Editors Choice

Best Cooler For The Money in 2018 Buyer’s Guide & Product Reviews (Top 10)

Any family outing or picnic without a cooler doesn’t sound fun, right? These days, it is almost a rule that every family should have a cooler that they can use on such occasions.

Sad to say that  some of these coolers are sometimes not within our budget, which makes things further difficult for us.

Lucky for you, all your budget-related problems will come to an end since me and my team reviewed the 10 best cooler for the money!

And since the budget is now under control, all you have to do is brainstorm which cooler to buy from the list below.

“As one spends so much money on these outings to make them memorable, they should buy the top yecooler for their money so that the beverages remain cold and the outings, enjoyable!” – Jerry
10 best cooler for the money product reviews and buyer's guide

top 10 best coolers for the money with product reviews and buyer’s guide

Top 10 Best Coolers For The Money Comparison Table

Cooler NameDimensionsWeight 
1. Coleman 54-Quart
(Best Soft Cooler)
21.5 x 17.5 x 17.5 in18.2 lbs
2. Klein Tools 5560018.8 x 14.8 x 27.8 in11.7 lbs
3. YETI Roadie 20 Cooler15 x 14 x 19 in18.1 lbs
4. ORCA Cooler17 x 19 x 36 in24 lbs
5. Pelican ProGear Elite
(Editor's Choice)
19.75 x 20 x 37.16 in48 lbs
6. YETI Tundra 50 Cooler18 x 24 x 17 in31.7 lbs
7. Igloo Sportsman18.25 x 17.5 x 31 in26.8 lbs
8. Pelican Elite 20QT14.12 x 15.07 x 20.12 in16 lbs
9. Cordova Rotomolded
(Extreme Ice Retention)
27" x 15" x 16" in -
46" x 20" x 20" in
19.5 lbs - 45 lbs
10. RTIC Cooler26.5 x 16.5 x 16 in25 lbs

After going through the various properties and considering a lot of factors of different variety of coolers on the market, we finally have chosen the top coolers for the money that will help you to decide better before buying one.

These top coolers are:

1. Coleman 54-Quart – Best Soft Cooler

Coleman is a trusted name when it comes to coolers. They are manufacturing these coolers for quite some time now and are well known for their quality products.

Coleman 54-Quart is also one of those products that reinforce their name as one of the best. It has the capacity of holding up to 85 cans at a time and is tall enough to hold on to 2-liter bottles held upright. The handles and the latch both are made up of stainless steel with the earlier one being provided with a rubber grip as so that it can be easily handled and latched so that its easier to move.

Product Features:

  • Has the capacity to hold onto 85 cans.
  • Is tall enough to hold 2-liter bottles in an upright position.
  • The handles are made of stainless steel and covered with rubber so that it can be easily carried from one place to the other.
  • The latches are made up of stainless steel so that it can be used to securely lock the contents inside.
  • The whole structure is rust proof.
  • The product is leakproof because of its channel draining system which prevents leakage even if the device is tilted a bit.
  • Comes in green color.
This product from Coleman has complimentary reviews to its name with the user being able to relate its design to the earlier models which gives it the classic look along with the modern technologies that make it one of a kind.

Most of the customers have been happy with the surfaces and have claimed it to be the best cooler for the money if one is more into rough usage.

Pros
  • Has large capacity and is tall enough as well.
  • Manufactured in the USA.
  • The product is leakproof because of its channel draining system.
  • The handles and latches are made up of stainless steel to ensure sufficient strength.
  • Excellent value for money.
  • The device gives out no sort of gases.
  • The device has a classic design which gives it a retro look but with all the modern technologies infused in it.
  • The product is highly durable.
  • It is wide enough to be able to support two average-sized men sitting on it in case of limited space.
Cons
  • The product doesn’t come with a dedicated locking system that will help in securing the box more safely.
  • There are no partitions inside the box so one should organize all the things accordingly so that it doesn’t get hard when you wish to take out something.

Our Conclusion

It is spacious enough to hold onto to a lot of things and can be easily carried.

The main concern of the customers was the non-availability of any locking system that will help in keeping the contents safer.

