Published on November 23rd, 2020 | by Roger Corbinetti0
10 Best Outdoor Patio Coolers 2021: Reviews & Buying Guide
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Shopping for an outdoor patio cooler that will keep your drinks perfectly chilled?
You’ve come to the right place.
Patio coolers are cooler chests with a more stylish exterior compared to a traditional ice chest. You can get a patio cooler with a wooden, rattan or metal finish.
Patio coolers are also more practical than ice chests. Because the chest is usually on a cart or trolley, you don’t have to bend to pick a drink. The wheeled cart also makes it easy to move the full ice chest around.
What’s In This Buying Guide?
- What’s In This Buying Guide?
- Best Outdoor Patio Coolers 2021
- 1. Editor’s Top Pick: BLACK+DECKER Mobile Cooler Cart
- 2. Best Wooden Patio Cooler: Merry Garden MPG-PC01 Wooden Patio Cooler
- 3. Best Compact: Rio Brands Entertainer Rolling Party Cooler
- 4. Most Practical: Tommy Bahama Stainless Steel Rolling Party Cooler
- 5. Largest Capacity: Igloo 49271 Party Bar Cooler
- 6. Best for Patios with Rattan Furniture: Giantex HW51578 108 Quart Rattan Cooler Cart
- 7. Best Modern Style: Best Choice Products 80-Quart Steel Rolling Cooler
- 8. Best for the Outdoors: VINGLI Wagon Rolling Cooler
- 9. Best Value: Clevr 80 Quart Rolling Cooler
- 10. Best Budget: BELLEZE 80QT Portable Rolling Cooler
- Why Get a Patio Cooler
- Limitations of Patio Coolers
- Buying Guide: What to Consider When Choosing an Outdoor Patio Cooler
- Bottom Line
In this 10-minute buying guide, we review the best patio coolers. These coolers are not just great for your patio; you can also use one in your garden or weekend BBQ party. A patio cooler is also a great addition to your in-ground or above the ground pool deck.
Some patio coolers are portable enough for use on a picnic or camping trip.
We also give you tips on how to choose the best outdoor patio cooler based on style, capacity, and ice retention, among other factors.
Best Outdoor Patio Coolers 2021
1. Editor’s Top Pick: BLACK+DECKER Mobile Cooler Cart
We think the BLACK+DECKER mobile cooler cart is the best patio cooler for most people. It has enough capacity for most families as well as small to medium gatherings.
- Enough capacity for most families.
- 360-wheels provide easy mobility.
- Includes drain and storage rack.
- Insulation keeps ice solid for long.
- Some screws are missing.
The BLACK+DECKER has a 20-gallon basin that holds enough drinks for a large family. It’s also big enough for a BBQ party.
The basin is insulated, so the ice stays solid for long and keeps your drinks perfectly chilled.
The legs and body of the cooler are made from stainless steel, so the cooler cart has a very solid and durable feel to it.
The door has a split design that makes it easier to access drinks from the cooler chest. Opening bottles is also easy, thanks to the built-in bottle opener and cap catcher.
As for maintenance, an integrated drain allows you to get rid of melted water without having to tip the heavy cart over.
The only complaint we’ve heard about the BLACK+DECKER mobile cooler cart is missing screws. It seems the manufacturer doesn’t include all the screws you need to assemble the cooler. Luckily, they are standard size screws, so it is easy to find matching once at your home or from a local store.
The BLACK+DECKER mobile cooler cart is a great choice for families and individuals looking for a good-looking and well-made patio cooler that can hold plenty of drinks.
2. Best Wooden Patio Cooler: Merry Garden MPG-PC01 Wooden Patio Cooler
If you are looking for a rustic wooden patio cooler, we recommend the Merry Garden MPG-PC01 Wooden Patio Cooler. It’s finished in eucalyptus hardwood with an oil stain to protect it.
Merry Garden is a compact patio cooler, so it may not be suitable for large gatherings. But it’s perfect for family use at home, on picnics and at the beach.
