Best Coolers Reviewed & Rated for Quality

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As a runner, you know how important it is to stay hydrated, not only on your runs but everywhere you go. Whether it’s the big race where you will be running or a day at the beach with your friends and family, having drinks and water is extremely important.

Arctic Zone
  • Arctic Zone
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Zipperless Lid
  • Price: See Here
CleverMade
  • CleverMade
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Two Ways to Carry
  • Price: See Here
Leopard Outdoor Products
  • Leopard Outdoor Products
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Variety of Colors
  • Price: See Here

What better way to make sure that you and your family stay hydrated when you are at the big race or even for you to stay hydrated when you are out running on your own than to have a cooler with you. There are many types of coolers on the market today, from portable and lightweight to big and able to be pulled around on wheels, the type you need is going to be determined by what you need it for and what type of portability you need.

 

10 Best Coolers

 

1. Arctic Zone

When it comes to a cooler to take to the big race, the Arctic Zone cooler can't be beaten. It has a patented zipperless lid, deep freeze high performance with a radiant heat barrier, it's ultra safe leak proof, and has an adjustable padded shoulder strap to protect your back. It also comes in different colors and different sizes.
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Zipperless Lid

The last thing you want at the big race is to have to struggle to open the lid on your cooler to get to your water. This cooler comes with a zipperless lid for easy access and even features a zippered exterior pocket that is insulated as well.

Variety of Color Choices

This cooler comes in a variety of color choices, with choices of blue, silver or white. You can also choose from a few different can capacities. The choices are 9 cans, 30 cans, 48 cans, or 16 cans. That is plenty of room for you to store your water and keep it ice cold during the race. After all, running is tiring, hot work and you want to be able to drink a bottle of cold water during breaks.

Cost and Value

With its variety of color choices, can capacity, and the fact that it features a zipperless lid for convenience, this cooler is worth the money being asked for it. Add in the adjustable shoulder strap that is padded for extra back protection and you have a winner for any race day!
Pros

Adjustable shoulder strap

Variety of can capacity and color choices

Zipperless lid

Very well insulated

Large enough for water bottles

Cons

Many users complained that the cooler does not hold ice for very long

Some users reported that the strap on the cooler is too short to carry comfortably

2. CleverMade

This CleverMade cooler is the cooler you need for any excursion you head out on, especially when it's for the big race that you have been waiting on. It features two ways to carry it, a superior chill and a 50 can capacity. It's extremely compact, comes with a bottle opener, and even features storage pockets to stick little items into.
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Two Ways to Carry

This 50 can capacity cooler offers you two ways to carry it to the big race. It has padded top handles for carrying, when you have very little drinks in the cooler and then features side handles for easy carrying when the cooler is weighted down.

5 Vibrant Color Options

The cooler also comes in five vibrant color options. Choose either black, heathered fuschia, heathered blue, heathered charcoal, or heathered orange. Not only does this give you color options, but it also makes your cooler easy for you to spot in a crowd.

Cost and Value

This cooler is reasonably priced for the capacity to hold cans that it has. It holds up to 50 cans, plus ice. It's a duffle bag style and folds down to less than three inches for easy, compact storage, making it well worth the money you spend on it.
Pros

Collapsible for compact storage

Soft-sided

Two ways to carry

Flop-free design

Durable

Cons

Some customers reported that the cooler leaks after a few uses

Many consumers complain that the coolers zipper breaks easily

3. Igloo

3. Igloo
This Igloo ice cube cooler features a few extras that any runner would want when he takes his family to watch him on race day. It has an insulated body that is guaranteed to keep your water cold and any drinks you take for your family as well. It has a 60-quart capacity and durable wheels with a handle for easy transport. The handle is locking telescopic and works with a push button for ease of use.
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60-Quart Capacity

This cooler comes with a 60-quart capacity, which means it's perfect to take to race day when family and friends are joining you. It can hold your water, drinks for your family and friends, and even food, if you want to have a picnic during or after the race, is over and you have won!

Easy to Transport

The cooler also features wheels and a telescopic, locking handle so that it is easy to move when it is fully loaded. The handle is a push button so that there is easy use of the cooler as well. This is the perfect cooler for those race day drinks that you bring with you.

