Best Water Jug Cooler – Which is the Best One for You (2021)

Coolers Gear

If you’re looking for a water jug cooler, don’t worry – you’ve come to the right place. Water jug coolers need to keep your drinks cold all day long, whether you’re on a camping trip, throwing a barbeque, or heading to a beach (in which case our guide to the Best Beach Cooler with Wheels may interest you, too).

But how do you know if your water jug cooler is the right size? How do you know if it will be durable enough for your needs? And how can you tell what the cooling power is like?

The bottom line up front: we’ll show you more details about it later, but we like the Igloo 5-Gallon Portable Sports Cooler. It’s durable, it has good cooling power, and it has a large capacity.

We also like:

We’ll be looking at:

  • The best water jug coolers, compared
  • What to look for in a water jug cooler
  • Our top 5 picks, including their key features, pros, and cons
  • Some of the most frequently asked questions about water jug coolers
  • Which ones we like the best, and why we like them so much

Keep reading to find out more about these coolers!

The Best Water Jug Coolers Compared

Feature
Good All-Rounder
Most Durable
Best for 1 Person
Best Ice Retention
Good for Parties
Model
Coleman 2 Gallon Beverage Cooler
Igloo 5-Gallon Portable Sports Cooler
Under Armour Sideline 64 Ounce Water Jug
Rubbermaid Victory Jug
Coleman 2 Gallon Party Stacker Beverage Cooler
Pouring Type
Spout, faucet
Spout
Spout
Spout, faucet
Faucet
Capacity
2 Gallon (9 Liter)
5 Gallon (22.7 Liter)
0.5 Gallon (2.27 Liter)
1.65 Gallon (7.57 Liter)
2 Gallon (9 Liter)
Weight
0.59 Pounds (0.27 Kilograms)
5.4 Pounds (2.44 Kilograms)
4.43 Pounds (2.09 Kilograms)
2.8 Pounds (1.27 Kilograms)
0.44 Pounds (0.02 Kilograms)
-
-
-
Coleman 2 Gallon Beverage Cooler
Igloo 5 Gallon Portable Sports Cooler Water Beverage Dispenser with Flat Seat Lid, Bright Orange
Under Armour UP4905RD4 Sideline 64 Ounce Water Jug, Red
Rubbermaid Victory Jug, 2 Gallon, Modern Red FG153004MODRD
Coleman 2 Gallon Party Stacker Beverage Cooler, Green
325 Reviews
3,195 Reviews
13,493 Reviews
269 Reviews
993 Reviews
Feature
Good All-Rounder
Model
Coleman 2 Gallon Beverage Cooler
Pouring Type
Spout, faucet
Capacity
2 Gallon (9 Liter)
Weight
0.59 Pounds (0.27 Kilograms)
-
Coleman 2 Gallon Beverage Cooler
325 Reviews
Feature
Most Durable
Model
Igloo 5-Gallon Portable Sports Cooler
Pouring Type
Spout
Capacity
5 Gallon (22.7 Liter)
Weight
5.4 Pounds (2.44 Kilograms)
-
Igloo 5 Gallon Portable Sports Cooler Water Beverage Dispenser with Flat Seat Lid, Bright Orange
3,195 Reviews
Feature
Best for 1 Person
Model
Under Armour Sideline 64 Ounce Water Jug
Pouring Type
Spout
Capacity
0.5 Gallon (2.27 Liter)
Weight
4.43 Pounds (2.09 Kilograms)
Under Armour UP4905RD4 Sideline 64 Ounce Water Jug, Red
13,493 Reviews
Feature
Best Ice Retention
Model
Rubbermaid Victory Jug
Pouring Type
Spout, faucet
Capacity
1.65 Gallon (7.57 Liter)
Weight
2.8 Pounds (1.27 Kilograms)
-
Rubbermaid Victory Jug, 2 Gallon, Modern Red FG153004MODRD
269 Reviews
Feature
Good for Parties
Model
Coleman 2 Gallon Party Stacker Beverage Cooler
Pouring Type
Faucet
Capacity
2 Gallon (9 Liter)
Weight
0.44 Pounds (0.02 Kilograms)
Coleman 2 Gallon Party Stacker Beverage Cooler, Green
993 Reviews

