We've tested 30+ models over 7 years in search of the best cooler. This review covers 16 top ice chests available in 2020 we bought and tested side-by-side for their real-world performance. From picnics in the park to the beach, we carted these models everywhere to learn which are portable and enjoyable to use. We went through hundreds of pounds of ice and frosty cans for rigorous insulation tests, too. Whether you're setting out on a road trip or a hunting trip, we can help you choose your perfect icebox.Related: The Best Soft Coolers of 2020
Best Cooler of 2020
Yeti Tundra 65
Yeti is one of the most recognized names in the game, and there's a good reason for that. The Tundra boasts the most impressive all-around performance of any model we tested. In our intensive insulation testing, the Tundra outlasted all the rest when it comes to how long it can keep its contents both at safe temperatures for consumption and delicious temperatures for drinking. It's a straight-forward, rotomolded design that just works. One of many chests we tested with an IGBC rating, the Tundra has sturdy latches that are both convenient and durable. It also comes with a removable basket inside the top to keep sensitive items dry and can be outfitted with loads more accessories for all kinds of activities. For its size, the Tundra is a reasonable weight, and its shape has a low profile that makes the last beers easy to find while still being narrow enough for a single person to load into the truck. Yeti also continues to diversify the colors this cooler is available in, providing more options to better match your style.
We are a bit disappointed to have measured this advertised 65-quart model at just 56 quarts, but our testers ended up appreciating this surprisingly useful size. And like many of the models we tested, the Tundra still has a little lip on the inside of the drain, making it challenging to empty it completely without flipping the whole thing on its end. But with those minor complaints aside, we think the Yeti Tundra is a super handy cool-box for just about any activity to which you'd drive your car.
Read review: Yeti Tundra 65
Best Bang for Your Buck
In the realm of seriously tough ice chests, the Xspec 60qt emerges as an impressive model with a price tag that offers some respite from the rest. Sure, it's not the cheapest option out there, but for less than half the price of many others we tested, it offers adequate insulation, thoughtful design features, and a reliable structure. Rotomolded construction and an airtight seal lend adequate insulation power to get through most weekend camping trips. Easy to use latches blend plastic clasps with rubber security for a painless opening and closing experience that's aided by a pressure release push-valve. This ice trunk is narrow enough for solo carry, tall enough to fit an upright bottle of chilled white wine, while still shallow enough to find items that migrated to the bottom. It has a slew of useful features, including bottle openers, a fish ruler, easily removable handles, and even a small compass.
With that being said, it does fall a bit short in some areas. Maintaining temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit for 4.7 days is probably sufficient for most people's use, but it falls short of the best performers that stretch to 6+ days of keeping food below that USDA threshold. And while the Xspec does have a number of features we love, it's missing the handy dry basket that so many others now come standard with. We also couldn't find any mention of a warranty that accompanies this icebox, which of course, we hope we'd never have to use. These minor shortcomings aside though, we love what the Xspec has to offer for its price and we think it's a wholly high-value piece of gear.
Read review: Xspec 60qt
Best on a Tight Budget
Coleman Xtreme 5-Day 70qt
We are quite impressed with the insulation performance of this rather inexpensive product. Up against models more than three or four times the price, the Coleman Xtreme 5-Day 70Qt holds its own. Though it can't match the rotomolded prowess of the premium models, the Coleman clearly shows its worth and value, considering the serious chunk of change you'll save. It's also much lighter in weight than the rest of the competition - lighter even than several of the personal-sized models we tested. And to top it off, it has a deceptively large capacity for a relatively small overall size. With a simple pull-open lid with no latches to slow you down, the Coleman is one of the most natural-feeling chests to use - like opening your fridge at home. It's a simple design that does what it's meant to do.
That said, if longevity is something you want, the Coleman may not be the best choice. Its handles, hinges, and latches don't inspire confidence in their ability to last the years in the same way as the high-end, roto-molded and IGBC rated models do. We also aren't in love with the comfort of its narrow, plastic handles, compared to some of the broader, more cushy options from its competitors. While we appreciate the simplicity of the pop-open drain, its small size can't offer the same easy rate of flow of the much wider offered by the opposition. It also lacks a rubber gasket around the chest opening, bringing up questions of its ability to remain sealed through the years. But at the end of the day, you could purchase 3 or 4 of these for the price of some of the competition, which we think makes it a great value.
