Best Budget Coolers 2020 : Buying Guide & Reviews

Summer is around the corner! Camping trips, long hot nights, and hanging out on your patio… what better way to spend those summer nights? Especially with a nice cold drink… but how do you find low cost coolers? You may be unsure where to buy cheap coolers. Well, that’s where we come in!

We’re taking you today through some of the best performance coolers, the cooler best equipped to keep your drinks cold and save you money. They don’t all have to be high end, you can find the best cheap cooler just a few clicks away.

First, we’ll be dishing all the information on the best value options for you and how to choose it. How much do coolers typically cost? Where can I find the options under $100? What do I need to consider before I buy my first cooler? Where’s the best place to buy a cooler? Which ones come with lifetime warranty? We’ve got you covered, read on.

Considerations Choosing Coolers 

There’s a handful of different considerations to keep in mind when you’re trying to find your best value ice chest. Here are our top three:

Consider What You Need

The very first thing to do is consider what you need your cooler for: are you just staying at home, maybe having an overnight camping trip? If so, the cooler you need is going to be very different from taking a cooler on a week long fishing-trip. You therefore need to think of whether the cooler’s going to keep your ice for a long time. You want your drinks ice cold, so you need to find a high quality cooler that’s going to give you days of ice and keep your food and drink fresh.

Build Quality

Here you need to consider the size, material, and subsequent durability of your best, cheap ice chest. Do you want a cooler made from plastic, fabric – i.e. soft sided coolers- , metal, or Styrofoam? If you’re wanting your cooler to last a long time, you can eliminate Styrofoam immediately. While metal coolers are more durable and have fab insulation and ice retention, they’re not as easy to carry. Plastic, however, is one of the best for giving you high performance AND optimum ice retention.

Finally, make sure that thing’s well made! When you spot your cooler amid the items online, browse the pictures and reviews to see that it’s well made. Build quality is of ultra importance.

Portability

Tying into size, as we’ve said before you need to consider whether you want a portable cooler, and therefore whether a large cooler or smaller cooler is best for you.

This, again, is a trade-off between size and portability, and the cheap ice coolers that are actually going to keep your food and drinks ice cold. While lighter coolers are easier to carry, they may not be the best coolers for ice retention. That said, you don’t want to get a heavy duty cooler if you’re just needing it for a short trip.

10 Best Cheap Coolers Available in 2020

So, here we are! It’s time to go through our top ten picks for the best at the moment. This list is full of cheap large coolers, so there’s no need to worry – there’ll be something for everyone here.

Each of our options is linked to its Amazon page results, meaning you can have a look at anything you need to – such as prices, the customer review section, and the company website. We’ll breeze through this list with ease, showing you the discounted coolers on offer.

If this isn’t enough and you’re still looking for bargains for your next camping trip, feel free to check out our best cheap sleeping bags.

1. Igloo Quantum Roller Cooler

Igloo 52 QT - White

Material: X | Capacity: X | Weight: X

It’s the real deal on wheels, our first pick is the Igloo Quantum – which is a wheeled cooler. It comes in three snazzy colors, and is a great pick to start our list of the best discount ice chests. It even comes with cup holders!

Pros

  • Cool Riser Technology

One of the best pros of this handy pick is its elevated design, which is designed to improve cooling performance. The insulation and ice retention on this wheeled cooler makes it a fab pick – and it’s a clear contender for the best price.

  • Size Control

Another clear advantage to this Igloo cooler is that you can pick your sizes – this cooler comes in either 28 or 52 quart capacity, which makes it one of the smaller and more portable coolers on this list. Great for moving on the go… hence the wheels!

Cons

  • Build Control

Some reviews report the handle being slightly weak.

  • Durability

Users report that the cooler’s ice retention doesn’t last for too long, but it’s more suited to portable light use – it’ll keep you going for at least 24 hours.

2. Coleman 48-Quart Capacity Cooler

Coleman 48 QT - Blue

Our second pick is the Coleman Performance Cooler which comes with 48 quart capacity. It’s easily the best ice chest under $100, with its side handles making it easily portable, whilst the 48 quart capacity is still fairly heavy duty. This is unsurprising given Coleman’s status as a household name.

