High-quality hard coolers are the perfect addition to any trip. They’re great for camping trips, days at the beach, concerts and tailgating. You can always find a reason to use a cooler, but you need a good one if you want to keep your food and drinks cold and fresh.
There are literally thousands of coolers and styles such as coolers with wheels, soft-sided coolers and backpack coolers to name a few. We reviewed the best hard-sided coolers with wheels and those without to help you make a buying decision.
When choosing the perfect cooler for your next trip, keep in mind how much you need to carry. Sometimes a small cooler will do the trick, but other trips may require something larger and possibly with wheels so you can carry it.
Here are the best coolers for any event.
Our Top Hard Cooler Picks
- Best Overall: Pelican 50QT Elite
- Best Hard Cooler with Wheels: Blue Coolers Ice Vault 60
- Best Premium Cooler: Yeti Tundra
- Best Small Personal Cooler: Pelican 20QT Elite Cooler, Yeti Roadie 24 Cooler
- Best Budget Hard Cooler: Coleman 316 Series
- Best Bucket Cooler: Yeti Tank 85 Bucket
- Best Ultra-Light Cooler: RTIC 52QT Ultra-Light
- Bear Resistant Cooler: Grizzly 20QT Cooler
Best Overall Hard Cooler
1. Pelican 50 Quart Elite Cooler
Pelican 50 Quart Elite Cooler
The Pelican 50 Quart Elite Cooler is perfect for family camping or RV trips. We chose it as the best overall hard-sided cooler due to durability, convenience and price. You can take it to the beach or campsite and it will keep your drinks and food cold for days due to extreme ice retention. It’s designed extremely tough and has 2” of polyurethane insulation to keep your drinks and food cold for days. This cooler far surpasses the performance standards of other coolers and comes with a Lifetime Guarantee from Pelican. That’s when you know a company stands behind its products.
The 50 Quart Pelican Elite Cooler is perfect for a family that goes camping, fishing, hunting, RVing or other outdoor activities that require a sturdy cooler to keep food and drink cold in extreme heat. You won’t find many coolers that can compete with this Pelican cooler. Most users prefer the Pelican 50QT Elite over Yeti products any day of the week.
Here are a few key features that you get with this Pelican cooler:
- Extreme durability
- Maximum ice retention
- Holds 38 beverage cans
- Molded-in lock hasp
- Bottle opener
- Built-in cup holders
- 47 lbs ice capacity
- Raised feet that won’t skid
- Pelican Lifetime Guarantee
Overall, the Pelican 50QT Elite Cooler surpassed all of our standards to be rated as the best cooler for the money!
Best Hard Cooler with Wheels
2. Blue Coolers Ice Vault 60
Blue Coolers Ice Vault – Wheeled 60 Quart
Blue Coolers may not be as well known as Yeti or Pelican, but this company makes amazing coolers in all sizes! We chose the Blue Coolers Ice Vault as the best hard-sided cooler with wheels because it can hold ice for up to 10 days and it’s easy to maneuver. It also costs less than Yeti or other premium brand names. We load our ice chests up when camping and end up with plenty of ice once we’re done.
This cooler is roto-molded and has 2” of thick insulation that keeps your food and drinks ice cold for more than a week in the hot sun. The company has amazing quality control and each cooler is made to last forever. Blue Coolers are almost indestructible and are rated for heavy-duty use. You can easily pull this large cooler with the handle and wheels even when it’s fully loaded with ice. You can lock the lid to keep people out and the rapid drain system really comes in handy when you use your cooler often. Overall, Blue Coolers easily compares with the big names and costs less.
Best Premium Cooler
3. Yeti Tundra
Yeti Tundra Haul Portable Wheeled Cooler
The Yeti Tundra Haul is the perfect combination between extreme toughness and portability. Yeti is known for durability, ruggedness and supreme ice retention. The NeverFlat wheels are a nice touch and are puncture-resistant so you don’t have to worry about rough terrain. The handle is comfortable and durable and will make carrying around your ice much easier. In fact, it features a curved design that’s easier to maneuver than other coolers or ice chests.
The rotomolded design makes the Yeti Tundra cooler tough as nails and the polyurethane foam in the walls ensures that your ice will keep cold for days. Yeti is well-known for making basically armored coolers that last forever.
