Best Cooler

If you are looking for the best cooler for your boat then you need to look for at least 5 characteristics that will make the cooler stronger, last longer, withstand abuse and keep the contents colder longer with the least amount of ice when compared to coolers of similar size.  While there are many brands and some companies have paid to have their names placed on a series of coolers, the five characteristics listed below are the things you should look for no matter which brand you choose.  

What then makes up the best cooler? There are many brands and if you only use a cooler occasionally for 3-4 hours most any cooler will do. The more of these characteristics you find in a cooler the higher price you are likely to have to pay, but it will likely be tougher and keep things colder longer. When looking for better or even for the best boat coolers on the market there are at least five things to look for:
  • Outer Material - Sturdy and UV Resistant
  • Insulation - One - Two Inches
  • Hinge - The Length of the Lid
  • Seal - Seals heat out and seals cold in
  • Latch or Lock - Keep Lid from Opening and Losing Cold Air

Outer Material

The outer material should be of a sturdy material that is scratch resistant and will stand up to years of abuse. Push on it with your thumb, and do this with different coolers. You can feel the thickness of the best coolers out there. In addition the best boat/marine coolers are white which will reflect the sun light and absorb less of the sun rays. It also needs to be UV resistant.


Best coolers will have insulation between the inner and outer wall of the cooler.  Better coolers will have at least one inch of insulation, and the best coolers will have two inches of insulation.  Don't be fooled, sometimes the lid looks like it can be almost 3-4 inches thick, but some will look that way and only a half inch to one inch of space between its inner and outer liner.


Think about the hinge on your doors at home, they are made from metal.  If you are looking at a cooler with two  plastic hinges that are 2-3 inches long.  They will work the day you buy the cooler and with care may last you for quite some time.  The best cooler will have a hinge that is nearly the length of the cooler and often will have a metal rod passing through the center.  This hinge will withstand much more abuse, and will likely last you years!


Why are seals important?  Again, look at your doors at home - entry as well as your refrigerator doors.  Why do they have seals?  It is to keep out summer heat and winter cold.  Your refrigerator generates a lot of cold air and you don't want that cold air to escape into the room.  It is the same with the best cooler - you will find gasket seals on them to prevent cold from escaping and heat from entering. 


Think about your home again - your entry doors and your refrigerator door has a way to latch it so that it won't come open unless you open it.  It is the same with the best cooler - it will provide a latch to prevent the lid from opening when it is not supposed to open and also to set the seal properly on the top of the cooler.

Best Cooler Picks

Over the years we at PFT have settled on the following 3 coolers to be the best in terms of keeping contents cold, ice longer, fit most applications best.  They will be briefly reviewed with links to read more and perhaps even order on on line.

We are an Amazon Affiliate.  If you purchase a product we recommend or another product while on Amazon, we may receive a small commission.  Our staff recommends items that we have personally owned, used/tested, researched or we have fished with trusted anglers who recommend them.   These products will not cost you any more than what is posted.  

Igloo Marine Coolers

Igloo makes a variety of sizes of coolers that will fit many different applications.  This marine cooler is a perfect small boat cooler and keeps drinks cold all day.  Its white color, extra insulation and was UV resistant fits the bill.  It holds enough drinks and sandwiches for a day for 2-3 people on the boat and keeps it all cold even on a very hot summer day.  Would this be right for your?  Click on this link and read more about Igloo Marine Coolers.

Coleman Extreme Marine Cooler

Coleman extreme coolers say they will keep ice for 5 days in 90 degree temperatures.  PFT finds this to be pretty accurate as we have transported walleye home from Canada on dry ice for the past 10 years.  It holds the limit of 3 fishermen on dry ice for over 24 hours, fish remained frozen.  Coleman Extreme Coolers feature a spring loaded lid to maintain pressure to keep it closed, the new insulation works really well.  They advertise keeping ice for 7 days an extra two days on the Extreme. 

Yeti Tundra Series Marine Coolers

The Yeti brand is an investment!  They are amazing.  Yeti coolers are built to be the last cooler you will ever buy.   OK, ever is a long time, but if you have gone thru a lot of coolers over the years, Yeti deserves to be checked out.  These have the thickest outer material.  White and UV resistant, these Yeti's feature a full length hinge, rubber gasket seal between the lid and the cooler and positive locking T-Strap Latches to ensure the lid does not come open and the seal is seated properly.  If you camp or fish a lot, and take cold products/drinks with you, you will not find a cooler that protects your cold products better than a Yeti.  PFT suggests you consider this an investment.