The 10 Best Budget Soft Cooler Of 2023, Tested By CampFireUSA

Katie Finn By, Katie Finn
Best Budget Soft Cooler
Best Budget Soft Cooler

The Rundown

1. Best Overall: Coleman Chiller Soft Cooler

This cooler features TempLock insulation, welded seams, a removable antimicrobial and stain-resistant hard plastic liner as well as adjustable padded sling straps and padded side handles for easy transport. Perfect for camping trips, picnics or just keeping drinks cold while you are on the go! Read Review

2. Best For The Price: Coleman Soft Cooler Bag

This cooler bag features 24-hour ice retention at temperatures up to 90°F, a zippered main compartment that keeps contents cold, ripstop fabric that helps avoid tears and heat-welded seams that avoid leaks. So you can enjoy your picnic or day trip worry free! Read Review

3. Best Sleek Design: AO Coolers Original Soft Cooler

Keep your food and drinks cool for hours with the AO Coolers Original Soft Cooler. Its high-density insulation and leak-proof TPU liner ensure cold temperatures, while its durable soft canvas material stands up to travel. Read Review

4. Best Convenient: CleverMade Collapsible Soft Cooler Bag

This large lunch tote is perfect for school, work or travel. It's made of durable 600D Polyester fabric with 6mm EPE foam lining for prime thermal insulation. It also features multiple storage pockets, a front slip pocket deep enough for a phone or car keys, as well as an internal dry pocket. Read Review

5. Best Style: AO Coolers Original Soft Cooler

This soft-sided cooler features high-density insulation and a removable shoulder strap, perfect for boating, fishing, hunting, parties, sporting events and picnics. With its durable canvas material and leak-proof TPU liner, you can keep your items cold or warm throughout the day. Read Review

Soft coolers are an essential part of any outdoor adventure. Whether you’re taking a day trip to the beach or a long weekend camping, having a reliable soft cooler will ensure your food and drinks stay cold and fresh. But when it comes to budget soft coolers, finding the right balance between price and quality can be tricky.

Fortunately, there are a few great budget soft coolers on the market that offer excellent value for your money. From insulated backpacks to lightweight and durable lunchboxes, these soft coolers are sure to keep your food and drinks cold and fresh while keeping your wallet happy. So if you’re looking for the best budget soft cooler, read on to discover our top picks.

After nearly 19 hours of research, We think the best budget soft cooler is Coleman Chiller Soft Cooler.  This cooler is made from recycled polyester fibers, with TempLock insulation to keep your items cold for up to 12 hours. It features a removable antimicrobial liner that helps prevent odors, mildew, and mold, as well as welded seams to prevent leaks. Or you can check the Coleman Soft Cooler Bag as the other great option, even if the first option didn't meet all of your requirements.

Our Top Picks

TOP Choice #1 Coleman Chiller Soft Cooler
Our Score:

SUPERIOR ICE RETENTION: TempLock Insulation​ keeps food and drinks cold for 12 hours or more

RECYCLED FABRIC: Exterior fabric is made from recycled polyester fibers ​

PORTABLE: Adjustable padded sling strap and padded side handles for easy transport; zippered front and inside mesh pockets for storing ice packs and other extras

LEAKPROOF: Welded seams prevent leaks

EASY TO CLEAN: Removable antimicrobial* and stain-resistant hard plastic liner helps prevent odor, mildew, and mold

TOP Choice #2 Coleman Soft Cooler Bag
Our Score:

Heat-welded seams avpids leaks

Shoulder straps adjust for comfortable no hands carrying; large side handles allow for more control when cooler is fully loaded

Keeps ice up to 24 hours at temps up to 90°F

Top hatch offers easy access to contents

Holds 30 cans, Front pocket for added storage

Flexible liner avoids foul smell

Zippered main compartment is insulated to keep contents cold; front pocket provides extra storage for dry goods and utensils

TOP Choice #3 AO Coolers Original Soft Cooler
Our Score:
AO Coolers

Holds 12 cans plus about 5 pounds of ice; measures 14 x 7 x 12 inches (LxWxH).

