The 10 Best Boat Coolers in 2022

By July 01, 2022
Explore the best boat coolers in a wide range of categories in our detailed product comparisons. This in-depth buying guide also teaches you about important features to look for in marine coolers and answers some frequently asked questions.

When you are out on the water on a hot day, you are going to want to be able to enjoy a cold, refreshing beverage. The catch of the day is also going to need to stay cold if you want it to remain fresh.

The right boat cooler can chill food and drinks for days. In this guide, we are going to help you compare the best boat coolers for 2022. If you are not sure what to look for in a boat cooler, you can scroll down past the product reviews to learn what buying considerations are important.

Best boat coolers

Top Boat Coolers in 2022

Best Boat Cooler for Live Bait Fishermen

1. Engel Coolers Live Bait Cooler

This cooler can keep your bait alive while you are out on the water.

1. Engel Coolers Live Bait Cooler

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What we like

  • Maintain its interior temperature.
  • Easy to transport.
  • Lasting design.

What we don’t like

  • Some issues with the pump and aerator.

If you are into fishing, you might want to consider the Engel Coolers Live Bait Cooler. As the name indicates, this cooler can keep your bait alive while you are out on the water. It also comes with integrated rod holders, an aerator, and a built-in net.

Key Specifications

  • 18.5 x 12.5 x 14.5 inches
  • 30 quarts
  • Keeps contents cool for up to 2 days

What We Like

  • The Engel marine cooler can maintain its interior temperature nicely even in hot climates.
  • The carry handles and shoulder strap make this cooler easy to transport to and from your boat.
  • Quality materials including stainless steel screws make for a durable, lasting design.

What We Don’t Like

  • There are issues with the pump and aerator on some units. Most, thankfully, appear to be unaffected.

Best Compact Boat Cooler

2. EchoSmile 25/30/35/40/75 Quart Rotomolded Cooler

An acceptable choice in rough sea conditions.

2. EchoSmile 25/30/35/40/75 Quart Rotomolded Cooler

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What we like

  • Great capacity.
  • Super rugged.
  • Nice extra features.
  • Reasonable price.

What we don’t like

  • If you want ice retention, you have to put a lot of ice in the cooler.

Looking for a compact cooler for your boat? The EchoSmile Rotomolded Cooler is available in a number of different sizes. The 25-, 30-, and 35-quart capacity sizes are all relatively small and lightweight.

Key Specifications

  • 25, 30, 35, 40 or 75 quarts
  • 25 quart version measures 20 x 13 x 15 inches
  • 15.43 pounds
  • Ice retention up to 5 days

What We Like

  • If you want a cooler that can double as a seat, you will be happy to learn this one has a 310-pound weight capacity.
  • The Rotomolded Construction is super rugged, making this cooler an acceptable choice in rough sea conditions.
  • There are some nice extra features on this cooler including cup holders, beer bottle openers, lockable corners, a fish ruler, and more.
  • The price is very reasonable and a great value.

What We Don’t Like

  • If you want ice retention for a full 5 days, you do have to put a lot of ice in the cooler. To be fair, the manufacturer is clear and direct about this.

Best Heavy-Duty Fishing Cooler

3. Cascade Mountain Tech Rotomolded Cooler

A super sturdy heavy-duty boat cooler.

3. Cascade Mountain Tech Rotomolded Cooler

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What we like

  • The great job of the no-leak drain plug.
  • The weight of the cooler and its non-slip feet.

What we don’t like

  • Is surprisingly heavy and unwieldy.

If you are looking for a super sturdy heavy-duty boat cooler, consider the Cascade Mountain Tech Rotomolded Cooler. The manufacturer refers to it as being “virtually indestructible.” In fact, if you are willing to pay for a proprietary lock, it becomes Certified Bear-Resistant by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (not that you should have a grizzly bear on your boat).

Key Specifications

  • 45 quarts
  • 27.7 x 16.9 x 17.3 inches
  • Keeps contents cool for up to 7 days

What We Like

  • The no-leak drain plug does a great job preventing water from getting in or out of the cooler.
  • Both the weight of the cooler and its non-slip feet do a nice job keeping it stable.

