While you don’t need a lot of gear to enjoy a day at the beach, a cooler is all-but essential if you don’t want to drink warm soda or food. In some cases, food that’s been warmed by the sun can actually go off, making it not only unappetizing but harmful to eat too.
A beach cooler will keep your food and drink cold, fresh, and delicious.
But which is the best beach cooler? After all, there are so many to choose from.
Coolers can vary a lot in design, materials, and price, not to mention size. There are soft-shelled coolers, hard-sided cooler boxes, and even coolers with wheels to consider.
For this article, we have reviewed 12 of the best coolers we could find. Each one has a host of different features and comes in at a different price point so you can find the right one for your needs.
Once you’ve got your cooler, all that’s left for you to do is pack it up, head to the beach, and enjoy cold drinks and foods. Bliss!
Top-Rated Beach Coolers
1. The Coldest Cooler
The Coldest Cooler is a high-quality item designed to keep things colder for longer. Made from the best materials, this cooler isn’t the cheapest on review but, according to the manufacturer, it’s the only one you’ll ever need.
- 12-can carrying capacity
- Stainless steel buckles and fittings
- Supplied with a bottle opener – attached
- Twin carry handles plus a shoulder strap
- Pockets on the front and back
- Twin collapsible water bottle pockets
- Rugged exterior for greater longevity
While this probably is a great cooler, we can’t tell you how big it is, or how long it stays cold, because the manufacturer’s website is very light on details. But what we can say is that their coolers come with a lifetime warranty, which certainly suggests this is a product you can rely on.
- Looks like a high-quality product
- Lots of very satisfied customers
- Free shipping within the USA
- Only available online, and not in stores
- Dimensions are unknown
- Available in black only
We’re not sure if the Coldest Cooler lives up to its name, but it’s undoubtedly a good product. For the price, we’d like to know a bit more about it before we buy but, with a lifetime guarantee, at least you can buy with complete confidence and return it if you aren’t 100% happy with your purchase.
YETI Hopper Flip
- The Hopper Flip 8 has ColdCell Insulation, a closed-cell foam that offers superior cold-holding to ordinary soft coolers, with a capacity of up to 6 cans plus ice
- The Hopper Flip 8 features a 100% leakproof HydroLok Zipper and the wide-mouth opening means great accessibility and visibility to contents
- The DryHide Shell is waterproof and resistant to mildew, punctures, and abrasions so it will hold its own when faced with the hazards of the wild
- The only personal cooler that’s game for full days in the tree stand, early mornings in the duck boat, or afternoons on the water
- The Hopper Flip 8 dimensions are 11 1/2 in long x 8 in wide x 10 ½ in high and an empty weight of 2.8 lbs.
Yeti has a long history of making very high-quality coolers, and this Flip Portable Cooler continues the tradition. Very durable and built to last, this option is light and compact and will stay cool all day long.
- 11 ½” x 8” x 10 ½” – big enough for a six-pack plus ice
- Leakproof Hydrolok zip
- Flip-up lid for easy access
- DryHide shell for water and abrasion resistance
- Molle attachment points on the front and back
- Top webbing handle plus shoulder strap (removable) for easy portage
- Available in 14 colors
With its molle attachment points, you can fix this cooler to almost anything, such as your kayak, or attach things to it, such as a bottle opener. Hardwearing and waterproof, this compact cooler is ideal for solo use. It’s not really big enough for family beach trips.
- Easy access lid
- Fully leakproof and waterproof
- Stays cold all-day
- Easy to carry
- Very hardwearing
- Quite expensive
- May not be big enough for some users
If all you want to do is take a few drinks to the beach, this is the cooler for you. But if you want to keep food cool too, the Yeti Hopper Flip may not be big enough for your needs. Although, for just a six-pack, it’s pretty much perfect!
