Best Fishing Coolers 2017 - Marine Ice Chest Tested & Reviewed!

Fishing coolers are the special pot or container that one uses while fishing to keep the fishes. These containers come in many variations and sizes and are essential to keep the catch fresh. If you tend to go for fishing for longer hours, buying one of these best fishing coolers should be a priority for you. Simultaneously, fishing coolers are what you take to keep your food and drinks with you on fishing or any other types of camping trips.

The best fishing coolers are diverse in variety and which one works the best for you will completely depend on your individual style. Depending on your personal needs, your fishing cooler will vary like others fishing tools, such as fish locator, fishing kayak or reels. In case of fishing cooler, some want their fishing cooler to be lightweight and some want to have ice in extremely hot weathers. Some want to have drain plug to keep the truck bed clean while some others want to just keep their fish cold.

So based on your individual needs, your best fishing coolers will vary in aspects. But this handy little buying guide should still be of use if you are feeling completely clueless about the purchase.

Now I will talk about some of the available best fishing coolers in the market to give you an overall better insight.

10 Best Fishing Coolers in 2017 - Comparison Table

1. Coleman 120 Quart Coastal Xtreme Series Marine Cooler Review

This cooler is perfect for cases when you need long ice retention time. It uses ThermOZONE insulation on the lid and walls which can keep ice up to 6 days at 32°C. It has leak resistant, rust resistant, stainless steel made channel drain which allows easy draining without tilting the cooler. It can hold up to 204 cans – nearly eight cases of soda.

Pros

  • It has an antibacterial additive which helps prevent the liner from odor causing bacteria.
  • Its outer surface has a coat of UV color additive that protects the material from UV damage.
  • The lid can work as a seat and supports up to 250lbs.

Cons

  • The hinges are not rust-proof.
  • It does not have a water tight lid.

2. Igloo Marine Breeze Roller Cooler Review

This polypropylene made fish cooler is well suited for quick transport due to its size and design. It has locking telescopic handle for easy handling. Its soft non-marking transparent wheels will not mark boat surfaces. It comes in various capacities, the smallest one being 28 quarts. It is equipped with Cool Riser Technology which improves its cooling efficiency. The 28 quart model can hold up to 41 cans.

Pros

  • The locking telescope mechanism is convenient for carrying the cooler around.
  • It has UV inhibitors to help it stay in the sun all day.
  • There are molded side scoop handles for ease of gripping.

Cons

  • The handles are too shallow to get a good grip.
  • Only the largest model comes with a drain plug.

3. ENGEL USA Cooler/Dry Box, 19 Quart Review

This is a very handy fishing cooler that one can use for keeping things cool at the car as well. The size is 19 quart, so it is possible to keep 12 packs of cans with a fair amount of ice. The back hinges are made with plastic and feels very sturdy. The price is super affordable. It is also good for the features and performance it provides.

Pros

  • Interior space is big enough to keep all the necessities without issue with enough room for ice.
  • The ice lasts for all day, even in hot weather.
  • ​The made is lightweight.
  • The lid is waterproof.

Cons

  • It is not made for overnight trips.

4. Engel Coolers Live Bait Cooler Review

This is a cooler with a dry pump to easily accommodate all your needs. It is available in the color white. This is a cooler that is only for keeping live bait. This 13 quart fishing cooler is enough to put in 3 to 4 dozens of minnows. You can probably even double that since there is still room left after that. The aerator is kind of noisy when it clips to the cooler. You can either use it with the battery option or with a 12 V power cord option.

Pros

  • Enough room for all your baits.
  • Options for both battery and electrical usage.

Cons

  • Noisy aerator.

5. Soonyean Portable Chair Ice Pack Review

This hybrid cooler is perfect for using on the beach. The chair is made from double layer oxford fabric. Its strong steel tubes design ensures that it can support up to 350 lbs of weight. The chair is foldable for easy transportation and weighs only 3.2 lbs. you can easily fold it to a bearable size to keep it inside your car’s trunk. This chair will be perfect for all your outdoor activities, be it at the beach or boat.

Pros

  • Portable as well as foldable.
  • Very lightweight.
  • Hybrid chair for dual purposes.

