Ao Cooler Reviews
Last Updated by Brandon F. on June 19, 2019
This is a listing of all Ao Coolers for sale that have been reviewed and we also list what we think are the best Ao Coolers with our internal ranking system. Ao is known for specializing exclusively in soft-sided coolers and have a pretty wide and varied selection to choose from.
- 1 Ao Cooler Reviews
- 1.1 Ao Cooler Lineup
- 1.2 Great Mobility
- 1.3 Easy to Carry
- 1.4 Variety of Colors and Styles
- 1.5 Big Range of Sizes
- 1.6 Keep Things Simple
- 1.7 AO Coolers vs. Yeti
- 1.8 General Product Information
- 1.9 Ao Backpack Cooler Review
- 1.10 Ao Carbon Cooler Review
- 1.11 Ao Vinyl Cooler Review
- 1.12 Ao Canvas Cooler Review
These are widely considered one of the higher-end soft-sided coolers on the market and for good reason: they are known for being of great quality, having attractive looks, and most importantly having good and efficient cooling ability despite what many would consider a “shortcoming” in not having hard, plastic insulation.
In addition, Ao has recently rolled out the new hard-sided coolers that they have dubbed the Everest Series.
Sometimes finding the proper soft-sided cooler can be quite a challenge but we definitely recommend you check out Ao if you are in the market for one (and now also if you are in the market for a hard-sided cooler!). Also, we recommend that you check out some of the other companies that we have reviewed that specialize in premium soft-sided coolers such as Arctic Zone and Polar Bear.
Ao Cooler Lineup
Like most cooler brands, Ao has had a variety of cooler types over the years. Currently, Ao offers classic coolers in the following series: Canvas, Vinyl, Hunter, and Carbon. They also have a variety of backpack coolers, motorcycle saddlebags, and even hybrid soft-sided coolers. Each series comes with its own unique traits. We will go over some of the more popular ones below.
Ao also recently rolled out their first line of hard-sided coolers which they have dubbed the Everest Series. At this point in time, they are limited to 80-quart models.
One thing that all Ao coolers do quite well is excel in their ability to easily be moved around. Since they are made of lightweight materials and are also quite flexible it means that they can be conveniently transported by just about anybody.l. It also opens them up to tons of great applications where mobility might be a limiting factor.
Examples of this include being stored under a car or boat seat, being tucked on the back of a motorcycle, or being inserted into a locker. They are often used for picnic trips or to pack a lunch for the ballgame, and the larger sizes can even be used for a short weekend excursion.
There are plenty of people who don’t need the extra long-term cooling capabilities of the bulky plastic coolers on the market and just need something to keep their items cool for a day of tailgating or lounging by the pool. Giving up a few days of ice retention for something that is much more mobile is a fair trade-off to a lot of people.
Easy to Carry
Nearly all Ao coolers have multiple carrying handles, which means that they are a breeze to transport. You can typically choose from an overhead carrying handle or the larger shoulder strap. And since they are made of such lightweight construction you don’t have to worry about straining much, even when they are full.
Also, you don’t have to dread the hard plastic banging against your side or your knees while carrying, which can be a common annoyance when carrying a cooler around. The fabric used is soft and much more shin and arm-friendly.
Variety of Colors and Styles
Looking for a unique color or fabric to stand out from the crowd? Ao has quite a few styling choices which mean that no matter what sort of aesthetics you are into they likely have a design that fits your needs. Many people also consider them to be quite sleek as they don’t have a bunch of side pockets and features to take away from the core look.
You don’t have to settle for a plain white cooler anymore! There are even different fabric textures so a black carbon series will look totally different than a black vinyl series. Many of these look quite professional and would go well in a business setting.
Big Range of Sizes
When people typically think of soft-sided coolers they picture small products that can only handle a few drinks or an individual’s lunch. Ao breaks the mold and offers a pretty nice variety of sizes, ranging from tiny bags all the way up to coolers that can fit 48 cans! This means that no matter what your needs are there is likely a size that will work for you. And all sizes stick to the same general design and approach that Ao has stood by for years.
