people's choice

The Best Coolers on Amazon, According to Hyperenthusiastic Reviewers

Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed (that’s four-to-five-star reviews and lots of ‘em) products and single out the most convincing. While we’ve written about the best cooling fans, the best picnic accessories, and the most statusy cooler of all, we thought you might find an investigation of the best coolers on Amazon helpful for summer, too. (Note that reviews have been edited for length and clarity.)

The Best Small Soft Cooler

Coleman 16-Can Soft Cooler With Hard Liner
$16 at Amazon

“We bought this for a road trip and it worked well for our needs. For a party of two, I was really surprised at the amount of drinks it could hold. I really like the separate hard-plastic liner that comes with it. It made cleaning and trips to the ice machine easier. The portable size and shoulder strap make transporting it in our car and carrying it to the room extremely convenient. I’m considering getting a couple more as gifts.”

The Best Zipperless Soft Cooler

Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Zipperless Cooler
$30 at Amazon

“This lunch box is the perfect size for my husband, who is away from home for 10 to 12 hours a day, and is in the car commuting at least three hours a day. It fits food, snacks, and several drinks, all easy to grab while driving. The quality and style are truly remarkable for the price. I researched for hours before deciding on this one, and I’m so happy with the purchase.”

The Best Tote-Bag Soft Cooler

CleverMade SnapBasket 50 Can, Soft-Sided Collapsible Cooler: 30 Liter Insulated Tote Bag
$30 at Amazon

“These lightweight, simple pop-up coolers are handy and surprisingly well-made. We purchased these to transport 35 pounds of frozen prime Texas smoked briskets and BBQ sauce for a college lacrosse tailgate meal. Easily checked by TSA and loaded on the plane. Perfect condition when retrieved at baggage claim. We left these for the team, which used them for keeping drinks cold on ice. Perfect size, convenient for travel (you can fold flat and pack in your luggage), durable, and a terrific product at a reasonable price. Will buy these again!”

The Best Shoulder-Bag Soft Cooler

AO Coolers Canvas Soft Cooler With High-Density Insulation, 12-Can to 48-Can
$60 at Amazon

“I used this cooler all day on the beach. Maybe two pounds of ice from about 12 p.m. to around 7 p.m., and it could have held ice another solid day. This was never in the shade either. I’ll tell you what, though, this sucker is heavy as tarnation when you’ve got a ton of beer, liquor, mixers, ice, and half the world jammed inside this bag. Mine is the 36-pack cooler and I couldn’t be happier. I’d highly recommend using that shoulder strap when it’s slammed full!”

The Best Soft-Cooler Backpack

Coleman C003 Soft Backpack Cooler
$30 at Amazon

“We used this bag for our summer Disney World trip. My boyfriend and I each had one. In the morning, we would load it with waters and snacks. To avoid having to pack ice packs, I froze some bottles of water and put them in there; as they thawed, we’d drink them. The front pocket is tight, but it held my poncho, keys, sunscreen, and other items. The bag never leaked during our weeklong trip. We are going back again this summer, and this bag is coming with us again!”

The Best Soft Cooler on Wheels

Coleman 42-Can Wheeled Soft Cooler With Hard Liner
$50 at Amazon

“Perfect for my needs. Used for transporting samples by plane. I checked the cooler on my flight — strapped the exterior for extra support during baggage handling and to prevent the zipper top from accidentally opening. Inner liner protected materials perfectly. Used cold packs (Cooler Shock Freeze Packs) and materials remained fairly cold for over 24 hours. Lots of extra storage with exterior pockets. Rolls very well — and I did a lot of travel. Easy to carry by exterior handles.”

