Solid metal handles and hinges. Accommodates up to 85 cans. Keeps ice frozen for up to four days. The sides are heavy-duty. It has a nostalgic feel and really stands the test of time. Available in multiple colors.
This cooler is a little heavier than others and can make it difficult to handle when full.
A solid basic cooler. Spigot allows for easy draining of melted ice. Lid shuts tightly. Solidly built. Lightweight, but still works efficiently to keep food cool. Handles slide and pivot to make this cooler easier to carry.
The hinges on the lid are plastic and not as sturdy as other Coleman models.
Interior is 8 inches by 6 inches. Fits a nice amount of food for a meal and does a good job of keeping it cool for a long time. Works well as a lunch cooler. Lid can double as a little table. Comfortable handle. Can survive a lot of use and abuse.
This cooler is very small – can fit only about four drink cans with ice.
Collapsible soft-sided cooler helps save space. Includes a side pocket. Panel on top allows you to access food and drinks without having to open the whole lid. Adjustable strap is comfortable.
Sometimes the cooler can leak melting ice, and it does not have a hard liner.
Includes stainless steel hinges. The handles are hinged to hang at the side of the cooler, but extend above the lid for more comfortable carrying. Cup holders on the lid. Cooler is designed to double as a seat, supporting up to 250 pounds. Can keep ice cold for up to five days.
Does not include an internal strap to keep the lid from overextending.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Whether it’s time for a picnic, an all-day fishing trip, or an extended camping trip, there’s a Coleman cooler for your needs to keep all your food and drinks fresh and cool.
But which one is right for you? Coleman has a reputation for making excellent products, but there are some considerations and features to think about before you buy. For instance, what size do you need? Coolers come in many sizes, from tiny coolers for six cans to coolers that hold 100 cans or more. Would you prefer a hard-sided cooler or a soft-sided one? A cooler that you carry or a cooler that rolls? What color combination strikes your fancy?
In this buying guide, we present you with your options so you can make an informed choice and get the best cooler for your needs. No need to sweat this decision — let our helpful advice keep you cool and relaxed through the shopping process.
From soft-sided, collapsible insulated lunch pail coolers to extreme 100-can coolers, Coleman makes coolers for everyone and every need. The brand’s larger offerings have enough room in them to store massive quantities of cans, food, juice pouches, and ice — but is that what you need? For a standard picnic, two to three drinks per person is average. If you’re planning on an all-day outing, five or six cans per person would be better. And if your drinks aren’t water, you’ll want to take some water in a quart bottle or gallon jug for proper hydration. You’ll need to have room for that, as well.
Don’t forget the food, either. The longer your trip, the more food you’ll need to store in your cooler.
Coleman makes coolers with hard sides and coolers with soft sides. Often, a shoulder strap is included for ease of use. Note, however, that some coolers hold up to 30 cans at a time, which can be quite heavy to carry with a shoulder strap.
It’s also important to note that soft-sided coolers don’t keep contents cool for as long as hard-sided ones. However, they do fold flat when not in use, which comes in handy when storage space is at a premium.
Coleman provides data about how long you can expect their coolers to keep contents cool. Often, this is stated something like, “This cooler will keep contents cool for X number of days in 90º F weather.” What you need to know is how they arrived at those figures.
The company conducts a product test to determine this information. They start with a pre-chilled cooler that is filled to the brim with ice and never opened during the test. The test is conducted indoors in a room that is periodically warmed and cooled to simulate the rise and fall of daytime and nighttime temperatures. Under those laboratory conditions, it is determined how long the test subject will keep food cool.
Of course, real-world conditions are different. Most folks don’t spend 24 hours pre-chilling their cooler. Instead, they get their cooler out of storage and immediately start dumping ice and other things in it. What’s more, during the day, the cooler is constantly being opened and closed. The lid may be held open for an extended period as people root around for their preferred drink or food. The cooler may be exposed to direct sunlight, which warms it up more than simply being in a hot room. Under these circumstances, you can expect to shave at least a full day off of whatever length of time is indicated for a particular cooler.
