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RTIC 20 Review

Portability is the biggest perk of this cooler, though its subpar insulation left us underwhelmed
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RTIC 20 Review
Credit: RTIC
Price:  $150 List
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Manufacturer:   RTIC
By Genaveve Bradshaw and Rebecca Glades  ⋅  Oct 9, 2023
49
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#16 of 19
  • Insulation - 50% 3.5
  • Durability - 20% 5.9
  • Ease of Use - 15% 6.4
  • Portability - 10% 8.0
  • Additional Features - 5% 3.7

Our Verdict

The RTIC 20 is a simple cooler that is lightweight and straightforward to use. It's the perfect size for a quick trip, though we wouldn't recommend taking it along a week-long journey. Its insulation performance was lackluster, and we weren't too impressed with its uncomfortable handle. Unlike many smaller models, it is lock-compatible and includes a drain plug. It also doubles as a chair or stool thanks to its four non-slip rubber feet. Though it's not our best cooler, it's still a decent option that won't break the bank.
REASONS TO BUY
Inexpensive
Lightweight
Includes a drain plug
REASONS TO AVOID
Subpar insulation
Awkward to carry

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Bottom Line A personal-sized option that won’t break the bank but performs much like a soft coolerWith 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 othersA decent budget-friendly option for quick trips, but its insulation performance doesn’t hold up after a few days
Rating Categories RTIC 20 Xspec 60qt RTIC Ultralight 52 Coleman Portable Ro... Coleman 316 Series 52
Insulation (50%)
3.5
8.7
8.1
5.1
4.8
Durability (20%)
5.9
7.6
5.6
2.4
3.1
Ease of Use (15%)
6.4
7.4
7.4
4.2
4.0
Portability (10%)
8.0
7.0
8.5
9.0
7.0
Additional Features (5%)
3.7
7.2
5.9
3.5
3.1
Specs RTIC 20 Xspec 60qt RTIC Ultralight 52 Coleman Portable Ro... Coleman 316 Series 52
Shelf Life of Food (Measured Days Below 40ºF) 3.3 6.1 5.8 4.1 4.0
Days of Cold Beverages (Measured Days Below 50º F) 3.6 6.7 6.3 4.6 4.4
Measured Weight 18.2 Ibs 30.3 Ibs 21.6 Ibs 12.5 Ibs 9.4 Ibs
Measured Capacity in Cans 30 90 61 90 74
Measured Capacity 15 qt 57 qt 49 qt 52 qt 44 qt
Advertised Capacity 20 qt 60 qt 52 qt 50 qt 52 qt
Internal Maximum Body Height 10.8" 13.0" 12.0" 14" 13.0"
Does it Fit a Wine or 2L Bottle Standing Upright? No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Measured Exterior Dimensions (L x W x H) 21.5" x 13.5" x 15.0" 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" 26.0" x 14.5" x 17.7"
Construction Rotomolded Rotomolded Rotomolded Blow-molded Plastic (non-rotomolded) Blow-molded Plastic (non-rotomolded)

Our Analysis and Test Results

The RTIC 20 measures in at 15 quarts, the ideal size for up to two people. It's rotomolded and includes a padded metal handle that swings over the top of the lid. It weighs in at 18 pounds, making it one of the lightest options in our lineup. However, its awkward handle makes it a bit challenging to tow around.

Performance Comparison


The RTIC 20 can be awkward to carry.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Insulation


The RTIC 20 didn't necessarily impress us with its insulation performance. It lasted 3.3 days under 40º F and 3.6 under 50º F. The FDA recommends keeping food under 40º F for optimum freshness and safety, so we used this as one of our key values. Likewise, 50º F represents the ideal refreshment temperature. Due to its small size, you likely won't be packing up for a week-long journey. With that in mind, the mediocre insulation performance might not matter all that much. Should you simply need something for the day or overnight, the RTIC 20 will do just fine.

rtic 20 - the rtic 20 is the perfect size to fit the day's refreshments or...
The RTIC 20 is the perfect size to fit the day's refreshments or snacks.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Durability