Cost and Value

This ocean blue easy to transport cooler is perfect for any runner who brings family and friends to their big race. Not only can it hold your water, but drinks for them as well. It's 60-quart capacity and the fact that it has wheels for easy transport make this one a winner for sure!
Pros

Has a 60-quart capacity

Easy to transport

Super durable

Highly affordable

Has a handle

Cons

Some users report the cooler cracking easily

Some consumers report ice melting quickly, so stuff doesn't stay cold

4. OAGear

4. OAGear
The OAGear ultimate backpack cooler comes in a muted grey color and is perfect when you need to take a cooler on your runs with you or even if you want something light to have with you during the big race of the season. It features heavy-duty insulation, padding, and zippers throughout the cooler and can hold 20 cans plus ice. It has shoulder straps that cross the back and front and are extra padded for comforts. This cooler also features two zippered side pockets and a larger front pocket for maximum storage.
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Holds 20 Cans

When you are on a run, you want water with you. You can put a few bottles of water in this backpack cooler and take it with you. If you are at the race, the cooler can hold up to 20 cans of whatever beverage you and your friends want to drink.

Extra Padded Straps

This cooler features two extra padded straps, which make it easy to put on your back and carry it with you, without giving you a backache or hurting your shoulders. This makes it a perfect cooler for a runner who doesn't want to take a lot of time digging a bottle of water out of the cooler. You can stop anywhere on the trail, grab your water, and be back on the run in no time at all.

Cost and Value

The fact that this cooler can be carried on your back during your runs and has extra padded straps is enough to make it worth the money spent. Add in the fact that it can hold your water bottles easily or 20 cans of your favorite beverage, and it's one you should check into for sure.
Pros

Extra storage pockets

Can be carried on your back

Heavy duty

Affordable

Perfect for freeing up your hands while you run

Cons

Many customers reported this cooler leaking from the top if it falls over

Some consumers reported the cooler not keeping drinks cold

5. Yeti

5. Yeti
Sometimes those races last all day long and many times into the night if it is a marathon. Of course, you are going to want your family and friends with you, and that's where this Yeti Tundra cooler comes in. It is capable of holding your water, drinks, food, and ice galore so that you don't have to refill it as the race progresses. Featuring barefoot non-slip feet, a never-fail hinge system, and tundra armor that makes it virtually indestructible, this cooler is one for the ages, and every serious runner should have one.
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T-Rex Lid Latches

This cooler features T-Rex lid latches for added safety and durability in the latch itself. No longer, will you have to worry about a busted latch on the cooler you use for everything from beach days to race day.

Neverfail Hinge System

This cooler features a never-fail hinge system as well, that keeps your lid from falling when you don't want it too.

Cost and Value

By far the most expensive cooler on the list, this cooler is more than worth the price. It's durable, holds whatever you want to put in it, and won't go sliding around when in transport. If you are looking for a sturdy cooler, and use them regularly, then this is the right race day cooler for the runner in you.
Pros

Heavy duty durable

Large capacity

Neverfail hinge system

Bearfoot non-slip feet

Keeps items cold for days

Cons

Many users reported that it did not keep ice as it stated it would

Many customers reported that the cooler is cheap quality for the high asking price

6. Leopard Outdoor Products

This Leopard Outdoor Products soft vinyl cooler is perfect for any high-performance runner because it is high performance itself. The cooler is water repellent and has a 24 can capacity. It comes in six different colors and your choice of can capacity size as well. It's sturdy, roomy, easy to clean and easy to store, making it a great complement to any running routine.
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Two Ways to Carry

This handy, dandy, lightweight cooler can be carried either by the handle or slung across your shoulder for added efficiency. It's the perfect size for whatever outdoor activities you are doing that day, whether it's running, hiking, or just going on a family picnic with the family.

A Variety of Colors to Choose from

Even when it's a cooler, you want to exert your own style choices and have that cooler reflect your style choices and personality. This cooler comes in a variety of color choices, including blue, yellow, grey/blue, grey/red, and two tote cooler color choices of blue and blue dots. There is a color choice for everyone with this sturdy cooler.

