The 8 Best Fishing Coolers in 2022 [Buying Guide]

Geoff Stadnyk in Fishing Accessories on

One of the best times to go fishing is during the summer. It doesn’t matter if you’re going for a few hours or a few days; you need a good fishing cooler to keep your fish cold and your drinks icy when you go on your fishing trip!

Over the last few years, the technology behind fishing coolers has changed a lot. Here are our recommendations for the best fishing coolers on the market.

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Best Premium Fishing Cooler

Yeti coolers are pricey but are expensive for a reason. They keep drinks cold, ice frozen, and keep fish fresh for long fishing trips even in hot weather. This is an extremely high-quality cooler.

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YETI, an American company, has earned a reputation for itself in recent years by producing some of the most durable outdoor gear available. It will keep things inside of it ice-cold for over a week.

The ruggedness of the YETI Tundra 45 is unrivaled, and it won’t shatter if you throw it about or sit on it. This is one of the best fishing coolers on the market (and might just be the best marine cooler available for its size).

What We Like
Insulation - On hot days, 3′′ inch insulation, extra-thick walls, and a tightly-fitting light cool the interior.
Functionality - The YETI Tundra 45 may also be used as a casting platform if you're fishing from a boat.
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Durability - The YETI Tundra 45 is unrivaled in its ability to combine critical attributes of a fishing cooler: ice retention, durability, sturdiness, and design.
Space - The YETI Tundra 45 has a dry goods basket and can accommodate 26 cans (with ice) (if that's not enough, opt for the YETI Tundra 65). 

Most Durable Fishing Cooler

The Seavilis Roto-Molded Cooler with Wheels is a model that is now on the market as the finest fishing cooler for the money. 

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You may establish several departments with the Sevilis Milee-Heavy Duty Wheeled 70QT, which comes with a basket cup holder and divider.

The build quality is comparable to YETI’s, with industry-grade insulation and T-zips to shut the top lid securely.

What We Like
Handles - You'll also receive removable rope handles as well as bottle openers built right into the handles. 
Durability - This is also the product to choose if you seek a durable construction to withstand the nasty outside environment. 
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Quality - Even when the Seavilis Miley-Heavy Duty Wheeled 70QT is fully loaded, the 7′′ wheels ensure a smooth ride.
Variety - There are three sizes available: 45, 50, and 70-quart models.

Also Recommended Premium Fishing Cooler

The RTIC 45 QTHard can contain 36 cans and 40 pounds of ice, more than the YETI Tundra 45.

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The RTIC 45 QTHard is a tremendous hard marine cooler similar to the YETI Tundra 45. Because of the high quality of its goods, the company has a large following among outdoor enthusiasts.

What We Like
Best Cooling - The RTIC 45 QTHard Cooler, according to RTIC, can keep ice-cold for up to 10 days. When you open them more frequently, it isn't easy to do, in our opinion.
Quality - There are no issues found with the performance of the RTIC 45 QTHard Cooler.
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Insulation - T-latches guarantee a tight fit and offer freezer-grade insulation in the RTIC 45 QTHard Cooler.
Durable - Like the YETI Tundra 45, the YETI Tundra 45 is very durable and may be used as a bench, desk, or chopping board.

Best Small Fishing Cooler

If you're going to be camping for a few days, the Landworks Rotomolded Ice Cooler 20QT is the one you've been looking for. They work best for outdoor vacations but do make note of the smaller size.

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This Landworks Rotomolded 20QT / 8.9L Ice Cooler keeps ice for up to 3-5 days or longer than the industry norm.

Sleek Low Profile Snagless TPE T-Clasp Latches that are Tight & Lock Flush, Dual

Built-In Stainless Steel Lock-plate Bottle Openers.

Non-Skid Feet, Sleek Low Profile Snagless TPE T-Clasp Latches that are Tight & Lock Flush (Internal Dimensions: 14.4L x 8.1W x 10.4H. Keep an eye on the lid since it must be well-insulated for your cooler to remain cold for hours, if not days.

What We Like
Size - Even when empty, the coolers with the finest and thickest insulation weigh a significant amount of weight. A large one that's completely laden may be too heavy for you to carry.
Capacity - High-capacity coolers are much more significant, thicker, and cost far more than their more compact equivalents.
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Construction - Make sure to search for a lid with metal hinges since this is a telltale indicator of a cooler that has been manufactured with quality materials.
Durability - Metal coolers have the disadvantage of not being as durable as plastic coolers, which is a significant drawback. Even though they look sturdy, they will dent readily if an object strikes them.

Best Draining Fishing Cooler

The Landworks Rotomolded enhanced Ice Cooler is one of those coolers that is well worth the money since it is easily one of the finest on the market today.

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Many of these fishing coolers are somewhat more costly than they should be, but if you’re a serious fisherman, there are a handful that make good products that are worth spending a few hundred dollars in.

