Best Stainless Steel & Metal Coolers – (Reviews + Ultimate Guide 2019)

Steel and metal coolers are some of the most popular models, and it’s easy to see why. These coolers are durable, they’re user-friendly, and they look great. And the best part is, most of them can keep your food and drinks cold for a very long time, making them very effective as well. But can these old-school coolers compete with the innovative rotomolded or electric models?

They can surely do.

While not even the best steel or metal coolers come close to the 10-day cooling period offered by some rotomolded models, they can still maintain a cool temperature for up to 4 days. And they don’t cost an arm and a leg to purchase, so that makes them very valuable, even in today’s high-tech market.

Let’s take a look at the best steel and metal models available today and see what they have to offer.

Best Stainless Steel Cooler Reviews

PRODUCTDETAILS
Rio Creations Stainless Cooler

Rio Creations Stainless Cooler

  • Price : $$$$
  • Capacity : 54 quart / 85 cans
  • Ice Retention : 2- 4 Days
  • Dimensions : 25 x 17 x 17”
  • Weight: 18 pounds
View On Amazon
Amerihome Picnic Cooler

Amerihome Picnic Cooler

  • Price: $
  • Capacity: 18 cans or 12 bottles
  • Ice Retention : 1 – 2 Days
  • Dimensions : 14.5 x 11.5 x 16”
  • Weight: 9.5 pounds
View On Amazon
Coleman Steel-Belted Cooler

Coleman Steel-Belted Cooler

  • Price: $$
  • Capacity : 54 quart / up to 85 cans
  • Ice Retention: 4 Days
  • Dimensions : 21.5 x 17.5 x 17.5”
  • Weight: 19 pounds
View On Amazon
Igloo Stainless Steel Cooler

Igloo Stainless Steel Cooler

  • Price: $$$
  • Capacity: 54 quart
  • Ice Retention: 4 Days
  • Dimensions : 24.4 x 15.9 x 16.5”
  • Weight: 16.55 pounds
View On Amazon
Best Choice Patio Steel Cooler

Best Choice Patio Steel Cooler

  • Price: $$$
  • Capacity : 80 quart / up to 100 cans
  • Ice Retention : 1 – 3 Days
  • Dimensions : 34 x 18.5 x 17.5”
  • Weight: 44 pounds
View On Amazon
Coleman Stainless Steel Cooler Combo

Coleman Stainless Steel Cooler Combo

  • Price: $$$$$
  • Capacity : 54 quart / 65 cans
  • Ice Retention : 3 – 4 Days
  • Dimensions : 24 x 17 x 17”
  • Weight: Almost 8 pounds
View On Amazon

1. Rio Creations Stainless Cooler

Rio Creations Stainless CoolerThe Rio Creations stainless steel cooler has a simple yet effective design. This model offers a storage capacity of 85 cans, and it’s made out of stainless steel for increased durability. Thanks to its design and features, this model is also highly portable and easy to store.

One of the things we liked about this model is its well-thought design. Every component used for the construction of this cooler is made out of high-quality stainless steel, including the hinges, handles, drain, and the locking system, so you can be sure this model will last for a very long time.

Thanks to its design, this unit is fairly easy to store and carry, despite the fact that it can get pretty heavy when it’s full. Whether you place it in the trunk of your car or behind a car seat, this cooler will stay upright, so there are slim chances for anything to spill inside it.

Despite the fact that this model is slightly smaller than the models we presented before it, it still offers a good storage capacity. You can store a lot of food and drinks in this cooler, and if you pack enough ice, the cooler will maintain a cool temperature for a long time.

Highlight: This model is built to last, and it can even double as a chair when you need one.

2. Amerihome Picnic Cooler

Amerihome Picnic CoolerWho said that high-quality steel or metal coolers have to be large? Well, the picnic cooler sold by AmeriHome is a perfect example that that affirmation is not true. This model cooler has a storage capacity of 18 cans, so it’s rather small.

We really liked the cooler’s retro design. Place this unit in your backyard, listen to some old school rock’n’roll and you’ll be transported back in time. Besides looking great, this model also comes with some very helpful features. The cooler’s corners are protected by chromed covers because they’re the most vulnerable parts of the unit.

The lid comes with a sturdy handle that will allow you to open and close the cooler with ease, and the carry handle has a good quality. Even though the carry handle looks nice, it could be improved by some plastic or rubber grips. As it is, the handle can hurt your fingers when the cooler is loaded.

As far as the unit’s cooling capacity is concerned, this cooler will keep your drinks cold for up to a day and a half. While this might not seem like much, is more than enough considering the unit’s storage capacity.

Highlight: This cooler has a nice vintage design and it can keep your drinks cool for a good amount of time.

