Best Rotomolded Cooler – 5 of the Toughest Coolers in 2021

Coolers Gear

If you want a cooler that’s going to keep your food cool for a long time, you’ll want to find the right rotomolded cooler – which is where we can help out.

A rotomolded cooler is not only going to keep your food and drinks nice and cool, but it’s also going to be super tough and durable, which makes it a perfect companion to fishing, hunting, or camping trips. 

The question is, which one is the best?

The bottom line up front: We like the Snowball 26QT (24 Liter) Rotomolded Ice Chest. It’s a great little cooler on a tight budget, and it’s surprisingly tough and durable too.

We also like:

We’ll be looking at:

  • The best rotomolded coolers compared
  • What a rotomolded cooler is
  • What to look for in a rotomolded cooler
  • Top 5 best rotomolded coolers, including their key features, pros, and cons
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Which one we like the best

Let’s start by looking at what rotomolding is!

Best Rotomolded Coolers Compared

Feature
Best on a Budget
Best for Road Trips
Most Durable
Best Large Cooler
Good All-Rounder
Model
Snowball 26QT (24L) Rotomolded Ice Chest
Coleman Portable Cooler with Wheels
Under Armour Sideline 20QT (19L) Hard Cooler
YETI Tundra Haul Portable Wheeled Cooler
ORCA Cooler with Lid
Ice Retention
N/A
Up to 5 days
N/A
N/A
N/A
Capacity
26QT (25L)
50QT (47L)
20QT (19L)
55QT (52L)
26QT (25L)
Weight
35.2lbs (15.96kg)
12.8lbs (5.80kg)
18lbs (8.16kg)
37lbs (16.78cm)
16lbs (7.25kg)
Snowball Coolers, Rotomolded Insulation Ice Chest for Camping, Fishing, Hunting, BBQs & Outdoor Activities, White, 26QT(25L)
Coleman Portable Cooler with Wheels | Xtreme Wheeled Cooler, 50-Quart
Under Armour Sideline 20 Quart Hard Cooler, Charcoal
YETI Tundra Haul Portable Wheeled Cooler, Tan
ORCA Extra Heavy Duty Cooler, Green, 20-Quart
-
-
261 Reviews
3,007 Reviews
45 Reviews
1,819 Reviews
27 Reviews
Feature
Best on a Budget
Model
Snowball 26QT (24L) Rotomolded Ice Chest
Ice Retention
N/A
Capacity
26QT (25L)
Weight
35.2lbs (15.96kg)
Snowball Coolers, Rotomolded Insulation Ice Chest for Camping, Fishing, Hunting, BBQs & Outdoor Activities, White, 26QT(25L)
261 Reviews
Feature
Best for Road Trips
Model
Coleman Portable Cooler with Wheels
Ice Retention
Up to 5 days
Capacity
50QT (47L)
Weight
12.8lbs (5.80kg)
Coleman Portable Cooler with Wheels | Xtreme Wheeled Cooler, 50-Quart
3,007 Reviews
Feature
Most Durable
Model
Under Armour Sideline 20QT (19L) Hard Cooler
Ice Retention
N/A
Capacity
20QT (19L)
Weight
18lbs (8.16kg)
Under Armour Sideline 20 Quart Hard Cooler, Charcoal
-
45 Reviews
Feature
Best Large Cooler
Model
YETI Tundra Haul Portable Wheeled Cooler
Ice Retention
N/A
Capacity
55QT (52L)
Weight
37lbs (16.78cm)
YETI Tundra Haul Portable Wheeled Cooler, Tan
1,819 Reviews
Feature
Good All-Rounder
Model
ORCA Cooler with Lid
Ice Retention
N/A
Capacity
26QT (25L)
Weight
16lbs (7.25kg)
ORCA Extra Heavy Duty Cooler, Green, 20-Quart
-
27 Reviews

What is a Rotomolded Cooler?

handheld blue refrigerator isolated on white

A rotomolded cooler is a cooler made from one thick, continuous piece of material. This means there are no joints, seams, or gaps in the cooler, therefore no tiny spaces through which cold air can escape. It’s a manufacturing process that creates thick, well-insulated walls – ideal for coolers.

If you’re interested in this, the British Plastics Federation’s guide on Rotational Molding: the Process and Advantages can give you an insight into how it all works.

