After 43 hours spent researching the best beach coolers, we think Yeti Hopper 40 Flip Portable Beach Cooler is the best for most people.
This choice is based on several criteria: cooler type, color, dimensions, capacity, cold retention, storage, material, insulation, closure, carry handle(s), shoulder strap, drainage, durable, warranty, and best use, among other things.
|Product||Price||Overall Rating||Quality||Efficiency||Durability||Appearance||Value for Money||cooler type||color||dimensions||capacity||cold retention||storage||material||insulation||closure||carry handle(s)||shoulder strap||drainage||durable||warranty||best use|
|Yeti Hopper 40 Flip Portable Beach Cooler||Check Price||4.9||5.0||5.0||5.0||4.5||5.0||Soft||6 colors||12.6 x 11.5 x 10 in||12 beer cans||4 days||1 compartment||High density fabric||Cold cell foam||Hydrolock zipper||1 top||Yes||No||Yes||3 years||Beach, picnic, hiking, camping, fishing, hunting|
|Pelican Elite 50 Quart Beach Cooler||Check Price||4.6||5.0||4.5||4.0||4.5||5.0||Hard||6 colors||30 x 20.3 x 20.4 in||34 beer cans||7-8 days||1 compartment||Polypropylene||Polyurethane foam||Press / pull latches||2 side||No||Yes||Yes||1 year||Beach, picnic, hiking, camping, fishing, hunting|
|Yeti Hopper Two 30 Portable Beach Cooler||Check Price||4.8||5.0||5.0||4.5||4.5||5.0||Soft||4 colors||25 x 12 x 18 in||24 beer cans||4 days||1 compartment||High density fabric||Cold cell foam||Hydrolock zipper||2 side||Yes||No||Yes||3 years||Beach, picnic, hiking, camping, fishing, hunting|
|Tourit Leak-Proof Soft-Sided Beach Cooler||Check Price||4.4||4.5||5.0||4.0||4.0||4.5||Soft||6 colors||17.7 x 13.8 x 10 in||39 beer cans||3 days||1 compartment, 2 sidepockets||Polyester||High-density foam||Airtight zipper||1 top||Yes||No||Yes||1 year||Beach, picnic, hiking, camping, fishing, hunting|
|Pelican Elite 20 Quart Beach Cooler||Check Price||4.3||4.5||4.0||4.0||4.5||4.5||Hard||5 colors||18.8 x 12.6 x 17.7 in||15 beer cans||2 days||1 compartment||Polypropylene||Polyurethane foam||Press / pull latches||1 top||No||Yes||Yes||1 year||Beach, picnic, hiking, camping, fishing, hunting|
- 1 Selection Of The Best Beach Coolers
- 2 Best Beach Cooler Buying Guide
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
- 4 Sources
Food stays fresh for your beach adventure when you’ve got the best beach cooler to take care of everything.
Whether you’re storing away steaks or just need somewhere to store a cool beer, your cooler is at the center of any good day at the beach.
How do you pack for the beach? Most people start by grabbing a beach bag and throwing in the essentials – flip flops (or beach sandals, or water shoes), sunscreen, and a beach towel or beach mat. You may have a special sun hat for the occasion, as well.
But, if you’re an expert at this, you probably have a whole beach cart that you can fill up with everything that you want to take with you. Beach toys and a beach ball are musts if you’ve got kids or teens that will be with you.
Some people who regularly go to the beach will even have a beach umbrella (complete with beach umbrella anchor) or a beach tent for some comfort time out of the sun. And, you can’t forget essentials like your beach chair or two and a beach table so when you get there, you can set up your area for a day filled with fun.
If you’re spending the entire day at the beach, you want to have some beverages so that you can stay hydrated in the hot sun. You may even think about grilling some burgers or steaks for dinner, or packing sandwiches or salads that you can enjoy around lunchtime.
How do you keep it all at a safe temperature? With the best beach cooler, of course. If you’re a regular beachgoer, you need to own one or two high-end coolers so that food and drink problems don’t ruin your beach trips!
