8 Best Fishing Coolers in 2024

Not having fresh fish or a cold beer bottle after a long and hectic fishing day can be frustrating. This is where fishing coolers come in with their powers to keep the baits, lures, and food items safe and fresh for the longest time on the terrain. They are your best bet when you are out enjoying an overnight fishing trip with friends.

Best Fishing Coolers

However, finding the right one requires you to answer some questions regarding their size, capacity, weight, construction, ice retention, etc. If you are puzzled by all these details and have no clue where to start, no worries. Here is a complete guide on the best fishing colors so you can make an informed decision.

8 Best Fishing Coolers

1. YETI Tundra 45 Cooler

YETI Tundra 45 Cooler

Best Features:

  • Material Construction: cotton, polyurethane foam
  • Cooler Weight: 24 pounds
  • Capacity: 42.59 liters
  • 3-inch permafrost insulation

This Yeti Tundra 45 cooler is the first pick for my list of the best fishing coolers for its incredible durability and thick insulation. With this cooler, you can keep the ice frozen for five days straight. Not only this, but it also has a non-slip bottom that keeps the cooler from falling off the boat. You can also read about What Is The Major Danger Of Anchoring A Fish Boat From Stern?

Let us start this review with its design. The first thing you will notice is its sturdy handles, which are made of military-grade polyester. It is further accompanied by an interlocking lid and gasket to create a seal, so there is a barrier between the contents of the freezer and the outside temperature.

YETI Tundra 45 Cooler

Another thing to appreciate about the cooler is its 3-inch permafrost insulation that uses polyurethane foam and keeps the contents cold for up to five days. It can handle around 42.59 liters, which is more than enough for fishing. The only downside is that it can get a little heavy.


  • Sturdy and durable
  • Versatile storage space
  • Offers full insulation
  • Offers decent storage


  • It feels a bit heavy

Wrapping up, this Yeti Tundra 45 cooler is a great choice for anyone who goes on fishing tours often and needs a storage box that is going to last them a long time. It comes with a fully insulated inner and an interlocking lid to keep your fish fresh the entire day.

2. Igloo BMX 52 Quart Cooler

Igloo BMX 52 Quart Cooler

Best Features:

  • Offers UV protection
  • Cooler Weight: 16.4 pounds
  • Capacity: 49 liters
  • Cool Riser Technology with a molded base

By far, the most durable and rugged quart cooler out there is the Igloo BMX 52. Not only this but its thick insulation and better ice retention make it best for overnight fishing trips. Moreover, what tops it all is its reasonable weight, as it is comfortable to carry around to the fishing spot. You can also check about Best Surf Fishing Cart.

First of all, this Igloo cooler is equipped with rust-resistant stainless steel rods and a UV-resistant structure. Overall, it is enough to withstand the abuse from the wet terrain. The lid is also sturdy and resists damage well; needless to say, it feels lighter than other high-end competitors.

Igloo BMX 52 Quart Cooler

Next, speaking of insulation, this quart cooler has 2-inch thick insulation with T-latches that create a perfectly sealed freezer-like storage for your food, lures, and fish. It uses thick, insulated MaxCold foam for better ice retention. Overall, the company claims to have an ice retention of 4 to 5 days, so you are good to go.


  • Better ice retention
  • Offers ideal insulation
  • Sturdy and long-lasting
  • Easy-grip handles


  • It is a bit expensive

In conclusion, this Igloo BMX 52-quart cooler is an all-in-one solution for anyone who wants the best of durability, convenience, and insulation. It is a popular choice among many anglers for its ice-retention abilities and thick insulation. Plus, it offers the added advantage of easy-grip handles.

3. YETI Tundra Haul Portable Wheeled Cooler

YETI Tundra Haul Portable Wheeled Cooler

Best Features:

  • Material Construction: Polyurethane (PU), Foam, Aluminum
  • Cooler Weight: 37 pounds
  • Capacity: 55 pounds
  • Includes NeverFlat wheels

Coming from Yeti, this Tundra Haul wheeled cooler is yet another high-end substitute for your fishing trips with an indestructible construction quality. Like Tundra 45, this cooler is thickly insulated and tightly sealed, so you do not have to worry about your fish getting bad.