RTIC Soft Pack
- HOLDS UP TO 30 CANS PLUS ICE: This bag is 100% leak proof, puncture-resistant, and has an antimicrobial liner that resists mildew. It is tough as nails and can hold ice for days.
- NO LEAK ZIPPER. Coolers like this make other ones look like toys for children. Competitors have floppy and collapsible bags that happen to hold ice. Step up your game with RTIC.
- AN RTIC COOLER WON’T SWEAT: You will never be left with a wet mess. Wrapped in a heavy duty vinyl shell, it is stronger than any other soft-sided cooler. With up to 2 inches closed-cell foam, this cooler keeps your drinks artic cold. Use the exterior pocket for dry items.
- OVERBUILT, NOT OVERPRICED: At RTIC we don’t see the reason for making products that our customers can’t afford. That’s why our products are the HIGHEST QUALITY for the LOWEST PRICE.
- OUR RTIC PROMISE: If you have an issue with your product, let us know and we will make it right.
If you are going to the beach with your family, or just want to keep lunch, snacks, and drinks cold, a six-pack cooler is not big enough. This insulated soft cooler bag from RTIC will hold 30 cans plus ice, making it ideal for larger family gatherings.
- Very large capacity
- 100% leakproof, puncture-resistant, and antimicrobial lining
- No-leak zipper
- Three handles plus removable shoulder strap
- Hinged, easy-access lid
- Small front storage pocket for essentials – like a bottle opener
- 2-inch thick closed foam for excellent insulation
- Available in two colors
This family-sized cooler is perfect for day-long trips to the beach. Its robust design and thick insulation mean it won’t let you down even on the hottest day and should keep your food and drinks cold well into the night. And, for a big cooler, it’s reasonably priced too.
- Very large capacity
- Tough construction
- Very thick insulation
- Light and easy to carry
- Only available in two colors
If you are looking for a large-capacity cooler for a reasonable price, this option by RTIC could be a good fit. It’s built to last, and big enough for a family beach outing. It should keep the contents cold for well over 24 hours, making it ideal for overnight trips too.
1 used from $499.99
- The YETI Roadie is BYOB’s new best friend with a capacity of up to 14 cans with recommended 2:1 ice-to-contents ratio
- Ice stays ice thanks to up to 2 inches of PermaFrost Insulation and an extra thick FatWall design which is certified bear-resistant
- The Rotomolded Construction makes the Roadie 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 Roadie, like the Tundra, features T-Rex Lid Latches constructed of heavy-duty rubber so you’ll never see another busted latch and has patented keeper technology
- The Roadie dimensions are 19 in long x 13 3/4 in wide x 14 3/8 in high with an empty weight of 15 lbs
Where soft-sided coolers are light and easy to store, they don’t offer a lot of protection for whatever you are trying to keep cold. That might not be a problem for drinks, but what about food? This Yeti Roadie hard-sided cooler could be the ideal solution.
- Large 14-can capacity
- Two-inch thick foam insulation
- Certified bear-resistant design
- Tough, rotomolded construction
- Very tough T-Rex latches
- 19” x 13 ¾” x 14 ½”
- 15 pounds empty weight
- Available in three colors
- Built-in drainage ports
- Tie-down points for use on a boat or trailer
Why would you need a bear-proof cooler? Bears are attracted to the smell of human food, and, in some National Parks, you must keep your food in a bear-resistant container. This added feature means you can use this cooler on the beach, next to a lake, or even in a National Forest.
- Solid construction
- Large capacity
- Excellent insulation
- Easy-access lid
- Unbreakable catches
- Very robust handle
- Easy to drain and clean
- Heavy, even when empty
If this cooler is missing anything, it’s a set of wheels. Fully loaded, this is one heavy cooler, and the addition of wheels would make that weight easier to manage. But, providing you can lift it, this cooler is perfect for keeping your food and drinks cold all day long. And safe from bears too!
