If you’re looking for the best ice chest for camping, a beach trip, a BBQ, or even a cooler with wheels, it’s easy to see all the high end rotomolded options and look for the cheapest one. There are multiple factors to consider when choosing the best ice chests, which we’ve outlined below. Scroll down to check out the detailed ice chest reviews and complete buyer’s guide at the bottom.
We’ve researched and found twelve top-rated ice chests of 2022, as well as a couple you might want to avoid.
Our Top Picks
- Best Overall: Yeti Tundra 45 qt. Ice Chest
“High quality roto-molded design sets Yeti apart from the competition.”
- Best Durability: RTIC Ice Chest With Heavy Duty Latches
“Built from one continuous piece of plastic is nearly unbreakable.”
- Best Design: Igloo BMX 52 qt. Ice Chest Cooler
“Igloo has redesigned coolers that look great and perform better.“
- Best Deep Freeze: Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Ice Chest
“A precision airtight seal insulates ice for days at a time.“
- Best Coleman: Coleman Ice Chest Wheeled Hard Cooler
“A large 100 qt. Coleman cooler you can move with ease.“
- Best Value: Lifetime 55 qt. High Performance Ice Chest
“High performance features at a reasonable price.“
- Best Bear Proof: Grizzly Ice Chest
“American made heavy duty hunting ice chest.”
- Best Wheeled Ice Chest: Yeti Tundra Haul Wheeled Cooler
“The most durable cooler with wheels and large capacity.“
- Best Budget: Coleman Xtreme Hard Cooler Ice Chest
“A light model that is perfect for weekend camping trips.“
- Best Ice Chest For Camping: Orca Ice Chest
“Made in American designed for long camping adventures.“
- Best Functionality: Pelican Elite Ice Chest 70 qt.
“Pelican thinks of all the small added features for the field.“
- Best Family Choice: Igloo Glide Pro Cooler
“Large capacity cooler with wheels perfect for family outings.“
Reviews of the 12 Best Ice Chests, Plus 2 to Avoid
Yeti ice chests keep it simple, which had led them to earn a reputation for their quality. However, some campers, hunters, and survivalists also believe the Yeti is overrated. Despite that, their durability is constantly put to the test.
All in all, you can’t go wrong with a Yeti ice chest if it’s in your budget. There are a lot of great qualities you’re paying for with the Yeti Tundra 45. Yeti ice chests are great for ice retention and bear-proof. Hunters are the most common Yeti owners, and they sing its praises.
They were the first to use the roto-molded design that makes them stand apart from the competition. But, because Yeti only uses the top-quality materials and updates their design regularly for enhanced durability, expect to pay top dollar. If the Yeti is in your budget, and you need an ice chest that will last for years, the best yeti ice chest is the Yeti Tundra 45.
To watch the The Yeti Tundra Ice Chest Review on YouTube, click here.
- Hi quality durability
- Long ice retention
- Holds up to 26 cans
- It has a premium price point
The RTIC Ice Chest is a top contender for best ice chest on the market. This highly-resilient hard-sided cooler is built from one continuous piece of plastic and consistently delivers the finest insulation for up to ten days or more. RTIC ice chests are expensive, but they are considered to be durable and almost unbreakable.
RTIC coolers can store up to 60 cans along with ice. It has two padlock holes, strong rope handles, and set tie-down slots that make it simple to carry by one person. Besides, it contains an easy-to-use lock, a traction top, and a non-slip base. This amazing ice chest comes in three colors, i.e., tan, blue, and grey.
Moreover, it includes two drains, which allow you to easily release melted ice from either side depending on how the hard cooler is sloped or where it is kept.
The 3-inch foam insulated walls, together with the cool-lift design feature, will ensure that your ice does not melt. Take the RTIC hard cooler anyplace with the heavy-duty rope handles, and use it as a step stool, tabletop, or cutting board when you need a helping hand.
RTIC ice chests are truly worth the investment. They are some of the most durable coolers on the market. The extra expense of the cooler over a cheap, thin-walled cooler is that your food and ice will survive much longer, as will the cooler. Whether you need the best cooler for camping or for a backyard BBQ, the RTIC has you covered.
- This model can store up to 64 cans
- It can keep the ice secure for up to 10 days
- It contains easy-to-use locks, a traction top, and a non-slip base
- Its cost is higher than other coolers on the market
Among its cooler offerings, Igloo looks to be undergoing a makeover. We’ll look at the new Igloo BMX 52 Quart Cooler in this best ice chest for camping review. There are several options available when it comes to huge ice chest coolers. The Igloo BMX 52 Quart cooler is one of our favorites.