What to Look for in a Rotomolded Cooler

Here’s a quick guide on what to look for in your cooler:

Ice Retention

Bottles of water in the ice box on the beach

Some coolers will advertise their ice retention time. This refers to the amount of time that ice will stay solid in the cooler before melting. Not all manufacturers choose to advertise the ice retention time of their coolers. Others will advertise ice retention time, but it tends to be under ideal conditions, which most people won’t be able to follow practically – your cooler is probably going to be out and about with you, left in a warm car, on a beach, or opened frequently etc. So it may be a good idea to underestimate the amount of time ice will last in your cooler.

You can make ice last quite a while in a cooler if you follow the correct steps – YETI has a guide on How to Keep Your YETI Hard Cooler Cold for Longer which has some great tips on increasing ice retention time.

Cooling Power

Ice retention time isn’t the only thing to look for in terms of how cold your cooler will be. Some features to look for include:

  • Thick gasket – a thick rubber gasket can also help to keep cold air trapped inside.
  • Extra-strong latches – this helps to ensure the seal is tightly closed when not in use.
  • Thick walls – ideally, your cooler will have thick walls to help keep the contents cool (typically, walls of a hard-sided cooler will be around 2-3″ inches / 5-7.5 cm). Thick walls are also good for increased durability, as they are tougher and less likely to crack or break, although with thicker walls there does tend to be a higher price.

Wired Magazine has an article called What Makes a Good Cooler (According to Physics)? Which gives a bit more insight into this.

Capacity

inner view of a cooler

Next, there’s the capacity to consider. Most coolers advertise their capacity in quarts, with 1 quart being equivalent to 1.13 liters. You can get coolers just big enough for one person, right through to chest coolers that are ideal for camping or fishing trips. The bigger the capacity, the heavier it will be, with the very heaviest usually requiring wheels to transport it.

It’s worth bearing in mind that you need a lot of ice/ice blocks to keep a very large cooler cold for long, which adds to the weight but also cuts down the amount of food and drinks you can fit into it.

Ease of Cleaning

A senior man in a caravan is cleaning is cooler box

Another big thing to look for is the ease of cleaning. Coolers can get dirty pretty quickly. Look for a cooler that is easy to wipe down, with minimal gaps or nooks and crannies for dirt to get stuck in. Most hard-sided coolers have a drain of some kind, which allows you to get rid of melted ice to replace it with fresh ice, as well as avoiding the issue of having to lift the cooler when draining the water. Look for a large drain to make this process much quicker.

Extra Features

Blue cooling box with adjustable handle and wheels isolated on white background

Some coolers may have extra features, including:

  • A built-in bottle opener
  • A fish ruler
  • Non-stick feet (to stop the cooler from sliding around)
  • UV protection on the outside (ideal for any kind of activity that will involve being out in the sun all day, as it may prevent some fading on the outer casing)
  • Tough wheels and telescoping handles for transportation
  • Cup or water bottle holders

Top 5 Best Rotomolded Coolers

Now, let’s take a look at 5 of the best rotomolded coolers out there. We’ve tried to cover a wide price and size range, so you should be able to find something that suits you.

Snowball 26QT (24L) Rotomolded Ice Chest – Best on a Budget

Snowball Coolers, Rotomolded Insulation Ice Chest for Camping, Fishing, Hunting, BBQs & Outdoor Activities, White, 26QT(25L)

Key Features

  • Capacity: 26QT (25L)
  • Materials
    Outer: UV-Resistant Polyethylene
    Insulation: Polyurethane foam
  • Wall thickness: 2in (5cm)
  • Ice retention: Not stated
  • Color: White, tan
  • Weight: 35.2lbs (15.96kg)
  • Dimensions: 21 x 15.5 x 15in (53 x 39 x 38cm)

The Snowball 26QT (24L) Rotomolded Ice Chest is a great cooler for the price. It has a 26QT (25L) capacity, but you can get the same model in other sizes, from 20QT (19L) right through to 185QT (175L). it’s on the heavier side even before you’ve filled it, which is something to bear in mind.

The manufacturer hasn’t stated a specific ice retention time, but it’s a great cooler that works well. It has a strong silicone seal around the drain, great insulation with fairly thick walls, and heavy-duty rubber T-latches (which help to keep the cold air sealed in). 

