Best Coleman Coolers Reviewed & Rated for Quality
It doesn’t matter if you are heading out for a day at the beach, enjoying a picnic or an overnight or weekend camping trip, having a cooler or icebox is a must. It is also not enough just to have one, but you want your ice to stay cold and not melted, too. Not all coolers or iceboxes are made equally, so how do you choose the right one for you? Ask yourself some questions, does it need to portable, does it need to be light, do you need one to carry dinner for four or just keep some drinks in at the beach. Whatever your need, Coleman likely has the cooler for you.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 11 hrs of research
Easy to use
Foldable once the hard plastic liner is removed
Tried and true design
Best Coleman Coolers
1. Coleman 30-Can Soft Cooler
Easy to use
Foldable once the hard plastic liner is removed
Tried and true design
Not very insulated
If you’re looking for a larger lunch box or something that you can bring pretty much anywhere, then take this soft cooler into consideration because it has a lot to offer. The soft PEVA liner is flexible and easy to clean; there are built-in antimicrobial properties in the PEVA lining, preventing odor, mold, and mildew. What’s more to ask for from a lunch box! Well, here are two more awesome options that Coleman Soft Cooler with Hard Liner has to offer:
Adjustable shoulder strap
Because it’s considered a personal cooler (even though it can hold up to 16 cans), this model of the Coleman comes with an adjustable shoulder strap. This is especially useful if you have to walk from one spot to the other and you have to carry more than just the cooler. As the strap can be adjusted, everyone in the family can use it.
A lot of storage
For a relatively small personal cooler, this one has a lot of potentials when it comes to storage. There is a front zippered pocket, side mesh pockets, as well as a pocket mesh in the lid. On top of the lid, you can even find bungees for extra storage. This means that you can put all of your dried goods around the cooler, while the cold foods and drinks remain inside.
Cost and Value
For the price that it’s worth, what you get is pretty good quality. Coleman is known for its durability, and this is what you’ll get with this soft cooler. This cooler is one of the cheapest if you’re looking for a soft cooler.
2. Coleman 54-Quart Steel-Belted
Affordable for this kind of quality product
Plastic parts (drain plugs, hinges, handles) are less durable than what’s expected
If you’re looking for a stylish cooler that can keep your goods cold and retain ice well (for up to 3 days!), then perhaps the Coleman Steel-Belted cooler should be on your ‘to buy’ list. This Coleman model looks just like their first models back in 1954. With stainless steel hinges and screws, this cooler is rust-free. It also offers you a leak-resistant channel, as well as rubber grips for easy handling.
This is probably one of the first questions you ask yourself when searching for steel-belted coolers: will it rust? Well, let me tell you now that Coleman’s cooler’s hinges and screws are made of stainless steel.
That’s right, you read me right. The Coleman Steel-Belted Cooler comes with a leak-resistant channel, meaning that you don’t have to unload the cooler, tilt it to empty the water, then reload it. Just open the channel, let the water flow, and put the ice back in. Easy peasy!
Cost and Value
As it’s one of the best models of coolers from Coleman, and because it’s mostly made out of stainless steel, its price reflects it all. It’s on the higher end of the Coleman price range, but if you don’t mind spending a little more to get a durable product, then put this one off your list!
3. Coleman 42-Can Wheeled Soft
Wheels and retractable handle
Easy to clean PEVA liner
Antimicrobial properties to resist odor, mold, and mildew
Some reviewers found that the ice melted too fast (less than a few hours)
This cooler can go with you pretty much anywhere: from a campsite, to a BBQ outing, to sporting events, and more. What is really cool about this Coleman cooler (pun indented) is that it has durable wheels and an adjustable handle for easy transportation. As with the Soft Cooler with Hard Liner, this cooler has a front zippered pocket, side mesh pockets and a mesh pocket on the lid. This cooler comes in one size but can fit up to 42 cans.
Wheels + Handle
To make the transportation of the beverage to wherever the party is is easy and comfortable. Coleman gave two durable wheels to this cooler as well as a retractable handle. Once fully retracted, the total height of this cooler is approximately 39 inches. It has the appearance of a small suitcase or a large camping bag.
Coleman really thought about everything in this model. Not only did it provide it with wheels and a handle, but it also gave the liner portability. Whether you spilled a drink and need to clean the liner or the interior of the cooler, or whether you just want to take the liner off to bring the cold foods and drinks somewhere without having to carry the rest of the cooler, then there is no problem!
Cost and Value
This is in the medium-range of the price scale, but for everything that it has to offer, there is no doubt that if you decide to buy this one you won’t regret it.
4. Coleman FlipLid Personal
Lightweight (2 pounds when empty!)