Cost and Value

One of the more affordable coolers on the list, this one comes in different colors and has two ways to carry it. It is easy to clean and easy to store, making it worth the money that you will spend to buy it.
Pros

Two ways to carry

Easy to clean

Easy to store

Durable

Very affordable

Cons

Some users reported the cooler is much larger than expected

Many users complained that the cooler had flimsy sides that collapsed easily

7. Thermos

7. Thermos
The Thermos Under Armor cooler comes in your choice of 14 different colors and is a 12 or 24 can cooler, according to which size you choose. It features a molded rubber handle and has a shoulder strap that is removable and adjustable, for convenience. It also has exterior pockets for storing your items when you are at a race and is crush-resistant and simple to clean.
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Available in a Few Different Colors

This cooler is available in a few different colors options. These options include black/red, tropical pink, blaze orange, hyper green, graphite, team royal, Americania, crystal, charcoal, faux abe twist, black, razor multi, sprocket camo, and white. No matter what your choice and style in cooler is, this cooler has the right one for you.

Crush-Resistant Liner

The crush-resistant liner in this cooler makes it the best type of cooler for a runner on big race days. You don't have to worry about dropping your cooler and it being crushed or it getting crushed in the crowd. It is also easy to clean and holds up extremely well under day to day wear and tear.

Cost and Value

One of the more expensive coolers on the list, it is also one of the ones that are the most durable. With the crush-resistant liner and the different color options, this one is great for a day out running or at your next big race.
Pros

Crush-resistant liner

Easy to clean

Durable

Available in 14 different colors

Super affordable

Cons

Many customers reported the zippers getting stuck and being difficult to open and close

Some users reported the cooler as not getting cold enough

8. Coleman

8. Coleman
This Coleman cooler is 28-quarts and capable of holding up to 36 12-ounce cans and can hold two-liter bottles with them sitting straight up, so it would be perfect to hold the water bottles of any runner. It has a bail handle that is wide enough that you won't have any trouble carrying the cooler from one place to the next and is made in the United States. It has a hinged lid for easy opening and cools with Thermozone insulation.
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Two Liter Bottles can Fit Standing Upright

One of the best features about this sturdy blue cooler is that it can easily hold two-liter bottles without having to turn them on their sides and risk spillage. That means that it will be perfect for holding your water bottles and can hold cans and snacks as well if needed.

Hinged Lid

The hinged lid on this cooler makes opening it a breeze. If you are at the big race and have only a few seconds to stop by your family's blanket to grab a bottle of water, this lid makes it easy to grab and go without having to struggle to unclasp or unzip the lid itself.

Cost and Value

By far one of the least expensive coolers in our buying guide, this one is just as durable as the more expensive coolers on our list. The hinged lid and the ability to hold your water bottles sitting upright is a plus as well.
Pros

Tall enough for 2-liter bottles to stand up

Hinged lid for easy opening

Features a wide bail handle for easy carrying

Durable

Very affordable

Cons

Many users complain that the handle is flimsy and breaks easily

Some users complain that the lid of the cooler won't stay open unless you prop it open

9. RTIC

9. RTIC
There are times when you're a runner and have a race coming up, that a tiny, cooler just won't do. That is where the RTIC cooler comes in. It is a 65-quart cooler with a roto-molded construction. It is bear resistant, has non-slip feet, and is insulated by 3" walls. It features a cool lift design, no-fail hinges, and even has a rapid V-drain system to recommend it. It is not your father's cooler by a long shot!
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Double Duty

Not only can this cooler keep your water and anything else you carry along cold and fresh, it also serves double-duty as a bench, non-slip step stool and even a cutting board should the need arise. This is certainly not your average cooler, it's so much better.

Impact Resistant/Durable

This cooler is extremely impact resistant and durable. You don't have to worry about it getting damaged while you're racing and leaving it with friends.

