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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)

YETI Tundra 65 Cooler

Premium level

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: 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.

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.