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Blaue Lagune 85
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When searching for a cooler, there may be plenty of variables to take into consideration. Depending on a person’s needs they might be seeking a simple daily lunch cooler or possibly a more robust and larger premium plastic cooler. A few hours of decent ice life could be plenty, or they may be searching for something which are able to keep their goods cool for any week or even more. There are topics that can easily be overlooked:

Should I need additional external storage?

Should I need a simple-access lid?

Am I gonna carry this with a handle, a strap, wheels, as well as other method?

Will it have to be waterproof?

And the list could go on. To support using this and help point you in the right direction, we have compiled a Cooler Buyer’s Guide which will lay out many common and recommended considerations you should make when researching a cooler. Possessing a better thought of precisely what you are searching for can make the buying experience more simple because you can automatically remove a lot of products which don’t meet your research criteria.

Top Rated Ice Chest

What type of cooler do I need?


This category includes the many familiar designs that can be seen lining the aisles of the grocery or home improvement center. Generally, these models feature items of foam insulation sandwiched between plastic shells that are glued or epoxied together. Most lids with this category are attached with screw-on hinges and either snap shut by having an internal mechanism or depend upon a tight fit and friction to stay closed. Products within this category normally have a lower price point (the ones we tested list from $70 to $90) and fashions focus on receiving the highest ratio of insulating performance to cost.

Traditional models are most likely the correct and economical choice for almost all people. Unless you will be planning to keep food below 40° more than six days, or maybe you think you'll be abusing your cooler and requiring greater durability, a regular model will last well.


In 2006 Yeti changed the video game by introducing a price-is-no-object design focused on maximizing insulating capacity and durability. In the intervening years a variety of manufacturers followed suit. Competitive designs have become offered by Pelican, ORCA, Engel, RTIC and Grizzly, to mention a few. These models make use of a rotomolding method that makes a single piece plastic shell, which is then injected with insulating foam. This single piece construction, as well as external latches and pin style hinges that are included in the lid, tend to make extremely high-end models far more durable than traditional designs. Additionally, these models utilize thicker walls and rubber gasket sealed lids to enhance insulative performance. It needs to be noted that thicker, more insulative walls often come at the fee for interior space, creating a capacity that may be somewhat smaller compared to advertised.

Every one of these improvements come with much higher prices, but these models are made to serve you for a lifetime and withstand the most rugged abuse.

High-end models shine if you are searching for increased insulation performance or better durability. Upon inspection, all of the high-end models we tested look like more durably built than their traditional counterparts, and also this is corroborated by numerous user reviews. Generally, high-end models work most effectively for people planning to keep food cold beyond six days, or whose normal regular use will demand an increased level of ruggedness.

Specialty Models

There are a variety of specialty designs available as well, each serving another niche. The most common are electric coolers and soft coolers.


There are a few models available, such as the Igloo Iceless 28, that utilize electric cooling mechanisms. Many of these models might be connected to a wall socket or even a car cigarette lighter. They don't require ice and offer almost indefinite cooling capacity, so long as you get access to electricity. These models are perfect for extended road trips where you will be remaining in hotel rooms and would like to pack your personal drink and food.


Soft models use up much less space than hard ones and are generally simpler to carry. Most present an over-the-shoulder or backpack style carrying method. They are ideal for every day at the beach or perhaps a picnic. In addition they excel at carrying cans. In reality, many manufacturers advertise the actual size of these models as the amount of cans that can fit inside.

Cooler Size

Once you've decided whether you need a high-end or traditional model, the next action to consider is really what size to acquire. The size and style you select will mainly be determined by how much storage capacity you require, but size will affect portability and insulation performance also. Inside our review, we focused on coolers within the neighborhood of 70 quarts, with advertised sizes including 58 to 75 quarts. This size range is considered the most popular and versatile. Models this size are large enough to provide children over multiple days or a hunter planning to transport a substantial amount of meat, but are sufficiently small being moved by a couple when fully loaded.

Storage Capacity

The actual size of your cooler, which is measured in quarts, dictates how much you can fit inside, and so how long of the trip or how large of any group you are able to pack for. Models which can be 25 quarts and smaller are compatible with carrying drinks for several people, a weekend's amount of solo road trip sustenance, or food to get a single person by using an overnight excursion. Sizes from the 40-quart range will serve an individual person for multiple nights, or perhaps a couple for any weekend. Sizes inside the 70-quart range can accommodate long weekend family camping trips or longer trips for folks and couples. Larger coolers can hold much more, but are generally hard to move and are mostly used for specialty purposes like hunting expeditions or long rafting trips.

External Size

Together with internal capacity, many people would like to pay attention to external dimensions. Should you don't hold the luxury of a spacious station wagon or pickup truck, you'll intend to make sure the model you select will be able to fit in your loaded, adventure-bound car. When you frequent National Parks that require the use of bear boxes you'll also want to ensure the model you end up picking is actually a compatible size.

The size of the cooler is straightforward enough. However, there are two important size metrics to think about. First, there exists size pertaining to the storage size. Second, the overall dimensions how the cooler requires.

Storage dimensions are the amount volume can you store. Remember that this volume may come from both insulated and non-insulated storage area. Quite simply, even though a cooler is advertised as having 50 quarts of storage volume, it doesn’t really mean it might store 50 quarts of things that require to keep cold. In smaller, soft-sided coolers it is actually especially present with have separated cavities for chilled and non-chilled items. This may be the best thing for those who have many different items you must carry, a few of which have to stay cold and some of which don’t. However, in case you are focusing completely on perishable items you could run into some problems.

Another consideration is that the storage volume that does exist may not be shaped in a way to optimize storing your products. By way of example, if you have a long sandwich that takes up 4 quarts of volume, it may possibly not fit into a 6 quart cooler if the cooler is just too short. It is important to consider the kinds of items you will be carrying and make sure the ice chest you are looking at are able to hold them.

Finally, it is essential to also weigh from the space that ice or ice packs will require up. Including additional ice is a kind of and recommended action for several coolers to maximize cooling life, but obviously this ice occupies some of the precious insulated volume. Because of this, you need to anticipate and make plans for this. We always recommend sizing up in case you are unsure just how much space you need. It will be a bit more inconvenient to lug around a larger cooler, but this is preferable to lacking enough space for storing.

The other aspect if dimensions are literally just how much room the cooler takes up. Let’s admit it: coolers can be very large, that will make storing and transporting them somewhat laborious. Once they become too big there may be space concerns once they aren’t capable to fit into your vehicle, boat, tent, etc. Generally, the greater number of durable coolers with longer ice life have thicker walls, and in some cases these walls may be 2 inches thick or even more! As a result, you have to be sure that wherever you intend on storing or transporting the cooler has adequate space.

One benefit from soft-sided coolers is their dimensions can be manipulated in order that they occupy less space. As well as in the way it is that they are empty or near-empty you can push them down to trying out almost no space in any way. Hard plastic coolers, alternatively, will be the size that they can come as, whether or not they have things in them.

Decide on a cooler as outlined by how much food you must store and the objective of your trip. Soft-shell coolers are convenient for brief outings, but don’t expect them to keep ice just like a hard shell cooler can. Don’t get a cooler that might be too heavy to transport and if you want any additional capacity, consider purchasing two-one for food and one for drinks. Hard shell coolers for example Igloo’s Original Marine Elite series offer great bang for that buck. For ultimate durability, roto-molded coolers work best.