Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler Review
Updated by Brandon F. on August 10, 2022
The Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler Series is one of the larger and more popular lineups that Igloo offers. As the name suggests, these products are designed to be right at home on a boat out on the lake, river, or ocean. This is accomplished by including certain features that are necessary for the unique conditions that marine environments tend to have.
There are both soft-sided and hard-sided marine coolers. We will break down each below as well as any pros and cons that they may have. But first, we list some of our favorite Igloo Marine Ultra models for your convenience.
- 1 Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler Review
- 1.1 Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler
- 1.2 Igloo Marine Ultra Soft Cooler
- 1.3 Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler Price
- 1.4 Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler vs. Yeti
- 1.5 Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler Review
- 1.6 Igloo Marine Ultra Soft Cooler Review
Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler
The Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler Series has gone through quite a few changes over the year. Most notably, the number of sizes has been reduced significantly. What was once known as being one of the larger collections of coolers of any series in the industry, Igloo has trimmed it down to a more manageable number.
Currently, you can choose from 28-quart, 30-quart, 36-quart, 48-quart, 54-quart, 72-quart, and 94-quart non-wheeled versions. Also, Igloo has 28-quart and 52-quart wheeled models that they have dubbed the “Quantum” Series.
Despite the trimming that was performed, there are still plenty of sizes to choose from that span from the small range up to quite large. The only sizes noticeable missing are huge coolers (ie 100+ quarts). This normally wouldn’t be an issue, but marine coolers oftentimes need to be on the larger side since the required storage volume tends to be higher. There are a lot of items that one would typically want to store in a marine cooler: fish, food, supplies, etc.
That being said, it is still quite easy to find some of the older and larger coolers on many online marketplaces such as Amazon. You should have no problem finding sizes up to the massive 162-quart options. We just wanted to note that, as of the writing of this article, Igloo no longer carries these other sizes from their site. If this changes in the future we will update this article accordingly.
Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler Features
The Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler Series is designed to handle Mother Nature’s worst while out on the water. This comes in the form of various features that will help these coolers survive the harsh wind, sun, and water that are common in aquatic environments.
One of the most essential pieces to this is the UV-protected outer shells that are included in all Marine Ultra Coolers. This shield is a special coating that protects the cooler from fading and sun damage that can be common on coolers that are exposed to direct sunlight for long periods.
Another benefit of this outer protective shell is that it is very resilient to mold and mildew buildup. Being constantly exposed to water can create a haven for bacteria and mold to grow. And since you will typically have this cooler around lots of water, this protective shell is extremely important.
Finally, it is extremely easy to clean with a water hose and can handle soaps and other cleaning products without issue.
The “cost” of this shell is that all Igloo Marine Ultra Coolers come in one color: white. This is a necessity as any colored options would be more likely to fade.
Another feature that we like is carrying handles. On the smaller sizes such as the 28-quart and 30-quart, you will find overhead comfort grip handles. And on the larger sizes, these are replaced with side comfort grip handles.
These handles, as the name suggests, provide a good, comfortable grip which is essential in water environments. Things can get very slick and making sure that you don’t drop a heavy cooler full of items is vital.
Another important feature that the Igloo Marine Ultra Coolers have is stainless steel hardware. Lesser metals are prone to rust when wet and using stainless steel, while more expensive, is a no-brainer for anybody wanting a long-lasting cooler in these conditions.
While these core features can be seen on every Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler, many additional features are specific to a particular size.
For instance, many of the larger sizes (48-quart, 52-quart, 72-quart, and up) will come with a built-in fish ruler on the lid of the cooler. Seeing how marine-inspired coolers will oftentimes be used for fishing excursions, this is a great feature to add.
Certain sizes will also come with features that assist with improving ice life. For instance, some of the mid-ranged sized will come with Cooler Riser Technology. This is a special design that elevates the base of the cooler off of the ground. This reduces how much of the cooler is in direct contact with the warm ground, improving ice life.
In addition to elevating the base, all Igloo Marine Ultra Coolers are equipped with the proven Ultratherm Insulation. While not as thick as we have seen on some of the other Igloo coolers, Igloo states that this lineup can experience up to 7 days of ice life (we test this below).
Finally, it is worth mentioning the wheeled options. These models will be much more mobile and come with waterproof rubber tires. To transport them, there is an extendable handle that can be tucked in when not in use to minimize how much space it takes up.
Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler Aesthetics
The Igloo Marine Ultra Coolers are pretty plain in appearance. As we discussed above, the white external color is sort of mandatory as any other color is prone to fading under the sun.
There are some subtle curves to add a bit of variety but these are, more or less, extremely simple. That being said, there isn’t anything wrong with simplicity. You can tell the quality when you see the sturdy handles and stainless steel hardware. Overall, it is a good, safe look.
Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler Ice Life
Ice life is very important, particularly on a marine cooler. Having your ice melt prematurely while out on the water could spell disaster. You could ruin your food, your catch, or have to deal with warm beer!
To help combat this issue, Igloo has designed its Marine Coolers with various components to help prolong ice life. We discussed many of these components already but the most notable ones include the quality hardware that ensures a good, tight fit and the Ultratherm insulation.
Igloo has come out and stated that their Marine Ultra Coolers are capable of up to 7 days of ice life. And on the newer, smaller models, they say that you can plan on up to 5 days.
After our real-life testing and applying our typical interpretation to the data, the real-life ice life estimate numbers are as follows:
As is typical, the largest coolers offer up the longest ice life. In optimal conditions, you can expect around 140 hours of total ice life in Igloo’s largest Marine Ultra cooler. This isn’t too far off from what Igloo has said.
As for coolers currently on Igloo’s website, the largest option is the 72-quart. It is noticeably less than the gigantic 162 quart but still offers up a respectable 90ish hours of ice performance. This is plenty long enough for most people’s needs.
Overall, we are pretty happy with these results. The insulation used is a bit thinner than on most of the premium coolers and these ice chests also don’t utilize the super thick rubber gasket that many higher-end coolers have. This does result in a slight hit to performance. But for most people the ice retention rate is still plenty long for their needs.
Igloo Marine Ultra Soft Cooler
Similar to the Igloo Marine Ultra Coolers, the Igloo Marine Ultra Softer Coolers have also gone through some changes over the years. However, unlike the coolers, the soft coolers have increased in product selection.
Currently, you can choose from 24-can, 28-can, 32-can, 36-can, 42-can, and 46-can options. The exact amount of storage space in units of quarts can vary, but these sizes will offer roughly 12 to 30 quarts of storage.
It is also worth noting that the configurations of the various models are quite diverse. You can choose from dual-zone cooler bags, snap-down cooler bags, tackle box cooler bags, backpack cooler bags, switch convertible backpack cooler bags, tactical duffel cooler bags, and more. Each of these will come with its unique pros and cons and will be optimal for specific conditions.
Igloo Marine Ultra Soft Cooler Features
The Igloo Marine Ultra Soft Cooler lineup may vary quite a bit in terms of layout but they all share a common bond of having essential features necessary for being out on the water. Also, they are designed with features that make them quite mobile and user-friendly.
For handling harsh marine conditions, you will find that these products come with an antimicrobial liner. This liner is not only leak-resistant but will also help fight off the onset of bacteria or mold growing on it.
In addition to this, all of these products are equipped with non-corrosive hardware. While not as strong as the stainless steel found on the hard-sided coolers, the material used here is still plenty resilient and should last for many years.
Depending on which model you go with, there are several carrying methods to choose from. Several models come with more than one. For instance, the Marina Ultra Coast Bag has both an adjustable padded shoulder strap as well as an easy-grip overhead handle. This helps to ensure that you have a good, slip-free grip no matter what position you are in.
Another cool feature is the removable hard plastic liner available on certain models. For example, the HLC 24-can cooler bag comes with this easy-to-clean hard plastic shell. This shell not only helps with rigidity but also provides an easy way to clean the cooler bag after a fishing trip.
As you can see, each cooler bag will have its unique perks. But one thing that they all share (in addition to their ability to be out on the water) is their helpful additional storage options. Every model will come with at least one external pocket. And in cases like the Marine Ultra Tacklebox, it will come with several including ones on the side. This will give you plenty of space for hanging various cooler accessories or anything else that you can think of.
As for added toughness and to give a boost to ice life, you will find Igloo MaxCold insulation. And with the recent model updates, Igloo has increased the foam thickness by 25%. This is sure to give a boost to performance.
Igloo Marine Ultra Soft Cooler Aesthetics
From a looks standpoint, the Igloo Marine Ultra Soft Coolers are quite attractive. They all come in two or three-tone color schemes. You can pick between a lovely light gray/dark gray/neon green look or the more traditional blue/white look. And there are also plenty of old-style black/white models floating around.
