Coolers can fulfill short-term needs like hauling Gatorade and apple slices to your child’s soccer games. Or, they can be lifelong investments for backyard barbeques and summer camping trips.
What is one feature that makes any cooler easier to use? Wheels. We’ve picked the best-wheeled coolers that are currently on the market.
If you’re looking for something simple and short term, check out the Igloo Max Cold Quantum Cooler.
If you’re in the market for a lifetime investment, the YETI Tundra Haul has our vote for the best-wheeled cooler of 2020.
Keep reading for more options.
|Best Overall||YETI Tundra Haul||
|Runner Up||Pelican Elite Cooler with Wheels||
|Budget Pick||Igloo Trailmate Journey||
|Best Soft Shell Cooler With Wheels||Coleman 42-Can Soft Cooler||
|Seavilis Milee Heavy Duty Wheeled Cooler||
|Coleman 50-Quart Xtreme 5-Day Hard Cooler with Wheels||
|Igloo Max Cold Quantum Cooler||
Top 7 Wheeled Coolers Review
YETI Tundra Haul Portable Wheeled Cooler – Best Overall
- Rotomolded Construction makes it armored to the core and virtually indestructible
- The Haul is the first-ever YETI cooler on wheels. Perfect for taking the Tundra's legendary toughness and unmatched insulation power the extra mile
- Never Flat Wheels – A solid, single-piece tire construction that is impact- and puncture-resistant
- Strong Arm Handle – A durable welded aluminum arm with comfortable grips. The curved design tracks left or right for heel-friendly towing
- Rotomolded Construction - Makes it armored to the core and virtually indestructible
We’ve selected the YETI Tundra Haul as the all-around best cooler with wheels in 2020. The strategically engineered design of this cooler can’t be matched.
The YETI Tundra Haul features thick walls that hold roughly two inches of insulation. The insulation used is a polyurethane foam that is both pressure-injected and commercial-grade. This insulation technology enables long-lasting ice retention.
The exterior of the cooler features Rotomodeled construction. This type of construction was designed by YETI to make the cooler indestructible. The Tundra Haul can withstand bumps and collisions. Even more, it will keep out wildlife and nature’s elements.
The main body of the cooler has indentations that make it easy to tie down in the back of a truck. There are two locking features. One is a small pair of holes through the lid and body of the cooler, designed to fit a padlock. The second is a pair of anchor points for attaching strong-arm locks to secure the cooler to your truck bed.
T-shape latches keep the lid sealed so your ice will stay frozen. When you’re ready to haul your cooler, a metal handle extends out from the side. This handle easily snaps back into place when you’re done using it. The wheels on the YETI Tundra are made of durable plastic, guaranteed to never flatten.
Pelican Elite Cooler with Wheels – Runner Up
- Volume: true 45 quart internal volume; Molded-In handles with built in trolley handle
- Extreme ice retention: 2 inch of polyurethane insulation with a 360 degree freezer-grade gasket that delivers extreme ice retention for up to 10 days
- Features: molded handles, 3 inch locking latches, reinforced lockable hasp, stainless steel bottle opener, anti-shear hinge system, molded tie-down slots
- Features: leakproof drain plug, integrated measuring board on lid in centimeters and inches, non-skid rubber feet. Interior (L×W×D) - 19.00 x 12.00 x 12.00 inch
- Made in the USA: includes Pelican legendary lifetime guarantee - you break it, we replace it...Forever
Our runner up for the best overall wheeled cooler is the Pelican Elite Cooler with Wheels. This cooler is highly comparable to the YETI Tundra Haul. It is slightly beefier in comparison and has some features that the YETI doesn’t offer.
One of the only complaints about the YETI Tundra Haul is that it doesn’t have a basket or interior divider. Pelican coolers are designed to have a basket on the interior. However, the basket is sold separately for about $60.
The Pelican Elite Cooler with Wheels comes in two sizes: 45 quarts and 80 quarts. The size labels match the interior capacity of the cooler. So, the Pelican Elite Cooler with Wheels 45 really does hold 45 quarts.
