The 10 Best Fishing Coolers for 2021

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Photo: Yeti

To make the most out of your fishing trips, you’ll need the best fishing cooler you can get. There are many good reasons for this and they are as follows.

Fishing coolers keep the ice better than traditional coolers. They come with extra-tough insulation and can keep your ice for many days, with some premium offers even preserving it for up to 10 days. They also come with other helpful features to make your fishing trip a success.

This fishing coolers’ review helps you to make the right choice by providing this list of the market’s top coolers below, plus a buying guide to help you make the right choice.

Review of the 10 Best Fishing Coolers

1. Coleman 6155B707 – Best Overall Fishing Cooler

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If you’re the type that loves aesthetics, especially that stainless steel look, then check out this offering from Coleman. It’s a 54-quart cooler with a charming retro design and style.

This cooler can keep ice for up to four days under temperatures as high as 90 °F and this makes it a great choice for multi-day fishing trips. Its 54-quart capacity can equally hold up to 85 cans, plus this cooler is high enough to load your 2-liter bottles upright to prevent spills.

Further features include its attractive price and its heavy-duty design, which offers its lid as a seat for weights up to 250 pounds, thereby making it the best overall fishing cooler here.

Coleman also offers it in other colors and styles asides from this stainless steel finish. These include Green, Red, Matte Black, Silver, and Turquoise.

Its major downside, however, is weight because it’s relatively heavy. Keep in mind, however, that its lid can support heavy loads up to 250 pounds, so it’s worth it. Plus, it comes with a 6-year warranty.


  • Large 54-quart fishing cooler
  • Retains ice up to four days under 90 °F
  • Heavy-duty design supports 250-pound weights
  • Available in stainless steel and other colors


  • It’s heavy but worth it

2. Igloo 45106 – Best Budget Fishing Cooler

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If you’re on a budget, then this Igloo 45106 fishing cooler might just be for you. It’s a compact piece of polypropylene construction, with a 28-quart or 41-can capacity and wheels to easily move it around.

It also comes with a telescoping handle to make it a very convenient piece. The handles locks-in with the push of a button and the translucent wheels won’t mark your boat’s surfaces.

What makes it one of the best small fishing coolers, however, is its aesthetics. This combination of white and black, plus the smooth curves on the cooler and its telescoping handles truly set it apart.

For cons, it retains ice for just a few hours. But, if you want a cool and convenient fishing cooler for just a few hours of fishing fun, then you’ve got it.


  • Nicely designed mobile cooler
  • The best-priced offer on this list
  • Features wheels for easy transport
  • Also features a telescoping handle


  • Its ice retention is for only a few hours

3. Yeti Cooler YR20W – Best Premium Hard Fishing Cooler

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Also known as the Roadie, this Yeti YR20W cooler comes with a 20-quart or 14-can capacity, and two inches of PermaFrost insulation to offer a high-quality fishing cooler.

It also includes other features, such as T-Rex lid latches, which are heavy-duty rubber latches that guarantee durability. Then, there is a two-hinge system for the lid and a military-grade handle that assures you of its durability.

Everything else about this cooler is top-notch, including its quick-drain system for convenience, freezer-quality gasket to maximize ice retention, and non-slip bear-foot feet to keep it stable on your boat.

What’s not so great is that it’s relatively heavy and costly for its size. But asides from that, it’s one of the best coolers for fishing you can find.


  • Premium rotomolded hard cooler
  • Offers a 20-quart or 14-can capacity
  • Solid and durable design
  • Available in nine bright colors


  • It’s a relatively heavy cooler

4. Igloo 44363 – Best Capacity Fishing Cooler

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When size or capacity is the issue and you need a fishing cooler that’s as large as possible, Igloo offers this 150-quart cooler made from polyethylene and Ultratherm.

Its insulation is also impressive, as it lets it keep ice for seven days under 90° Fahrenheit. These features combine with its threaded drain plug, quick access hatch, and odor-resistant lining to make it the best large fishing cooler on this list.

This cooler measures 41.6 x 18.7 x 20.3 inches and weighs 29 pounds, which is relatively heavy. Another issue is that it’s only available in white. But when you consider how much space it offers and its ease of use, then it still seems worth it.


