The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Engel 65 Review

A decent cooler for a lower price.
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Price:  $280 List | $234.95 at Amazon
Pros:  Decent insulation, convenient size, comparatively lightweight
Cons:  Handles uncomfortable, not our favorite latches
Manufacturer:   Engel
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 9, 2019
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59
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 12
  • Insulation - 50% 6
  • Durability - 20% 6
  • Ease of Use - 15% 5
  • Portability - 10% 6
  • Features - 5% 7

Our Verdict

The Engel 65 is a slightly above average performer for less than the cost of most the competition. With decent insulation, excellent durability and some built-in bottle openers, this cooler is a good contender among a tough crowd. If you're after a little better performance for about the same price, the RTIC is a good option and is our Best Buy for a High End Cooler award winner. But if you want to break away from the rubber T-grip latches and gain some bottle openers, the Engel may be the cooler for you.


Compare to Similar Products

 
This Product
Engel 65
Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
Price $234.95 at AmazonCheck Price at Amazon
Compare at 3 sellers
$323.48 at Amazon$308 List$399.00 at REI
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Decent insulation, convenient size, comparatively lightweightExcellent insulation, super durable, easy to use, great sizeExcellent insulation, great drainage, durable, compact designVery durable, less expensive than competitors, good insulation, comfortable handle gripsThe best wheels, very durable, comfortable to pull, useful accessories
Cons Handles uncomfortable, not our favorite latchesExpensive, no leash for plug, smaller than claimedTall narrow shape is hard to dig through, expensive, not our favorite handlesA bit large for one person, no leash for plug, latches are scarily stretchyNot amazing insulation, awkward latches, expensive, on the heavy side
Bottom Line A decent cooler for a lower price.If you want the best insulation and the longest lasting cooler, look no further than this simple yet effective model.Excellent insulation in a compact, durable cooler.A high-performing and durable cooler that’s a bit softer on the wallet.A wheeled cooler that is even more handy than you’d imagine.
Rating Categories Engel 65 Yeti Tundra 65 ORCA 58 Quart RTIC 65 RovR RollR 60
Insulation (50%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
6
Durability (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
Ease Of Use (15%)
10
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5
10
0
7
10
0
5
10
0
8
10
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8
Portability (10%)
10
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6
10
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7
10
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6
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6
10
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9
Features (5%)
10
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7
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7
10
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6
10
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5
10
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9
Specs Engel 65 Yeti Tundra 65 ORCA 58 Quart RTIC 65 RovR RollR 60
Shelf Life of Food (Measured Days Below 40ºF) 5.6 days 6.5 days 6.5 days 6 days 4.7 days
Weight (lbs) 25.5 lb 31.9 lb 30.6 lb 34.9 lb 40.5 lb
Measured Capacity (quarts) 54 qt 56 qt 56 qt 67 qt 60 qt
Advertised Capacity (quarts) 65 qt 65 qt 58 qt 65 qt 60 qt
Days of Cold Beverages (Measured Days Below 50º F) 6 days 7.4 days 7.3 days 6.8 days 5.3 days
Exterior Dimensions (L x W x H) 29.5" x 17" x 16.6" 30.75" x 17.5" x 16" 26.75" x 20" x 19.4" 32" x 18.5" x 17" 25.9"/40.25" x 20.75" x 20"
Construction Rotomolded Rotomolded polyethylene Rotomolded Rotomolded Rotomolded

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


With a decent performance  lower than average price  and some funky color options  the Engel might be the right cooler for you.
With a decent performance, lower than average price, and some funky color options, the Engel might be the right cooler for you.

Insulation


The Engel is one of several rotomolded coolers we tested with an airtight rubber gasket sealing it shut. This impressive construction likely contributes to it's above average performance in our torturous insulation tests. Compared to the average of just 4.5 days at or below 40º, the Engel lasted 5.6 days and continued to keep that interior below 50º (think refreshing beer) for a full six days - also above average. The top-performing Yeti Tundra and Orca 58 Quart, which tied for first place, both lasted 6.5 days below the USDA safe food temperature of 40º.

All loaded up and ready for insulation testing!
All loaded up and ready for insulation testing!

