Best Ice Chest

The Best Ice Chest in 2018 – Top Picks and Reviews

When you decide to head off for one of those camping trips with friends, two things will be in your mind – how to get great music and how to preserve your food. Using the best ice chest is a necessity for outdoor enthusiasts. They keep your items cold via insulation and with better insulation; they can lower the temperatures longer. Some of the ice chest coolers on our list can keep their temperatures for as low as 5 to 6 days.

In our commitment to help you get the best cooler for the money that can fulfill your needs, we have rounded up and reviewed 5 of the best ice chest in the market today. We then put together what we like and disliked about each one of them based on their design, performance, and ease of use.

At a Glance: Our Best Ice Chest in 2018

ORCA 58 with an internal capacity of 54 quarts (1 quart = 1.136 liters in the UK and 0.946 liter (liquid quart) or 1.101 liters (dry quart) in the U.S) has two set of handles that are ergonomic, external latches and has the ability to keep your food and drinks cold for six days.

When you need more capacity to contain more food and drinks for your fun weekend parties, the

Pelican ProGear is another best cooler for the money. It comes with an internal capacity of 63 quarts and can keep food at low temperatures for up to 5 days.

The Engel ENG65 is an above average cooler with a top of the line insulation performance and extended handles that make transportation to and from the truck easy. It also comes with an emergency bottle opener that makes it a life saver at any party.

The Igloo has a large drain plug and unique reversible feet. Igloo Yukon provides 67 quarts worth of internal capacity and can keep ice for 6-days nonstop. It is built like a tank and will withstand all form of abuse from you and your friends.

Yeti Tundra is unique due to its rubbery pull tab latches.  With a large internal capacity, this cooler will keep all your items below the recommended temperature level. It is also the only ice chest that has a tray for separating different food items.

2018’s Reviews of Best Ice Chest

  • Ranking   
  • Product   
  • Advertised Capacity (quarts)   
  • Capacity (quarts)   
  • Weight   
  • Rating   
  • #1   

  • ORCA 58 Quart Cooler
  • 58
  • 54
  • 31.1 lbs


  • #2   

  • Pelican Products ProGear Elite 65 Quart Cooler
  • 65
  • 63
  • 42.8 lbs


  • #3   

  • Engel ENG65 Roto-Molded Cooler
  • 65
  • 53
  • 26.1 lbs


  • #4   

  • Igloo Yukon Cold Locker Cooler
  • 70
  • 67
  • 34 lbs


  • #5   

  • Yeti Tundra Cooler
  • 65
  • 51
  • 29.7 lbs


#1 – ORCA 58 Quart Cooler

best ice chest
The ORCA 58 Quart came out on top in our insulation tests, both maintaining safe food temperatures and holding ice the longest. It did this despite utilizing a design that reduces bulk and increases ease of transport.

DESIGN

This high-end ice chest has an internal capacity of 54 quarts, two set of handles, external latches, and an all improved drainage system.

There are so many reasons why you need to purchase the ORCA 58, but one major thing that stands out for us is the level at which it can maintain temperatures below the FDA approved 40°F.

EASE OF USE

It was able to keep the food and drinks cool for an impressive six days. We are totally in love with its ice chest cooler.

It has a high-end construction with rugged pin style hinges that can stand the test of time. The latches on the unit are thick and the lid feels sturdy.

Pros
  • It can keep foods insulated for 6 days non-stop
  • The unit looks well-built and will last a number of years
  • It is quite portable and can be carried from one location to another
Cons
  • It’s a bit expensive
  • The lid can’t stand on its own

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#2 – Pelican Products ProGear Elite Cooler, 65 quart

best ice chestbest ice chest
The Pelican ProGear Elite is a high-end cooler that excels in keeping food items insulated for a period of days. It features comfortable handles and it is built like a tank. It is sturdy and stylish. You can’t go wrong when you buy this ice chest cooler.

DESIGN

With an internal capacity of 63 quarts, the ProGear’s ability to keep food safe is tremendous. It has a rugged exterior with hard molded plastic construction fitted with latches and extended handles.

EASE OF USE

What makes the Pelican Elite part of our list is the use of an extended drain plug. Most ice chests use a plug that screws into the cooler body. Storing food and drinks in between blocks will always leave a residue of water that needs to be passed out via the drainage.

Unlike the ORCA, the ProGear Elite’s lid doesn’t come down unexpectedly when it’s lifted up. The only downside to this ice chest cooler is its size which makes it extremely difficult to fit into a small vehicle.

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#3 – Engel Coolers High-Performance ENG65 Roto-Molded Cooler

best ice chestbest ice chest
Weighing 26.1 lbs., about 5 pounds lighter than the ORCA, the Engel Coolers ENG65 is as dependable as they get. It is a durable ice chest cooler with a great insulation performance that can keep food for up to 5 days and ice for 6 days.

DESIGN

The Engel ENG65 is also the only cooler in our list that has a built-in bottle opener in it.

This deep blue cooler scored above average marks in insulation as it is able to maintain safe food temperature for close to 6 days. It has extended handles that are long but comfortable on the hands which make it easy to move from place to place.

EASE OF USE

What we love about the Engel Coolers ENG65 is the fact that it offers so much quality at a friendly price. Other than the insulation performance, the extended handles, and the hard plastic levers, the Engel ENG65 is also the only ice chest cooler with an emergency bottle opener which could come in handy for late night parties.

Pros
  • Ergonomic handles that are comfortable to carry
  • Emergency bottle opener
  • Great insulation performance of up to 5 days
Cons
  • The handles are made with rope and plastic and they can be uncomfortable at times
  • It’s pricey.

