resists moulds and odours
• 2 external mesh pockets, 1 Interior
• 3 Extra pockets (2 External, 1 Interior)


• At its peak with 16 cans it is relatively packed when accommodating ice, it could be a bit of a tight squeeze.

Coleman Soft Cooler Bag

How it works?

When looking for the best ice chests on the market, it is best to understand what you are actually buying and how do coolers work, in order to keep your drinks with a cool refreshing taste. What is better than understanding how a cooler works with a bit of science?

Although Ice melts in three main ways:

  • Conduction
  • Convection
  • Radiation

When applied to coolers, the main type of heat transfer is convection and conduction. Drinks warm up due to this phenomenon. As Ice absorbs the heat from the sun rays and environment, causing Ice molecules to heat up giving heat energy over time the ice will melt and warm up to its surroundings.

This is why basic coolers use insulators such as Styrofoam, as this insulator is filled with trapped tiny pockets of air. Since air is a poor conductor, in this condition convection currents can’t really take place.I say “really”, although small, some heat is left and dissipated through the insulator material, which is the reason why coolers warm up over time.

This is why it is best to keep coolers closed when not in use as cool air from the ice chest would warm up when it is exposed to the surroundings by convection currents. And the best ice chests can keep beverages or inner content ice-cold for up to 5 days and beyond.

Now we got a better understanding on what we are looking for we can now see how come of the best ice chests have been modeled to help you retain that refreshing ice-cold taste. The following Ice chests have been evaluated on 3 major aspects, Efficiency, Sturdiness and portability.

Types of Coolers – Best Ice Chests

It is a good idea to get an overview of the types of coolers on the market for the best ice chests, there are many like most products ranging from the advanced coolers with several days of preservation to the simple day-to-day lunch box cooler.

The main types are:

  • Backpack Coolers
  • Beach Coolers
  • Soft Coolers
  • Camping Coolers
  • Heavy Duty Coolers
  • Small Coolers
  • Wheeled Coolers
  • Rotomolded Coolers
  • Thermo-electric Coolers
  • Marine Coolers

Ice Brands

There are many brands that offer a cooler, how do you know what one to go for?

With every product, there is always a group of a trusted popular brand, which dominates the market for their fine quality, being one of the best ice chests. This is why it would be a good idea to get familiar with the brands, which offer the best ice chests on the market.


Why not start off with Yeti coolers on sale, celebrating its 10-year anniversary this company started off in 2006, Austin Texas innovating the cooler market delivering high-end coolers to the niche of fishermen and enthusiasts.


The Pelican Corporation is a USA multinational company, that manufactures outdoor products such as flashlights and coolers. Created in 1975, based in Torrance California, it has been their vision to create unique, sturdy and practical products.


The Coleman cooler, have been in the world of outdoor recreations activities since 1957, the Coleman company has developed and now innovating products in industries such as sleeping bags, boats, backpacks, tents cooler and furnitures.


Igloo is a company whose sole purpose is the manufacturing the best ice chests possible, originally a small metalworking shop in 1947 it was grown to be one of the leading brands on the best ice chests. Igloo designs coolers for personal use and claims that nearly 75% of US household owns an Igloo Cooler.


I hope you have enjoyed our article on all you need to know on finding the best ice chests, we hope we have helped you get a better understanding of how coolers work, and also what to look for in best ice chests available on the market. If you have any suggestions please leave it below in the comment section.