Best Lunch Cooler for Construction Workers – Our Top 5 Picks for 2021

Coolers Gear

If you’re a construction worker, you’ll want a cooler that will keep your lunch cold all day – today, we’ll be looking at our top 5 best lunch coolers for construction workers.

Durability is important – from waterproof work boots to socks for work boots, you’ll need gear that will be able to withstand all kinds of conditions. How can you find a cooler that is going to be able to cope with knocks and scrapes, and how can you tell if it will keep your lunch cold all day?

We’ll be looking at our top 5 coolers for construction workers today, so we’ll give you the lowdown on the toughest coolers out there.

The bottom line up front: we like the Arctic Zone Deep Freeze Cooler. It’s a good all-rounder that will keep your lunch cold all day long.

We also like:

We’ll be looking at:

  • What to look for in a lunch cooler for construction workers
  • 5 of the best out there, including their key features, pros, and cons
  • Some frequently asked questions
  • Which ones we like the best, and why we like them so much

Let’s start with a quick overview of the coolers we’ll be looking at today.

Best Lunch Coolers for Construction Workers Compared

Feature
Best Looking Cooler
Most Durable
Best Ice Retention
Best for Organization
Best Soft-Sided Cooler
Model
Igloo The Boss Playmate Cooler
Klein Tools Work Cooler
Arctic Zone Deep Freeze Cooler
Engel Cooler Dry Box
Under Armour 12 Can Soft-Sided Cooler
Capacity
14 Quarts (13.25 Liters)
18 cans or 72 cans
20 Quarts (18.92 Liters)
19 Quarts (17.98 Liters)
12 Cans
Cooling Time
Not stated
30 Hours
Up to 4 days ice retention
Not stated
Not stated
Color(s)
Silver and black
Orange and Black
Grey
White
Blue and black
Weight
1.74 Kilograms (3.83 Pounds)
3.08 Kilograms (6.8 Pounds)
7.63 Kilograms (16.84 Pounds)
1.58 Kilograms (3.5 Pounds)
0.90 Kilograms (2 Pounds)
Igloo The Boss Playmate Cooler, Black/Grey, 14 Qt
Klein Tools 55600 Work Cooler, 17-Quart Lunch Box Holds 18 Cans, Keeps Cool 30 Hours, Seats 300 Lb, Tradesman Pro Tough Box
Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze 20Q Premium Ice Chest Roto Cooler with Microban Protection, Gray
Engel UC19 Ice/Dry Box, White
Under Armour 12 Can Soft Sided Cooler, Blue/Black
-
4,825 Reviews
5,023 Reviews
554 Reviews
4,013 Reviews
449 Reviews
Feature
Best Looking Cooler
Model
Igloo The Boss Playmate Cooler
Capacity
14 Quarts (13.25 Liters)
Cooling Time
Not stated
Color(s)
Silver and black
Weight
1.74 Kilograms (3.83 Pounds)
Igloo The Boss Playmate Cooler, Black/Grey, 14 Qt
4,825 Reviews
Feature
Most Durable
Model
Klein Tools Work Cooler
Capacity
18 cans or 72 cans
Cooling Time
30 Hours
Color(s)
Orange and Black
Weight
3.08 Kilograms (6.8 Pounds)
Klein Tools 55600 Work Cooler, 17-Quart Lunch Box Holds 18 Cans, Keeps Cool 30 Hours, Seats 300 Lb, Tradesman Pro Tough Box
5,023 Reviews
Feature
Best Ice Retention
Model
Arctic Zone Deep Freeze Cooler
Capacity
20 Quarts (18.92 Liters)
Cooling Time
Up to 4 days ice retention
Color(s)
Grey
Weight
7.63 Kilograms (16.84 Pounds)
Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze 20Q Premium Ice Chest Roto Cooler with Microban Protection, Gray
554 Reviews
Feature
Best for Organization
Model
Engel Cooler Dry Box
Capacity
19 Quarts (17.98 Liters)
Cooling Time
Not stated
Color(s)
White
Weight
1.58 Kilograms (3.5 Pounds)
Engel UC19 Ice/Dry Box, White
-
4,013 Reviews
Feature
Best Soft-Sided Cooler
Model
Under Armour 12 Can Soft-Sided Cooler
Capacity
12 Cans
Cooling Time
Not stated
Color(s)
Blue and black
Weight
0.90 Kilograms (2 Pounds)
Under Armour 12 Can Soft Sided Cooler, Blue/Black
449 Reviews

