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Best Beach Coolers 2018 – Are You Still Drinking Warm Beer?

A couple of months ago, some buddies and I took a drive up the coast to a secluded beach that we had spotted a number of years ago. The idea was to take enough food (and beer) for a day of fun, relaxation and solitude. The beach was about a mile off the highway, but a small, sandy path led from the highway to the ocean. I had recently purchased one of the absolutely best coolers for camping and fishing trips and loaded it up with about a hundred cans of beer, and enough meat for a barbecue that would probably feed a small village. 

What I didn´t foresee, however, was that the small wheels that came with my cooler, were not exactly made for rolling through the sand. After about a hundred feet of cursing my cooler, the sand, and everything else under the sun, I gave up on pulling the cooler, put it back into the car, and we divided the beer cans and packages of meat into our backpacks. The warm beer and not so fresh meat for the barbecue kind of ruined our outing. 

While big coolers certainly can come in handy for camping trips where you only have to move the beast from your car to the picnic table, the best beach coolers combine quality performance with lightweight portability that allow you to move your stuff over sand without trouble. Below, we offer a complete review of the best beach coolers on the market today. 

Beach Cooler Comparison Table 2017

All product links will take you to Amazon for updated pricing**

Image

Model Name

Capacity

Weight (pounds)

Ice Retention

Price

Ratings

6 cans of beverages

0.38

N/A

$$

30L

1.3

6 hours

$$

N/A

1.94

N/A

$$

25L

1.54

4-6 hours

$$

30L

1.6

8 hours

$$

N/A

7.7

N/A

$$

24 cans of beverages

N/A

N/A

$$

40 qt.

31.65

3 days

$$$

What is Our Top Pick? 

eBags Crew Cooler II

This cooler is our top pick, seemingly small, but its unique (and easy to carry) frame allows you to pack a lot of awesome stuff for your next beach trip! 

Check Prices On Amazon

What should you shop for?

The right cooler can help single-handedly jumpstart many of your future beach excursions. However, what features should it come with and what are some of the additional functions that can guarantee a fun-filled day at the beach?

It does not just end at picking an ideal beach cooler, but you must get one designed to meet most, if not all, of your outdoor cooling needs. To start with, you must decide if you need one to strictly meet single-use demands or go for a bigger option for flexibility.

The duration you foresee using a cooler box at any given instance should also guide your choice. Cold-storage boxes that can accommodate dry ice will keep your food and drinks frozen for days on end at lower temperatures.

Type Of Cooler

Another consideration would be whether to go for a soft-sided or hard sided option or a fabric-tote style cooler. The hard-sided varieties are the iconic ice chests that most of us are accustomed to, and they work best for people who travel frequently.

The soft-sided varieties are styrofoam-made and best for one-off or infrequent use. They perform decently but often produce too much waste with time and need regular replacements.

Terrain

The beach is filled with sand, but it also has proximity to water, direct exposure to the sun, and possibly several rugged terrains to navigate through. Outdoor coolers come recommended for the beach environment, but hybrids can get the job done just fine.

Outdoor models feature rugged designs to handle the pressure and stress of differing terrains. The picnic-style ice box can still work well over smoother surfaces.

Volume

If you want a cooler that will hold the most items then you would get a bigger one, right? Well, not entirely because you have to figure out if the volume of the cooling box can accommodate your items and ice while still maintaining a comfortable weight. You should always go a size larger than what you may think you need.

However, you also want to consider how many people the cooler is meant to serve. A 60-quart cooler can comfortably work for a family of 5 with enough room for drinks, food, and ice. There is always room for adjustments, and you may go for a larger or smaller volume depending on your specific needs.

Insulation

The construction of an icebox primarily determine its insulation level and consequently its ice retention abilities. You want to go for a product made using high-insulating materials.

In general, smaller sized cold-storage boxes will have poor ice retention capabilities when compared to their larger counterparts. Likewise, hard-sided models perform better than the soft-sided options when it comes to insulation.

However, metal-made cold-storage boxes conduct heat and do not perform well in warmer months. The plastic-made models work best as all-around portable ice chests.

Toughness

Beach coolers are uniquely made to handle the abrasive stress of the sand, exposure to beach water, and the direct hit from the sun. These elements would otherwise wear down on the weak points and give the portable cooling box a short run.

Naturally, you want to carefully pay attention to the construction and materials that go into making a beach cooler. Rust and corrosion resistance are some of the desirable features you want.

Also, the material of the movable parts is equally important because it will determine the type of maintenance the cooling box needs after trips to the beach. For instance, sand from the beach could easily get stuck on the latch and hinge mechanisms and affect their seal integrity.

Mobility

Naturally, you will get to the beach by car and then need to haul the cooler to your desired spot. It could mean a short distance from where you park your car or a long haul over a paved or sandy path. For longer distances,  you need a wheeled model that can navigate through multiple terrains.

The traditional non-wheeled options may still work, but you want to go for one with sturdy side handles. One on each side allows you to partner up and carry it to your preferred location.