 

Pros

  • Leak Protection

A clear selling point, this cooler is fitted with a leak-resistant drain plug, which means you can remove water without having to turn the cooler upside down and do all sorts of complicated stuff! Your items stay safe amongst the ice, so you’re good to go.

  • Durability

This handy ice chest gives a high performance, boasting a 3-day ice retention at temperatures up to 90 °F. With this kind of durability, your items stay fresh amongst the ice… it’s one of the best! Perfect for road trips. Couple this with the 48 quart storage capacity, and it’s clear you’ve got a fab model on your hands.

 

Cons

  • Pressure Fit Opening

Some users report trouble opening the lid, due to pressure fit.

  • Hinge Design

The hinges on this cooler can be tricky to maneuvre.

3. Coleman Rolling Cooler

Coleman 50 QT - 5 Day Cooler

Another one from Coleman, the popular brand, this cooler is the 50 Quart Xtreme 5 Day Cooler, and as the name suggests it’s complete with wheels. This wheeled cooler gives you portability perfect for every event, from summer parties to a day trip.

Pros

  • Build Design

The seamless construction of these coolers may earn them the title of the “best ice cooler under $50”. The design is equipped with cup holders molded into the lid, to keep drinks close and prevent spillage. There’s also a telescoping handle for easy pulling and max storage space. The heavy duty wheels make this model a high end treat at a low end price.

  • XTreme Technology

Unique to Coleman, their ‘xtreme’ technology provides an insulated lid and extra wall insulation. This provides up to 5 days of ice retention, not just a standard 24 hours, in temperatures going up to 90 °F. What a fab portable cooler, right?

 

Cons

  • Telescoping Handle

The telescoping handle sometimes can be stiff to retract.

  • Leakages

If the bottom is not checked frequently and all parts are not assembled securely, there are minor instances of leakage.

4. Seavilis Cooler (Milee)

Seavilis Cooler 35 QT - Tan

Our fourth cooler comes from Seavilis, and it’s a portable cooler boasting a 35 quart capacity, and exclusive accessories just for you! What a reason to order, it’s a bargain on the market. These accessories include a handy basket, a cup holder to keep your beverages and beer cans close by, and a divider.

Pros

  • Thermoplastic Construction

The build design of this impressive cooler keeps the temperature low and the ice retention high – as the thermoplastic construction provides commercial grade insulation, resulting in a longer ice retention time. The material is high quality and certified, so there’s no need to worry about your beach trips or getting backpack coolers to cover you. This is one of the best.

  • Convenience

This model gives you a perfect mix of premium insulation, better than many soft sided coolers, whilst still being easy to open and shut. The Cam Latch system keeps a tight seal whilst allowing you to open the cooler when you need to. This high end ice box may just be the top ice coolers for the money.

 

Cons

  • Durability

A small minority of users find fault with the ice retention mechanisms.

  • Accessories Missing

Not an issue with the cooler itself, but some users found their accessories were not included with the cooler.

5. Igloo Polar Cooler

Igloo Polar Cooler 120 QT - White

Our midway pick comes from Igloo, and it’s no surprise we’ve chosen it. Though Igloo is perhaps known best for the Igloo Marine Ultra, this pick is also not to be missed! This Polar Cooler in white offers an astonishing 120 quart capacity! There are so many useful features, it’s surely a contender for the best cooler under $200.

Pros

  • Capacity

Perhaps the most obvious pro is the 120 quart capacity, which is way bigger than most coolers. This heavy duty cooler therefore is one of the best coolers for ice retention, and can hold an impressive 188 cans. Its ultratherm insulated body and lid will keep ice for 5 days at a temperature up to 90 °F.

  • Build Design

The construction of this cooler is impressive, with its reinforced swing-up handle mechanisms. These mechanisms come with tie-down loop features, which helps you to open, shut, and secure this cooler with the best of ease. Look no further for the latest coolers, Igloo are the pioneers.

Cons

  • Durability

Some users report the cooler isn’t as durable as they’d like.