This container is also rustproof and has a leak resistant channeling drain system so that even if the cooler is tilted, it doesn’t leak.

  • The whole cooler can be easily cleaned without even breaking a sweat!

2. Klein Tools 55600 – Best Tough Box Ice Chest

Klein Tools is a well-renowned brand, having lots of quality product to their name. This ice chest also enhances their reputation further. This product has a 16.1L capacity can easily hold 18 cans at a time. The body is designed in such a way that it supports the modern-day usage and can tolerate a weight of 300lbs on it.

The lid is made up of stainless steel and is rust proof. It can be opened at 90° so that 1-liter bottles can be easily placed and the user has uninterrupted access to the inside of this product. The lid can also be opened at full 180° so that hidden compartments in the lid can be accessed.

These compartments can be used to store medicines, napkins or maybe some utensils as well, depending on the user.

Cooler Features:

  • The product is manufactured in such a way that it can keep its content cool for up to 30 hours.
  • The device has a 16.1L capacity.
  • The product is large enough to hold 18 cans at once.
  • The lid is made up of stainless steel and is rust proof which allows the user to easily carry this ice chest from one place to the other.
  • The lid can be opened at 90° so that the user has direct access to the inside of this product.
  • The lid is opened at 180° as well so that one can access the hidden compartments inside lid which can be used to place things like medicine, napkins or utensils.

This product from Klein tools is well received by the user. There have been a few issues with the product according to some of the users, but can be reasoned with the fact that this ice chest is extremely cheap and has good features when compared to its rate.

Pros
  • The product is designed well, according to the modern needs.
  • The device is strongly built and a force of 300lbs can easily be applied on top of it.
  • The product is made in China but has a very safe and sound built.
  • It has been designed in such a way that it can keep its content cool for up to 30 hours.
Cons
  • The device is not waterproof which is a major setback as in case of rain, the water can enter the inside of the container.
  • The strap provided with this product is not good enough to use and is easily ripped apart while carrying.
  • The carrying capacity is a bit low as compared to the other devices.

Our Conclusion

Although this ice chest is made up in China, there has been no compromise on the safety of the product and is made of quality materials. The modern-day design makes it good for rough usage.

This cooler is provided with a strap so that it can be easily carried on the shoulders though there have been some complaints regarding the durability of the strap in the long run.

3. YETI Roadie 20 – Bear Proof

YETI is a well-known brand and has been manufacturing quality products for quite some time now. Their products have been generally suitable for rough use and that’s why they find great application in almost every field.

This product was made to go over a makeover from an engineering point of view. This “modified” product has a superlative degree of toughness and has an ice retention capability.

The product is laced with various new patented innovations that make it stand out from the rest. There is a reason why this product was branded as the father of all the coolers.

Features:

  • The device has two hinge pins and they are interlocked with each other in such a way that it will never break under whatever conditions.
  • The lid of this ice chest is made up of T-Rex technology along with rubber latches so that the content inside can be secured.
  • A gasket is provided along the length of this product so that it blocks the heat from entering and keeps the contents cold. This gasket is of freezer quality.
  • It is designed in such a way that the handle of this product stays out of the way which makes it easier the for the user to carry it around.
  • The handles of this container are made of military grade polyester to provide extra strength and durability.
  • The manufacturing of the product is done in such a way that it is well armored and is almost indestructible if typical everyday usage is kept in mind.
  • The bottom of this product is designed in such a way that it will prevent the body from slipping.
  • This product is leak proof and has a well-dedicated system for quick and easy draining.
  • The walls of this are insulated with the help of foam which is injected into the walls with the help of high pressure. The foam used is commercial-grade polyurethane.
The review of this product has been largely positive with everyone genuinely impressed by this product’s laced with so many technologies. The technologies have been used to keep the everyday struggle of the common person in mind.
Pros
  • Comes with tons of features that make it stand out from the rest.
  • Has a rough and tough buildup which makes it suitable to use in any conditions.
  • It is manufactured in the USA itself.
  • Can keep the things cool for a longer period.
Cons
  • Maybe too expensive.
  • The device is too heavy for its size which can be a possible mismatch.

