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Coleman 316 Series 52 Review

This lightweight cooler will keep your wallet happy but is prone to leaks and poor insulation performance
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Coleman 316 Series 52 Review
Credit: Coleman
Price:  $50 List
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Manufacturer:   Coleman
By Genaveve Bradshaw and Rebecca Glades  ⋅  Oct 9, 2023
45
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#19 of 19
  • Insulation - 50% 4.8
  • Durability - 20% 3.1
  • Ease of Use - 15% 4.0
  • Portability - 10% 7.0
  • Additional Features - 5% 3.1

Our Verdict

The Coleman 316 Series 52qt is an inexpensive cooler that is best suited for quick trips. It isn't the best when it comes to keeping its contents cool, though it'll get you through most weekends or day outings. It is one of the lightest models in our lineup, and we had no trouble transporting this around. Its four integrated cup holders make the lid a great surface for a camp table or chair. However, we have concerns about its overall longevity and leaky lid. All in all, this inexpensive cooler is a decent option for those who plan on using it just a couple of times a year.
REASONS TO BUY
Inexpensive
Lightweight
Easy to transport
REASONS TO AVOID
Poor insulation
Not durable
Leaks

Compare to Similar Products

 
coleman 316 series 52
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award  
Price $50 List
$47.79 at Amazon
$400.00 at REI
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$199.00 at Amazon
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Bottom Line A decent budget-friendly option for quick trips, but its insulation performance doesn’t hold up after a few daysWhile on the pricier side, you can't beat this cooler's insulationWith reliable performance, this cooler is a great shape, easy to use, and a good valueA budget-friendly rotomolded option that includes great features and is available in many colorsThis cooler is a great budget option but likely won't last as long as others
Rating Categories Coleman 316 Series 52 Yeti Roadie 48 Xspec 60qt RTIC Ultralight 52 Coleman Portable Ro...
Insulation (50%)
4.8
10.0
8.7
8.1
5.1
Durability (20%)
3.1
7.7
7.6
5.6
2.4
Ease of Use (15%)
4.0
8.4
7.4
7.4
4.2
Portability (10%)
7.0
9.5
7.0
8.5
9.0
Additional Features (5%)
3.1
7.6
7.2
5.9
3.5
Specs Coleman 316 Series 52 Yeti Roadie 48 Xspec 60qt RTIC Ultralight 52 Coleman Portable Ro...
Shelf Life of Food (Measured Days Below 40ºF) 4.0 6.8 6.1 5.8 4.1
Days of Cold Beverages (Measured Days Below 50º F) 4.4 7.5 6.7 6.3 4.6
Measured Weight 9.4 Ibs 26.6 Ibs 30.3 Ibs 21.6 Ibs 12.5 Ibs
Measured Capacity in Cans 74 77 90 61 90
Measured Capacity 44 qt 45 qt 57 qt 49 qt 52 qt
Advertised Capacity 52 qt 48 qt 60 qt 52 qt 50 qt
Internal Maximum Body Height 13.0" 15.8" 13.0" 12.0" 14"
Does it Fit a Wine or 2L Bottle Standing Upright? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Measured Exterior Dimensions (L x W x H) 26.0" x 14.5" x 17.7" 20.1" x 19.8" x 20.8" 29.5" x 17.0" x 18.0" 27.3" x 18.5" x 17.5" 22.8" x 17.8" D x 17.6"
Outer Construction Blow-molded Plastic (non-rotomolded) Not listed Rotomolded Rotomolded Blow-molded Plastic (non-rotomolded)
Inner Construction TempLock™ FX insulation in the lid Pressure-injected polyurethane 3" of polyurethane insulation Not listed Xtreme® technology

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Coleman 316 Series 52 cooler is a simple cooler that features a drain plug and four integrated cup holders. It weighs in at just 9.5 pounds, making it easy to transport around. It can hold up to 74 cans, but it won't keep them cold for more than a few days.

