All Budget Priced Coolers
This is a listing of all budget priced coolers that we have reviewed. “Budget” is defined as being coolers that are typically in the most affordable price tier in terms of dollars quart of storage volume. The reason we break the metric down into dollars per quart is to make it easier to compare the relative cost of one cooler to another. For instance, a very large cooler would typically be more expensive than a small cooler, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are getting a better bang for your buck when it comes to storage size. For convenience, we have listed out our top rated budget coolers.
Our Top Rated Budget Coolers
|Igloo Ice Cube||Sacko Insulated Cooler Bag||Arctic Zone Pro 30|
|Price by Volume (Amazon)||$||$||$|
|Ice Life||2-3 days||6-8 hours||24-36 hours|
|Our Full Review||Link||Link||Link|
In the case of budget-tier ice chests, many examples can be found for under one dollar per quart. Budget coolers come in all shapes and sizes, but will oftentimes be missing some of the unique features and accessories you might find in higher-end coolers. In addition, they will generally avoid using metal hardware and exotic fabrics so as to keep the price point low. While the overall cooling performance might not be as impressive as in the higher tiers, there are still plenty of examples that have acceptable ice life and overall build-quality.
The primary target customer of these products are those who prioritize saving money over performance and features, and will be looking for something that could potentially keep items chilled for a few hours to a couple of days in mostly non-extreme environments. Surprisingly, many of the larger cooler sizes are available in this price tier due to the relative cost per quart of storage volume.
Igloo Ice Cube
In summary, this is a solid cooler all around, and we definitely enjoyed the improved ergonomic design. While it will likely not make it to the 5-day mark for cooling ability, it still is good enough and at a price point to warrant a weekend trip with it. It also well-constructed apart from the minor handle issue and the great choice of colors and styles makes it a recommended buy from us.
Pros: Easy to transport, very durable, wheeled options available, many different color choices, great price
Cons: Not quite as long of cooling time as advertised, handle is somewhat prone to break
Arctic Zone Pro 30
This product does everything pretty well and we prefer this larger size because of the improved cooling ability. There are some notable build quality issues but the performance, features, and price are on point, making this a definite recommendation.
Pros: Acceptable cool life, very easy to access items inside, looks great
Cons: Fabric falls apart too soon, shoulder strap can be weak
Igloo Super Tough STX
For the most part, good ice life and sturdy construction as well as a decent price tag are huge plusses for these lines of coolers. While the hinges and latches look the part, they can still be the weak points in what would otherwise be a pretty bullet-proof large cooler. Despite its flaws, it is still a quality a product that we recommend.
Pros: Very well-insulated, tough outer shell, looks awesome, acceptable price
Cons: Fasteners don’t always close tightly, very heavy
Rubbermaid DuraChill Wheeled
A well-insulated cooler that still manages to be mobile, the DuraChill series hits the mark in most regards. It is well constructed enough and features such as dual handles and a dual-hinged lid makes it user-friendly. It is unfortunate that the plastic hinges are a weak point in an otherwise solid cooler. It is a bit pricier than its more bare-boned sibling but the results are noticeable.
Pros: Nice insulation, solid construction, impressive looks, good price
Cons: Too many leak paths, hinges are a bit too weak
Overall this is a simple, modular, and relatively effective cooler that can be had for a reasonable price. It won’t win any beauty contests but its effective design and helpful key features make it a buy for anybody looking for a space-saving and simple cooling solution for a small outing.
Pros: Quite good cooling ability, very mobile, lid converts to tray and cup holder, great price
Cons: Handle can be a little weak, very boring styling
These coolers perform quite well and have the insulation ability to last for a long weekend on the beach. There aren’t a ton of size choices but what is available is proven and should be large enough to fit everything you need for a couple of days. The user-friendly layout and nice build quality mean that you will get plenty of uses out of these. The price is acceptable and minor issues such as a non-insulating lid and no cup holders can easily be overlooked.
Pros: Very mobile, comfortable to carry, nice grip on handles, affordable
Cons: Cooling ability could be a little better, no cup holders
Thermos Raya Lunch Tote
This is a great-performing cooling product and should be more than large for most people’s needs. In addition, the price is more than fair for what you are getting. We do wish that there were some extra pockets to store non-chilled items and that there were some more aesthetic features or a more entertaining fabric layout but overall it is still a nice buy.
