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.
Engel 65 Review
Cons: Handles uncomfortable, not our favorite latches
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
— Maggie Brandenburg