- Beautiful rustic cooler.
- Space-saving design.
- Perfect for picnics.
- Ready to use – no assembling required.
- Small capacity.
- Many customers say it arrived with damage.
Unlike most patio coolers, the Merry Garden MPG-PC01 does not sit on a roller cart. It’s simply a box with a wooden exterior.
The downside is that you can’t roll it around. But it’s small, so even when full, you should be able to lift and carry it.
The cooler chest has a capacity of 13.7 gallons. It’s not much, but it’s enough for most families. And because the cooler is compact, it fits easily, even in small patios and gardens.
It’s also perfect for out-of-home use on picnics, camping or at the beach. It fits easily in the trunk of most trucks, SUVs, and crossovers.
Style-wise, we love the wooden finish of the Merry Garden cooler. The exterior is eucalyptus hardwood with a protective oil stain. It looks good and lasts long.
The golden handles complete the rustic look of this cooler.
However, there seems to be an issue with how the Merry Garden cooler is packaged. More than a few customers have received a damaged cooler, and the damage usually occurs affects the same place.
If yours is damaged, the seller sends out replacements promptly.
Though not big enough for a large party, the Merry Garden patio cooler makes up for its small capacity with good styling. We recommend it for individuals, families, and the occasional small garden party.
3. Best Compact: Rio Brands Entertainer Rolling Party Cooler
Looking for a compact patio cooler that won’t take up much space in your patio? We recommend the Rio Brands Entertainer rolling party cooler.
It holds fewer drinks than other patio coolers but is perfect for smaller spaces.
- Great for small patios and gardens.
- Beautiful modern styling.
- Includes heavy-duty wheels for easy mobility.
- Includes carry handles, bottle opener, cap catcher, and drain.
- Detach base.
- Ice doesn’t stay solid for long.
If you have a small patio or garden space, the Rio Brands Entertainer is one of the best coolers. It provides a decent capacity (19.2 gallons) without taking up much space.
The cooler chest sits on a metal cart with heavy-duty wheels to move it around. Once the cart is in place, you can lock the wheels.
The chest is detachable from the base, making storage and transport easy. So if you want to use the cooler at the beach or anywhere away from home, you can easily fit it in the trunk of your car.
When detached, you can lift and carry the chest using the included carry handles.
As for styling, the Rio Brands cooler has a mostly black finish accented with silver accessories. It has a modern look that blends well with any patio or garden decor.
Accessories include a drain spout, bottle opener, and a cap catcher bin.
The one area where the Rio Brands cooler could be better is the quality of insulation. Several customers say the ice only lasts a few hours before it melts. So you have to keep refilling it.
If you don’t have the space for a large patio cooler, the Rio Brands Entertainer is a compact alternative that holds a fair amount of drinks.
4. Most Practical: Tommy Bahama Stainless Steel Rolling Party Cooler
The Tommy Bahama Stainless Steel cooler is not just an ice chest on a cart; it is a complete outdoor beverage station with everything you need to store and prepare drinks.
- Plenty of extra storage.
- Large ice chest – perfect for large parties.
- Rollers for easy mobility.
- Stainless steel construction with powder coating for weather protection.
The Tommy Bahama cooler is more practical for your parties compared to most patio coolers.
To start with, it has a larger than average capacity – 25 gallons. It can hold plenty of drinks, including large bottles. Even after adding ice, there’s still a lot of space for drinks.
The storage space is also impressive. In addition to the ice chest, there’s a storage shelf underneath where you can load extra drinks that don’t need to stay chilled. You can also use this space to store things like limes, utensils, and other stuff you might need for your drinks.
You also get a flip-out side shelf that you can use to prepare drinks.
Other practical accessories include heavy-duty lockable casters, a drain plug, bottle opener, and cap catcher.
The Tommy Bahama cooler has a durable stainless steel construction, so you can expect it to last for a year. The powder-coated finish protects the cart from rusting.
All this practicality doesn’t come cheap. The Tommy Bahama, rolling party cooler, is one of the most expensive among our top 10 picks.
