Published on February 2nd, 2023 | by Roger Corbinetti0
10 Best Outdoor Patio Coolers 2023: 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?
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 2022
1. Best Storage Capacity: VINGLI 80 Quart Patio Cooler With Wheels
The VINGLI patio cooler is designed with an exceptional storage capacity that allows it to hold up to 100 cans and more than 50 bottles. It also has a bottom shelf that provides additional storage space, making this unit perfect for pool parties and backyard barbeques.
- High-quality construction
- 360-degree rolling wheels
- Convenient bottom tray
- Wear-resistant and environment-friendly
- Drainage pipe for easy cleaning
- Cooling and warm functions
- Easy to assemble
- Metal side handles
- Equipped with bottle opener and cap catcher
- Insulation could be better
The solid welded steel construction and smooth powder-coated finish make the VINGLI patio cooler durable and sturdy. Whether you want to host a pool party or a family barbeque, the large capacity of this outdoor beverage cooler will not disappoint.
It is designed with 4 multi-directional heavy-duty castors that ensure increased portability, while its two lockable wheels keep the cooler secure in its place. You can also separate the cooler from the base and use it as a separate unit.
Another convenient feature of the VINGLI cooler is that it is designed with a bottle opener and a cap catcher built on its side. This cooler is very easy to assemble and does not require any tools. It also comes with all the necessary hardware.
Cleaning this cooler is also very convenient as the drainage plug makes it easy to remove the excess water.
The VINGLI patio cooler with wheels also features refrigeration insulation that keeps your drinks cool for a long time. It is also capable of keeping items warm for up to 8 hours.
The one thing that most users complain about is its insulation performance. They say that they placed blocks of ice inside this unit to cool their drinks, and even the blocks melted within a day.
If you are looking for a cooler that comes with large storage space, the VINGLI 80-quart patio cooler is the one for you. This portable cooler on wheels is very easy to assemble, and the attractive red color looks great on the patio.
The height of this cooler makes for easy reach, while the bottom shelf comes in handy to store miscellaneous party items and extra 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 a 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, a bottle opener, and a cap catcher bin.
The one area where the Rio Brands cooler could be better is the quality of the 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, a bottle opener, and a 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. Best for Backyard: Igloo Trailmate Patio Cooler Cart
The Igloo Trailmate cooler cart is designed with numerous features that make it one of the best backyard coolers. The body and lid of this rolling cooler cart are fully insulated with ultra therm to provide 4-day ice retention, delivering the most advanced cooling performance.
- Ultratherm insulated body
- Butler tray for convenience
- Two bottle openers
- 10-inch wheels that are suitable for any terrain
- Self-draining cup holders
- Sturdy and durable
- Drainage plug is designed too high
The Igloo Trailmate backyard cooler is designed with a ton of features that make this cooler with wheels stand out among the other products available.
The most recognizable feature of this outdoor drinks cooler is its large wheels that come with aggressive tread that provides ample traction through sand, grass, and dirt.
Combined with the fact that these massive wheels are never-flats, you can enjoy a mobility solution that is going to last for years.
Another notable feature of this patio cooler on wheels is the telescoping and adjusting handle that can be utilized as the butler tray holder to serve drinks and snacks. The special design of the handle also makes it easier to pull the load.
This beverage cooler cart is designed with two built-in bottle openers and cup holders for your convenience. Other notable features include a dry storage bin, food basket, mobile device stand, removable accessory holders, and more.
But the Igloo Trailmate has a design flaw that users find very inconvenient. The drain plug is too high, so when you try to empty the cooler by draining it, all the water does not drain out. A lot of water is left at the bottom of the cooler, which has to be soaked up by a towel. Consumers find this quite tedious.
The Igloo Trailmate portable cooler on wheels is designed for people looking for a high-quality patio cooler with good ice life and a product that is easy to transport and entertain large crowds with.
Its unique and well-thought-out design is a perfect combination of a large storage volume and a host of features, with oversized wheels and a really aggressive look.
