Best Marine Coolers (Ice Chests For Boats – Reviews & Guide 2018)

Marine coolers are sometimes overlooked, but they can make an immense contribution to your sailing and fishing experiences. These coolers are large, and they provide an ample storage space for your provisions during a sea voyage. Moreover, the coolers’ low maintenance makes them perfect for storing your saltwater catches, and their large designs will accommodate even large fish species without any problems.

But do marine coolers offer more than storage space?

They most certainly do. Not only will these coolers hold a lot of food and drinks, but they will also keep them cool for a very long time. The best marine coolers can keep your provisions in a low-temperature environment for up to 10 – 12 days if you pack enough ice and keep them out of the sun.

Now, let’s take a look at 6 of the best coolers for sailing that you can buy today, and check out the features that make then suitable for mariners.

Best Marine Cooler Reviews

  • 4.7 Customer Rating
  • Frosty 126-Quart Cooler
  • PRICE $$$
  • Ice Retention: up to 10 Days
  • Capacity: 8 Sizes
  • Dimensions: 20 x 15 x 13"
  • Weight : 26 - 32 Lbs.
  • 4.1 Customer Rating
  • Igloo Glide Marine Cooler
  • PRICE $$$$
  • Ice Retention: 6 Days
  • Capacity: 110 Quart
  • Dimensions: 18.6 x 39.7 x 19.7"
  • Weight : 25.4 pounds
  • 4.6 Customer Rating
  • Coleman Coastal Extreme
  • PRICE $
  • Ice Retention: 6 Days
  • Capacity: up to 204 cans
  • Dimensions: 37.1 x 19.2 x 18.9"
  • Weight : 25 pounds
  • 4.3 Customer Rating
  • ORCA 140-Quart Cooler
  • PRICE $$$$$
  • Ice Retention: up to 10 days
  • Capacity: up to 210 cans
  • Dimensions: 40 x 20.8 x 23.5"
  • Weight : 45 pounds
  • 4.1 Customer Rating
  • Igloo 150-Quart Cooler
  • PRICE $$
  • Ice Retention: 7 days
  • Capacity: up to 248 cans
  • Dimensions: 43 x 20 x 21"
  • Weight : Less than 30 pounds
  • 4.3 Customer Rating
  • Coleman 150-Quart Marine Cooler
  • PRICE $$
  • Ice Retention: up to 7 days
  • Capacity: 223 cans
  • Dimensions: 42 x 19 x 19"
  • Weight : 9.9 ounces

1. Frosty 126-Quart Cooler

Frosty’s 126-quart cooler is the perfect model for those who want to sail without having to worry about the lack of provisions. This model is large and sturdy, and it will hold enough food and drinks to last for a very long time.

What we liked about this model was that it comes at a decent price, despite its massive size. This model is suitable for most boats and yachts, and it will keep your food fresh and your drinks cold for up to a week, depending on the ambient temperature and if you store it out of the sun.

The cooler comes with a drain plug that will allow you to leak the water out instead of having to tip the cooler over. Thanks to its well-insulated walls and lid, the cooler is compatible with dry-ice, and using dry-ice will help you keep your provisions frozen for a long time.

Pro

  • Effective Design – This cooler might not be flashy, but it has a well-thought and efficient design that will keep your provisions cold for a very long time.

Con

  • Rough Molding – The cooler’s molding is pretty rough, so the lack of detail shouldn’t come as a surprise, especially on the cooler’s inside.

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2. Igloo Glide Marine Cooler

The Igloo Glide Marine is a high-quality cooler that comes with a sturdy handle and oversized wheels for an improved handling. This model has a storage capacity of 110 quarts, and it will hold up to 180 cans of drink alongside the ice it needs to keep them cold.

One of the best things about this model is that it’s highly portable. Thanks to its sturdy wheels and convenient handle, you don’t have to strain your back when lifting the cooler, you can simply roll it over wherever you like.

As far as the cooler’s effectiveness is concerned, this mode can keep your drinks cold for up to 7 days if you pack enough ice and you store it out of the sun.

Pro

  • Wheels – This model comes with 2 oversized wheels that will allow you to roll the cooler wherever you want. Not only do the wheels improve the cooler’s portability, but using them will also protect your back from injuries.

Con

  • Retractable Handle Can Be Improved – The retractable handle uses holding pins to maintain its position. Sometimes the pins can fall out, so the handle will retract on its own

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3. Coleman Coastal Extreme

The Coleman Coastal Extreme is one of the most popular coolers among mariners. This model offers a large storage capacity, and it’s capable of keeping your drinks cold and your food fresh for several days.

