- 1 Best Inflatable Cooler Reviews
- 2 Floating, Inflatable Coolers Buying Guide
- 3 Advantages And Disadvantages Of Floating Coolers
- 4 Why Should You Use A Floating Cooler?
- 5 FAQ about Inflatable Coolers
- 6 BEST INFLATABLE COOLER COMPARISON CHART
- 7 Wrap Up
Floating coolers are superior to any other type of cooler if you like spending your time in the water when you go to the beach or to a pool. These coolers might not keep your drinks cool for more than several hours, but you will always have them close at hand and you won’t have to exit the water to enjoy a cool beverage. But can these coolers do anything besides floating around next to you?
They can, in fact.
Most of the models we included on our list come with cup holders, so you will be able to keep your drink in an upright position without holding it in your hand. Some of them come with handles and connectors, allowing you to tie them to a float, kayak, or a boat when you’re enjoying yourself.
While these models lack the versatility and effectiveness of other models, they can certainly be helpful. Let’s take a look at the best floating coolers currently available on the market.
Best Inflatable Cooler Reviews
Intex Mega Chill II
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Air Pong Table Cooler
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Intex River Run Floating Cooler
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CoolerZ Inflatable Cooler
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Kelsyus Floating Cooler
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EB Brands Large Inflatable Cooler
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1. Intex Mega Chill II
The Intex Mega Chill II is one of the most popular floating coolers currently available on the market, and it’s easy to see why. This model offers an enormous storage capacity, and it comes at a great price, especially if you factor in its features.
One of the things we loved about this model is that it has both cold storage and dry storage compartments. This makes the cooler more versatile than any other model included on our list.
You can either use the removable ice chest to store the food and beverages you wish to take with you to the beach, or you can remove the ice chest and use the floating base to store non-perishable items and drag them in your wake. The base is also large enough to fit a 48-quart cooler if you’re looking for a long-time cooling solution.
The ice chest is really large. You can store up to 72 cans of beverage in the chest beside the ice needed to keep them cool. The floating base comes with 4 heavy-duty handles that will allow you to pull it with ease, and it also comes with 6 built-in cup holders you and your friends can use.
2. Air Pong Table Cooler
The air pong table cooler is one of the more expensive products we included in the list, but the price is worthwhile, considering that this cooler will not only keep your drinks cold, but it will also provide you and your friends a group activity.
Besides being a cooler and a beer pong table, this inflatable cooler can also be used as a raft, since it’s 7 ft long. The cooler is made out of a thick polyvinyl, so it will support your weight without getting scratched or damaged.
We really liked that the cooler has a good storage capacity. The cooler compartment is placed in the cooler’s center, and it can hold about 18 beer cans beside the ice they need to stay cool. This will ensure you have enough drinks to start and finish a beer pong game.
As far as the game itself is concerned, there is no other inflatable table that can surpass this model. The cooler comes with two triangular plastic racks that will hold up to 10 plastic cups upright and aligned, so they won’t wobble as the cooler moves over the waves. Besides the racks, there are also 4 built-in cup holders you can use to store the beer cans you’re actually drinking from.
3. Intex River Run Floating Cooler
The Intex River Run cooler has an interesting design and comes with many user-friendly features that make it perfect for beachgoers, fishing enthusiasts, and those who enjoy spending time in the pool.
Even though the cooler is small and compact when it’s not inflated, we were surprised to find that it’s very spacious once you inflate it. In fact, this model is large enough to hold up to 24 cans of beverage in the cold compartment, which should last you and your entourage several hours until you have to make a refill.
We liked the cooler’s simple, yet effective design. The top can be closed and secured with a latch, so the ice will be properly insulated for longer use. The top is held by two Velcro straps on each side, so it’s well fastened. However, you should avoid getting the Velcro straps wet, as this can make them less effective, which will, in turn, make the ice melt at a faster rate.
The River Run cooler comes with two easy to use connectors that can latch the cooler to an inflatable raft or a boat. If you use a motorized boat, the connectors might be too weak to hold the strain.
4. CoolerZ Inflatable Cooler
The CoolerZ inflatable cooler is a good model that offers a spacious storage capacity, despite its low price.