Best Small Personal Hard-Sided Coolers
4. Pelican 20QT Elite
Pelican 20 Quart Elite Cooler – Best Personal Size Cooler
The Pelican 20 Quarte Elite Cooler has probably shown up on your radar a time or two and for good reason: it’s easily one of the best personal coolers on the market. This cooler is 20 quarts and can easily hold up to 15 cans or 3 wine bottles after adding ice. You can also put food with your drinks to keep them cold for hours.
I love the fact that you can carry this personal cooler one-handed with the over-molded carry handle. It’s perfect for bringing your lunch to work or a few drinks to the beach. Not only is the Pelican 20 Quart Elite Cooler super rugged on the outside, but it also features 2” of polyurethane insulation that will keep your items ice cold for hours in direct sunlight. It also has a 360-degree gasket that provides more ice retention than other brands.
The 4 self-draining cup holders on top of this cooler is icing on the cake and come in handy on camping trips. This personal-size cooler comes with the Pelican lifetime guarantee. We chose the Pelican 20QT Elite Cooler as the best personal cooler because it far surpasses other brands in all performance categories and is the perfect size for daily use.
5. Yeti Roadie 24 Cooler
Yeti Roadie 24 Cooler
The Yeti Roadie 24 cooler is an interesting cooler due to its design and shape. This version of the Yeti Roadie can hold 20% more than the old version and is 10% lighter which makes it easier to carry. One thing we really like about the Roadie 24 is that it’s built taller and can hold a wine bottle upright which is a great option for those who enjoy an ice-cold glass of wine on a hot summer night.
The Roadie 24 by Yeti can hold 18 cans with plenty of ice or it can hold 24 lbs of ice by itself if you need to transport the ice. The rotomolded design allows the Yeti Roadie to stay rugged while lowering the weight. The latches are incredibly easy to use one-handed and keep the lid shut. We’re impressed with the Yeti Roadie 24 as it features an interesting design that allows you to chill a bottle of wine upright and it’s lighter than previous versions.
Best Budget Hard-Sided Cooler
6. Coleman 316 Series Hard Cooler
Coleman 316 Series Wheeled Hard Cooler
You get a lot of bang for your buck with the Coleman 316 series wheeled hard cooler. While it may not be a premium cooler, it will get the job done and costs a fraction of other hard-sided coolers. This Coleman hard cooler is a great choice if you don’t want to spend $300 for a cooler. Not only does it retain ice for up to 5 days in direct heat, it also has wheels and a handle so you can maneuver your cooler around the campsite, beach or around the backyard.
The Coleman 62 quart wheeled hard cooler is fully insulated and the seat can be used as a seat and holds 250 lbs. You also get cup holders with a drain to hold your drinks and keep them from tipping over. The stain-resistant liner keeps your Coleman hard cooler nice and presentable and the drain plug allows you to empty the contents. This hard cooler makes camping easier without breaking the bank.
Best Bucket Cooler
7. Yeti Tank 85 Bucket Cooler
Yeti Tank 85 Bucket Cooler
The Yeti Tank Cooler lineup included 2 sizes: 45L and 85L and has an interesting design – it’s round and can hold a keg! We like this design and it actually excels in many situations such as chilling up to 52 cans, a keg, wine bottles, food and more. This cooler features a fat wall design with extremely thick walls with 2” of insulation all the way around that maximizes ice retention. It’s even injected with polyurethane foam that does an amazing job at keeping your items freezing cold even during the summer.
The Yeti Tank 45 or 85 makes the perfect party cooler that can hold everything you need to host a function, tailgate or just hang outside with friends. I highly recommend checking out the Yeti Tank Cooler if you want something that will make throwing parties easier.
Best Ultra-Lightweight Cooler
8. RTIC 52 QT Ultra-Light Hard Cooler
RTIC 52 Quart Ultra-Light Cooler
The RTIC ultra-light hard cooler is a great choice for those who want amazing ice retention in a lightweight cooler. This is the type of hard cooler that you can take on road trips, the beach or load up in the camper and make memories. RTIC often has amazing deals on their coolers and you can often find them on sale. A quick search and you can find deals on nearly every model of hard cooler they make.
If you’re looking for an extreme ice-retention hard cooler, the RTIC is a top contender. It’s injection molded which makes it lighter and it still functions like a premium hard-sided cooler. The 3” of closed-cell foam insulation gives you amazing ice retention that lasts for days. RTIC does something that many other premium hard-sided coolers don’t by including a basket and a removable divider to help you organize your cooler. Keeping your food and drink separated and organized can help keep everything cooler. While many premium hard-sided cooler brands advertise the toughness of their cooler, the RTIC is what most of us need on a day at the lake, campsite or RV.