What to Look for in a Lunch Cooler

Here are a few things to look out for in a lunch cooler:

Durability

Handheld grey refrigerator isolated on white background

Durability is a big factor if you’re working on a construction site. You’ll want to find a cooler that can withstand a lot of knocks and scrapes. You’ll also want to look for a cooler that is easy to clean, as it could get dirty pretty quickly depending on your working conditions.

It’s sometimes worth investing a little more money on a cooler for work on a construction site, because you may find yourself having to replace it often if you go for a cheaper model. Look for a cooler made from durable materials, with strong, rust-resistant components (like hinges and latches), and tough handles that can withstand a lot of use without breaking. Having said that, you can sometimes find a tough cooler for a lower price – for example, like the coolers in our Ozark Trail Cooler review.

Cooling Power

Top view of picnic cooler box with and ice cube on the ground for camping during summer vacation time

While you’re unlikely to need your cooler to last for days on end (unlike a cooler for camping or hunting/fishing trips), you will want something that is going to still be cold at the end of the day. Hard-sided coolers tend to stay cold for longer than soft-sided coolers, as a general rule. 

You can also look for hard-sided coolers that are rotomolded. This is a manufacturing process, where coolers are made from one continuous, thick piece of plastic (you can find out more about this in Rotomold USA’s guide ‘What is Rotational Molding?‘). The plastic will be injected with insulating material. This helps to keep cold air trapped inside and ensure that there will be no cold air escaping through cracks in joins. (To find some great recommendations you can read our guide to the Best Rotomolded Coolers.)

Close view of a Pelican hard cooler lid latch

You can also look for other features, like super-strong latches and rubber gaskets, which can help to squeeze the lid tightly shut, stopping warm air from being able to get inside.

You may sometimes see ice retention time advertised – this refers to how long ice will last before it melts. These tests tend to be done under ideal conditions, so your cooler may not keep ice for as long in real-life use. You can get more ideas on keeping ice in YETI’s guide on How to Keep Your YETI Hard Cooler Cold for Longer.

Capacity

Cool box containing water bottles and juice

You’ll find capacity measured in quarts (with 1 quart being equivalent to 0.94 liters), or in cans (this may be easier to give you a visual idea of how big it will be). Lunch coolers don’t have to be that big, depending on your needs. The larger the cooler, the heavier it will be.

If you need to find a larger cooler, you can find some in our guide to the Best Cooler with Wheels or the Best Large Cooler with Wheels.

Extra Features

Man opening a beer with cooler's bottle opener

Some coolers may have extra features. For example, some hard-sided coolers have tough lids that can double up as a seat. You may also find other features, like storage baskets or pockets to help to keep your contents organized. Storage areas that can keep your valuables safe and dry. You can also look for side pockets to keep water bottles.

Top 5 Best Lunch Coolers for Construction Workers

Now, let’s take a look at our top 5 lunch coolers for construction workers. We’ll be focusing on durability as well as cooling power. We’ll also share what we like and dislike about each one.

Igloo The Boss Playmate Cooler – Best Looking Cooler

Igloo The Boss Playmate Cooler, Black/Grey, 14 Qt

Key Features

  • Capacity: 14 Quarts (13.25 Liters)
  • Cooling Time: Not stated
  • Color: Silver and black
  • Weight: 1.74 Kilograms (3.83 Pounds)
  • Dimensions: 14.5 x 10.51 x 13.61 Inches (36.83 x 26.69 x 34.56 Centimeters)

The Igloo the Boss Playmate Cooler – is a great choice if you want a good-looking cooler. It’s from the iconic Playmate range, with the same classic shape as the others in the range, but it’s designed to be tough and durable. The size is pretty decent – enough for your lunch and a large water bottle, or a few smaller drinks.

It’s a durable cooler. It looks like it’s made from stainless steel, but it’s made from super-tough, durable plastic (this may get a little scratched up after a while, however). It has a diamond-plate exterior, which gives it a ‘rugged’ look. It’s designed to be tough, making it an ideal lunch cooler.