What to Look for in a Water Jug Cooler

There are a few things to look out for in a water jug cooler:

Capacity

Drinks beverage cooler flask

Why do you want a water jug cooler? That will help you to narrow down your search a bit. If you’re after a cooler just for one person that will give you enough water to get through a long day but you want more than a standard water bottle or a cooler that is enough to serve multiple people at a party or for a day trip to the beach, there are a lot of choices out there. 

A common size is 2 gallons (or around 9 liters). According to Healthline’s article How Much Water Should You Drink Per Day, most people should aim to drink around half a gallon (or 2 liters) a day. So by that measure, a 2-gallon cooler should be enough for 4 people for a day out. That’s not a hard-and-fast rule – you might drink more if you’re very warm on a beach, for example – but it gives you an idea of the capacity you might need from your cooler. (If you live in a really warm area or you’re traveling somewhere hot, you may want to check out this article by Forbes ‘How Much Water Does Your Body Need on a Hot Summer Day’ for more information).

Cooling Power

Melted ice cubes close up isolated on white background

Water jug coolers are insulated in the same way as other types of coolers (like those in our guide to the Best Rotomolded Cooler, Ozark Trail Cooler Review, or Best Coolers With Wheels). Insulating foam is used to keep cold (or warm) air trapped inside (Wired Magazine has a guide on What Makes a Good Cooler if you’re interested in finding out more about how it works).

But it’s not just insulation that is important to look out for – try to find a cooler with a lid that closes tightly, as this is an area where cool air can escape if the lid doesn’t lock on properly.

Materials

Water cooler tank with tap for drinking water isolated on white with clipping path included.

Most water jug coolers are made from thick, sturdy plastic, which is nice and durable. Sometimes this plastic can have UV coating on the outside – this helps to prevent the cooler from fading if it’s sitting around in the sun all day.

Transportation

a blue cooler with a red handle on a white background

How will you be moving your cooler around? They can get heavy when full, and unlike regular coolers with wheels, water jug coolers don’t come with wheels, so they do require some strength to carry, so you’ll need to find a cooler with a very strong handle, which can withstand a lot of use. Some coolers have 2 handles, which may make it easier (especially with larger coolers that may require 2 people to carry).

Pouring Method

ey cooler on a white plastic table on a football pitch

Coolers have different types of pouring methods – a faucet, a flip-top lid, or a spout (or some combination of all three). Larger coolers tend to have faucets, which are ideal if you’re sharing with a lot of people. So, this is another consideration to keep an eye on, as you’ll need a pouring method that suits your preferences.

Extra Features

Some extra features to look out for include:

  • UV coating to prevent fading over time
  • Easy clean surfaces (with no small areas for dirt or grime to build up)
  • A cord, to ensure you don’t lose the lid
  • A seat built into the lid

Top 5 Water Jug Coolers

Now, let’s take a look at some of the best water jug coolers out there. We’ll look at their key features, the main selling points of each one, and their pros and cons.

Coleman 2 Gallon Beverage Cooler – Good All-Rounder

Coleman 2 Gallon Beverage Cooler

Key Features

  • Capacity: 2 Gallon (9 Liter)
  • Material: Plastic
  • Color: Red and white
  • Pour Type: Faucet and spout
  • Weight: 0.59 Pounds (0.27 Kilograms)
  • Dimensions: 9.38 x 13.3 x 10 Inches (23.82 x 33.78 x 25.4 Centimeters)

The Coleman 2 Gallon Beverage Cooler is a sturdy water jug cooler. It has a good capacity of 2 gallons (9 liters), and uses Thermo-zone insulation, foam insulation that doesn’t have ozone-depleting materials – so the manufacturing process isn’t going to be damaging to the environment.

