Rotationally molded coolers, or rotomolded coolers, use a unique design to hold ice for an exceptionally long period of time. The best rotomolded cooler on the market will be crafted utilizing a rotational molding process, and a seal that keeps ice frozen for hours, or possibly days, but also keeps wildlife out of your food supply when you’re outdoors. We’ve researched and found eight top-rated rotomolded coolers, as well as two you might want to avoid.
Reviews of the 8 Best Rotomolded Cooler, Plus the 2 Worst to Avoid
1. Orca 75 Quart Cooler Review
The best high end rotomolded cooler is the Orca cooler. Although it seems to lack many features that other coolers have, it’s prize feature is its lifespan. In addition to a long lifespan, Orcas are certified bear proof. There’s no way you’ll have unwanted wildlife getting into your Orca 75 quart cooler.
Orca is made in America which is a primary selling point for many people. Orcas are magnificent for family vacations, and serve as great cooler options for kayaking and outdoor sports such as rafting. The size makes it great for extended camping trips as well. Orcas are a favorite among families and are known for lasting throughout years of hard use.
There is the view that Orcas aren’t worth the money, because they are slightly more expensive than other coolers. These are not budget coolers. But, if you have the budget for it, an Orca cooler will last you for 20 years or more.
2. Canyon Cooler 55 Quart Review
No other cooler has as much insulation or thickness for its molding. If you’re looking for something that is truly rugged, the Canyon Cooler is your best bet. Canyon brands offer great coolers for camping or wilderness activities where you need cooler that’s rugged enough to withstand the wildlife. But, because of its thickness and insulation, many desert campers enjoy it as well.
The Canyon Cooler’s body thickness is about 2.75 inches, while the lid has a 3-inch thickness to help with ice retention. This thickness means a lot more insulation than other coolers have.
Where other coolers regularly see about 3 days of ice retention, this Canyon ice chest can handle up to 8 days. Unfortunately, the handles on the rope are plastic.
Finally, the best-selling point on the Canyon Cooler is probably it’s lifetime warranty. This warranty covers typical wear and tear as the coolers rely on manufacturers design to withstand all manner of abuse.
3. Pelican ProGear Elite Review
The best rotomolded cooler for the money is hands down the Pelican ProGear Elite. The features are more useful than any other cooler.
Because of the molded handles, that fold out and are easy to get a grip on; the Pelican ProGear Elite is a favorite among fishers and campers. Solo-campers can easily handle this cooler on their own.
The Latches on this cooler use a unique design that sets Pelican apart from the competition. While it’s easy for even children to open the Pelican with the simple press of a button they are still bear-proof.
The design of the latches isn’t found with any other cooler brand, and they don’t need padlocks. Overall this cooler is a great investment. The only drawback is that it’s only available in a 35-quart size. The Pelican ProGear Elite is great for fisherman, or solo campers, but isn’t for a family vacation.
4. Yukon Cold Locker Cooler Review
The Yukon Cooler from Igloo is one of the more affordable options when it comes to high end rotomolded coolers. The feet make it easy to secure on a surface, and it’s designed for optimal travel conditions.
The Yukon Cold Locker Cooler is longer, narrower, and shorter than most other rotomolded coolers. This design makes it great to slide into the backseat of most cars. It also fits well, without tipping over in the bed of trucks.
The downside of the Yukon Cold Locker Cooler is the hinge because it uses multiple pins there’s some issue with longevity. However, Igloo provides a 5-year warranty that covers the hinges and insulation. The more complicated design, however, offers a lot that the other rotomolded coolers don’t.
If you compare the Yukon Cold Locker Cooler to other rotomolded coolers, you’ll notice that the handles are significantly closer to the body but much sturdier. Overall, this is a great deal for the price.
5. Engel ENG50 COOLER Review
There is a lot to love about the Engle Cooler aside from its rotomolded design. It’s light carrying weight make it a popular choice for day trips down to the shore or going out on the river. Fishermen who prefer smaller boats like the Engle Deep Blue cooler.
The Engel ENG50 Cooler fits into most cars with more ease than other coolers. It’s taller and narrower than many rotomolded coolers available. However, this design doesn’t make it useful for storing a lot of drinks as you won’t want to dig down to the bottom every time.