Starting off with the insulation, this cooler comes with Permafrost insulation that uses polyurethane foam. It may be half an inch less thicker than the Tundra 45, but its bigger size helps it keep fish fresh for two days longer. Here, the interlocking lid creates a tight seal to keep the cold in.

YETI Tundra Haul Portable Wheeled Cooler

Now, speaking of the design, it is made up of military-graded plastic and aluminum, both of which are highly durable and last for a long time. What I like better about this cooler than the Tundra 45 is its wheels that help you cover a considerable distance from the vehicle to the fishing spot.


  • Indestructible components
  • It has a tight seal
  • Includes towable wheels
  • It is fully insulated


  • Using it with handles is awkward

Overall, the Yeti Tundra Haul is a high-end fishing cooler with high capacity, thick insulation, and roll-on wheels. So, you cannot only keep your fish fresh for the longest but also carry it around with ease. Though it has a comfortable aluminum grip, I find it a bit awkward to use it with handles.

4. Pelican 20 Quart Elite Cooler

Pelican 20 Quart Elite Cooler

Best Features:

  • Material Construction: Polypropylene
  • Cooler Weight: 8.8kgs
  • Capacity: 20 quartz
  • Includes a reinforced lock

If you want an affordable cooler yet do not want to compromise on its effectiveness, the Pelican Elite is the right choice. The highlight of this storage box is its thick insulation and freezer-level seal that keeps you covered for multiple days. Plus, its weight is pretty manageable.

The first thing to note about this cooler is its polypropylene body, which is accompanied by over-molded handles, so it serves you with basic durability. Next, it features a stainless steel bottle opener and a cup holder that might come in handy when you are on the terrain.

Pelican 20 Quart Elite Cooler

Lastly, speaking of insulation, this Elite cooler is equipped with three inches of thick-walled insulation and a freezer-level tight seal that keeps your contents fresh. It further has an ice retention of almost five days, so you can even plan longer trips with this one.


  • Offers a tight seal
  • Feels comfortable, light
  • Thickly insulated
  • Better ice retention


  • Not the most durable

Wrapping up, this Pelican Elite cooler is a well-suited alternative for anyone in search of something comfortable and insulated. It has three inches of thick insulation and 5-days ice retention, which is a perfect match for long trips. Also, you won’t find it difficult to carry it around.

5. Orca 26-Quart Cooler White

Orca 26-Quart Cooler White

Best Features:

  • Material Construction: Aluminum
  • Cooler Weight: 22 pounds
  • Capacity: 26 quartz
  • Includes flex-grip handles

The next best fishing cooler on my list would be the Orca cooler for its minimalist yet highly effective design. It has everything at hand to keep your bait and fish alive for the longest time, whether it is easy-grip handles or rotomolded construction.

First, it has a thinner 2-inch insulation, which may turn 1.5 inches in certain places. So, with this, you can easily survive around 1.5 days before the ice melts away. Most anglers have used it for overnight fishing trips, and much longer than that may make your baits turn bad.

Orca 26-Quart Cooler White

It is further accompanied by a watertight lid gasket that creates a seal to keep the inside cold for the longest time. Here, for users’ convenience, the manufacturers have also added extendable flex-grip handles that are easy to grip. So, taking it to the fishing spot won’t be an issue.


  • Offers a watertight seal
  • Easy to handle
  • Rugged and durable


  • It is heavier despite the thin insulation.

In conclusion, this Orca white fishing cooler is an excellent alternative if you are planning an overnight fishing trip. It comes with 1.5-2 inches of insulation and a watertight seal that is more than enough to keep your baits alive for one to two days.