As far as cooling power is concerned, it’s pretty decent. Made with Igloo’s Maxcold insulation, with a few ice packs, it should keep your food and drinks cold all day – even if you’re working outside.

It has a molded carry handle and a push-button swivel lid which opens all the way to make it super easy to get to the contents.

Pros

  • Iconic design
  • Good cooling power, even if working outside
  • Lid opens all the way for easy access

Cons

  • Silver finish may get scratched up
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Klein Tools Work Cooler – Most Durable and Secure

Klein Tools 55600 Work Cooler, 17-Quart Lunch Box Holds 18 Cans, Keeps Cool 30 Hours, Seats 300 Lb, Tradesman Pro Tough Box

Key Features

  • Capacity: 18 Cans or 72 Cans
  • Cooling Time: 30 Hours
  • Color: Orange and Black
  • Weight: 3.08 Kilograms (6.8 Pounds)
  • Dimensions: 16.75 x 12.5 x 13.5 Inches (42.54 x 31.75 x 34.29 Centimeters)

The Klein Tools Work Cooler – is a super-tough cooler that can handle all kinds of working conditions. It comes in two sizes – 18 cans or 72 cans. The 18-can version is perfect for work. It’s large enough to hold a good amount of food and a couple of large drinks as well.

It’s a durable cooler, made from a thick layer of plastic. All the components are durable, with a no-rust stainless steel hinge, for example. The lid is so strong that it doubles up as a seat, handling up to 300 pounds (136.1 kilograms) in weight.

The cooling power is pretty good – it has insulation in the walls, and it advertises the cooling time at 30 hours, which should be enough to keep your lunch nice and cool all day!

It has some handy extra features, too. The Klein WorkCooler has an inside storage compartment, which is excellent for keeping your valuables safe – the contents won’t get damp, so you can keep your phone and keys in there without worrying. It has a thick, durable shoulder strap for carrying. It lacks a molded carrying handle, which some people may find a bit annoying if they don’t want to carry it over their shoulder. The lid opens all the way to allow for easy access to the contents. The cooler also has a lock to keep everything safe inside.

Pros

  • Tough and durable
  • 30 hours of cooling time
  • Has extra features, like a seat in the lid and a dry storage compartment

Cons

  • Only has a shoulder strap for carrying
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Cooler – Best Ice Retention

Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze 20Q Premium Ice Chest Roto Cooler with Microban Protection, Gray

Key Features

  • Capacity: 20 Quarts (18.92 Liters)
  • Cooling Time: Up to 4 days ice retention
  • Color: Grey
  • Weight: 7.63 Kilograms (16.84 Pounds)
  • Dimensions: 22.05 x 14.77 x 13.98 Inches (56 x 37.51 x 35.50 Centimeters)

The Arctic Zone Deep Freeze Cooler – is a great cooler with excellent cooling capabilities. The 20 Quart (18.92 Liter) version is perfect for your lunch and a couple of drinks to keep you going throughout the day.

It’s a tough cooler, with corrosion-resistant components, a thick insulated plastic shell, and heavy-duty latches. It also has IGBC (Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee) Certification – this means it’s certified as being grizzly bear-proof. Possibly not an issue on a construction site, but at least you’ll know it’s super tough and durable. (You can get more recommendations for this on the IGBC Certified Product List).

It has excellent cooling capabilities, with up to 4 days of ice retention. This is based on filling the entire cooler with ice, but you can feel assured that your food and drinks will stay cold while you work. It has a strong rubber gasket and heavy-duty T-latches, which help to stop warm air from creeping in.

It has a strong carry handle, an oversized drain plug for easy emptying, a built-in fish ruler, and anti-skid feet. It’s a great cooler for construction sites, but would easily double as a cooler for camping trips or fishing trips, too. The downside is that it’s a heavy cooler to carry.

