The Best Beach Cooler to Keep Your Food Fresh

beach cooler

There's nothing better than a summer afternoon at the beach. But if you're planning to spend more than an hour or so on the shore, you'll need a reliable cooler to take along. Beach coolers make it possible to keep refreshing drinks and snacks close at hand even during hot summer afternoons. You can find coolers for sale in all sizes and shapes and with various amenities. The endless number of choices is almost overwhelming. But our guide to the best beach cooler will help you find the perfect one for your next trip to the shore.

Comparison Table

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Best Beach Cooler FAQ

1. What Is a Beach Cooler?

2. Are Hard or Soft-Sided Coolers Better for the Beach?

3. How Can I Tell How Much a Cooler Will Hold?

4. What Other Features Should I Look for in a Beach Cooler?

5. How Should I Clean a Beach Cooler?

How We Reviewed the Best Beach Cooler

We took a range of factors into consideration when selecting the best beach cooler. We looked at the ability of each cooler to keep foods and beverages cool for an extended period of time. We also evaluated each cooler's ease of use, taking into consideration amenities like padded shoulder straps, wheels, easy-latching lids, and built-in cup holders.

Overall Price Range of the Best Beach Cooler

The best beach coolers vary widely in price from $10 to $300. Pricier beach coolers are designed to keep foods and beverages cold for extended periods of time and may offer additional storage pockets, wheels, and other design amenities.

What We Reviewed

  • YETI Hopper TWO Portable Cooler
  • Coleman Wheeled Cooler | Xtreme Cooler
  • CleverMade Collapsible Cooler Bag
  • YETI Tundra 45 Cooler
  • Arctic Zone Ultra Collapsible Rolling Wheel Cooler
  • Odyseaco Aruba Mesh Beach Tote Bag
  • One Savvy Girl Ultralight Backpack Cooler Chair
  • ICEMULE Classic Insulated Backpack Cooler Bag
  • Igloo Ice Cube Roller Cooler
  • Insulated Cooler and Beach Bag

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Features

The Yeti Hopper Two Portable Cooler is a soft-sided cooler made with waterproof material that is also mildew and puncture-resistant. This cooler can keep ice for hours and even days, making it ideal not only for the beach but also for extended camping trips and excursions. The wide mouth of the Yeti Hopper makes it easy to pack and easy to clean the interior.

The waterproof side pack that comes with the cooler can be used to carry a cell phone, wallet, or keys. This portable cooler comes with padded shoulder straps that make it comfortable and easy to carry. The Yeti Hopper has a capacity of up to 40 pounds.

Pros

  • Leak-proof zipper
  • Padded shoulder straps
  • Waterproof
  • Keeps ice for days

Cons

  • More expensive than some other coolers
  • No wheels

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Features

Great for large gatherings at the beach or for beach camping, the Coleman Xtreme Cooler features a large 50-quart capacity and durable construction. This well-insulated cooler can hold up to 84 cans of beverages and can keep ice for 5 days in temperatures of up to 90 degrees. A hard-sided cooler, the Coleman Xtreme has built-in cup holders and a lid that can double as a place to sit. A leak-resistant drain makes it easy to empty out extra water. This cooler is also easy to transport, thanks to heavy-duty wheels and telescoping handles.

Pros

  • Easy to clean
  • Lid can double as a seat
  • Well insulated
  • Built-in cup holders
  • Heavy-duty wheels

Cons

  • Heavy when filled to capacity

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Features

The CleverMade Collapsible Cooler Bag is a soft-sided cooler capable of keeping foods cool for up to 36 hours, making it a good choice for shorter trips to the beach. This CleverMade cooler is made from durable and water-resistant fabric that protects against scratching and tearing.

One of the unique features of this cooler is the patented snap hinges, which offer structured support when the cooler is open. This cooler holds up to 8 gallons, or 50 beverage cans, and 50 pounds. When not in use, it can be collapsed for easy storage.

Pros

  • Built-in bottle opener
  • Collapses for easy storage
  • Waterproof
  • Padded handles
  • Side pocket

Cons

  • Doesn't keep foods cool for as long as some other coolers
  • No wheels or shoulder straps

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Features

The Yeti Tundra 45 cooler is a hard-sided cooler with extra-thick walls that keep foods and beverages cold for an extended period of time. The extended cooling time and the rugged construction of this cooler make it ideal for trips to the beach as well as in other terrains. This cooler can carry up to 26 beverage cans, and the lid can double as a place to sit. The Yeti Tundra has a basket for dry foods and grip handles. Tie-down slots and non-slip feet make it easy to anchor this cooler to a truck bed.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Bear-resistant
  • Grip handles
  • Basket for dry foods
  • Available in 6 colors

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Heavy
  • No wheels

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Features

The Arctic Zone Ultra Collapsible Rolling Wheel Cooler is a soft-sided cooler capable of carrying up to 60 cans. The cooler attaches to a cart with an oversized wheel designed for use on beaches. But the cooler can also be detached from its cart and carried using the padded handles. The cart can be used on its own to transport up to 100 pounds of dry food. This Arctic Zone cooler has 2 built-in cup holders and a waterproof liner that can be removed for easy cleaning. When not in use, this cooler can be collapsed for easy storage.