Our Conclusion

The only competitors of this product are the products from the same company and that’s why the user who has rated it a bit low are those who have used these products before.

Anyways, this product is well capable of keeping its content cool for a prolonged period and the built is in such a way that it is easier to carry and use as well.

4. ORCA TP0400RCORCA, Tan, 40-Quart – Ideal For The On The Go Adventurer

The ORCA TP0400RCORCA Cooler, 40-Quart is a rotomolded cooler available at best price in the market. The product is durable, and the stuffs in it stay cold for a long time.

It is considerably hard and tough and provides a lifetime warranty. The basic working principle of these coolers is that a bag of ice is kept in the cooler along with foodstuffs. It is held closed except when needed.

The insulation is done in such a way that heat is transmitted through conduction as well as convection.

ORCA coolers are designed to cater to your needs of more cooling effect. It is a 40 Qt cooler which is perfect for your trips.

Having a premium insulation system, the stuffs stored in it stay cold for hours. The carrying handles in it is padded, thus making it easier for your carry it anywhere. The dimension of this product is 19 x 11.75 x 11 inside, and 26 x 17.5 x 17.5 outside and its weight is 24lbs. For additional storage, it has a cargo net attachment, and it also provides maximum cold/ice retention.

  • It is 100% USA made with a lid gasket which ensures a perfect seal!

ORCA coolers are quite popular among its users and have many advantages. They are discussed below:

Pros
  • It provides better performance than the Yeti which is more expensive than this one.
  • The quality of this product is excellent and much better than the other standard coolers.
  • It is available at a great price, which is very reasonable.
Cons
  • Drain plug leaking issues are there in some cases. It keeps ice only for a couple of days, so those going for longer trips will not find it useful.

Taking everything into account, it can be said that ORCA coolers can be a good choice for buyers.

5. Pelican ProGear Elite, 65 quart – Editor’s Choice

This ice chest is featured with a freezer grade gasket and a two-inch polyurethane insulation which helps in preserving ice for a considerably long duration of time. It is capable of holding ice for as many as ten days and can easily beat the Yeti cooler in this respect.

Made from quality materials and due to the thick-walled structure, it is quite sturdy and works great as an insulated cooler. It uses aluminum latches instead of the rubber pull-cords used by Yeti.

If you go with the 65qt version, you will be able to store a huge volume of ice. Not only ice but also other stuffs such as meat can conveniently store in this container. So not just for partying or camping, it can be used by meat-sellers for transport of frozen meat from one place to the other.

The wide press and pull latches are strong and easy to open. The handles are dual molded-in and hinged and thus easy to use. It also comes with molded-in tie downs and hasp along with steel plates.

  • Being longer and wider, it can not only store a vast amount of food but also uses as a table for serving food during outdoor camps!

The drainage system of this product also deserves mention. It is featured by a sloped drain with a threaded plug that you can attach to the garden hose.

It also comes with a lifetime warranty, and hence you don’t need to worry about the damages or defects that occur in it. You can take it on all your outdoor trips and activities and assure that in case any damage is caused, if caused we can cover it under warranty.

Pros
  • It is considerably large-sized to hold a sufficiently large amount of foodstuffs.
  • Can be use as a table.
  • It uses an easy mechanism for users, and you can operate it quite easily.
  • It is durable and sturdy, and even if any damage happens, it will be covered under warranty.
Cons
  • Some users have experienced issues with the sealing of the lid.

6. YETI Tundra 50 – Best Tailgate Ice Chest

This Yeti cooler has a vast capacity that can store about 32 cans with a ratio of 2:1 ratio of ice to contents.

It is featured by three inches of PermaFrost insulation and thick FatWall design thanks to which the ice does not melt for long.

The FatWall design is said to be bear-resistant, and you need not worry about bear attacks.

The Rotomolded construction of this icechest makes it a sturdy and durable one and also indestructible throughout your trip or camping.

The latches are made up of heavy-duty rubber and also uses patented Keeper technology. So say goodbye to rusted latches!

