Which cooler with wheels is best?
Whether you’re on your way to a picnic or hosting a backyard bash, a cooler with wheels provides more space and maneuverability than the standard cooler. A big container full of iced food or drinks has considerable weight, so the wheels make it easy to move around or reposition as needed.
If you’re looking for a quality option, check out the Yeti Tundra Haul Portable Wheeled Cooler, a spacious and durable cooler that comes in fun colors.
What to know before you buy a cooler with wheels
Depending on the dimensions, a cooler usually has up to a 60-quart capacity. This equates to about 94 cans. Since the wheels help carry a heavy load, wheeled coolers tend to have larger capacities than standard ones. There are also smaller wheeled options that hold up to 16 quarts or about 22 cans.
While most coolers stand about 12-18 inches in height, most coolers with wheels tend to be higher at 16-25 inches. Some wheeled coolers have a built-in stand that raises the cooler to waist level, so you don’t have to bend over to grab something. These coolers reach 30-36 inches in height and often feature a lower-level storage shelf. These coolers have four wheels instead of the two you find with the 16-25-inch coolers.
Hard vs. soft cooler
A hard cooler is constructed from plastic, aluminum or steel, and a soft cooler is built from materials such as vinyl or polyester. Both are insulated, but hard coolers are more durable on the outside and can usually double as a bench because of that strong frame.
Soft coolers are less durable but benefit from being lightweight. They have zip-up side pockets that are great for storing extras like napkins or bottle openers. Some soft coolers are also collapsible, making them easier to pack up and store away at the end of the day.
What to look for in a quality cooler with wheels
Types of handles
The most popular and efficient handle is a retractable pull handle similar to that seen on a wheeled suitcase. This handle, made from rope or metal with a plastic or ergonomic grip, is strong and sturdy. It easily folds back into the cooler when not in use so you don’t have to worry about anyone tripping.
For tall coolers that stand waist-high, a pull-out handle isn’t necessary. Instead, these coolers feature one or two push handles. These are built into the frame of the cooler similar to the handles you see on a rolling bar cart.
Standard vs. electric cooler
A standard cooler doesn’t require electricity, just good insulation and plenty of ice. It can keep food and drinks cool for 12-48 hours. An electric cooler is power-dependent and will keep everything chilled for as long as it’s plugged into the car, portable battery or a generator. It doesn’t require any ice and can be set to a specific temperature.
Hard coolers are usually more adaptable to varied weather conditions. Plastic will keep water out, which is a great asset at pool parties or in the case of a surprise rain. Plenty of plastic coolers are also UV protected. This is more important than you’d think, as UV protection keeps the plastic exterior from cracking after repeated sun exposure.
How much you can expect to spend on a cooler with wheels
A standard cooler with wheels costs $45-$400. An electric cooler with wheels costs $100-$500.
Cooler with wheels FAQ
Are all cooler lids lockable?
A. Some coolers come with a latch space for securing a lock but not all coolers have this feature. Typically, the lock needs to be purchased separately.
Should the wheels lock?
A. A cooler with two wheels doesn’t need a locking mechanism. You just put the cooler down, and the side without wheels holds it in place. If a cooler has four wheels, it’s best to look for one with lockable wheels, so it doesn’t roll away.
What’s the best cooler with wheels to buy?
Top cooler with wheels
What you need to know: This hard cooler is constructed from plastic with two rubber wheels and an aluminum handle. It has a holding capacity of 45 cans and stands 19.5 inches tall.
What you’ll love: It’s sturdy and lasts longer than the average cooler, keeping contents cool for up to three days. The grooved tires are impact and puncture-resistant. It comes in nine colors.
What you should consider: There is a locking insert, but the lock is not included.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top cooler with wheels for the money
What you need to know: This soft cooler is constructed from recycled polyester with two hard wheels and a retractable handle. It has a holding capacity of 45 cans and stands 19.97 inches tall, excluding the handle.
What you’ll love: It’s compact and lightweight, keeping contents cool for up to 12 hours. It comes in an attractive blue color. The hard interior liner is easy to clean.
What you should consider: The handle sometimes sticks when you open or close it.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This hard cooler is constructed from steel with four wheels and two built-in push handles. It has a holding capacity of 70 cans and stands 33 inches tall when raised.
What you’ll love: It’s durable and attractive in classic red or gray. There is a built-in bottle cap opener with a compartment for the caps to fall into. A bottom shelf provides plenty of storage space. There’s a built-in drain for easy cleaning. Two of the wheels lock for stability.
What you should consider: Assembly is required.
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Emily Verona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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