Read review: Coleman Xtreme 5-Day
Best Wheeled Option
RovR RollR 60
As far as wheeling a big, bulky plastic box around, the Rovr is easily our favorite. It's the only model we tested that has actual pneumatic tires instead of just cylindrical plastic chunks labeled as wheels. You can pump them up just like your car or bicycle tires, giving you the freedom to run over all the same stuff. While other models frequently have tiny wheels, rigid wheels, low clearance, narrow uncomfortable handles (or often all of the above), the Rovr is what a wheeled chest should be. With a broad handle featuring comfortable and functional rubber grips on either end, it's easy to stroll down the sidewalk, through the grass, and across the beach with this box in tow. The Rovr also boasts solid, durable construction, hefty latches, and integrated hinges to help it last for years of picnics and get-togethers. If that's not enough, it also comes with some of the most useful features we've seen, including a large, removable dry bin and a giant dry storage box that attaches right on top and literally doubles the amount of stuff you can haul. You can put everything you need for the barbecue in and on this cooler and wheel it to the park with one hand. Feeling fancy? You can also pick up the handy bike attachment and tow the Rovr behind your bicycle. It costs extra, but we bought it, tried it, and now can't imagine life without it.
The most crucial aspect of any wheeled model is how easily it gets you there, which the Rovr does spectacularly. That said, it does lag behind a little in the insulation department compared to some intense rivals, which is likely due to the imperfect seal between the top of the body and its lid. Important to remember, though, is that you're probably not interested in taking a wheeled chest on a ten-day rafting trip or a three-week road trip, but rather to the picnic down the road or the tailgating party. We do think the latches are a bit stiff to manipulate, but can easily be gotten used to with some practice. But honestly, this rolling icebox is like nothing we've ever experienced before and is the only one that our friends actually requested to cart around.
Read review: Rovr RollR 60
Best Personal Model
Igloo BMX 25
If you're here for the insulation, but don't always need the full-sized chest, the Igloo BMX 25 is the perfect size for a personal icebox. It easily fits all your individual tailgating needs, road trip refreshments, or beachside brews without requiring both hands to carry. The BMX combines a slightly larger-than-expected capacity, in a lower weight package than the other personal coolers we tested and is less than half the cost. This little box also performed better than the other personal-sized competitors we tested, keeping its contents cold for over 2.6 days - four hours longer than the next best personal model. Its thick handle and lighter starting weight make for a more comfortable carrying experience, and a handy ruler across the top helps you easily measure your catch of the day.
As much as we like this cooler, we aren't impressed by the hinges of the BMX 25. They visibly complain when over-extending the lid, giving us some doubts about leaving it in the care of our less careful friends. We wish this model had a drainage hole, though it's not alone in this deficiency, as most of the personal ice chests we tested are similarly without this little spillway found on larger models. The BMX doesn't boast the tank-like durability or longevity that some of the burlier boxes bring to the table, but it's still solidly built and definitely more comfortable to carry. And unless you need a grizzly bear approved food container, the BMX is an excellent insulation option for your refreshments — and your wallet will indeed thank you.
Read review: Igloo BMX 25
Why You Should Trust Us
This review is the brainchild of a team of testers, lead by Maggie Brandenburg. Maggie has been playing and guiding in the outdoors for over fifteen years, from backpacking the Tahoe Rim Trail to kayaking the Caribbean and is an avid camper, even living in her teardrop trailer for a hot summer. She spent eight years at Iowa State University earning two Science degrees and teaching science courses and has a comprehensive understanding of the importance of rigorous and repeatable testing processes. From off-grid living to celebratory summit beers and road trips to backyard barbecues, Maggie never underestimates the value of a great cooler. She ropes in her friends and family to her testing to gain perspectives from all ages and abilities. Our testing team also includes Max Mutter and Steven Tata. Max spends most springs harvesting maple syrup at an off-the-grid tree farm, using ice chests to keep that gorgeous amber elixir from spoiling. Steven has spent numerous months living and climbing in Yosemite National Park, storing all of his food in a cooler in lieu of a fridge and keeping it away from the hundreds of black bears that call the park home. Maggie, a trained scientist, put her head together with Steven, a mechanical engineer, to design our detailed, intensive insulation testing process.