Pros

  • IGBC certified
  • 4 days ice retention
  • Nice and durable

Cons

  • Heavy to carry
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Engel Cooler Dry Box – Best for Organization

Engel UC19 Ice/Dry Box, White

Key Features

  • Capacity: 19 Quarts (17.98 Liters)
  • Cooling Time: Not stated
  • Color: White
  • Weight: 1.58 Kilograms (3.5 Pounds)
  • Dimensions: 16.6 x 11 x 13 Inches (42 x 27.94 x 33 Centimeters)

The Engel Cooler Dry Box – is a great cooler for keeping the contents of your cooler organized. It has a good capacity of 19 Quarts (17.98 Liters), which is enough to keep your lunch and a large drink.

It’s pretty durable, with high-quality stainless steel components. The downside is that the hinges can get creaky after a little while. It also has stain and odor-resistant surfaces, meaning it should stay clean even after a lot of use.

It’s great in terms of cooling power. The Engel Cooler Dry Box has good insulation injected into the thick plastic walls, and an airtight gasket around the lid to help to keep cold air trapped inside.

The cooler has a storage basket built into it, which means you can keep the contents organized, keeping your dry goods away from food and drinks that need to be chilled. It has carry handles and a tough integrated shoulder strap. It has self-stopping rear hinges, so you can open the lid wide without it flapping all the way to the back.

Pros

  • Integrated storage basket
  • Has stain and odor-resistant surfaces
  • Good capacity
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Hinges may creak after a while
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Under Armour 12 Can Soft-Sided Cooler – Best Soft-Sided Cooler

Under Armour 12 Can Soft Sided Cooler, Blue/Black

Key Features

  • Capacity: 12 Cans
  • Cooling Time: Not stated
  • Color: Blue and black
  • Weight: 0.90 Kilograms (2 Pounds)
  • Dimensions: 11.3 x 11.5 x 7.5 Inches (28.7 x 29.21 x 19.05 Centimeters)

The Under Armour 12 Can Soft-Sided Cooler is perfect if you want a soft-sided cooler. It’s on the smaller side at 12 cans, but that’s enough to fit in your lunch and a drink.

It’s extremely lightweight and durable for a soft-sided cooler, with a durable lining that is easy to wipe clean. It also has a coating on the base fabric to resist dirt and water.

It has insulation built into the interior lining, with a magnetic lid to keep the contents cold. Soft-sided coolers tend to have a shorter cooling time/ice retention time than hard-sided coolers, but this one will keep your lunch cold until the end of the day.

It has two exterior zippered pockets – perfect for keeping non-food items – as well as an adjustable shoulder strap, and a fence hook so you can keep your lunch bag up off the ground.

Pros

  • Easy to clean
  • Good insulation
  • Can be hung on a fence
  • Extremely lightweight

Cons

  • Won’t stay cold for as long as a hard-sided cooler
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about lunch coolers for construction workers:

How can I keep my lunch cold all day?

Sandwiches and croquettes into a cool box and on wooden table

Using a decent amount of ice (or plenty of ice packs) will help to keep your lunch cold all day. If you want to, you could pack your cooler overnight with ice packs, and then replace those ice packs with fresh ones in the morning. This will help to pre-chill it, ideal if you’re working in hot conditions.

Can I use my cooler for a camping trip?

Ozark Trail soft cooler filled with drinks and snacks

It depends on the capacity and the cooling power of the cooler you have. If you’re traveling solo and you have the opportunity to replace your ice packs each day, your lunch cooler could work well.

How can I clean my cooler?

dark blue cooler box for camping or picnic

You can clean your cooler using warm, soapy water and a soft cloth. Make sure you drain out any melted ice first. Soft-sided coolers may come with a removable liner which makes them really easy to clean. You can find out more in The Kitchn’s guide on How to Clean a Dirty Cooler.

To Sum Up … Which is the best Cooler for Construction workers?

Handheld grey refrigerator on wood background

If we had to pick a favorite, it would be the Arctic Zone Deep Freeze Cooler. It’s a great all-rounder with excellent cooling power, and it will last all day.

If you’re after something with an eye-catching design that is still going to be durable, you may like the Igloo the Boss Playmate Cooler. Or, if you’re after a soft-sided cooler, you could go for the Under Armour 12 Can Soft-Sided Cooler, which is a durable cooler that works well.

If you have any cooler recommendations or ideas for any other type of gear for construction workers, leave us a comment – we’re always on the lookout for great gear.

We hope this has helped you to find a great lunch cooler. If you did find it helpful, feel free to share this article online!