What We Don’t Like

  • For a 45-quart cooler, this one is surprisingly heavy and unwieldy. It is not the best option from a portability standpoint.

Best Boat Cooler with Cushions

4. Igloo Wheeled Cooler + Igloo Marine Cooler Cushion

A well made cooler reinforced for extra durability.

4. Igloo Wheeled Cooler + Igloo Marine Cooler Cushion

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What we like

  • 3-5 days of ice retention.
  • Convenient handles swing up for carrying.
  • A comfy and easy to secure cushion.
  • Cushion resist sun damage, mold and its flame-retardant.

What we don’t like

  • It has no wheels.

As it turns out, it can actually be pretty difficult to track down a cooler with a compatible matching seat cushion by the same brand. We ended up settling on the Igloo Wheeled Cooler with a 70-quart capacity and this Igloo Marine Cooler Cushion, available as an add-on purchase. It says this cushion is for a 72-quart Igloo, but customers note it fits a 70-quart model well.

A lot of Igloo boat coolers have a lot of ridges on the lid, which would make seating potentially uncomfortable even with a cushion. But this one sports a relatively flat, even lid.

Key Specifications

  • Cooler measures 29.5 x 15.88 x 16.5 inches
  • 70-quart capacity
  • 11.4 pounds
  • Vinyl cushion

What We Like

  • Customers report anywhere from 3-5 days of ice retention. While that is variable, it should make this product suitable for many purposes.
  • Convenient handles swing up for carrying and push back down out of the way when you do not need them. They are reinforced for extra durability.
  • The seat cushion is comfy and easy to secure with Velcro straps for a nice, snug fit.
  • Cushion is treated to resist sun damage and mold. It is also flame-retardant.

What We Don’t Like

  • This is not a very portable cooler once you have filled it up. It is pretty heavy and unwieldy. And despite the fact that it is sometimes sold as a wheeled hard cooler, it has no wheels.

Best Boat Cooler for Retain Ice for Days

RTIC Hard Cooler

Very nice cooler with excellent ice retention.

RTIC Hard Cooler

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What we like

  • Variety of colors and sizes.
  • Easy to move.
  • A heavy-duty and durable choice.
  • The design offer excellent security.

What we don’t like

  • Sometimes may arrive with damage.

If you expect to be away from port for a long time, you need a cooler with excellent ice retention. The manufacturer of the RTIC Hard Cooler says that it can retain ice for up to 10 days. In truth, you are more likely to get a modest 3-4 days out of it, but that is not bad, and it does depend in part on how you load it. Some customers have even said they had ice after 10 days.

Key Specifications

  • Available in 20, 45, and 65 quarts
  • 45 quart version is 27.01 x 17.28 x 16.73 inches
  • Keeps ice cold for up to 10 days

What We Like

  • You can get this product with a small, medium, or large capacity. You also have several color options to choose from.
  • The sturdy rope handles make it easy to move even the larger versions of this cooler.
  • With its rotomolded construction, this is a heavy-duty, durable choice.
  • The cooler’s molded tie-down slots and rubber T-latches offer excellent security.

What We Don’t Like

  • Occasionally this product may arrive with damage, but this is rare.

Best Boat Cooler for Large Groups (or Lots of Fish)

6. Coleman Company 120-Quart Cooler

Great cooler with room for lots of food and drinks.

6. Coleman Company 120-Quart Cooler

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What we like

  • Fine construction and great insulation.
  • High capacity.
  • Designed for a comfortable seating.
  • Built-in cup holders.

What we don’t like

  • Plastic handles are not as durable as they could be.

Hosting a pontoon party and need room for lots of food and drinks? Or perhaps you are fishing and you expect a seriously good haul. Either way, you cannot go wrong with the Coleman Company 120-Quart Cooler.