The Best Plastic Cooler on Wheels

Igloo Ice Cube Roller Cooler (60-Quart, Ocean Blue)
$24 at Amazon

“I purchased this cooler for our summer car-camping trips. I picked it for its compact shape and the fact that it has wheels. Its size works very well for use; it will fit on one seat instead of taking up the whole back seat. The wheels have proved to be very useful, and the handle is sturdy. The other thing I really like are the cup holders on top. On occasion, we use it as a mini–camping table, and the holders come in handy, not only for drinks but small items or phones as well. As far as its ability to keep the contents cold, we have had no issues. Overall, this cooler is a great buy: very sturdy and works well.”

The Best Small Plastic Cooler

Coleman FlipLid Personal Cooler, 5 Quarts
$23 at Amazon

“This is a small, personal cooler — if you’re looking for something bigger, then get something bigger. But this is GREAT for what it is — a small cooler that is easy to carry around. My husband and I stopped at a deli on the way to the beach and bought a six-pack of beer (cans) and a hoagie. The deli owner gave us some ice and we put the six-pack in and nestled the ice around it. It was a snug fit, but it worked and they stayed cold. It was the perfect little cooler for a stop at the beach for two. It stays in the trunk of the car, so we have it ready to grab for impromptu beer events — parties, picnics, beach days, etc. We were very happy with the purchase.”

The Best Plastic Midsize Cooler for Tailgating

Coleman 48-Quart Performance Cooler
$35 at Amazon

“Perfect cooler for tailgating. Purchased for that purpose and it really exceeds its usage every time. Keeps all items cold, and suction rim allows complete sealant to keep your drinks and coleslaw or mayo products cold until ready to eat!”

The Best Floating Cooler

Intex Mega Chill II Float Cooler
$24 at Amazon

“This tube is, of course, not meant to keep drinks freezing cold for eons. You’re putting an inflatable into warm water while the sun beats down on top of it; common sense would tell you not to expect miracles. This tube is meant to float while holding drinks and ice. It does that PERFECTLY. When we use ours, we place a 40-quart cooler (full of ice and adult beverages) directly inside. We leave the lid onshore; it just gets in the way and is one more thing to keep track of. The cooler tube then connects to our tubes and floats down the river alongside of us, providing us with cold, accessible drinks for hours.”

The Best Indestructible Cooler

Yeti Tundra 45 Cooler
$300 at Amazon

“To anyone on the fence about whether a cooler is worth 350 bucks, listen to this: I recently went on a binge-fishing trip. I packed up my SUV with the Yeti cooler and put two big bags of ice in it. My car sat in the heat in my garage on a Friday, then stayed parked in the hot sun on Saturday and Sunday, then I came home Monday morning. There were still plenty of frozen ice pieces in the Yeti, and the remaining drinks were super chilly and cold. Oh, yeah, and it’s solid AF and bear-proof. Plus, it works as a great seat in a boat or while camping.”

Editors’ note: We’ve written about the Yeti coolers before, too.

The Best Heavy-Duty Steel-Belted Cooler

Coleman 54-Quart Steel-Belted Cooler
$98 at Amazon

“This seriously is a great cooler. I have had ice in it since Monday. I am prepping a turkey for Thanksgiving and put six bags of ice in Monday night, and there are still 4.5 bags of ice left! Great room, and the handles with the rubber are so nice on the hands. It seals so perfectly and keeps everything cool on the inside. The bottle opener is nice to have, and the drain is great, so you don’t have to tip it to get water out. I even had this outside when it was ten degrees outside with water in it and nothing on the inside froze! That is how good this is.”

The Best Cooler for Hunting and Fishing

Igloo Quick and Cool 150 Qt. Cooler
$100 at Amazon

“Made this year’s deer hunt easier. I would recommend this to anybody wanting to do an extended stay in camp. I loved the top-open door. This was where I left my milk and pop set for easy access without having to open the entire lid. I have nothing negative to say. It does weigh more, but this seven-day cooler was worth it to be able to basically forget about it for a week in my living room. Thanks for making this extended cooler for us guys who want to spend our time hunting instead of driving into town every few nights for more ice.”

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The Best Coolers, According to Amazon Reviews