What We Like
Drainage - Drain any extra water with the zero-leak drain stopper, and take advantage of the non-skid feet for added ease.
Handles - An additional excellent feature is the shock-absorbing handles on each side of the container.
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Strength - The Super Strong Retractable Handle with Flexible Heights is a benefit for moving this heavy-duty cooler smoothly and conveniently.
Safety - The product is food-grade safe and Dry Ice compatible.

Best Value Large Fishing Cooler

If you don't want to spend $200 or $300 on something more incredible, the Igloo 52 Qt BMX Cooler is a decent choice. It might not be one of the best fishing coolers but it will hold ice, and keep your fish cold...just maybe not for quite as long.

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It isn’t nearly as tough as the YETI Tundra 45 or the RTIC 45 QTHard Cooler in terms of durability. Nonetheless, it has some high-end characteristics, such as T-latches for a solid fit.

What We Like
Heavy Duty - The Igloo 52 Qt BMX Cooler holds 83 12-oz cans and weighs 16.4 pounds.
Solid Fit - Several high-end features, such as T-latches for a secure fit, distinguish it from the competition.
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Good Interior - The interior of the Igloo 52 Qt BMX Cooler can stay chilly for up to 5 days. 
Portable - The most remarkable is easy to carry, even when wholly laden, thanks to the large, non-slip handles. The addition of a fish ruler to the lid is a nice touch. 

Best Premium Large Fishing Cooler

Another great addition to our list is the Engel 65 High-Performance Hard Cooler, specifically designed for fishing. It's very large and is one of the best marine coolers for fishing trips.

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Engel may be a lesser-known, more extraordinary brand in the outdoor sector. Still, their products gradually established a reputation for being composed of high-quality materials and capable of performing when needed.

What We Like
Anglers - Anglers who have tried it in different areas have verified the company's claim that this fishing cooler can store ice for up to 10 days at a time.
Toughness - The Engel 65 High Performance is all about rugged toughness, and it's also bear-resistant.
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Best Cooling - With this level of ice retention, you can go on a fishing expedition for more than a week and still have cold food and beverages, as well as a place to put your catch. 

Best Budget Fishing Cooler

Because the Coleman Xtreme 5 Cooler lacks T-laces to seal the top lid, it falls short of its rivals' cooling capabilities. It holds ice but, over the course of a few hours in the hot summer, it might be holding cold water instead. It's a perfectly good boat cooler for a short fishing trip.

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The Coleman Xtreme 5 Cooler is a high-quality fishing cooler that costs far under a few dollars. The sealing technique is the most significant distinction between the three preceding coolers. It can, however, keep the interior chilly for a few days.

What We Like
Insulation - The Coleman Xtreme 5 Cooler's lesser degree of insulation results in a tremendous capacity on the inside: it can store up to 100 cans (without ice).
Extra Cup Holders - The cup holders incorporated into the top lid are a lovely little addition.
Know Before Buying
Durability - The RTIC 45 QTHard Cooler and the YETI Tundra 45 are more durable than the Coleman Xtreme 5. As a result, don't toss it about, and we also don't suggest that adults sit on it. 
Light Weight - It is light enough to carry one person, weighing just 12.3 pounds.

How we picked the best fishing coolers

Catch of the day revealed after a day of fishing off the coast of Brazil.

As you can see from the goods we examined above, the finest fishing coolers are available in several forms, sizes, and configurations with various features.

Here are a few characteristics to think about before buying a fishing cooler:

The Toughness Of The Construction

The same ideas that we discussed insulation apply to buildings as they do to insulation. Precisely what are you planning on doing with your cooler? If all you want to do is keep drinks, food, or catch a cold, a regular cooler will do for your needs.

For those who want to stand or sit on their cooler instead of utilizing it as a chair or table, you will need to make sure that it is sturdy enough to support their weight. A person standing atop a product such as the RTIC 45 QT or the YETI Tundra 45 will not cause any problems. This may be the case when used as a casting platform on a boat, which is standard practice.

Material

The materials used in fishing coolers may vary greatly, which can considerably influence the cooler’s performance.

Rotomolded coolers use a single piece of rotomolded polyethylene to build rock-solid coolers that won’t break down no matter how hard you use them.

High-end manufacturers like Yeti and Pelican often produce these coolers and cost substantially more than their cheaper solid-bodied competitors.

Soft-bodied coolers are compact, lightweight, and easy to store when not in use. Kill bags are ideal for smaller vessels like kayaks and canoes when a full-sized cooler would be too bulky.

Insulation

You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on a cooler that can remain cold for a couple of hours to make your fishing day on a deep-sea fishing trip or when you are catching river catfish more pleasurable.

Fishing coolers featuring T-latch closures, on average, keep the interior of the cooler colder for longer, and they slam the lid shut forcefully and firmly.

To keep the interior of your cooler cold for longer, only open it when required. Inquire whether your friends and family would like a refreshing drink or a bite to eat while you are inshore fishing. After that, open the cooler once and shut it again for a time.