The dimensions are 24 in x 17 3/8 in x 18 1/8 in and weight when empty is 26lbs. It also comes with one dry goods basket. The ice retention property of the insulated cooler wins appreciation along with the toughness of materials. It is a rugged, multi purpose beverage cooler that you can take along with you on various occasions.

There are two hinge pins and an interlocking design which prevents the hinge from breaking. There is also a coldlock gasket that of freezer-quality circling the entire length of the lid for blocking out the heat and maintaining the cold temperature inside.

The LipGrip handles stay out of the way and carrying the catch becomes easier. Moreover, there are DoubleHaul handles that are made using military polyester rope and are thus durable. This product is likely to stay in place and never slip away, thanks to the Bearfoot Non-slip feet that prevents sliding away.

Pros
  • It maintains a cool temperature inside and keeps stuffs colder for more than five days.
  • This product is designed in such a way that makes it durable and is resistant to bear attacks.
  • It has a huge capacity to store a massive amount of ice.
  • It is a multi-purpose cooler.
Cons
  • It is a bit expensive as compared to the performance offered.

Conclusion

Another feature to admire is the Vortex drainage system which makes it leak-proof, rugged and helps in quick and easy draining.

There are also Anchor-point tie-down slots assisting in the easy mounting of the apparatus to your boat or, trailer or truck bed- depending on whether you are going for boating, hunting or on similar operations.

7. Igloo Products 00044921 Sportsman

It is a sturdy Igloo cooler that is heavy and strong and can hold the ice inside for quite a few days.

Made from quality materials, it is an almost indestructible product that uses rotational-molded construction. You can thus carry it freely for camping, trips, and hunting without worrying about any damage that may be caused during the course.

You will also find a heavy-duty handle with a three-point grab along with durable and rubberized latches.

The three-point grab makes it comfortable for you to grip the ice chest. The lid comes with a standard-sized lock and an integrated fish ruler. The integrated lid hinge is self-stopping and can open and close quite efficiently.

It also has anti-skid feet that prevent this produict from sliding while on a truck or boat. Also, there is an over-sized and tethered drain plug that allows for quick drainage and easy cleaning.

There is also a drainage plug to ensure proper drainage of the accumulated liquid. This sturdy product is capable of preventing damages to itself and is also leak-resistant to avoid the leakage of water.

It is odor-resistant too and is rust-proof to prevent rusting that may be caused as a result of exposure to moisture. It is also UV-treated to protect it further. It can keep the stored things cold even if you do not pre-cool the machine.

Pros
  • It is a strong and sturdy ice chest that is capable of holding the ice for quite a few days.
  • It is rust-proof, odor-resistant and also UV-resistant.
  • The three-point grab enables you to grip this product comfortably.
  • There is a proper drainage system for successful drainage.
Cons
  • It is a bit heavy to carry.

Conclusion

Being excessively strong, it is a bit heavy, and you may thus face some amount of difficulty in carrying it.

Regarding feats and advantages, this ice chest is thus unbeatable and can offer what Yeti is capable of providing at about half the price.

  • If you are looking for the deal that suits your budget, Igloo Products 00044921 Sportman Cooler is the best option!

8. Pelican Elite 20QT

Be it fishing, hunting or tailgating- you will definitely need an ice chest for the next big outing with your friends! And to serve your purpose there are many coolers available in the market, the Pelican ProGear 20Qt being one among them.

You will be satisfied to know that this product has been certified to be bear-resistant by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee. You can thus be assured of the fact that there will be no damage caused by your trips or camping.

The dimensions are 20.1 x 15.1 x 14.1 inches, and the weight is 14pounds which means you can store a lot of stuffs inside. With a capacity of 20Qt, it can accommodate about 12cans along with ice on top.

Concerning design, this cooler from Pelican has won the heart of buyers. There are two handles under the lid. Moreover, there are press-and- pull latches along with molded-in tie downs.

Be it the warm summers or the cold winters; the cooler will keep the cold irrespective of the season.

It can store ice or keep things cold for about three to four days, provided you do not hold the lid open for long. So whenever you need to store items or take things out, do it a bit quickly so that the cold cannot escape.