Perfect for boating, fishing, hunting, parties, sporting events, and picnics; keeps things cold or warm

Made of durable soft canvas material that stands up to travel; features a high-quality leak-proof TPU liner

Soft-sided cooler with high-density insulation, a removable shoulder strap, and side pocket

4 CleverMade Collapsible Soft Cooler Bag
Our Score:

DIMENSIONS: The cooler bag's maximum capacity is 18 cans plus ice. The outer dimensions are 12.5"L x 9.25"W x 8"H, the weight of the empty bag is a little more than a pound; foldable design collapses flat

PREMIUM MATERIAL: The exterior is made of durable 600D Polyester fabric which is easy to dry for storage and wipe clean; the interior is lined with 6mm EPE foam for prime thermal insulation

CARRY OPTIONS: Two ways to hold cooler bags; slim removable shoulder strap fits comfortably across your chest and a top handle for quick grab & go; practical lunchbox essentials for men and women

FEATURES: Multiple storage pockets; front slip pocket deep enough for a phone or car keys as well as an internal dry pocket, an ideal spot to pack snacks to pair with your favorite cold beverage

COMPACT: The perfect size coolers to use as a large lunch tote to bring to school or work; throw in a couple of ice packs to keep your food and drinks cold for hours; great for travel and road trips

5 AO Coolers Original Soft Cooler
Our Score:
AO Coolers

Perfect for boating, fishing, hunting, parties, sporting events, and picnics; keeps things cold or warm

Holds 24 cans plus about 14 pounds of ice; measures 17 x 10 x 12 inches (LxWxH).

Soft-sided cooler with high-density insulation, a removable shoulder strap, and side pocket

Made of durable soft canvas material that stands up to travel; features a high-quality leak-proof TPU liner

6 Maelstrom Collapsible Soft Sided Cooler
Our Score:

EXTRA LARGE CAPACITY - Extra-large size yet weighs only 1.65 lbs. The Maelstrom Icy Hollow Soft sided cooler will hold up to 75 cans of your favorite drinks plus 2-4 ice packs; or with 60 cans you can add 15 lbs. of ice for long lasting coldness. Whether it's camping, hiking, picnicking, or a BBQ party, the cooler bag easily packs a lot of food, fruits, beer, meat, or even seafood together. It’s large enough to carry all picnic essentials for the whole family!

DURABLE - Maelstrom Ice Hollow Soft Sided Cooler Bags have double-stitched carry options. All pick-up points, the shoulder straps and carry handles are reinforced. This cooler bag can handle more weight than you’d prefer to carry. Capacity: 18x12x13.8 inches, 13 Gallons of ice and drinks.

EXTRA LARGE CAPACITY - Extra-large size yet weighs only 1.65 lbs. The Maelstrom Icy Hollow Soft sided cooler will hold up to 75 cans of your favorite drinks plus 2-4 ice packs; or with 60 cans you can add 15 lbs. of ice for long lasting coldness. Whether it's camping, hiking, picnicking, or a BBQ party, the cooler bag easily packs a lot of food, fruits, beer, meat, or even seafood together. It’s large enough to carry all picnic essentials for the whole family!

VERSATILE - Suitable for all outdoor activities as an all-around soft sided cooler for camping or road trips. It’s the perfect size for food delivery services and a great solution to transport groceries from the store or farmer's market to your kitchen at home.

UNIQUE DESIGN - Top pull tab with Velcro opening design, easy to access your food without having to open the zipper around the whole top cover, keeping contents cool/warm longer. Ergonomic design with two different ways to carry - adjustable straps and a carrying handle. An integrated bottle opener gives you a quick access to pop open a bottle of beer.

7 AO Coolers Carbon Soft Cooler
Our Score:
AO Coolers

Features a Carbon Fiber look and side pocket for dry items

Soft-sided cooler with removable shoulder strap

Twice the insulation of other soft-sided coolers; leak-proof liner

Perfect for boating, fishing, hunting, parties, sporting events, and picnics

COLLAPSIBLE COOLER --Soft Sided Body without occupy much space. Easy packed flat and take away

FULL-SIZE COOLER(25L) -- Roomy Compartment for packing everything you need. You can easily fit ice packs, beverages, drinks, meat, snacks etc. -- Perfect Partner for your Grocery Shopping or Daytime Trips

PADDED HANDLES & SHOULDER STRAP INCLUDED -- Comfortable Handles or Strap will not "bite" into your hand/shoulder. Just choose any way you like.