This review represents over 520 combined hours spent using, abusing, and meticulously testing over 30 different ice chests for more than seven years in total, on top of time spent researching hundreds of models to find the ones worthy of inclusion. We ran and re-ran insulation tests under controlled but harsh laboratory conditions. We dragged our test subjects through the mud, sand, gravel, and grass while camping, road tripping, tailgating, and hanging out on the beach. We asked our friends and family, spanning three generations, to help us dive into these coolers (sometimes literally) and identify the top performers. From being thrown into vehicles, dropped from waist height, jumped on by a 200-lb tester, yanked on and jerked around, dragged across hot surfaces, and otherwise abused, these chests have seen it all.
Related: How We Tested Coolers
Analysis and Test Results
To help separate some hard-fought rivalries, we put to practice every test we could think of across five intensive and mutually exclusive metrics: insulation performance, durability, ease of use, portability, and included features. These five metrics are each given a relative weight based on how important they are to the overall usage of each contender. The performance of each model during testing determines their score for each metric (from 1 to 10). The combination of all these scores with their weights gives an easily comparable, overall rating of 1-100 for each model. Below we dive into each metric to see which models stand out where, and why.
Related: Buying Advice for Coolers
It's important to note that we do not factor the price of gear into its performance scores or overall score. However, we recognize that it's a critical component in the decision-making process for any piece of gear. With a wide span of prices across a huge variety of coolers currently on the market, it's helpful to know which ones are a great value and which ones are just expensive/cheap. There are two major price ranges for this category - your basic models that will do the trick and the premium ones meant to go above and beyond. Each is intended for slightly different uses, different audiences, and have varying pros and cons.
The Xspec 60qt is a high-end model that costs significantly less than its top-tier competition, while the Coleman Xtreme offers decent performance for much more cost savings. It's also worth noting that sometimes the extra money you shell out for your gear actually does pay off in performance. This is the case with the Yeti Tundra 65. Despite being one of the most expensive models we tested, we find that when it comes to keeping things colder for longer and easily withstanding all your hardcore adventures, it's well worth its price.
The most important metric for most folks is how well an ice chest keeps your food cold and fresh. This metric is also the source of a lot of really extraordinary claims from manufacturers. From models with "5-Day" in the name to stickers boasting up to 16 days of ice retention, if you'll believe anything, it seems that just about every product out there is about to knock your socks off. And then you read the fine print, which typically includes a litany of stipulations such as — the entire thing must be pre-chilled, its contents must also be prechilled or even frozen, you'll need twice as much ice as food, you can only open it once a day when it's cool, and the list goes on and on. While all these things, of course, will help extend the life of your ice and, therefore, your food, it's unlikely that you'll be able to actually do all those things while hanging with your buddies on your annual fishing trip. So we tested a more realistic usage. We bought some ice, filled them each around ⅓ full, and loaded a bunch of cans into them. Some cans came from the refrigerated section (beer), and some came from the store shelf (soda). And then, we simulated a hot summer trip with a superheated room for ten consecutive days while recording the internal temperature of each via hidden temperature sensors buried inside each chest.
There are two critical temperature thresholds we made a note of; 40º F, and 50º F. 40º F is the recommended maximum acceptable temperature by the FDA to ensure food safety, as it minimizes the growth of pathogenic bacteria.
Aka, if you don't want to get sick from grilling those burgers, you'd better keep them below 40º. And 50º is roughly the average temperature that most people agree beer tastes good. So if you're looking to get back to your campsite at the end of a hot day to crack a cold one, 50º is about the temperature you want. Obviously, the longer a chest can maintain those cold, fresh temperatures, the better off you'll be.
The Yeti Tundra 65 and Orca 58 are the winners in this category. Both maintained a temperature of less than 40º for 6.5 days of hot temperatures. While the Orca outlasted the Yeti here, by just shy of 30 minutes, the Yeti then hung out below 50º for an hour and a half longer than the Orca. When all was said and done, the top-scoring Tundra provided a whopping 7.3 days of chilled refreshments.
