The best coolers in the UK 2023

In the hot sun at the beach or in the backyard, when a warm drink just won't cut it anymore, having a cooler in your arsenal to deal with the heat becomes a must. Whether you're looking to invest in a high-end cooler or just want something reliable and affordable, this guide will help you find the right model for you. Whether you're looking for an electric cooler or a classic cooler, find what you need among our suggestions.

Coleman Xtreme 100 QT 1

Editor's Choice

Coleman Xtreme 100 QT

The best cooler in 2021

The Coleman Xtreme 100 QT cooler keeps food and drinks cool when you're on a weekend camping trip or a beach getaway. This model can keep ice intact for up to a week.

110 £ on Amazon

With a whopping 91L capacity (the equivalent of 130 cans of Coke!), a child could snuggle up inside the Coleman Xtreme 100 QT cooler. At first glance, this model looks like a large plastic cooler (92 cm long and weighing 7.4 kg), but there are some interesting hidden features. First of all, the polyurethane insulation used is essential to its performance and particularly dense, filling the internal cavity without leaving an air gap.

If you fill this cooler with bulk ice, there's a clever drain plug at the base to drain the water when the ice melts after five daysaccording to Coleman. This cooler would also make a great seat. Even adults can sit safely on the lid, with easy access to the 4 cup holders. Finally, the handles on each end are sturdy and easy to use.

Lifewit soft-sided cooler 2

Best entry-level

Lifewit soft-sided cooler

The best entry-level cooler

The good thing about soft-sided coolers like this one from Lifewit is that they are much easier to transport than hard-sided models. However, they will not keep your food cooler for more than 24 hours.

31,99 £ on Amazon

As you read through the reviews, you'll see that buyers love this Lifewit soft-sided cooler for many reasons. Stylish and deep enough to hold the equivalent of 40L of food or drink, it's big enough to accompany a family on a picnic. Lifewit says food and drinks will stay cool in this bag for 12 hours and ice will probably start to melt after 6 hours, normal for a soft-sided cooler.

To make the Lifewit soft-sided cooler easier to carry, the manufacturer added a detachable padded shoulder strap. The carrying handles are also padded. This soft-sided cooler has mesh side pockets for easy access.

Mobicool MCF60 3

Best high-end

Mobicool MCF60

The best high-end cooler

Cool your food and drinks to your heart's content with the Mobicool MCF60 compressor cooler. This electric model has additional features: temperature control, control panel and digital temperature display.

371 £ on Amazon

The Mobicool MCF60 is an electric cooler with an adjustable temperature range from +20 °C to -10 °C. It reaches its target temperature quite quickly. The easy-to-use interface and digital temperature monitor allow for convenient cooling to a precise temperature. With a storage capacity of 58 L, you won't run out of space to store about 15 1.5 L bottles standing up.

Equipped with a fully hermetic compressor and compact design, the Mobicool MCF60 offers exceptional cooling performance. To further enhance the comfort of use, you have an LED light that illuminates the interior of the electric cooler and a removable lid.

IGLOO Polar Cooler Family 4


IGLOO Polar Cooler Family

Extra large capacity cooler

The large size of this cooler means it can hold a lot of food or drinks. You'll need to carry it with two or more people. But it can be used at a party or a large sporting event.

124 £ on Amazon

The IGLOO Polar Cooler Family is for those looking for a large cooler with good cooling capacity at a reasonable price. This model has a capacity of 114 L and measures 97 x 44 x 45 cm. It has an Ultratherm coating on the entire inner wall, including the lid. On the same lid, the outer wall of the lid is lined with UV inhibitors to combat sun damage. IGLOO claims that this cooler can maintain optimal cooling for 5 days.

Other features include a stain and odor resistant liner, a threaded drain plug and side handles for easy carrying. These are reinforced swivel handles with a tie-down loop. When it comes to cleaning, the IGLOO Polar Cooler Family handles mild detergents very well.