EXCELLENT THERMAL PERFORMANCE -- Keep foods and drinks hot or cool up to 4 hours -- EXTRA INNER & OUTER POCKETS -- Mesh pocket inside for Icepacks storage + Front Pocket for storing napkins, cutlery or other essentials

CUSTOMER SERVICE-If you have any quality issue or you are not completely satisfied with this cooler bag, please feel free to contact us. We are always available to help

Food grade BPA-free liner with welded seams keep spills and splashes contained

20 L fits 38 cans without ice

Lightweight insulation keeps contents chilled for up to 24 hours

Large, accessible opening for loading, unloading and cleaning

Webbing loops easily attach Dry Storage accessories

Exterior stash pocket

Removable cross-body strap

Leakproof Thermal Lining - Made of a high-density heat-sewn leak proof lining, our insulated backpack coolers are waterproof and spill proof, keeping moisture in and ice, beer, and food cold for 16 hours, making it the perfect replacement for your small ice chest.

Back Pack Cooler For Women & Men - Through our R&D process, we thought of every intricate detail in designing our insulated back pack coolers so that both women and men felt great wearing it, making it not only a soft portable cooler, but also a great book bag, travel companion, and work bags.

Pockets Everywhere - Our soft ice chest backpack has 1 large main cooling compartment with waterproof zipper, 1 front pocket, 1 top small pocket, 2 extra thick mesh bottle holders, and 1 built-in beer bottle opener.

Extra Large Backpack Cooler - We designed a back pack that's nearly 50% larger than industry average. Our soft cooler fits over 40 cans, making it perfect for tailgating, beach days, a family lunch picnic, even hiking and camping adventures!

Ergonomic Design - We were sick of having back and shoulder aches while lugging around our coolers, so we created one that is incredibly easy to carry. Our backpacks have extra strap and back padding, making them not just portable, but incredibly comfortable, too.

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What to Look For in a best budget soft cooler?

The best budget soft cooler is the standard appliance in your life. Seeing that the item is introduced with many models with distinct functions and features, several challenges in selecting. However, anything has its solution, not except for that. We, the high-qualified expert in this area, will be available here to give you support.

Of course, looking for the best budget soft cooler which suits you most requires many criteria to consider. You are projected to think carefully about each of the features below so that your choice will be appropriate:

Cooler Construction

There are two main types of construction techniques used to make premium hard-sided coolers: injection molding and rotational molding. Yeti popularized rotomolding (even though they weren't technically the first company to do so) and is the dominant market at the top end. This type of cooler is made from a single, continuous piece of plastic which is then rotated to form the desired shape. These coolers have fewer stress points, so they are more likely to break under pressure. They also feature a thicker outer shell that ensures exceptional durability. Cost and weight are the main drawbacks.

Wheeled (Rolling) Coolers

We mentioned above that if you have cooler needs such as mobility and large capacity or maximum ice retention it is a good idea to look into a hard-sided rolling model. These wheeled monsters can still be difficult to maneuver on uneven terrain, and will need assistance if there is no clear path. A rolling cooler is a good choice for camping, tailgating or days at the beach.

Cooler Drain Systems

Many of our hard-sided coolers have drainage systems that allow you to drain the water out once the ice is melted. This is usually a pop-off or screw-on cap located at the bottom of cooler. Simply remove it and let the water flow out.

Cooler Sizes (Capacities)

A few things to consider before we get started: Size. Importantly, coolers do not measure the interior capacity of all models. Some coolers use cans to measure interior capacity, others use liters or quarts. However, most manufacturers use quarts as a unit of measure. We've used that measurement in this article when it was possible. A final point: Don't let the product name fool you.

Weight And Portability

Weighing your cooler is an important factor for those who will be carrying it or moving it around regularly. For models with less capacity, they can weigh as little as 10-15 pounds and up to 50+ for those that have 75+ quarts storage. This number goes up dramatically when you load it down with food and drinks. Even though the handles are made of rope, some are plastic and others are nylon. They are too heavy to be carried for extended distances. We recommend wheels if portability is important. They are easier to carry for longer periods of time and more convenient for one person, so they're less burdensome.