Pros
  • This is a sturdy camping cooler that is bear-resistant and therefore ideal for your outdoor plans in every aspect.
  • It has a fairly large capacity to accommodate many cans or a huge volume of ice.
  • It uses quality materials, excellent craftsmanship and is easy to operate.
Cons
  • This ice chest does not have a proper drainage system.

Conclusion

As it is made of stainless steel hardware, this product is corrosion resistant too. Another thing which you will surely love is the presence of integrated cup holders in the lid to store your cups and a bottle opener that may come in handy for opening your bottles.

It is easy to carry and operate, thus making it a handy product for your outings.

  • Overall, it is a great ice chest cooler combining amazing features!

9. Cordova Rotomolded with Extreme Ice Retention

This product comes from the house of Cordova, the coolers of which were founded by the captain of the Seabrooke seen on the television show Deadliest Catch.

The best thing about this cooler is its aggressive design. It is made of pure aluminum and has a sturdy handle that is attached to the cooler sidewalls.

The lid seal helps in locking the cold, and the billet bottle opener assists in opening the bottles on the go with ease. So you can carry it along with you no matter where you go-working or camping, another reason being the lightweight that it has. It is thus a versatile cooler.

It is capable of holding the ice for a much longer duration as compared to yeti cooler. The handles and tie down looks of the cooler attracts attention.

You do not have to open this product or tie it down from the lid. While the outside of this container is of proper dimensions like the others of its type, the inner foam of is denser, and hence the capacity is large enough.

Also, it is capable of maintaining a cold temperature inside and holding dry ice for up to Ten (10) days!

There is a superior drain plug made of aluminum which will last for years and will not rust easily. Similarly, the handles are also quite durable and likely to survive the test of time. The latches are easy to use and are not likely to break or get stuck. Being made of rubber, they will last longer and are easy to be attached or detached.

Pros
  • Durability
  • Versatility
  • Superior drainage
  • Ease of use
  • Greater Capacity
  • Can hold the ice for five days
Cons
  • No such cons exist. (so far)

Conclusion

It is manufactured in America by the local workforce and hence suitable to meet the needs of the Americans. There is thus no doubt about the quality of the product.

Cordova cooler is thus a kickass ice chest combining all great features.

  • Whether you are going for fishing or on a picnic, Cordova cooler is your ideal choice!

10. RTIC Ice Chest – Your Picnic Buddy

If you are looking for a cooler offering the extremes concerning of impact resistance and durability, then the RTIC cooler is the ideal one for you!

It is a versatile cooler and can serve various purposes. You can store ice, perishable items as well as vital supplies to keep them cold.

It is lightweight hence one person can easily carry it. It thus a must-have for fishing, boating, hunting, picnic, small games, at the back of pick-up truck as well as for tailgating.

Be it a summer camping or fall hunts, and you will find it useful.

The dimensions are somewhat like height 15.5 x width 26.5 x depth 16.5, and the capacity is thus bigger than most of the models available in the market.

You can keep a surprisingly large number of cans and other items in this ice chest. Another thing that deserves mention is the unique compact design of the cooler and easy maneuverability with the help of the inbuilt handles.

The ice retention capacity of the cooler is also praise-worthy, thanks to the thick walls and insulation. It is capable of holding the ice for about a week and is unbeatable in this respect.

The durable handles and tie down looks of this product are likely to impress one and all.

This cooler amazing features also include the rugged handles and the indestructibility of the cooler, thanks to the use of quality materials.
Pros
  • It is a versatile cooler and stores other items apart from ice
  • The dimensions are good enough to hold a large volume of items
  • It is capable of holding ice for a sufficiently long duration
  • It is easily maneuverable
Cons
  • Some users found that the handles are not strong enough.

Conclusion

Available at an affordable price, it is also the best bang for the buck.

With respect to using this ice chest, we would like to share a small tip with you. Do not jam all the ice like it is usually done for the traditional models. Instead, use a few large ice packs and a 5-pound ice pack.

  • It is packed with all great features and is also quite user-friendly!

Buyer’s Guide

top best coolers for the money buyer's guide

things to consider before buying the best cooler for your money

As you can see, there are a lot of factors that one need to consider before buying a cooler.