Pros: Affordable, plenty of storage space, good cooling qualities
Cons: Very bare, no external pockets
Igloo Hard Liner
This product performs surprisingly well despite its assumed limitations of being a loose soft-top that is relatively small. The build quality and portability are more than acceptable as well. The visual department could have a bit of a boost but it is not a deal-breaker, and we would recommend this to someone looking for a simple, mobile cooler.
Pros: Acceptable ice life (especially with ice pack usage), easy to store and transport, a lot of choices in color
Cons: No handle for carrying, a little too flimsy
Igloo MaxCold Duffel
A good-looking duffel but falls short on cooling ability and is really limited by its size constraints. If you can get past these struggles it is well-built enough to be able to be a go-to option for your short lunch or picnic for many trips to come, and the price shouldn’t scare you off, either.
Pros: Easy to carry around, decent build quality, looks awesome, reasonably-priced
Cons: Limited insulated volume space, intense heat can easily overwhelm it
OAGear Cooler Sports Pack
This is a handy backpack that has better-than-average cooling performance while still adhering to the mobile benefits of a traditional backpack. There are some build quality issues that are holding it back from having an even higher rating, but even after considering these the combination of cooling ability, style, and price makes this product a decent buy.
Pros: Plenty of color schemes, very mobile, multiple storage areas, great price
Cons: Weak shoulder straps, only one size
Picnic at Ascot Cooler Tote
While the cool life is quite small, this product can store a lot of items which can make it useful in certain short-term scenarios. In addition, unlike many competitors, it can hold up to being full without potential tears or rips. In addition, the price is good enough to justify trying this one out.
Pros: Plenty of storage space, decent build quality, many color and pattern choices, affordable
Cons: Very little insulation, not a lot of external features, can be a bit bulky to carry
This is a large chest that can have decent cooling ability if you get a well-assembled one. The major weak point is in the hardware. The weak hinges and handles can be a huge headache and we wish that Igloo would have upgraded these items even if it resulted in a small premium on the final product’s price. However, the price is really great which makes it still a neutral to soft buy in our book.
Pros: Great price, potential for nice cooling life
Cons: A lot of variance in seal quality, weak hinges and handles, very boring appearance
This is a decently-priced and relatively durable product that has the insulation ability to be a suitable option for a long weekend fishing trip or even a couple of days longer. The water-friendly design and materials mean that it will feel right at home in both fresh and salt water. The weak point is the handle which is notorious for breaking and this is quite unfortunate since there will be a lot of weight behind these when they are full and it would be nice to have a handle that can hold up to the demands.
Pros: Very good insulation, thick durable plastic, good price
Cons: Plastic hardware can break, quite bulky, very boring design
Yens Fantasybag Lunch Bag
The biggest selling point of this product is the price, which is very affordable. While its other attributes are nothing amazing they are good enough to justify a purchase if you are just looking for a small, lightweight, and most importantly very cheap bag to carry your items in.
Pros: Great price, very mobile, additional external storage, a lot of color choices
Cons: May have trouble fitting everything, plain design
Coleman Party Stacker
This is a unique design that is great for small, short gatherings and for locations that normally couldn’t fit a cooler. However, it comes at the cost of very poor insulation so be ready to top off with ice constantly. The price is quite reasonable though so won’t can’t be overly picky.
Pros: Extremely mobile, stackable, good price
Cons: Insulation could be a lot better, hard to get a good grip, not a lot of extra features
An affordable, simple cooler that has been around for decades, the Playmate relies on its unique design and storied history with this update. Unfortunately, it isn’t stellar at keeping things cool and you can tell that the durability took a hit with the thin plastic that was used.
Pros: Body is strong enough, classic design, affordable
Cons: Short ice life, flimsy lid, not very many features
Igloo Quick and Cool
The performance of this cooler definitely has some issues. It struggles with keeping items cold past 4 days despite higher claims and the weak handles and hinges mean that you might not get as much life out of this ice box as you would hope for. However, it is extremely affordable for such a large cooler so if you plan on needing a larger cooler for a weekend trip and don’t anticipate moving it a lot this might be a good budget option.
