The 8 Best Coolers of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

The winner is Yeti's 65 Tundra Cooler

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People Tested Best Coolers of 2022

People / Henry Wortock

If you plan on hosting cookouts in the near future (may we suggest serving Valerie Bertinelli's pasta salad recipe?), odds are you'll need a cooler to keep drinks cold while accessible. You might think a cooler is a cooler, but while they all offer the same basic function, you'd be surprised by how far modern iceboxes have come.

We tested nearly 50 models to figure out which ones not only live up to their promise to chill beverages but are also easy to maneuver, clean, and drain — extra points if they also look nice.

Our favorite is the Yeti 65 Tundra, a durable cooler with dependable insulation that can hold up to 39 cans, plus plenty of ice. But to help you find the perfect option for your next excursion or outdoor event, we rounded up a few more that are worth considering.

Keep reading for the best coolers PEOPLE Tested.

Best Overall

YETI Tundra 65 Cooler

YETI Tundra 65 Cooler


  • Comes with a five-year warranty

  • Extra spacious interior

  • Durable

  • Keeps drinks cold for days

  • Pretty heavy, weighing 29 pounds when empty

  • Pricier than others on the list, but we think it's worth the investment if you use it enough

After trying dozens of models, the Yeti 65 Tundra was an all-around favorite. This spacious cooler has a generous 58-liter capacity. It can hold up to 39 cans with room to spare for plenty of ice. While it weighs 29 pounds when empty, the rope handles make it easy enough for two people to carry.

The heavy-duty plastic is made using a rotomolding technique to ensure dependable durability while allowing it to be hollow — just like a high-grade whitewater kayak. The 65 Tundra closes securely, thanks to the T-shaped latches. Although the lid doesn't have built-in cup holders, it is all the more comfortable to sit on. You could even use the large surface as a small table for picnicking or playing cards.

After 24 hours, only about half the ice had melted, and the internal temperature increased by just 0.2 degrees. Needless to say, our drinks were still cold. We think this is a great choice for camping, boating trips, or hosting barbecues. The price is really steep for a cooler, but it's backed by a five-year warranty and might be worth the investment.

Price at time of publish: $375

Dimensions: 26 x 14.5 x 14 inches | Weight: 8.2 pounds | Capacity: 45.5 liters | Material: Polyethylene

Best Budget

Coleman Chiller 48qt Cooler - Fog

Coleman Chiller 48-Quart Cooler


  • Lid shuts tightly

  • Lightweight design

  • Easy to carry with two people

  • Lid doesn't latch

On a budget? You can't go wrong with the Coleman Chiller. This classic cooler is a perfect mid-size option for tailgate parties and family get-togethers. While it doesn't have many bells and whistles, it certainly gets the job done. After filling it up and letting it sit for 24 hours, roughly half the ice had melted, and the temperature went up by 1.8 degrees.

One thing to note is that it doesn't have latches. However, the lid shuts tightly and seems to have a good seal. The side handles make it easy for one or two people to carry, and despite the lightweight design, it works well as a seat, too.

Price at time of publish: $39.99

Dimensions: 26 x 14.5 x 14 inches | Weight: 8.2 pounds | Capacity: 45.5 liters | Material: Polyethylene

Best Soft Cooler

Polar Bear Coolers Original Nylon Soft Cooler

Polar Bear Coolers Original Nylon Soft Cooler


  • The Polar Bear Coolers Nylon Soft Cooler is easy to carry, has thick insulation, and held more than advertised in our testing.

  • In our tests, this leaked through the zipper when knocked over.

Among the variety of soft coolers we tested, the Polar Bear Coolers Nylon Soft Cooler was the easy winner. It outshined the rest, scoring perfect ratings in nearly every category. You can rely on it to keep a good amount of drinks and foods cool while remaining easy to tote around.

What really made this cooler stand out from the others is its thick insulation. Designed to let ice withstand temperatures up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, it features 1-inch-thick high-density foam and a double-coated nylon interior liner. Our testers found that after 24 hours, only 50 percent of the ice melted. Even more impressive, its interior temperature only dropped two degrees from hour 2 to hour 24. In fact, out of all the bags tested, it had the smallest temperature change.

While the brand states that the bag can hold up to 12 cans, our testers could easily fit a few more cans than its max capacity. Even with the extra cans, its compact design made it easy for them to carry. They compared it to an oversized tote handbag, calling out the short top handles that make it super portable. The cooler also has a shoulder strap if you prefer to sling it over your shoulder.

The only area for improvement they found was the cooler's durability, in terms of water spillage. They noted that if the bag is tipped, it'll leak a lot from the zipper. So it's best to keep it upright.

Shoppers looking for a dependable cooler will appreciate this cooler's stellar ice retention, ample capacity, and easy portability.