This model can hold up to 12 cans of beverage, depending on how much ice you add. If you want the ice to keep the insulated compartment cool for several hours, you will need to pack lots of it, so the cooler’s capacity will most likely drop to 8 cans or so.
Unfortunately, this model’s cool compartment is not large enough to fit a wine bottle. However, you can store a wine bottle as you would in an ice bucket, without closing the lid. While this will increase the melting speed of the ice, it will allow you to enjoy a glass or two of cold wine while you’re lounging in the pool.
We liked that this model comes with 6 cup holders on its side that will keep your drinks upright. However, the cup holders could have been a little larger. As they are, they will originally only fit soft drinks bottles. As you use the holders, the vinyl will start to give, and they will eventually fit a can.
5. Kelsyus Floating Cooler
The Kelsyus floating cooler is a nice model that offers some helpful features. This cooler is great for beach goers and pool parties alike, and it can be used by multiple people at the same time with great results.
One of the things we liked about this model is that it comes with numbered cup holders, so you will never confuse your drink with that of your friends’. Even though there are only 6 cup holders, the cooler has a good storage capacity, and you will be able to store up to 12 cans of beer or soft drinks.
The cooler’s top, sides, and its bottom are insulated, so the ice should last for several hours, depending on the environment temperature.
Even though the cooler can only hold 12 cans of beverage, it will take up a surprising amount of space when it’s inflated. Luckily, the cooler is really small and foldable when it’s deflated, so you will be able to store it in the bag that comes along with it.
Inflating this cooler might be problematic for some people. The pinch valve is very stiff, and you will need to generate considerable pressure to fill it with air. Inflating it using a compressor would do the trick, but not many people go to the beach with a compressor in tow.
6. EB Brands Large Inflatable Cooler
The Mega Chill inflatable cooler is one of the largest models we included on our list. This unit has a cool storage capacity of up to 40 cans, so it’s great for people who own pools or for those who enjoy going to the beach in large groups.
Despite its large storage capacity, this model comes at a very acceptable price, so it can provide good value for your investment.
We really liked that the inflated cooler has a good balance and it will float upright no matter how much cans you store in it. However, due to its large storage capacity, the cooler is rather deep, so you might need to tip it off to its side to reach its bottom once most of the ice melts.
Even though you might find it difficult to reach for a can when the ice is melted, the cooler’s design is great because it can hold large bottles. Unlike other inflatable coolers, this model can hold wine bottles and even 20 oz bottles without any problems. This will provide an excellent opportunity to please even the most demanding of your friends. You can store a large variety of drinks in the cooler and allow them to choose their favorites.
Floating, Inflatable Coolers Buying Guide
You’ll have to pay a lot of attention to the features of a floating cooler if you want to pick a high-quality one. After all, you can’t expect all of them to be amazing. To prevent you from wasting time without knowing what to look for in a floating cooler, we’ve prepared a little guide for you. Here are the main features to keep in mind:
Let’s be fair, a floating cooler should be maintaining its stability when you use it on water. If you wanted one that would go to the bottom of the lake, you could’ve just thrown a normal cooler into the water and call it a day.
It’s essential to find a cooler that’s able to withstand heavier weights if you plan on storing drinks on it, and possibly leave it unattended for a while. Make sure you check the product’s features and the reviews, so you know what to expect.
Size matters, especially if you have a particular amount of drinks you want the cooler to hold. The bigger it is, the more drinks it will be able to hold at once. A smaller one is alright if you’re just spending some pool time with your friends, but if you’re about to throw the wildest pool party, you should consider one that covers a wider surface. However, take the size of your pool into consideration too. You want people to still have enough space to swim, after all.
Do you need an inflatable cooler for your own pool, or to go on a lake or down the river? Well, depending on your answer, you should look for more portable coolers if the last two options apply to you. These coolers should be easy and quick to inflate and deflate, particularly if you’re not at home. But even if you’re at home and need it for your pool, it’s important to have as much portability with it as possible, so it can be stored easily when not in use.
Floating coolers can be made of different materials, and you should know which one is better. Sometimes, manufacturers tend to create coolers with thinner materials, so the price is lower and more people purchase them. However, these are less durable.