But we think it’s worth it. It’ll prove more useful during parties and will likely outlast other coolers.
If you hold a lot of parties or spend a lot of time relaxing outdoors, the Tommy Bahama cooler is one of the most practical coolers you can get.
5. Largest Capacity: Igloo 49271 Party Bar Cooler
Need something that can hold enough drinks for a large party? We recommend the 31-gallon Igloo 49271 Party Bar Cooler. This cooler includes dividers so you can easily organize all the drinks you’ll put in it.
- Extra-large capacity.
- Interior LED lights.
- Removable dividers.
- Locking casters.
- The lid is not insulated.
At 31 gallons, the Igloo Party Bar cooler easily trumps other coolers in terms of capacity. It can hold more drinks than most patio coolers, making it the best choice for large parties and gatherings.
With that much space, keeping your drinks organized can be a problem. That’s why the Igloo cooler comes with dividers for better organization. You can separate your drinks by age or type. You can even mix drinks and foods.
The dividers are removable, so you can have one continuous space if that’s what works best for you.
Accessories for the Igloo cooler include interior LED lights (helpful when the party runs into the night), a bottle opener and cap catcher, drain plug, and locking casters.
The only thing we don’t like about the Igloo cooler is that the lid is not insulated. So the ice melts faster than in other coolers, especially if you leave it in direct sunlight.
That said, the ice should stay solid long enough to last through the party. You likely won’t need to refill the chest midway through.
The Igloo Party Bar Cooler is the best portable bar for your home parties and events. It holds plenty of drinks and keeps them chilled for hours.
6. Best for Patios with Rattan Furniture: Giantex HW51578 108 Quart Rattan Cooler Cart
If you have Rattan wicker furniture in your patio, garden, or pool deck, get the matching Giantex Rattan cooler cart.
- Matches well with Rattan furniture.
- Large capacity.
- Rustproof construction.
- Plenty of extra storage.
- No insulation – ice melts quickly.
- Screws are not rustproof.
The Giantex cooler is the best match for patios and gardens with rattan furniture. The body of the cooler, including the lid, has a rustic rattan finish. The bottom shelf is also made with a rattan wicker.
Under the rattan is a zinc plated metal sheet that is durable and rustproof.
The Giantex cooler has a 27-gallon capacity, making it a good choice for large families and parties.
It comes with extra storage space at the bottom where you can load extra drinks, foods, or utensils. You also get a couple of side shelves where you can prepare drinks plus hangers for wine glasses.
The cooler sits on a cart with roller casters for easy mobility.
The large capacity of the Giantex cooler is handy for parties and events. But it has a huge drawback – the cooler is not insulated. So ice melts quickly. When it is hot, it may melt before it even chills your drinks.
If you need to keep drinks cold for hours, forget the Giantex cooler. Unless the weather is already cold, you’ll have to keep replacing the ice.
The Giantex rattan cooler loses points for lack of insulation. But we still think it looks great. If you don’t mind replacing the ice often, it’s a great addition to any patio with rattan furniture.
7. Best Modern Style: Best Choice Products 80-Quart Steel Rolling Cooler
If you prefer a modern style, we recommend this 20-gallon rolling cooler from Best Choice Products. It has a contemporary minimalist look with a red and black finish.
- Great style.
- Large capacity.
- Locking wheels.
- Includes bottom tray, bottle opener, and cap bin.
- Assembly is a bit challenging.
The Best Choice Products patio cooler looks stunning. The contrasting red and black palette stands out in any patio or backyard.
The exterior is stainless steel, so it can withstand frequent outdoor use.
The ice bin is insulated, so it keeps ice solid for long. With a 20-gallon capacity, the bin can hold more than 70 cans or more than 50 bottles.
A drain plug at the bottom makes it easy to get rid of melted water, while a bottle opener makes things easy for your guests. Below the bottle opener is a cap catcher to prevent a mess of caps on the ground.
The ice bin sits on a metal cart with smooth-rolling casters. Two of the casters are lockable to keep the cooler from rolling away.
