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Best Igloo Coolers

Updated November 2018
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 25 Models Considered
  • 6 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 107 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best Igloo coolers

    Last Updated November 2018

    A day spent fishing or enjoying the zoo wouldn’t be complete without drinks and food. And the right cooler can mean the difference between a good meal and a soggy sandwich. Igloo is well known for high-quality coolers and innovative designs. The company makes everything from insulated bags to coolers that are almost like having a portable refrigerator.

    If you’re not sure what size or type of cooler you need, you’ve come to the right place. At BestReviews, we’re committed to bringing you accurate information and finding the best products on the market. We’ve provided this shopping guide to help you decide which igloo cooler best fits your needs.

    Sit back and relax while you scroll through your options and find the right Igloo cooler for your next adventure.

    Both hard and soft Igloo cooler interiors incorporate antimicrobial technology to cut down on germs.

    Types of Igloo Coolers

    Hard coolers

    A hard outer shell and thick walls enable a hard cooler to not only chill but also protect your drinks and food while traveling.

    • Pros: These coolers are usually larger than soft coolers and often have more features, such as a telescoping handle, wheels, butler tray, and/or cupholders.

    • Cons: Hard coolers are heavier, more expensive, and take up more storage space than soft coolers.
       

    Soft coolers

    Soft coolers have flexible fabric sides and an insulated liner.

    • Pros: Soft coolers are lightweight, fold-down easily for storage, and can usually be carried with a shoulder strap. Some have a backpack design for even easier carrying.

    • Cons: These coolers work best for drinks rather than food because the contents tend to get mixed. This also means everything inside is at greater risk of getting crushed during transport.

    Small size, big impact

    Roomy and sturdy, this inexpensive cooler can hold an impressive amount of food for its size, and the vertical profile fits tall or long-necked bottles. With cup holders, media slot, and ice retention for three to four days, you’re ready to kick back and relax.

    Igloo cooler features to consider

    Capacity

    The size of your group and how you’ll be using the cooler can all help you determine the right cooler size. The capacity of each Igloo cooler is measured in both quarts and 12-ounce cans. For example, a 50-quart cooler (47 liters) is also rated to hold 72 12-ounce cans. Knowing both of these numbers will help you find the right size cooler for your needs.

    Portability

    Since coolers are meant to be used on the go, portability is an important feature to consider. There are a number of different features on igloo coolers that affect portability.

    Handles

    • Bolt-through handle: Found on hard coolers, this handle attaches to the inside of the cooler with a bolt, making it stronger and more durable.

    • Tow handle: Some hard coolers have a tow handle so you can pull the cooler behind you.

    • Telescoping handle: Some large hard Igloo coolers have a telescoping handle rather than a tow handle. The handle locks in place so you can easily pull the cooler behind you. It glides back into the cooler and out of the way when not in use.

    • Comfort grip: The ribbed design of Igloo’s comfort grip on hard cooler handles gives you some traction when carrying the cooler so it doesn’t slip.

    • Adjustable shoulder strap: An adjustable shoulder strap on a soft cooler enable hands-free carrying, which can be useful if you’re packing other items.
       

    Wheels

    Several of the hard cooler models have wheels to make them more portable. Some wheels also have anti-skid traction for taking the cooler on a trail or over rough terrain.

    Weight

    The heaviest hard coolers include handles and wheels. Midsize and smaller coolers often don’t have these features, which means weight is more of an issue, especially once the cooler is fully loaded. If you don’t need the large capacity of a big cooler, soft coolers are lighter in weight and can be easier to carry.

    Drain plugs on Igloo coolers are compatible with garden hoses for easily draining out the water.

    Stackability

    Some of the smaller hard coolers are designed to stack on top of one another. This makes them easier to store and take with you when traveling.
    Hard liner

    Some soft coolers include a hard liner, which looks like a plastic basket that fits into the cooler. If you want a soft cooler that can keep things cold without them getting crushed, a hard liner is the way to go. Hard liners are removable for cleaning ease.

    Food basket

    Drinks aren’t the only thing you need to keep cold on an outing. Some coolers include an interior food basket to keep dry items like sandwiches separate from the ice and cans. A food basket prevents these items from getting crushed while keeping them cold. The food basket can be removed if you don’t need it.

    On-board storage

    • Exterior pockets:  Some hard and soft coolers have exterior storage pockets. Personal items or foods that don’t need to be refrigerated can be stored in these pockets. On soft coolers, some of the pockets have zippers.

    • Lockbox: Some Igloo coolers include a water-resistant lockbox with an anti-leak gasket. You can keep your phone, keys, and other valuables locked away while you’re at the beach or other public places.
       