3. Coleman Steel-Belted Cooler

Coleman Steel-Belted CoolerThe Coleman steel-belted cooler is one of the most popular metal models available on the market today, and it’s easy to see why. This cooler has a nice retro design and it provides a large storage capacity. Moreover, the cooler will also keep your food and drinks cold for several days, and it’s rather easy to transport.

One of the things that really impressed us about this cooler was the attention to detail the manufacturer put into its design. The Coleman has a vintage design that makes it look classy. Every part of the cooler’s outer shell is made out of durable metal, including the hinges, handles, and the lock mechanism. And despite the fact that the cooler has a metal construction, it’s still fairly easy to carry, weighing only 19 lbs when it’s empty.

To be honest, we didn’t expect this cooler to perform as good as it does. Thanks to the O-ring seal, this cooler will keep your food and drinks cold for days on end, even with constant opening and closing. Some customers reported that they found ice in the cooler after spending 4 days in the August heat. Pretty awesome, right?

Highlight: This cooler looks great and maintains a low temperature for a long time.

4. Igloo Stainless Steel Cooler

Igloo Stainless Steel CoolerThe stainless steel cooler produced by Igloo is a premium model that offers a nice mix of helpful features. This cooler is made out of thick steel that lends it durability and strength, and it’s very easy to use.

The thing we liked the most about this model is that it’s constructed to last. Not only the cooler’s body is made out of high-quality steel, but the lid, hinges, and locking mechanism are made out of the same material. Even the drain plug has a steel cover, and the handles are made out of steel but have plastic grips for increased portability.

And besides looking great, this model will also keep your drinks and food cold for a long time. Depending on the ambient temperature, the cooler can keep ice from melting for up to 3 – 4 days.

Another good thing about this cooler is that it’s easy to use. You don’t have to lift it to remove the water from the insulation compartment once you’re finished using it. You can simply use the drain plug to remove all the water inside it, so you won’t have to strain your back lifting it.

Highlight: The high-quality steel used for this cooler construction make it a very durable model.

5. Best Choice Patio Steel Cooler

Best Choice Patio Steel CoolerNow we come to the largest cooler we included on our list. Unlike the previous models on the list, the steel cooler produced by Best Choice is not suitable for trips, camping, or picnics. Instead, this model is great for parties, especially if you have a lot of guests coming, and you have a backyard.

The first thing you should know about this model is that it’s HUGE. To be honest, we didn’t believe the cooler will be as large as it is. This model has a storage capacity of 80 quarts. This might not seem like much, but it’s enough to fit up to 100 cans, besides the ice that keeps them cool.

Now, despite being so large, this cooler is very user-friendly. The unit does need some assembling when you take it out of the box, but the process is not a difficult one, and the instructions manual is easy to follow. The bottom tray allows you to keep some beverages close at hand so you can refill the cooler when needed, and the rollers make it easy to move the cooler. The bottle opener is sturdy, and the bottle caps will conveniently fall on a metal collector.

This cooler is great for parties, BBQs, and family reunions. Fill it up with ice and drinks, and place it somewhere accessible.

Highlight: This model offers a huge storage space, making it perfect for social gatherings.

6. Coleman Stainless Steel Cooler Combo

Coleman Stainless Steel Cooler ComboThe Coleman stainless steel cooler is a high-quality cooler that offers ample storage space and has a nice design. This model is capable of keeping the ice from melting for up to 3 – 4 days, and it’s fairly easy to transport and store.

One of the things we loved about this model is its design. Besides having a strong construction, this cooler is specially designed to double as a chair or as a small table when you need it to. The cooler is strong and durable, and it will withstand your weight without problems. We also liked the cooler’s high-quality latch that makes opening and firmly closing the cooler an easy task.

As far as the cooler’s storage capacity is concerned, this model can hold up to 65 cans beside the ice that keeps them cool. This is a good storage capacity, and you can put a lot of provisions inside this unit to keep them cool.

As part of the combo pack, this cooler comes with a durable 1/3 gallon steel-belted jug, and a drinking cup. Both items are nicely made, and they can be really helpful when you’re having a picnic.

Highlight: This cooler has a well-thought design and it comes with useful accessories.

Stainless Steel and Metal Coolers Buying Guide

best steel or metal coolersWhen it comes to stainless steel and metal coolers, there are several things that you might want to consider before making the purchase. Some of these factors include:

  • Capacity

To put it as simply as possible, the cooler has the purpose of storing all the food and drinks that you need for a day outdoors (say, for a picnic), ensuring that they remain nice and cool. Therefore, it would be very awkward to realize that all the products ran out in half an hour, due to lack of space.