It’s pretty durable. The UV-resistant outer shell means you can take it out all day and not worry about it fading, and it’s a tough little cooler that can last a lot of use without getting damaged.

It also has a few extra features, including a bottle holder, a bottle opener, a large drain plug for easy drainage of melted ice, non-skid feet, and soft ropes to allow you to drag it if you can’t lift it. It also has a curved, comfortable handle. This is a great number of features for such a low price (and if you’re camping on a budget, check out our guide to the best tents under $200 for more ideas).

Pros

  • Great price point
  • Good insulation and thick walls
  • Lots of extra features

Cons

  • Doesn’t have a stated ice retention time
  • Quite heavy
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Coleman Portable Cooler with Wheels – Best for Road Trips

Coleman Portable Cooler with Wheels | Xtreme Wheeled Cooler, 50-Quart

Key Features

  • Capacity: 50QT (47L)
  • Materials
    Outer: Plastic
    Insulation: Insulating foam
  • Wall thickness: Not stated
  • Ice retention: 5 days
  • Color: Blue and white
  • Weight: 12.8lbs (5.80kg)
  • Dimensions: 22.44 x 17.32 x 17.32in (57 x 44 x 44cm)

The Coleman Portable Cooler with Wheels is another budget-friendly cooler with great ice retention, ideal for road trips or long journeys. It has a 50QT (47L) capacity, which is a good size for food and drinks for a long trip. It’s not too heavy either, which is great.

It’s pretty good in terms of ice retention – advertised at 5 days, it’s actually pretty close to that, which means it will last for long journeys, short camping trips, and hunting or fishing trips. It has good insulation and an insulated lid, too.

It’s also a durable cooler. It has tough, rugged wheels which are good for outdoor trips, and the telescoping handle is tough, so should survive many trips. However, the handle has to be attached at home after delivery, which can be difficult to do.

This cooler has some neat extra features too, including an easy clean lid, and four built-in cup/water bottle holders.

Pros

  • Good ice retention time
  • Great price
  • Durable
  • Cup holders in lid are handy

Cons

  • Handle has to be attached after delivery
  • No UV coating on the outer shell
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Under Armour Sideline 20 QT (19L) Hard Cooler – Most Durable

Under Armour Sideline 20 Quart Hard Cooler, Charcoal

Key Features

  • Capacity: 20QT (19L)
  • Materials
    Outer: High-density polyethylene
    Insulation: Insulating foam
  • Wall thickness: 2.4in (6.09cm)
  • Ice retention: Not stated
  • Color: Charcoal
  • Weight: 18lbs (8.16kg)
  • Dimensions: 21 x 16 x 14.5in (53 x 41 x 37cm)

The Under Armour Sideline 20QT (19L) Hard Cooler is a super-tough little cooler that works well for one or two people. It’s not big enough to serve a whole family, but it’s ideal for days out or long journeys. It also comes in a 50 Quart (47L) model.

It doesn’t have a stated ice retention time, but the insulation is excellent, and it has a freezer-grade gasket which is great at locking cold air in. The lid locks down using the molded carry handle, which works well.

It is a super-tough cooler. The outer shell is designed to be really hard-wearing, with a tough, thick carry handle. However, this toughness comes at a price, as it’s a pretty heavy cooler to lift and carry around.

It also has an easy-to-clean outer surface, a built-in bottle opener, tie-down strap handles, and locking plates to help it stay securely closed.

Pros

  • Super tough and durable
  • Easy to clean
  • Built-in bottle opener and tie-down strap handles included

Cons

  • Very heavy
  • Doesn’t have UV coating
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

YETI Tundra Haul Portable Wheeled Cooler – Best Large Cooler

YETI Tundra Haul Portable Wheeled Cooler, Tan

Key Features

  • Capacity: 55QT (52L)
  • Materials
    Outer: UV-resistant polyethylene
    Insulation: Insulating foam
  • Wall thickness: 3in (7.62cm)
  • Ice retention: Not stated
  • Color: Blue, tan, white
  • Weight: 37lbs (16.7kg)
  • Dimensions: 28.25 x 18.63 x 19.5in (72 x 47 x 50cm)

The YETI Tundra Haul Portable Wheeled Cooler is a great choice if you’re after a larger rotomolded cooler. It’s ideal for hunting or fishing trips, as well as camping.