Selection Of The Best Beach Coolers
Best Beach Cooler Buying Guide
The size of the cooler you get is dependent on how much you plan on taking with you. If you’re just taking a few drinks to get you through the day, the best small cooler will be just fine for your purposes.
If you’re taking an entire meal, then you want to look for something that is at least 30 gallons in capacity, if not more. You also need to be sure that it can fit in the vehicle you plan on taking with you.
The lifespan of your ice is a very important metric to consider, because you don’t want to have a cooler where the ice is going to melt within a couple of hours.
Many coolers will tell you the ice life in their description. You’re looking for something that lasts at least a day. If you’re going beach camping, then you want to seek out the large, bulky options that have an ice life of a week or more.
Access to Items Inside
One of the biggest problems with coolers is the fact that people are often opening and closing the lid, which lets the warm air in and the cold air out.
You can reduce the impact of this issue in a couple of ways. Wider coolers make it so that you don’t have to dig as deep for items, which means that the lid is open for a much shorter period of time. You can also find coolers with mini access lids, where you can fit your hand through and not much else, reducing how much warm air gets in.
You don’t want to mix your cooler up with the cooler of the people next to you at the beach, right? Investing in cute beach coolers can be a good way to deal with that sort of problem.
Get a design or color combination that you enjoy. Consider adding stickers to it or label it with your last name. The more unique that your cooler looks, the easier it will be for you to pick it out and the less likely someone else will accidentally use it.
If you have a larger cooler, be sure that you find the best beach cooler with wheels. These usually have a handle on the front, allowing you to pull it along instead of forcing you to lift it.
Smaller coolers are often much more portable, so just look for handles that are easy to grip. Other coolers may have some sort of shoulder sling or other option that will make it simple to take with you.
One of the latest trends in coolers is the beach cooler bag, also referred to as a soft cooler. These coolers are made from fabric and they are lighter, less insulated, and easier to transport.
These are great if you’re just going down to the beach for a couple of hours and you’re bringing drinks and snacks with you. If you’re planning a full-day excursion, then you’re probably a lot better off with a hard cooler.
When someone says the word “cooler”, you’re likely thinking about a hard cooler. These coolers are usually in the shape of a rectangular chest and they are built to last. They hold a lot of ice for a long time, making it easy to store perishable items.
Hard coolers often come in much larger sizes and are meant for either larger groups of people or for trips where you plan on having an old-fashioned cookout on the beach.
The color of your cooler isn’t just going to help you pick it out from other coolers – but it can actually play a pretty significant role as to how well it keeps things cold.
White coolers, along with other lighter colored coolers, are going to keep your food colder for longer because the light from the sun reflects off of the cooler. Darker colored coolers are going to absorb the light, which increases the interior temperature and causes the ice life to be a bit shorter.
How Do You Carry It?
If you have a smaller cooler, then you want to take a look at how you carry it. Carry handles are fairly convenient, but they do require you to have one or both hands free, which can be hard when you’re getting ready for a day on the beach.
The best beach cooler bag (or honestly, the most convenient one) is going to have a shoulder strap. This allows you to throw it on your back, leaving your hands free to carry whatever else you want to take to the beach.
If you’re looking at soft coolers that don’t leak, you will find that the best ones are made with vinyl on the inside layer (if not both inside and outside). Other soft coolers are made with different types of food-grade fabric.
Hard coolers are usually made with roto-molded hard plastic, which helps to keep the cold inside of the cooler and prevents any sort of leaks or spaces where warm air could get into the cooler and melt the ice.
Insulation is essential for keeping things cold, and most coolers have at least a couple of layers of insulation that help to keep everything as cold as possible.
You can also buy additional insulation for coolers, if you want to give it a little bit of help. Foam insulation, box liners, and a variety of other options are available for extra cost from food supply stores and from cooler companies.
If you’ve got a lot of ice in your cooler, you need to be sure that you have a way to get rid of water as it melts. While most people are fine just tipping the whole thing over, that doesn’t work if there are still drinks, food, and/or more ice in there.