Key Specifications

  • 37.06 x 19.25 x 18.88 inches
  • 3.06 Pounds
  • Keeps contents cold for up to 6 days
  • 120-quart capacity

What We Like

  • The insulation keeps food and drinks cold for up to 6 weeks, so you can take this high-capacity boat cooler out for longer trips.
  • You can store up to 204 cans inside this impressively-spacious cooler.
  • This Coleman marine cooler is large enough for comfortable seating, and the lid is designed to accommodate just that purpose. In fact, it even has built-in cup holders.

What We Don’t Like

  • The plastic handles are not as durable as they could be. They are fine for carrying the empty cooler, but when it is full, you should lift it a different way.

Best Portable Boat Cooler

7. Igloo Sportsman 30-150 Qt Heavy-Duty High Performance Hardsided Coolers

A high-capacity cooler that allows you an easy transportation.

7. Igloo Sportsman 30-150 Qt Heavy-Duty High Performance Hardsided Coolers

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What we like

  • The storage capacity.
  • The infrared and UV inhibitor technology.
  • The rust-resistant stainless steel hinges.
  • Portability.

What we don’t like

  • Advertised as a 5-day cooler, but it is not.

The Igloo Sportsman 30-150 Qt Heavy-Duty Cooler is a high-capacity, large cooler. While many big coolers are hard to lug around, this one is easy to transport. Just pull it along using the horizontal telescoping handle and cushion grip handle. The wheels turn smoothly, even over uneven surfaces.

Key Specifications

  • 39.76 x 18.5 x 19.69 inches
  • 25.4 pounds
  • (Supposedly) keeps contents cold for up to 5 days
  • 110-quart capacity

What We Like

  • 110 quarts is an impressive amount of storage capacity.
  • Has infrared technology and UV inhibitors do a great job protecting the cooler and its contents.
  • The hinges are durable, rust-resistant stainless steel.
  • It portability cannot be beaten.

What We Don’t Like

  • This product is advertised as a 5-day cooler. But it is not. You can expect to retain ice for a day or so, but that is it.

Best Wearable Fishing Cooler

8. Earth Pak Insulated Backpack Cooler

One of the best small boat cooler to take into a small personal boat.

8. Earth Pak Insulated Backpack Cooler

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What we like

  • The whole bag is waterproof.
  • Extra straps that helps to distribute the weight.
  • The high-density NBR foam contents cold.
  • Variety of stylish colors.

What we don’t like

  • The zipper is not as sturdy as we would like.

We have focused mainly on larger coolers for pontoon boats and fishing vessels. But what if you are trying to squeeze a cooler onto a small personal boat like a kayak or canoe?

For that, we recommend the Earth Pak Insulated Backpack Cooler. As one of the best small boat coolers, it lets you keep a large number of beverages and snacks cold while you are out paddling. And since it is a backpack, it is also easy to carry to your on-shore campsite.

Key Specifications

  • 8 x 11 x 18 inches
  • 5 pounds
  • 35 can capacity
  • Keeps contents cold for up to 72 hours

What We Like

  • The whole bag is waterproof, and the zipper has an IPX-8 waterproof rating. This is especially important in a small boat where it might be subjected to a lot of splashes from oars or paddles.
  • To minimize fatigue, the backpack includes extra straps that distribute the weight.
  • The high-density NBR foam does a nice job keeping contents cold.
  • You can choose from several different stylish colors.

What We Don’t Like

  • The zipper is not as sturdy as we would like, and it does take some degree of tugging sometimes to work. Hopefully, it does not break too easily.

Best Boat Cooler for Staying Organized

9. KONG Coolers 70 Quart Rotomolded Extended Ice Retention Cooler

This cooler has a lot of great features going for it.

9. KONG Coolers 70 Quart Rotomolded Extended Ice Retention Cooler

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What we like

  • The silicone rubber feet helps the cooler to stay stable and secure.
  • 6-10 days of ice retention.
  • You can purchase replacements if you ever need it.
  • Variety of colors.

What we don’t like

  • The latches may have some durability issues.