When it comes to price, this cooler falls between the less basic Coleman versions and the more pricey Yeti coolers. The Igloo BMX 52 Quart Ice Chest Cooler will set you back just over $100, which is more than generic ones but significantly less than the Yeti Tundra 45.
A cooler with a capacity of 50 gallons is ideal for a long road trip or a few days of camping. The Igloo brand is well-known for its coolers, which come in a variety of hard, soft-sided, and ice chest types. The BMX line, which includes the smallest BMX 25 cooler up to the largest BMX 72 cooler, is particularly popular.
In terms of appearance and specifications, the Igloo BMX 52 is quite similar to the bigger Igloo BMX 72. Heavy-duty blow-molded construction and thick insulated walls back up the BMX 52’s tough looks. This Igloo ice chest has a large capacity of 52 quarts, which is comparable to 83 12oz cans. It is also has a reinforced base and kick plates for increased durability. There’ll be plenty of room for a few days away. The Igloo BMX 52 has stylish swing-up grips with rubber groups for further protection when transporting.
- The BMX model has a large capacity of 52 quarts, which is comparable to 83 12oz cans
- Convenient portability
- Great ice chest for camping
- Uses blow-molding
The Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Ice Chest is a rotomolded ice chest cooler with two handle sets as well as an indented top that can easily fit a bottle of wine inside. A unique wire basket, an integrated fish ruler, and highly durable anti-skid feet are all included in this cooler. The Titan provides excellent insulation while being unobtrusive. On average, it keeps temperatures below 40°F for almost 4 days and 4.3 days below 50°F.
Although it may be one of the best ice chests for camping during the weekend, it is one of the most stunning rivals when compared to other ice chest coolers of comparable size. The Titan’s build quality is comparable to that of the other definitely-IGBC-certified coolers we evaluated, and we believe it will last you for a very long time.
The Titan is simple to operate, yet it is not without flaws. It features an indented top on the interior that provides more space for taller goods. Although its freezer-grade gasket provides an efficient airtight seal, its grey or blue shades are deeper, hence more heat-collecting. With a weight of 29.6 pounds, the Titan is on the lighter side of similar-sized coolers we tested. On the lid, there’s also a built-in ruler and a few extra features on this cooler, such as a wire basket, tie-downs, and anti-skid feet.
- Freezer-grade gasket provides an airtight seal
- Provides excellent insulation while being unobtrusive
- Lighter weight
- Can be hard to open because of the airtight seal
Coleman has always been there for you, from your first camping trip through weekends at the lake. So gather your friends, family, and gear and prepare to go wherever adventure leads you. Coleman 316 Series Wheeled Hard Coolers is the best ice chest for camping you can have while embarking on your next adventure.
The Coleman 316 Series wheeled coolers are easy to transport and are inspired its Wichita origins and the people who work there. Water and other liquids stay colder for longer, and ice lasts up to 6 days, thanks to the fully insulated cover and body.
You can place your drink at picnics or sit by the lake in one of the built-in cup holders on the lid. These 316 Series ice chest is lightweight and portable, making them ideal for camping vacations or backyard barbecues. Body and lid in temperatures as high as 90°F can store the ice for up to 5 days. The closed lid can sustain up to 250 lbs.
It also has a stain-resistant liner for easy cleaning and leakproof channel side drains. Access to the contents is made easier because of the recessed lip. Moreover, up to 160 cans can be stored in this hard cooler, and it comes up with a capacity of 100 Quarts. Made of high-quality plastic, this amazing cooler is available in an attractive rock grey color.
- 316 Series coolers are lightweight and portable
- Stain-resistant liner for easy cleaning
- Water and other liquids stay colder for longer, and ice lasts up to 6 days
- Could insulate ice a little longer
The 55-quart High-Performance Cooler from Lifetime is significantly larger than claimed, and it outperforms other ice chest coolers that cost hundreds of dollars more. The looped handles and the unique dual-locking lid latches give it a premium vibe, and the highly durable built-in bottle opener is a nice touch. This is not your 1970s foam-lined Coleman cooler, with a sturdy shell, a rubber seal, and rubber straps that connect the lid to the main body. Although Lifetime has been in business since 1986, it did not offer a cooler line until 2018.