One of the things that impressed us about this model was its sturdiness. This is a high-quality model that will handle everything you throw at it. Thanks to its large design, the cooler can double as a table or a bench when necessary. This unit will support the weight of a 300 lbs person without any complaints.

As far as the unit’s portability is concerned, this model is designed to be carried by two people, not by a single one. Even though the cooler weighs only 22 lbs and a single person could lift it, the cooler’s handles won’t provide a comfortable grip to a single carrier.

Pro

  • Sturdy – This cooler is strong and durable. The cooler’s high-quality construction and its sturdiness will allow you to use it for a very long time.

Con

  • Handles Are Designed For Two – The cooler’s handles are designed to allow two people to carry it, not one.

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4. ORCA 140-Quart Cooler

The ORCA 140-quart cooler is a massive model that will provide an ample storage space for your provisions. This unit can hold up to 210 cans of drinks along with the ice it needs to keep them cool for several days.

We liked that this cooler comes with two comfortable flex-grip handles. The handles are designed to allow both a single carrier and a pair of carriers to lift the cooler and handle it with ease. However, even though the handles provide a good grip for a solo carrier, this model is massively heavy when it’s loaded, and it might be better to have some help when you lift it.

As far as the ORCA’s cooling efficiency is concerned, this model is capable of keeping your drinks cold and your food fresh for up to 10 days. One of the reasons this model has a better cooling capacity than other models is that it uses a high-quality lid gasket that seals the cooler perfectly.

Pro

  • Long Lasting Cooling – The cooler will keep your drinks cold for up to 10 days if you pack enough ice.

Con

  • Gasket Creates A Void – The gasket is so good, it can actually create a void. This means you’ll sometimes have to unscrew the cooler’s plug if you want to open the lid.

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5. Igloo 150-Quart Cooler

The Igloo 150-quart cooler is one of the largest models we included on our list. This model is large enough to hold approximately 250 cans of drinks, and it can keep them cool for several days.

We really liked that this cooler comes with a quick-access hatch that allows you to grab a drink without having to open the lid. Not only can this feature help you get a hold of your favorite drink faster, but it’s also a great way to preserve the ice when you’re out on the sea. By spending some time arranging the most popular items in the cooler next to the hatch, you can improve the ice’s lifetime considerably.

As far as this model’s effectiveness is concerned, the cooler can keep your drinks cold and your food fresh for up to 7 days. However, if you want to use the cooler for several days at a time, make sure you close the lid tightly after each use.

Pro

  • Strong – This model is strong, and it will support your weight without any problems. You can use the cooler as a seat, or you can even use it as a small bench for two people

Con

  • Latches Could Be Better – The cooler’s lid latches do not click or snap in place, so it’s rather difficult to tell if the lid closes properly or not.

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6. Coleman 150-Quart Marine Cooler

The Coleman 150-quart Marine cooler is a budget choice for those who are looking for a large cooling solution. This model can hold up to 223 cans of drinks along the ice it needs to keep them cool for several days, and it features 2-way handles for an improved portability.

One of the things we liked about this model is that it’s lightweight when it’s not loaded. This will allow you to store the cooler with ease when you’re not using it, and it will also bring its weight down when you fill it up with food and drinks.

This cooler has a simple yet efficient design. The lid closes snugly without using any latches, and it features 4 molded cup holders on its top. The 2-way handles make carrying the cooler comfortable whether you’re doing it alone or you’re helped by another.

As far as the cooler’s effectiveness is concerned, this model can keep your drinks cold for up to 7 days.

Pro

  • Great Price – Despite its enormous size, this cooler comes at a great price.

Con

  • Not Very Sturdy – This cooler is not very sturdy, and it won’t double as a chair.

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The Best 10 Features A Marine Cooler Should Have

best marine coolers

Sailing offers multiple benefits. From improving your mental wellness to honing your muscle strength and endurance, life on the sea can offer many advantages. Marine coolers can make your voyages more relaxing because they offer you the same comfort a refrigerator does in your home. Let’s take a look at some of the features that make for a good marine cooler.