  • Quality Control

Some Amazon users were disappointed with certain parts of the cooler.

6. Coleman XTreme Heavy Duty Cooler

Coleman 70 QT - Blue

Our sixth pick comes from Coleman again, surprise surprise, and is an impressive 70 quart capacity cooler. It can hold up to 100 cans and has molded cup holders for your ease. Coleman really do produce some of the latest coolers, at a reasonable price!

Pros

  • Convenience and Comfort

This cooler is easy to clean, with its smooth surfaces that are easily wiped down. A lot more convenient than soft sided coolers that are harder to wipe! The comfort grip no-crush handles also ensure easy, pinch-free carrying. One definite plus.

  • Insulation

The insulation and ice retention mechanisms of this cooler are one easy plus – this cooler keeps ice for up to 5 days at up to 90 °F. What’s more, the walls provide extra insulation and the leak-resistant channel provides a high end way of disposing of water without tilting the cooler.

Cons

  • Warranty Period

The warranty is a limited period instead of a lifetime warranty.

  • Customer Service

Some Amazon users regard the return/ repairs procedure as tricky.

 7. Coleman Xtreme Heavy Duty Wheeled Cooler

Coleman 100 QT - Blue

Our seventh pick is another one from Coleman, and again it’s a fab deal on the coolest wheels. Manufacturing some of the best coolers, Coleman bring you another heavy duty cooler from their Xtreme coolers range.

Pros

  • Price Point

This fab cooler boasts a high end, sleek design, with a 100 quart capacity. Its ability to keep ice for up to 5 days at 90°F using state of the art ice retention mechanisms makes these models fab low prices. Compared to the pricier 120 quart coolers, this is a true bargain.

  • Have-a-Seat Lid Support

A cooler that…doubles… as a seat? Another reason these models are some of the best around, beating out competitors like the Igloo Marine Ultra, this suave cooler lid supports up to 250 lbs of weight, so you always have somewhere to sit. Cool coolers.

Cons

  • Build Quality

A very small minority of users note issues with their coolers’ hinges.

  • Large Size

Well for a 100 qt capacity you can’t really avoid this, but it does make it slightly less portable.

8. Igloo Playmate Cooler

Igloo 14.8 QT - Industrial Diamond Plate Exterior Design

Our eighth pick showcases Igloo’s range of Playmate coolers, which come with an industrial diamond plate exterior design… this design means business! Again, these are some of the best around, which shouldn’t come as a surprise from super company Igloo.

Pros

  • Capacity

The 14.8 quart capacity makes these models some of the best choices in their category and price bracket. This capacity doesn’t make the cooler any less portable, as the lid easily swings open for access and the sure grip molds on the easy carry handles make this a treat to transport. The best for portable use.

  • Construction

This Igloo cooler has a solid construction which assures you that your ice will be kept with premium insulation at all times. The insulation mechanisms will last for a decent amount of time, as is standard with all Igloo coolers.

 

Cons

  • Customer Service

Some reviewers report issues with the Igloo customer service team, but this seems rare.

  • Quality Control

Some users report that some of the cooler components are flimsy.

9. YETI Tundra Portable Wheeled Cooler

YETI Cooler - White

Our penultimate pick is another one of those best coolers on wheels, it’s the super cooler, YETI Tundra Haul Portable … and as the name suggests, it means business – it’s here to keep your ice freshly stocked, which it manages through its premium insulation systems.

 

Pros

  • Portability

The Tundra is the first of Yeti’s coolers to be on wheels, and we all know portable coolers are some of the best coolers to get for their convenience. This aspect is perfect for taking the Tundra’s wonderful ice protection and insulation qualities to the extra mile…literally.

  • Roto molded Construction

The indestructible construction on this mammoth ice box means that these coolers are armored to the core, so your food and drink will be kept ice cold at all times. With a 55 quart capacity, you can store a hell of a lot of ice in here.

 

Cons

  • Drain Plug Cover

Some reviewers report that their drain plug cover was missing – be sure to check all parts and send an email if necessary.

  • Weight

The ice box is reportedly quite bulky and hard to move, despite being wheeled.

