Best Cool Boxes of 2021

best cool boxes

Last Updated on September 14, 2021

Our editors independently research the best products online to produce this list. We may receive commission on purchases made from the links below but this will never affect our product choices.


Top 10 Best Cool Boxes

  1. Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler (Editor’s Choice)
  2. Igloo 120 Quart Polar Extra Large Insulated Portable Ice Chest Beverage Cooler (Luxury Choice)
  3. Coleman FlipLid Personal Cooler (Best Value)
  4. Thermos 32 Litre (Best Lightweight)
  5. Allibert by Keter California Ice Cube Outdoor Cooler (Best Stylish)
  6. Marko Food Drinks Cooler (Best Electric)
  7. Coleman30QT Performance Cooler (Best Portable)
  8. Guaranteed4Less Cooler
  9. VonShef Insulated Cooler
  10. Berg Large Electric Portable

Cool boxes offer so much more than a cool bag, they can keep your food cooler for longer, and many have extra features for the price tag. They come as electric cool boxes that can run from your car battery or passive cool boxes that you fill with ice and keep your food cool.

You may be in the market for the best cool box for camping or looking at passive cool boxes to replace your existing cooler bag – whatever the reason – we hope that if you read through our reviews and buyer’s guide, you will find the right one for you!

Cool Box Reviews

Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler (Editor’s Choice)

This cool box by Igloo wins our Editor’s Choice title because it is robust and efficient whilst being stylish and easy to use and carry.

It is well insulated with ultratherm on the main box and lid and can keep ice frozen for up to a really impressive five days! This passive cooler is built to last and be robust enough to be left outside if you are on a camping or fishing trip. Its screws, straps and hinges are made from stainless steel, which won’t rust from wet conditions or water from the box itself. The outside is also made from UV resistant material, so it won’t discolour from sunlight.

If you are looking for the best passive cool box for keeping your catch in from a fishing trip, then this is a great product for you. The inside has an odour and stain-resistant liner, so you can confidently keep your fish in but still use it for other uses as well. It also has a fish ruler built into the lid to measure the size of your catch and throw it back if too small.

Its dimensions are 64.45 cm by 39.05 cm by 38.26 cm, and it has a 51-litre capacity. The handles are reinforced and built for comfort whilst carrying this cool box while out in the great outdoors. Finally, it has a drain hole and a plug to which you can attach a hose for easy filling and drainage.

Pros:

  • Up to five days frozen time
  • Odour and stain resistant lining
  • Stainless steel screws and hinges to prevent rust
  • 51-litre capacity
  • Built-in fish ruler

Cons:

  • Heavy when full and may require two people to carry
  • Some parts may be fragile

Igloo 120 Quart Polar Extra Large Insulated Portable Ice Chest Beverage Cooler (Luxury Choice)

This very large cool box is stylish as well as practical. It has an impressive 113-litre capacity, so it could be the best passive cool box for a family camping trip or for a large event and keeping lots of drinks cold!

The lid has UV protection so it won’t discolour whilst being out in the sunshine, and the inside has an anti-odour and stain lining so that you can keep lots of different contents cold without worrying about contamination. Additionally, like all best cool boxes, it includes a drain plug which you can attach a hose to it and drain away any excess water easily.

Its dimensions are 97.3 cm by 44.1 cm by 45.1 cm, and it weighs 9kg when empty. It has reinforced handles for easy carrying and snap-close latches that secure the lid down well, which is everything we look for in the best passive cool box.

One thing to note is that this large cool box does not have wheels and so may not be easy to transport over a long distance or may need two people to carry it.

Pros:

  • Large capacity
  • Anti-stain and odour lining
  • Stylish appearance
  • Drain plug
  • UV protection on the lid

Cons:

  • No wheels for easy transporting
  • It may not be fully waterproof and therefore may not be suitable for fishing trips or in heavy rain
  • The hinges may not be very long-lasting

Coleman FlipLid Personal Cooler (Best Value)

This is a great value personal cool box, perfect for picnics or taking drinks out on a hot day and keeping food and drink cool for you for up to 12 hours! It is easily portable with a sturdy handle and only needs one person to carry it.

The cool box is made from polyester and only weighs 0.8 kg, so really lightweight but has a nice 4-litre capacity. Its dimensions are 20 cm by 18 cm by 27 cm.

Its internal lining is PBA free and meets with EU regulations meaning you can keep your food and drink in it with confidence.

This is best for personal or small family use, but it is a great alternative to cool bags for keeping your food cool.

Pros:

  • Great value
  • PBA free interior
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to carry
  • Keeps food and drink cool for up to 12 hours

Cons:

  • May not have the flip lid as described
  • The lid does not have a lock
  • Small capacity

Thermos 32 Litre (Best Lightweight)

This cool box is made of polystyrene and is really lightweight at just 1.5kg, despite its great capacity of 28 litres. Its dimensions are ‎44.2cm by 27.4cm by 45.8cm.