  1. Huge Storage Space – Marine coolers have to offer a good amount of storage space. The larger the cooler, the better. Even if you won’t have to load the cooler at its maximum capacity every time you go sailing, it’s still better to have some extra storage space for long voyages. However, packing your cooler efficiently is also important, no matter how large it is.
  2. Long Cooling Period – A marine cooler has to be able to keep your food fresh and your drinks cold for several days. The best models can maintain a low temperature in their insulation compartments for up to 10 – 14 days.
  3. High-Quality Lids – Unlike electrical coolers, these models do not rely on an exterior power source to maintain a low temperature in their insulation compartment, so they will use some special features to keep the ice from melting. Models like the ORCA 140-Quart Cooler use gaskets that are so efficient at preventing the air from entering the cooling compartment that they actually create a small void when they close. Even if they don’t use gaskets, marine coolers have to have insulated lids that will help with keeping the ice solid for longer.
  4. Strong Handles – Marine coolers are heavy by themselves, let alone when they’re loaded. With storage capacities of 200 cans or over, these models can get really heavy when loaded, so their handles have to be able to withstand some punishment. Most models use rubber or plastic guards to increase the handles’ comfort and improve your grip.
  5. Low Maintenance – Marine coolers don’t necessarily have to be used for storing drinks and food. You can also use them to preserve your catches when you’re saltwater fishing by boat. Thanks to their large storage capacity, these models will hold a lot of fish, so they can get very dirty in the process. Using a marine cooler that has a low maintenance is an advantage because cleaning it won’t take too much time. Luckily, most marine coolers are rotomolded or steel models, so they’re really easy to clean.
  6. Sturdy – Marine coolers have to be sturdy. No matter how long your boat is, its storage space is limited. Since these coolers are usually large, they will take up a lot of space. Using a sturdy marine cooler will allow you to use it as an improvised table, a chair, or even a small bench. Models like the Coleman Coastal Extreme can support weights of up to 300 lbs without any kind of problems.
  7. Quick-Access Hatch – The best marine coolers come with quick access hatches. Even though they might not look like much at a first glance, these small hatches can be really useful, and they can preserve the ice. Instead of lifting the lid and opening the cooler, a quick-access hatch allows you to grab a hold of a drink or a food casserole and take it out through the hatch. Less air will enter the cooling compartment when you use the hatch as opposed to lifting the lid, so the temperature in the compartment will remain stable.
  8. Decent Portability – Marine coolers are usually not highly portable because of their weight. However, a good marine cooler will still come with features that will increase its portability. Most models rely on handles and drain plugs to increase their portability, but models like the Igloo Glide Marine Cooler rely on wheels for that purpose. A drain plug is a necessary feature for a marine cooler because it will allow you to drain the water out of the cooler before lifting it, thus lowering its weight
  9. Durability – Unlike beach coolers, marine coolers usually come at a steep price. Since these models offer a large storage capacity and they can keep your food and drinks cold for days, the price can actually be justified. However, a good marine cooler has to be durable, so you can use it for a long time. The models we included on our list are good examples of coolers that can last for years on end.
  10. Latches – Marine coolers usually use latches and hinges to make sure their lid will fit perfectly over the insulation compartment. Even if there are some models that don’t use this system, it would be better to look for models that do. The latches make a positive click when they close, so you can know for sure that the lid is secure and that the warm ambient air won’t leak into the cooling compartment.

Video: What To Look For In A Cooler

Best Marine Coolers Comparison Chart

PRODUCTPRICEICE RETENTIONCAPACITYDIMENSIONSWEIGHT
Frosty 126-Quart Cooler
$$$up to 10 Days8 Sizes20 x 15 x 13"26 - 32 Lbs.
Igloo Glide Marine Cooler
$$$$6 Days110 Quart18.6 x 39.7 x 19.7"25.4 pounds
Coleman Coastal Extreme
$6 Daysup to 204 cans37.1 x 19.2 x 18.9"25 pounds
ORCA 140-Quart Cooler
$$$$$up to 10 Daysup to 210 cans40 x 20.8 x 23.5"45 pounds
Igloo 150-Quart Cooler
$$7 daysup to 248 cans43 x 20 x 21"Less than 30 pounds
Coleman 150-Quart Marine Cooler
$$up to 7 days223 cans42 x 19 x 19"9.9 ounces

Wrap Up

Marine coolers will keep your provisions fresh as you sail around the coast. Moreover, these models are large enough to fit both freshwater and saltwater fish, so you can use when wherever you navigate.

One of the many advantages these coolers offer is autonomy. The best marine coolers offer large storage capacities, so you can store a lot of food and many drinks inside them. This will give you the possibility to sail wherever you want for many days without having to dock in the nearest harbor for new provisions.

Thanks to their large size and sturdiness, marine coolers can often double as tables, chairs, or benches so the space they take up on a boat can still be used.

We hope that our short guide helped you decide on which is the best one for your needs. Check out our other articles to learn about the other types of coolers currently available on the market.