No matter how excellent the insulation is, the more you open it, the harder it will be for the interior to keep the temperature down.

Capacity

The interior volume of a cooler is referred to as its capacity, and it will offer you a decent indicator of how much goods it can contain. A rating for how many standard-sized cans it can hold, as well as how many pounds of ice it can have, is also often provided by the manufacturer.

It would be best if you considered purchasing a giant cooler depending on the size of your boat, your financial situation, and the amount of more astonishing capacity you need.

Size

Determine how much you want to place inside your fishing cooler before making a purchase. Please remember that the more cans, food, and ice you pack into, the more remarkable, the heavier it becomes.

If you know you’ll have to travel a short distance from the parking lot to your boat on the dock, for example, you should consider purchasing a wheeled cart since it will make it much simpler to go to your ship without becoming tired or sweaty.

Drainage

Drainage is crucial when purchasing a cooler for any fishing cooler and notably bigger ones. Using a cooler for an extended time will undoubtedly melt the ice, reduce the cooler’s chilling capacity, and generate a marshy atmosphere.

Built-in drainage holes make it possible to remove melted ice from the cooler without raising it and pouring it out of the cooler. Many fishing coolers have a threaded drain plug, allowing you to connect a drainage line and dump the cooler overboard without moving it.

Durability

When deciding which cooler to buy, think about how much punishment it will be subjected to over time. The fact that your cooler will be resting beneath a picnic table or snugly in the bed of your truck for just a few hours means that you won’t have to worry about finding durable exterior materials.

The use of soft shell coolers, which are lightweight and portable, might be a much more convenient and effective solution in these scenarios.

If you want to use your cooler on a boat or lengthy journeys in the woods when going for nighttime pond fishing, you’ll probably want one that can withstand being tossed about. A more relaxed with a more robust exterior, such as those constructed of more rigid plastic or metal, will cost more money.

Still, it will survive longer and perform higher durability than a cooler without a robust exterior.

Specialty Model

While looking for a new cooler, you may encounter a few specialist models that serve a specific function or have distinctive design elements. The marine cooler, for example, is one of the most popular specialized coolers. These containers, as previously stated, can hold more than 100 quarts and are made of antibacterial white plastic.

Antimicrobial materials may help reduce bacteria accumulation on the inside and outside of the container, allowing you to keep your catch without concern of spoilage confidently. When you combine these advantages with the excellent thermal capabilities of a marine cooler, you have the ideal container for an open-water excursion.

Aside from fabric and hard-shell coolers, thermoelectric marine coolers are also available to offer you superior travel refrigeration. These containers function as miniature refrigerators and can be powered from home or vehicles.

The electric-powered refrigeration technology in these coolers removes the need for ice and allows for a more significant temperature adjustment. Thermoelectric coolers are not suggested for camping or journeys that will take you away from power sources due to their power requirements.

How large should my fishing cooler be?

Two men going fishing with ice chest and rowboat

One of your most important considerations will be the size of the fishing cooler you need, which will be determined by how you want to utilize it. A nine-quart cooler will contain enough food and drinks for a family of four to go on an overnight vacation.

In contrast, a 28-quart cooler will store enough food and beverages for a family of four to go on an overnight excursion. If you often travel on weekend getaways, you may want a container with a capacity of 100 quarts.

Make sure to visit a shop where you can view the fishing coolers in person to get a feel of how they’ll operate for you before making your purchase. Keep in mind that ice will take up roughly a fifth of the area in warmer temperatures.

Why Is The Construction Of Fishing Cooler Important?

A fishing cooler must be tough enough to endure bumping about on your boat and being utilized as additional seats. When comparing various models, always be sure to weigh them first. Be wary if they seem to be unusually light. Because insulation and robust materials are pretty heavy, a light marine cooler is unlikely to survive very long.

Do I need fishing rod holders as a part of my fishing cooler?

Fishing rod holders are another feature that can enable your fishing cooler to be both practical and effective in use. Rod holders are exterior clips on the side of a marine cooler, which allow you to store rods while they’re not in use (or, even sometimes, when they are). These hooks are often designed to fold up when not being used so you don’t have to worry about getting tangled or having them stick out from the side.

Do you need them? No, but they sure are a nice feature.

Do all fishing coolers have a built-in bottle opener?

Today, you will find that most fishing coolers come with a bottle opener. This is to meet the increased demand for outdoor and boating activities where bottles are necessary and easier than cans.

Conclusion

It might seem like an afterthought but don’t skimp on a fishing cooler. We hope you’ve learned a little something about them and feel equipped to make your own choice from the best fishing coolers we’ve presented.

Geoff Stadnyk

Geoff started fishing as a child in the gorgeous lakes of Mammoth, while on family vacations. His fishing experience includes the use of fly rod and reel. Guided trips along the Madison and Gallatin rivers in Montana, the Frying Pan and Animus in Colorado, and the Deschutes river in Oregon have all paid off and helped make Geoff the angler and writer that he is today.

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