There’s something decidedly retro about coolers—they’re bulky, they’re simple, and they probably remind you of school lunches and family trips to the beach. But if you live in a warm climate, they’re also a major necessity. Thankfully, compared to the ones you grew up with, modern coolers are a lot better at keeping things cold.
While we’ve tested the best lunch coolers here at Reviewed, we’re still in the process of testing the best full-sized coolers on the market—and we know you can’t wait around all summer for our official recommendation. So, we’ve researched the best-selling and highest-rated coolers on Amazon for all your summer chilling needs. Whether you’re camping, boating, hiking, entertaining, or just taking your lunch to the park, we can help you find the right cooler for you.
1. A rugged, lightweight cooler for outdoor adventures
If you need a simple, durable travel cooler that will keep your stuff cold all day, the Stanley Adventure Cooler says hello. Not only does it have an average 4.5-star rating on Amazon with over 600 reviews, but the 16-quart model actually won an Editors’ Choice award in our lunch cooler roundup for best temperature control.
With its superior temperature protection, this cooler was still maintaining temperatures below 40°F after more than 24 hours of testing outside during a hot summer day. The credit for maintaining cold temperatures is split between the strong rubber seal at the top of the cooler and the cooler's “roto-molded” construction, which was popularized by high-end Yeti coolers in the early 2000s. The Adventure Cooler is available in 7-quart and 16-quart sizes, as well as five different colors.
2. A hard-soft combo cooler that’s great for camping
A hardcore version of our favorite lunch cooler, this hard-soft combo cooler from Arctic Zone has a built-to-last interior and a stain-resistant exterior with bungeed closures, multiple zippered pockets, and a a heavy-duty should strap. It comes in 9-can, 16-can, 30-can, and 48-can sizes and three different colors to suit every kind of user, and each model includes interior shelves to keep food safe and separated. It’s a lunch cooler on steroids.
3. A thermoelectric cooler that lets you go iceless
Some coolers, like this sophisticated thermoelectric model from Igloo, are a lot more sophisticated than big ice boxes. On long journeys and in situations where ice isn’t an option, this iceless cooler will keep your things fresh and dry for hours on end. It uses your car's cigarette lighter to cool without ice, unlocking more room for food and drinks and preventing spills and water contamination.
Be aware: Thermoelectric coolers won’t get as cold as traditional ice-filled coolers, but if you’re trying to keep groceries, drinks, and more at a safe temperature over long distances, they’re a great option. This model has an average 4-star rating with over 1,200 reviews on Amazon.
4. Our favorite lunch cooler for solo trips
Whether you’re venturing off for a day trip or leaving the office for a quick lunch break in the park, this soft Coleman lunch cooler will keep your meal chilly. With over 2,000 5-star reviews, it’s one of the most popular coolers on Amazon ever, and it also happened to win our roundup of the best lunch coolers after extensive testing.
After being packed full of frozen ballast and an extra ice pack (and using the hard liner), this cooler maintained temperatures below 40°F for about six and a half hours, which is nothing to sneeze at—it will be enough to preserve the integrity of your turkey sub until you can dig into it at lunch time.
And for a lunch cooler, it’s really spacious. This Coleman can fit nine cans, which is the equivalent of two or more plastic containers, and more than two sandwich bags. The concave nature of the top of the cooler means that you can sit a plastic water bottle upright without squishing it. Additionally, if you need slightly more room, you can remove the protective hard liner, and the soft-sided cooler will have enough give to squeeze in a few more items.
5. An insulated backpack for hands-free cold storage
This inexpensive Coleman backpack cooler is more than meets the eye—Amazon reviewers say it’s perfect for keeping drinks, snacks, and even phones cool for day trips to theme parks and the beach. When you don’t have a hand to spare, what could be better?
One reviewer writes, “We used this bag for our summer Disney World trip. In the morning we would load it with waters and snacks. The front pocket is tight, but it held my poncho, keys, sunscreen, and other items. The bag never leaked during our week-long trip. We’re going back again this summer and this bag is coming with us again!”
6. A buoyant cooler that lets your drinks float with you
The only downside to a beach or pool day is having to get out of the water for snacks and drinks. But this Intex cooler, which features six cup holders, four handles, and a connector system so it won’t float away, allows you to hold up to 72 cans of your favorite beers and sodas surrounded by ice. If you’re serious about keeping things cool, you can even place another 48-quart cooler inside of it for extra insulation. You could stay in the pool for days!
With a near perfect 4.5-star rating out of more than 900 reviews, shoppers say this cooler exceeded their expectations, with one reviewer commenting, “My friends and I used this inflatable cooler to go river tubing. It held up beautifully! It did not tip over during the fast rapids and the ice stayed intact for the entire trip.”
7. This heavy-duty cooler with a retro design
This steel-belted cooler from Coleman means business—and it would look right at home alongside a gorgeous Smeg fridge or other retro appliance. It has a 4-star average rating on Amazon with over 900 reviews, and its premium insulation promises four-day ice retention in temperatures as high as 90°F. With a 54-quart capacity that accommodates up to 85 cans, this Coleman can handle even your biggest camping trip or cookout. Its stylish design and wide range of color options are just a bonus.
8. This party-ready cooler that can handle all the cans
Like Solo cups, playing cards, and champagne coupes, these Coleman party coolers are made for stacking. Each one fits 24 cans or multiple serving dishes for all your party needs, and they can easily be combined and transported to help your organize your food and drinks by color. They’re not the coldest coolers you’ll ever use, but when you need a lot of cold space, fast, they’ll become your new best friends.
An unexpected secondary use? Sous vide. Many Amazon reviewers rave about this cooler’s ability to help keep water temperature consistent for sous vide cooking, so you might want to keep it out all year round.
9. A classic roller for tailgates and more
Sometimes, you need your drinks and snacks to be mobile. Whether you’re headed to the beach, a tailgate party, or your friend’s backyard, this rolling 60-quart cooler from Igloo will make your journey much easier. It has over 400 5-star reviews on Amazon and comes in classic red and blue shades. With durable wheels, a reinforced tow handle, and four built-in cup holders, it’s basically a traveling party in a box.
10. A massive chest cooler that can weather the elements
If you’re looking for a virtually indestructible cooler and have the cash to spare, the Yeti Tundra 45 is calling your name. Its 3-inch PermaFrost insulation will keep your ice hard as a rock, and its extra thick FatWall design is certified Bear-Resistant. You know, if you plan to encounter bears.
Amazon reviewers love this 26-can Yeti for boating trips, long-distance car rides, and more. It’s a big investment, but as one reviewer put it, “This is something that will get passed down generation to generation.” It’s eye-catching design and beautiful color range are almost beside the point, but it’s nice to know your heavy-duty cooler doesn’t need to look like it was made for the military.