The latches on this cooler are probably the best feature. They are easier to grab than many other rotomolded coolers and use a nylon rope that has grooves to catch your fingers. This grip is comfortable and practical.
6. Bison Brute Cooler Review
Bison Coolers, previously known as Brutes are mammoths among rotomolded coolers. The Bison Brute Cooler holds 50-quarts and has oversized carrying handles.
The Bison handles rough terrain and days in the sun very well. If you have a family vacation planned for a national park, this is probably your best bet. Although it can get heavy due to its large size, you won’t be refilling the ice.
Speaking of ice, the ice retention is about average when compared to other coolers. Most rotomolded coolers will last for anywhere from 3 to 5 days. This cooler is a little on the higher side.
The Bison will keep ice for about 5 days which is more than enough for camping in the wild, or fishing. The best feature of the Bison, however, is its dual drain plugs. Each side has a twist drain plug to get rid of excess water faster. Overall this is an excellent cooler for family vacations.
7. Siberian Coolers 50 Quart Review
This Siberian 50-quart cooler uses a similar design to other rotomolded coolers but has a few downsides. The design accommodates a few features that other coolers don’t have, such as 4 cup holders molded into the lid.
This feature is also a drawback as it’s not easy to clean them out. The Siberian also comes with a lifetime warranty however they don’t last more than a few years so be sure to register your cooler after purchase.
People often prefer 40 or 50-quart rotomolded coolers looking for the perfect beach cooler to supply their family with all the drinks and food they need for a day of sand and sun. It’s more than enough space to hold enough food for the whole day, as well as drinks and its ice retention is good for about 3 days.
Overall, the Siberian Cooler is a significant investment that will last for many years. Through frequent use, you may see the hinges on the lid wear down a bit.
8. Frosty 75 Wheeled Rotomold Cooler Review
Where many people have overhyped Yeti competitors like Pelican coolers, the Frosty truly is one of the top overall coolers, and we even consider it one of the best budget rotomolded coolers. Coming in at about a hundred dollars less than the competition, due to their direct to consumer retail model, is the Frosty 75 Wheeled Cooler.
The Frosty 75 Wheeled Cooler is the best rotomolded Frosty cooler and will help your family get through many fishing trips, family road trips, days at the beach and weekends camping. The best feature of the Frosty is that it keeps ice for up to 10 days, this ice retention in unbeatable.
Where other coolers rely on a featureless design to function well, Frosty has managed to find which features don’t interfere with performance. No-slip feet are great to keep this cooler from sliding around in the back of your truck. It’s also worth mentioning that this is the best rotomolded cooler with wheels available. This wheeled cooler can take on various terrains well and is an excellent choice all-around.
Avoid – Grizzly 75 Quart Cooler Review
Although the Grizzly brand usually ranks among other top brands such as Yeti coolers and is often considered one of the top Yeti alternatives, there are some problems with this Grizzly 75-quart cooler model. Ice retention, holding configuration, and space allowance.
The biggest issue for campers is the ice retention. If you’re taking your family out for a week-long camping trip, you’ll need to pick up more ice before the second day is gone.
But one of the other primary issues is how difficult it is for one person to carry the cooler. Grizzlys are for groups of people, but if you need a cooler just for you, this isn’t the best choice.
While it’s not the worst rotomolded cooler available, you should avoid this rotomolded cooler at all costs. Many people have paid the outrageous price for a cooler that doesn’t function the way it should.
Avoid – Igloo Sportsman 55 Quart Review
We see the same issues that the Grizzly cooler had, but the Igloo Sportsman 55-quart cooler is the worst rotomolded cooler on the market. It has multiple problems including the difficulty in carrying it, as well as its low ice retention.
The first major issue is the handles, which don’t offer enough length for anyone to carry it, either alone or with help comfortably. The handles are molded so they’ll last for a while, but every camping trip or fishing expedition will be a struggle.
The only benefit is the oversized latches on this rotomolded cooler also make it easier to open for both adults and children. However, when you’re looking to pay a few hundred for a cooler that should last you a lifetime you need more than oversized latches.