This cooler has two inches of polyurethane insulation. This high-quality insulation works together with a commercial-grade gasket that retains ice for up to 10 days. Additionally, the leakproof drain plug makes sure that no cold air escapes.
The lid of the Pelican Elite Cooler has two plastic latches that make it easy to seal the lid closed. The latches click into place, so you can audibly hear when the cooler has been closed properly. To open the cooler, you simply press on the red tabs in the center of the latches and the lid pops open.
The Pelican Elite Cooler with Wheels has a few bonus features that really come in handy. Molded tie-down slots make it easy to tie down. There is a metal bottle opener on the exterior. This piece also has a small hole that matches up to a hole on the lid, so the cooler can be locked. Lastly, two rulers are molded on the top of the lid.
Igloo Trailmate Journey – Budget Pick
- Care instructions: wipe clean
The Igloo Trailmate Journey is the best budget-friendly option on our wheeled cooler review. This cooler packs a lot of value for a smaller price tag than the two we’ve looked at thus far.
The Trailmate Journey holds 70 quarts in capacity. This translates to 112 12 ounce cans. Igloo’s Ultratherm Technology is designed into the lid and body of the cooler to retain ice for up to 4 days.
The wheels on this cooler are extra large and super durable. They can handle any kind of terrain. A metal handle extends out of the cooler long enough so you don’t kick your heels on the chest while hauling it.
Inside of the cooler is a basket for dry goods. And, another dry storage compartment is located on the outside of the cooler. This compartment is rubberized, so you can safely store items like keys or phones.
Extra accessories make the Trailmate Journey easy to use. Two bottle openers are located on the front and back of the cooler. A removable tray for cutting or holding drinks clicks into the center of the extended handle. And, four cup holders are molded into the top of the cooler lid.
As great as this cooler is, there are some features that it doesn’t have. The lid is not lockable, and there is no gasket to seal the cooler lid closed.
Coleman 42-Can Soft Cooler – Best Soft Shell Cooler With Wheels
- Treated with antimicrobials to resist odor, mold, mildew, and fungus from forming on removable liner that offers packing flexibility and easy cleaning
- Holds 42 cans
- Zippered main compartment keeps contents cold; use hard plastic liner if packing with ice, no need for liner with ice substitutes
- Heat-welded seams prevent leaks
- Telescoping handle and durable wheels for easy transport; side handles for more carrying control
The Coleman 42-Can Soft Cooler is our pick for the best wheeled, soft cooler of 2020.
This cooler holds up to 42 12-ounce cans inside. This cooler easily opens with a zippered lid. The walls of the cooler are soft and lined with plastic. A removable, hard plastic insert is included, which provides structure and support when the cooler is packed.
The cooler walls are lined with an antimicrobial or germ-resistant liner that resists mold and mildew. With the removable insert taken out, the cooler is extremely easy to clean. A quick wipe down will enable the antimicrobial liner to do its job.
The exterior of the cooler has several places for dry storage. There is one large, zippered pocket on the front of the cooler. In addition, there are two mesh pockets on either side. If you need extra storage space, you can use the bungees located on top of the cooler lid to secure small items.
Heat-welded seams at the time of construction keep the outdoor heat outside of the cooler and ice frozen on the inside.
The Coleman 42-Can Soft Cooler is perfect for a day at the beach or pool. And, it makes a great accessory for a backyard bbq or quick camping trip.
- Useful Accessories:Including FREE USEFUL basket, Cup holder and divider£¨Save you $50.00).
- Technique And Material: Indestructible Rotomolded Thermoplastic Construction with commercial grade insulation provides a longer ice retention time.We use Certifiedapproved material.
- Heavy Duty Wheels:Heavy duty 7'' wheels make it easy to carry around
- More Nice Features:Built-in Bottle openers,Freezer Style gasket,Military-grade nylon handles,Molded Tie-Down Slots,TPE T-Latch,No-Leak Drain Plug etc.