Pros: Great price, lots of storage space, quick-access hatch is helpful
Cons: Disappointing ice life, very difficult to carry, boring styling
EasyLunchboxes Insulated Lunch Box Cooler Bag
Lack of storage volume, poor cooling, few choices in features, and an overall boring design really turns us off from this cooler bag. In addition, the price is oftentimes now even in the budget range, where we might be more lenient towards some shortcomings.
Pros: Very light, decent build quality
Cons: Poor cooling ability, too small of storage volume, boring design
Yens Fantasybag Drawstring Cooler Backpack
The only bright spot of this backpack is its mobility and price. It struggles with keeping items cold and doesn’t really offer much other than a way to carry some items. If you are strapped for cash or do not care about having much cooling performance it might work for you but other than that don’t waste your time.
Pros: Incredibly affordable, very lightweight
Cons: Poor cooling ability, fragile construction, limited storage size, very plain looking
Sacko Insulated Cooler Bag
This is a great-performing bag for the price. It should be large enough to store just about everything you would need and comes with enough unique features such as the quick-access hatch to make it stand out from the competition. Anybody who is in the market for a soft-sided cooler should definitely check this one out.
Pros: Great price, high-quality insulation, large enough for most applications, quick-access Velcro hatch
Cons: Wish it was a little bit tougher
Rubbermaid Gott Marine
This is a very well-performing ice box with a lot of great features for a good price. It does the most important criteria (cooling) quite well and you can actually expect ice to last for a full week in optimal settings. The weak point of hinges can be overlooked when you see all of the other positives that these cooler possess.
Pros: Fantastic insulation, very tough, good grips, great price
Cons: Lid can bit a little stubborn, quite bulky
An affordable, entry-level ice box that is good for those that are looking for a product that can work for an afternoon or evening rather than multiple days. This product is well constructed and should last for several years and other than the minor issue with the lid not staying open this isn’t a big choice for a casual cooler enthusiast.
Pros: Built tough, strong handles, great price
Cons: Underwhelming ice life, lid won’t stay open, plain design
Igloo MaxCold Tote
This is a good tote for those looking for a handy and easy-to-use cooler that can keep items cold for a short period of time and at a price point that is more than digestible. There are no major qualms with construction or durability and the overall package is good enough to warrant a buy.
Pros: Actually keeps items cold for a while, very lightweight and mobile, well-priced, nice construction
Cons: No varying size options, not as rigid as most coolers
A great product for those times that you will be getting off the beaten path and need to carry large amounts of cold goods. This is a mostly well-built cooler that is very user-friendly and easy to transport. The insulation ability is good enough for several days as well, and the price is more than acceptable.
Pros: Decent job at cooling, great mobility, looks aggressive, good price
Cons: Weak hinges, no other color options
Igloo Marine Ultra
A proven, established marine cooler that has all of the features you need for our next boat trip. The huge range of sizes means there is likely something for you, and you get quite good insulation in the larger options. Overall a great range of coolers but shop around for good prices.
Pros: Overall good to very good insulation, many wheeled options, stainless steel hardware, looks very professional
Cons: Can be quite bulky, need to shop around to find good deal
These coolers perform pretty well for the price. While they are a bit more expensive than the standard Coleman chest coolers, you can enjoy significantly longer ice life which we feel is worth the slight up-charge. The plastic handles and hinges breaking are a concern and are also somewhat common with the budget coolers and it would have been nice to have a few more color options (although that is a minor issue). A good affordable starter cooler for someone needing to keep their things cool for a short weekend.
Pros: Good price for what you are getting, decent insulation, has wheels for easy transport
Cons: Weak handles, hinges can come loose, fairly plain-looking
One of the smallest hard plastic coolers you can buy, it definitely fills the void for those looking for a cooler to hold enough for a short lunch or trip outside. Insulation is lacking but that is to be expected. However, we really like the inclusion of the internal cup holders. A decent purchase for the price as long as you understand the pros and cons of such a small cooler.
Pros: Extremely mobile, great implementation of cup holders, affordable
Cons: Short ice life, very limited carrying space, not a lot of color choices
Igloo Marine Breeze
This ice chest does a pretty good job on all levels with its performance. The elevated base and tight-fitting lid mean that ice will be around for a weekend trip to even the hottest climate. It is well-constructed enough to hold up for several seasons. Opening and close the lid and rotating the handle can be a bit laborious, however, but with its decent price can be overlooked.