Additional close contenders include the RTIC 65 and Pelican Elite Wheeled, which both maintained FDA safe temperatures of less than 40º for about six days and acceptable beer temperatures for just shy of 7 days.
We also want to point out that just because a cooler is rotomolded, doesn't necessarily make it the best insulator - there's so much more to it than that. For example, the OtterBox Venture, one of several non-rotomolded chests we tested, lasted 5 days below that critical lower threshold, a performance that bested several rotomolded models. The Coleman Xtreme is another great example. Though it lasted just 4.1 days under 40º, it comes in just 14 hours behind several much burlier, rotomolded models and even outlasted the rotomolded Arctic Titan 55qt by several hours.
As expected, the small, personal-sized models just can't keep up with their larger brethren. That being said, the Igloo BMX proved to be the best personal-sized insulator we tested. Though its time under 40º lasted just 2.6 days, it beat two of its competitors of similar size, the Yeti Roadie and Stanley Adventure, each by several hours. Compared to the poor showing of the Pelican Elite 20qt, the Igloo BMX outlasted it by over 26 hours.
We think it's interesting to note that not a single one of these test subjects lived up fully to their ice retention claims in our tests. As the market continues to grow, some manufacturers have stopped including specific number-of-day claims, as perhaps they recognize the futility of perfect conditions testing translating to real-world performance. Possibly, these claims are achievable under perfect laboratory conditions, but you're unlikely to get such impressive performance in the real world. That said, we definitely tortured these boxes in our tests. You don't have to push your ice chest as hard as we pushed ours, and could probably extend the life of your ice with more careful planning, as manufacturers recommend.
Knowing your investment will last through years and years of adventures is important for any piece of gear you own, and these products are no exception. Though we didn't have ten years to spend testing each model, we spent months subjecting them to a lot of prolonged use and a fair amount of abuse to see how they stand up to the pressure. We yanked on latches and handles, overextended hinges, jumped on lids, and dropped full chests from a carrying height. We set young children, accident-prone friends, and hefty humans loose on them to see what they're made of by pushing them in ways more typically spread across many years of use. We filled each model with water to see how well their seals work (or if they work) and left them all sitting in the scorching midday desert sun for hours on end to see what would happen.
Several of the models we tested have IGBC certification - what does that mean, though? A certification from the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee verifies that the product in question has been tested by said committee and meets minimum standards for design and structural standards that are considered "bear-resistant" by a team of grizzly bear experts. The IGBC specifically states that this does not mean the product in question can't be opened or destroyed by a bear, nor does it mean the product is leakproof. With that being said, even the minimum construction standards required to deter a hungry 10 foot long, 900 lb grizzly lend a lot of credibility to the durability of a product. Models we reviewed that are IGBC certified include the Yeti Tundra and Roadie, Engel 65, OtterBox Venture 65, Orca 58, Pelican, and Rovr RollR. All of these products proved to be very durable, despite our team being unable to find a grizzly bear willing to test each of them scientifically.
Additionally, several other aspects add to the overall durability of each one, beyond just a sturdy hinge and a set of bearproof locks. The latches and handles don't factor into an IGBC rating, as they are entirely irrelevant to bear safety but extremely relevant to the longevity of any model. Rubber T-grip latches are popular as a durable, easy to use solution for keeping your ice chest closed. The Yeti Tundra and Roadie latches performed the best in our durability testing, with a combination of thickness and sturdiness mixed with the right amount of flexibility to stay tightly in place when needed and not give away to the incessant yanking of a bored four-year-old. Even after several years of use, the latches of the Tundra are virtually the same as the first day we got it.
The RTIC has visually similar rubber latches that are much more flexible. While this comes in handy for its ease of use, it does concern us a bit that they might stretch out over time. The Igloo IMX 70 is also in this same boat, with exceptionally easy to use latches that are so flexible and soft that we worry about how they'll hold up through years of UV and user exposure. For the time being, though, this is just a concern and not something we witnessed during our extensive testing. The Orca and Igloo BMX also have T-grip latches with slightly different shapes and thicknesses that both get the job done just fine. The Engel and Xspec are two that buck the trend in high-end closure mechanisms. The Engel has part-rubber-part-metal latches and the Xspec mixes plastic clasps with rubber straps that ditch the brawn for a bit more finesse when securing them.
