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The Best Fishing Cooler 2019: Important Buyer Information

Whether you are an advanced angler or someone who is just getting started, it’s important to be well-equipped. But if you are like most people, chances are that you have just the basic tools. We’re talking about lures, line, reel, and rod. And while those three are quite important, there’s something even more important – a fishing cooler.

At the end of the day, all the fish you capture will need to be kept safely and a cooler does that job perfectly. In fact, coolers do more than just keeping freshly caught fish! You can use them to keep your drinks chilled and some people even prefer to hide their baits in there as well.

There are three main types of coolers:

  • Insulated fishing bag
  • Portable ice chest
  • Traditional ice chest

So, what’s the perfect, affordable fishing cooler like? Stick around to find our best pick. First, here are some suggestions.

10 Best Fishing Cooler 2019 : Comparison List

Before we kickstart the write-up, here’s our summarized list of some of the best coolers we came across. This shortened list is based on the detailed paragraphs further below.

Ranking

Preview

Product

Dimensions

Weight

Check Price

1

Coleman Steel-Belted Portable Cooler, 54 Quart

Coleman Steel-Belted Portable Cooler

26 x 17 x 17 inches

19.7 pounds

2

YETI Roadie 20 Cooler, White

YETI Roadie 20 Cooler

19 x 14 x 15 inches

15.98 pounds

3

Coleman Coastal Xtreme Series Marine Portable...

Coleman Coastal Xtreme Series Marine Portable Cooler

37.1 x 19.2 x 18.9 inches

25 pounds

4

Pelican ProGear 32-35Q-MC-WHT 35 qt. Elite Cooler,...

Pelican ProGear 32-35Q-MC-WHT 35 qt

26.4 x 20 x 18.8 inches

32.2 pounds

5

Igloo Quick and Cool Cooler (150-Quart, White)

Igloo Quick and Cool Cooler

43 x 20 x 21 inches

2 pounds

6

YETI Tundra 45 Cooler White

YETI Tundra 45 Cooler White

26 x 15.5 x 16 inches

23 pounds

7

Igloo Marine Breeze Roller Cooler (28-Quart,...

Igloo Marine Breeze Roller Cooler

18.5 x 13.4 x 16.1 inches

5 pounds

8

ENGEL Cooler/Dry Box with 4 Rod Holders - 30 Qt -...

Engel Cooler/Dry Box 30 Qt with Rod Holders

16.6 x 11 x 13 inches

6.3 pounds

9

YETI Tundra 65 Cooler White

YETI Tundra 65 Cooler White

30.5 x 17.5 x 16 inches

35 pounds

10

Coleman Performance Cooler, 48-Quart -  Blue

Coleman Performance Cooler

26 x 14 x 14.5 inches 

4.5 pounds


Quick Answer: 10 Best Fishing Cooler

1. Coleman Steel-Belted Portable Cooler

On Sale
Coleman Steel-Belted Portable Cooler, 54 Quart
1,348 Reviews
Coleman Steel-Belted Portable Cooler, 54 Quart
  • High-capacity, heavy-duty cooler features a...
  • 54-quart capacity accommodates up to 85 cans....
  • Keeps the Ice! insulation offers 4-day ice...
  • Built to deliver years of performance with...

If you want a cooler that will make you stand out due to its visual appeal, then the Coleman Steel-Belted Cooler is just what you need. The manufacturer paid a lot of attention to its design to give it a classy look.

This cooler is very easy to use, with the wide-opening lid and the solid lid latch being vital parts. The latch has hooks which “bites" the cover to secure it tightly. It also features articulating that pivots to pull the lid while pressing the gasket tightly. As a result, this creates an excellent seal.

The body features sturdy stainless steel in its construction to create a very durable cooler that will serve you for years to come.

Then, it is light at 19lbs when empty, and comes with very comfortable handles to make it very portable.

Lastly, the cooler has large storage capacity and thanks to the O-ring seal, your food and drinks will remain cold for days to come.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Maintains the low temperature of drinks for a long time
  • Very affordable
Cons
  • Paint scraps off easily

2. YETI Roadie 20 Cooler

YETI Roadie 20 Cooler, White
243 Reviews
YETI Roadie 20 Cooler, White
  • The YETI Roadie is BYOB’s new best friend...
  • Ice stays ice thanks to up to 2 inches of...
  • The Rotomolded Construction makes the Roadie...
  • The Roadie, like the Tundra, features T-Rex...