Price at time of publish: $80

Dimensions: 19.88 x 15.16 x 6.54 inches | Weight: 2 pounds | Can Capacity: 12 | Volume: 25 pounds of ice

Best for the Beach

Pelican 20 Quart Elite Cooler

Pelican 20 Quart Elite Cooler


  • Cools down within minutes of adding ice

  • Easy to carry with one person

  • Holds enough drinks for a day out

  • No drain plug

  • Can holders aren't very deep

You'll be glad to have the Pelican Elite on hand next time you head to the beach. Resembling an oversized, heavy-duty lunchbox, it has a 19-liter capacity. While it's on the smaller side for a cooler, it can hold 15 cans (enough to get a family through a day in the sun) and is easy for one person to carry. The latch closes without a fuss, and you can release it one-handed with the press of a button.

There's also a hidden bottle opener and four somewhat shallow can holders on the lid. This durable icebox cooled down within a couple minutes of being filled with ice. The Pelican Elite doesn't have a drain plug, but the small size makes emptying and cleaning it a breeze. It's certainly not the most affordable option, but considering the lifetime warranty, we think it might be worth the price.

Price at time of publish: $199.95

Dimensions: 19 x 18.5 x 14 inches | Weight: 19.5 pounds | Capacity: 19 liters | Material: Polyurethane, stainless steel

Best for Large Gatherings

Orca 140 Quart Cooler

Orca Seafoam 140 Quart Cooler


  • Backed by a lifetime guarantee

  • Fits nearly 200 cans

  • Keeps drinks cold for multiple days

  • Wheel-free design

  • Heavy when empty

  • Really expensive but potentially worth the investment

Hosting a big outdoor event? The Orca 140 Quart Cooler might be your best bet. Boasting a generous 132.5-liter capacity, it can hold nearly 200 cans at once. Not only that, but after filling it up and waiting 24 hours, only about a quarter of the ice had melted, and the internal temp had risen less than a degree.

This oversized cooler weighs 64 pounds when empty and gets quite a bit heavier when filled with drinks and ice. Since it doesn't have wheels, you'll want to recruit a buddy before lifting or moving it. The thermoplastic exterior is certainly durable, sustaining exactly zero scratches when we pushed it off a ledge. And although Orca's coolers are undoubtedly expensive, the brand backs them with a lifetime guarantee.

Price at time of publish: $600

Dimensions: 39.5 x 23 x 21.5 inches | Weight: 64 pounds | Capacity: 132.5 liters | Material: Thermoplastic

Orca 140 Quart Cooler

People / Dera Burreson

Best for Camping

Ozark Trail 45 Quart High Performance Rolling Roto-Molded Cooler with Microban

Ozark Trail Cooler


  • Heavy-duty exterior

  • Durable wheels make transporting it a breeze

  • It takes a while to cool down

  • Pulling it is a little hard for a short person

This rugged rotomolded option from Ozark Trail is ideal for camping. The durable design latches securely and seems to have a tight seal. And while it took a little while to cool down, it does a good job maintaining a chilled temperature.

With a 42.5-liter capacity, it can easily hold a couple cases of beer or roughly 48 cans of your drink of choice. There are four cup holders and a handy fish ruler on the lid. Best of all, the large, durable wheels make it easy to transport, even when full. It might be a little hard for a child or shorter adult to pull, but it rolled pretty effortlessly over paved paths and grassy areas.

Price at time of publish: $164

Dimensions: 26.5 x 19.5 x 18.5 inches | Weight: 28 pounds | Capacity: 42.5 liters | Material: Thermoplastic

 Ozark Trail 45 Quart High Performance Rolling Cooler

People / Dera Burreson

Best for Day Trips

The Get Out Cooler Bag

The Get Out Cooler Bag

The Get Out

  • Big enough for 12 cans and tall enough for wine bottles

  • Backpack design makes it especially portable and convenient to carry

  • Comfortable, adjustable straps

  • It's pricey for the size

  • Flat exterior pocket is basically useless

For hikes, intimate picnics, outdoor concerts, and other day trips, we recommend The Get Out Cooler Bag. This backpack-style cooler has a retro Boy Scouts appeal, but that's not the only thing our testers liked about it. Compact and lightweight, yet surprisingly roomy, there's enough space to fit 12 cans, and it's even tall enough for wine bottles. The straps are also comfy and conveniently adjustable. There's an exterior pocket, but it's too flat to fit anything more than a paper map — we couldn't even jam a smartphone in.

After 24 hours, about two-thirds of the ice had melted, but our cans were still plenty cold. And the sturdy soft-sided exterior didn't scratch or scuff when we dropped it. The Cooler Bag is priced pretty steep for its size, but we think it's a decent value. It would also make a great gift for a recreationist.