Cost and Value

One of the much more expensive coolers on the list, it is worth the price because of the many features it boasts. From being impact resistant to doing double-duty, this is one you have to have.
Pros

Impact resistant

Double-duty

Bear resistant

Non-slip feet

High-quality

Cons

Many users claim that the cooler doesn't hold ice at all

Some customers reported that the cooler is heavier than expected

10. GigaTent

10. GigaTent
The GigaTent insulated cooler is perfect for any runner who just wants to take a lunchbox type cooler on his frequent runs. It comes with a bottle opener, is lightweight and made of tear-resistant fabric as well. This cooler is lightweight, durable, and very well insulated. It holds 12 bottles or 16 cans easily, meaning you can carry your water bottles with you on every run. It is also available in five different colors to choose from.
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Five Colors to Choose from

This durable cooler is available in five different colors. These colors include blue/grey, lime green/grey, blue, lime, and orange, so you can personalize your choice of cooler to the colors you love.

Compact Storage

This cooler folds down and clips together for easy storage, meaning you don't have to worry about a bulky cooler taking up space in the garage or kitchen.

Cost and Value

This cooler is a very good deal for the price. It collapses for easy storage, can hold a good number of bottles or cans, and you have five color choices.
Pros

Compact storage

Durable

Well-insulated

Five color choices

Affordable

Cons

Some users reported the inside of the cooler ripping easily, making it impossible to use

Some customers complained that the cooler was too soft

Criteria Used in Choosing the Best Coolers

drinking-water-hydration-cooler

That sums up the best coolers out there for you to take a look at when you are in need of a cooler for your runs or for any other outdoor activity you might be participating in. Now, it’s time to look at the criteria and metrics we used to determine which coolers were the very best. To judge the best coolers, we did our research, then based our decision on the following criteria, materials, durability, appeal and design, extra features, insulation, size, portability, price, and much more. At the end of this section, there will be some answers to the most common questions out there about coolers. Don’t forget to check it out. For now, let’s dig into the criteria and metrics used to write this buying guide. Are you ready? Let’s go!

Materials 

Believe it or not, there are quite a few options out there for materials when it comes to coolers. There are basically four types of coolers that you can choose from. These are metal, fabric, plastic, and even styrofoam. As a runner, you are looking for something that is durable, functions well, and will stand up to traveling to those big races, so styrofoam probably needs to be crossed off the list right away. The top-rated coolers on this list are usually made of either plastic, metal or lightweight fabric. Fabric coolers are usually designed to carry a couple of bottles of water and possibly a sandwich and are lightweight and easy to carry. Plastic and metal coolers are more durable, of course, and designed not for your daily runs, but the big races and even a day where you are going to get in a run on the beach with your family. Metal and plastic coolers are heavier and usually quite a bit more expensive than their lightweight fabric counterparts.

Size

The next set of criteria on our list were the sizes of the coolers out there. We found that there were two things you should consider when looking for the right size cooler. Those things are, how much food and drink you need to store and how much space you have to put the cooler. As a runner, when you are going out for a run, you want something that is lightweight and simple to carry, such as one of the backpack coolers on our list. If you are going to a big race or going to be away from civilization for a few days, then you will want a heavy-duty cooler, such as some of the more expensive coolers that made the list. The choice is yours, according to what you need the cooler for and how many people are going to be there and taking drinks from that cooler as well.

Durability (Construction)

Whether you need the cooler for a quick run or need it for a much longer time on a regular basis, you want one that is made of quality construction and is very durable. Whether it’s lightweight fabric or a heavy-duty plastic cooler, you want it to be able to withstand the bumps along the way. The top-rated on our lists are durable, made of sold, strong materials and are designed to be taken on short trips or long trips, whenever you choose. Remember, coolers take a beating, no matter what. They get tossed around, bumped, dropped and see normal everyday wear and tear, so you want one that is durable and solidly built, to begin with.

Portability

Having a cooler that is durable, well-insulated and built of the best materials possible, is great, but it will do you little good if you can’t carry it with you. The top-rated coolers on this list ranged from small and featherweight to huge and cumbersome. The trick is to decide which is the best option for you. One idea is to have a lightweight, fabric cooler to take with you on your daily runs and have a heavier, plastic or metal cooler for the big day at the races or going to the beach or camping with family and friends. After all, though running is a huge part of your life, family time is as well and you need the right type of cooler for each occasion, wouldn’t you think?