6. Coleman 316 Series Insulated Portable Cooler

Coleman 316 Series Insulated Portable Cooler

Best Features:

  • Material Construction: plastic
  • Cooler Weight: 20 pounds
  • Capacity: 1.9 pounds
  • Includes 6-inch wheels

If you are just stepping into the fishing world and do not have any interactions with a fishing cooler, this Coleman 316 might be a better choice. It is your basic insulated cooler with integrated wheels and sturdy components. Also, though it is not the lightest cooler, the weight is pretty manageable.

First, it is made up of plastic, which may not be the best but carries the heavy lid well. That said, you will have to be careful in handling this cooler. It is further accompanied by 6-inch wheels for when you have to transport it from the vehicle to the fishing spot or when it is filled with fish.


This Coleman 316 cooler may not have the best seal, as the latch of these fishing coolers is easily opened with slight movement. If you have this cooler, be extra careful during overnight fishing trips, as the raccoons are always in sight of your food.

Coleman 316 Series Insulated Portable Cooler

Now, when it comes to efficiency, this cooler is equipped with 2.5 inches thick insulation, which is pretty decent for keeping your lures and food items. You cannot rely on this insulation for many fish. Simply put, if you are a serious angler, the Coleman Cooler might not be practical.


  • Comfortable to handle
  • It feels lighter
  • The handles are corrosion-resistant
  • Better ice retention


  • The insulation is not the best

In essence, the Coleman 316 portable cooler is an all-in-one solution for new anglers who want a fairly insulated and comfortable cooler to facilitate their fishing trips. It has 6-inch wheels and steel handles for you to drag it to the fishing spot comfortably. Plus, it can keep the contents fresh for two days straight.

7. RTIC 45 qt Insulated Hard Cooler

RTIC 45 qt Insulated Hard Cooler

Best Features:

  • Material Construction: plastic
  • Cooler Weight: 20 qt, 45 qt, 65 qt, 110 qt, 145 qt
  • Capacity: 45 quartz
  • 3-inch thick insulation

This RTIC hard cooler is literally a Tundra 45 at an affordable price. It is equipped with a 3-inch thick insulation and tight seal that exhibits excellent ice retention, making it best for fishing. It uses rubber T-latches and rotomolded construction to withstand extreme situations.

The first thing to note about this cooler is its wide array of storage options. The cooler comes in five different sizes, so you can get the one that best suits your needs. Though minimalistic, this cooler is sturdy enough to last you for a long time in harsh water conditions and wet terrains.


Though it is marketed as a portable hard cooler and has a small size, do note that it is heavy for an average cooler. The manufacturers have used rugged material at the expense of weight, so you may want to give up on it.

RTIC 45 qt Insulated Hard Cooler

In addition, speaking of the insulation, this hard cooler has 3-inch closed-cell foam insulation with a tight seal that makes sure all your fish stays fresh. It has an ice retention for two to five days, so you are good for the most part. The only drawback is that it can be really heavy.


  • Durable and sturdy
  • Better ice retention
  • Multiple storage options
  • Offers thick insulation


  • It can be really heavy

Final thoughts: This RTIC hard cooler is the best choice for anyone in search of something reasonably priced and effective. It is equipped with thick insulation and amazing ice retention, making it suitable for fishing. Plus, the sturdy handles and rubber T-latches make it last long.

8. Engel 30qt Live Bait Cooler Box

Engel 30qt Live Bait Cooler Box

Best Features:

  • Material Construction: Plastic
  • Cooler Weight: 8 pounds
  • Capacity: 30 quartz
  • Insulated with high-graded molded polystyrene foam

The last product on my list of the best fishing coolers is this Engel bait cooler. It is specifically designed with a 2-speed aerator pump and multiple rod holders to keep your live baits fresh and alive for the longest time. Also, the fact that it offers insulation at this price makes it worth the money.

The most impressive thing about this cooler box is its thick insulation that uses PP copolymer and polystyrene foam, creating the perfect space for the content. It is further sealed with an EVA gasket to keep the cold inside. Here, the 2-speed pump further helps you keep the bait alive.

Engel 30qt Live Bait Cooler Box

Now, speaking of the construction quality, the cooler is made up of ABS plastic, including handles, so you won’t feel uncomfortable holding it. It is also pretty sturdy in the sense that it ideally takes abuse from wet terrains. Moreover, all the fittings are secured with stainless steel screws.