The Yeti Company has a reputation for producing high-quality cooler over the years, and the Roadie 20 Cooler is no exception. This box is very well-insulated, with it being two inches thick, having a rubberized seal and it can maintain low temperatures for very long periods.

Due to its Rotomolded construction, the cooler is, and it will withstand being dragged on a rocky path during your road-trip. It is filled with PU foam and has a gasket that goes a long way in sealing in water and keeping out warmer temperatures.

The cooler comes with various bits and pieces to make it very easy to use. They include a screw-out drainage plug, four tie-down points, and two indented side handles under the lid.

The metal handle features a squishy pad to give you maximum comfort as you hold it.

You will be impressed by its capacity whereby it can hold up to fourteen cans.

Pros
  • Versatile
  • Well-insulated
  • Well-insulated
Cons
  • Too bulky

3. Coleman Coastal Xtreme Cooler

On Sale
Coleman Coastal Xtreme Series Marine Portable...
764 Reviews
Coleman Coastal Xtreme Series Marine Portable...
  • Large portable cooler ideal for boating and...
  • 120-quart capacity holds up to 204 cans
  • Insulated lid and walls provide 6 full days...
  • Stainless steel hardware and UVGuard sun...

If you are looking for a cooler whose cooling power can last for several days, the Coleman Xtreme Cooler is just what you need. It features a thermozone insulation which can maintain low temperatures for up to six days.

It also has a tight-fitting lid that keeps out warm air and keeps in the cold air.

Then, this cooler features easy-to-hold handles which will come in handy when you want to move the box around.

The cooler features a drain which helps a lot in draining out excess water from the box.

The stainless steel construction and UV-Guard sun protection makes this cooler very tough and will withstand constant bumping as well as give you many years of service.

Lastly, it is stunning to look at.

Pros
  • High-quality construction
  • Maintains cool temperatures well
  • Has handles for mobility
Cons
  • Too expensive

4. Pelican Products Progear Elite Cooler

Pelican ProGear 32-35Q-MC-WHT 35 qt. Elite Cooler,...
407 Reviews
Pelican ProGear 32-35Q-MC-WHT 35 qt. Elite Cooler,...
  • Sloped Drain & Tethered Threaded Plug (Garden...
  • Molded-In Lock Hasp, Stainless Steel Plate
  • Dual Handle System (Molded-in & Hinged...
  • Up to 10 days ice retention*, freezer grade...

The Pelican brand has over the years been associated with hardcore cases, and this cooler from the franchise is not an exception. It is highly rated in the market with its best performance coming in ice-retention, whereby it can retain ice for up to five days.

The cooler is constructed from sturdy, high-quality materials that give it the ability to withstand being bumped around during transportation. The body is also corrosion-resistant.

The box has a dual handle system which will make transportation easier. You have the option of using the molded-in handles or the sliding hinge handles. Additionally, the latches are broad and will allow easy use by a gloved hand.

The cooler has non-skid raised feet to prevent it from sliding on slippery surfaces or when facing strong waves on the boat.

Lastly, it features a sloped drainage design that should drain excess water when the ice melts.

Pros
  • Durable
  • Well-insulated
  • Convenient handles
Cons
  • Bulky

5. Igloo Quick and Cooler, 150-quart

Igloo Quick and Cool Cooler (150-Quart, White)
281 Reviews
Igloo Quick and Cool Cooler (150-Quart, White)
  • Ultratherm insulated body and lid keep ice...
  • Quick-access hatch lets you access contents...
  • Reinforced swing-up handles with tie-down...
  • Dual snap-fit latches secure lid closure....

This cooler is just for you if you are on a tight budget and you need a box with a decent carrying capacity. The outstanding feature is the quick-access hatch that enables you to access your items in the box without opening the entire lid.

 The lid is impressively tight and this coupled with the quick-access hatch maximizes its ice-retention.

If you value tools with a simple appearance, then this cooler is just for you.

Additional features include thread drain plug, stain-resistant liner, reinforced handles and UV Inhibitors.

Pros
  • Very affordable
  • Comes with handles for mobility
  • Quick-access hatch helps save time
Cons
  • Weak plastic handles

6. YETI Tundra 45 Cooler

YETI Tundra 45 Cooler White
413 Reviews
YETI Tundra 45 Cooler White
  • The YETI Tundra 45 combines versatility with...
  • Will keep your ice… well ice thanks to up...
  • The Rotomolded Construction makes the Tundra...
  • All Tundra coolers feature T-Rex Lid Latches...

Anytime you discuss premium coolers, the Yeti brand has to feature in the conversation. Is it worth the hype? Let’s see.