- TIPs:Always use high density ice for better performance. Ice from ice maker is low density.Prechill before use.
The Seavilis Milee Heavy Duty Wheeled Cooler has the best extras out of all the coolers in this post.
The cooler itself is roto-molded to be strong against bumps and collisions. Plus, it is resistant to UV rays, so it won’t crack from sun exposure. Thick polyurethane foam is used for insulation to retain ice for up to 6 days. This cooler is also equipped to hold dry ice.
A commercial-grade gasket works together with the T-latch system to seal the cooler shut and preserve ice. The drain plug is designed to be leakproof to aid in keeping the interior of the cooler cold.
There are two large wheels at one end of the chest. The pull handle is made of military-grade nylon. This type of handle is not the most convenient for hauling a wheeled cooler, but it is strong. There is a matching handle on the opposite side, so you have the option to lift and carry the cooler.
The Seavilis Milee Heavy Duty Wheeled Cooler is equipped with all the goods. Inside the chest, there is a removable basket for dry goods. Additionally, the cooler comes with a cutting board that seconds as an interior divider. A cup holder attachment is also included with the purchase of this cooler.
Two stainless steel bottle openers are built in at the corners of this ice chest. And, there are small holes drilled into these that allow you to securely lock the lid if you would like.
- Xtreme Technology; Insulated lid and extra wall insulation keep ice up to 5 days in temperatures as high as 90°F
- High capacity: Holds up to 84 cans
- Heavy-duty wheels: Effortless rolling over any terrain
- Have-a-seat lid: Closed lid supports up to 250 lb.
- Cup holders: Molded into the lid to keep drinks close and prevent spilling
The Coleman 50 Quart Xtreme 5-Day Hard Cooler with Wheels is our pick for the best lightweight cooler with wheels.
This cooler holds up to 84 12 ounce cans. Foam insulation is inserted between the outer and inner layers of the chest to create insulation that keeps ice for up to 5 days. This cooler measures 23 L x 18 W x 18 H in inches and weighs only two lbs. Heavy-duty wheels and a telescoping handle make the cooler easy to wheel on any terrain.
The lid of the cooler is durable enough to hold 250 pounds. This means you can use it as an extra seat. Additionally, the lid has four cup holders molded into it. Each cup holder is 2 inches deep.
There are two molded handles on each side of the cooler to make it easier to lift. And, a drain plug is located in between the wheels.
The Coleman 50 Quart Xtreme 5-Day Hard Cooler with Wheels is great for short outings such as sports tournaments or a day at the park.
- Igloo max cold cooler offer the ultimate in cold retention with utratherm insulated lid and body
- Locking, telescoping handle equipped with gear hangers to hold burses, shipping bags and more
- Wheeled for easy transport and can either be pushed or pulled
- Molded-in side handles aid in lifting the cooler in and out 0F your vehicle
- Internal shelf-ledge provides usable space for setting drinks and condiments on
The Igloo Max Cold Quantum Cooler is our selection for the best small size rolling cooler of 2020.
This cooler has a 52 quart capacity, which holds up to 85 12 ounce cans. The cooler has an ultratherm insulated lid and body to retain ice for several days. Its measurements are 20.39 x 18.11 x 19.05 inches and it weighs in at 11.02 pounds.
Durable wheels and a telescoping handle enable you to push or pull this cooler wherever you need it. There are two handles on the sides of the cooler to make it easy to lift. Additionally, gear hangers are attached to the telescoping handle to give you a place to hang purses or bags.
The lid is well equipped to function as an extra seat if you need it. Alternatively, its 4 molded cup holders make it a good spot to hold drinks and other small items. And, the lid is designed with matching loops that allow you to lock it with a padlock.
Compared to the Coleman 50 Quart Xtreme 5-Day Hard Cooler with Wheels, the Igloo Quantum is slightly larger. It also feels more durable and long lasting.