Pros: Good ice life, well-constructed, good price
Cons: Lid can be pretty tight, not a lot of additional features or color choices
Dalix Cooler and Lunch Bag
A decent price and acceptable cooling ability make this a soft buy. While it does struggle with storage size and the walls of the bag are a bit thin for our liking, the pros still outweigh the cons here if you just need a simple lunch bag.
Pros: Good cooling performance for the price, multiple storage areas, affordable
Cons: Quite large for a lunch bag, strap is somewhat weak, items in the top compartment can crush ones in the bottom compartment
Igloo Island Breeze
The upgraded cooler shell is a nice touch and the shape helps to make it a very user-friendly cooler. The cooling ability is a bit on the low side, however, so this would really only be a recommendation for a quick day or short weekend trip. And why is the lid so hard to open and close?
Pros: Quite durable, wheeled options for mobility, modern look, decent price
Cons: Low cooling ability, lid can be stubborn
The Max Cold cooler line does earn its name as it does a much better job of maximizing cold than most conventional coolers. The extra insulation really shines and with so many size options there is sure to be one that works for you. It is unfortunate that the handles and hinges can have issues, however. Beyond that there are no major complaints, especially if you can find one on the lower end of the price spectrum. On the higher end you can get into other premium offerings that might be a better choice.
Pros: Very good ice life, easy access to items, huge selection of sizes, many wheeled choices
Cons: Weak handles, pretty modest styling
Igloo MaxCold Gripper
This product is good enough to handle the cooling requirements for a day trip and is plenty large for even a large lunch or outing for two. Build quality is there except for a minor zipper issue and we wish we could access both zipped areas without it being covered by the strap during transport.
Pros: Strong fabric, plenty of storage space for being a gripper, good price, easily stored
Cons: Zippers are a little weak, looks a little cheaper than the hard-top version, can have access difficulty during transport
A very attractive, well-priced cooler that has acceptable cooling capabilities and a very tough frame but the hardware is the major flaw. The hinges and handles are simply too weak and take away from what would otherwise be a grand slam rugged and outdoor-friendly cooler. It is still a soft recommend buy despite this, however.
Pros: Decent insulation, very attractive styling, good price
Cons: Weak aluminum hardware, not as long of cooling life as advertised
This is a simple, highly popular cooler that is often used for short weekend trips. The insulation ability is more than up to the task for this, and the great variety of sizes means that there should be a solution for just about anyone. However, the weak handle is a problem that continues to plague this line of coolers. If you can find these coolers for sale on the cheaper end of the price point range then they are a buy but if you see yourself paying on the upper range we recommend keeping your eye open for other buys.
Pros: Good ice life for the size, strong lid, decent price
Cons: Weak handles, pretty plain design
Yens Fantasybag Cooler Bag
This item struggles on several fronts, many of which are centered on its less-than-stellar build quality. Issues such as leaking and weak zippers can make this a somewhat frustrating cooler to use. The price is pretty good, however, but even considering this, we recommend to try something else.
Pros: Affordable, very light, many different color choices
Cons: Not great insulation, easily tears, shoulder strap is too short, modest design
The split hinged lid and extended handle are great in making this a user-friendly cooler, but both features bring unwanted issues that cannot be overlooked. The questionable sealing coupled with the tendency for the handle to rust and get stuck overshadows the positives. Despite a good price, there are better choices for a short weekend mobile cooler.
Pros: Wheels assist in mobility greatly, attractive look
Cons: Issues with lid sealing, handle rusts easily
Dalix Cooler Tote Bag
All this bag really has going for it is its size and price. However, these two things are enough to justify a purchase, as everything else about it struggles. Essentially non-existent insulation, play styling, and lack of waterproofness make it more of a headache that it is worth.
Pros: Plenty of storage area, great price
Cons: Struggles with cooling, not waterproof at all, very plain looking, few additional features
Dalix Cooler Bag
Unfortunately, this product has several issues, the biggest of which are based around the subpar ice life and the shoddy construction. The price, while somewhat affordable, is still too much for what you are getting with this item.
Pros: Multiple carrying options, additional front storage pockets, decent price
Cons: Cooling ability could be better, strap is very weak, only two color choices