Accessibility

When at the beach, people will continuously open the cooler to grab a drink or bite to eat on a frequent basis. It means that the portable ice chest should come with a lid that is wide enough giving easy access to its contents. Sectioned and mini-access covers are also preferable.

The whole point is to limit the amount of time the lid is open which in turn reduces the amount of cold air let out of the box.

Added Features

Besides the essential elements that any good beach cooler must come with, most will usually include a few other subtle features. They include things like built-in cup holders, bottle openers, ceramic cutleries, and raised legs.

A few of the functional features you should aim for include tow handles, an easy-drain plug, and a waterproof lid seal. These crucial elements make a difference when it comes to handling the cooler, cleaning it up, and enhancing insulation respectively.

Coolers that come with charging ports are considered a luxury, and they pretty much work as portable refrigerators. While they do not use ice cubes and keep items frozen for longer, their reliance on an electric outlet or car’s cigarette port may prove impractical in the outdoor environment. Some also come with removable Bluetooth speakers, ice crushers, LED lights, and built-in blenders which some may attribute as gimmicky additions.

You will end up drawn to some of these additional features that you deem essential to your needs.

Budget

After going through our list of beach cooler reviews, you will have the final task of deciding which one works for your budget. The hard-sided coolers come at a higher cost compared to the soft-sided and tote options. Fortunately, it is possible to get a decent portable icebox for under $50.

It will all come down to your judgment and budget, but we say it is better to put money on a quality product that will serve you for several years.

 

Leopard Print Over sized Insulated Cooler Storage, Animal Print Is “It”

The ‘it’ product in this category is a leopard-print insulated backpack. Featuring stylish animal prints, it cannot be mistaken for optimum functionality and durability. It is the perfect beach getaway cooler bag, which can handle a good number of beverages for at least two people.

It is oversized yet easy-to-carry. The backpack design made portability a possibility because when you head out to enjoy the beach, the last thing you want to worry about is how efficient your backpack cooler is. In that aspect, expect this insulated backpack cooler to deliver.


KoolMAX Bluetooth Cooler, Multifunctional and Bright

Even when you are in a secluded island, you will never have to worry about getting bored. With the KoolMax Bluetooth, you get the best cooler for the beach and a powerful 350-watt speaker in one. This performer is truly impressive because it also comes with a detachable flashlight, making it an all-in-one beach company.

The 40-quart cooler capacity can handle up to 48 cans and keep them ice cold for the next three days. With advanced insulation technology in place, you can trust that this unit will deliver when you need for a refreshing drink.

For the water resistant, high-powered Bluetooth music player, you get an FM radio, XLR microphone output, 12-volt outlet plug, USB port, SD card slot, and standard auxiliary jacks. That means, you would only be able to connect your smartphone or iPad or any gadget through Bluetooth and play party music but also have a grand time with a karaoke or jam session. All you need to do to enjoy the amazing features of this multifunctional cooler is to charge it before you go and enjoy 16 hours of nonstop fun.


MIER Extra Large Cooler Bag, The Perfect Beach Buddy

This large insulated picnic bag is big enough to carry at least 40 beer cans or 12 wine bottles, plus snack, ice packs, and other treats. You sure would not get short of something to drink or eat while lounging at the beach if you have this portable cooler with you. When the compartment is already full with food for the family, you still have some space left at the zippered front pocket where you can place your utensils, napkins, and other essentials.

MIER creates an innovative design with this extra spacious cooler. It is made with a durable PEVA lining, which is not only a strong fabric but also can resist odors and stains. Cleaning is as easy as packing in everything you need for the beach.


Freddie and Sebbie Cooler Bag, Made Special for the Beach

Beating the heat is not a problem when you have the best beach coolers around. That includes this Freddie and Sebbie tote bag, which is insulated perfectly to keep your food and drinks well preserved as you enjoy beach bumming all day. It is innovatively created to keep your refreshments fresh and cool and healthy far longer.

This beach bag and cooler in one has the perfect size and the right toughness to meet the high demands of beachgoers and it sure would not disappoint you, too.


Deluxe Ripstop Beach Travel Rolling Cooler With Wheels, Rolls In Functionality

Travel in style with this rolling cooler in the form of a traveling bag. The design keeps the cooler portable and stylish at the same time. Plus, it does not scrimp on function because this rolling cooler a huge amount of food and drinks.

Organizing is easy because this portable cooler has a main compartment, mesh side pockets, zippered front pocket, and a sandwich bag on top. Plus, it has a bottle holder and a cell pocket readily available as well.


Final Thoughts

Nothing is quite like a day of fun in the sun. Much more if you have picked a suitable cooler from above to prevent soggy sandwiches and warm beverages from spoiling the mood. The hunt for the best cooler for your beach adventure starts now.


RELATED CONTENT

Need a cooler that is easy to travel with? Check out our article about the best wheeled cooler before you head out!