A few color options
Molded can holders inside of lid
Rotating carrying handle
Insulation is not very great, some reviewers noticed
This cooler is mainly for one or two people. Because it’s extremely mobile and has a lid that can be turned in to a small tray with cup holders, this cooler is part of our top 5. The handle is pretty ‘trippy’ compared to other regular coolers because it can rotate.
Because it’s a small cooler that can hold up to 6 cans and some ice, there is no need for wheels, but a handle is pretty useful. The special thing about the handle on this cooler is the fact that it can rotate.
Do you like to eat on a table instead of on your knees? This Coleman cooler comes with their FlipLid hinged lid that flips over to use a tray with molded beverage holders. So not only are you buying a cooler, but you’re also purchasing a mini table to make every lunch and picnic pleasant.
Cost and Value
The online prices are costly, but it still remains a great price because you know that you are buying a performing and reliable product.
5. Coleman 16-Quart Personal
Wheels + Retractable handle
Holds 2-liter bottles upright
Some reviewers said that their wheels fell off after a few uses
This Coleman Wheeled Cooler is part of our top 5 for a few reasons, but the main one is that, compared to so many other coolers, this tall one can hold 2-liter bottles upright. Like our top #3, this cooler has wheels and a retractable handle to make the way to parties or other events easier. This cooler can hold ice up to two days and is large enough to hold 22 cans.
Wheels + Handle
The plastic wheels (that really look more like car tires, but smaller) are perfect if you want to bring your Coleman cooler on the beach. If you have more than one thing to bring with you and don’t feel like doing two trips (because who does?), then this cooler also offers you a retractable handle for a pleasant trip to where you must go.
Additional Molded Handles
Like so many boxes and/or coolers (because we’re really talking coolers here…), often the lack of handles makes the handling difficult and unpleasant. Coleman really thought about this one with this model by adding molded handles onto the sides, making it easy to lift your cooler in and out of the car.
Cost and Value
If your budget is really limited and you’re looking for a good, durable and easy-to-handle cooler, then this cooler should be on your top list. And right now, Amazon is giving you a huge rebate on it, with more than 65% rebate!
6. Coleman 100 Quart Xtreme
Many sizes available (from 36qt to 120qt)
Best Buy Award winning cooler
Holds ice for 5 days
Easy to use
Some reviewers found that the latch can be hard to open
Handles are not that comfortable, other reviewers noted
If you’re a fan of long weekend trips, of getaways, of travel or of long (very long) parties, with easy-to-use handles and wheels to help with the weight, then the Coleman 100qt Xtreme 5 Wheeled Cooler should be on your ‘to buy’ list. With a fairly low price and with a performance that is compared to higher-end models (like the YETI), this model of the Coleman is sure to impress you.
Compared to high-end models (like the Grizzly Hunting for example), this cooler held ice better and kept its cool interior temperature longer. If you need a cooler that can keep your food fresh for a long weekend, then keep this model in mind. You’ll only have to change the ice midway through long trips, making traveling more pleasant.
As this cooler is big, one important feature of this Coleman is the drain plug. You don’t want to have to remove the 82 cans from there, bring the cooler upside down to drain it. The drain plug is easy to remove and doesn’t cause splashing. The only thing is that you’d have to tilt the cooler a bit to remove all the water, but that’s a minor point.
Cost and Value
This cooler is described by its value. For a relatively low price, you can have the same performance as higher-end products.
7. Coleman 24-Hour 30-Can
Comes in many sizes (16-30-42-50-72 cans)
Removable plastic liner
Some reviewers found that they couldn’t fit in as much as the description suggests
The air inside the box easily escapes, making the insulation last a shorter amount of time
The Coleman 24-Hour 30-Can cooler represents its name well. This model is more like a lunch box where you’d like to keep your food cold longer than just a regular lunch box.
This model of the Coleman is very nice-looking and is made of quality material, making it durable for all of those lunches you have to bring to work or at picnics. There are many metal accents and color choices. If you’re a hunter or an outdoorsman, then the camouflages color schemes would be perfect for your outings.
Thankfully, Coleman kept the removable plastic liner in this model too, to make the ins and outs of the foods and drinks easier, and to keep the cooler easy-clean. There is also a front zippered pocket and 2 mesh pockets on each side. To keep the mobility of the cooler more pleasant, they also decided to provide the model with an adjustable padded shoulder strap.
Cost and Value
This Coleman model is one the cheapest on our list, and with everything that it has to offer, we’re genuinely surprised. If you have a limited budget and just one a small lunch box or a bag that can carry a few drinks, then this cooler was probably made for you!
8. Coleman 52-QT Xtreme
Sturdy enough to sit on
Lid acts as a mini-table with molded cup holders
Xtreme Technology to provide extra insulation
Some reviewers said the handles were cheap
Other reviewers said their lid came off after a few uses
The Coleman 52-Qq Xtreme Cooler is a real camping cooler. You probably have one of the older models hiding somewhere in your basement. With an outside lid that acts like a mini-table and slip-handles to help you lift the hefty cooler (once full) without hurting your back, and with ice retention of 3 days for temperatures up to 90F, this cooler really does it all.