Durability


One of several coolers we tested that received an official grizzly-resistant stamp of approval from the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, the Engel is a pretty durable cooler. However, it displayed some details during our testing that knocked its score down a few pegs compared to other similar models. These details include a noticeable lid movement when jumped on by a 225 lb tester (though we recognize this is outside of the scope of 'normal' usage) and numerous online complaints of the rubber latches stretching out over time. Though we haven't yet had the opportunity to use this cooler repeatedly for years and years, our experiences with said latches also showed their propensity to stretch.

The hinge and rubber gasket of the Engel help earn it an IGBC certification.
The hinge and rubber gasket of the Engel help earn it an IGBC certification.

Ease of Use


The Engel shares a lot of similarities in design to several of its competitors, like the Yeti Tundra, RTIC, and even the Orca. However, Engel didn't follow suit with the rubberized T-grip pull latches used by the competitors mentioned above. While we feel that this could be an asset to the cooler, as its design requires much less muscling around than the T-grip latches, we weren't impressed by the performance of the latches. We found them to be a rather long, skinny shape with too small of a maneuvering space to quickly and easily clasp closed. They tended to wobble a bit side to side as well, meaning more precise movements were needed to close the cooler. We feel that using this latch over the T-grips essentially traded muscle power for concentration. We do like the easy to use drain though and think the measured 56-quart capacity is a useful size.

A different style of latch than the rest of the coolers we tested  with cleverly disguised bottle openers on top.
A different style of latch than the rest of the coolers we tested, with cleverly disguised bottle openers on top.

Portability


On the one hand, at 25.5 pounds, the Engel is the lightest rotomolded cooler of its size class that we tested. This fact is great, and the slightly more narrow size of this cooler also facilitates a lone adventurer being able to move this ice chest around solo. That said, we think the dual carry rope handles of the Engel leave something to be desired. These handles feature stiff, clunky plastic grips with molded finger grooves on one side. While at first glance, we didn't think this would be a problem, we quickly discovered that these grips are a bit narrow and too rigid to be as comfortable as the squishy foam grips of the RTIC or even the softer grooved grips of the Tundra.

A reasonably compact cooler  the Engel isn't terrible to carry if it's not loaded down. Though the hard plastic hand grips aren't our favorite.
A reasonably compact cooler, the Engel isn't terrible to carry if it's not loaded down. Though the hard plastic hand grips aren't our favorite.

Features


A fairly simple design, the Engel is hiding one pretty nifty little feature - the metal hooks that the latches attach to double as bottle openers. The Engel can also be tied down into place and still opened, has non-skid feet, is dry ice compatible (yay!), and at the time of writing is backed by a whopping 10-year guarantee.

A small channel and relatively low lip hep the Engel drain more easily.
A small channel and relatively low lip hep the Engel drain more easily.

Best Applications


The Engel is a high-end cooler that we think is a convenient size for one or two people to carry and puts forth a solid performance without costing as much as most of the coolers we tested. Though there are better performers available, we think the Engel is a good combination of size, capabilities, and is available in some funky colors.

The line-up of similar coolers. From left to right: Orca 58  Engel 65  RTIC 65  Yeti Tundra 65  OtterBox Venture 65  and Coleman Xtreme 5-Day 70Qt.
The line-up of similar coolers. From left to right: Orca 58, Engel 65, RTIC 65, Yeti Tundra 65, OtterBox Venture 65, and Coleman Xtreme 5-Day 70Qt.

Value


For significantly less than most other models, the Engel brings an above average performance to the table, making it a pretty good value in our books. For a more impressive performance in a slightly larger cooler, you might consider the similarly priced RTIC, our Best Buy for a High End Cooler award winner. But if the size and color combo offered in this cooler is your thing, we think the Engel is a pretty decent cooler.

Conclusion


Though it doesn't take home any awards this time around, we think the Engel is an above average cooler for a below average price. With decent insulation, pretty good longevity, and some incognito bottle openers, this cooler might be the right accessory for your life.

The Engel (bottom  center) is a pretty solid cooler and just might be the right one for you.
The Engel (bottom, center) is a pretty solid cooler and just might be the right one for you.


Maggie Brandenburg