Performance Comparison


The Coleman 316 is a classic-style cooler that is lightweight, easy to use, and budget-friendly.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Insulation


The Coleman 316 is one of the few options in our lineup that isn't rotomolded. Instead, it's blow-molded plastic, which tends to not do as well at holding colder temperatures. We set the Coleman, among the others, in a temperature-controlled room for 10 days. It was filled with ice and a device that recorded its internal temperatures. After 10 days, we collected the data to see how well it held up. It lasted four days below the FDA-recommended food-safe temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit. It lasted an additional nine and a half hours below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, which represents the ideal beverage temperature. Though this isn't the most impressive performance, it should be enough to last you through the weekend. It's also worth noting that we didn't prechill the cooler prior to testing. Prechilling might squeeze a few extra hours into the chilly lifespan of the Coleman.

coleman 316 series 52 - the coleman 316 is large enough to hold lots of cans and even an...
The Coleman 316 is large enough to hold lots of cans and even an upright wine bottle.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Durability


As a part of our durability test, we stood, sat, and yanked on the 316. We had no concerns when sitting on the lid. However, when we stood on the cooler, it made a loud creaking noise and bowed easily. We also picked it up and sloshed it around, which resulted in significant leakage from the lid. We don't feel confident in this model's overall longevity due to its weak-feeling handles, latches, and hinges. It also developed a strange discoloration within the lid.

coleman 316 series 52 - the lid is not resistant to splashes or leaks, but it uniquely...
The lid is not resistant to splashes or leaks, but it uniquely includes cup holders.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Use


We measured the Series 52qt in at 44 quarts. After filling this cooler up with cans, we documented that it can hold a capacity of 72 12-ounce cans. The lid is straightforward to open as it has no latches. It also won't close on your hand while packing as it opens just past 90 degrees. We appreciate how easy it is to get in and out of this cooler. It includes an attached drain plug, so you won't need to worry about misplacing it. We also didn't notice any leaks from the drain plug after the ice had melted. However, we could see this becoming weak over time as it doesn't feel the most durable. In addition, the drain did a decent job of emptying the cooler, but we still needed to pick it up and shake it around to get the remaining water out.

coleman 316 series 52 - the coleman includes a drain plug that is attached to the cooler, so...
The Coleman includes a drain plug that is attached to the cooler, so you won't need to worry about losing it.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Portability


The Coleman 316 Series is delightfully lightweight at just over nine pounds. It also has a fairly small footprint for its larger internal capacity. Unlike many of the other larger models, we were able to carry this around alone. Additionally, it was one of the easiest to load in and out of the car. Our only concerns lie with the durability of the handles and the leaky lid. When weighed down, the handles feel like they are being strained. We could imagine these breaking over time. We also experienced significant leakage from the lid when the cooler was tilted sideways.

coleman 316 series 52 - we appreciate how easy it is to transport this cooler around...
We appreciate how easy it is to transport this cooler around, however we have some concerns on the longevity of the handles.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Additional Features


The Coleman has four cupholders integrated into the lid. Beyond that, it doesn't have much in terms of features. For its price, you're not necessarily paying for all the bells and whistles. Instead, with all the money saved, you can focus on filling it up with lots of goodies and treats. Furthermore, it's available in two colors.

coleman 316 series 52 - with four cupholders, you can use this as a camp table.
With four cupholders, you can use this as a camp table.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Should You Buy the Coleman 316 Series 52?


The Coleman 316 is one of the few that isn't rotomolded in our lineup. Because of that, it lacks strong insulation performance and durability. However, it is impressively lightweight and inexpensive. If you're planning on using this just a few times a year, you'll likely be just fine. However, if you're looking to spend more than a few days away from home, we'd recommend checking out another option that holds its chilly temps for longer.

What Other Coolers Should You Consider?


If longevity and insulation power are a must, we recommend the Orca 58. Though it's quite a bit pricier, you'll be set for years of journeys with ice-cold beverages. However, if you'd prefer to keep costs down while not sacrificing performance, the Xspec 60 is a great option. This cooler does well in every metric with a middle-of-the-road price.

coleman 316 series 52 - the coleman is a great size to hold onto perishables for you and a...
The Coleman is a great size to hold onto perishables for you and a few friends.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Genaveve Bradshaw and Rebecca Glades