Cons

  • Not big enough for adults.

6. Mighty Max Cart Fishing Cart with Wheels Review

This is a fishing cart with wheels. With the package you get a tool rock for holding two fish poles, cargo walls with fish pole holders and 24 inches bungee cords. You also get an expandable flatbed. The flatbed cart weighs only about 22 pounds but this can haul up to 400 lbs on solid ground. This is a 4 inches wide fishing cart with rubber lining. This cart works great on wet sand, mud and gravel.

Pros

  • The frame can extend for up to 38 inches to accommodate large ice chest coolers.
  • Comes with 2 years warranty.

Cons

  • Can’t use it on dry sand as cart will sink in.

7. ENGEL USA Cooler/Dry Box, 30 Quart Review

This cooler or dry box has the capacity of 30 quarts. These are available in many colors. It has high quality polyurethane insulation of 2 inches thickness in the top, bottom and sides. The cooler comes with a convenient self draining bottom. The construction is rugged and roto molded. The cooler can mount with stainless steel hardware and backing plates. The mounting process is flush mount.

Pros

  • Has non skid and non marking feet to keep cooler safely on its place.
  • Huge interior with capacity of 30 quarts.
  • Roto molded construction is very sturdy.

Cons

  • Ice melts way too quickly.

8. Igloo Polar Cooler Review

This is one of the top of the line coolers as it has the capacity of 120 quarts. It has ultratherm insulation. The body and lid can keep ice for up to 5 days. This happens at 90 degrees F. The lid closure comes with a dual snap fit latch. This makes up for a secure closure. There is a threaded drain plug. This plug is useful for the easy draining and hose hook up. The cooler has the capacity to hold 188 cans.

Pros

  • Ultratherm insulation in both the body as well as the lid.
  • Very sturdy and durable construction.
  • Comes in blinding white color.

Cons

  • Plastic latches break quite easily.

9. Byers 1700 Big Bobber Floating Cooler Review

This is a one of a kind fishing cooler as it really floats above water. This cooler is very easy to carry as it comes with a built in carrying handle. Due to the build and design of the fishing cooler, this makes a great gift for anyone you know likes to go fishing. The build is very strong, despite being plastic. It is also very lightweight and portable. This cooler is made in the USA.

Byers 1700 Big Bobber Floating Cooler

Pros

  • Lightweight thus easily portable.
  • Easy to carry with the built in handle.
  • It floats on the water.

Cons

  • Hard to open.
  • Tips very often.

10. Ddyoutdoor™ 07-281 Outdoor Fishing Cap Review

This new type of sun cap is great for the scorching heat. There are flaps as well which are removable. It has complete sun protection against both UVA and UVB. This cap is great for outdoor activities such as fishing, camping, hiking, gardening etc. Since there are large bills and back flips, it can give great protection against the sun at all times. The one size fits all. It is available in many colors. The material is nylon.

Pros

  • The hat is windproof.
  • It has complete UV protection.
  • You can easily collapse it to carry it around.

Cons

  • The Velcro is on the inside so it rubs against your temple.

Things to Consider

What Is Your Need

Simply grabbing a fishing cooler out of the blue just because you like how it looks will turn out to be a bad purchase is most cases. You need to determine why exactly you need this cooler. If you go for a day trip or only an afternoon one, your needs will definitely vary. If you plan to have weekend camping trips then your need is different as well. Or probably you want to have a weeklong trip in a secluded area with no access to ice suppliers. In each of these cases, your needs are different. Determine the need first and then start to look for your best fishing cooler. Doing so will keep the ice expense at a check. At the same time, you will have extra money to spend on your other gears. Don’t jump on the popular bandwagon just for the sake of it.

Storage

When not in use, you need to have an area to store your fishing cooler away. There are good quality fishing coolers made out of vinyl or other types of nylon fabrics which you can easily collapse into flat. This makes them easier to store when not in use. But keep in mind that these thinly insulated coolers will not keep ice for more than a few hours. Box style coolers, on the other hand, are made out of hard sided plastics and metal coolers. They are the most popular type of fishing coolers and come in the most variety. If your main concern is managing the ice, you can get a thermoelectric cooler. But you will have to plug it in the car’s lighter socket to get the cooling power. As long as you are close to your car, you will be able to keep it cool.