As a result, you need to think about how many people will be using that cooler. If it’s only for you and a random one-day trip, then you do not need one that is too big – a small model will be just enough. However, if you have to feed a group similar to a small football team, then you might want to go for a bigger stainless-steel cooler.

  • Size and Weight

This directly relates to how you will carry it – or where you will carry it. For instance, if you are planning to carry it in the trunk of your car, you can’t buy a very big one. You’ll risk not being able to close your trunk or fit anything else in there.

Similarly, if it’s very heavy, you won’t even be able to pry it away from the back of your car. You need to remember that if your cooler feels heavy now, it will feel much heavier when you load it with food and drinks. If you know for certain that you’ll be carrying it around, then you might want to go for something lightweight.

  • Ice Retention

When you get cooler, you should make sure that it can properly retain the ice. After all, if you are going on a longer camping trip, you will want to ensure that your food is nice and cool in the next days as well – not just the first one. Better insulated stainless steel and metal coolers will have much better ice retention, so make sure that you choose accordingly to the length of your trip.

  • Sturdiness and Durability

These factors will most likely depend on the material that was used to create these coolers, as well as the manufacturer that has designed it – but since you are making quite an investment with this kind of product, you need to ensure that it is worth the money.

If the product is made entirely of stainless steel, then it should be durable. The problem only occurs when there is more plastic in the construction in comparison to metal. The quality of the metal is also important – so, make sure that you do not go for something that’s too cheap.

  • Price

Generally speaking, the perfect metal cooler is the one that is within your budget – but the price should also be explained by looking at the value of the unit. If you buy a unit that is more expensive, its features should justify the price that you paid for it.

What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Metal Coolers?

Best Stainless Steel Cooler

 

There are certainly many reasons to use a stainless steel or metal cooler. One of the most obvious ones is their durability. But are metal coolers good at anything besides being durable? Let’s take a look.

1. Advantages

  • Durability – Even though this is an obvious aspect of metal coolers, we will still point out that some rotomolded coolers might actually be more durable than these steel models. Steel coolers are durable, but they can be visibly damaged on occasion. Unlike the rotomolded models that show no visible signs of damage, the steel and metal sheets used for the cooler’s outer shell will dent on impact.
  • Retro Look – Steel and metal coolers have a retro look. Some models, like the Coleman Steel-Belted Cooler, are specially designed to have a vintage look, and that makes them more attractive than other cooler types.
  • Good Value – Even though steel and metal coolers are not as cheap as the soft-sided coolers, they still provide good value for your investment. These models are durable, they offer a good storage capacity, and they can keep your food and drinks cold for a long period of time.
  • Can Double As Seats Or Tables – Most of the products we included on our list are so strong, they’re capable of withstanding your weight without any problems. The models that can’t sustain your weight can surely double as a small table if you need one.
  • Low Maintenance – Just like the inflating coolers, steel, and metal coolers have low maintenance. Thanks to their stainless steel or powdered-coated metal construction, these models are impervious to rust, so you can clean them using water and a mild detergent.
  • Portable – While stainless steel or metal coolers are not as portable as the backpack coolers, they’re still pretty easy to transport. Even the Best Choice Patio Steel Cooler, which is the largest cooler on this list, can be transported from one place to another, thanks to the rollers it comes with.
  • Good Cooling Capacity – Thanks to their well-developed insulation chambers and lids, the metal and stainless steel coolers offer a good cooling capacity. Some models can keep your food and drinks cold for up to 4 days.
  • Long-lasting – Unlike other cooler models that can inevitably break over the years, steel and metal coolers can last for a very long time. They have no seams or linings, and their components are made out of high-quality components that can work flawlessly for years.

2. Disadvantages

  • Can Get Heavy Some steel and metal coolers, especially those that offer large storage capacities, can get heavy once you fill them up with drinks and food. This can seriously affect their portability.
  • Can Get Dented – Even though steel and metal coolers are usually durable, they can get dented if you drop them or bang them against the walls. To avoid this, some models like the Amerihome Picnic Cooler come with chromed corners.
  • Not Versatile – Steel and metal coolers don’t come with dry storage compartments or pockets. They don’t even have a mesh pocket on the inside of the lid to store something away from the ice. This makes them less versatile than other cooler types, such as the portable cooler bags.
  • Take Up A Lot Of Space – Unlike the collapsible coolers that are specially designed to take up a small amount of space, the steel and metal coolers will occupy a lot of it. The bigger the cooler, the more space it will need for storage.

When Should You Use A Stainless Steel Or Metal Cooler?

Stainless steel and metal coolers can be very helpful in multiple situations. Let’s take a quick look at some of them.