Imagine this: You brought your lunch to the beach, but all the tables are used. You don’t want your foods and drinks to be filled with sand. Now, what if you had the Coleman Xtreme Cooler? You’d simply have to put everything on its lid as it acts as a tray, with four molded cup holders. No need to worry about bringing a table with you anymore! The lid can also act as a chair, supporting up to 250lbs.
Not only can it hold up to 48 cans, but the ice retention in this model is pretty amazing. The Xtreme Cooler uses a technology that has the lid insulated, as well as the extra insulation in the walls to keep your drinks and foods cold up to 3 days. This means that if you have to go on a long weekend trip, or a road trip, this cooler can have its ice changed once or twice every week.
Cost and Value
This model is also one of the cheapest on our list – if not the cheapest. With everything that it has to offer: from its amazing ice retention to a durable lid that can act as a chair or a mini-table with molded cup holders, this cooler is a bargain.
9. Coleman 16-Quart Excursion
Holds 22 cans
EZ-Clean top that wipes easily
Durable integrated lid hinges
The Coleman 16-Quart Excursion cooler can hold up to 22 cans, so you’ll have more than enough space to pack a full meal for your family and yourself. Whether you’re using this cooler for work or for weekend outings, the large-grip handle makes getting to your destination more pleasant. This cooler can also keep your foods and drinks cold for up to 1 day.
Because this cooler isn’t made for a long trip because of its size, its capability of holding the ice for a minimum of one day before having to add more is pretty impressive. The lid of this model is said, by some reviewers, to seal better than its predecessor.
Compared to its predecessor, the sleek design and updated handles and outer grip are a nice addition. This model comes in red and blue, but perhaps a little more color options would have been appreciated by some reviewers.
Cost and Value
This model of the Coleman is in the higher price range online, for a lower quality product compared to other companies in the same price range. But if you’re a die-hard fan of Coleman and want something that can keep your goods cold for a day or a little more, for picnics and small excursions, then this model should be a contender.
10. Coleman 50-Quart
Leak-Resistant Channel for no-tilt drainage
Can keep items cold for up to 4 days
Some reviewers noticed that the lid doesn’t stay open on its own
The Coleman 50-Quart Cooler is part of our top 10 for many reasons: it can hold up to 71 cans (that’s almost 3 cases of soda!), their insulation is ThermOZONE (no CFCs, HCFCs that deplete the ozone), and it’s rustproof and has a leak-resistant channel for a no-tilt draining.
General Interior Built
Not only can this cooler hold up to 71 cans, but it can keep your foods and drinks cold for up to 4 days. The Coleman 50-Qt cooler is also tall, which is useful when you have to bring 2-liter bottles with you on a trip. This type of built for a cooler is quite interesting when you often want to go on long weekend trips, road trips, camping in the wild, etc.
If you’re the type of person that appreciates bringing less baggage with you on trips (no matter which one), then you’ll find this cooler appealing because its lid can also serve as a mini-table with molded cup-holders. The lid is hinged for easy access to your foods and drinks, and Coleman thought about adding tie-down slots to the lid to secure extra gear if need be.
Cost and Value
For the online price and the potential that this cooler has, this is seriously a bargain. It’s the cheapest cooler on the list, but because of the few bad reviews, we had to lower the Coleman 50-Qt Cooler at the bottom of our list. We’re still very happy and not surprised at all that it made it to our top 10!
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Your cooler's ability to keep the items cold is important, so the insulation used in the cooler will matter when you are picking out a cooler. Some coolers have more insulation than others which will impact the cooler's ability to block heat out of the cooler and keep the cold trapped inside. However, higher insulating ability means that you will pay a higher price so you will need to consider what you are planning on putting inside of the cooler when you purchase it. There is no sense in spending a lot of money on a cooler that is only going to be used for an afternoon to store a couple of sandwiches.
On the other hand, a hunter who is going to keep a lot of things in their cooler will need the better insulation so that their meat doesn't rot in the cooler. High-end coolers have the thickest amount of insulation and are the most durable kinds of coolers. This is the style of cooler that you should plan on using if you are going to be spending more than five days camping since it will do the best job of retaining ice.
If you are going to be spending less than five days in the wilderness, then you should go for a traditional cooler. Traditional coolers are not as durable as a high-end cooler and they have less insulation than high-end coolers, but these coolers are inexpensive and are suitable for most people's purposes.
A soft cooler is best used as a lunch cooler and will keep your food and beverages cold on short trips between refrigeration. This is what makes them suitable to use for lunch breaks but they will not perform well on hot summer days. The more insulation a cooler has, the better job the cooler will do keeping your food and beverages cold. However, you will need to keep in mind that more insulation and higher quality insulation will add to the overall price of the cooler.