The Various Levels of Ice Retention
Ice Retention is a key element of all coolers, not just ones with wheels. Most cooler companies pride themselves on their ice retention. This is because research is constantly being done to improve insulation. If your prospective cooler doesn’t advertise their ice retention, that may mean that it’s not very good.
Baseline coolers claim roughly 3 days of ice retention. The Coleman 50 Quart Xtreme 5-Day Hard Cooler with Wheels is a good example of a baseline cooler, however it claims 5 days of ice retention. Whereas, high quality coolers, such as the YETI and the Pelican, can retain ice for as long as 10 days.
Lastly, keep in mind that not all ice retention rates are equal. Some companies, like Coleman, rate their ice retention based on an outdoor temperature of up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Others, rate their ice retention at temperatures over 100.
Don’t Overlook the Handles
Traditionally, there are three types of handles on wheeled coolers. Some rolling coolers have nylon rope handles, some have a strong arm metal handle that flips up, and some have a telescoping handle.
The differences are not only durability, but also handle height. This is important because the height of the handle can make it easier to pull, or vice versa.
In most cases, nylon rope handles are the shortest and telescoping handles are the longest. Strong arm metal handles sit right in the middle, but are often long enough to carry.
Before purchasing a wheeled cooler, take into account the handle height. See if your arm gets tired from reaching down to haul the cooler. Or, make note if your heels kick the back of the cooler because the handle is too short. If either of these common problems occur, you may want to invest in a cooler with a taller or longer handle.
Things to Look for in Cooler Wheels
Wheels are pretty simple. Most cooler wheels are made of durable plastic that can’t be punctured or flattened. The sturdier the wheel feels, the more terrain it will be able to endure.
You probably won’t need to worry about a wheel flattening. However, you may need to worry about a wheel detaching from the axle.
The axel is the bar that connects the two wheels. If the axle is made of plastic and exposed, it probably won’t last long. However, some axles are made of metal and are threaded through the cooler. These types of axles are durable and long lasting.
What Size of Cooler is Best?
Coolers are sized based on volume capacity. This is most commonly measured in quarts. Many brands will also provide the maximum amount of cans the cooler holds for a frame of reference.
When looking at cooler sizes keep in mind the purpose you want the cooler to fulfill. If you need a cooler for short, 1-3 day trips, then a 45 quart cooler will be plenty. Longer trips require a little bit more space, so we recommend at least 70 quarts.
Size also depends on what you’re packing. Drink coolers can afford to be smaller. However, in some instances you may need space for drinks, food, and dry goods. If that is the case, then a larger cooler is your best bet. The Pelican 80 quart cooler is a good example of a cooler with all of these storage options.
The Varying Levels of Durability in Coolers
The material of your cooler predicts how long it will last.
The materials used in the lids and bodies of the coolers on this review are various forms of plastic. Generally, you can tell the level of durability of materials by the price of the cooler. Companies have to pay more for higher quality materials, so the retail price will reflect that. It’s true, you get what you pay for.
If you want to ensure top quality, you can look for roto-molded coolers. Roto-molded materials, like those in the YETI and the Milee, are virtually indestructible. These coolers can outlast all the bangs and bumps that go along with hauling a cooler and more.
It’s also important to look at the materials used in the moving parts of the cooler. This would be hinges, latches, axles, wheels, handles, screws, etc. The working elements of a cooler are usually the first to give. If the materials used in these areas are high quality, then you will be able to use the cooler longer.
How to Recognize Premium Cooler Insulation
The majority of coolers, and all the coolers on this list, are insulated with foam. The difference is what kind of foam.
Foam that is tightly packed allows less air through it, which means less heat gets inside the cooler. Thus, tighter packed the foam, the colder the cooler. In addition, thick foam insulates a cooler better than thin foam.
The YETI Tundra Haul sets the standard. It features 2 inches of high-quality insulation to ensure that ice lasts up to 10 days.