If you frequently go into bear territory, the Lifetime 55 Quart ice chest cooler has the features you need. Yogi won’t be able to walk away with your lunch if you manually lock the lid. The 55-quart coolers are all rather large. 27.00 x 17.60 x 17.30 Inches is the size of the Lifetime 55 Gallon High-Performance Cooler. If you have a vehicle that is on the smaller side, you might consider acquiring a smaller version. This ice chest comes with garden hose compatibility and an easy-to-drain spout. Its bottle opener is made in stainless steel with padlock compatibility. Also, two rubber latches may be easily opened with one hand.
- The premium vibe, and the built-in bottle opener
- A sturdy shell, a rubber seal, and rubber straps that connect the lid to the main body
- Good ice chest cooler for camping
- Has larger dimensions
One of the best ice chests ever made is the Grizzly ice chest. With a bear-proof design and large capacity, this is the best Grizzly Ice Chest. It offers a durable build and has a variety of size options. Many Grizzly models call a hunting cabin home.
These heavy-duty ice chests are great for camping, hunting, picnicking and family outings. They are American made and their size options start at 15-quarts and go up to 400-quarts. Many survivalists like the Grizzly looker because of it’s many size options. If you are dedicated to the brand, you find the sizes that work best in your trunk and back seat.
The standard ice retention on Grizzly Ice chests is about 6 days. Grizzly ice chests typically have a lower ice retention time frame than competing brands, but if you don’t need ice to stay frozen for 10 days, the Grizzly ice chest is a great option.
To watch the Grizzly Ice Chest Review on YouTube, click here.
- Bear proof latches
- Made in United States
- Long ice retention
- Has larger dimensions
The YETI Tundra Portable is perhpas the best wheeled ice chest cooler available. YETI has gone a long way since its inception in 2006. On their website, the two co-founders share a touching narrative about how their father instilled in them a profound love and enthusiasm for the great outdoors when they were growing up. But they had a big problem: all of the coolers available at the time were just not adequate for the task. They were continuously having issues. They’d break into different places and wouldn’t be able to withstand the harsh conditions of the wild.
It’s no secret that the YETI Tundra was the company’s first wheeled cooler. The Tundra coolers are noted for their exceptional insulation and resilience. On the premise that the ratio of ice to cans is 2 to 1, the wheeled Tundra Haul has a capacity of 45 cans of beer and 55 pounds of ice.
A sturdy structure capable of holding the weight is required for anything so massive. To begin with, the Tundra Haul has the Fatwall Design, which is a trademarked design. That means the walls are extremely thick, with insulation up to two inches thick. That implies this cooler will keep ice for a long time.
- The wheeled Tundra Haul has a capacity of 45 cans of beer and 55 pounds of ice
- Its walls are extremely thick, with insulation up to two inches thick
- A premium priced option
The Coleman Xtreme Cooler is one of the best ice chests for camping. It is a portable ice chest cooler that is adaptable, small, and robust for outdoor usage. The Coleman Xtreme can contain as many as 73 cans and plenty of food, drinks, and other items while being compact and simple to transport. The ice chest is made of top-notch materials and is both waterproof and long-lasting. Hunting, fishing, tailgating, camping, boating, and other activities make the Coleman Xtreme cooler ideal.
This ice chest can store ice for 5 days thanks to its substantial insulation, robust walls, and elevated bottom. When the ice starts to melt, the leak-proof drain in the Coleman Xtreme allows you to quickly remove the water without having to move or tilt the ice chest. The Coleman Xtreme cooler has the thinnest and most robust walls, and its amazing insulating value does not surprise us.
The Coleman Xtreme’s good insulation time of almost 4 days isn’t as stunning as models with a 5 or 6-day average. We put all of these coolers through their paces and discovered that the Coleman best ice chest models excelled virtually all of the competition in Thermo zone insulation tests.
Only a few hours separated Coleman from the 4.5-day average. The Coleman Xtreme cooler Have-A Seat Support Lid is included with all Xtreme Coolers. The sturdy construction of the lid allows you to add as much as 250 pounds to it. It may be utilized as a makeshift seat or a temporary stool. This function is especially useful when you need to employ additional seats around the campfire.
- Easily portable
- The ice chest can contain up to 73 cans
- Its storage capacity can be improved
Made similar to the better-known Yeti and Grizzly ice chests the Orca is making a name for itself. These ice chests are completely manufactured in the United States and offer a wide variety of sizes and colors. The best orca ice chest does well under extreme conditions because of its durability and insulation.