When it comes to handles, we found that models with immobile handles have an additional advantage. Many models have two sets of handles - one indented in the sides of the chest for single-person lugging, and a second set of mobile handles that extend above the top of the chest for two-person toting. The Tundra, Engel, Orca, Xspec, Titan, Igloo IMX and RTIC all follow this model. The thick handles jutting out from the sides of the OtterBox also impress us with their obvious strength. Overall, the contenders with the most durable combinations of design, construction, and features are the Tundra and Roadie, with the Rovr and Orca not far behind.
Ease of Use
So your cooler works. And it's going to last a good long while. But is it a pain in the bum to use? Ease of use is a critical factor in your overall happiness with any given product. We tested each model's ease of use by, well, using them. A LOT. We gauged how easy each one is to open and close - does the lid stay open while you load it? Are the latches easy to maneuver with full hands? We also observed how easy they are to load: is it a conducive configuration for oddly-shaped items? Is it tall enough for 2-liter soda bottles or celebratory champagne? Does it come with any handy features like a dry bin for items that shouldn't touch ice or soak in slushy water?
We gauged the ease of grabbing the handles without looking and took note if they require extra steps to slide them out into place or push them back down out of the way. We evaluated each drain (if there was one) to see how thorough of a job it does as well as how simple it is to use. And for wheeled models, of course, we considered how that pair of spinning discs affects the chest's usage when you're not actively pulling it around.
Both Pelican models we tested - the Pelican Wheeled and the Pelican 20 stand out to our testers as having exceptionally easy to use latches. Unlike the rubber latches of many of their competitors that you stretch into place, Pelican's latches are a simple push design, featuring a release button in the middle that 'unlocks' the lid, allowing you to lift the latch away from the body and raise the top. When asked by a four-year-old which model she thinks is the easiest to open, she picked the Pelican latches, hands down. The OtterBox Venture and Xspec are also notable for innovative and fairly effortless latch experiences. Both of these big boxes combine a rubber latch for tightness and security with a plastic locking mechanism that makes them a breeze to use and requires much less brute strength than all the 100% rubber latches demand. The Stanley Adventure also features plastic latches that are simple to use with one hand. They require just a minimal amount of pressure to seal your precious cargo or access its delicious contents, but the long-term durability of these plastic latches isn't confidence-inspiring.
As far as drains go, several products have dual-function drains, meaning there's a hole through the shaft of the drain plug the lets water run out without having to remove the entire drain cap. Of course, if you want a faster flow, a total plug removal is advised - but don't misplace that cap, as most models we tested don't come with a leash to keep it attached to the body of the box. The RTIC, Tundra, Arctic Titan, Engel, Xspec, Orca, Rovr, and Stanley all have this handy dual-drain ability.
The drain plug isn't the only factor that makes emptying water easy or annoying. Most of the contenders we tested also have a sloping channel behind the drain to help gravity pull water out, but several have unfortunately paired this with a large lip or other obstruction that then stops your drainage progress before it's 100% complete. Models that we found the easiest and most thorough to drain include the Xspec, Engel, Titan, Tundra, and Orca, which all feature either a tiny lip or a sloped lip to make emptying your meltwater a breeze. The Arctic Titan has an oversized drain to decrease the time you spend emptying it. And if one drain isn't enough for you, the RTIC features two drains, on opposite ends.
We also considered the overall shape and size of each competitor as part of its usability score. Models featuring a compact, packable shape and handles that hideaway easily are easier to pack into a vehicle for your next adventure. On the flip side, those products with large handles and awkward shapes that are difficult to Tetris into the back of the minivan along with everything else you need for the party in the park don't score as well. Of course, the internal dimensions and capacity also make a big difference as to what you can bring with you in your icebox and how many extra bags and boxes you'll need to bring along. And the proportion of these dimensions to one another also makes a big difference. A model that's low and long is easy to find things in but harder for one person to carry. On the flip side, one that's too narrow and tall is easier to carry but harder to locate items that have wormed their way to the bottom. The Xspec strikes a very happy medium, being narrow enough for simple solo carrying, tall enough to fit an upright bottle of wine, yet shallow enough to easily find whatever you're looking for.
