Engel Cooler Reviews
Updated by Brandon F. on June 18, 2019
This is a listing of all Engel Coolers for sale that have been reviewed and we also list what we think are the best Engel Coolers with our internal ranking system. Engel is a company that specializes in high-performance coolers that are intended for outdoor adventures, specifically hunting, fishing, and camping.
To keep up with the unique and challenging demands of these environments, high-quality materials are used and the construction process is thorough and encompassing, with no shortcuts being taken.
The result is many products that have an impressive advertised cooling life. While there isn’t a huge selection of different styles, there is a nice range of sizes available. If you are in the market for a premium cooler that is intended to last for years then we recommend checking out some of our Engel cooler reviews and seeing if they have something that will work for you.
On this page, we will be focusing on reviewing the Engel hard-sided coolers (AKA the “High Performance” Series). Our full reviews of the Engel Soft-Sided Coolers and the Engel Cooler/Dry Box are on different pages.
- 1 Engel Cooler Reviews
- 1.1 Engel Hard-Sided Cooler Lineup
- 1.2 Engel Hard-Sided Cooler Ice Retention
- 1.3 Engel Hard-Sided Construction
- 1.4 Engel Hard-Sided Cooler Toughness
- 1.5 Engel Hard-Sided Cooler Features
- 1.6 Engel Cooler vs. Yeti
- 1.7 Engel Coolers General Product Information
- 1.8 Engel High Performance Cooler
- 1.9 Engel High Performance Cooler Review
Engel Hard-Sided Cooler Lineup
No matter what size of cooler you are looking for, Engel likely has something that will fit your needs. Their sizes range from personal-sized 13-quart options all the way up to their enormous 320-quart cooler. This is actually the largest size of any cooler company we have ever reviewed!
This means that they have you covered, whether you just need something to just pack your lunch in or you are planning a huge family reunion for a group of 50. And no matter what size you decide to go with you can rest assured knowing that it carries the Engel quality that they have become well known for. Also, each size was carefully engineered to guarantee the best performance possible.
Optimally designed to Maximize Storage Capacity
Not only is there a nice array of sizes to choose from, but the shapes of each size have been optimized to be able to fit the maximum amount and minimize how much “free space” there is where you can’t fit additional items. The worst feeling in the world is when you have packed your cooler full to the brim for a weekend trip only to discover that those last few drinks or articles of food can’t fit despite there being some additional space at the top of the cooler.
With Engel, the odds of this are lessened and you have a much better chance of taking advantage of the full volume that a given cooler size has to offer.
For instance, the Engel 123 comes with an impressive internal volume of 32″ x 13.5″ x 13.375″. That is a lot of space!
Engel Hard-Sided Cooler Ice Retention
With a reported 8 to 10 days of maximum cold-keeping ability, Engel offers some of the longest ice life on the market. This makes it a great choice for even those extra long camping and hunting trips you want to go on. The longer a given batch of ice lasts, the less time and effort you have to spend buying and moving new bags of ice.
This also means less time worrying about your cooler and more time enjoying the outdoors, which is how it should be! So how does it keep ice for so long? This can be attributed to several things. We will break down some of the most important factors below. But first, we show our results for ice life based off of personal tests on these coolers.
As you can see, ice life ranges largely on what size of Engel Cooler you go with. However, all fare quite well and should compete with most other premium brands.
The secret to this long ice life lies in the construction as well as the components. Thick roto-molded plastic comprises the shell (we will discuss this more below). And there is a thick silicone gasket to provide the necessary squeeze between the lid and the body. Finally, strong clamps are used to produce the necessary force to really squeeze the gaskets.
The Engel 25 up to the Engel 85 comes with 2 latches. When you move up to the Engel 123 you will find 3 latches and this is also the case all the way up to the largest size, the Engel 320.
Engel Hard-Sided Construction
Engel Coolers are one of the toughest products in the industry. The secret to their success lies with their quality construction as well as their high-performance materials that are used. We discuss this process in greater detail below.