Orca Ice Chests claim to retain ice for 10 days, although this depends on the climate and conditions. For users that are constantly getting in and out of the ice chest, they should see ice retention for about 4 days. The best orca ice chest is ideal for campers, and survivalists.
The intelligent design helps these ice chests stay ice chest for longer even when in direct sunlight. Orca does well by keeping their systems simple and focusing on ice retention instead of unnecessary additional features.
Orca ice chests come with a lifetime warranty where they happily replace or repair your ice chest no matter the damage. Orcas are becoming a popular choice because they’re much cheaper the Yeti or Grizzly competing models.
To watch the Orca Ice Chest Review on YouTube, click here.
- Made in the United States
- Good ice chest cooler for camping
- Smaller dimensions than some models
One of the best ice chest under $500 is the Pelican Elite 70 qt Ice chest. Although it’s in the premium pricing tier, this is an investment that will last you for years. It’s one of the most high end ice chests on the market currently. The Pelican Elite Ice chest is best-known for its ice holding abilities. It has the look of a regular beach ice chest but all the durability you need when camping or hunting.
When it’s compared to the other brands available you get many of the same features. The Pelican Elite Ice chest has a taller build than many other ice chests. It fits well in your backseat or trunk, which is great for packing. However, it’s tallness can make it top heavy.
The Pelican ProGear Elite Ice chest is known to keep ice for up to 7 days with the regular opening of the lid. If you’re attempting to keep your ice for even longer, you can stretch that 7 days up to 10.
To watch the Pelican Elite Ice Chest Review on YouTube, click here.
- Nice redesigned look
- A sturdy reinforced shell
- Long ice retention
- Has tall dimensions
The best ice chest with wheels, Igloo is a more commonly known household name compared to the others on our list here. However, the Igloo Glide Pro Cooler is meant for picnics, beach days and weekend camping trips. The ice retention is about 2 days on this model, so it’s not great for hunting trips or camping far away from civilization.
The Igloo Glide Pro Cooler has a handle which makes rolling it easy. The wheels are durable, large and have teeth to help it grip in sand, dirt, or on flat ground. The handle is sturdy and telescopes back in to get out of the way.
As the best ice chest with wheels, it’s meant for use when you already have your hands full. The Igloo Glide Pro Cooler is easy to pull even when fully loaded. This ice chest is a great option if you’re looking for something for a weekend trip. However, it’s not as durable and doesn’t hold ice as long as the other models available.
To watch the Igloo Glide Pro Cooler 110-quart Review on YouTube, click here.
- Large for all around storage
- Good cooler with wheels
- Less durable than many models
Avoid: Igloo Iceless Thermoelectric Cooler Review
This ice chest is the prime example of how adding unnecessary features is a death sentence for ice chests. The Igloo Iceless Thermoelectric Cooler is possibly the worst ice chest on the market. It aims to meet the needs of every road trip.
As the worst ice chest on the market, you can imagine the slew of features it claims to have and fails to deliver. This ice chest uses a 12volt power port (AKA cigarette lighter) in your car to keep the chest cool. It doesn’t keep ice and won’t hold ice well at all if you tried.
The only thing this ice chest does have going for it is the space. Because of its design, the Igloo Iceless Thermoelectric cooler has a ton of space to stash drinks and snacks. Unfortunately, it doesn’t keep your drinks cool enough for a satisfying beverage.
To watch the Igloo Iceless Thermoelectric Cooler Review on YouTube, click here.
Avoid: Engel High-Performance ENG35 Cooler Review
Avoid this ice chest at all costs; the Engel High-Performance ENG35 Cooler doesn’t hold up to the expectations you would have of this brand. Engel has taken on a great reputation so it’s surprising that you should avoid this ice chest.
The Engel uses the same roto-molded design that the Yeti and the Grizzly both use. They claim they are bear-proof and shockproof. However, it’s 2-inch insulation, and IBSC certification doesn’t help its ice retention or durability.
The Engel High-Performance ENG35 Cooler claims to retain ice for 10 days, but this is closer to 4 days if you regularly open the lid. There’s also reports that the unit doesn’t seal completely. This sealing problem would contribute to the lack of ice retention. The drain plug is also known to break after a few weeks of use.
To watch the Engel High-Performance ENG35 Cooler Review on YouTube, click here.