    Tie-down loops

    A few hard coolers have tie-down loops built into the cooler design. Camping chairs, umbrellas, and blankets can all be strapped and secured to the cooler using these loops, making it easier to transport all your gear.
    Materials

    Igloo makes coolers from several different materials, including water-resistant fabrics and molded plastic. Some elite coolers are made of aluminum with stainless-steel components to provide a balance of durability, strength, and weight. Plastic coolers are less expensive but may not hold up to heavy use.

    Extra features

    There are few extra features that may or may not be included, depending on the cooler you choose.

    • Interior LED lights: After dark, interior illumination in the cooler is a good idea.

    • Butler tray: The lid on some models also serves as a butler tray, giving you a place to put food and drinks.

    • Cup holders: Anglers and families alike can always use an extra cup holder.

    • Mobile device stand: While this feature certainly isn’t necessary, if you like to have quick access to your device while outdoors, it can be nice.

    • Lid latches: These help make sure the lid doesn’t open while you’re out adventuring.

    • Fish ruler: A few hard coolers have a fish ruler on the lid.

    • Quick-access hatch: Some large coolers have a hatch for access to your food without opening the lid and letting out the cold air.
    EXPERT TIP

    The designers at Igloo are thinking things through! They’ve designed some small hard coolers that fit under stadium and vehicle seats.


    Staff  | BestReviews
    EXPERT TIP

    Soft coolers should not be machine washed or dried because the liner could be damaged. Hand-wash the coolers with mild detergent and water.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Igloo cooler prices

    You can expect to pay from less than $25 to more than $200 for an Igloo cooler.

    Inexpensive: For under $25, you can get a hard or soft cooler that holds up to 12 cans. These coolers are designed to keep drinks or food cold for one to four people and may have a fold-flat or built-in handle.

    Mid-range: Between $25 and $100, you will find a wide variety of sizes and designs of both hard and soft coolers. These hard coolers are larger, with more features like latches, tie-down loops, and fish rulers. Soft coolers in this price range can carry up to 46 cans. Some have backpack straps, while others resemble traditional messenger or duffel bags.

    Expensive: Between $100 and $200 you’ll find top-of-the-line soft coolers meant for adventurers. These include multiple attachment points for carabiners, welded seams, and ultra-thick insulation. Hard coolers in this price range hold anywhere from 72 to 165 quarts (114 to 280 12-ounce cans). These models are made of plastic, although you might find a small stainless steel model at this price.

    Premium: At over $200 are large hard coolers that may have lid latches, aluminum and stainless-steel components, and tie-down loops. You’ll also find coolers with all-terrain wheels, telescoping handles, and built-in butler trays.

    Cool for the whole family

    Weekends at the baseball tournament or music festival just got a whole lot cooler. The 150-quart capacity and seven-day ice retention make this rugged Igloo ideal for large groups. And we love the hatch for quick access to food or drinks without releasing the cold air.

    Tips

    • Pre-chill the cooler and contents. This will help keep your food colder longer. A cooler is built to insulate. If it is kept in a warm environment, it will retain heat. Storing your cooler in a cool place before use can help keep your food and drinks colder for a longer time.

    • Clean your cooler regularly. This will help prevent the growth of mold or bacteria. Be sure to rinse out any cleaners and let the cooler fully dry before storing.

    • Wipe the interior down with vanilla extract. For tough, funky smells, leave a vanilla-soaked paper towel in the cooler overnight. The next morning, wipe down the cooler with the paper towel. Repeat the whole process if the smell remains.
    If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, look for an igloo cooler that’s been certified as “bear resistant” by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) These coolers have been designed and tested against the toughest standards to make sure bears and other animals can’t break in.

    FAQ

    Q. I see an Igloo cooler that says it has two-day ice retention. What is “ice retention”?

    A. Ice retention refers to the number of days the cooler can keep ice frozen. Igloo determines this number by filling the cooler with ice, closing the lid, and leaving it in a room set at 90°F. The ice retention is then determined by the number of days it takes before the ice start to melt.

    Q. Can I use dry ice in an Igloo cooler?

    A. Models marked with “Rotomold construction” have extra-thick insulation and can handle dry ice. These models have “Rotomold” in the name of the product to make them easily identifiable. Models without this word in the name could be damaged by dry ice.

    Q. Can my cooler be used as a seat?

    A. The manufacturer sells seat cushion accessories for several cooler models. Some attach using Velcro, while others snap to a base built into the cooler lid. We recommend following the manufacturer’s guidelines for recommended uses of their products.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Bronwyn
      Bronwyn
      Editor
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Enid
      Enid
      Editor
    • Melinda
      Melinda
      Web Producer
    • Rich
      Rich
      Writer
    • Stacey
      Stacey
      Writer

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