All Terrain Wheeled Cooler
- Inflatable Tires
- Retractable Handle
- 4 Cup Holders
- 48 Liter
- Removable Wheels
Hard-sided coolers are best for keeping your food and drinks cold for long periods. But they can be heavy too. This product from All-Terrain has wheels, so you don’t need to lift it. Best of all, the tires are inflatable, so you can roll this cooler almost anywhere.
- Large, inflatable tires
- Removable wheels
- Built-in stand
- Retractable handle
- Four cup holders on the lid
- Easy-access drain plug
- 48-liter capacity
- 36” x 24” x 24”
- 28 pounds empty weight
Weighing in at 28 pounds before you put anything in it, this big, sturdy unit is also pretty heavy. That means the wheels aren’t just a nice feature, they’re probably essential. But if you want to keep lots of food and drink cold, this product is an easy to use choice.
- No need to lift – just roll!
- Very well made
- Can be used with or without wheels as preferred
- Very large capacity
- Rolls smoothly, even off-road
- Heavy, even when empty
- A little wider than a standard-sized door
Because of the wheels, this model is wider than some doorways. That means you’ll have to wrangle it out your house – no mean feat if it’s fully loaded with food and drink. This small issue aside, the All-Terrain is arguably the best beach cooler with big wheels.
$26.91 in stock
4 used from $22.77
- Holds 16 cans
- Treated with antimicrobials to resist odor, mold, mildew, and fungus from forming on removable liner that offers packing flexibility and easy cleaning
- Zippered main compartment keeps contents cold; use hard plastic liner if packing with ice, no need for liner with ice substitutes
- Shoulder strap adjusts for comfortable hands-free carrying
- Front zippered pocket, 2 side mesh pockets, dry storage pouch, and lid bungees available for added storage
Big, hard-sided coolers can be expensive. That may be a justifiable expense if you hit the beach every weekend, but if you only want a cooler for occasional use, you may be reticent to spend a lot of money on one. This soft sided option from Coleman won’t break the bank and is good quality too.
- 16-can capacity
- Removable hard plastic liner for easy cleaning
- Antimicrobial for improved hygiene
- Front and side pockets for small essential items
- Shoulder strap for easy carrying
- Heat-welded seams to prevent leaks
- Available in three colors
As well as being lighter and cheaper, soft-sided coolers are also easier to store. Once empty, they just fold flat. Because of this, they are especially suited to occasional use.
- Light but well-made
- Moderate capacity
- Easy to clean
- Will only stay cold for about 12 hours
The main difference between budget-friendly and more expensive coolers is their insulation. Top of the range coolers can stay cold for 48 hours or more. This budget model will start to warm up after 12 hours. Still, it’s perfect for a family day on the beach.
- The YETI Hopper Two 20 is our ice-for-days portable cooler and is tough as nails so it can be hauled anywhere you want to take it
- The updated design of the Hopper Two means your contents go in (and out) more easily
- A tapered body makes extended hauling more comfortable
- Features a waterproof DryHide Shell and nearly indestructible straps will stand up to an abundance of abuse in the field
- HydroLok Zipper (a design borrowed from HazMat suits) is completely leakproof, eliminating spills and locking in cold
Yeti Coolers are renowned for staying cold for long periods – and we’re talking days, not hours! This large capacity cool bag is ideal for weekend camping trips and will save you from drinking warm beer even toward the end of your adventure.
- 18-can capacity
- Empty weight 4.4 lbs.
- Tapered design for easier carrying
- Twin carry handles plus a shoulder strap
- Multiple molle points for extra attachments
- 100% waterproof lining
- Dryhide outer shell
- Hydrolok waterproof zipper
If you are serious about keeping your food and drink cold for the entire duration of your trip, this could be the cooler for you. Built to last, this soft-sided bag by Yeti will last for years. That’s just as well because it’s not just one of the best bags you can buy, it’s also one of the priciest.
