Coleman Chest Cooler
30, 36, 40, 48, 50, 100, and 150 quart sizes
Pros: Built tough, strong handles, great price
Cons: Underwhelming ice life, lid won’t stay open, plain design
ThermOZONE insulation, hinged lid, two-way handles, leak-resistant drain
Coleman Chest Cooler Review
The Coleman Chest Cooler is Coleman’s standard offering for those looking for an “everyday” type of cooler. It is similar to their Marine line except this one is intended more for on-land excursions (and it will typically be a bit more affordable as well). It contains the Thermozone insulation which promises extra-long ice life compared to other similarly-priced cooler in the industry.
There are a few different colors to choose from and also some wheeled options to assist with mobility and all come with carrying handles. In addition, the larger sizes come with 4 molded cup holders. Sizes include 30, 36, 40, 48, 50, 100, and 150 quarts and all are made of plastic.
Insulation ability –
Don’t expect Colemen Chest ice boxes to keep ice for multiple days. They perform fine for an afternoon excursion or morning trip to the beach but if you are expecting a single batch of ice to stay frozen for 4 or more days then you will be disappointed. It does still contain the patented Thermozone insulation which helps prolong ice life some, however. And frankly, for the reasonable price, you can’t expect miracles in regards to ice life.
In terms of wall thickness, it can vary a bit but seems to be around 1″ thick in most places. The lid is also very easy to open and close which helps from a convenience standpoint but also means that it is easier for air to escape. That lack of a latch system that really pushes down on the lid is something that would be a great addition to future revisions of this cooler.
Mobility and durability –
Despite being a fairly simple design and not containing pricy metal hardware like some of the other products on the market, these coolers can take quite a bit of abuse. This is thanks to precise construction and many years of experience behind them. The fit and finish are surprisingly good at the random gaps we are used to seeing between the lid and body in other budget coolers are not found here.
There is little concern about sun damage or leak paths forming and the hinge should hold up to quite a bit of abuse. That being said, it is somewhat annoying having to deal with the lid since it won’t stay open. It would be nice to have some sort of lock that allows it to stay open for extended periods of time but we assume this was Coleman just trying to maximize ice life.
All coolers have relatively strong handles and the 40 and 50-quart coolers come with optional wheels to help cart it around. While the plastic is relatively light, expect to have to get at least two people to assist moving around the 100 or 150-quart models when they are full.
Visual Appeal –
This baseline Coleman Chest product doesn’t have a lot of visual stimulation. It is bare-bones. There are a few different colors to choose from, which is nice, and the larger coolers have well-placed built-in cupholders which add a bit of spice to the overall look (but not much). Specifically, you can choose between blue, red, and green. And all of the colors come in a solid tone with little in the way of patterns outside of the vertical lines that adorn the body.
These coolers are in the budget-tier and even then are sometimes on sale where they can dip to an extremely affordable price. This is a great asking price and perfect for someone on an extremely tight budget. And it also makes it very easy to overlook some of the inherent flaws that may exist with these ice chests.
Overall Rating –
The Coleman Ice Chest is an affordable, entry-level icebox 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. Other than the minor issue with the lid not staying open, this is a good choice for a casual cooler enthusiast. But for someone after significantly longer ice life, expect to pay a lot more for a cooler that will meet your specific needs.