The cart also includes a tray for extra storage.
The only complaint we have seen from customers is regarding assembly. The wheels are a bit tedious to fit since they don’t align perfectly with the holes at the bottom of the tray.
If rattan and wooden patio coolers are not what you are looking for, consider this modern-styled Best Choice steel cooler.
8. Best for the Outdoors: VINGLI Wagon Rolling Cooler
If you’d like a cooler you can take to the beach or park, we recommend the Vingli Wagon rolling cooler. Its monster wheels make it a great choice for rough and uneven terrains.
- All-terrain wheels.
- Large capacity.
- Durable steel body.
- Includes bottle opener and cap catcher.
- Limited portability.
If there’s a 4×4 truck for coolers, this is it. The Vingli Wagon rolling cooler has big 10″ inflatable wheels that can conquer any terrain. It’s perfect for pulling along at the beach, on gravel, on the grass, and any rough ground.
A long handle makes it easy to pull the cart even when it is full.
The insulated bin has a capacity of 20 gallons. It holds enough drinks for a large family or group along with ice to keep everything chilled. A dual access lid lets you open the cooler box from any side.
As with other coolers, the Vingli Wagon includes a bottle opener and cap catcher.
The only issue we have with the Vingli cooler is its portability. Sure, it is easy to pull it along on sand or grass. But you are not going to pull it from home to the beach. And that’s where the cooler’s limitations become apparent.
For one, the cooler lacks side handles. Once you fill it with drinks and ice, it gets very heavy, and lifting it into the trunk of a car requires two or three people.
The other problem is fitting it in a car. Unless you have an SUV, crossover, truck, or large wagon, the Vingli cooler won’t fit. And even if it fits in the trunk of your vehicle, it doesn’t leave much space for other stuff you might need at the beach or park.
It would have been better if the cooler had a foldable or detachable design for easier transport. You can then fill it with ice and drinks when you get to your destination.
Luckily, many people own large vehicles (crossovers are currently very popular), so ferrying the Vingli cooler around won’t be an issue, as long as you don’t give up space for extra stuff or the third row.
The size of the cooler and lack of carrying handles are also not a problem if you are planning to use it in your backyard.
9. Best Value: Clevr 80 Quart Rolling Cooler
If you are looking for a large, well-made patio cooler that doesn’t cost too much, we recommend the Clevr 80-quart rolling cooler.
- Good value for money.
- Durable steel construction.
- Large capacity.
- Includes drain plug, bottle opener, and cap bin.
- Drain leaks.
With a 20-gallon capacity and a steel body and base, the Clevr patio cooler is surprisingly affordable.
It has a powder-coated finish to protect it from the elements. Smooth-rolling casters and handles on each side of the cooler make it easy to move the loaded cooler around.
The polypropylene bin is insulated, so it keeps drinks chilled for long. Just make sure you keep it in a shady spot to prevent the ice from melting too quickly.
As for accessories, the Clevr cooler comes with a bottom tray, a bottle opener, and cap bin, and a drain plug.
Several customers say the drain plug is a bit leaky, but it’s nothing serious. You can try to tighten it or keep the cooler somewhere it won’t make a mess.
Style-wise, the Clevr cooler looks great. It has a retro hunter green finish that is especially perfect for a garden sitting area.
The Clevr rolling cooler is cheaper than other patio coolers, but it works. It’s well made, has excellent insulation and we think it looks great as well.
10. Best Budget: BELLEZE 80QT Portable Rolling Cooler
The Belleze portable rolling cooler is another good choice if you are looking for an affordable but good quality patio cooler.
We love the rattan style, and the 20-gallon capacity isn’t too bad either.
- Low price.
- Beautiful rattan style.
- Large capacity.
- Durable steel frame.
- No bottom tray.
- A bit wobbly when full.
The Belleze patio cooler has a 20-gallon capacity, enough for most families and even a sizable party. The ice chest is well insulated, so you don’t need to keep refilling it with ice.