The Rovr RollR and RTIC are two more of our favorites among the crowd for their ease of use. The Rovr has a sizeable dry bin and tall interior with nearly vertical walls, making it much more comfortable than most models to pack it exactly how you want it and keep it organized - a feat made even more impressive by all the bouncing over debris you'll be doing with the enormous wheels on your way to the party. It also boasts one of the tallest internal heights of any model we tested, so you can rest assured your chilled Pinot Grigio will stay that way all day. The RTIC offers a similarly simple interior that's spacious enough to bring a ton of food with you on your hunting trip or camping adventure. Its dual drains make cleaning it a breeze, and the flexibility of this model's rubber latches means it's easier to open and close with a single hand than other rubber-latched models.
At first glance, the matter of portability seems obvious: wheels? Portable. Small size? Portable. Large capacity? Not so portable. And while in general, this is true, it's not the whole story. We not only considered these self-evident factors in our testing but also looked at them in more detail. We challenged every pair of wheels to roll not only over the smooth, paved driveway of your friend's house but also over the soft sand at the beach, the chunky construction debris that's strewn across the path to the park, and the lumpy uncut grass of your Saturday picnic spot. We scrutinized every handle's design, shape, location, and comfort while carrying a full load. And we considered not just the sheer weight of each chest, but what that weight gets you in terms of capacity - as in how worth it are the extra pounds? We filled them up and loaded them in and out of cars, slogged across beaches, and traipsed through neighborhoods to see which ones bash against your knees, bite the backs of your heels, or form blisters on your palms.
Much to no one's surprise, personal cool-boxes like the Yeti Roadie, Stanley Adventure, Pelican 20 and Igloo BMX are much more portable than larger models. A combination of low weight, small size, and large carrying handles help make this possible. But being small isn't enough. The Igloo BMX has a much broader, more comfortable to use handle, as well as a smoother overall design that makes carrying this product full of heavy glass bottles of craft beer a much more pleasant experience than the same contents in the Roadie or Stanley. It also weighs less by a significant margin, which adds to its portability. The Stanley, as the largest of the small coolers, is the toughest to carry. It lacks a top handle and instead has just two hard plastic handles on each side, requiring a fairly uncomfortable and uncushioned two-handed carry. The Pelican 20 is also less enjoyable to carry, with a hard plastic top handle and a tall gangly shape with too many rigid edges that smacked our legs and ankles when walking
Wheeled coolers may appear astoundingly portable, but we found that their actual usefulness in this metric is wildly dependent on their wheel design and clearance. We tested several rolling models: the Rovr RollR, Igloo Trailmate Marine, and Pelican Elite. The Rovr is the only one that has actual rubber tires filled with air (aka pneumatic tires), the same as a vehicle or bicycle. While competitors may point to this as a downside (more maintenance, the potential for flats, etc.), it makes for a vastly better system of pulling. The juddering of pulling hard-wheeled models over even smooth surfaces, like city sidewalks, can quickly leave blisters on your hands from the vibration of the plastic wheels (this actually happened to a tester). But pulling the Rovr with its air-filled wheels lets you glide over imperfections in the ground and keeps your hands happy.
Equally as important, the Rovr's handle swings out far enough from the body of the chest to avoid painful heel smashing. And with motocross-style rubber handles located on the edges of the sides of the wide trolley handle, this product is clearly designed with the user in mind. Lastly, the bike attachment accessory is seriously impressive. Initially skeptical, we now use it all the time. Attachment is easy, and the flexible, pivoting arm allows for freedom of bike movement and no loss of turning radius or steering ability. We are so genuinely impressed by the portability of this rolling icebox that we hardly even notice or mind its heavier initial weight.