  • Polyethylene cooler with a secure lid
  • Offers 150 quarts for 248 cans
  • Can retain ice for up to seven days
  • Backed by a 1-year warranty


  • It’s not available in other colors than white

5. Engel 2945-0019 – Best Ice Retention Fishing Cooler

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While most other fishing coolers offer ice retention durations of three to seven days, this Engel 2945-0019 is for those who want the best ice retention times.

It offers up to 10 days of ice retention, then longest on this list, and this makes it perfect for the widest variety of uses.

Further valuable features include a rotationally molded body, two inches of high-density polyurethane insulation, non-marking rubber feet, and a 10-year warranty from Engel, which make it one of the best commercial fish coolers.

For the not-so-great part, it’s an expensive piece, costing many times more than comparable models. In its defense though, those comparable models have shorter ice-retention durations.


  • Solid construction certified bear-resistant
  • Can retain ice for an impressive 10 days
  • Available in four colors
  • Backed by a solid 10-year warranty


  • It’s a relatively expensive fishing cooler

6. Pelican 20Q-1 – Compact & Colorful Fishing Cooler

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Pelican combines its top-quality construction here with a colorful and compact design to create this Pelican 20Q-1 with a 20-liter capacity and availability in 10 colors.

It features two inches of polyurethane construction and a 360-degree freezer gasket to offer a 3-day ice-retention period. There are also 3-inch locking latches for safety, a stainless steel bottle opener for those thirsty moments, and non-skid rubber feet to keep it from slidiing over.

For the colors, Pelican offers it in Pacific Blue, Americana, Cactus Green, Canyon Red, and six other impressive colors.

The only issue is that three days is below the average on this list. For most fishing trips though, its 3-day retention period is more than enough. It also comes with Pelican’s legendary lifetime warranty.


  • Compact but tough fishing cooler
  • Offers a 20-quart capacity
  • Offered in a variety of colors
  • Includes a lifetime unconditional warranty


  • Other coolers can keep ice longer

7. Pelican 32-45Q – Versatile & Durable Fishing Cooler

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Here comes the most versatile fishing cooler on this list. Designed for fishing and other activities, it offers a freezer-grade gasket, 2-inch polyurethane insulation, and press-&-pull latches, which work well with gloves.

It’s also built tough, with extra-thick sides that both keep its inner temperature lower for longer, and additionally makes it a very durable cooler. You get a 10-day ice retention period, molded-in handles, and a built-in bottle opener for convenience.

For cons, it’s the costliest cooler here. However, Pelican also offers the newer Pelican 50Q-1 version in about eight colors and it also costs less than this one. You can also get a wheeled version, which is great for anyone searching for the best fishing cooler with wheels.


  • Fishing cooler with quality construction
  • Comes with 45 quarts of space
  • Offers a 7 – 10-day ice retention
  • Available in white or tan


  • It’s the costliest cooler on this list

8. Thermik – Compact Fishing Cooler With Vacuum Release

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Compact and convenient, this 25-quart Thermik fishing cooler feels like a 20-quart cooler. It offers the compact footprint of a 20-quarts cooler while being 5-quarts deeper.

Thermik uses a freezer-grade gasket and thick urethane insulation to make it hold ice for up to five days, then also adds a vacuum-release button to make opening it easier.

Other features include an indestructible hinge, tie-down holes, rubber feet, and a dry-keeper basket.

For cons, it’s only available in white and this can make it unappealing to color lovers. On the brighter side, it comes with a 5-year warranty and is also available in 45-quart and 75-quart options.


  • Compact cooler with freezer-grade seal
  • Includes a vacuum-release button
  • Retains ice up to 5 days
  • Comes with a 5-year warranty


  • It’s only available in white

9. Engel UC30T-RH – 30-Quart Fishing Cooler With Rod Holders

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Here’s another fishing cooler from Engel and it’s got lots of impressive features. It’s compact and lightweight at 7.5 pounds, spacious at 30 quarts, and has a very rugged and durable design.

It includes four rod-holders and a hanging accessory tray to make your fishing sessions more convenient. There’s a shoulder strap, stainless steel screws, a self-stopping hinge, and an airtight gasket.

The major issue it has is its lack of pleasing aesthetics. But, Engel makes it in different colors and backs it with a 5-year warranty.


  • Rugged fishing cooler with 30 quarts capacity
  • It includes rod holders
  • Features a quality polystyrene foam insulation
  • Backed by a 5-year warranty


  • It’s not really aesthetically pleasing

10. AO Coolers AOELBF12 – Compact & CheapFishing Cooler

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A lot is going for this fishing cooler from AO Coolers. First, it’s lightweight, then it’s compact and comes with a shoulder strap, allowing you to carry it in many ways.