Pros

  • Padded handles
  • Detachable bottle opener
  • Collapsible for easy storage

Cons

  • Cup holders are small
  • Wobbles while rolling

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Features

The Odyseaco Aruba Mesh Beach Tote Bag is a versatile and lightweight bag designed to transport everything you need for a picnic or a day at the beach. The lower portion of this bag is an insulated cooler section with a flexible liner that is designed to carry drinks, fruit, and snacks. In addition to the cooler portion of this bag, there are 2 other external pockets that can be used for toting sunscreen, napkins, utensils, and other items. The Odyseaco Aruba Mesh Beach Tote comes with a 12-month guarantee.

Pros

  • Stylish design
  • Versatile
  • Lightweight
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Not designed to carry ice
  • Won't keep foods chilled as long as some other coolers

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Features

The One Savvy Girl Ultralight Backpack Cooler Chair is a versatile piece of outdoor equipment that is ideal for a day at the beach, outdoor parties, and more. This unit easily converts from a lightweight backpack to a mini stool chair with a built-in cooler bag. Use it to sit on the beach or around a campfire.

This cooler is made out of waterproof fabric that resists ripping and abrasions. Weighing in at just 3 pounds, this cooler chair is lightweight and easy to transport. It also folds up for convenient storage. The One Savvy Girl Ultralight Backpack Cooler Chair comes with a lifetime warranty.

Pros

  • Ample storage pockets
  • Waterproof
  • Versatile
  • Folds up for storage

Cons

  • Seat is narrow and low
  • Velcro straps are weak

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Features

The Icemule Classic is a soft-sided backpack cooler that straps on to your back for hands-free carrying. The exterior of this bag is made from waterproof mule skin that works with an interior layer to create a rugged and insulating shell for your food and drinks. The wide mouth of this bag makes it easy to pack, and the zipper-free design means you don't have to worry about leaky closures.

This bag is capable of carrying just under 3 gallons. It's big enough to hold 6 beverage cans or 4 2-liter bottles, as well as ice. This machine-washable bag even floats, making it a great choice for beach trips and excursions that involve watersports.

Pros

  • Padded straps
  • Collapsible for storage
  • Waterproof
  • Available in 3 sizes and 5 colors
  • Floats when full

Cons

  • No outside pockets

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Features

The Igloo Ice Cube Roller Cooler is a hard-sided cooler with wheels and a telescoping handle. This cooler, which has a simple and ergonomic design, has a 60-quart capacity. Use it for day trips to the beach as well as barbecues and camping. Other features on this cooler include 4 built-in cup holders and handles that are molded into either side for easy lifting.

Pros

  • 4 Built-in cup holders
  • Built-in side handles
  • Durable
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Bulky
  • Some users complained that this cooler didn't keep ice long

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Features

Wildhorn's Insulated Cooler and Beach Bag is a versatile and stylish bag that works well for a variety of summer adventures. This is a 2-in-1 bag that includes both an insulated cooler and an oversized tote. There's also a hidden pocket that's great for stowing keys, wallets, and cell phones. The cooler portion of this bag has a capacity of almost 14 gallons, meaning it can chill up to 24 beverage cans. This bag works well on afternoon trips to the beach and the park.

Pros

  • Insulated Cooler and Beach Bag
  • Waterproof and leak proof
  • External pockets
  • Integrated bottle opener

Cons

  • Offers minimal shock protection
  • Doesn't keep foods cool for as long as some other coolers
  • Bottom and sides don't hold their shape

The Verdict

The best beach cooler is the Yeti Hopper Two Portable Cooler. This cooler stands out for its ability to keep ice for extended periods of time, making it a top-of-the-line option when it comes to sheer chilling power. That chilling power also means you can load this cooler up and take it out in the hot sun for hours at a time without having to stop and refresh the ice inside. 

 
Other design perks of this cooler are its wide mouth, which makes it easy to pack and unpack drinks and beverages, and its padded shoulder straps, which make it easy to carry across the beach.

Featured image source: Pexels

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