The small RTIC 20 has four rubber gripper feet that help keep it from sliding around. Thanks to this, it can be used as a stool or chair, albeit a small chair, but a place to sit nonetheless. The model is not watertight and is prone to leaks and splashes after the ice has melted, which makes transporting it around a bit tedious. In addition, we read reports of the plug being faulty. However, we didn't experience any issues with this.

rtic 20 - the 20 has well-made latches. however, should they break, more can...
The 20 has well-made latches. However, should they break, more can be purchased through RTIC.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Use


The RTIC was one of the few models we tested that was actually larger than advertised. The cooler claims to hold 24 cans. When in reality, we were able to sneak 30 cans into this 15-quart model. Opening the ice chest is fairly straightforward. Like many others, it has rubber t-shaped handles that keep the lid snugly shut. The lid stays open on its own beyond a 90º angle, so you won't need to worry about it closing on your hand while reaching for a snack. However, the handle must be in its down-facing position for this to work. Though it's not too tedious, moving it out of the way is just one extra step you must take before opening the cooler.

rtic 20 - the 20 has the classic t-shaped latch rubber handles that are fairly...
The 20 has the classic t-shaped latch rubber handles that are fairly straightforward to use.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Many smaller coolers don't include drain plugs since they can easily be lifted and shaken to empty. However, the RTIC is one of the few that includes one. We appreciate this extra feature as it makes letting out excess water a breeze. If you want to add more ice, you won't need to empty the contents prior to pouring out the water. Instead, you can simply open the valve and let it do the work for you.

rtic 20 - the rtic 20 includes a drain plug. keep an eye on it, though! it...
The RTIC 20 includes a drain plug. Keep an eye on it, though! It doesn't have a leash to keep it attached.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Portability


The RTIC is one of the lightest coolers in our lineup, weighing in at roughly 18 pounds. For it's small size, it feels a bit heavy and awkward. We found it easiest to carry it with our arms extended and the cooler resting against our legs. It has a padded metal handle that swings over the top of the lid to make the grip a bit more manageable. However, we wish it had more than one option to carry it. It doesn't have any extra handles, and the metal bar is too short to carry over your forearms. All things considered, its small size makes it easier to move around.

rtic 20 - the best way to carry the rtic 20 is by letting it rest on your leg...
The best way to carry the RTIC 20 is by letting it rest on your leg while walking. Still not the most comfortable, but it worked.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Additional Features


This model is fairly straightforward. It doesn't include the bells and whistles that its larger competitors have. However, it is lock-compatible and includes a drain plug, which many of its sizes do not include. It is also available in four colors. Should you need it, RTIC backs the 20 with a one-year warranty. Plus, additional parts can be purchased in case of broken parts or a lost drain plug.

rtic 20 - the rtic 20 opens beyond a 90-degree angle, so you won't need to...
The RTIC 20 opens beyond a 90-degree angle, so you won't need to worry about it closing on your hand when reaching for a snack.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Should You Buy The RTIC 20?


The RTIC 20 is a great option for 1-2 people that's fairly inexpensive. It is among the lightest in our lineup and is fairly easy to transport. Though it's a smaller model, it still includes some of the great features that most larger models have, like a drain plug and lock compatibility. This is a great quick trip option, though we wouldn't recommend taking it out for more than a few days.

rtic 20 - the rtic 20 is a decent 1-2 person option, though it likely won't...
The RTIC 20 is a decent 1-2 person option, though it likely won't fit enough for an entire week-long road trip.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

What Other Coolers Should You Consider?


It's hard to beat the price of the Coleman 316. This cooler performs similarly to the RTIC 20 but has a slightly longer insulation performance. On the other hand, if you're searching for a premium option, the Rovr RollR is worth taking a peek at. This unique option can be towed behind a bike as it has two large burly wheels.

rtic 20 - the rtic 20 is wide enough to double as a stool or chair, but it's...
The RTIC 20 is wide enough to double as a stool or chair, but it's still small enough to make it easily portable.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Genaveve Bradshaw and Rebecca Glades