As for large, non-wheeled models, we still noticed many differences that lend themselves toward making specific units more portable than others. The Coleman Xtreme is just a few ounces heavier than the personal-sized Igloo BMX, which is astounding for its 68 quart capacity. The Tundra and Engel both are relatively portable as well; their combined overall shapes and mid-50-quart capacities make finding exactly what you're looking for easier. They're big enough to bring everything you need without being so big they require two people to lift them out of the car. The Xspec is slightly larger but maintains the same overall dimensions ratio (shorter length, taller height - but not too much to make it hard to find that last beer under all the ice), making it reasonably easy for a single person to carry a short distance. Interestingly, the RTIC is the only model we tested that has straight-up foam handles for a two-person carry. You may not enjoy lugging its extra weight around, but at least it probably won't leave big red marks on your fingers.
Little things that make a product easier to use, more conducive to your lifestyle, or help you not have to carry so much stuff with you can make a difference in how excited you are to use it. But not all features, add-ons, and extras are created equal, and their value may depend on how and where you intend to use your gear. In general, we gave higher scores to more universally useful features like a leash for the drain plug (so you don't lose it), internal baskets or dividers to keep your food fresh the way you want it, and the ability to hold dry ice, thereby extending the cooling capacity. Other features that are still useful but are more specific to certain styles of use received lower scores. These include things like cup holders, bottle openers, and measurement notches. We also only ranked contenders based on the features they come with, not all the accessories you could choose to purchase for an additional charge. That said, many manufacturers offer some exceptionally handy add-ons that, should you choose to purchase them, can easily turn a product into your perfect hunting companion, tailgating buddy, or camping friend.
The Yeti Tundra, OtterBox Venture, Rovr RollR, Arctic Titan, Igloo IMX, and Igloo Trailmate all come with practical interior dry storage options, which is great for keeping sensitive food out of ice water or holding aside some clean ice for drinks. The Igloo Trailmate and Igloo IMX wire baskets are a tighter wire weave, making it much easier to keep small items contained than most other models. The Tundra, Titan, and both Igloos all feature a simple basket that sits across the top of the opening, while the OtterBox is a similar concept but is a solid plastic bin instead.
The Rovr's dry storage goes above and beyond by having a large dry bin that extends to the bottom of the interior. It also attaches to the side of the interior with a simple hand screw and therefore won't move during transit like all the other baskets are wont to do. The OtterBox, both Igloos, the Coleman Xtreme, and Pelican all have leashes attaching their drain plugs to the body of the chest. Both Pelican and larger Igloo models, the Engel, and the Xspec also all have built-in bottle openers hidden in various spots. Helpfully, many of the models we tested are rated to hold dry ice, so feel inspired to take that long midsummer canoe trip with your Xspec, Tundra, OtterBox, Engel, or RTIC model.
If you're an avid fisher, you might appreciate a fishing buddy with an integrated ruler across the top to make sure your catches are legal. Many models we tested have this feature, including the Xspec, Arctic Titan, Pelican Wheeled, and all three Igloo models. Many of the options we tested also have specific slots to tie them down in your boat, truck bed, or backseat.
Two models stand out in this metric, though in slightly different ways. The Igloo Trailmate Marine comes with an almost absurd number of features. These include a small box and basket on the front to a butler tray that sits on the trolley handle and even two bottle openers on opposite sides of the chest. As excited as we were to try out all these gadgets and gizmos, we quickly became thoroughly underwhelmed by their durability and usefulness.
The Rovr RollR, on the other hand, does a bang-up job of living up to its claim as being "the most feature-packed 60-quart cooler ever." Beyond the ultra-useful internal dry bin, this compact roller features a 60 quart external dry bin that attaches right to the top of the lid, literally doubling the number of things you can cart with you. When you get to your destination, or it's time for storage, the dry bin folds down flat and is easily and securely stored on the top of the lid. We found these two features to be very handy in countless situations. And if you are so inclined to make additional purchases, the Rovr can be mounted to the back of your bicycle like a tiny, ice-filled wagon.
We've been researching, testing, and retesting popular coolers for years to bring you the most competitive models out there, and this most recent round of contenders is no exception. After months of rigorous side-by-side testing by our experts and a veritable crowd of friends and family who also enjoy fresh food and cold drinks, we got to know these models quite literally inside and out.
— Maggie Brandenburg