Price at time of publish: $260

Dimensions: 17 x 16 x 10 inches | Capacity: 15 liters | Material: Thermoplastic, polyurethane foam, nylon

The Get Out Cooler Bag

People / Dera Burreson

Best with Wheels

XSpec Roto Molded Wheeled Hard Cooler

XSpec Roto Molded Wheeled Hard Cooler


  • Heavy-duty wheels and an extendable tow handle make this deep ice chest easy to transport

  • Extra features like a fish ruler, bottle opener, and leak-proof drain plug

  • Even with the wheels, it's somewhat hard to move when packed full

  • No cup holders

Large coolers are heavy when empty, let alone filled with ice and drinks. But thanks to its large, heavy-duty wheels and extendable tow handle, this 35-pounder is surprisingly easy to move around. (Just bear in mind that packing it full to the brim might make it a bit harder to pull.) It's incredibly sturdy, too, passing our drop test with flying colors.

The Xspec Ice Chest has an extra-deep capacity that fits up to 40 cans, while a leak-proof drain plug makes emptying it a breeze. After 24 hours, most of the ice was still intact, and the temperature only went up by 2 degrees. Although the lid doesn't have any cup holders, it has a fish ruler and a built-in bottle opener — and it makes a nice seat in a pinch. All things considered, we think the price is reasonable.

Price at time of publish: $239.99

Dimensions: 22 x 21 x 18 inches | Weight: 35 pounds | Capacity: 42.5 liters | Material: Polypropylene

Xspec 45 Quart Towable Roto Molded Ice Chest

People / Dera Burreson

Things to Consider When Buying a Cooler


One of the most important things to consider when buying a cooler is the size, including the overall dimensions and capacity. Mid-size coolers measure roughly 25 x 15 x 14 inches on average, with capacities ranging from 30 to 50 liters (which comes out to about 35 to 55 cans, plus ice). Holding 200 or more cans, larger models are great for big gatherings and events — consider the Orca 140-Quart Cooler for this. And smaller options are ideal for intimate picnics, boating, hiking, and day trips.

Hard-Sided vs. Soft-Sided

Most coolers are hard-sided, as rigid construction is generally thought to do a better job of keeping things cool. Extra-large chests need to have hard exteriors in order for two people to carry them. (This is true for the YETI Tundra 65.) This type of icebox is typically made of plastic and often rotomolded for increased durability and better temperature retention.

Having said that, some soft-sided coolers do just as good a job chilling drinks and preventing ice from melting. A textile exterior can also hold up better in terms of scratch resistance.


Lastly, you'll want to consider portability. Large coolers can be nearly 70 pounds when empty, so you can imagine how heavy they are when filled with drinks and ice. Wheels and an extendable handle can make an icebox easier to move around. (The Xspec Roto Molded Wheeled Hard Cooler has both.) But if yours isn't wheelable, you'll definitely want to recruit a friend to help you lift and carry it. Backpack-style models and soft-sided designs often have padded straps to make them more comfortable to carry, like the Get Our Cooler Bag.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How long do coolers keep food and drinks cold?

    It depends on the size and insulation, but when filled with ice, most coolers will keep food and drinks cold for at least a day, sometimes longer. The models we selected for this roundup still had a substantial amount of unmelted ice after 24 hours and kept our drinks cold the entire time.

  • How much ice should you add to a cooler?

    A good rule of thumb is a two-to-one (2:1) ratio of ice and drinks. This means you'll want to add twice as much as cans and bottles. Since ice cubes take up more space than larger slabs of solid ice, you can maximize space with freezer blocks or pre-frozen food.

  • When should you replace a cooler?

    Most coolers last anywhere from five to 10 years. Investing in a high-quality model might be a wise idea, as many are backed by warranties ranging from five years to a lifetime. Generally speaking, if it closes securely and doesn't have any cracks or holes, the insulation should continue to work. However, if there's substantial damage or a lingering odor, or your cooler simply doesn't work as well as it used to, you should probably get a new one.

When to Buy

Coolers are most often used during the spring and summer. If you're hoping to get a newer model in a specific color, you might want to shop around in the late winter or early spring. However, if you're hoping to buy one on sale, start your search in the fall or early winter.

coleman cooler testing

PEOPLE / Henry Wortock

How We Tested Coolers

Our editors selected 48 coolers to try first-hand in the lab. We performed various tests and assessments on each model, including closing and opening them, measuring the interiors and exteriors, lifting them, carrying them, shoving them off tables, filling them with cans, and adding ice.

Testers also recorded the internal temperature after filling them with ice, then again 24 hours later, and checked how much had melted. Finally, we emptied, drained, and cleaned them out. Those that stood out in terms of design, capacity, insulation, durability, portability, and overall value were ultimately selected for this roundup.

What Is PEOPLE Tested?

We created the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval to help you find the very best products for your life. We use our unique methodology to test products in three labs across the country and have a network of home testers to determine their effectiveness, durability, ease of use, and so much more. Based on the results, we rate and recommend products so you can find the right one for your needs.

But we don't stop there: We also regularly re-review the categories in which we've awarded the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval, because the best product of today might not be the best of tomorrow. And by the way, companies can never buy our recommendation: Their products must earn it, fair and square

Want more product recommendations? Check out all of our People Tested content.

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