Insulation

Keeping the food and beverages you carry with you is the purpose of any cooler, whether it’s a lightweight backpack cooler to just hold your water or a heavy-duty plastic cooler for race day. It is important to note that the hard-shell coolers have better ice retention, so you won’t be constantly having to fill your cooler with ice. The soft-shell coolers are designed for short periods and don’t hold ice as well. As a runner, it may be best for you to have one of both kinds for different runs on different days. It is also important to note, that better insulation and ice retention may cost you a little more than lower insulation would.

Extra Features

Most of the top-rated coolers on our list come with extra features. Some are bear resistant, some have anti-slip feet, while others have hinged lids and locking or latching mechanisms. The coolers that come with many extra features are usually quite a bit more expensive than the ones that don’t, but some of them are higher-quality as well. Many coolers even come with cup holders on the top so that you have somewhere to place your drinks.  It is important, especially with the hinged lids and locking mechanisms to consider your safety and comfort when using them. Do your research well, to determine which of the extra features you need and which are the right choice for you.

Price

The price is certainly something that you want to consider when choosing the right cooler for your needs. The top-rated on our list range from $20 to almost $400, according to size, extra features, and insulation capabilities. Determine what part of your budget can be spent on a cooler and go from there. Remember, the higher-priced coolers often are the best quality coolers as well.

Design and Appeal

Even though you need a cooler that is durable, well-insulated and portable, you also want to put a little of your personal style and color into it. The top-rated coolers on our list come in a variety of colors for you to choose from. Pick the one you want, just be sure that the cooler has the other features as well.

These are the criteria and metrics we used to bring you the top 10 best coolers on the market today. From design and appeal to extra features included and from size and durability to insulation, looking for these features in your cooler will ensure that you are covered on your morning runs, at the race, or at any other outdoor activity, you and your family choose to attend. Below you will find the top FAQ’s for coolers, see if your question is answered on this list!

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Where can you find the best cooler?

There are many different places in person or online to find the best coolers to suit your needs. As a runner, you need to ensure that the cooler you choose will work well for your purposes. Make sure to check out different brands and the features they have when making your choice.

Q: How do I clean my cooler?

How you clean your cooler is according to the brand of cooler you choose to purchase. While many are okay with just a squirt of dishing washing detergent and water from the water hose, some take special cleaning. It is best to look at the manufacturer’s instructions that came with your cooler to ensure you are not going to damage the cooler during cleaning.

Q: How long does ice stay cold in a cooler?

The amount of time that ice stays cold in a cooler depends on the type of cooler you purchase. The heavy-duty metal and plastic coolers tend to have better insulation than the light-weight fabric coolers do. You need to choose a cooler from what you need it for. Whether it’s to take on a quick run around the block, which requires only a light-weight cooler or for a day out at a marathon, which requires a more heavy-duty cooler, there is a cooler on the list to meet your needs.

Q: What size cooler should I purchase?

The size of the cooler you should purchase depends on a few different things. The most important things to keep in mind are simple. You need to determine how much food and drinks need to go in the cooler and what type of space you have to store the cooler in. There are a few different sizes of coolers out there, so you should have no problem finding the right one to suit your needs.

Q: Can beverages and food go in the same cooler?

This is a personal preference and according to the type of cooler you choose to purchase. In many cases, it’s best to put the food and the beverages in separate coolers, in case your beverages leak.

Q: What type of cooler is best for runners?

The type of coolers that are best for runners depends on what you want the cooler for. If you just need a cooler to take with you on your daily runs to hold your water, then a fabric cooler is a great choice. However, if you are going to take your family with you and be gone on a marathon run all day, a more heavy-duty larger size plastic or metal cooler is probably a better choice.

This concludes our buying guide on the best coolers for runners on the market today. Enjoy your cooler, stay cool, and happy running, everyone!

Sources

  1. Dick's Pro Tips , What to Look for in a Cooler ,
  2. Brian Kendall, What to Look for in a Cooler,
  3. Classroom Synonym, How do Picnic Coolers Work,
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