2022 Buyers Guide to the Best Ice Chests:
A few brands in the ice chest world reign supreme. Top of mind is of course Yeti cooler, followed by the likes of RTIC, Orca, Grizzly, Pelican, Engel, Coleman, Rubbermaid and a hand full of others. The available options can make your budget go a lot further and still offer all the durability and quality of these great brands. The most well-known brands shouldn’t be your only choice, always check out the underdog competition in the coolers market because it is always changing and expanding. Before you buy a few key factors consider include the design, ice retention, and capacity. Without these aspects, you might find yourself disappointed in the ice chest option you went with.
3 Main Points to Consider
- Design for Cooling Ability: The whole point of an ice chest is to keep ice. But if an ice chest has poor cooling abilities, you won’t know until after you purchase it. Many manufacturers rely on you not knowing about the ice chests’ cooling abilities until it’s too late and you’ve already used it. But, this is a big deal because the cooling ability is the sole purpose of having an ice chest. What you can look at to help judge cooling ability and ice retention is design. The roto-molded options available will always offer a longer period of ice retention. However, those that don’t use this design can offer ice retention for days. Igloo is well known for days of ice retention. You can also figure that the ice retention will change with its size. The smaller the ice chest, the smaller the time frame on ice retention. When it comes to design and cooling ability, you should consider taking the time frame provided by the manufacturer and subtract 3 days. For models that claim to offer 10 days, figure that they’re only actually good for 7 days.
- Insulation: The key aspect that determines your ice chests cooling ability is its insulation. The best ice chests of 2022 will have sturdy ice retention performance levels. Insulation divides into 2 categories either ice retention or food-friendly temperatures. Food safe temperatures must remain under 40-degrees Fahrenheit to keep food from perishing. You should be especially careful with these coolers because they often go above this temperature. Usually, ice chests that are in the safe food range are good for drinks only. Because they’re not reliable for long periods of time they aren’t ideal for hunters or campers. However, they are great for beach trips, road trips, and picnicking. Ice retention ice chests are what make up most of our list here because they’re good for years of hard use. However, these ice chests are incredibly expensive. Hunters, campers, and survivalists often look at these ice chests as investments. Ice retention directly refers to how long the ice will last in the chest. This depends on design, insulation and the lid type. You have probably noticed that the Orca, Grizzly, and Yeti all look similar. This feature is one of the marks of great ice retention, simple design.
- Size: The size of the ice chest will affect how long it can retain ice, and many of the best ice chests of 2022 offer the same model in various sizes. Always measure the space you have available in your trunk or backseat to ensure that the ice chest will fit. Consider what size you need. Because ice chests range from about 15-quarts to 400-quarts, you have a lot of options. Small ice chests work best for tailgating, day-hiking, going to the beach and picnicking. However, they don’t do well for hunting, weekend camping or the survivalist lifestyle. You want a model that will comfortably hold your drinks, food, and the ice necessary to keep it all cold. Keep in mind that the larger the ice chest, the heavier it is, the bigger isn’t always better. You should be able to handle an ice chest with 1 or 2 people comfortably. The larger ice chests are also usually more durable which means they can quickly increase in weight.
Why might you need a large ice chest for storage and protection?
Portable cold storage is imperative when you’re camping or on an excursion in nature. Anytime you’re away from home you need to know that you have safe to eat food. A large cooler can help you maintain confidence in the safety of your food storage.
Many survivalists also seek out a large ice chest for storage and protection, however, if you’re a survivalist newbie, assembling important equipment like an emergency water filter, know that large items can get in the way in the case of a survival situation. You might want to opt for a smaller, more mobile Yeti cooler or soft-sided cooler option.
Protection is another hot subject when it comes to ice chests. Many new or inexperienced hunters and campers don’t understand the wildlife that surrounds them when they’re in nature. Your ice chest can attract unwanted attention from more than geese at a campsite.
Many of the top dollar ice chests are bear proof. If you’re looking for right best ice chest, you’ll find that bear-proof is a regular feature. This level of protection if you’re looking to take your ice chest with you when hunting or camping.
Best Ice Chests Reviews (2022 Buyers Guide):
Final Thoughts on Finding the Best Ice Chests:
After years of hard use, you want to have confidence that your ice chest can withstand the harshness of the wild. You want a unit that will keep your food cold, but also provide a level of comfort for your trips. Consider all the models available and decide which is best for you. The best ice chests of 2022 provide long ice retention, safety, bear-proof durability and fit easily into your car or trunk.