It’s a simple cooler. It has a faucet with a strong tap that works well, and a spout on top if you prefer to pick up your cooler and pour it (the downside is that the spout may leak after a few uses, so you may have to keep it upright if this occurs). It’s lightweight, and it has a hinged carry handle which is comfortable to use.

It’s pretty durable too – made from tough plastic, it can withstand a camping trip or a day out as well as being useful for picnics or garden parties.

Pros

  • Top handle and removable shoulder strap included
  • Good insulation and waterproofing
  • Durable

Cons

  • The spout on top may leak after a while
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Igloo 5-Gallon Portable Sports Cooler – Most Durable

Igloo 5 Gallon Portable Sports Cooler Water Beverage Dispenser with Flat Seat Lid, Bright Orange

Key Features

  • Capacity: 5 Gallon (22.7 Liter)
  • Material: Plastic
  • Color: Red and white
  • Pour Type: Spout
  • Weight: 5.4 Pounds (2.44 Kilograms)
  • Dimensions: 14.5 x 13 x 19.5 Inches (36.83 x 33.02 x 49.53 Centimeters)

The Igloo 5-Gallon Portable Sports Cooler is a very durable cooler. It has a larger capacity at 5 gallons (22.7 liters). This is perfect for larger groups, but it’s heavier to carry. The cooling power is great – it uses foam insulation and can keep ice even after 12 hours of use.

It has one pouring method, (a faucet,) with an angled, drip-resistant tap, so you won’t have to worry about it spilling everywhere. The cooler has strong reinforced handles, a keeper cord (to keep the lid attached to the cooler), and UV inhibitors (which protect the cooler against fading and sun damage). It also has a seat-top lid, which is perfect if you need an extra place to sit!

It’s a super durable cooler, made from tough plastic. It’s good for camping trips.

Pros

  • Strong, durable cooler
  • Can keep ice for up to 12 hours
  • Larger capacity

Cons

  • Heavier to carry
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Under Armour Sideline 64 Ounce Water Jug – Best for 1 Person

Under Armour UP4905RD4 Sideline 64 Ounce Water Jug, Red

Key Features

  • Capacity: 2.27 Liter (0.5 Gallon)
  • Material: Plastic
  • Color: Red and black
  • Pour Type: Spout
  • Weight: 4.43 Pounds (2.09 Kilograms)
  • Dimensions: 6.4 x 6.1 x 11.7 Inches (16.25 x 15.49 x 29.71 Centimeters)

The Under Armour Sideline 64 Ounce Water Jug is perfect for 1 person – it will give you enough water to keep you going throughout the day. It has double-wall foam insulation, and can keep your water cold for up to 12 hours.

It has one pouring method, a spout, so it does lack the faucet option that the larger coolers have. The spout has an integrated, locking lid which you can unlock with one hand. It has a tough, durable fold-down carry handle with integrated fence hooks, which is ideal if you work on a construction site (don’t forget to check out our guide to the Best Lunch Cooler for Construction Workers, too).

It’s a durable little cooler – worth trying if you’re traveling solo, you have to work outdoors all day, or you’re at a sporting event.

Pros

  • Perfect for 1 person
  • Keeps water cold for up to 12 hours
  • Lid can be unlocked with 1 hand

Cons

  • Only has 1 pouring method
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Rubbermaid Victory Jug – Best Ice Retention

Rubbermaid Victory Jug, 2 Gallon, Modern Red FG153004MODRD

Key Features

  • Capacity: 7.57 Liter (1.65 Gallon)
  • Material: Plastic
  • Color: Red and white
  • Pour Type: Spout and faucet
  • Weight: 2.8 Pounds (1.27 Kilograms)
  • Dimensions: 9.7 x 13.2 x 9.5 Inches (24.63 x 33.52 x 24.13 Centimeters)

The Rubbermaid Victory Jug is a great water jug cooler in terms of ice retention. While ice retention is not advertised, for some, ice has lasted for over 12 hours – even overnight into the next morning. It has extra-thick urethane-based foam insulation, to keep the contents nice and cold.

