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Best Coolers

(Image credit: Yeti)

The best cooler is the one that you can bring to any function from tailgating events to backyard parties. It keeps the contents, from burgers to beverages, chilled to maintain freshness. The best ones are worth paying for because they prevent ice from melting quickly and save you the headache of continually replenishing it.

Whether you're planning a get together with a few friends or going on a camping trip, a cooler is the first thing you need for those hot summer days. If you don't already have one, now is the perfect time to review what's available and pick the best option. Luckily for you, we have completed the search and present the following list of our recommendations.

(Image credit: Coleman)

Coleman Steel-Belted 54-Quart Cooler

Staff pick

This high-capacity, heavy-duty cooler by Coleman features a retro design and accommodates up to 85 cans. It offers a four-day ice retention period during ambient temperatures as high as 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The stainless steel hardware is guaranteed not to rust and give you years of faultless performance. The comfortable grip handles also allow for easy lifting and carrying. Take your pick from a range of colors available.

(Image credit: Yeti)

The YETI Tundra 65 cooler will keep your newly-caught fish cold just as well as the drinks and food for a backyard barbeque. The ice will not melt thanks to the 3-inch PermaFrost insulation, and the rotomolded construction makes the Tundra rugged enough to be certified bear-resistant. All Tundra coolers feature patented heavy rubber T-Rex lid latches to last for the lifetime of the cooler.

(Image credit: Igloo Coolers)

You're not looking at a typical travel cooler here. This cooler by Igloo can pack a whole weekend's worth of supplies and is ideal for camping or just being kept in the garage. It's an excellent value and will keep ice frozen for up to five days with outside temperatures at 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Dual snap-fit latches secure the lid, and the reinforced swing-up handles allow easy transport for two people. The cooler also doubles as a seat.

(Image credit: AO Coolers)

AO Traveler Soft Cooler

Soft shell cooler

This soft cooler comes in a range of sizes to hold from a 12-pack up to 48-pack, so buy accordingly. It comes with removable straps and is guaranteed to hold ice for 24 hours in 120-degree Fahrenheit weather. It's perfect for boating, fishing, hunting, sporting events, and picnics. A leak-proof liner and two extended side-pockets for dry items make it one of the most portable coolers on the market.

(Image credit: Igloo Coolers)

Igloo Recool 16 Quart Cooler

Biodegradable

With styrofoam being a significant landfill problem already, the Igloo Recool cooler is an eco-friendly alternative. It's a reusable cooler made from recycled tree pulp with environmentally-friendly additives to help it hold water and keep things cold. It maintains ice for 12-hours and contains six cans easily, so it's perfect for a day trip to the beach.

(Image credit: Pelican)

With 2-inch polyurethane insulation and a 360-degree freezer grade gasket, this Pelican cooler offers extreme ice retention. The over-molded carry handles, 3-inch locking latches, and a reinforced lockable hasp make the cooler rugged enough for the company to offer a lifetime "you break it, we replace it" offer. The lid features four self-draining cup holders, and the base has non-skid rubber feet for stability wherever you park it.

(Image credit: ROVR Products)

RovR Wheeled Camping Rolling Cooler

Best cooler with rollers

In addition to the heavy-duty puncture-resistant wheels and a sturdy handlebar, the RovR camping cooler comes with an internal divider to separate the foods you don't want to get wet. You even can customize it for different layouts. It can hold up to 60 cans when the divider is not installed and is rated to maintain ice up to 10-days with the rotomolded body, thick insulation, and airtight gasket. This rugged bad boy is also certified bear-resistant.

(Image credit: IceMule Coolers)

IceMule Pro Insulated Backpack Cooler Bag

Best backpack cooler

This IceMule backpack cooler is engineered to be the most portable, high-performance soft cooler around. Store ice in it for 12 hours and still find it cold on the hottest day. It's double padded for insulation, has no zippers or welded seams to prevent leaks, and is collapsable for safe storage. The backpack style leaves your hands free for climbing or hiking trails, and it even floats, so take it on a boat.

For camping, hiking, or even tailgating, a cooler is the first thing to pack

On a hot day, when a few people want to get together, a cooler is the first thought on everyone's mind. It should keep your drinks and food cold for the whole day, so the enjoyment level is at its peak.

Picking the right cooler depends on your plans, but we think you choose our staff pick, the Coleman Steel-Belted 54-Quart Cooler. This steel-constructed cooler has a generous 85-can capacity and can hold ice for four days. It also comes in a range of colors.

Some of us don't want to lug a cooler around, in which case the RovR Wheeled Camping Rolling Cooler would be the perfect selection. The heavy-duty rugged cooler rides on 9-inch all-terrain tires that are fast and durable, even in sand.

How great it is to reach into the cooler for a cold drink on a hot, sweaty day?