Coleman’s coolers are made from heavy-duty ABS plastic through a process known as blow molding. It is similar to blowing glass in that it creates a hollow, one-piece product. Since there are no seams, the final product is strong and durable. While the plastic is still hot, insulating foam is injected into the walls and bottom of the cooler. The only separate piece is the lid, which is manufactured by the same process.
Steel or stainless steel is used in some of Coleman’s higher-quality coolers to give them a durability that plastic can’t match. Soft-sided coolers are made from nylon with insulating sheets sandwiched between layers of nylon.
Traditionally, coolers were meant to be carried by the handles, but Coleman now makes some products with hard plastic wheels. This type of cooler will roll as you pull it behind you. A few of these models have a telescoping handle that locks into place. With a cooler like that, you can either push or pull it as your mood strikes.
Coleman offers coolers in a variety of solid colors and two-tone combinations. Depending on the model you prefer, you can get a cooler in green, red, blue, silver, turquoise, or stainless steel. You can also choose color combinations of grey/orange, red/white, blue/white, and green/white, to name a few. Soft-sided coolers have even more color combinations available than hard-sided coolers.
Coleman’s hard-sided coolers often have molded cup holders on the lid. This helps keep your drinks stable in the event of a casual bump or uneven ground.
Seat cushion: Coleman Cooler Cushion
Make the most of your investment and your space with this hardy vinyl cushion from Coleman, which is expressly designed to fit a 17.5 x 20-inch Coleman cooler.
Replacement wheel: Coleman Cooler Replacement 6" Plastic Wheel and Nut
The wheels on coolers take lots of abuse and are often the first items that needs replacing. When that happens, this 6-inch replacement wheel from Coleman is your answer.
Food tray/divider: Coleman Cooler Replacement Food Tray Shelf DividerOn large-capacity coolers, Coleman offers an elevated tray/shelf/divider to keep the contents cool and dry. Put your condiments and other small items on it so you don’t have to bury your arm in the ice to get them out.
Ice packs: Coleman Chillers Day Pack Hard Ice Substitute
These reusable cold packs from Coleman have an ice substitute that can be used over and over again. Freeze it overnight in the freezer, then put it in the cooler instead of ice to keep everything cold. You never have to drain the cooler when you use these.
Inexpensive: Under $13 is the low price range for Coleman coolers. These small coolers hold 5 to 9 quarts. Many of them are soft-sided with shoulder straps.
Mid-range: Most Coleman coolers are priced in the middle, between $13 and $75. Over $20 is where you’ll find most of the hard-sided and larger-capacity coolers that can chill 60 to 90 cans for several days.
Expensive: Over $100 is the high price range. Here, you’ll find extra-large coolers that can hold over 90 cans and keep them cool for up to a week. These coolers tend to have large or dual-size drains that you can use to quickly empty the water out.
We like this Coleman 60-Quart Performance Wheeled Cooler. The wheels are made from heavy plastic and will withstand any terrain, from paved parking lots to gravel to rough, rocky ground. The telescoping handle locks into position when extended, allowing you to pull or push the cooler. There are four cup holders molded into the lid, which serves as a place to sit wherever you go. It holds up to 94 cans and will keep them cold for up to four days.
We also like the Coleman Heavy-Duty Super Cooler. It comes in three colors and holds 96 cans along with 20 pounds of ice. Items stay cold for up to seven days — an entire week! — even when the daily temperatures soar to 90º F. An antimicrobial liner and integrated cutting board resists fungus, mildew, mold, and odors. It has a dual-size drain, and you can drain it with a standard garden hose or a two-inch gate mouth for faster draining.
Q. Are these coolers roto molded?
A. Yes. Roto molding, used in combination with blow molding, creates a cooler that can keep the contents cool for several days at a time.
Q. What is the best way to clean my cooler?
A. Use warm water and bleach. Then, rinse it out with a garden hose.
Q. Can I use dry ice in my cooler?
A. If it is a hard-sided cooler, yes. If it is a soft-sided cooler, no.