Best Hard Side Cooler 2022: Expert’s Choice & Buyer’s Guide

Scott Nelson By, Scott Nelson
Updated
YETI Roadie 24 Cooler, Navy
Image credit: Amazon.com

The Rundown

1. Best Overall: YETI Roadie 24 Cooler, Navy

"The YETI Roadie Cooler is a portable outdoor cooler that can accommodate up to 24 cans and keeps things cold for up to 10 hours. This cooler is the perfect size for day-trips, picnics, tailgates and more. Our coolers are made with Rotomolded construction which means you don't have to worry about the rusted parts or broken hinges of your typical leaky coolers." Read Review

2. Best For The Price: Coleman Portable Cooler with Wheels | Xtreme Wheeled Cooler, 50-Quart, Blue/White

"Take your lunch to work, the park or on a picnic with Coleman's Portable Cooler. This versatile cooler has an insulated lid and walls to provide 5 full days of ice retention at temperatures up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. It holds up to 84 cans and has wheels for easy transport." Read Review

3. Best Safety: RTIC Hard Cooler, 45 qt, Tan, Ice Chest with Heavy Duty Rubber Latches, 3 Inch Insulated Walls

"RTIC Hard Cooler 45QT Ice Chest insulated with 3" walls is the perfect size and shape for any outdoor activity. Keep your ice, drinks and food cool with this spacious cooler. It's designed for portability, keeping your hands free for other activities as it collapses to a compact size when empty or closed." Read Review

4. Best Compatible: Coleman Rolling Cooler

"The Coleman 50 Quart Xtreme 5-Day Cooler with Wheels will get the party started. The heavy-duty wheels are easy to maneuver, whether you're walking to the beach or at a ball game. The high-capacity cooler can hold up to 84 cans. This means that you will have enough room for beverages for your entire group." Read Review

If you want to keep your food fresh and cold, a hard-sided cooler is the way to go. They are great for keeping food fresh at picnics or tailgating, but they’re also perfect for anyone who owns a home and wants to save space by storing their food in less than ideal conditions. They are also great for people with limited storage space who don’t want to clutter up their garage with too many appliances. In this article, we will explore the top 10 best hard side coolers on the market right now, and review what makes them the best of the best.

To get the results you will read next is thanks to the hard work of our team during 19 hours of product research and analysis. As a direct consequence of this, we were able to identify YETI Roadie 24 Cooler, Navy as the top model for this year. The performance of this product is of an excellent standard, and it offers a complete set of features that can satisfy your requirements.

Our Top Picks

TOP Choice #1 YETI Roadie 24 Cooler, Navy
Our Score:
9.9
YETI
  • ROTOMOLDED CONSTRUCTION - Evolved to be thinner and lighter-weight for easier transport, while still incredibly tough
  • The Roadie 24 holds 18 cans with a 2:1 ice-to-can ratio or 24 lbs of just ice. It measures 16 1/2” L × 14 1/2”W × 17 1/2” H
  • It's got a taller build than its predecessor, so it now accommodates a standard bottle of wine (or 2 liter bottle) upright, and is a better fit behind the driver's or passenger's seat of a car
  • Telescoping handle and heavy-duty wheels for easy, reliable transport across almost any terrain
  • Cup holders molded into the lid for easy access to beverages
  • Wheeled cooler box ideal for camping trips, tailgating parties, and picnics
  • The Perfect Size: The 45 is small enough to carry alone but big enough to store drinks for the whole group.
  • Temperature Retentive: The 3-inch foam insulated walls plus the cool-lift design feature will make worrying about your ice melting a thing of the past.
  • Mobile And Multifaceted: Use the heavy-duty rope handles to take the 45 anywhere and when you need an extra hand—this cooler doubles as a step stool, tabletop, or cutting board.
4 Coleman Rolling Cooler
Our Score:
9.5
Coleman
  • Have-a-seat lid: Closed lid supports up to 250 pounds
  • Xtreme Technology; Insulated lid and extra wall insulation keep ice up to 5 days in temperatures as high as 90°F
  • High capacity: Holds up to 84 cans
  • Rust-resistant, stainless-steel hinge rods and hardware provide extended performance.
  • Extremely durable yet lightweight with proven 4-5 day ice retention
  • Comfort grip, 3-point-grab handle for easy one-handed carrying.
  • Made in the USA!
  • Ultratherm insulated lid and body keeps contents cold.
  • Ultratherm insulation in body for maximum cold retention; holds ice up to 3 days at 90 degree Fahrenheit.
  • HAVE-A-SEAT LID: Closed lid supports up to 250 lb.
  • EASY TO OPEN: Recessed lip for easier access to contents
  • INTEGRATED RULER: Built-in ruler
  • 【Excellent Insulation & Keep Cool】Premium PU insulating materials plus all-in one structure which maximize insulation and keep ice cold for up to four days. More, the sealing design ensures that there is no leakage. Besides, this cooler is dual use, it can not only refrigeration but also keep warm.
  • 【Wide Application of Large Capacity】This cooler features large capacity, which can hold 24 cans(no ice added). A good helper for you when go outside. It can be applied in various situations, such as for a long-distance self-drive travel or you go out for a picnic. There is no doubt it plays an important role in outside activities.
  • 【Environmentally Friendly and Utility Design】Additional features include 2 cup holders in top, secure T-handle latches , non-skid feet at the bottom and molded loops on lid & liner by adding a lock (not included) More, depending on ice cubes and high-quality insulating materials, this cooler is energy conservation and environmentally friendly. This cooler will give you a green experience which doubles your joy of traveling.
  • The YETI Tundra 45 combines versatility with durability with a capacity of up to 26 cans with a recommended 2:1 ice-to-contents ratio
  • The Rotomolded Construction makes the Tundra armored to the core and virtually indestructible so wherever you decide to take it, this portable cooler’s sturdy construction will stand up to the rigors of the journey
  • Rotomolded: Our coolers are made from rotationally-molded LLDPE plastic and are designed to achieve even wall thicknesses for optimal durability
  • Cooler Made in USA, Imported Shoulder Strap
Product Images, Product Titles, Product Highlights from Amazon Product Advertising API

Tips for choosing the most appropriate model among the list of best hard side cooler

Perhaps as a customer, you may be looking for a best hard side cooler that may provide you with just what you want, such as being environmentally friendly, freely selected, and so on.

In this section, we will discuss with you the buying guides and main factors to consider when planning to buy the product from e-commerce websites, so that when the time comes to make your final selection, everything would be laid out in front of you.

The best hard side cooler has many characteristics that purchasers adore, and due to its affordable rate, more people may enjoy this optimum quality without needing to pay quite so much money.

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.

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.

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 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 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.

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.

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.

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.

FAQs

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

Conclusion

In summary, the best hard side cooler is the one that will provide you with exactly what you want. Provided that you are not satisfied with the models listed above, we propose Hardside Cooler Small 14.25"W x 9.5"D x 11"H for you. 

If you are unclear about how to select an item for yourself or someone else at any time in this post, please let us know! Our team of professionals is always pleased to help you find the best match.


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About Scott Nelson

Scott Nelson

Scott Nelson is a freelance writer who specializes in camping and wildlife topics. He has written for several outdoor magazines and websites, and he enjoys nothing more than spending a weekend in the woods with his family. Scott is an experienced camper and backpacker, and he has also spent considerable time studying the behavior of bears and other large mammals.

Read Scott's full bio