Seeing how you tend to “wear” soft coolers, it appears that Igloo did put a bit more effort into making them look more stylish than their hard-sided marine coolers. Not only are the colors nice, but all of the pockets and various features fit in well with the overall design and accomplish a streamlined look.
Igloo Marine Ultra Soft Cooler Ice Life
The primary goal of Igloo’s Soft Cooler line is to be a short-term cooling solution. The combination of being much smaller than a typical cooler and also not having the thick, hard-sided insulation does mean that you are unlikely to see quite the ice life.
However, Igloo has implemented thicker MaxCold insulation layers, used quality materials, and followed tight manufacturing tolerances to make sure that their marine soft coolers will have the best performance that they can have.
After internal testing (filling the cooler with around 1/3 ice, leaving it out in the heat, and occasionally opening it), our results were as follows:
Again, the larger models tend to hold ice longer. Interestingly, there was quite a bit of overlap in potential ice life from one model to the next. For instance, the 32-can soft cooler could potentially have almost as much ice life as the 46-can (under optimal conditions).
The maximum ice life we could achieve was around 35 hours. This isn’t nearly as long as most hard-sided coolers, but it is still more than adequate for a day on the lake or at the pool. It will be among the highest ice life that you will find in soft-sided coolers at this price range.
Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler Price
The price point for the Marine Ultra Cooler products can vary quite a bit depending on which model and size you are looking at. But considering the quality and performance you will enjoy, they seem to be at a pretty good price point.
There does seem to be a bit of a surcharge for the larger coolers. We aren’t sure why this is (perhaps it is due to limited supply?). Because of this, we encourage you to shop around to find the best deals.
Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler vs. Yeti
Yeti has always been one of the first brands that come to mind when you think of a quality cooler. But how do they compare to Igloo Marine Ultra Coolers?
The Igloo series is designed specifically for aquatic environments. It comes with a specialized outer protective layer that will help combat harmful sun rays. Other features such as rust-proof hardware and anti-bacteria inhibitors are further evidence of its intent.
However, Yeti is “all-around” tough. While they might not necessarily be designed specifically for marine environments, the fact that they still use great materials and extra tough components means that they can easily handle just about anything Mother Nature can throw at them.
Both brands have a large selection of sizes and shapes. And both brands have a variety of accessories to help make the most of their product.
But in terms of raw performance, Yeti has a clear edge. Ice will typically stay frozen longer and it will be able to handle more environments than just marine. But Yeti Coolers are also much more expensive.
So which is better? Well, it depends.
If you are looking for a cooler specifically for use on a boat or a canoe, go with the Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler. It is designed for that and will have features that make it more convenient to use. You will also pay less.
But if you are looking for an “all-in-one” cooler that you can not only take on the water but also use for tailgating, camping, and cookouts, then go with the Yeti. Sure, you will pay a bit more but you will also enjoy a longer ice life.
But no matter which option you go with, you should be quite happy with your purchase!
Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler Review
25, 28, 36, 48, 50, 52, 54, 60, 72, 94, 110, 128, and 162 quart sizes
Budget to Premium-priced
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 a good deal, No colors other than white
Features: Integrated fish keeper, threaded drain plug, corrosion-resistant hardware, Ultratherm insulation, stain, and odor-resistant lining, pivoting side handles with rubber grip, wheeled models
This is our Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler Review. Igloo Marine Ultra Coolers are Igloo’s standard and proven offering for Marine enthusiasts for many decades, and as such are loaded with unique features exclusive to marine functionality. These ice chests contain Ultratherm insulation, UV inhibitors to guard against sun damage, marine-grade and rust-proof hinges, stainless steel lid strap, non-slip grip handles, stain and odor-resistant liners, stainless steel hardware, threaded drains in the larger sizes, soft-side rally wheels (where applicable) and many other features. It is available in 25, 36, 48, 54, 72, 94, 128, and 162 non-wheeled and 28 (Quantum), 50, 52 (Quantum), 60 (Ice Cube), and 110 (Glide) quart wheeled options. They are made of plastic and contain metal hardware.
Insulation Ability –
The insulation ability varies quite a bit on these coolers, depending on size. The larger, 100+ quart options promise to keep items cool for up to a week. This is accomplished by the relatively thick Ultratherm insulation as well as a decent lid seal.