These coolers are generally known as camping coolers and a large number of these coolers are available in the market as we speak.

One must know of several factors that they should always consider so that they choose the best cooler for the money. Some of these factors are listed below so that everyone gets an idea:

  • Durability:

The first and foremost thing that a person should look for in an ice chest is how long is it expected to work and at what usage. It doesn’t need a lot of power to consume in order to keep your food and drinks cool.

So, before buying a cooler, one must check for its reviews on different websites that tell how the product has fared and should also talk to a company representative so that you know how the lifetime of the product can be increased.

  • Temperature Range:

One must have a clear set of items that they plan to take with them on an outing. If a person is planning just to take beverages with them, a cooler with a little bit lower cooling temperature may work fine, but on the other hand, if a person plans to take ice cream with themselves, the device may not prove to be of much use in that case. According to the items that they want to take with them usually, the cooler should be chosen as all the coolers don’t have the same cooling capacity.

  • Power Source:

As we’ll be camping outside usually, that cooler should be chosen that can easily be cooled in the car as well as at home as well. Most of the coolers come with an adaptor that can be used to power up the cooler with the help of the typical power source for a car as well as in the home. The types of power source that one can use the cooler with should always be given importance along with the adapter if it is provided or one should buy their own.

  • Cost:

The one that thing that is always considered with an item, whatever may it be, is the cost. The product should not be very costly, irrespective of its feature because every product is susceptible to any type of failure that one may not see coming. One should choose a product that justifies its cost and doesn’t burn a hole in the pocket as well.

How To Choose The Best Cooler?

choosing the top best cooler for your money

how to choose the top cooler for your money

There are many factors based on which choosing the top cooler depends on. One must weigh in all the factors and their personal requirements well so that they can choose the best cooler for the money. Some of them are discussed here so that the user gets an idea:

1. Capacity:

what are your requirements? How much do you plan to carry in a cooler? It goes without saying that the higher you go in terms of capacity, the heavier it gets. So, according to their family size and how much do they need to carry, the capacity of the cooler is determined.

2. Portability:

this factor deals with how easily you want your cooler to be moved from one place to another. The lighter your cooler is, the easier it is to move from one place to another. Nobody wants to have great difficulty in loading and unloading their cooler during an outing, the whole purpose of the outing is to enjoy yourself and one clearly doesn’t enjoy if all the energy and time goes into porting the cooler from one place to another.

3. Ease of Use:

how easily can the device be operated. Does it cool straight away or does it require some time before maintaining the required temperature? Are the handles provided at the right places so that one carries it easily?

4. Energy Usage:

how much energy does the device consume. It is common to understand that the lower this value is, the better it is for the customer.

5. Inner Space Distribution System:

how is the space inside the cooler managed. Is there any partition or not or is it just plain hollow space? A properly partitioned cooler will be of more use because that will make it easier to organize the things inside it. This helps in easily getting a thing from the box without moving the other items here and there.

In case of a non-partitioned box, if one does have to take out a thing that has been mistakenly placed at the bottom of the box, they’ll have to remove all the things first so that they can extract it. This task can be very time consuming and can be easily avoided if the things are arranged in such a way that they can easily be extracted and one of the ways to do it is by having an organized inner structure.

6. Outdoor Features:

by outdoor features, we refer to the outer structure of the cooler. Are the handles strong enough that they can be used to carry the box from one place to another and do they feel comfortable against the hand while holding it or does it get very rough? The wheels that are attached, are they durable and can last long even if used to move the cooler on a rough surface or not.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, the information given above makes it a bit easier for you to choose the best cooler for the money.

Happy shopping!

9.9 Total Score
10 Best Coolers For The Money Reviews & Buyer's Guide

Finding the best cooler for your money is bit tough nowadays because of huge product list. Hope our full guide help you to get idea about the top best coolers to buy.

User Rating: 5 (5 votes)

Jerry Boyce

Jerry Boyce is an Executive Editor of Foodplusice.com. He is an incurable writer and an award-winning web scholar who loves to travel. He is fond of ice making products and love drinking beer more than anything else. Read more >>

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