Best Small Coolers Of 2022: Top Models & Buying Guide

Scott Nelson By, Scott Nelson
Updated
Pelican 14 Quart Personal Cooler (Dark Grey/Green)
Image credit: Amazon.com

The Rundown

1. Best Overall: Pelican 14 Quart Personal Cooler (Dark Grey/Green)

"The Pelican 14 Quart Personal Cooler is a dry box, perfect for holding electronics and accessories. The breathable foam insulation and watertight seal keep things cool while the built-in tablet/phone easel slot keeps them at your fingertips. With a 3 year warranty, you don't have to worry about this coolant." Read Review

2. Runner Up: YETI Tundra 35 Cooler, White

"Keep your drinks cold and your hands warm with the YETI Tundra 35 Cooler. Capable enough for one person to haul, the YETI Tundra has an impressive carrying capacity of up to 20 cans, and comes with a 2:1 ice-to-contents ratio recommended. The YETI Tundra has an extra thick FatWall design that is certified Bear-Resistant, and up to 3 inches of PermaFrost Insulation, so it" Read Review

3. Budget Pick: Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze 16 Can Zipperless Hardbody Cooler, Moss

"Take your tailgating to the next level with Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze 16 Can Zipperless Hardbody Cooler. It features patented, “flip open” lid that allows for quick access to food and drinks. This Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze 16 Can Zipperless Hardbody Cooler also features adjustable back-saver shoulder strap with anti-slip shoulder pad for carrying comfort. Its interior is lined with soft insulation for..." Read Review

4. Best Leak Proof: YETI Roadie 24 Cooler

"Designed to be lighter and thinner, the Roadie 24 Cooler has a 2:1 ice-to-can ratio and can hold up to 24 lbs of ice. The Roadie also offers ROTOMOLDED construction that allows for an evolved design with our signature sturdiness and toughness." Read Review

Coolers are great for keeping your drinks ice-cold on a hot day or keeping your leftovers fresh. They can also be super useful for parties, outdoor get-togethers, and so much more. Coolers don’t have to be expensive — in fact, you can find some affordable options that will serve you well. If you’re on the hunt for the best small coolers, look no further! Here are our top recommendations.

Our experts have determined the models that would be the greatest fit for your requirements, specifically Pelican 14 Quart Personal Cooler (Dark Grey/Green), after doing extensive study and analysis over a considerable time. Consider YETI Tundra 35 Cooler, White as an alternative if you're still undecided. Other suggestions on this list are definitely worth considering, and we've put up a useful shopping guide to help you decide!

Our Top Picks

TOP Choice #1 Pelican 14 Quart Personal Cooler (Dark Grey/Green)
Our Score:
9.9
Pelican
  • MADE TO LAST: 3 year warranty
  • VOLUME: True 14 quart internal volume (holds 6 cans and 2 1lb Pelican Ice packs)
  • FEATURES: Carry handle, molded-in cup holders, press and pull latches, stainless steel bottle opener with cap-catching magnet, and molded-in tie-down slots
TOP Choice #2 YETI Tundra 35 Cooler, White
Our Score:
9.8
YETI
  • 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
  • The Tundra 35 dimensions are 20 in long x 16 1/8 in wide x 15 1/4 in high with an empty weight of 20 lbs NOTE: All Tundra models come standard with one dry goods basket
  • All Tundra coolers feature T-Rex Lid Latches constructed of heavy-duty rubber so you’ll never see another busted latch and has patented keeper technology
  • Adjustable Backsaver shoulder strap with anti-slip shoulder pad centers load weight for easier carrying; interior liner dimensions: (L x W x H) 9.8" x 4.75" x 10.25"
  • Patented, "flip open" Zipperless lid allows for quick access to food and drinks
  • Deep Freeze high performance insulation with radiant heat barrier reflects heat rather than absorbing it
4 YETI Roadie 24 Cooler
Our Score:
9.5
YETI
  • QUICKLATCH - Flexible, simple, and built for quick, one-handed cooler access
  • The Roadie 24 is 10% lighter in weight and holds 20% more than a Roadie 20, it even performs 30% better thermally
  • 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
  • Sport Type: Camping & Hiking
  • Features a recessed central carry handle in the lid & integrated adjustable shoulder strap. Also includes a removable hanging tray - for storing dry goods.
  • Features a unique airtight EVA gasket around the lid - for excellent ice retention and a water proof seal.
  • 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.
  • A Sidekick For Every Adventure: Rotomolded construction makes this cooler tough enough to handle every excursion—from off-roading in Moab to picnics in the Grand Canyon.
  • Heavy-Duty Protection: The combination of durable rubber T-latches and molded tie-down slots will keep your food and beverages secure.
  • COLDCELL INSULATION: Closed-cell foam offers impressive cold-holding capabilities, helping keep your frosty goods ice cold.
  • DRYHIDE SHELL: High-density fabric withstands punctures and UV rays.
  • HITCHPOINT GRID: Securely attach your SideKick Dry Gear Case or load it up with zingers, nippers, bottle openers, and multitools.
8 Igloo BMX 25 Quart Cooler
Our Score:
9.0
Igloo
  • MaxCold body with 20% thicker foam and insulated lid provide advanced cooling performance and up to 4-day ice retention.
  • Care Instructions: Hand wash
  • Built-in tie-down loops for securing cooler during transport.
  • MADE IN USA: Includes Pelican's legendary lifetime guarantee - "you break it, we replace it. Forever!"
  • FEATURES: 4 self draining cup holders, non-skid rubber feet
  • EXTREME ICE RETENTION: 2 inches of polyurethane insulation with a 360 degree freezer-grade gasket delivers extreme ice retention
10 CAMP-ZERO 10 | 10.6 Qt. Premium Cooler
Our Score:
8.7
CAMP-ZERO
  • Grizzly certified to be bear resistant when used with the appropriate locks. Locks not included
  • Cooler Includes molded-in tie down channels to secure your cooler for all your Ruggedly Cool adventures
  • Folding aluminum comfort grip handle with stainless steel hardware and non-marring feet
Product Images, Product Titles, Product Highlights from Amazon Product Advertising API

What should you know before purchasing best small coolers?

Our website is an online source that provides clients with a diverse selection of best small coolers. Many items on the site perfectly suit the demands of clients and serve their intended function.

So, how can you determine which of the best small coolers is the best fit for your needs? Don't be concerned! This article will walk you through all you need to know about the best small coolers before you buy it.

 

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 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.

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.

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 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.

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.

 

FAQs

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

Conclusion

In short, you have just been shown all the things related to best small coolers, including the top models, buyer’s guides, and the comparison between products as well. At this moment, it’s obvious that you acquire the mentioned information and are ready to pick one among the list of best small coolers above. In case there is no model that suits your needs, then Oceas Cooler Backpack Insulated Waterproof will be the best to pay attention to. Hopefully, our sharing today will help you choose the best item for your requirement. 


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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