10. Igloo BMX Family Cooler

Igloo BMX with Cool Riser Technology

This final pick is a perfect cooler for all the family, a stunning Igloo ice box that’s perfect for keeping ice frozen much easier than high end coolers. It’s the Igloo BMX Family Cooler, and these coolers come with a fish ruler and tie-down points… you can even take it fishing! Keep your beers ice cold while you reel in that big catch.

Pros

  • Durability

Despite its lightweight nature, this cooler is among the best coolers for its durability. Where other coolers are either durable OR lightweight, this igloo provides the best of both worlds in one cooler. Weighing 16 pounds (at a 52 quart capacity), this cooler still manages to keep your ice cool for 4-5 days at 90°F .

  • Build Quality

This cooler really has it all… available in 25, 52, or 78 Qts, the blow-molded construction comes with a reinforced base, a MaxCold body with 20% thicker foam and an insulated lid, AND there are UV inhibitors to protect this cooler against sun damage. This keeps your goods ice cold, and its innovative cool riser technology makes these models some of the best coolers on the market.

Cons

  • Components

Some report that hinges on the coolers can weaken.

  • Handles

While the handles of these coolers are ergonomically friendly, they require a bit of strength to maneuvre and push in where needed.

Best Budget Coolers

Among all of our best coolers, only one can reign supreme. For us, this is pick 5, the range of Igloo Polar Coolers. These coolers are at a bargain price of under $200 and boast 120 quarts – if you need an inexpensive, effective cooler for a fraction of the cost of higher end coolers, this one is for you.

Igloo Polar Cooler - 52 QT

Cheapest Cooler Available

The cheapest coolers available have to be pick 2, the Coleman Performance Cooler. These coolers are an astonishing price under $50, and will give you portability, protection and ice retention, and provide you a very agreeable price. Follow the link to check these coolers out now!

Coleman Cooler - 48QT

Whats the Best Cooler for the Money?

The best cooler for the money is pick 10, the Igloo BMX Family Cooler. Its versatility offers a little something for everyone, and while it’s a bit pricier than other coolers it’s still under $200 – a bargain purchase for long lasting use.

IGLOO BMX 52 QT

Which Cooler keeps ice the longest?

The cooler that will keep your ice the longest has to be pick 8, the Igloo Playmate coolers. These coolers have amazing durability and come at a brilliant price. The construction materials and construction methods make this cooler durable and a step up from other brands.

IGLOO Playmate 14.8 QT

How Can I Make a Cheap Cooler Better?

There are a couple of handy things you can do that will make a difference to your cooler – the fact is, you can back yourself and ensure your cheap cooler is the best option without splashing a big buck on more pricey products or premium coolers.

To enhance your cooling capabilities, you could look into different insulation options to upgrade your cooler/ ice box without just stuffing some ice packs in there. If your price range is low but your expectations are high, have a look into other people’s opinion and see what insulation options are available.

If you’re unsure on how to make your cooler Igloo-grade secure, run an ice retention test to see where the problem lies.

Are Yeti Coolers Really Worth the Money?

Of course, if you’re searching for budget coolers to provide a quality experience, you might not want to opt for higher end coolers. However, we can say that Yeti coolers are absolutely worth the money. They’re somehow lightweight AND durable, so they last but can be easily carried to a friends’ party, and they come in a range of color options and designs.

Yeti coolers are some of the best out there, thanks to their quality manufacturers. They’re worth your dollar and beat out the competition.

Typical Cost of a Good Cooler

So, what’s the typical cost of good cheap coolers, I hear you ask? Well, coolers will generally be a little different in price depending on their size (in quarts), features, and portability – do you want a heavy duty cooler to keep at home for those lazy summer nights, or do you want a cooler that’s easy to carry and transport around, maybe to serve many people?

Generally, you can find cheap large ice coolers anywhere between $30 and $200, but of course there’s going to be differences between a cooler that costs less and one that costs more. It’s up to you to make the trade-off on price and quality.

But we promise you, this article is going to show you the best deals on coolers, as nearly all of our picks are under $200!