Best Coolers For Boating In 2020 

Written by Paul

Our editors independently researched & tested all of these boat coolers mentioned in this article to find the top ones available. We only recommend what we believe are the best. We may receive a commission on purchases made through our links (at no extra cost to you) More information

In a rush & just want to see the top picks?

Best Overall: Engel Cooler Dry Box

Best Small Lightweight Cooler: AO Original Soft Cooler

Best Heavy Duty Cooler: YETI Tundra 45 Cooler

Best Cooler For Easy Maneuvering : Coleman 100 Quart Xtreme

Best For Ice Retention Time: Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler (36 quartz)

Best For Fishing: Igloo Marine Contour Cooler

Worth Mentioning: RTIC Cooler 45 QT

Planning a boating trip soon and want to keep the beers cool and fresh? Or maybe you are planning a fishing trip and want to keep the fish you catch as fresh as possible?

Well, we've compiled a list of the best coolers for boating in 2020. Don't worry as we've found something for all budgets so you can ensure your next trip on the water will be great and most importantly, your fish or beer will be freezing or whatever temperature you want them to be.

Who wouldn't enjoy an ice cold drink on a hot summers day while out fishing with your buddies? Or a simple cooler to keep your lunch dry while out on your boat enjoying the fresh sea water.

These coolers will aren't restricted to boating. You can use them pretty much anywhere from a day on the beach to climbing terrains.

So let's dig into the list. And don't worry, there are plenty of options!

Igloo Marine Contour Cooler

igloo marine cooler

The Igloo Marine Contour Cooler is the first on our list. This is an awesome option for protection against the sun's UV's if there is no shelter on your boat.

There is also a great fish measuring ruler molded into the lid so you can brag about the size of the fish you catch.

The material of this cooler can withstand harsh marine climates and comes with boat ready features like rust proof stainless steel screws and UV  protection so the sun doesn't melt the material or severely impair it's functionality.

To summarize it's features: 

  • 2 handles for carrying
  • Weighs just over 5 pounds
  • UV protective material
  • Dimensions of 20.3 x 10.5 x 13.1 inches

Pros

  • Price friendly
  • UV protective material
  • Relatively lightweight
  • Enough storage for fish, food or beers/cans
  • Sturdy & Durable
  • Fish measuring built into lid

Cons

  • Hinges can be vulnerable to damage
  • Ideal for day trips and not much longer before ice melts
  • Doesn't come with wheels so you must carry it

Check Price On Amazon

Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler (36 Quartz)


igloo marine ultra cooler

Next on the list is from the Igloo brand again. It's the Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler. (36 quartz) This cooler is great value for money and has some great features including:

This cooler comes in many sizes so it's important to be aware of the exact measurements of the one you choose in size. All the features we are mentioning come with the one we purchased (the 36-quartz)

In some of the other sizes, the drain plug does not come with this cooler so please keep that in mind.

Pros

  • Stain and odor resistant liner
  • Reinforced comfort grip handles
  • Ultratherm Insulated in body and lid keeps ice frozen for up to 5 days
  • Drain Plug on 36 quartz model makes draining easy
  • Good storage with up to 140 12-oz cans

Cons

  • Does Not come with drain plugs on all models/sizes

Check Price On Amazon

AO Original Soft Cooler


AO  Boat Coolers

Another great option is the AO Original Soft Cooler with high density insulation. This is an ideal option for people wanting smaller storage options. There are multiple options from 12 can to 48 can.

We purchased the 12 can so all features mentioned are specific to the 12 can size. Features include:

This smaller option is a great choice for a "carry on" cooler and can be carried like any bag. It also comes with a side pocket for some extra storage.

It can hold ice for 24 hours in 120 degree heat.  The interior comes in closed cell foam. For those that want to use a cooler for more than just boating, you can also use this as a carry on with airlines.

The 12 can version can also hold up to 5 pounds of ice.

Pros

  • Great and more flexible cooler option that can be used quite a lot
  • Great pricing
  • Great material to handle harsh environments
  • 24 hours cooling in heat
  • Stylish looking with multiple colors available

Cons

  • Only ideal as a smaller cooler

Check Price On Amazon

Engel Cooler 19 QT

Engel Cooler 19 QT

The next is the Amazon choice Engel Cooler 19 QT. This is our pick as best overall for all boating needs. Use it to keep your lunch box cool, your fish fresh, your drinks ice cold and enjoy a day on the water.

The industrial grade materials the Engel cooler is built with helps it to withstand the harsh environments when out boating.

Features include: 

Popular among commercial dives and fisherman, this Engel cooler will be a great option to keep your items cool or dry.

Pros

  • Industrial grade material
  • Multiple Color Options
  • Plenty of storage
  • Built with boating in mind
  • Leak proof
  • Lightweight
  • Stain & Odor Resistant
  • Easy to clean
  • Beautiful design

Cons

  • Screws on strap corrosion after some use
Check Price On Amazon

Coleman 100 Quart Xtreme

Coleman 100 Quartz

Another Amazon best seller that made it onto our list is the Coleman 100 Quart Xtreme 5 Day heavy duty cooler. It was a tough decision picking between this and the one above as the top cooler overall.