2018 Buyers Guide to the Best Rotomolded Cooler
The best rotomolded cooler will not only provide a size that’s appropriate for your camping, beach or outdoor needs but also ensure your ice and food is safe from wildlife and climate spoilage. These coolers should last a lifetime, so making the right purchase decision is essential.
Top 5 Rotomolded Cooler Brands
1. Frosty Cooler Review
Frosty is one of the best brands because of the care they put into the design. There’s virtually a Frosty cooler for every occasion. With wheels, without wheels, non-slip feet, and sizes that fit a variety of cars. Frosty is becoming the brand of choice for family outings, tailgating parties, camping, and fishing.
2. Pelican Cooler Review
The second choice for many campers is the Pelican. Pelican uses the same method of rotomolding, and it holds ice for longer. It’s hand’s down one of the best coolers available on the market. Pelican coolers are also more considerate of users when it comes to where they position the handles.
3. Yeti Cooler Review
Yeti is probably the most well-known cooler brand when it comes to rotomolded coolers. There’s no doubt that they made a name for themselves based on durability and longevity. Although Yeti’s hold a high price tag they will likely be the last cooler you’ll ever need to buy.
4. Engel Cooler Review
Engel is well-known for their ice retention abilities. Holding ice for 2 days is an accomplishment, but they’re also much lighter than other coolers. Engels is a favorite choice for people who spend a lot of time at the beach.
5. Orca Cooler Review
Remarkably close to the Yeti in design, the Orca packs a punch when it comes to longevity. Although it doesn’t have all the features found in other coolers, it will outlast many other cooler options available. However, it’s high price make it unreasonable for every buyer.
3 Main Points to Consider
- Ice Retention: The most important feature of any rotomolded cooler is ice retention. Standard ice retention on rotomolded coolers is anywhere from 3 to 5 days. However, the best can keep ice for as long as 10 or 12 days. There’s a lot of thought that goes into the process of rotomolded design that factors ice retention. You’ll want to consider how much ice retention you need. Although it’s easy to immediately want the 10-day ice retaining cooler, if you only need a cooler to hold ice for 2 days there’s no reason to go for the bigger, and usually more expensive model.
- Size: Although it’s difficult to predict every camping or fishing trip you’ll take in the next 10 or 15 years it’s essential to have some idea of what size you need. Most people start by measuring their car. Those who have trucks have an advantage in that the bed of the truck usually gives enough size allowance. But, if you have a sedan or SUV, you need to measure your backseat and trunk. The other aspect of size to consider is the volume it holds. Volume for rotomolded coolers uses quarts as a measurement which most people don’t use daily. A mid-sized, high-end rotomolded cooler will be about 50-quarts, however larger or family sized coolers can go as large as 75-quarts.
- Carrying Method: Many people don’t factor in how they’re going to carry these exceptionally large coolers. Rotomolded coolers aren’t all large, but they’re almost never easy to carry. Side handles are favorite among smaller coolers and are relatively easy to grab. However, when considering side handles, you should factor in the material used during manufacturing. For camping and fishing, the best option is a rope with a molded handle. However, many all plastic options work well and will hold up throughout years of hard use. Some coolers have wheels or lid handles which may seem like fantastic options but are sometimes more trouble than they’re worth.
How does a rotomolded cooler insulate?
A rotomolded cooler’s insulation ability starts with how a rotomolded cooler is manufactured. Every rotomolded cooler uses the same method during its construction; rotational molding. The manufacturer usually uses plastic, engineered for durability and creates a product that is entirely free of defects because there are no “pieces” to assemble.
That’s where the insulation abilities come in because the consistency of manufacturing keeps all the walls to the same thickness. Between the walls are layers of polyurethane insulation that help these coolers keep ice for days.
After the insulation, there is a final line of defense for rotomolded coolers, and that’s the sealing gasket. Many coolers use the same methods your freezer uses to seal on their lids.
How Rotational Molding Works (Video):
Final Thoughts on Buying the Best Rotomolded Cooler
When you’re looking for the best rotomolded cooler of 2018 you need something that will keep ice for days, fit in your car or truck and be easy to carry. Many families find that buying a high-end rotomolded cooler will last through years of camping, backyard parties, and fishing trips.