  1. Parties – Stainless steel and metal coolers are great for parties because they offer good storage capabilities, and they look awesome. It doesn’t matter how your living room or backyard are decorated, if you use a steel or metal cooler it will blend right in with the decor, sometimes even enhancing it.
  2. When You Want To Make An Impression – People love things vintage. Whether it’s an old pickup, a car, or a cooler, using something vintage will definitely attract their attention. Luckily, modern steel and metal coolers have a retro look and they are also efficient, so using them will attract attention for both your taste and your practicality.
  3. Practical – Steel and metal coolers are very practical. You can use one of these coolers for food storage, but thanks to their sturdiness, they can also double as chairs or benches when needed.
  4. You Can Repurpose Them – If your metal cooler stops working after some time, or if you simply want to upgrade it, you don’t have to throw it away. Thanks to their durability and longevity, steel and metal coolers can be repurposed. Not only will this lower your losses, but a repurposed model can actually enhance your home or business.

FAQ about Stainless Steel and Metal Coolers

  1. How long can the coolers generally hold ice?

This will depend mostly on the quality of the stainless-steel cooler. If you purchase a good unit, you may be able to keep the ice there for 7 days or more, whereas a cheaper (less insulated) model can go for as long as 1-2 days.

That is to say, this will also depend on the environment, as well as how often you open the cooler. If you go into the desert, with temperatures that go as high as 120 degrees, and you open the cooler once every ten minutes, don’t be surprised if your ice has melted in 1 day – even though it said it could last for 10 days.

  1. How do you clean a stainless-steel cooler?

Stainless steel coolers may gather mold and food remains over time, so you might want to provide it a good clean every few days. If the cooler is not electric, you may use some water to clean the inside of the cooler, as well as some mild soap. However, in most cases, it is enough to use a cloth and a cleanser to wipe away any dirty parts.

  1. Can a stainless-steel unit keep my products frozen?

You need to remember that coolers in general, unless they are labeled as “fridge,” are only able to keep your products cool, at a certain temperature. In most cases, this is above the freezing point.

That is to say, it does not mean that your frozen goods will start unfreezing right away. It just means that in a couple of hours, when the ice starts melting, the frozen items might begin to lose their “freeze” as well.

  1. Can I use a stainless-steel cooler to keep the product warm as well?

In most cases, stainless steel coolers were not exactly made to cool things down – that’s just what the ice does. The purpose of a cooler is to maintain the temperature of your product – so, if you add something warm into the cooler and do not add the ice, your food or drinks should be able to hang onto their warmth.

Still, not every cooler has this feature. So, if you need this, make sure you go for something that has warmth retention. That being said, while an ice-filled model might be able to cool a warmer drink, a regular cooler won’t be able to warm a colder drink – even if there are more warm drinks inside.

  1. How much does a cooler weigh?

Again, this will depend on the cooler that you buy – but bear in mind that stainless steel coolers will generally be heavier than the plastic ones. Some coolers may weigh as little as 15 pounds, whereas others can go as high as 40 pounds. In some cases, you might have to sacrifice ice retention if you want to go for a more lightweight product.

BEST STAINLESS STEEL COOLER COMPARISON CHART

PRODUCTPRICECAPACITYICE RETENTIONDIMENSIONSWEIGHT
Coleman Steel-Belted Cooler
$$54 quart / up to 85 cans4 Days21.5 x 17.5 x 17.5''19 pounds
Igloo Stainless Steel Cooler
$$$54 quart4 Days24.4 x 15.9 x 16.5''16.55 pounds
Rio Creations Stainless Cooler
$$54 quart / 85 cans2- 4 Days25 x 17 x 17''18 pounds
Best Choice Patio Steel Cooler
$$$80 quart / up to 100 cans1 - 3 Days34 x 18.5 x 17.5''44 pounds
Coleman Stainless Steel Cooler Combo
$$$$54 quart / 65 cans3 - 4 Days24 x 17 x 17''Almost 8 pounds
Amerihome Picnic Cooler
$18 cans or 12 bottles1 - 2 Days14.5 x 11.5 x 16''9.5 pounds

Wrap Up

As you could see from our reviews and short buying guide, steel and metal coolers can be used with good results on multiple occasions. They come at acceptable prices and they last a very long time, making them valuable items.

The best steel and metal coolers can last for decades, and it’s not unheard of for some people to inherit their parents’ cooler and find it in working condition or for people to use the same cooler for years on end.

And while some might argue that steel and metal coolers are not as effective as other models, there’s no doubt that they are some of the best-looking models out there. Even if they won’t keep your drinks cold for 10 days, that won’t matter when they enhance the look of your patio.

If you’re not sure that a steel or metal cooler is the right choice for you, check out our other reviews to find the most suitable cooler for your needs.