All Engel Coolers come with roto-molded construction. This type of construction allows for a consistent, linear wall which helps to reduce weak points for cold air to escape. It also makes these coolers very tough (which we will get into later). This process takes a longer period of time and is also more expensive, but the results speak for themselves.
Super Thick Walls on all Sides
These coolers are made of 2″ polyurethane insulation. Not only that but they are 2″ thick on ALL sides, including the lid. Some competitors will advertise having thick walls but they won’t mention that it is only that thick in particular areas.
If some walls are thick and some walls are thin you don’t enjoy nearly the ice-saving performance as the cold air is going to go through the thin sections no different than if all the walls were thin! With Engel, you don’t have to worry about this being an issue. While it does add a bit of volume to the cooler dimensions, the improved ice life benefits that you enjoy are well worth it.
Engel’s trademarked ArcticVault Gasket creates an airtight seal between the lid and the rest of the body. Let’s be straight: it doesn’t matter how thick the cooler walls are or what material they are made out of if there isn’t a good seal between the lid and the body.
This food-grade silicone gasket helps to ensure that there will always be a tight fit that helps to keep the cold air in and the hot air out. In addition, it is tough enough to handle normal wear and tear without concerns about it forming a crack and allowing air to pass through.
Engel Hard-Sided Cooler Toughness
Engel coolers are designed to be able to handle even the harshest elements for years without failing. Because what good is a premium cooler if it only lasts for one season or a couple of trips to the beach? In order to achieve its level of toughness, a number of proprietary manufacturing elements and unique product features have been added to many of their products. We will break down and discuss some of them.
Hardshell Rotomolded Construction™
As mentioned above, all Engel coolers are manufactured using rotomolded construction. This tough, single piece polyurethane shell helps to ensure that there are no weak points on the cooler body. Many conventional coolers are assembled in pieces, and these pieces have to be attached to one another via a conventional method such as melting the plastic ends. This causes stress risers, which are weak points in the cooler shell and are oftentimes the first place that they crack and ultimately fail.
With a one-piece build, you don’t have to worry about this issue. It also allows for much more freedom in the shape and embedded features that the cooler has.
The TruHold Lid™ is implemented on all of Engel’s cooler lids. Basically, it is a reinforced non-skid lid that is extra tough so that you can sit or even stand on it without worrying about damaging it. If you look at some older coolers that have been used for years you will often see that the lids have begun to sink in some from people sitting on them or simple wear and tear. This helps to alleviate that issue.
If you check out many of our reviews on this site you’ll see a common weak point with coolers is the hinge. The hinge is one of the most vital parts of a cooler. If it goes out then the cooler doesn’t open and close correctly and perhaps not at all! A cooler that can’t close and form a good seal is nothing more than a box! This self-stopping, full-length hinge is up to the task and can handle years of abuse. In addition, it is designed to stop someone from trying to open the lid too far back, which can be a major weak point in many cooler designs.
Unity Latch System™
Another weak point that plagues lower end coolers is the latch system. Most will skimp on quality and go with a cheap plastic latch that can crack, warp, and even completely break off over time. Similar to the hinge issue, when the latches go a cooler isn’t of much use! Engel uses recessed marine grade draw latches and also opts for stainless steel hardware instead of plastic.
You can open and close this cooler thousands of times without worry of it giving out. And, despite its strength, it is still user-friendly and just about anybody should be able to easily open and close the latches.
I-BEAM Lid Inserts™
On larger coolers, there can be a pretty large space between one wall to another. This lack of reinforcement can cause the cooler walls to dip and sag over time, which can hurt performance, not to mention that it looks ugly! Similar to many buildings, Engel has included I-beams that run across the length of the cooler lid.
This assists in reinforcement and makes the product better able to handle the significant weight it has to carry, both from internal items as well as potential people standing or sitting on top. It also doubles as an extra form of protection in the event the cooler is accidentally knocked over and dropped.
Engel Hard-Sided Cooler Features
Besides the obvious toughness and cooling ability that all Engel coolers proudly emit, they also include some helpful accessories and features that not only help them to stand out from some of their competition but also make the usage of their coolers much easier and enjoyable. While you won’t find quite as many unique features on Engel Coolers compared to some of the other premium models out there, they still have some worth mentioning.