Buying guide • November 2023

Best cooler

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The best cooler in 2021

The best entry-level cooler

The best high-end cooler

Extra large capacity cooler

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Comparison table of the best coolers

Coleman Xtreme 100 QT 5
Lifewit soft-sided cooler 6
Mobicool MCF60 7
IGLOO Polar Cooler Family 8
Coleman Xtreme 100 QT
Lifewit soft-sided cooler
Mobicool MCF60
IGLOO Polar Cooler Family
The Coleman Xtreme 100 QT cooler keeps food and drinks cool when you're on a weekend camping trip or a beach getaway. This model can keep ice intact for up to a week.
The good thing about soft-sided coolers like this one from Lifewit is that they are much easier to transport than hard-sided models. However, they will not keep your food cooler for more than 24 hours.
Cool your food and drinks to your heart's content with the Mobicool MCF60 compressor cooler. This electric model has additional features: temperature control, control panel and digital temperature display.
The large size of this cooler means it can hold a lot of food or drinks. You'll need to carry it with two or more people. But it can be used at a party or a large sporting event.
Hard-sided cooler
Soft-sided cooler
Electric cooler
Hard-sided cooler
91 L
40 L
58 L
114 L
Dimensions (L x W x H)
92 x 41 x 43 cm
43 x 10 x 29 cm
68 x 44 x 47 cm
97 x 44 x 45 cm
Insulating material
PU foam
PEVA lining
PU foam
PU foam
No load weight
7.4 kg
1.08 kg
18,4 kg
9.03 kg

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How to choose your cooler

When researching the purchase of a cooler, there are a few things to consider when making the right choice.

#1 - Insulating capacity

One of the main features that differentiate coolers from one another is their insulating capacity. Simply put, this is the ability of a cooler to keep ice frozen. Thicker walls provide better insulation.So look for models with walls and lids that don't compress easily when pressure is applied. Vulnerability to compression can allow air to seep in. As an added bonus, a sturdy cooler will also work as a seat.

#2 - Size

Ifwe want to talk about performance, we also need to talk about size. While some sizes are more popular than others (30L, for example), there really is no uniformity among coolers when it comes to size and shape. In addition to determining how many beer cans each will hold, size and shape will also impact insulation capacity.After all, for the same amount of ice, a 50L cooler will have a bigger job to do than a 30L cooler.

#3 - Material of construction

Whileyou can still buy simple Styrofoam versions, most conventional coolers are made from 2 pieces of plastic sandwiching a layer of thick hard foam. Depending on the thickness of the plastic and foam, and the quality of the seal connecting these pieces, different levels of insulation are achieved.Newer models are instead rotationally molded. This is a new manufacturing process that increases the insulation prowess.

#4 - Opening/closing system

Eachcooler is designed to hold items and food that you will eventually want to retrieve. So it's important to be able to open it easily when you want it easily. At the same time, no one is going to want a model that is too easy to open and pops open at the slightest bump. So the way a lock works is an important consideration. Some models have hard plastic latches that can be pushed, pulled or squeezed to operate. These plastic latches tend to be fairly simple to use and can be used by a child as well as an elderly person.

#5 - Portability

Another important factor, which contributes to the ease of use of your cooler, is how well you can take it with you, especially when it's loaded with a ton of ice, drinks and food. Most heavy-duty coolers are quite heavy, even when empty . So filling a 60L model to the brim will require an extra pair of arms. Unless, of course, your cooler has wheels!

However, wheels won't solve all the problems, because at some point you'll have to take your cooler to load it into the car, take it down the stairs, etc. This aspect is often overlooked when making a purchasing decision. Handles should also be sturdy and easy to grip. Make sure the design and placement of the handle makes it easy to carry.

Additional features to look for in a cooler

Beyond the basic essentials of having a functional model, there may be several features that can be perfectly suited to your life. Many coolers come, or are customizable, with a myriad of different features. Anglers may appreciate a pole measuring tool included along the lid, others might be interested in models with cup holders, and partygoers will likely love a bottle opener affixed right to the side.

The addition of an inner basket or bin to keep certain foods dry or small items easily accessible is a great feature. Cocktail lovers also appreciate this feature to keep some of the ice clean for certain frozen drinks. Some manufacturers go all out by adding a cutting board, an extra dry storage bin that attaches directly to the lid, and even a bike rack for a rolling chest.

Your cooler will probably spend a lot of time in the sun, so it would make sense for it to be protected from harsh UV rays. UV rays from the sun are a major contributor to the degradation of plastic. When plastic degrades, it tends to yellow and crack, becoming brittle and losing strength. UV-treated coolers are able to withstand sun exposure without fading too quickly, making them a more durable investment.