If you are looking for a cooler that makes it easy to stay organized, you might want to get the KONG Coolers 70 Quart Rotomolded Extended Ice Retention Cooler. This product comes with dividers so you can sort your snacks and drinks. You also can utilize them as shelves, cutting boards, or side tables.

Additionally, this product has a lot of other great features going for it, including a rugged build and lengthy ice retention. So, we could also say it is the best overall choice in some respects. Keep in mind, however, that it is pricier than many other coolers on our list.

Key Specifications

  • 70 quarts
  • 34 x 18.4 x 17.9 inches
  • 6-10 days of ice retention

What We Like

  • The stay-put lid and silicone rubber feet are great for keeping your cooler stable and secure.
  • 6-10 days of ice retention is fantastic for longer outings.
  • If parts such as the gasket or handle happen to break, you can purchase replacements.
  • With rotomolded construction, this sturdy cooler was built to last.
  • There are a number of color options available.

What We Don’t Like

  • The latches may have some durability issues.

Best Boat Cooler on a Budget

10. Coleman 24-Can Party Stacker Portable Cooler

Perfect option if you are looking for something basic and inexpensive but effective.

10. Coleman 24-Can Party Stacker Portable Cooler

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What we like

  • This is a cost-effective and lightweight cooler.
  • Easy transportation.
  • The detachable lid can be surprisingly useful.

What we don’t like

  • Is not the most durable cooler.

Not everybody needs a heavy-duty cooler with a huge capacity, lots of bells and whistles, and the ability to retain ice for days and days. If you are just looking for something basic and inexpensive that can keep it contents cold for a few hours at a time, the Coleman 24-Can Party Stacker Portable Cooler might fit your boat and your budget.

Key Specifications

  • 22.05 x 13.41 x 8.35 inches
  • Weighs 4.1 pounds
  • 12-quart capacity

What We Like

  • This is a cost-effective, lightweight cooler that is perfect for quick outings.
  • The molded handles make for comfortable, easy transportation.
  • The detachable lid can be surprisingly useful in a kayak or canoe since you can use it a bit like a tray or table.

What We Don’t Like

  • Its thin, lightweight design means it is not the most durable cooler.

What to Look for in a Boat Cooler

When you are shopping for a boat cooler, you cannot just get any old cooler. You need to get a marine cooler.

What makes it a marine cooler? In short, the difference comes down to features that a regular cooler may not have.

Marine coolers need to be able to stand up to conditions at sea. That means they need to be sturdier, leak-proof, and slip-resistant. They must be made out of materials that will not rust if they are exposed to sea spray. Additionally, they need to feature superior insulation since you may be out on the water for hours or days.

Look for these features when you are comparing marine coolers:

  • Dimensions and capacity: Determine how much space you have for a marine cooler, and pick one that will fit. It should be large enough to accommodate the food and beverages you want to pack or the fish you may catch.
  • Durable materials and design: Your marine cooler needs to be sturdy enough that it can stand up to getting knocked around by the ocean currents.
  • Insulation: The quality of your fishing cooler’s insulation determines how long it will be able to retain ice. Manufacturers usually provide estimates for ice retention in hours or days.
  • Non-slip: Non-slip feet will prevent the cooler from sliding around on the deck of your boat.
  • Portability: Lightweight design, handles, and wheels all can make it easier to haul around your cooler. If you need to walk some distance between your car and your boat, this can be very helpful.
  • Cushion: Want to sit on your cooler comfortably? Get one that comes with a cushion or the option to easily add a cushion.
  • Buoyancy: Consider getting a boat cooler that can float even when full. Why? It can double as a safety device (1).
  • Fishing features: Some boat coolers aimed at fishermen have built-in rod holders or measurement markings.
  • Organizing features: Some coolers for boats feature dividers inside so you can organize the contents.
  • Security: Your cooler may get jostled around on your boat, so it can be helpful to have some security features. Along with the non-slip feet we mentioned earlier, you should look for locks and latches that are tough and durable.
  • Leak-proofing: Waterproofing can be useful in both directions. It will prevent melting ice from leaking out, but it will also stop seawater from leaking in.

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