The Yeti brand utilizes PermaFrost Insulation made from PU foam, and it will offer you up to two inches of insulation. Additionally, the lid uses a freezer-quality gasket known as Cold-Lock Gasket to enhance its insulation even further.

This insulation gives it one of the best ice-retentions you will ever find.

It can accommodate up to 26 cans without affecting its ice retention. It also has a convenient size of 15.5 by 25.5 by 16-inches, and it can fit on to any vessel, from the trunk of a car to a canoe or even an ATV.

The Tundra 45 utilizes the T-Rex Latching system made from flexible rubber to keep the lid down effectively and tightly. There is also the NeverFail Hinge System that fits the connection points into the main body design, only needing a pin to connect the two.

Lastly, it features DoubleHaul Handles as well as Molded LipGrip handles for carrying and moving the cooler.

Pros
  • Well-insulated
  • Convenient size
  • Durable military-grade handles
Cons
  • Too expensive

7. Igloo Marine Breeze Roller Cooler

Igloo Marine Breeze Roller Cooler (28-Quart,...
253 Reviews
Igloo Marine Breeze Roller Cooler (28-Quart,...
  • Push button and locking telescoping handle...
  • Non-marking translucent soft-side sport rally...
  • Cool Riser Technology design improves cooling...
  • Molded side scoop handles for ease of loading...

If you need a simple cooler for a short trip, the Marine Breeze Cooler by Igloo is a perfect choice. Its main outstanding feature is the igloo Riser Technology used in the construction as it raises the cooler base off the ground and in the process avoids the heat from there (ground).

It features UV inhibitors which will minimize the damage from the sun. Additionally, the white color helps in reflecting away the sun’s rays.

The cooler has molded on-side carry handles for carrying it while the wheeled version has an extended carrying handle for moving it.

The combination of the thick plastic lining with the elevated base and reflective surface enhances its ice-retention period.

Lastly, it has a very simple look as it has very few features on the outside.

Pros
  • Very affordable
  • Sturdy construction
  • Decent Insulation
Cons
  • The lid tends to be too tight

8. Engel Cooler Dry Box Review

On Sale
ENGEL Cooler/Dry Box with 4 Rod Holders - 30 Qt -...
57 Reviews
ENGEL Cooler/Dry Box with 4 Rod Holders - 30 Qt -...
  • A cooler and a drybox with 4 rod holders....
  • Features a unique airtight EVA gasket around...
  • Features a recessed central carry handle in...
  • All Fittings Secured with Stainless Steel...

The Engel Cooler Dry Box has this unique ability to keep items hot, cold and dry simultaneously. Such things for this box include medication and electronics. The boxes are however small and available in only three sizes, 13, 19 and 30-quart sizes.

To start with, it has a non-absorbent surface that keeps out odors, stains and other foreign elements from creeping into the box. This will be helpful for sensitive items such as medication and organs.

Unlike other coolers with ordinary rubber gaskets, the Engel Dry Box utilizes an EVA foam gasket that creates an extremely tight seal that makes it waterproof up to three feet deep. This water-tightness also makes the box float just in case it tips over from the boat into the lake.

The cooler also features a recessed overhead carrying handle which is easy to use for carrying around. The side has notches for shoulder straps which should help in the transportation.

Lastly, they are pleasing to look at and are very affordable.

Pros
  • Extremely water-tight
  • Stunning appearance
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Too small

9. YETI Tundra 65 Cooler

YETI Tundra 65 Cooler White
338 Reviews
YETI Tundra 65 Cooler White
  • The YETI Tundra 65 is just as adept at...
  • Ice stays ice thanks to up to 3 inches of...
  • The Rotomolded Construction makes the Tundra...
  • All Tundra coolers feature T-Rex Lid Latches...

If you are looking for a durable cooler that will offer you the best insulation, you should consider this model. It can retain food at less than 40-degrees for up to seven days and beer at 50-degrees for up to eight days.

It also has a tight gasket that enhances this ability to retain lower temperatures.

The box is very durable and has a flexible hinge that cannot break easily. It is also straightforward to use, and you can open it with one hand comfortably.

It also has a convenient shape that facilitates loading and offloading without much hassle.

Additional features include non-slip feet, tie-down points and a drain plug.

Pros
  • Sturdy and durable
  • Well-insulated
  • Easy to use
Cons
  • Too pricey

10. Coleman 48-Quart Performance Cooler

On Sale
Coleman Performance Cooler, 48-Quart -  Blue
761 Reviews
Coleman Performance Cooler, 48-Quart - Blue
  • Keeps the Ice: 3-day ice retention at...
  • Holds 63 cans; Added height to hold 2-liter...
  • Leak-resistant drain lets you remove water...
  • Hinged lid for easy, one-handed access; 2-way...

