We are always on the hunt for the best coolers for summer, researching dozens of different brands and models for the upcoming season. Living in a harsh climate such as Australia means plenty of hot days well over 40 degrees and what better way to cool down at the beach or backyard than with ice cold beverages.
The best coolers for summer are often the ones less talked about so we've put together this guide of 5 of the very best that have been tested to their max on how they keep food cold, how long ice lasts and how heavy they are for carrying around.
Whatever you need an icebox for, there will be a cooler below with your name on it, to suit every budget or use case.
Best Coolers For Summer
1. Coleman Extreme Wheeled Cooler
An effective and efficient cooler is a must-have for a successful camping trip, or even a day out on the beach or for a barbeque. There is nothing worse than drinking warm beer and having your perishables swimming in rapidly warming water because this ice has melted away on Day 1 of your holiday or even by the time you’re ready to eat lunch!
The Coleman Extreme will never let you down like that. It's been designed and built with technology which keeps your food and drinks cold for up to 5 days due to the extra-thick insulation material in the lid and walls. Its ice retention capabilities will insulate the cooler in outside temperatures up to 32+ degrees Celsius.
It’s also an extra-large cooler, it’s really big: 36.6 x 16.4 x 18.6cms. It can hold the equivalent of 95 cans. That’s a lot of items for an average size group of people. The cooler weighs just shy of 32g empty.
The cooler has 5 sturdy wheels and a strong tow handle for easy portability across any terrain. Lifting is not a problem with its 2 two-way handles.
Once at your destination the lid becomes a handy seat or table with 4 deep cup holders moulded into the lid for spill-safe drinking.
The cooler has a rust-proof, leak-proof channel drain in its base which empties it right down to the last drop – no need to tilt it or hold it upside down.
The Colemen Extreme is certainly one to beat the competition. It’s about as large as a cooler can comfortably be but doesn’t suffer any of the inconveniences you’d imagine might go with that size.
2. Coleman 2 Way Handles Picnic Cooler
Designed to hold the ice intact and the cold temperatures inside for much longer than other coolers on the market (up to 5 days), the Coleman Picnic Cooler is an ideal size for a picnic, an afternoon watching the game or a camping trip.
Coleman’s secret to their success is their use of polyurethane foam insulation in the walls and lid. The particularly dense PU insulation keeps ice for up to 5 days even in hot weather (guaranteed up to 32 degrees Celsius but known to be effective in higher temperatures). Use block ice rather than cubes and load it with pre-chilled items and you’ll experience even longer ice retention time.
The cooler can hold 106 cans or 66 litres. Its measurements are 72 x 40 x 44cm.
It has a leak-resistant channel drain to empty all the excess water with no need for tilting or turning it upside down.
The EZ-Clean smooth surface hinged lid turns into an extra seat (holding up to 113kg weight) or a table, with 4 moulded cup holders.
And carrying is pinch-free due to the two comfort-grip no-crush handles which fold down for a sleek profile when not being carried.
3. Klein Tools 55600 Work Cooler
This Tradesman Pro Tough Lunchbox Cooler from Klein Tools is designed with the tough conditions of the construction site and tradie in mind. Designed to keep food and drinks cool for up to 30 hours, its main compartment holds a generous 18 cans or 16 litres plus ice. Used with an ice block rather than ice cubes the cooler will keep contents cool for longer periods.
The stainless-steel rustproof lid is recessed to allow for tall 1-litre bottles to stand upright in the cooler, and it’s hinged for easy access. The lid will open to a full 180 degrees and has spaces whilst open for storing accessories like phone, keys, eating utensils, bottle openers and so on. It stays open at 90 degrees for uninterrupted access.
When the lid is closed it’s strong enough to be used as a seat and will hold up to 136kg.
The cooler is equipped with a handy carry strap which converts to a handle and holds the lid in place whilst being carried.
The exterior dimensions of the cooler are 42.5 x 31.8 x 34.3cm.
This cooler is ideal for a tradie’s long day on the job.
4. Klein Tools 55650 Cooler Tough Box
From Klein Tools comes the cooler lunchbox that every tradie wants and needs for long days on the site. Built to keep food and drinks cool on the hottest of days the Tough Box holds a huge 72 cans or 40 bottles (45 litres).
Using the supplied ice-pack/block the tough box will keep contents cool, and dry, for 30+ hours. A sealing gasket ensures that the cold air is retained inside the cooler. And heavy-duty rubber latches keep the lid sealed tightly shut.
The stainless-steel lid rust-proof hinged lid stays upright with stainless-steel wire while you’re accessing the contents, and acts as a seat when closed, holding weights up to 136kg.
The handles are made from comfortable textured rubber for good grip.
The leak-resistant drain ensures that any liquid drains completely without the need for tilting.
A stainless-steel bottle opener is featured on the outside of the cooler, and the plastic freezable container is included with purchase. Side mounts hold the Klein LED work light and wireless speakers – each sold separately.
This is a BIG lunchbox which holds not only his/her lunch but also all the cold water a tradie needs for healthy hydration particularly when working in hot weather.
5. Igloo Legend Cooler
Tall and skinny the Igloo Legend cooler is a great size for packing into the car behind a seat when you’re heading out for a day at the beach or the country for a picnic.
With a 24 can capacity (that's 16 litres) it's big enough for a day trip with the family. It will hold 2 upright litre bottles as well as other food and drinks. If you use an ice pack rather than ice-cubes you’ll fit more food and drinks in and keep them cooler for longer.
The lid turns upside down into a handy tray for holding food and a cup. Or the lid is sturdy enough to be used as a seat.
The handle is a swing-up design for easy carrying and folds down flush with the cooler wall for easy and neat stacking and packing.
The cooler’s measurements are 24.1 x 33 x 38.7 cm, and it weighs 1.77kg empty.
The Igloo Legend is designed as a personal cooler really. It doesn’t boast a large capacity or a particularly long cool time.
It is designed and intended to be used for short periods – the walls are not particularly thick or well-insulated compared to the more expensive coolers on the market.
Its price point is low and therefore it cannot really be expected to perform better than it does. But it does perform to reasonable expectations which take into account the product description by the manufacturer.
Australia is hot and humid and choosing the best cooler for summer can be a difficult process but with our help we hope you can get a leg up on which one you should buy. The Coleman Extreme is our pick of the bunch, offering a wide range of features at an affordable price.
A passionate blogger, mum of three and expert in product design. She’s studied extensively in Shanghai and now lives in the Gold Coast running her own business.