- Large capacity
- Very well insulated
- Easy and comfortable to carry
- Unique design
- Extremely hardwearing
- Could be tricky to clean
The tapered design of this bag makes it easy and comfortable to carry but may also mean it’s a little harder to keep clean. You’ll have to take care to clean all the corners, ridges, and wrinkles inside, or it may start to smell. But, if you are looking for the Rolls Royce of cooler bags, this product is probably the front runner!
IceMule Classic Mini
- RUGGED AND BUILT FOR THE OUTDOORS: Engineered for portability and high-performance, this soft-sided cooler bag makes your next beach day, hike, or picnic more perfect; Holds 9 Liters or 6 cans + ice; Dimensions (L x W x H): 7 x 7.5 x 14 inches
- EFFORTLESS HANDS-FREE CARRY: Lightweight, backpack-style cooler with a double padded and ventilated sling strap leaves both your arms free to grab your surfboard, fishing pole, or any other adventure gear
- EASY ACCESS INTERIOR: Accessible roll-top design opens wide, letting you load up and find what you’re looking for easily; Fully collapsible cooler rolls to store easily on the way to your destination or when not in use
- 24+ HOURS OF COOLING: Ultra-tough Muleskin Exterior and Interior plus PolarLayer Insulation ensures toughness, strength, superior ice retention, and maintains ice-like temperatures for up to 2 days
- LEAKPROOF, BUOYANT, AND WATERPROOF: Welded seams and zipper-less closure means no leaks making this a waterproof cooler and it floats right alongside your kayak
Solo travelers, couples, and hikers don’t always need huge coolers. Instead, many prefer something light and just big enough to carry a couple of drinks and a snack. This cool collapsible bag is perfect for short days out, or when you don’t want to carry a whole lot of extra weight. It’s one of the best coolers for the money.
- 9-liter capacity
- Roll-top, duffle-bag design
- Built-in shoulder-strap
- Double-layered for maximum insulation
- Tough Muleskin exterior
- Available in six colors
- Leakproof, buoyant, and waterproof
- Weighs just 1.2 lbs.
With no zips to break, this is a very reliable and easy to use product. The roll-top design means it floats, so you can even take it out on the water with you. And when it’s empty, just roll it up and pack it away without having to carry a whole lot of unwanted weight.
- Very light
- Good capacity for 1-2 people
- Comfortable to carry
- Easy to use
- It would be easier to carry if there were two backpack-style straps and not one single sling-style strap.
The single sling strap means it could fall off your shoulder when you are carrying it. That’s not a problem when strolling from your car to the beach but could be an issue on a hike or paddleboarding adventure. Even with this minor drawback, the IceMule 1003 Classic Mini is a supurb, compact, alternative to traditional options.
1 used from $25.41
- Large capacity SnapBasket Tahoe Coolers can hold up to 50 cans of your favorite drinks plus ice; perfect for use at the beach, while camping or to load up full of snacks for youth sports games outdoors
- Patented SnapHinges on both sides of the cooler bags offer structured support when the tote is open; to close the cooler, simply push the side hinges in which folds the compact bag down flat
- Versatile totes can be packed with lunch and a few ice packs for a daytime picnic, small enough to place in the trunk of your SUV as an ice chest on road trips; can fit in your suitcase for vacation
- The perfect size for food delivery services and a great solution to haul groceries from the grocery store or farmer’s market to your kitchen at home; comfortable handle and duffel bag handles for heavy loads
- Measures 18. 25″L x 12. 25″W x 12″H when open and collapses flat to 3″; weighs 2 pounds when empty; lightweight bag holds 30 liters (8 gallons) by volume with a load capacity of 50 pounds
Cooler boxes are incredibly useful, but they take up a lot of space when they’re not in use. That’s okay if you have a garage, but not so good if you live in a small apartment. This cooler bag from CleverMade folds down flat when it’s not needed, making it easy to store and transport.