It has 2 pouring methods – a spout, and a faucet. These are easy to use. However, the downside is that you may find after some use that when you lay it on one side, it begins to leak, so you’ll have to ensure it stays upright when it’s full. It’s designed to be easy to wipe clean.

It has a durable, crack-resistant outer layer which works well in resisting fading and odors, too.

Pros

  • Excellent ice retention
  • 2 pouring methods
  • Durable

Cons

  • May leak if placed on its side
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Coleman 2 Gallon Party Stacker Beverage Cooler – Best for Parties

Coleman 2 Gallon Party Stacker Beverage Cooler, Green

Key Features

  • Capacity: 9 Liter (2 Gallon)
  • Material: Plastic
  • Color: Green or red
  • Pour Type: Faucet
  • Weight: 0.44 Pounds (0.02 Kilograms)
  • Dimensions: 11.33 x 11.75 x 10 Inches (28.77 x 29.84 x 25.4 Centimeters)

The Coleman 2 Gallon Party Stacker Beverage Cooler is a great cooler for parties and barbeques. It doesn’t have insulation in the lid, and it doesn’t have the same ice retention time as the others on this list. The cooler could do with pre-chilling (more on this a little later in the frequently asked questions section). 

It has a faucet that is removable for easy cleaning. It’s not prone to leaking, and it has a large, durable handle that is easy to carry. You can also stack them on top of each other – you can get different colors, so you can even color-code your drinks. They look really fun for parties, which is nice.

It’s made from durable plastic, and it’s designed to be easy to clean with minimal grooves or nooks and crannies for dirt or mold to get trapped in.

Pros

  • Good for parties
  • Easy to clean
  • Durable

Cons

  • Insulation isn’t as good as some of the others on this list
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Frequently Asked Questions

water cooler white and blue for traveller

Now, let’s take a look at some of the most commonly asked questions about water jug coolers:

How long should my water jug cooler last?

Ideally, your water jug cooler should last a full day (so around 12 hours), with the water still cold at the end of the day. However, this does vary depending on the cooler. You may find that some coolers last a little less in very hot conditions, too.

Can I pre-chill my water jug cooler?

According to the Epicurious guide on How to Pack Your Cooler for Camping, you can pre-chill a camping cooler by using a bag of ‘sacrificial ice’. Essentially, just fill your cooler with ice the night before, and then dump it in the morning, replacing it with fresh cold water and more ice. This works for water jug coolers as well as regular coolers.

What’s the best way to clean my cooler?

The best way is to keep it simple – use a soft cloth and warm soapy water. Pay particular attention to tiny areas (like the inside of the tap, for instance) where mold can build up – you can run hot water through this to flush it through. You can read more on cleaning coolers in the Kitchn’s guide on How to Clean a Dirty Cooler.

To Sum Up … Which Water Jug Cooler is the Best?

Blue water cooler on bench

We like the Igloo 5-Gallon Portable Sports Cooler. Igloo is a great brand, and you can trust that their products are durable. It has great cooling power and a larger capacity which makes it great for larger groups.

If you’re after something better for 1 person, check out the Under Armour Sideline 64 Ounce Water Jug. It has a larger capacity than a standard water bottle, and it’s ideal for construction workers.

We also like the Rubbermaid Victory Jug. It has excellent ice retention and would make a great cooler for a barbeque to keep your guests hydrated all day.

If this guide has helped you, please feel free to share it online. Plus, if you’ve used any of these water jug coolers, let us know what you thought of them in the comments – the good and the bad, we want your opinions!