Being lightweight doesn’t mean that this cool box isn’t built to last; it is sturdy and robust and will keep your food and drinks cool for up to 8 hours. This is a perfect sized camping cooler or for keeping your food cold on days out and picnics.

The lid locks in place when you hold the handle upright, and it is easy to transport.

Pros:

  • 28-litre capacity
  • Lightweight
  • Can keep cool for up to 8 hours
  • Lid locks
  • Easy to carry

Cons:

  • Handle and sides may flex when filled with heavy contents
  • The handle may pop out
  • The seal may not be perfect, and the lid may unlock while being carried

Allibert by Keter California Ice Cube Outdoor Cooler (Best Stylish)

This is your ultimate cool box for entertaining! It is designed to enhance any setting, whether indoors at a party or outside on your patio or lawn. If not in use as a cooler box, it can double up as a side table or extra seat! The design will fit in perfectly if you have rattan garden furniture.

It is lightweight and has two handles for easy carrying. It is robust and designed to be weather resistant and is also really easy to clean; you simply wipe it down with a cloth.

The cooler section has a 40 litre capacity for ice and keeps your drinks cool in the summertime. It can keep ice frozen for up to 24 hours and things cool for up to 48 hours!

Finally, this cool box comes with a 3-year guarantee, meaning that the manufacturers are confident of its quality!

Pros:

  • Three-year guarantee
  • 40-litre capacity
  • Can double as a seat or side table
  • Stylish rattan design
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Many reviews mention items arriving damaged
  • Handles may be on adjacent sides rather than opposite, making it harder to move

Marko Food Drinks Cooler (Best Electric)

This best electric cool box by Marko has a 24-litre capacity and can be powered by either a 12 V DC (vehicle cigarette lighter) or 240 V AC connection (standard plug), unlike some other electric cool boxes that only have the car adaptor. The plugs and wires you need are included when you buy this cool box. This makes it perfect for taking on camping trips, picnics or trips to the beach.

There is a divider to help keep bottles of drink upright, which is removable. It cools your drinks and other food items to 15-18° below the outside air temperature when plugged in. It can also heat your food if you have brought something along on a trip that you want warming up! Additionally, it has red and green lights to indicate whether it has got to the correct hot or cold temperature.

The inside lining is made from polyurethane foam, and there is a fan built into the lid for cooling. When the handle is lifted upright for carrying, the lid is locked securely. The dimensions of this electric cooler are 42cm by 31.5cm by 44cm, and it weighs 4.3kg.

You can effectively use this cooler as a portable fridge if you have somewhere for it to be plugged in for the time you need to use it.

Pros:

  • Two power inputs – house plug and cigarette lighter
  • It comes with a removable divider
  • 24-litre capacity
  • Can heat as well as cool contents
  • Robust and long-lasting motor

Cons:

  • May not be quiet when in use
  • May not keep things quite cool enough

Coleman30QT Performance Cooler (Best Portable)

This is a great sized and easily portable cool box, and it also looks striking in its bright blue design! It has a 28-litre capacity and is deep enough to hold a 2-litre bottle of drink upright. If you pack your drink and food with ice packs or frozen blocks, it will keep them cool for up to 2 days!

The lid has two cup holders so that you can keep your drink nice and upright as you enjoy your picnic. There is also a large and stable handle to make carrying the cooler box really easy.

The inside material to this Coleman cool box is PBA free so you can confidently keep your food loose in it and not worry. It also has PU foam insulation to keep everything cooler for longer. The dimensions for this large cooler are 45 cm by 34 cm by 39 cm. It only weighs 2.5 kg, making it easy to carry and great for taking on days out and camping trips.

Pros:

  • Two-litre bottle height
  • Two days ice cooling
  • Lightweight
  • Robust manufacturing
  • Cup holders in the lid

Cons:

  • Plastic hinges may not be long lasting
  • The lid may not stay upright when open
  • The dark lid may become hot in the sun

Guaranteed4Less Cooler

The Guaranteed4Less cooler box is less expensive than many other coolers in our review, but it has a great 24-litre capacity, plenty big enough to cater for a family. It is tall enough to keep 2 litre drinks chilled in an upright position and has plenty of space besides.

Its dimensions are 35.5cm by 26.5cm by 40cm, and it weighs just under 2 kg. The handle is nicely inset into the lid when not in use but is a good size for when you are carrying the cool box. It also acts to lock the lid in place when you are carrying it. Additionally, the lid can be flipped over and used as a tray for your food and drinks when you are sat down and tucking in!

It comes in a bright blue design and is easy to clean. Reviewers have mentioned that it has a good cooling duration too!

