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Expert Shopper Camping & Outdoors

Best marine cooler

Which marine cooler is best?

You’ve likely used a cooler for getaways in your life, but did you know you could make a big upgrade with the marine cooler? Marine coolers are built for maximum effectiveness in a boat, from UV protection as the sun beats down to special areas meant to help you strap it down to prevent accidental loss.

The best marine cooler is the YETI Tundra 45 Cooler. This extra-durable choice features all the bonuses you could want in addition to keeping things ice-cold, including rubber latches, an interlocking lid and military-grade polyester rope handles, plus nonslip feet.

What to know before you buy a marine cooler

Size and capacity

The larger your cooler, the more you can store. However, you also need to consider the space that a giant cooler will take up in your little boat. If it’s too big, you won’t have a place to store it or tie it down, which can easily result in losing your marine cooler overboard.

Once you know the right size range to look for, you can consider the capacity, usually measured in either quarts or maximum cans. Keep in mind that the listed capacities do not take ice into account. Even if your cooler says it can fit 100 cans, it could fit only half that when you throw in the ice.

UV protection and insulation

A big differentiator between marine and standard coolers is the introduction of UV protection. UV protection can do more than just keep the interior colder for longer. It can also prevent warping, cracking and discoloration.

The insulation is also a big marker of the marine cooler. Frequently, you’ll find marine coolers have a touch more insulation, if not much more.

What to look for in a quality marine cooler


Your marine cooler won’t get in your boat on its own. You’re going to have to lug it in and out. The handle of your cooler can make this much easier depending on what kind of handle it has, whether it be rope, plastic or even telescoping. 

Drain plug

A good drain plug can make it far easier to clean your marine cooler and let out melted water before adding in more ice. Make sure the drain plug attaches to the cooler to prevent accidental loss.


You can find a bevy of additional features on a variety of marine coolers, making your life and your aquatic adventures much more enjoyable. Your marine cooler could include cup holders and even bottle openers, serve as a cutting board and possibly include fishing rod holders if you intend to be the next great bass hunter.

How much you can expect to spend on a marine cooler

Marine coolers are a more roughly built cooler than standard coolers, thus costing an extra penny or two. The most affordable though small and feature-light options typically start around $50, with the midrange options stretching into the territory of $130. You can easily find yourself spending several hundred dollars on the best of the best marine coolers, although this range is generally meant for multi-day excursions that don’t return to shore until it’s all over.

Marine cooler FAQ

What’s the best way to keep ice from melting during boating trips?

A. There isn’t just a single way to maximize the time you have whole, unmelted ice in your marine cooler. A few standard tips include only putting already cold nourishments in the cooler to keep the cooler away from the sun, use blocks of ice instead of cubes and ice the cooler for several hours before you load it properly.

How should you clean a marine cooler?

A. It’s pretty simple and very easy to effectively clean your marine cooler once you’ve completed your boating trip. All you need to do is give an introductory rinse to the interior and exterior, wipe down all surfaces with a cloth soaked in a mixture of warm water, dish soap and baking soda and then rinse again before allowing to dry. Make sure you leave the lid open for the drying portion.

What’s the best marine cooler to buy?

Top marine cooler

YETI Tundra 45 Cooler

What you need to know: This cooler is a perfect choice for any occasion with a durable construction that’s built to last.

What you’ll love: Nonslip feet keep it steady and it can hold 30 cans but even more with less ice.

What you should consider: The drain nozzle doesn’t have the tightest seal, with reports of water leaking out while stoppered.

Where to buy: Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods

Top marine cooler for the money

Igloo 25 Quart Marine Contour Cooler

What you need to know: If you love cold beer and sodas but love saving money more, this Igloo marine cooler is the perfect option for you.

What you’ll love: A helpful ruler on the lid helps to measure all your fresh fishy finds during any marine expeditions.

What you should consider: The size is a bit small, especially for larger groups, and the handles and lid aren’t the most durable.

Where to buy: Amazon

Worth checking out

Thermik High Performance Roto-Molded Cooler, 45 Quart

What you need to know: A similar pick to the top tier YETI choice above that runs just a touch more affordable.

What you’ll love: When properly sealed, this cooler can keep ice in a frozen state for a full five days.

What you should consider: The drain plug has been known to be troublesome for a few consumers.

Where to buy: Amazon


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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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