The most common materials are PVC and vinyl. They will make sure to keep the cooler on water, and they don’t damage easily either.
Maybe an inflatable cooler isn’t made to be presented during a fashion show, but that doesn’t mean you can’t choose one that fits your design tastes. There are multiple inflatable coolers that look gorgeous, as they come with special shapes, designs, colors, and so on. This can make things a little more fun, and maybe even make you and other people more eager to take a drink from it. If you’re holding a pool party or going to one, an attractive floating cooler will certainly grab people’s attention, so your efforts in picking it won’t be in vain.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Floating Coolers
One obvious advantage of a floating cooler is that they float. But do they bring anything else to the table? They surely do. In the following section, we take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of using an inflatable ice chest.
- Easy To Store – Inflatable ice chests are very easy to store. In fact, they’re some of the easiest to store models, some of them being even more compact than some collapsible cooler bags. When you’re done using an inflatable cooler, you can simply deflate it and store it in a drawer. Some of them, like the Kelsyus Floating Cooler, even come with their own storage bags. You can store the others in your beach bag.
- Easy To Transport – Inflatable ice chests are really easy to transport. Some might argue that they’re even easier to transport than rolling coolers. While rolling coolers have the advantage of wheels, inflatable ice chests float. This will allow you to connect them to your boat or kayak and drag them in your wake. Carrying them is also comfortable since most of them weigh less than 2 lbs and take up a small space.
- Low Maintenance – Floating ice chests are water-resistant, which makes them stain-resistant as well. Even if you somehow manage to stain them, you can simply wash them down with some water and a sponge.
- Cheap – Unlike other cooler types, such as the rotomolded coolers, inflatable coolers come at good prices. Sure, there are a lot of differences between the two, but the price difference is significant. In fact, floating coolers are so cheap, it might cost less to buy than to build one.
- Easy To Repair – While the inflatable ice chests are not as durable as steel coolers, they’re certainly easier to repair. Some models like the Intex Mega Chill II even come with a repair patch, so you can prolong their lifespan if they somehow get damaged.
- User-Friendly – Unlike other cooler models, floating ice chests are very user-friendly. You just have to fill them up with air and then with ice, and that’s about all you need to do to make them work.
- Gets Damaged Easily – Floating ice chests might come at a low price, but that’s only because they’re not very durable. These units are usually made out of the same kind of vinyl used for children beach accessories, and they’re just as likely to break or to get damaged. And since you use them while going to the beach or when you’re fishing, you can easily rip them in seashells, small branches, or twigs.
- Somewhat Difficult To Inflate – Some floating coolers, especially those that offer a lot of storage space like the Intex Mega Chill II, are difficult to inflate without using a hand pump or even a compressor.
- Limited Cooling Period – Even though all of the inflatable ice chests do a great job at keeping your drinks at a cool temperature, you will still be able to enjoy a cold drink only for several hours at a time.
- Can Deflate – Sometimes the pinch valve might lose some air without you noticing, so you can end up with a half-inflated cooler and a pack full of ice and beverage cans in the middle of your pool.
- Can Tip Over – All the inflating coolers we presented have good designs, and they will maintain an upright position as long as the water is nice and calm. However, even small to medium waves can tip them over their sides, so you might want to be careful if you don’t want to lose all your drinks on the bottom of the sea.
Why Should You Use A Floating Cooler?
Floating coolers offer an obvious advantage. They float, so you can place them on water. But is that enough to make them a valuable purchase? Let’s take a look at different scenarios when using an inflatable ice chest will be helpful.
- Pool Lounging – There’s nothing quite like lounging on a pool float or a floating bed to reduce the stress and boost your mood. But the problem one faces when lounging in the middle of one’s pool is that it’s always problematic to enjoy a cool beverage at the same time. You either have to get out of the pool and go to the closest portable cooler bag or to the fridge to get some. Well, floating ice chests offer a perfect solution to this problem. Instead of getting out of the pool, you can simply reach in and take a cool drink.
- Kayaking – Kayaking is a great way to exercise and to improve your upper body strength. However, kayaks offer limited space, and it’s usually difficult to fit an ice chest in one. Inflating ice chests solve this problem by providing cold drinks in immediate reach because they can simply float behind you.