In our tests, the largest sizes actually can approach near a week of ice life. As you move down to smaller sizes, the ice life goes down accordingly. In the smaller models, expect more like 2 to 3 days of ice life.
This is still pretty good and should meet the requirements of most people.
Mobility and Durability –
Many of the Igloo Marine Ultra Coolers come with comfortable easy-grip handles. This is quite helpful as the larger sizes can be quite bulky. And when dealing with a marine environment, having a good grip is also helpful because things can get slick. Also, there are a couple of different wheeled configurations for those who would prefer to just pull their cooler rather than carry it.
As for features, there are quite a few helpful ones that make these coolers right at home on the water. These include things such as an embedded fish ruler, built-in bottle openers, UV-inhibitor surface, and more.
Visual Appeal –
The design is simple yet looks high-quality. The metal hardware and off-white handles give a nice contrast to the all-white look. The wheeled options can incorporate rather large wheels without making them look too extreme or cheesy. This all combines for a classic look that seems right at home on a boat. But for those wanting colored options, you will be out of luck.
Because of the huge range of sizes and features available on these coolers, prices will vary quite a bit. As such, we recommend that you figure out what sort of size you are looking for and then shop around. Prices can be had for as low as the budget range and can go all the way up to the premium tier in some cases.
Overall Rating –
The Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler Review earns a 4 out of 5 cooler rating. A proven and established marine cooler that has all of the features you need for your next boat trip. The huge range of sizes means there is likely something for you, and you get quite good ice life in the larger options. Overall a great range of coolers but shop around for good prices.
But for those that are looking for a more “all-around” cooler, there are models out there that will offer slightly better performance. And you won’t be limited to just white, either!
Igloo Marine Ultra Soft Cooler Review
24 and 36 can (approx. 12 to 16 quart) sizes
Intermediate to Premium-priced
Pros: Incredibly good insulation for a soft-side, multiple carrying methods, easy-access top, looks awesome
Cons: A bit bulky and heavy, weak zippers and shoulder strap
Features: Non-corrosive hardware, extra-thick insulation for a soft-sided cooler, front zippered pocket, carry handle and shoulder strap
This is our Igloo Marine Ultra Soft Cooler Bag Review. The Igloo Marine Ultra Soft cooler bag is a new version of Igloo’s soft sides that is intended for those that will be on the water. It is made of anti-mildew material and also has UV-protected material that is leak and sun-resistant.
The foam has also been thickened up to 1.1” thick to improve cooling life and also make it sturdier. Other features include a separate front zip pocket, side netting, and both an overhead strap as well as Velcro handles. It is available in the standard marine white, in 24 and 36 can options (approximately 12 to 16 quarts) in bags, totes, and consoles, and is made of plastic and fabric.
Insulation Ability –
This is one of the longest-lasting ice life soft tops you’ll find at this size. The extra-thick foam does a great job of prolonging ice life which can be essential while out on the boat. One can reasonably expect it to keep items cold for up to two days before needing to be refreshed with new ice or ice packs. This is quite good for a soft-sided cooler.
Mobility and Durability –
Being made of thicker material, it is a little bulkier and also heavier than Igloo’s conventional soft-tops. That being said, it is still relatively easy to carry around with the use of the strap. A nice touch is the inclusion of an additional carrying method with the Velcro handles for those times you don’t want to throw it over your shoulder. Unfortunately, there are some durability issues with these products. Specifically, the zippers seem to be rather weak and can break quite easily. The shoulder strap is also prone to breaking and the inside stitching on the handle has also been reported to come undone relatively easily.
Visual Appeal –
These are very attractive soft tops. The white and black contrasts from the handles and aesthetic accents look quite nice, and the way the Velcro handle comes together over the top of the cooler has a cool like. Other small features that bring it all together are the side black hatched pockets and black zipper handles.
These products tend to fall in the intermediate to premium price ranges. This high asking price comes from a combination of having a somewhat limited storage size and also being the higher end of the soft-sided cooler spectrum.
Overall Rating –
The Igloo Marine Ultra Soft Cooler Bag Review receives 4 out of 5 coolers. Fantastic cooling life (for a soft-top), great looks, and some helpful features are all huge pros for this cooler bag. There are some build quality issues, however, but even with these the good just outweighs the bad too much and we recommend this product for someone who is looking for a small cooling solution for the lake or pool.