Keep Things Simple
Ao, for the most part, is very straightforward with the design of their products. You won’t find tons of gadgets and external pockets on these coolers. The vast majority of the storage will come from the primary insulated storage area. This is actually a bit refreshing since it is obvious Ao knows what they need to focus on what areas to keep out of their designs.
AO Coolers vs. Yeti
We are constantly asked how AO Coolers compare to the big dog of the cooler world, Yeti. More specifically, people want to know how AO Coolers compare to the Yeti Hopper and its many sizes.
While both are quality products, there are some major differences between them. Because of this, they may potentially hit different target audiences. So the first thing you need to do is figure out what you are looking for. Are you after maximum ice life at any cost? Are you looking for a product that will last for many years without issue? Are you trying to find a decent-performing soft-sided cooler that won’t break the bank? Once you have an idea of answers to these questions then you will be able to determine if an AO Cooler or a Yeti Cooler is right for you.
First, let’s start with AO Coolers. They range in size from around 12 quarts up to 60. And the maximum ice life should be around a day or so. They are made of quality components but aren’t designed to be put through the absolute extremes that Mother Nature can throw at you. And the asking price is competitive for the higher-end soft-sided cooler market.
Yeti Hoppers actually have a pretty similar size range. You have options as small as the Flip 8 (designed to hold 8 cans) all the way up to the robust Hopper Two 40. The materials used are top-notch and Yeti believes that their soft-sided coolers can go through just about anything you can throw at them. However, the ice life is bumped up, potentially reaching into the multiple days in optimal conditions. Finally, the asking price is much higher.
We think both products are good and fit their respected niches. As for which we would recommend? If you are looking for a decent-all around soft-sided cooler that can keep ice for a day or so then go with AO. The cost savings you will enjoy will be significant compared to the Yeti Hopper. Conversely, if you are after some of the absolute best that soft-sided coolers have to offer (multiple days of ice life, extremely tough build quality, etc.) and are willing to pay any price for it, then Yeti is the way to go.
No matter which you choose, both of these products are ready to hit the great outdoors in style!
General Product Information
Products Reviewed: Ao Backpack, Ao Carbon cooler, Ao Vinyl Cooler, Ao Canvas Cooler
Range of storage sizes: 12 quarts to 60 quarts
Range of estimated ice life: up to 24 hours
Materials used: plastic, nylon, and vinyl
Price range: Intermediate to Premium
Wheeled options? No
Company website: https://www.aocoolers.com/
Links to ALL of our Ao Cooler Reviews can be found below:
Ao Backpack Cooler Review
A great-performing backpack that has an acceptable cooling ability and is tough enough to hold up to typical wear and tear for quite some time. It is a bit expensive for the amount of storage that it has, but if you are willing to pay the premium price it should meet most of your needs.
Pros:Mostly water-resistant, extremely mobile, uses tough materials, very attractive look
Cons:A bit short on ice life, quite expensive
Ao Carbon Cooler Review
This is a very classy-looking cooler that does an alright job of ice retention and the build quality and materials are good enough, albeit it is a bit on the large side for a given size. Also, the price is somewhat high so we wouldn’t mind if its performance was bumped up a notch or two. It’s still not a terrible choice, however.
Pros: Waterproof, multiple carrying options, strong fabric, very attractive
Cons: A bit large for what it carries, not many external features, a bit expensive
Ao Vinyl Cooler Review
A tough product that has a good ice life for being a soft-sided cooler, while adhering to some of the benefits that those types of coolers bring. It does fall a bit short in the looks category, though. However, for someone looking for a rugged but still somewhat mobile cooling so,lution this should do the trick.
Pros: Great cooling ability, two carrying choices, strong material
Cons: Still prone to scratches, not many external features, looks are questionable
Ao Canvas Cooler Review
A very “average” cooler in just about every sense of the word. It will keep items cool for long enough period of time to be useful and the build quality isn’t terrible, but there are several minor complaints that we wish weren’t there for its intermediate price.
Pros: Acceptable cooling ability, multiple carrying options, many color choices
Cons: Fabric is prone to tearing, weak should strap, occasionally has odd folds in material