These are non-skid and non-marking elevated feet that sit on the base of the coolers. This has a couple of helpful benefits. First, it keeps the majority of the cooler base from touching the surface, which can help to minimize potential scraping and abrasions that can occur when the cooler is moved.
The hard plastic and sometimes metal used in coolers can sometimes scratch up surfaces that they sit on pretty easily, so Engel wanted to try to avoid that. Second, lifting the base of the cooler off the ground helps to improve ice retention, since the ground itself is a great source of heat transfer and if hot, can rob your cooler of cold air.
DuoLock Security Holes™
This simple feature allows you to insert a padlock between the cooler lid and base. This is great for those who have expensive items in their cooler and don’t want others getting access to it. This can be a good idea when you are in busy public places or are leaving your cooler unattended for a period of time around strangers.
Quadra-grip Tie-Down Points™
These are molded slots on the side of the cooler that make it easy to tie down Engel products using a rope, bungee, string, or any other method. They are built into the cooler itself so are well-supported and there is no concern about them breaking.
Flick Drain Plug™
Draining a huge cooler full of melted ice can be an exhausting exercise. Engel includes a trademarked one-twist opening drain plug that makes emptying out water easy and hassle-free.
Engel Cooler vs. Yeti
Engel and Yeti are both “big dogs” in the cooler world. But which is better? In this comparison, we will be looking at the hard-sided offerings from each.
Engel’s hard-sided coolers are the Engel High-Performance Series. They have a huge range of sizes to choose from and offer up a happy balance between toughness, ice life, and cost. They don’t just try to overload the user with dozens of features or tons of different color options. Their priority is on performance.
Yeti’s hard-sided coolers are the Yeti Tundra and Yeti Roadie. Similar to Engel, they have a huge range of sizes. In fact, Engel is one of the few brands that can actually keep up with Yeti in that regard. From a performance standpoint, the expected ice life, build quality, and toughness is extremely similar for a given size. Yeti also takes a very straightforward approach and doesn’t try to overwhelm you with features you don’t necessarily need.
The prime difference between the two brands comes down to price. Engel, while quite expensive, is still going to typically be cheaper than Yeti. With Yeti, you get an awesome product with a proven track record, but you also pay a large upcharge for it. Engel, while still a respected brand, doesn’t carry quite the notoriety of Yeti and the somewhat cheaper prices reflect that.
So which is better? We feel that both are great products but we will have to give a slight nod to Engel because of similar performance but at a lower cost. But no matter which product you go with, you won’t be disappointed!
Engel Coolers General Product Information
Products reviewed: Engel High-Performance Cooler, Engel Cooler/Dry Box, Engel Soft-Sided Cooler, Engel Backpack Cooler
Range of storage sizes: 13 to 320 quarts
Range of estimated ice life: Up to 10 days
Materials used: Plastic, stainless steel, rubber, and other metals
Price range: Premium
Wheeled options? No
Company website: https://www.engelcoolers.com/
A truly fantastic product, Engel’s entry into the cooler bag industry really impressed us. The ice retention is industry-leading and the build quality is unmatched. There are also some really cool features that you won’t find anywhere else. Combine this with great styling and you have one of the top coolers we have ever reviewed.
Pros: Industry-leading ice life, Incredibly tough outer shell, unique vacuum feature, attractive styling
Cons: Limited sizes, Strap adjustment is a bit more work
Engel Cooler/Dry Box
A very clever approach but for those who aren’t after the specific needs that this cooler addresses, you will end up paying more for a product that doesn’t have as long of ice life as a more traditional premium cooler. The unique design also results in a rather limited storage space. But we certainly can’t deny its quality components and for people after an “all-in-one” cooler, this can’t be beaten.