YETI doesn’t state the ice retention time, but they have a good reputation as far as this is concerned. It has thick walls which are great for keeping cold air in, using pressure-injected commercial-grade polyurethane foam. It has a freezer-quality gasket and an interlocking lid system which helps to keep warm air from getting in.

It’s also pretty tough, with heavy-duty latches, strong hinges, military-grade handles, and super-tough non-slip feet.

It does lack some of the extra features that other coolers have – it doesn’t have a basket, for example, which some larger coolers come with as standard, and the YETI baskets aren’t compatible with this particular model.

Pros

  • Very durable
  • Great cooling power
  • Strong wheels

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Lacks some extra features
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

ORCA Cooler With Lid – Good All-Rounder

ORCA Extra Heavy Duty Cooler, Green, 20-Quart

Key Features

  • Capacity: 26QT (25L)
  • Materials
    Outer: Polyethylene
    Insulation: Insulating foam
  • Wall thickness: Not stated
  • Ice retention: States up to 10 days of ‘coolness’, but doesn’t state that it will retain ice for that long.
  • Color: Green
  • Weight: 16lbs (7.25kg)
  • Dimensions: 19 x 14 x 15in (48 x 36 x 38cm)

The ORCA Cooler with Lid is a good all-rounder, and ideal if you’re looking for something that isn’t too big to carry around.

ORCA doesn’t state ice retention time, but it does suggest that this cooler can keep food cool for up to 10 days (in ideal conditions). It has thick insulating walls and a strong gasket, and it is excellent at keeping cold air trapped inside.

It’s a durable little cooler with a good quality handle and strong latches, so it should be able to cope with some tough conditions.

It also has some extra features, including a cargo net attachment for extra storage, a wide easy-flow drainage spout, and comfortable flex-grip handles.

Pros

  • Very tough
  • Good insulation
  • Comes with cargo net attachment for storage

Cons

  • Doesn’t state ice retention time
  • Lacks UV coating
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about rotomolded coolers:

Are rotomolded coolers good for fishing trips?

fishermen loading a YETI cooler on the boat

Yes. Rotomolded coolers work well for fishing, as they can retain cold air for a long time. Some coolers even have features like integrated fish rulers or storage baskets specifically designed for fishing trips. If you’re off on a trip, you can check out our guide to the best fishing watches for a roundup of the most useful watches for fishing.

How can I pre-chill my rotomolded cooler?

Ideally, you should fill the cooler with ice the night before. This will allow it to get nice and cool before you pack your food in the morning. Popular Mechanics has a good guide on how to pack a cooler if you want to know more.

Are there any safety tips I should know about?

Woman opens cover of green portable refrigerator with drinks food

Yes. There are ways you can ensure that your food is packed safely:

  • Ideally, pack raw meat or fish in a separate cooler. If that’s not possible, place it at the bottom of the cooler and make sure it is tightly sealed
  • Fill your cooler as much as possible – this helps to keep it cooler in general
  • Make sure you pack plenty of ice around the food and drink
  • Pack your food straight from your refrigerator or freezer
  • Keep your food sealed in airtight containers

Are rotomolded coolers bear-proof?

Not necessarily. The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee approves coolers based on whether or not a grizzly bear can break into them (they test this with real bears, so you know you can take their approval seriously!). You can read the full list of IGBC-approved products, so you can check if your chosen cooler is certified or not.

To Sum Up … Which Rotomolded Cooler is the Best?

Handheld blue refrigerator in the garden

We like the Snowball 26QT (24 Liter) Rotomolded Ice Chest. For the price, it is a durable and powerful cooler that will work well for a lot of different situations.

If you want something with a larger capacity that is super-tough and durable, we’d recommend the YETI Tundra Haul Portable Wheeled Cooler. YETI has a good reputation as far as durability and cooling power is concerned, so if you have the money to invest, we’d recommend checking them out.

We also like the ORCA Cooler with Lid. ORCA is another reliable brand, and this is a good cooler all-round with some neat extra features.

We hope this has helped you to find the best rotomolded cooler for you!