Drainage can come in any number of ways, but there’s usually some sort of drain plug. You open up the drain plug and let the water drain out – it’s that easy! It’s also easy to install a drain plug on pretty much any cooler.
The ultimate beach cooler is one that is going to last you a number of years, making it well worth any investment that you put into purchasing it.
If there are rubber gaskets that help to seal your lid, you want them to be able to seal for a long time. Also, if your cooler is outside most of the time, you want to get a cooler made from material that isn’t going to become brittle from exposure to the sun. Many hard coolers are built to last 10 to 15 years, if well taken care of.
Ease of Cleaning
When you get home from a day on the beach, you don’t want to spend an hour trying to clean out your cooler.
Both soft and hard coolers are made from materials that are meant to be simple to clean. All you need to do is wipe them down with a soft, wet cloth or a food-safe cleaning wipe. When you need a heavy-duty clean, these same materials are easily cleaned with a simple hosing.
Have you ever seen a beach cooler with speakers? Maybe you’re looking at one with cup holders or a bottle opener? Waterproof lid seals are more of a standard than an accessory nowadays, but raised legs are still not as common as other cooler accessories.
The best beach cooler is one that has everything that you need in order to be comfortable and enjoy your day on the beach – and that includes any accessories you want included with your purchase.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does the term roto-molded mean?
When you’re looking at coolers, you may find the term “roto-molded”. This is specifically referring to hard coolers, and it’s something that you want to keep an eye out for.
In short, something (in this case, plastic) that is roto-molded is manufactured in such a way that it creates uniform sides and walls. There are no seals (except the ones around the lid) in a roto-molded cooler, and it makes these coolers much less susceptible to leaks.
How can I determine what size cooler is best for my family or friend group?
When you’re purchasing a cooler, it’s a good idea to know how many people that you’re going to be using that cooler with on a regular basis.
Here are some general numbers you can use when you’re trying to choose how many gallons you need in your beach cooler. For 2 people, 20 quarts; 3 people need 20 to 30 quarts; 4 people need 30 to 45 quarts; 5 people need 45 to 60 quarts; and for 6+ people, you’ll need 60+ quarts.
What’s better – a larger cooler or multiple coolers?
As previously mentioned, you’ll likely need a 60+ quart cooler if you have 6 or more people going to the beach with you. Even the best coolers at that size can be unwieldy and difficult to get from place to place.
If you only have a few people in your party, you’ll be fine with one large cooler. But, if you have a lot of people that will be heading to your beach event, you’ll likely be better off getting several smaller coolers to take with you.
What should I look for in a warranty?
Warranties are always a great idea. Some cooler companies actually give you a warranty right out of the gate without any extra cost. These warranties can last anywhere from 12 months to 5 years. Some brands even offer lifetime warranties (but they’ll cost more upfront).
Be sure that you understand what the warranty is going to include and how much is covered in it. Ask questions of the company if you need to do so.
How can I keep sand out of my cooler?
Whether you have a beach cooler with wheels or you’re carrying it with a strap, you can still get sand in it. One of the best ways to keep sand out of your cooler is to put it on a table or elevate it in some other manner so it isn’t in the sand to start with.
Another option is to have a bucket with water nearby. Then, before someone goes into the cooler, they can rinse their hand off in the water before they reach inside. It’s not a guarantee, but it’ll make sandy drinks or food much less likely.
- Check Your Steps: Chill: How to Pack a Cooler to Prevent Food Poisoning, FoodSafety.gov, Jul 27, 2011
- Beach Regulations, Collier County, FL
- Public Beach Rules & Regulations, Gulf Shores, AL
- How to Pack a Cooler - Farm to Table Food Safety, Colorado State
- Handling Food Safely While Vacationing, UConn Today, Jul 3, 2012
- Six tips to keep your food safe during picnics and camping trips, Michigan State University, Jul 8, 2014
- Cooler, Wikipedia
- Beach Cooler With Wheels, Wayfair
- Beach Coolers & Ice Chests, Target
- Buy Beach Cooler, Bed Bath & Beyond