This fish cooler bag also comes in different sizes and colors, allowing you to choose just what’s right for you. Then, there’s the issue of its low and attractive price, which combines with its other features to make it the best fishing cooler offer on this list.

AO Coolers uses a 600D polyester canvas in making this cooler and this makes it tough and durable. All you need to do is choose the right size for you and you’re done. It comes in 12-can, 24-can, 36-can, and 48-can versions.

It’s one downside is that it retains ice for just 24 hours. This may turn out badly if you’re planning a multi-day tour, but for most hobby fishers who just need a few hours of ice, it’s a perfect and cost-effective fishing cooler.


  • Soft-sided and easy-to-carry fishing cooler
  • Includes a removable shoulder strap
  • Offered in many colors
  • Also available in different sizes


  • It only holds ice for just one day

How to Buy the Best Fishing Cooler

Photo: Yeti

The following paragraphs present the most important issues to consider when choosing the best fishing cooler for your trip.

1. Cooler Type

There are two types of fishing coolers and they come with their benefits and cons, so it’s left for you to choose which type will best serve your needs. Here is a closer look at both cooler types.

Fish Cooler Bags. As the name suggests, this is a simple method of storing and transporting your fish to keep it fresh for as long as possible. These bags are well insulated, small, and easy to carry about.

This makes them perfect for the occasional fisher who has only a few fish to deal with and for the highly adventurous, who are on the search for the best surf fishing coolers. But they are not perfect for storing food and do not come with the other features of standard chest coolers. A good example is the AO Coolers AOELBF12.

Standard Fish Coolers. These are the chest cooler types. They are also insulated and are the more popular type of fishing coolers. With a chest type cooler, your fish can stay fresh for days and even weeks, depending on the make.

Although they can handle lots of more fish, these fish cooler chests also have their disadvantages, such as being bulky, heavy, or simply taking up too much space on the boat. The Engel UC30T-RH is a good example.

2. Capacity

A fish cooler’s capacity is another important metric that helps to decide what’s best for you. You’ll need to check yourself first and bring your intentions together before you can make the right choice.

You may need a mall cooler up to 25 quarts if you’re going fishing alone for just the day. But, if you’ve got a larger family or you plan to spend a few days out, then a larger fishing cooler will make more sense, such as a 45-quart cooler for weekend trips.

3. Insulation Qualities

A fishing cooler’s insulation is what sets it apart from other coolers and other cooler types as well. A good fishing cooler should keep your ice for up to three to five days, while more top-quality offers can hold ice for up to two weeks.

As you can imagine, the choice here rests on you and your fishing plans. If your planning short day trips, then you don’t have much to worry about. Else, you may need to pay closer attention to a fishing cooler’s declared insulation qualities.

4. Construction

Another feature that sets fishing coolers apart is how well-built they are. Fishing coolers generally feature heavy-duty construction with hard sides, a locking lid, solid latches, and a completely water-tight design.

Another important feature is slip resistance. A good fishing cooler comes with a very slip-resistant floor to prevent it from skidding across the boat or car while it’s moving.

5. Portability

Fishing coolers are generally heavy, so there’s little reason in trying to find a lightweight model. What you can do, however, is to find a cooler with enough extras to make it more portable. These include wheels, a handle, and drain plugs.


By Hae Woong Lee/shutterstock

We’ve reached the end of this fishing coolers review and you’ve seen all the top fishing cooler offers in the market.

For the overall best cooler, we recommend the AO Coolers AOELBF12 with its 64-quart capacity, 4-day ice retention, and 6-year warranty.

Budget shoppers, however, will appreciate this Igloo 21406 with its 28-quart capacity, 5-pound lightweight, and low price.

But, if you’re looking for a fishing cooler that will hold your ice for as long as possible, we recommend the Engel 2945-0019 with its 10-day ice retention, 58-quart capacity, and a 10-year warranty.


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Jack Bollinger
Born in Massachusetts, Jack is an avid fisherman most of his life. He is currently a fishing guide in the bay of California. He has been fishing for more than 40 years and fly-fishing for more than 30. His favorite fish to catch is the rainbow trout and small-mouth bass. He has earned many top places in different lake fishing competitions.

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