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Which Coleman cooler is best?

In the summertime, when the weather is hot, nothing quenches like an ice-cold beverage, so it’s crucial to find the best cooler for your outdoor activities. With over a century in business, Coleman is one of the premier cooler brands on the market, headquartered in Chicago with an array of “Made in the USA” products. Whether you need a small soft cooler for day trips or a large hard cooler for camping, Coleman’s got you covered. For our money, the Coleman Xtreme 5 cooler is the best of the best due to its size and cooling capabilities, but there are plenty of great models for every need.

What to know before you buy a Coleman cooler


Coleman makes coolers available in every size you could need, from as large as 120 quarts of packing capacity to as small as a 5-quart personal cooler and a wide range in between. There are coolers fit to take on a day trip to the beach with the family, on a fishing excursion, hosting a small backyard party or even handing out cold cans to the neighborhood at a block party. 

Hard vs. soft

Coleman coolers are typically either hard-shelled and soft-lined. Coleman makes hard coolers large and small, whereas its soft coolers are smaller and more suited for outdoor adventures. The soft coolers are also fitted with additional storage pockets for dry items and straps or handles for easy portability. On the other hand, many Coleman hard coolers come with molded cup holders in the lid, and several models are built with a “Have a Seat” lid with a 250-pound weight capacity.

Cold retention

One of the most important factors in choosing a cooler is its ability to stay cool and maintain ice for as long as possible. Coleman soft coolers have a much shorter cold retention time than the hard models, usually 24 hours. With proper preparation, Coleman’s hard coolers can retain cold temperatures anywhere from three to six days, depending on the model. 

What to look for in a quality Coleman cooler

Carry vs. roll

While most Coleman hard coolers are built with nothing more than handles, possibly making them hard to handle for one person, it also offers a few models equipped with wheels and built for rolling. They also come with a large handle that makes dragging the cooler easy and convenient.


Many Coleman hard coolers are recognizable with their bright blue bodies and white lids, though there are other colors available. Coleman soft coolers come in various shades, from drab green to red, black and silver. 


In addition to wheels, many Coleman coolers come with other special features, including cup holders and easy-to-use two-way handles. On top of some coolers being built for sitting, many of them are built for stacking, making them more easily accessible. Others are explicitly built for keeping your haul on-ice during a fishing trip.

How much you can expect to spend on a Coleman cooler

Coleman hard coolers come as low as $14, with plenty of solid models running between $25-$75. Higher-end coolers cost in the range of $80-$150, while the marine model is much more expensive. Soft coolers are available as low as $20 and as high as $70-$80.

Coleman cooler FAQ

How do I clean my cooler?

A. All Coleman coolers are easily cleaned with warm water, mild soap and a towel.

Can I use a cooler to make ice blocks?

A. Yes, a model like the 5-quart Coleman FlipLid is great for making a large ice block. Simply freeze the cooler overnight before filling it with filtered water and placed in the freezer.

What’s the best Coleman cooler to buy?

Top Coleman cooler

Coleman Xtreme 5 Day Cooler

Coleman Xtreme 5 Day Cooler

What you need to know: This large-capacity 70-quart hard cooler uses Coleman insulation technology to maintain ice for up to five days in 90-degree weather.

What you’ll love: It fits up to 100 cans, has comfort-grip handles and cup holders on the lid and is easy to clean.

What you should consider: It has a higher price tag and no wheels.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top Coleman cooler for the money

Coleman 48-Quart Performance Cooler

Coleman 48-Quart Performance Cooler

What you need to know: This Coleman classic is the best of both worlds, with large capacity and a small price tag. The low CO2 insulation makes for high cooling effectiveness with reduced carbon emissions, keeping ice frozen and effective for up to 3 days.

What you’ll love: It has a 60-plus can capacity, two-way handles and leak-resistant drain.

What you should consider: There are no wheels or cup holders.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Coleman 62 Quart Xtreme Rolling Cooler

Coleman 62 Quart Xtreme Rolling Cooler

What you need to know: This cooler is heaven on wheels for the outdoors, complete with Xtreme cooling tech and a capacity for carrying nearly 100 cans.

What you’ll love: It has heavy-duty wheels, is strong enough to use as a seat and it has cup holders.

What you should consider: The wheels are not built for sand.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Coleman Coastal Xtreme Series Marine Portable Cooler

Coleman Coastal Xtreme Series Marine Portable Cooler

What you need to know: This large capacity cooler is designed for use on the water, perfect for boating, fishing, beach days and camping. It boasts many of the same features as the Xtreme 5, including a lid that can fit persons up to 250 lbs.  

What you’ll love: It has a high storage capacity and 5 days of ice retention, 

What you should consider: It is very heavy when full.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Coleman 30 Can Cooler

Coleman 30 Can Soft Cooler

What you need to know: Perfect for a day in the woods or at the beach, this soft cooler is small enough to carry easily while still fitting plenty of drinks and ice packs, plus external pockets are great for dry goods.

What you’ll love: It has an anti-microbial liner, easy-carry straps and is affordable.

What you should consider: It is not suited for long trips and is not as powerful as hard coolers.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Matt Fleming writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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