While most hard-sided coolers can simply be tipped over when the ice has melted, this is not always possible with larger coolers, nor is it practical when the cooler is still full. A cooler with a drain pan allows you to remove the drain plug and release any excess water without having to empty the contents.

The different types of coolers

There are different types of coolers, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Think about the situations for which you will need the cooler and you will find the type that will work best for you.

Soft-sided coolers

Soft-sided coolers tend to be shaped like a hard bag. They have excellent portability and tend to have useful carrying features such as bag-style straps, hip-friendly shapes or even backpack-like designs. They are generally smaller and are intended for 1-4 people for a single day of use.

Soft-sided coolers have less insulating power than hard-sided coolers, but are not intended for long-term food storage. They're great for personal use, like hiking to lunch on top of a hill, bringing snacks and beach refreshments, or carrying cold beers to your friend's barbecue. If this sounds like what you're looking for, this type of cooler is for you.

Hard-sided coolers

Traditional hard-sided coolers are the type of cooler most of us have in mind when we talk about coolers. They come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, but also in a wide variety of prices! Hard-sided models are generally less portable than their soft-sided counterparts, and tend to be larger. They are a great solution for feeding a large family or a whole group of friends. Many have a high insulating capacity to make your ice last for days.

Electric coolers

Electric coolers are fairly new models and bring a whole new dimension to the portable refrigeration industry. Electric coolers are more like a refrigerator than a traditional model, and many require no ice to keep your travel meals and snacks cool. They typically plug into your car's DC outlet, and some models can even freeze food. The best electric cooler models can cost over $1,000.

Hard-sided coolers or soft-sided coolers?

Hard-sided coolers

Hard-sided coolers can be made from either metal or rotationally molded hard plastic. This manufacturing process involves a mold filled with hot plastic that is then continuously rotated to ensure uniformity throughout the mold.

Hard-sided coolers are ideal for heavy or extended use, as they can withstand the wear and tear required in harsher environments. They are also known for their ice retention and tend to keep their contents cooler for longer.

Soft-sided coolers

Soft-sided coolers are made from durable fabrics such as vinyl and polyester and are available in a wide range of shapes and sizes, all with a capacity of less than 40L. Soft-sided coolers are typically measured by the amount of cans they can hold. These collapsible coolers take up minimal space and can fold flat when not in use.

Soft-sided coolers are frequently used for daily lunches, short day trips and picnics. Their small size means they are not suitable for carrying large quantities of food and drink.


Soft-sided coolers are economical, lightweight and easy to transport, so if you're looking for a quick and easy way to cool your drinks, this is the best cooler design for you. Compared to soft-sided coolers, hard-sided coolers are often larger in size and have a greater storage capacity, which is usually measured in volume.

Although these coolers have a higher price tag than soft-sided coolers, they are likely to have more features that make them useful in outdoor situations such as camping, barbecues and travel.

Why buy a good cooler?

It's easy to carry

When you think of a cooler, you probably imagine lugging something heavy outside just to enjoy a few cans of cold beer, and wonder if it's really worth it. However, modern coolers are designed to be easy to carry around and are incredibly lightweight thanks to manufacturing materials like plastic and polyurethane foam.

It can hold a lot of food and drinks

If you're in charge of bringing the cooler, you want to make sure it's a cooler with enough space to feed a lot of people. The good news is that coolers come in impressive sizes with a capacity of 30L, 50L or more. There is enough space for everything you need.

It can also be used as a means of transportation

A wheeled cooler can help you bring more than just your food. It can become a rolling luggage rack on which you can place a backpack or other heavy equipment. Better yet, have the kids sit on top and give them a ride they won't forget. Meanwhile, your food and drinks stay fresh inside.

It keeps your food organized

Camping or picnicking is all about organization and when you have food organized, it will make a huge difference. Many modern coolers have different compartments to store everything separately. This means less thinking and more fun to enjoy your outing.

It will last a lifetime

A quality cooler made from durable materials can last a lifetime, literally, so it's a wise investment. You can pass on your favorite cooler to your children to enjoy on their own. Electric coolers are also designed to last as long as their internal mechanisms will allow, with most having warranties of a few years or more.

The best brands of coolers

In our opinion, the best brands of coolers in 2022 are :


IGLOO is a company that has been manufacturing coolers since 1945. It is the industry leader in portable cooling. IGLOO has been instrumental in redefining the way we live, work and play. The object that started out bringing clean water to construction sites quickly evolved into super-functional coolers.