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#4 – Igloo Yukon Cold Locker Cooler

best ice chestbest ice chest
The Igloo Yukon Cold Locker Cooler makes our list of the best ice chest for its large drain plug and the reversible feet. It doesn’t offer the best insulation performance on our list but it has a large capacity at 67 quarts which allows you to store more food items for a long period of time.

DESIGN

One part of the Igloo Yukon that has turned a lot of consumers off is its price tag. It is the most expensive cooler on our list.

This ice chest cooler can only keep safe food temperatures for 4 full days and ice for 6 days. We feel it is an average performer where insulation is concerned. This puts it at the mid-range level of other coolers that are being reviewed here.

EASE OF USE

In terms of durability, this ice chest cooler has the construction of a tank.  With beefy extended handles that are ergonomic. The Yukon is a large cooler that can be easily moved from one spot to another.

This large iced cooler has simple latches, an easy to open drain plug leash made of metal. This cooler will withstand the weather and all form of abuse.

Pros
  • It is sturdy and will last for years
  • Has beefy extended handles that make carrying it simple and easy to do.
  • It is built with a metallic drain plug least
  • Set of unique reversible feet
Cons
  • It is difficult to carry
  • It is expensive

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#5 – Yeti Tundra Cooler

best ice chestbest ice chest
The Yeti Tundra Cooler is worlds apart from other coolers in our list. Other than its high insulation performance that can allow it to maintain safe food temperatures for 5 days and ice blocks for 6 days, the Yeti is the only cooler on our list of the best ice chest for the unique tray it comes with used to separate food items. It gives you that feeling of having a movable refrigerator as you’re able to keep the fruits away from the drinks.

DESIGN

At 51 capacity quarts, this high-end cooler offers great value for money.

The Tundra has a rugged exterior which is sturdy and durable.

It maintained safe food temperatures for 5 full days, breaching the 40°F mark midway through day 6. The Tundra’s only fault in its exterior is with its lid. We noticed that water was able to slosh out from the lid. It doesn’t close shut like the ORCA.

EASE OF USE

For ease of use, it has rubber pull tab latches that hang at the same level as the drain plug. This leads to an inconvenience as the latches must be held away from the stream of water during drainage. The handles are made of plastic tubes with the rope running through them. This makes uncomfortable to carry when it’s fully loaded.

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  • Ranking   
  • Best Ice Chest in 2017   
  • Product   
  • Advertised Capacity (quarts)   
  • Capacity (quarts)   
  • Weight   
  • Insulation   
  • Durability   
  • Capacity   
  • Portability   
  • Dimensions   
  • #1   
  • best ice chest

  • ORCA 58 Quart Cooler
  • 58
  • 54
  • 31.1 lbs
  • 9/10
  • 8/10
  • 7/10
  • 8/10
  • 19.3" x 19.3" x 26.8"
  • #2   
  • best ice chest

  • Pelican Products ProGear Elite 65 Quart Cooler
  • 65
  • 63
  • 42.8 lbs
  • 8/10
  • 7/10
  • 8/10
  • 7/10
  • 20" x 19.8" x 37.3"
  • #3   
  • best ice chest

  • Engel ENG65 Roto-Molded Cooler
  • 65
  • 53
  • 26.1 lbs
  • 8/10
  • 8/10
  • 8/10
  • 6/10
  • 16.8" x 16.8" x 27.3"
  • #4   
  • best ice chest

  • Igloo Yukon Cold Locker Cooler
  • 70
  • 67
  • 34 lbs
  • 6/10
  • 8/10
  • 9/10
  • 6/10
  • 16" x 21.5" x 36"
  • #5   
  • best ice chest

  • Yeti Tundra Cooler
  • 65
  • 51
  • 29.7 lbs
  • 8/10
  • 7/10
  • 6/10
  • 5/10
  • 19.5" x 20" x 36"

How to find the best cooler for the money

It has become extremely difficult to choose a cooler in recent years. We believe that with the right help you will be able to make a decision as to the kind of ice chest that you need.

1. Insulation Performance

The only reason why you have decided to buy a cooler is to keep your items cold. So this metric is very important. The question to ask is ‘how many days will this cooler keep my items in safe food temperatures?‘ If you’re going to be spending a couple of days on the road, then you need to invest in a high-end model that can keep your food in safe food temperatures. The best ice chest for the money can keep food items for 5-days and ice for 6-days.

2. Durability

Your cooler will not be treated like your iPhone. It will be subjected to abuse a lot. It will be dumped at the back of the truck, offloaded to the beach; the lids will be slammed shut after each use. All of this because ice chest high-end coolers are usually more rugged than the traditional coolers. They are built with pin-style hinges that won’t fall off easily, UV-resistant plastic with screw in drain plugs for allowing water out of the coolers.

3. Storage capacity

The size of the cooler is measured in quarts and it determines how much food and drinks can be iced for the period of time you need it for. Coolers of 25 quarts are for a small gathering of friends while those with 60 quarts can last for a long family camping trip of 3days or even longer trips. The problem with the large capacity of coolers is their mobility. They can be difficult to carry around especially if the hinges are made from rope and plastic.

4. Portability

If you’re heading for a camping trip with your wife, loading and offloading the cooler will be your most difficult task. It is wise you go with a cooler that is very portable and easy to carry. The smaller the cooler, the easier it is to move from one location to another.

 

Conclusion

The best ice chest will be the one that fulfills your need. If you need a cooler with a large capacity, go for an ice chest like the Pelican ProGear which offers 63 quarts of internal capacity. If your need is insulation performance, you should ideally look into coolers that can keep your food items cold for a minimum of 4 days that are easy to carry around and drain.

We strongly recommend that you go for the ORCA 58. It has everything anyone could ever need in a cooler. It is the best cooler for the money.

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