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Expert Shopper Camping & Outdoors

Best floating cooler

Which floating cooler is best?

If water excursions appeal to you, then you know that activities such as fishing or white water rafting can be all-day affairs. For that reason, many water-sport enthusiasts like to have food and drinks in tow with help from a floating cooler.

Space is always limited on small boats and floating coolers free up much-needed room by toting food and drinks outside the vessel. Simply attach the cooler to your boat and tow it along to enjoy ice-cold drinks during every leg of your excursion. Many floating coolers are designed with watertight seals to keep contents dry.

Our top choice, CreekKooler PuP Floating Cooler, features rugged construction and offers over 1/2 inch of insulation.

What to know before you buy a floating cooler

Water conditions

Choose a floating cooler based on the most extreme water conditions you’ll encounter. Those intended for fishing trips on steady waters are designed much differently than those intended for use during white water rafting. Individuals who partake in a number of water sports often invest in more than one kind of floating cooler, as well.

Popular materials

Vinyl floating coolers are affordable, but they’re not very puncture resistant, which is why many come with their own patching kits. Foam coolers, on the other hand, are far more durable and puncture resistant. Plastic floating coolers fare best due to their hardy construction, and they’re typically recommended for more extreme water sports.


Floating coolers with smaller capacities hold up to 15 cans or bottles, depending on how much ice you place around them. They’re ideal for shorter trips or for use during pool parties. High-capacity coolers hold as many as 50 cans or bottles, which is why they’re typically recommended for longer, all-day trips on the water.

What to look for in a quality floating cooler


Portability is an attractive attribute in floating coolers. Inflatable coolers are by far the lightest and easiest to pack, whereas foam or plastic coolers have quite large footprints. As far as carrying a floating cooler, most are designed with handles or straps for easy toting.

Tow points

Tow points refer to areas on the floating cooler where tow lines are attached, such as loops or hooks. More durable floating coolers have reinforced tow points to prevent them from detaching in choppy waters. Some floating coolers are packaged with their own tow lines as well.


Because floating coolers are exposed to the elements, it’s easy for them to harbor mold, bacteria, and debris. To keep these at bay, invest in a floating cooler that is easy to clean with as few nooks and crannies as possible. That way, you can hose or wipe them down without worrying about scrubbing hard-to-reach crevices.

How much you can expect to spend on a floating cooler

If you’re on a budget, low-capacity coolers made of vinyl or foam cost $30 and less. More durable designs made with more durable materials, including plastic or high-grade vinyl, run up to $60. High-capacity floating coolers with thick insulation can cost $75-$200.

Floating cooler FAQ

Do all floating coolers have cupholders?

A. No, which is why it’s important to examine each model closely before you buy. Some consumers opt for designs that forgo this feature since it allows for more storage space. Others lacking room on the boat to hold the drinks consider cupholders to be essential features.

Is it worth investing in a floating cooler for a swimming pool?

A. Yes. Floating coolers free up valuable space in the refrigerator when you’re entertaining, and when guests are enjoying their time in the pool, it saves them a trip to the kitchen or deck when they’re thirsty.

What's the best floating cooler to buy?

Top floating cooler

CreekKooler’s PuP Floating Cooler

What you need to know: This kayak-shaped cooler is spacious enough to accommodate over a dozen cans with 10 pounds of ice.

What you'll love: The well-insulated design keeps ice frozen for up to 24 hours. The lid lock is waterproof and holds up through considerable jostling.

What you should consider: It gets mixed reviews regarding the true capacity of this cooler.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top floating cooler for the money

Airhead’s Watersports Oasis Floating Cooler

What you need to know: From the maker of the well-known towable tubes, this versatile two-piece cooler can be used both in the water and on land, making it ideal for excursions.

What you'll love: It offers convenient cupholders around the outer ring. It holds up very well in white water rapids. It has a removable top compartment.

What you should consider: The cupholders often scoop up water and can drag the cooler down.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Intex 58821EP Inflatable Mega Chill II

What you need to know: This is an affordable and durable floating cooler that will survive the roughest tubing trips.

What you'll love: It's inflatable, so when you don't need it it can be stored anywhere, as it takes virtually no space.

What you should consider: Some users received punctured units.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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