If you are looking for a cooler suited for land expeditions, then this is what you are looking for. It has a simple construction but still gets the job done.

It utilizes the thermozone insulation to give it an impressive ice-retention. Further, it can keep your drinks cold for up to four days.

The construction is sturdy, and the cooler can withstand bumps associated with land expeditions. It features sturdy handles for portability while it also comes with optional wheels to aid mobility.

Lastly, it is available in different colors, and you get to choose the one that appeals most to you.

Pros
  • Robust handles
  • Well-insulated
  • Affordable
Cons
  • The lid does not stay open

Factors to Consider When Buying a Fishing Cooler

Different kinds of fishing coolers exist and so do different brands. As such, your best bet is to look around and make a decision based on your budget and individual preferences. Some of the key factors to keep in mind include:

Insulation

It’s important that your cooler of choice has a good insulating system in place. Without good insulation, it will be difficult to keep the ice intact and the contents inside the cooler might go bad. Basically, the levels of ice retention are dependent on how long you intend to spend on a fishing trip.

You can count yourself lucky if the cooler keeps your perishable fresh even when you’re faced with extremely hot days and long trips.

One way to determine if a cooler’s insulation is adequate is by checking the thickness of the insulating layer. In our view, the best value starts at 2 to 3 inches of insulation. You particularly want to ensure that the cooler is hard-sided so it’s also long-lasting.

Build Quality

Just like other outdoor equipment, coolers are exposed to all manner of challenges. As such, it is important that they are well-built and capable of withstanding challenging conditions. Remember, sometimes you have to transport them on bumpy terrain and that kind of impact can affect their effectiveness and durability.

So, you want to go for a hard-sided cooler and it should be made from heavy-duty plastics. We particularly like roto-molded coolers.

Remember, since these are to be used in the marine kind of environments, they should also be corrosion-resistant. Likewise, for outdoor fishing, the best kind of material to settle for is the UV resistant one.


What’s The Ideal Size?

The best way to find an answer to that question is by considering how you intend to transport the cooler. If you’re going to be using a kayak, then you’ll want a cooler that can easily fit into a long but narrow space. In that case, you’ll probably want to consider going for an insulated fishing bag instead.

So, it’s all about understanding the kind of space that you have available and knowing how to put it to good use.


How Much Fish Do You Intend To Store?

There’s no point to invest in a huge cooler if all you are engaged in is a hobby. So, always understand how much cooling space you need or might need before you make this hefty investment.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the thicker the insulating layer, the tinier the storage space tends to be. Typically, a 25-quart cooler is enough for beginners or excursion angling. Larger coolers like the 45-quart one are ideal for weekend fishing trips.


Ease of Draining

Eventually, the ice in your cooler will melt and you’ll want to be able to drain it without any leakages. As such, it makes sense to insist on working with a cooler with a built-in recessed channel for the job. This way, you won’t need to lift or tilt the cooler to drain it.

Note that some coolers are designed in such a manner that they can be attached to hose pipes for draining. But most importantly, no matter the mechanism in use, always make sure that the drain plug is sealed tightly in such a manner that it doesn’t leak.


The Kind of Material Used

There are different kinds of materials used to make the exterior of different coolers. Unfortunately, every manufacturer refers to their unit as the best made one though that might not even be the case.

Plastic is the most common type of material. It’s loved by many because it’s light and durable. Metal coolers aren’t very common although they are the best recommended for longevity.

Rubber material is also used for making fishing coolers but for longevity purposes,, it should only be used to make certain parts of the cooler. Those include the drain plug, rubber gasket and the like.


Which One Is The Best?

The Coleman Coastal Xtreme Cooler is our absolute favorite. It’s available in 70-quart and 120-quart size varieties. What’s more? It’s made from a high-quality and hardy exterior. That’s in addition to the fact that it is UV protected.

Another thing, it has a leak-resistant drain system. So, once your ice melts, you can easily drain out the water without having to lift the whole unit up.

If portability is the priority, we’d recommend going for the Coleman Steel-Belted Portable Cooler instead.  It’s equally well-made though with a smaller capacity.


Final Thoughts

Whether you’re after a high-capacity cooler or simply looking for something durable, it’s our hope that the recommendations above will guide you. Most importantly, we look forward to you securing a cooler that helps you keep your catch intact no matter how long you spend fishing.

Images from:
amazon.com

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