Pros:

  • Family-sized 24-litre capacity
  • The lid can be used as a tray
  • Lightweight at 1.97kg
  • The two-litre bottle can stand upright in it
  • The handle doesn’t protrude when not in use

Cons:

  • The handle may flex if the cool box is full
  • It may not be well insulated

VonShef Insulated Cooler

This electric cool box has a 12 V DC connector to be used in camper vans, on boats, or from your car. The connector is included when you purchase the cool boxes, which is not always the case. The lid has a storage section for the lead when it is not plugged in, and when it is, the cool box can be chilled to a temperature of 8-12°.

The coolbox has a 22 litre capacity in one large compartment, and it is high enough to stand a 1.5-litre drink bottle upright. Its dimensions are 40cm by 24cm by x 40cm, and it weighs 3.9kg. The 22-litre capacity should be plenty of space for a family of four to enjoy a camping trip or a day out at the beach.

The handle creates a lock and airtight seal of the lid when it is in an upright position, so it keeps the cold air locked inside. It is easy to clean; you simply wipe it with a cloth after use.

Pros:

  • Quiet when charging
  • Wipe clean
  • Good capacity
  • 12 V DC charger
  • Lock mechanism from the handle

Cons:

  • Connection lead could be longer
  • Heavier than some other cool boxes
  • Some reports of the connection smoking

Berg Large Electric Portable

This electric cool box by Berg has great features and an impressive 45-litre capacity, suitable for big family or friend get-togethers!

It comes supplied with the following cables; 240 V UK, 220 V EU and 12 V in-car charging, so it is suitable for many different situations. Its dimensions are ‎58cm by 45cm by 42cm, and it weighs 11.7kg.

Although it is a considerable weight, it comes with wheels, so you are not required to carry the large box! The cool box also has fold-away handles for lifting or pulling the cool box along like a trolley bag.

When plugged in, the cool box can be chilled to 16° below the outside air temperature, and it can also heat to between 60-65° so you can store a lasagne and heat it up, or keep a takeout warm until you get it back to your location.

Pros:

  • Heats as well as chills food
  • 45-litre capacity
  • Wheels for easy manoeuvrability
  • Car charger and mains
  • Fold-away handles

Cons:

  • The manual states to not place ice or ice packs inside
  • It may not be suitable for getting wet
  • At the upper-end price wise

Buyer’s Guide

We have listed out below some considerations that will help you find the best cool box for you, as there are many different ones out there on the market.

Capacity

It is worth just doing the straightforward task of working out how many people there are in your family or group of friends that you are planning to use the cool box for. You need one with sufficient capacity for the number of people and types of food or drinks that you will be taking.

You can get anything from a one-person 4-litre cool box through to ones at 24 or 28 litres which are perfect for families, up to 40 plus litres, which really are a mini-fridge.

The height is an important factor to look into, too, if you want to keep 1.5 or 2-litre bottles upright in your cooler box.

Relaxing by the campfire

Weight

Whether or not you find your cool box easy to carry will be mainly down to its weight, as well as its handle design to a certain extent. Again, weight can vary significantly between cool boxes, but if you select a heavy cool box, make sure to read the reviews about its handle strength and comfort.

Some cool box reviews will specifically say that a cool box really needs two people to carry it when full.

There are also cool boxes that come with wheels, so you do not have to consider carrying them from the car to your chosen location.

Electric or Passive

So, cool boxes are broadly split into two groups, electric cool boxes or ones that use ice blocks or loose ice to cool the contents down, called passive coolers or passive cool boxes.

Electric coolers can be purchased with a 12 V DC connection for use in cars, camper vans or boats or with a 240 V AC mains charger, great for if you are on a campsite with electricity. Some have both, which make them suitable for a whole range of activities!

Portable beer cooler in the trunk

The best passive cool box will be well insulated with thicker sides and a secure lid.

Additional Features

There are maybe more extra features than you would have thought a cool box could contain, things such as drain plugs so that you can drain away melted ice, a bottle opener, cup holders and the ability to heat up food, as well as keep your contents cold.

A partition may be included in your cool box, or it may come with a stain and odour resistant lining to prevent any contamination from food smells or stains.

Conclusion

We hope this review has helped provide useful information and advice on finding the best cool box. There are many options out there, from small to large, electric to those that can act as a mini-fridge, but rest assured, the perfect cool box is out there and just waiting for you to throw the ice blocks in!

Our aim is that you’ll have been able to find the garment steamer best for your needs but if you’re still struggling to choose the right one for you, try our Editor’s Choice – the Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler.

Ultratherm is used for insulation on the main box and lid, and it has a really long freeze time, up to five days! The inside has an odour and stain-resistant liner, and the lid contains a fish ruler. It also has a large capacity of 51 litres! Finally, it includes a drain hole and plug to which you can attach a hose for easy filling and drainage.

We hope that this fits the bill as the cream of the best cool boxes out there!

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