When you’re on the hunt for the best coolers on the market, it usually means summer and hotter weather are not too far ahead. I mean, what’s a hot day on the lake without a cold drink? Some things just go together. Like dry shampoo and busy mornings (according to moms). Or bike shorts and tie-dye (according to Instagram influencers). Or an ice cold seltzer and a hot summer afternoon (according to every human ever). And for that, you’ll need a cooler.
What’s considered a good cooler?
Not every cooler is a good one, and you’ve got to know what to look for when you’re shopping for coolers for your boat (or a camping trip, road trip, etc). You need something that’s durable, UV resistant, and one with easy drainage and built-in cup holders would be pretty nice too. And, most importantly, you need something that’s insulated enough to keep your drinks frosty for hours on even the hottest of days.
Finding the perfect cooler can be tough (so many options! so many styles! so many brands!) which is why we’ve rounded up some of the most popular ones below, from boat seat cooler combos (!!) and the cult-favorite Yeti to awesome alternatives that are half the price. Based on reviews and ratings from mamas just like us, these are the best coolers you can buy right now, whether you’re stocking up on Capri Sun for the kiddos or something a little stronger for the adults. Time to hop on the boat for a nice day on the water, you’ll never be worried about hot beverages with these coolers!
Best Yeti Coolers
When you think about the best slippers, you think of Uggs. When you think about the best yoga pants, you think of Lululemon. And when you think about the best coolers, you think of Yeti. The wildly popular brand has garnered quite the following—and for good reason. Yeti coolers are renowned for how amazing they are for keeping ice from melting for hours and even days on end. The only catch? They’re expensive (think investment). The YETI Roadie 24 Cooler is one of their more affordable coolers and is just as good, if not a little smaller (or as we see it, a lot more portable). The colors are great, too, and you’ll always be able to recognize “your” YETI.
The YETI Tundra 45 Cooler is one of the highest rated coolers ever. The PermaFrost installation will keep your ice and your drinks nice and cold all day, and the FatWall design ensures that the cooler is extra durable. One reviewer said, “The design is simple but extremely sturdy. This is something that will get passed down generation to generation. If, like me, you appreciate quality and want a cooler that simply does the job better than anything else on the market and will not need to be replaced every couple of years because something breaks on it, this is well worth the investment.”
Coolers Similar To Yeti
What coolers are as good as Yeti? Check them out below.
If you’re looking for something a bit more heavy duty, the RTIC is a great option. “Currently using a Yeti 45 and an RTIC 45 and they’re the same thing. Great product!” said one reviewer. “I highly recommend this if you are looking for a quality cooler that can keep your drinks cold for 3 days during extreme temperatures. This cooler can probably stay cold for 5 days with mild temperatures based upon the performance it had during a Texas heat wave for a 3 day camping weekend.” said another reviewer.
REYLEO prides themselves on creating a cooler that can keep your ice cold for up to three days. The seal system is truly top notch. One reviewer raved, “[The] ice retention has been as described. I am able to hold ice easy for a few days which is all I need for my weekend use. Built in bottle open seems like a simple idea that I never thought I would use – yet I find myself using it often….”
“Yes, Id suggest it to anyone looking for a better alternative to the Yeti,” said another reviewer.
This KENAI 45 Cooler cooler is rotationally-molded LLDPE plastic to ensure durability and insulation. One reviewer tried it out and said, “so GREAT with this! Keeps ice for a good amount of days, I was camping in Arizona and this kept things nice and cool! On par with Yetis, just without the inflated price!”
The Snowball Cooler features latches that double as beer openers, a bottle holder on the lid, a fishing ruler, non-skip feet, and a drain hole. This cooler is great for beverage and food storage (you can even use the lid as a cutting board!) and is UV resistant. “Extremely sturdy, keeps food and drinks cold for days,” said one Amazon reviewer. “The cooler was fastened to my ATV bed using the rope eyelets it came with and functioned properly on the >100 mile offroad trip I took yesterday, in >95F degree weather. The trip was dusty – dirty – hot – sever vibration and shock side to side through miles rough terrain; the cooler worked perfectly and showed no signs of wear or leakage.”
Best Marine Coolers
The Coleman Xtreme 5 Cooler is a classic. It keeps things simple and it keeps things cold. What more could you want? The insulated lid and walls can keep ice for up to five days in temperatures up to 90 degrees! One reviewer said, “[I] used this the first time yesterday. Got home over 24 hours ago. Set it in my (warm) garage with the cover OPEN so the ice could melt before I dump it. The ice is still not melted. Despite being wide open. So would more than exceed my expectations if it were shut!”
Your time is valuable, mama, we know. A.k.a. the struggle that is buying enough ice, breaking it up (why is this part always so hard?!), and then artfully arranging said ice so that every drink is perfectly covered takes up way too much of that precious time. The solution? A cooler that doesn’t require ice (!!), like this thermoelectric one from Igloo. All you have to do is plug it into an electrical outlet—or your car’s cigarette lighter if you’re on the go—and it instantly cools the interior to keep your beverages nice and frosty. According to the 2,400+ reviewers, the plastic cooler is lightweight and super quiet and, most importantly, saves you the mess that is melting ice at the end of the day.
In case you missed it, things that used to be cool are, well, cool again. Like Crocs, bike shorts, overalls, and, apparently, retro coolers. This one from Coleman has over 2,000 positive reviews on Amazon for its chunky ’70s-style design and large capacity (it can hold up to 54 quarts which is the equivalent of 85 cans!). Even more importantly, it’s made of rust-resistant stainless steel that is both durable and insulating—according to shoppers, the cooler keeps drinks ice cold for up to four days. And in the rare case that you get to the beach and no one has a bottle opener to crack open that refreshing Corona Light you’re dying for? No worries, this cooler has a built-in one right on the side.
Beyond having built in cup holders, a built in bottle opener, and non-skid feet, the Pelican 70 Quart Elite Cooler is known to be on the same level as Yeti. The stainless steel hardware ensures cool and constant insulation while the slopped drain makes the cooler super easy to empty out. “Probably the best value premium cooler you can buy,” said one Amazon reviewer. “I’m no cooler expert but this thing is nice. Days and days of ice on our camping trip. It’ll do dry ice no problem and the construction is solid…My 3yr old could easily open this for a milk.”
Best Boat Cooler Seats
Want to really save some space on your boat? This Cooler Seat from Wise is the perfect solution. When you lift the high compression foams seat, you’ll find the roto-molded insulated cooler. “This is an awesome seat/cooler combo,” one reviewed said. “We were on the lake in 100 degree weather and ice kept for several days. Seat is very comfortable. Would say its one of the best purchase I have made.”
Another reviewer said, “Cooler seat was as advertised….nice looking…sturdy…..easy to install. I am very happy with it and would recommend it to anybody looking to add seating and function to their boat. Fits nice in my 24 ft Grady White and the built in cooler is awesome.”
Want more top-rated summer gear? Find all of our favorite home and kitchen must-haves here.