Coleman is anAmerican brand of outdoor recreation products. In particular, it specializes in camping equipment and accessories. Its catalog includes portable stoves, lanterns, sleeping bags, camping chairs, and coolers, among others. When it comes to coolers in particular, Coleman's models are diverse enough to satisfy any budget.

Mobicoolwas founded in 1991 on a very simple idea: to make coolers that are fun to use, stylish and great value for money. Mobicool coolers are all sturdy, reliable and easy to use.

Everyoneknows Campingaz for its barbecues. But this brand is also one of the first to have created an electric cooler that is truly adapted to stays in the great outdoors (picnics, camping, outdoor activities and outings...). A reference in the field.

Lifewitis not as familiar a brand as IGLOO and Coleman in the cooler market, but it has a decent line of insulated bags and insulated backpacks, which can perfectly serve as a cooler for day trips.

What is the price for a cooler

The diagram below will help you to get an idea of the typical prices for each price range (entry-level, mid-range and high-end).

However, more expensive does not necessarily mean better.

We therefore advise you to always consult our ranking before deciding, rather than blindly relying on price ranges.

20 £ to 100 £
100 £ to 200 £
more than 200 £
Price range diagram


Pre-cool your contents

Anything that goes into the cooler will need to have spent several hours (preferably overnight) in your refrigerator. If you're planning a long trip, consider freezing some items that you won't use until later in the trip or things that can be easily used frozen like grated cheese.

Plan for an ice-to-food ratio

Fillthe trunk 2/3 full of ice cubes to make it last, especially if you use regular ice cubes. You can use a less extreme ratio with some types of ice.

Keep your cooler in the shade

Thismay seem obvious, but it's easy to forget this tip, as the sun changes position throughout the day. The interior of your car doesn't count as shade. It's also important to consider the temperature of the surface you're putting your cooler on, as it will transfer to the bottom of your cooler and prematurely melt the ice inside. It is best to avoid hot sand and asphalt.

Minimize the time you open the cooler

Try toopen your cooler lid as few times as possible and do so when the temperature outside is low. You may want to pair your extended camping cooler with a smaller personal cooler that you can load in the morning with the items you'll need for lunch.

Plan to replace the ice

Many rotomolded models accept dry ice, which is much colder and lasts much longer than regular ice. If your cooler isn't designed for dry ice or you can't get it, try using reusable freezer packs. They also tend to stay colder longer, take up less space than traditional ice and even create less of a mess when they melt.


How long can you keep food in a cooler?

This will depend on the style of coolerand whether it works with or without ice. But generally speaking, hard-sided coolers can keep your food cool for an average of five days. Electric coolers can last as long as they have power.

How do you clean a cooler?

Youshould clean your cooler as soon as possible after using it. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to clean it, as stains and odors will become more and more stubborn inside.

  • When cleaning the cooler, start with a general cleaning. Take warm water and mix it with soap to create a bubbly solution and wipe the inside of the cooler with a sponge.
  • After this general cleaning, the smell may remain. To solve this problem, use a diluted solution of bleach and tap water. You will let the solution marinate in the cooler for at least 24 hours.
  • Finally, after removing the water and wiping again with a cloth, leave the lid open to allow it to air dry.

Can you use dry ice in a cooler?

Yes,but not all models are suitable for storing dry ice. Pay close attention to the characteristics of the product. Dry ice will provide maximum retention on its own or when used in combination with regular ice. Also, be careful when handling dry ice. Wear protective gloves to avoid freezer burns.

How does an electric cooler work?

An electric cooler is a cooler that operates without ice, but uses a two-compartment unit that transfers heat from one to the other. As the heat moves, one side stays cold and the other becomes warm. It requires a continuous electric current to operate. Non-electric coolers use insulating materials and ice packs to keep your food cool.


Note: Below are some of the sources we have consulted in writing this article. Links to other sites are not continuously updated. It is therefore possible that a link may not be found. Please use a search engine to find the desired information.
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See more


March 2022 : Translation of this buying guide from our partner

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Our selection
Coleman Xtreme 100 QT 9
Coleman Xtreme 100 QT
Lifewit soft-sided cooler 10
Lifewit soft-sided cooler
Mobicool MCF60 11
Mobicool MCF60
IGLOO Polar Cooler Family 12
IGLOO Polar Cooler Family


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