Coolers by Cost

One of the most common considerations that someone goes through before purchasing a product is how much it costs.  As such, it is important to categorize all of our reviewed coolers by this metric.  There will be a wide range of asking prices, even within a given size or type of cooler.  For some, the premium might be worth it so that they get the best performing option available.  For others, trying to simply find a serviceable ice chest that has the smallest impact on their pocketbook might be the top priority.

While this approach seems straightforward enough, if you blindly try to compare the cost of one cooler to the price of another you might run into some issues and be driven to some questionable conclusions.  For instance, a small, soft-sided personal lunch box will likely be cheaper than a 100-quart plastic cooler.  Does that automatically mean that the lunch box is the “better” buy?  Of course not!

Because of this, we have broken down all coolers into a dollar per quart ratio.  In other words, how many quarts of storage volume do you get for each dollar that you spend.  Of course, there will be a wide variance in the specific values here and these values may constantly change depending on the availability on the market.  To make things simple we group all products into 3 potential categories: budget, intermediate, and premium.

Budget Priced
The most affordable tier.  The top priority of these products will oftentimes be price, which may result in some shortcuts being taken in build quality, materials used, cooling ability, and additional features.  Surprisingly there aren’t as many small sizes as you would expect here, and there is a nice variety of choices in the larger size ranges.  Most of these products will have a relatively limited ice life, with few exceeding more than a couple of days.  Despite that, there are still some great choices here that should meet the needs of a vast majority of potential buyers on the market.  Many of these choices could be found for under a dollar per quart of storage volume. Click here to check out our full listing of budget priced cooler reviews.
Intermediate Priced
This is the middle-of-the-road tier.  It also has a nice variety of sizes, and you will start to see more of the smaller options becoming available in this bracket.  In addition, higher quality materials and build quality start to come into play along with some helpful features.  The top-performing ice chests in this category could potentially see several days of ice life and also have very impressive durability.  These are targeted at those buyers who are wanting a better performing product that could last longer but still are relatively conscious of prices.  Many of these options will fall in the one to two dollar per quart range. Click here to see our full listing of intermediate priced cooler reviews.
Premium Priced
This is the most expensive tier.  It contains the highest-quality coolers that will typically be made of high-grade materials such as metals, tougher plastics, and fancy fabrics.  In addition, they will be loaded with features and typically last for a long time.  While there still is a nice variety of sizes available, you’ll see quite a few of the smaller and personal-sized examples in this bracket since coolers tend to trend downward in their relative cost per quart as they get larger.  The longest-performing ice chests will be here, with some reaching a week or longer.  In addition, many of these products will be extremely durable and be able to handle the toughest environments for years.  Prices vary quite a bit here, but many can reach into the several dollars per quart range. Click here to see our full listing of premium priced cooler reviews.