Pros: Can retain both hot and cold items, cooler can be submerged underwater without issue, quality hardware
Cons: Not the best cooling performance, a bit limited in storage volume, expensive for the size
Engel High Performance Cooler
25, 35, 50, 65, 80, 123, 165, 240 and 320 quart sizes
Plastic, metal, and rubber composition
Pros: Great insulation ability, very tough, cheaper than many comparable coolers
Cons: Lid doesn’t seal as well as expected, boring styling, still quite expensive
2-inch thick insulation, non-skid lid, embedded hand grips, rope handles, pitched floor to assist with drainage, snap latches
Engel High Performance Cooler Review
This is our Engel High Performance Cooler Review. The Engel High Performance Cooler line is a premium offering for those looking for a high-performance, rugged, and long-lasting cooling solution. All of these ice boxes are constructed using roto molding which makes them extremely tough. They are surrounded on all sides by a thick 2” layer of polyurethane insulation and contain an arctic vault gasket to help maximize ice life.
Other features include non-skid feet for good grip on slippery surfaces, padlock holes, self-stopping rear hinge, and a latch keeper. Transportation is via side rope handles as well as conventional, built-in handles for even better grip. These products are available in white, tan, and grey, come in 25, 35, 50, 65, 80, 123, 165, 240, and 320-quart options, and are primarily made of plastic, metal, and rubber.
Insulation ability –
Being a premium cooler, one should expect a premium cooling performance and overall these line of coolers do a good job. Engel advertises 8 to 10 days of ice life and while we can’t confidently stand behind that, it will keep ice for a solid 6 days minimum no matter what size you go with. The walls are extremely thick, being covered in 2 inches of insulation, so little to no heat or cold transfer across this.
However, the gasket is the minor “weak” point, if you want to call it that. Compared to other premium cooler lids, sometimes a good seal isn’t formed when closing, which can allow air to escape. As long as you ensure a good seal then the performance is fantastic but for some reason sometimes the gasket won’t form a good seal, meaning that your cooling performance will be affected.
Mobility and durability –
These are extremely tough ice boxes. They are made of very thick plastic that is roto molded so they are extremely tough, and all of the hardware used is metal and quite strong so it should hold up to any abuse you throw at it. Engel even proudly displays that their products are “bear-proof” so if a bear can’t damage these coolers then you have nothing to worry about!
That toughness comes at a price, though: size and weight. While, for a given size, these coolers are actually slightly smaller than comparable brands, they are still quite heavy especially when full and using one of the larger sizes. As such, it will likely be a two-person job. Having both rope handles as well as conventional handles is a nice touch, and should assist in those time when things get a bit slick.
But beyond this, there aren’t a ton of additional features. Engel has taken a very straightforward approach and didn’t try to wow their customers with tons of clever features. Their goal was to simply make a cooler that is tough and holds ice for long periods of time and, in that regard, they were successful.
Visual Appeal –
Despite the quality, these are very bland looking coolers. They are a solid color with little in terms of patterns of design outside of embossed “ENGEL” logos on the lid. The latches are black which contrasts the rest of the cooler but other than that it is monochromatic, even the handles. At least there are three different color choices (white, tan, and grey). But compared to the many other premium cooler brands that adorned with more fancy curves and extrusions, you may leave unimpressed.
This may be a bit issue for some people and other people couldn’t care less. But in the premium market game, there is a lot of competition and cooler brands should do whatever they can to stand out.
These are well into the premium price tier but are oftentimes cheaper than other high-end coolers on the market. While no premium cooler is “cheap” this one definitely falls towards the lower end of the premium category. This is where Engel’s approach of keeping things simple pays off. They are able to drive down the price some which definitely makes them a more attractive option.
Overall Rating –
The Engel High-Performance Cooler Review receives 4 out of 5 coolers. For most, the cooling life of this cooler will be plenty long, but it does fall a bit short of some of the other super long-term ice boxes on the market. Also, there isn’t much in the way of additional features outside of those required for the ice-retaining abilities of the cooler.
However, it is also significantly cheaper than many of the other premium coolers as well, so we feel this is a fair tradeoff for slightly lower ice performance and fewer features. As expected, build quality is superb and this is an extremely tough product. It is a bit plain looking but that isn’t an overly huge deal.
This is a good cooler for the “purists” out there. These are people who don’t care about pressure-release valves, wheels, built-in bottle openers, or tons of fancy colors. They simply want a cooler that will perform at a reasonable price.