- 50-can/30-liter capacity
- Folds flat for easy storage
- Solid base
- Zippered front pocket
- Side and top handles
- 25” x 12.25” x 12”
- Weighs two pounds when empty
- 50-pound carrying capacity
Despite its impressive capacity, this product is light and compact. And yet, when empty, it folds down flat so you can store it anywhere – even in a drawer. The main downside of being collapsible is that it’s not exceptionally well insulated, and that means it won’t keep the contents cold much beyond eight hours.
- Very light
- Easy to store
- Easy to carry
- Not the most insulated cooler on review
If you just want to keep your food and drinks cold until lunchtime, this is a good option. But, if you want to keep the contents cool all day, or even for several days, this is not the product for you. That’s the price you have to pay for being able to fold it away for easier storage.
2 used from $12.79
- Upgrade Design —- Interior equipped with food-grade PEVA lining (BPA FREE) that is soft and easy to clean, heat-welded seams prevent soft liner leaks. MIER lunch bag built-in 7mm EPE foam padding, thicker insulation gives a better performance of stay cold or hot than others. It can keep the stuff hot/fresh/cold for 6-12 hours subject to the content and working places
- Large Lunch Bag —- Updated size: 10.5” L x 8” W x 10” H; The roomy main compartment can hold 24cans easily with 1 front zipper pocket and 2 food-grade mesh pockets for added storage. It can fit all your breakfast and lunch easily
- Comfy and Easy to Carry —- 1 adjustable and detachable shoulder strap with padding for comfortable carrying. The length of the strap can be adjusted from 31 to 58, which can meet most needs; 2 handles with hook and loop closure provide more carrying options
- Versatile MIER Lunch Bag —- Stylish and durable design (Only weighs 1.1 lbs.) is convenient to be used as your lunch bag for school, office, work; Cooler bag for picnic, camping, hiking, BBQs, beach, park; Or sundry bag for daily use, shopping. Easy to fold up for compact storage when not in use
- Premium Quality & Vibrant Colors —- Updated 8 different colors for your selection! Solid stitching reinforcement in every junction; 2-way “SBS” zippers prevent most zipper problems; Strong buckles for longer performance. It has reached a very high-standard requirement, ensures the maximum durability of lunch bags
You don’t need to spend a small fortune on a cooler if you don’t want to. In fact, if you only want to keep food and drinks cold for a few hours, you can buy one for less than $20 that is perfectly serviceable. This cooler tote from Mier is a perfect example of a budget-friendly cooler bag.
- 10” x 15.5” x 8” size
- Fitted with dual handles and a padded shoulder strap
- Two-way zips
- BPA-free food-grade internal lining
- Water-resistant outer shell
- 7mm EPA foam insulation
- Available in six colors
- Two side and one front pocket
- Only weighs 1.1 pounds
This budget-friendly, lightweight bag is ideal for anyone who wants a cooler for lunchtime picnics. It should keep food cold for up to eight hours, making it suitable for lunches on the beach. Big enough for a family meal, this might be a budget cooler, but it’s still an excellent product.
- Very budget-friendly
- Can be folded away for easy storage
- Easy to clean, wipeable interior and exterior
- Zip not 100% waterproof
While this bag is well insulated, it’s not 100% waterproof, which means at least some of the cold will escape even with the zip closed. Because of this, it’s only really good for short trips. But for the price, this very budget-friendly product from Mier is hard to beat.
Coleman 62-Quart Xtreme
9 used from $40.26
- Keeps the ice 5 day ice retention at temperatures up to 90 degree
- Leak resistant drain lets you remove water without turning the cooler upside down
- Low Co2 insulation for reduced carbon emissions from foam manufacturing
- Extreme technology uses an insulated lid and extra insulation in the walls for longer ice retention
- Holds 95 cans; Made in the USA
If you’re going to the beach with your family and friends, or are planning an overnight stay, you’re going to need a bigger cooler. This model from Coleman is HUGE but is still reasonably priced. Best of all, it’s got wheels, so it’s easy to move. That’s useful as a full cooler is heavy.