There are a few different reasons why you should be concerned about a cooler's durability. One of the reasons is that you want the cooler to perform when you need it to perform. A cooler that leaks water, for instance, can become a headache real quick when you are trying to go camping, tailgating, or some other activity. This is also true for other important parts of the cooler such as the lid or wheels if they are present.
Most people will agree that it isn't fun to experience the lid of a cooler popping open and spilling all of the contents. The other reason why you should be concerned about durability is that of the value of the cooler. A cooler that lasts for a long time will offer you greater value than a cooler that you have to replace on a regular basis.
The seams are another trouble area that you will need to check. Seams are most commonly found in soft shell coolers. High end and traditional coolers usually have a hard plastic piece on the inside of the cooler that does not have any seams but soft shell coolers usually have nylon, polyurethane, or some other form of a soft interior shell. Since the shell is sewed together, you need to check that the seams have been heating welded so that they do not create an opening for water to leak out of the cooler. In all styles of coolers, you will need to check that the interior shell does not have defaults such as cracking or holes as this will provide you with a spot for leaks.
The lid is the final area that you will need to look at for leaks. On traditional and high-end coolers, you will need to check that the lid seals tightly when it is closed. Unless the lid has a gasket, you should expect that some water will leak through the lid as the cooler is not meant to seal water in this area. However, the lid should resist water in the event that water splashes inside of the cooler while you are carrying it.
The size of the cooler matters and will make a large determination as to what sort of items you will be able to put into the cooler. Larger coolers have a larger capacity and therefore will allow you to store more items inside. However, the larger the cooler gets, the more it will cost and the more it will weigh when it is full.
You will want to balance the size of the cooler against your actual needs so that you get one that is the right size for the items that you are planning on placing in it.
If you pack too few items inside of a large cooler, then you will excess capacity that you will need to find a way to fill so that the cooler insulate properly. On the other hand, you do not want to get a cooler that is too small for your needs either, as you will not be able to store everything that you need in the cooler.
Just like everything else in this world, coolers can come with a slew of different features and those features can greatly enhance your experience. While no particular feature is truly necessary, many people will find the features to either be convenient or useful when they pick out a cooler.
Sometimes features can mean the difference between choosing between one brand or model and another brand, so it is helpful to decide which features are the most important for you and pick out a cooler that has the proper feature set for your tastes and needs. The better job you do matching the features to your cooler, the happier you will be with the cooler overall and being happy with your purchase is important.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Of course, we're focusing on Coleman Coolers but there's so much to choose from in this category. Soft coolers, hard coolers, portable coolers, you'll find everything you need here in this list but the trick is going to be to figure out the kind of cooler you're going to need. Think about how often you're using a cooler and what for, if you're grilling in your yard all summer consider a really big semi-portable cooler to hold more than you need. But if you're traveling all summer and want to keep snacks handy think about a soft cooler that's going to fit into the car without too much trouble. The point is, whatever you need you're going to find it here.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How should I pack my cooler?
You should pack the cooler as full as possible so that it insulates the best. Moving air is the single biggest source of heat transfer so the less air that is inside of the cooler, the better the cooler will be at insulating and keeping your food and beverages cold. If there is excess space inside of the cooler, then you should consider using ice, ice substitutes, or even old blankets as a way to fill the cooler.
q: How do I keep my cooler from smelling bad?
Bacteria and mold can grow on the inside of the cooler so you should always make sure to clean out your cooler when you finish using it. You should start by draining out all of the water in the cooler and then wiping it down good. You should then use mild soap and water to remove any dirt, grime, or soil. When you finish washing the cooler, you should leave the lid open and let it air dry.
q: How can I repair the hinges on my cooler?
Many brands of coolers sell hinge repair kits that you can use if the lid hinges break. These kits are simple to use and you should always follow the instructions that are provided in the repair kit in order to properly repair your cooler lid. The process basically involves removing the old hinges from the cooler and the lid and then attaching the replacement hinges to the cooler which will repair your cooler lid and make it good as new.
q: Why isn't my cooler keeping my food cold?
There are a few reasons why your cooler is not keeping your items cold. A cooler can fail for any number of reasons but thin insulation is one of the main reasons. You may also have a cooler that leaks air in the lid area of the cooler or you may not have packed the cooler properly so that your items stay cold while they are inside of the cooler.
q: Can I use dry ice in my cooler?
Dry ice can be used in your cooler, but you should do so with caution. Dry ice will make the inside of the cooler much colder than what the cooler may have been designed to handle and if it is hot outside, then the insulation of the cooler will end up getting stressed. High-end coolers are best suited for dry ice and should be your first pick if you are going to use dry ice to keep your food cold.