- Pool Parties – Floating ice chests are great for pool parties because they offer you the possibility to place the drinks in the middle of the action. Some models like the Air Pong Table Cooler offer a group activity besides cooling your drinks. Not only will using this kind of table offer a fun way to store your drinks, but it will also offer a fun way to consume them.
- Fishing – Fishing is a relaxing activity, and fishing from a boat certainly has its advantages. But you don’t have to use a very large boat for fishing. If you want to keep your catches fresh until you reach the shore, you can store them in an inflating ice chest you can tie up to your boat. This will allow you to store the fishes directly on a bed of ice without having to endure their smell.
FAQ about Inflatable Coolers
Since choosing a good inflatable cooler is not a piece of cake, you may still have some questions about this type of product. Here are the answers to some of the most common questions:
- Should I be worried that my inflatable cooler may sink?
Not really, although it really depends on the type of cooler you end up with and how carefully you handle it. In general, some floating coolers come with airbags to make sure they don’t go to the bottom of the water. Still, it’s important to prevent any damage as much as you can. If damage occurs, such as a leak, then the product might slowly sink if it’s not a top-notch one.
- How does a floating cooler even float on water?
Well, it’s not unusual to ask this question since the drinks often seem too heavy to be carried on water, but believe it or not, it’s possible. Inflatable coolers are created specially to balance the air used for floating and the space used to store drinks. As such, the product can properly float without problems.
Also, there are some products with tethering stations. These tend to float for much longer periods.
- Can I clean my floating cooler?
Yes, you can – and you can do that very easily. Most inflatable coolers are made of PVC or vinyl, which makes them very easy to maintain. Simply using some soap and water should be enough to clean trivial stains, but you can also purchase some special solutions to get rid of more stubborn ones. However, as long as the product is only used inside the pool, water alone may be enough to remove any dirt.
Nevertheless, you will have to take better care of a floating cooler if you use it into the ocean. Salt tends to damage materials, which is why you should clean your inflatable cooler properly. Buy a sponge and some special cleaning products to get rid of any salt on the surface, and you have better chances of maintaining the cooler for a longer period.
- Where can I use an inflatable cooler?
Inflatable coolers can be used in most safe waters, such as lakes, pools, rivers, oceans, and sea. Therefore, if you’re going fishing or you go camping and want to keep your drinks on a lake’s surface, you can use a floating cooler. They are best suited for pools though, especially if you fancy a nice pool party every now and then.
- Are floating coolers expensive?
Not necessarily, although it depends on the size and quality of the product. Those made of good, durable materials are often pricier, especially if they are bigger models meant for pool parties. However, if you purchase a smaller one, you have chances of finding such an item for very affordable prices, much lower than $50. If you look carefully, you will find the right cooler for you in no time.
BEST INFLATABLE COOLER COMPARISON CHART
|Kelsyus Floating Cooler||$$$||Durable fabric-covered||up to 12 cans||16.5 x 13 x 3.5"||1.62 pounds|
|Air Pong Table Cooler||$$$||Thick polyvinyl||18+ cans||84 x 36 x 6"||7 pounds|
|Intex River Run Floating Cooler||$$||Plastic||up to 24 cans||9 x 9 x 2.5"||2.23 pounds|
|EB Brands Large Inflatable Cooler||$$||Heavy gauge PVC material||up to 40 cans||10.5 x 2.8 x 9"||1.95 pounds|
|Intex Mega Chill II||$$$||16 gauge vinyl construction||up to 72 cans||48 x 38 x 24"||7.4 pounds|
|CoolerZ Inflatable Cooler||$||N / A||up to 12 cans||27.5 x 27.5 x 19"||1.6 pounds|
As you could see, floating ice chests are the perfect solution for multiple occasions. Having a floating cooler close at hand while you’re spending time in the water or on a boat will not only ensure you have quick access to a cold drink, it will also ensure you will stay hydrated throughout the day.
The best floating coolers can keep your beverages cold for several hours, giving you plenty of time to enjoy your time in the water.
Finding a cooler might be difficult at times, but we’re certain you’ll find the perfect model in one of our articles.