Coolers: Ratings of Sources
Total of 11 Sources
For an explanation of how we rank reviews, see our ratings criteria page.
by Editors of Cook's Illustrated
Our AssessmentCook's Illustrated tests five different models of coolers ranging from high-tech soft-sided totes and hard molded plastic ice chests to a low-tech $4 styrofoam cooler; each is loaded with 45-degree F sodas (a temperature not quite cool enough to drink) and ice (1 pound for every 2 quarts of cooler capacity). Coolers are then placed in a 95-degree F room and soda temperature is tested each hour. All models maintain the temperature during the four-hour test, but the winning cooler is able to chill the soda even further. This model also features amenities such as wheels, a collapsible frame, a telescoping handle, and a hatch in the lid for quick and easy access to chilled items. The only drawback, testers say, is crumbs can easily get caught in the zip lining.
Coolers Review and Compare
by Martha Psiroukis
Our AssessmentThis Australian consumer website tests a variety of medium-sized coolers ranging from $27 to $120. After chilling the coolers to a temperature of 71 degrees F, tester James Thomson loads them to 35 percent capacity, fills them with ice and places them in a 90-degree F room, checking on each cooler to see how long it takes the contents to warm up a few degrees. Thomson also tests the lids for security, and judges ease of loading and hauling for each model.
GHRI-Tested Food Coolers
by Editors at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute
Our AssessmentEditors at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute conduct their test by filling a variety of coolers with soda cans and ice, and monitoring them to see how long the soda stays below 40 degrees F. They also pack, unpack and haul the coolers to determine ease of loading and carrying. Finally, they leave an onion and a puddle of cola in the bottom of each cooler overnight, then scrub and check for residual odors and stains.
Playing It Cool -- Which Ice Chest Is Best?
by Ron Ballanti
Our AssessmentIn this feature reprinted from Trailer Boats magazine, writer Ron Ballanti and colleagues test a selection of coolers, including Coleman's 54-quart Steel Belted and 50-quart Xtreme Wheeled varieties, as well as Rubbermaid's 48-quart cooler, and Igloo's 54-quart Marine and 50-quart MaxCold coolers. In particular, they test to see if the Coleman Xtreme and Igloo MaxCold can keep ice frozen for five days, as advertised. All of the chests hold ice for a minimum of three days, and two -- the Coleman Xtreme and Igloo MaxCold -- tie for holding ice the longest, more than five days.
Gear Test, Portable Coolers: At the Beach, Comforts of Home
by Sarah Tuff
Our AssessmentDuring a tennis tournament in Hermosa Beach, California, five players take a timeout to test coolers for The New York Times. While test methodology isn't revealed, these players are enthusiastic about the Coleman 82-Quart Ultimate Xtreme Wheeled cooler, which they call a "monster" (but in a good way) because of its 106-can capacity. Designed to hold ice up to six days in 90-degree F heat -- although they don't mention if they test it for that -- this cooler also has wheels that work great on sand, they say. Another favorite is the Igloo Cool Fusion 40 Icy Tunes, which they name the "Cadillac" of coolers thanks to its MP3 dock and AM/FM radio; it also rolls well and holds a lot of drinks, testers say.
Nice Ice, Baby
by Tom Bartlett
Our AssessmentSlate reviewer Tom Bartlett tests six large coolers by filling them with ice and a six-pack of beer, and putting them outside in both sunny and shaded areas. After opening them every 20 minutes over several hours, he gives the highest points to the coolers that keep their chill the longest. The winner is the Coleman 50-Quart Wheeled Ultimate Xtreme, which stays cold in the sun for four days and is sturdy enough to sit on. Other good performers include the Coleman Steel Belted (which comes in second) and the Polar Bear Soft-Sided; Bartlett says the latter doesn't quite compete with the Coleman models, but it rolls up for easy packing and even has a bottle opener. While this test is from 2006, it's worth including because the top-rated coolers are still on the market today.
Serving Carts & Coolers
by Contributors to Walmart.com
Our AssessmentColeman Xtreme coolers are extremely popular on the Walmart website, with several of them getting more than 50 mostly positive reviews. The 50-quart Xtreme cooler is praised for its size, ease of use and construction; reviewers also note that the cooler stays chilled for at least three days, even in hot conditions. For those who need a larger cooler, it's worth noting that the Coleman 70-quart Xtreme model merits more than 150 reviews on Walmart.com, with the vast majority being raves. However, be aware that these models aren't part of the Coleman Ultimate Xtreme line, which are higher in price and made to keep ice cold for up to six days at 90 degrees F.
by Contributors to Amazon.com
Our AssessmentApproximately 50 coolers are reviewed by Amazon customers. Coming out on top are the California Innovations Arctic Zone IceCold 30-can cooler as well as various models from Coleman. Overall, this is a good place to check for user reviews for any cooler you might be considering. However, there's no section for coolers; you'll have to search the site to find them.
by Contributors to REI.com
Our AssessmentREI customers rave about the Coleman 36-quart Xtreme cooler, praising its ability to maintain cold interior temperatures for up to five days. Several posters say it's the best cooler they've ever owned. The 50-quart Ultimate Xtreme wheeled model gets several positive posts as well; users appreciate its portability and its ability to stay chilled for a number of days. However, two reviewers mention that the drainage plug on their model leaks.
6 Best Coolers for an Icy-Cold Beer (Or Wine.) (Or Coke.)
by Editors of Bon Appétit
Our AssessmentBon Appétit editors offer a laundry list of their favorite current crop of coolers, but don't mention why these models are recommended or whether comparison tests were done. Among their picks are the Coleman Steel Belted 54-quart Cooler, the 35-quart Yeti Tundra and the Rubbermaid 102-quart Gott Marine Cooler.
The Best Big Coolers
by Kate Parker and Ashley Phillips
Our AssessmentThe editors at Real Simple offer a slide-show selection of three big coolers, but no mention is made of comparison tests being done. Their selections are the Rubbermaid 13-Can Slim for its can/bottle capacity and convenient cup holders in the lid; the Coleman 54-quart Steel Belted for its sleek looks and snap-tight latch that keeps drinks cool overnight; and the Igloo Cool Fusion 40-quart Roller (currently unavailable from the manufacturer's website), which has wheels, pockets and a retractable handle.