- 62-quart/58-liter capacity
- Stays cool for up to five days
- 30” x 17.75” x 15.5”
- Sit-on lid with 250lbs. weight capacity and four built-in cup holders
- Flip-up handle for towing
- Recessed wheels
- Made in the USA
- Recessed plug for easy draining
- Weighs 13.4 pounds when empty
Despite its size and strength, this cooler is surprisingly light when empty. It’s also fitted with handles at either end to make lifting and carrying it easier. This cooler is not expensive, especially when you consider how much food you can pack into it.
- Very high capacity
- Light but durable construction
- Thick insulation for longer cold retention
- Doubles as a handy seat
- Very large so storage may be a problem
- Will be very heavy when fully loaded
If you need a cooler to hold several days’ worth of food and keep it cold and fresh for that long too, this is the model for you. Surprisingly light, this product has more capacity than most people will ever need. Looking for a massive cooler for your next big trip? This is the one you want.
Coleman Soft Backpack
2 used from $23.88
- INSULATION: Main compartment keeps contents cold and prevents leaks with heat-welded seams
- CAPACITY: Holds up to 28 cans
- EASY TO CARRY: Backpack design with adjustable padded straps for maximum comfort
- EXTRA STORAGE: Large front pocket for quick access to napkins and accessories
Coleman makes some of the best outdoor equipment around. This product combines the convenience of a backpack with the food storage capabilities of a medium-sized cooler. Portable and versatile, this is a great model for hikers.
- Styled like a backpack
- 28-can capacity
- Padded back and straps for comfort
- Hip belt to take some of the weight off your shoulders
- Top grab handle for easy carrying
- Large front pocket for easy access
- Two mesh side pockets for water bottles
- Antimicrobial lining for hygiene
- Weighs just 1.06 pounds when empty
- 2” x 6.3” x 19.3”
If you want to head off the beaten track, you’ll need more than a regular cooler box or bag. They’d be too difficult to carry. This cooler backpack from Coleman is perfect for hikers, bikers, and anyone else who needs to carry chilled food and drink for any distance.
- Very light
- Comfortable to wear and carry
- Good capacity
- Pleasing design
- A sternum strap would be useful
By spreading the load across both shoulders, this pack makes carrying even the heaviest burden a whole lot easier. It’s perfect for anyone who wants to take their picnic away from the maddening crowds and enjoy some peace and quiet, but still enjoy cold food or a refreshing drink.
The right cooler can add a lot to your beach or camping trip. With cold beverages to drink and fresh food to eat, you can just relax and enjoy being out in the sun. Not forgetting your sunscreen, of course!
But, with so many coolers to choose from, it can be a tough job deciding which one to buy. Hard coolers tend to be the best for insulation but can be expensive and cumbersome. And, until someone invents a collapsible cooler on wheels, they take up a lot of space, making them hard to store between uses.
Soft-sided coolers are usually cheaper, lighter, more portable, and easier to store, but they often lack insulating, so they won’t keep your food and drinks as cold for as long. But, on the plus side, most soft-sided coolers can be collapsed and folded away when you don’t need them.
Which is best? That’s a decision only you can make. But once you’ve made your choice, any of the coolers reviewed in this article will keep your food and drink cold at the beach, while camping, on a boat trip, or anywhere else you go.
Visit the OutdoorWorld reviews homepage for more expert product reviews.
Keeping your food and drink chilled at the beach is easy with the best cooler!
- The Coldest bag
- YETI Hopper Flip
- RTIC Soft Pack
- YETI Roadie
- All Terrain Wheeled Cooler
- Coleman 16-Can
- YETI Hopper
- IceMule Classic Mini
- CleverMade Collapsible
- MIER Large
- Coleman 62-Quart Xtreme
- Coleman Soft Backpack