Bear-Resistant Hard Cooler
9. Grizzly 20QT Hard-Sided Cooler
Grizzly 20 Quart Cooler – Bear Resistant
Grizzly coolers are well known in the camping communities for producing some of the toughest coolers on the market. They’re rotomolded and have thick walls for maximum durability. They’re also pressure injected with 2 inches of Ecomate polyurethane foam that gives your cooler more cooling properties. The lids are sealed with a rubber gasket that keeps your food and drinks cold for even longer. They also feature two lock holes so you can lock it to keep it secure.
The name Grizzly speaks volumes for this cooler as it is certified Bear-Resistant. Try that with other coolers. We like Grizzly coolers – they’re super tough, bear-resistant and look amazing.
Other Great Hard Coolers we Tested:
Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Ice Chest
Arctic Zone makes extremely tough coolers and the Titan Deep Freeze 20-quart high-performance cooler is one of the best. This heavy-duty cooler is made for those who want a no-nonsense cooler that can be used anywhere. It features a built-in Microban that stops bacterial odors and stains from forming. It has amazing ice retention due to the polyurethane insulation and thick walls. The freezer-grade rubber gasket ensures a perfectly tight seal to retain your ice for longer than most coolers or ice chests.
The roto-molded construction goes a long way and will last a long time. It even meets the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee standards as a bear-resistant container is you use the proper locks. This is a huge deal if you camp in areas where bears are present. I like the Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze cooler because it has a simple design that’s incredibly effective at keeping your food and drink ice cold for days.
Orca coolers are often compared to the famous Yeti line of classic coolers. Many users prefer Orca over other brands because they’re tough, work as advertised and are cheaper than Yeti products. You can literally hold ice in these for a 10 day camping trip in direct sunlight and you will still have ice.
This cooler is built like a tank with heavy-duty materials. That’s a great thing, but it makes the cooler heavy. If you want a nearly indestructible cooler, this is it, but you may have to plan out how much you fill it with ice due to weight.
This 58-quart cooler has roto molded construction and integrated insulation to help it do its job more efficiently. It features a lid gasket that gives you a perfect seal every time. The flex grip handles are extendable and you can carry this cooler by yourself. It also comes with a cargo net attachment that allows for even more storage. We like this rugged cooler because it does exactly what it says it will do – keep your food and drink cold for up to 10 days.
The Reyleo camping cooler boasts 50 quarts of bone-chilling cooling for food and drinks for your next trip. Made from Polyurethane foam material and a sturdy sealing strip, your cooler will stay sealed tight to keep your ice for up to 5 days. A cooler this large needs wheels and a comfortable handle or you will regret filling it up to the top. The Reyleo camping cooler can hold up to 78 cans and is perfect for camping, tailgating or family gatherings.
This cooler with wheels is bear-resistant certified and made from some of the most durable materials you will ever find on a cooler. It’s waterproof, drop-resistant and scratch resistant for those rough days in the back of your truck. The lid can literally hold up to 700 pounds and makes a great makeshift chair.
The Xspec is 60 quarts of heavy-duty cooling and is one of the best ice chests you can buy. It features 3” of insulation made from polyurethane with a gasket that will keep your cooler air tight for longer ice retention. The handles are heavy-duty and comfortable in your hands and the snap latches keep the lid closed and your drinks cold. It also has built-in bottle openers, a molded ruler for fish and a built-in compass for kicks and giggles.
The Xspec cooler has 3” thick roto-molded insulation in the lid and body, as well as UV protection. The leak proof drain plug comes in handy and the pressure release value helps you open the lid easier. I’m sure we’ve all owned ice chests that were nearly impossible to open due to suction, you won’t have that problem with this one.
We like the Xspec high-performance cooler because it gives you everything you get with more expensive coolers at a fraction of the cost.
The Igloo 70 quart cooler is huge and doesn’t cost a fortune. It’s roto-molded, insulated and injection-molded construction to give you a tough cooler. The UV inhibitors located in the body and lid of this cooler keeps the interior cold for longer than regular ice chests. The lid is secure and features lid latches that are marine-grade and can survive the harshest environmental conditions if needed.
The molded side handles are built-in and comfortable even when wet so you can easily carry it. You also get floating handles on top of the fixed handles to give you more options. You would be surprised at how lightweight this cooler is for its size and durability.
We like this cooler because it’s large (70QT) and has premium features at a great price.
Jerome is an avid outdoorsman who moonlights as an attorney when he’s not creating the world’s greatest online content.