The wide-opening dual access top lid makes it easy to access drinks and add more ice. When the ice melts, use the drain plug at the bottom to get rid of the water.
Accessories include a bottle opener and cap catcher. Notably, the Belleze cooler does not have a bottom tray, a common feature on other roller coolers.
If you were hoping for extra storage space at the bottom, we recommend the Clevr cooler instead.
Another issue with the Belleze cooler is that it feels a bit wobbly when it’s loaded. This could be because it doesn’t have a bottom tray, which acts as extra support in other coolers. Avoid pushing the cooler on the bumpy ground when it is full of drinks and ice.
When it comes to aesthetics, the rattan finish looks great. If you have rattan furniture in your patio or garden, the Belleze cooler will fit right in.
For a low price, the Belleze patio cooler provides plenty of space for drinks, a durable steel frame, and a beautiful rattan finish.
Why Get a Patio Cooler
After all, a good old ice chest keeps drinks chilled just as well.
Getting a patio cooler is not just about keeping a drink cold. A patio cooler has several benefits over an ice chest. Here are the biggest ones.
- Convenience: Because patio coolers are set on a raised cart, you don’t have to bend to pick up a cold one. Your party guests will appreciate this one.
- Portability: An ice chest is great for putting in your car when going camping or on a road trip. But carrying a loaded one from the kitchen to the patio or garden is a pain. With a patio cooler, you simply push it on its casters.
- Style: Ice chests are boring. They all come in the same rectangular shape and bland colors. In contrast, patio coolers come in a variety of interesting designs, including rattan, wooden, and metal. You can get a cooler that matches your patio perfectly. If you want to impress your guests, get a patio cooler.
Limitations of Patio Coolers
As convenient and good-looking as they are, patio coolers have their limitations and downsides.
The biggest one is the price. Patio coolers are generally more expensive compared to similar-capacity ice chests.
Another limitation is insulation. Some patio coolers maintain the temperature just as well as an ice chest. But some have thin or no insulation. Some patio coolers also have an uninsulated lid, which melts the ice faster, especially when the cooler is exposed to the sun.
There’s also the issue of portability. If you want a cooler you can carry to picnics, camping, the beach and on road trips, you are better off with an ice chest. It’s easier to lift and takes up less space in the trunk.
Buying Guide: What to Consider When Choosing an Outdoor Patio Cooler
The best capacity depends on how many drinks you need to put in the cooler. If the cooler is just for your family, a 20-gallon or smaller patio cooler will do.
If you hold lots of big parties, get a larger cooler. The biggest patio cooler among our picks is the Igloo 49271 with a 31-gallon capacity.
Get an insulated patio cooler. It’ll save you time and effort, refilling the ice chest.
An uninsulated or poorly insulated cooler melts the ice quickly, meaning you have to keep adding more ice. A well-insulated patio cooler should keep ice solid for the length of a party.
Look for a patio cooler with a metal body and base. It’ll last longer and withstand the elements better. A plastic frame is also good as long as it is heavy-duty and UV-resistant. But the cart itself should be metal.
Note: Even if the patio cooler has a rattan or wooden exterior, it still should have a metal frame.
The best style comes down to your tastes. Some people like the modern look of patio coolers with a metal exterior while others love the rustic style of wooden or rattan patio coolers.
Casters are a must-have. They make it easy to move the patio cooler around, especially when it is loaded. Check that the casters are 360-degrees and that at least two of the wheels are lockable.
Side handles are nice to have. They make it easier to push the cart. If the patio cooler has a detachable ice chest, make sure it has side handles so you can lift and carry it like a normal ice chest.
Here are the accessories to look for:
- Bottle opener and cap catcher bin.
- Drain plug.
- Bottom rack for extra storage. Some patio coolers also have side shelves.
An ice chest is still the best option for cooling drinks and foods on the go. But if you want to enjoy chilled drinks at home in your patio, garden, or pool deck, a patio cooler is the best choice. A patio cooler is also great as a portable bar for home parties.