  • Portable and lightweight
  • Amazing ice retention
  • Incredibly thick insulation
  • Supports an aerator pump


  • It might be a bit expensive

In conclusion, the Engel portable cooler is an excellent alternative for anglers to keep their baits alive and fresh for the longest time. It features an aerator pump and thick polystyrene insulation, a perfect combination for long overnight fishing trips. Plus, it is comfortable and convenient to handle, even with an active motor.

How to Find the Best Fishing Coolers: All You Need to Know

Finding the right fishing cooler can be a challenge when you do not have any idea about your individual requirements. If you are confused and have no clue where to start, here are some things you might need to consider.

Pro Tip

Choose a fishing cooler with 2 to 3-inch polypropylene foam insulation for extended ice retention during longer trips.

How to Find the Best Fishing Coolers
Infographic:How to Find the Best Fishing Coolers

Construction and Durability

The first thing to consider when buying the right fishing cooler is its material. Most high-end modern brands usually use rotomolded plastic, which is pretty sturdy in handling harsh weather conditions and wet terrains. It is equally impressive in offering easy repairs to accidental latch openings and breakage.

Moreover, when it comes to hinges and handles, most anglers prefer using aluminum and stainless steel, as they are corrosion-resistant and keep everything intact. Also, it is better that you go for low-profile hinges and latches, as they don’t snag your clothes and take up less space in the boat.

Insulation and Ice Retention

The entire purpose of a fishing freezer is to keep the contents cold and fresh for the longest time, which is directly dependent on its insulation and ice retention ability. First, speaking of insulation, most anglers prefer going for 2 to 3-inch insulation (preferably polypropylene foam), as it has the ability to keep the bait and lures and improve the ice retention capabilities.

Typically, coolers with thicker insulated walls are better equipped to maintain the condition of your fish. They can easily last you for five days before the ice melts away. In contrast, coolers with 1.5 or 2-inch thick insulation have ice retention of around 2 days, perfectly capable of facilitating overnight fishing trips.

Moreover, another thing that matters in determining its ability to keep the contents cold is the cooler lid, also known as the seal. It is preferred that you go for watertight seals so the outside heat doesn’t interfere with the inside ice and melt it. The material of the gasket can be adjusted according to your budget.


Lastly, the price is yet another factor that counts when buying a fishing cooler. If you are looking for affordable fishing coolers, you need to be flexible and expect to pay at least $100 or more, depending on the brand, while a premium one will cost you four times more. However, getting a reasonably-priced cooler is better, as it doesn’t provide you with frequent replacements of hinges, handles, and latches.


What is the best size cooler for fishing?

Well, it all depends on your needs and requirements. For instance, if you are just starting out and don’t need much equipment or fish, a 20-quart rotomolded cooler might work well. In contrast, serious anglers with several baits and rods will require a higher capacity (up to 50 quartz) for longer fishing trips.

What is the best cooler for frozen fish?

Yeti Tundra 45 is definitely one of the best coolers for frozen fish, all thanks to its high capacity and thick insulation. This quart cooler has 2-inch thick insulation with T-latches that create a perfectly sealed freezer-like storage for your food, lures, and fish. The only drawback is that with the rugged material, it can feel a bit heavy.

Which fishing coolers hold the ice the longest?

Rotomolded coolers from Yeti and Orca are usually the best at holding the ice the longest. Though high-end and a bit pricey, their fishing coolers have thicker insulation that can easily last you for three to five days.

Final Thoughts

Fishing coolers are a great help when you are out there enjoying fun fishing adventures with friends and families. They keep your food cold and protected from wild raccoons. Moreover, anglers use them to store their lures and baits so they feel fresh and taste better at the end of the day.

However, finding them is a real challenge for obvious reasons. There are not many technicalities involved. And if you are still confused, here are some of my recommendations.

Finally, I hope this guide has been helpful in figuring out the best fishing cooler for your budget.

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One Comment

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