From the image alone, you'll notice the wheels which automatically makes it easier to carry it around or wheel it around in this case.

Some of the features include: 

  • Keeps ice up to 5 days at temps up to 90°F thanks to an insulated lid and extra insulation in walls
  • Heavy duty wheels can handle rough terrains
  • Leak-resistant channel drain lets you remove excess water without tilting the cooler
  • Seat lid support up to 250 pounds (so you can use it as a seat) 
  • Made in the USA with low CO2 insulation for reduced carbon emissions from foam manufacturing
  • Large tow handle
  • Dimensions are 36.5 x 16.8 x 17.2 inches

This larger storage cooler can store up to 160 cans and has a molded cup holders on top of it. It's on the heavier side at 18 pounds empty but having the wheels to move it along should help with that.

Pros

  • Drain plug makes for easy draining
  • Made with Thermozone insulation that contains no toxic CFCs, HFCs, or HCFCs
  • Wheels built in help with maneuvering
  • Plenty of storage with room for up to 160 cans or plenty of fish
  • Well insulated to keep things dry/fresh/frozen.
  • Can be used as a seat for those under 250 pounds
  • Built in cup holders means you can enjoy a cold drink while sitting on it and fishing at the same time
  • Rustproof, leak-resistant channel drain for no-tilt easy draining

Cons

  • Even with wheels, it's a heavier option
  • Balancing wheels on ground can sometimes be difficult

Check Price On Amazon

RTIC Cooler 45QT


rtic boat cooler

The next to make it onto the list is the RTIC Cooler 45 QT. This best seller has a great ability at retaining ice and keeping things cool and fresh for long periods of time.

Some of the features include:

  • Impact resistant material
  • Roto molded construction
  • Heavy duty T latches
  • Rapid V drain system
  • Up to 3 inches of insulated walls
  • Integrated locking system
  • Cool lift design
  • No fail hinges
  • Dimensions 26.5" x 16.5" x 16"

This heavy duty cooler will keep things cool and safe with it's integrated locking system.

Pros

  • Integrated locking system
  • Highly durable
  • Insulated interior for keeping things cooler for longer
  • 5 days ice retention (assuming you aren't opening the lid often)
  • Works great in hot climates

Cons

  • Handle can wear after some use

Yeti Tundra 45 Cooler


yeti tundra boat cooler

The final to make it onto the list is the Yeti Tundra 45 Cooler. If you checked out the cooler just above this,they look almost identical (except for the logo)

Some of the features include:

  • Fatwall design (extra thick walls hold up to 2 inches of insulation
  • Permafrost Insulation (pressure injected commercial grade polyurethane foam)
  • Rotomolded construction making it indestructible
  • Dimensions of 25 1/2" long x 16" wide x 15 ½" high
  • Empty weight of 23 pounds

Pros

  • Integrated locking system
  • Highly durable
  • Insulated interior for keeping things cooler for longer
  • 5 days ice retention (assuming you aren't opening the lid often)
  • Works great in hot climates

Cons

  • On the heavier side at 23 pounds empty

What To Consider Before Buying A Cooler For Boating

TYPE OF MATERIAL

This one is self evident. You'll want to make sure it's of a durable material to withstand the punishing environment of being on the water.

It's also important that the cooler can withstand hot climates with ideally UV protective material to help cope with the heat.

The most import part of the material is that it's leak proof and this is very important when buying a cooler as you obviously don't want it to leak out or melt the ice inside.

Size Of Storage

Another important thing to keep in mind is the storage capabilities of the cooler. This will vary depending on individual needs but you'll want to make sure you have enough space to fit everything you want.

Ideally, you should choose to get one with larger storage as you might not have thought of everything you need to store in it and it's best to have that extra space than not.

Price

As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. The list compiled above offers some great options at affordable prices but if you want to pick your own cooler, ideally you'll find one within a good price range. Typically you'll get a great one between $80 -$200

Features

Another thing to consider when searching for the best cooler for your boat is what features it has. From the list above you can see these modern coolers have some great features and some even have multiple purposes like acting as a chair and a drinks holder at the same time.

You should make sure that whatever cooler you find has plenty of features to help keep your stuff dry or cool.

Weight Of The Cooler

Finally, you'll also want to consider the weight of the cooler when buying one. Make sure and read the fine print as these can get quite heavy.

The coolers mentioned above all range between 5 -20 pounds so they aren't on the extreme end. But there are some coolers where you'd be better carrying a fridge around with you. (okay, maybe a bit exaggerated but you get the idea) 

Color

You may notice when browsing through the lost of coolers above that different colors are different prices (even for the same make)

This is because white is considered the most durable cooler with the sun's uv rays so it's ideal to get your favorite cooler in the white color for extra durability.

Conclusion

Ideally, you have an idea for some of the best coolers for boating on the market today. Remember to ensure you get the right size storage for your own specific needs.

These are the coolers we tested for quality and durability and what we believe to be the top ones to keep your beer cool and your fish fresh.

So have a great boating trip with whatever cooler you buy and remember to keep cool.