It is also important to note that some coolers do not have insulated lids or bottoms. To ensure optimal ice retention, purchase a cooler that insulates all sides including the top and bottom.
Does a Cooler Need Seals?
Some coolers have gaskets, or seals, on the lid to completely seal the cooler closed. This feature creates a boundary that keeps the cold air inside the cooler. Simultaneously, the seal blocks warmer air from getting into the cooler.
High quality coolers have commercial-grade gaskets to ensure optimal ice retention. The YETI, Pelican, and Seavilis Milee all have commercial-grade gaskets that seal exceptionally well.
Cost vs. Cooler
It’s safe to say that the price of a cooler directly reflects its quality.
There are a wide range of materials available for cooler construction. From fabric to heavy-duty plastic and even metal. The more durable the material, the more the company has to pay for it. Thus, the retail price will increase based on durability of materials.
This is okay because different coolers serve different purposes. If you are looking for a small cooler for a day or weekend trip, one of the cheaper coolers will do the job. A fair price to pay for something similar to the Coleman coolers or the Igloo Max Cold Quantum would be $20-$50.
If you need a larger cooler that can withstand outdoor elements and even keep out wildlife, then it may be time to invest one of the high quality options in this post. The YETI or the Pelican coolers are both products that have the potential to become a lifelong purchase. A fair price for a cooler like this is about $400 for 45 quart capacity and $500 for 80 quarts.
Can I Leave it in the Sun?
It only seems fair that you should be able to leave your cooler in the Sun, right? After all, most coolers are used outdoors. However, if the cooler is not insulated properly, the heat from the Sun can warm it up and melt ice faster.
High quality coolers like the YETI and Pelican are designed to retain ice at any temperature. You can leave these coolers out in the Sun whether you’re in freezing cold Canada or hot and sunny California.
But be warned, some coolers like the Coleman 50 Quart Xtreme 5-Day Hard Cooler with Wheels rate their ice retention ability based on temperature. For this particular cooler the ice retention rate is based on a maximum temperature of 90 degrees fahrenheit.
Can I Use Dry Ice in my Cooler?
Many people choose to use dry ice in their cooler because it is colder than water ice, so it keeps an ice chest cooler for longer. And, dry ice turns into a gas rather than a liquid, which means dry goods won’t get soggy.
With that being said, dry ice is not safe for all coolers. Dry ice can only be used in coolers that have some method of ventilation. This can be an open drain plug, a slightly propped up lid, or a lid that is not sealed by a gasket.
The most effective way to use dry ice is to, first, wrap it in several layers of newspaper. Place the wrapped dry ice on top of the food or beverages. Then, fill any remaining space in the cooler with crumpled up newspaper.
How Long Can a Cooler Work?
Coolers can retain ice for several days. Ice retention primarily depends on the insulation inside of the cooler. However, there are some things you can do to optimize the length of time that the cooler stays cold.
One way to keep a cooler cold for the longest possible time is to pre-freeze it before your trip. To do this you can open the cooler and place it in a large freezer. Alternatively, you can fill the cooler with ice until it is cold and put a new load of ice in before using the cooler.
Another way to optimize ice retention is to keep it in the shade whenever possible. Cooler outside temperatures help prevent warm air from entering the cooler.
Lastly, keep the lid of the cooler closed and sealed whenever possible.
How Should You Store Your Portable Cooler?
Another way to keep your cooler cold is to properly store it. Keep it in the shade whenever possible. Cooler outside temperatures help prevent warm air from entering the cooler.
It is also essential to keep the cooler in a safe and sheltered area. You don’t want to set it anywhere where it could possibly tip over and fall open. Nor do you want it in an area that could cause damage to the cooler.
Which Wheeled Cooler is the Best?
The all-around best cooler with wheels is the YETI Tundra Haul. It has premium insulation that keeps ice frozen for up to 10 days. A commercial-grade gasket is fitted to the lid to completely seal the cooler when the lid latches are secured. Durable wheels, handles, and cooler body guarantee that this cooler will be a lifelong purchase.