Cooler Latch And Closure Systems

The cooler's closure or latch is a key feature of premium models and will play a major role in cooling performance. Two rubber T-handles are a common feature on high-end, hard-sided coolers. They keep the lid in place and prevent it from opening. They are extremely sturdy and user-friendly.

Ice Retention And Cooling Capabilities

Ice retention is one of the most difficult things to determine when researching coolers. This is largely due to external factors. The temperature of the air and direct sunlight have a significant impact. Ice quantity is also important. Most brands suggest a ratio of 2:1. You should also open the lid as often as possible to let warm and cold air into your cooler. Pre-chilling your cooler before loading it is a good idea to ensure maximum efficiency. To reduce the cooler's interior temperature, you should fill it with ice at least for a couple of hours. Once you are ready to go, add fresh ice in the right ratio. You can also expect your cooler to become pre-warmed if it is left out in the sunlight before you load it up.

Bear-Resistant Ratings

Many top-rated hard-sided coolers can be listed as being bear-resistant. This is an important consideration if you are camping in bear territory. You should specifically look out for IGBC ratings. This indicates that a cooler has been tested and is in compliance with their regulations. You should ensure your cooler is included if you plan to travel in bear-proof gear or frequent backcountry areas.


Can I Use Dry Ice In A Cooler?

Most times, the answer is yes. Some coolers can be damaged by dry ice, but the majority should work fine. However, you will need to cover dry ice with blankets or other insulators. A cooler designed for dry ice is best if you plan to use it every day. You won't have to do any special tasks because the cooler has compartments to store dry ice.

What Is The Best Hard Cooler?

There are many coolers. It really doesn't matter which cooler you choose. A cooler that is more resistant to damage will be the most suitable if you intend on using it every week.

Which Size Cooler Do I Need?

Although you might feel compelled to buy a large cooler, make sure it fits in the car. Smaller coolers can be lifted without the need for assistance. However, coolers with larger capacities can hold more ice and so tend to stay cool longer than smaller models.
Higher coolers can store bottles more upright. Models with recessed lids are better for loading items higher, but they may become warmer.

Does Food Stay Cool In A Portable Cooler Without Ice?

But it will take longer than if you put ice inside the cooler. Insulation in the cooler stops food from heating up faster than if left out. The temperature of the cooler and how chilled the food were at the beginning will determine the time it takes to cool down. Even frozen foods will heat up faster if they are kept cool in a trunk compartment of a vehicle.

How Do I Clean My Cooler?

Warm water and dish soap will generally clean your cooler. You can also use warm water and bleach to remove stubborn stains or odors.

How Much Do Coolers Cost?

Consider what your cooler will be used for. If you need it to store food or drinks for several days or at extreme temperatures then more money is an investment in food safety. A cooler that is cheap and cheerful may suffice if you just need to chill a handful of drinks for an afternoon barbecue.

How Does A Portable Cooler Work?

Combining the insulation of the cooler with the ice you put inside, either ice cubes, ice packs, or foam, slows down warm air circulation and helps keep things cool.

How Long Does A Cooler Stay Cold?

It all depends on how efficient the cooler is at insulation. This includes the temperature outside, initial temperature of food and its stacking. Food can be kept cold for up to 4 days with ice (the best), in ideal conditions. A high-end cooler may even keep it chilled for as long as 10 days.

Look through again. The brand of product you choose will affect the options available to you. Moreover, pricer models will offer more customization options. We've covered top-scoring models varying at some price. So you have more choices to consider. Furthermore, our staff will update the info related to best budget soft cooler with the newest data. Let check our site more regularly to get the latest options.

If you want to take practical support from our expert, don't hesitate to give us feedback. Please feel free to contact us. Hopefully, with our buying guide, you can have a happy shopping for the product.

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About Katie Finn

Katie Finn

Katie Finn is a freelance writer who loves to explore the world and go camping. She's also an editor for CampfireUSA, where she enjoys writing about wildlife and camping tips. She also has a passion for reading and learning new things, which she often incorporates into her writing.

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