Budget

Budget is definitely one of the most important factors for making any purchase, if not the first and foremost. You get what you pay for – is true to the fishing cooler as well. A cheap cooler will make your life troublesome with its spoiled food and waterlogged mess. When you make the budget, do not skimp out on the cooler. You should always try to get the best fishing cooler from a reputable brand. If you want to, you can search for discounts and promotional codes of such brands. You can also compare a cooler with the same price with different models to figure out which one has better features.

Size Does Matter

Your intended activity will determine what size of cooler you need to buy. The small cooler that you take on a day’s trip will not work in the overnight camping trip. I will suggest you to buy fishing cooler by physically visiting a store because you need to size up the interior. It will help you to consider what you need to pack and how much you can actually accommodate. One 9 quart cooler can hold up to 12 packs of can with some ice thrown in. a 20 quart size on the other hand is this one’s double. Most 20 quarts coolers are generally tall. A 28 quart cooler can accommodate enough for an overnight trip for a family of four.

For a weekend camping trip, you can target the 70 quart size. This size and up to the 100 quart size can handle food and drinks for several people without any trouble. When sizing up the cooler, keep in mind that during the hot weather, ice is going to take up 25 percent of the whole volume. If you want to get more out of your ice supply, you should get two coolers. One of these will be for drinks and other one for water. The cooler with the drinks will be in use more often so the ice will melt faster in this one. If you get a two coolers system for your group of campers, the initial cost will be only slightly higher than one cooler.

Material

Your best fishing coolers should have durability which can handle the bumps easily in extreme cases. The exterior should be tough while the interior should have insulation on the sides and bottom. This together will ensure that you get the desired durability. When you go to the market, pick up the cooler and see if the sides are hollow. If it feels hollow with very little insulation, you should avoid it. You can tap on the lid of the best fishing coolers to figure if it is well insulated or not. A metal exterior looks very strong but in reality, actually the metal will easily dent and compress the insulation. A plastic fishing cooler on the other hand, will easily absorb the bump and return it to its original shape. This will save the cooler from damaging the insulation permanently.

Construction

There are many shapes and sizes available in the market, especially for box style fishing coolers. But you should pay special attention to the lid of the cooler. A cooler that can hold your ice for longer should have well insulated lid. Open and shut the cooler to see if the lid insulation is proper or not. If the lid closes tightly, it means it has good insulation. Open the fishing cooler again to see the groove or lip of the cooler. It should have a cold retaining lid and a cooler body connection. After this, you need to check on the hinges. Strong hinges mean sturdy joining between the lid and the body. I will suggest you one with metal hinges as they provide more strength and longevity. Plastic hinges will eventually stretch out or turn thin from repeated use. If you want to make a fruitful investment, select the best fishing coolers with strong handles and hinges.

Design

Some brands have come up with very heavy duty fishing coolers that cost hundreds of dollars. You need to figure out if they are worth your investment based on your usage. These types of coolers have special features such as seamless seal, rubber gasket and lid seal. They also have better insulation with couple inches of polyurethane insulation. These types of insulation can keep ice for a couple of days. In short, the thicker the wall of the cooler, the longer your ice will be there without melting. A fully filled insulation system will keep the cold in and the warm out. The best fishing coolers have sturdy hinges and strong handles. Do not rush to the market just because you need to buy a cooler. Take your time and do your research before you make your final decision.

Few Tips

  • Figure out the correct size you need.
  • Determine if you can lift it up when fully loaded.
  • ​Check the thickness for proper insulation.
  • ​The lid should seal very well.
  • ​The hinges should be durable and sturdy.
  • ​The fishing cooler should have strong handles to transport the loaded cooler easily and safely.
  • ​Determine how long you need your ice to last.
  • ​Go for the most high quality build your budget allows.
  • Other features can be skid pads on the bottom with lid lock, wheels and tie down holes.

Final Words

A fishing cooler is a great necessity if you like outdoor activity. There are many types to choose from and hopefully you will find one that best goes with you after reading this article.

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