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 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 a 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 a 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 for Party – Outsunny 80 QT Outdoor Patio Cooler
With a capacity to hold 20 gallons, the Outsunny Outdoor Patio Cooler is the perfect cooler for your party. It can hold up to 20 liters of ice and drinks and is available in a variety of exciting colors that are sure to match your existing outdoor furniture.
- Durable steel frame
- Two pulling handles
- Two doors provide full access to the contents
- Holds up to 80 quarts
- Drainage hole
- Bottle opener with bottle cap catcher built-in to the side
- Easy to assemble
- Base and wheels are flimsy
The Outsunny outdoor patio cooler is constructed with steel and a has trendy colored finish. It is ideal for family barbeques and pool parties. With this backyard cooler, you can transform your patio into a happening party place.
The two doors make it easy to access the drinks inside, while the convenient handles on both sides provide the perfect grip to pull this cooler. The drainage hole at the back makes it easy to empty out the Outsunny cooler, and the bottom shelf can be used to keep items like cups and mixers within easy reach.
The bottle opener is attached to the cooler so that you do not have to search for an opener to enjoy your drink, while the bottle cap catcher ensures you don’t need to clean up the bottle caps the next day.
The four wheels attached to the bottom increase portability, or you can keep the Outsunny cooler in one place by locking two of the wheels.
The problem with this patio cooler that most users talk about is the quality of the base and wheels. The wheels do not move freely, and the metal legs move when they move the cooler. Users are worried that the base might buckle under the cooler’s weight.
This versatile Outsunny patio cooler is just the thing you need to get your summers started right. The black matte finish gives this unit a contemporary look, while its large capacity makes it easier to store tons of drinks.
Outdoor Patio Cooler Buying Guide
If you are looking for a backyard cooler, the wide range of options is sure to get you confused. Following are some points that you should keep in mind to ensure that you invest in the best possible unit:
Although most patio coolers offer the same functions, they come in different styles. You can choose a unit according to your needs and preference:
Rolling Cooler Cart Style
The rolling cooler cart style is the most common cooler type. These are basically ice chests with tabletop surfaces on wheels.
These carts are spacious and can hold large amounts of drinks and ice and keep them cold for longer. Since they are one of the best outdoor coolers, they are perfect for large gatherings and patio parties.
The best feature of rolling coolers is their portability. They are equipped with wheels that make it easy to take them out whenever you need them and put them back in storage when they are not required.
Portable Cooler Style
These coolers are made of soft polyester that folds easily when not in use, making it very convenient to take it on the go or store it when it is not needed. Although these outdoor coolers are not the most stylish, they are certainly very useful, particularly if you are an outdoor enthusiast or love to travel.
Side Table/Hot Tub Style
Hot tub-style coolers are designed to look like a typical outdoor side table and come with a pop-up tabletop that features a cooler within. The best thing about these popular backyard coolers is that they do not stand out like a typical drink cooler and blend perfectly with any patio furniture.
Plus, the ideal height of these coolers makes them perfect to be placed alongside a jacuzzi to enjoy easy access to cool drinks while having a soak.
Another vital consideration is the wheels if you plan on moving your cooler around. Once you fill your cooler with ice and drinks, it can become quite difficult to move it around. That is why investing in a backyard cooler that comes with wheels can be very useful.
Another feature to look out for is the detachability of the cooler box from the base. This way, you can use it as a portable ice chest, adding versatility and convenience to the cooler.
Ice Retention Time
Ice retention refers to the time a cooler can maintain the ice, and it can be affected by a number of features like external temperature, frequency of opening the cooler, etc.
Backyard and patio coolers are mostly used at cookouts or parties, which means they are opened and closed frequently. So if you are buying an outdoor beverage cooler for entertaining, ice retention time should not be your main concern.
There is not much sense in buying a patio cooler that features a tight seal and maintains internal temperatures for longer as this will be negated by the frequent opening and closing.
Nowadays, radio coolers and coolers with speakers are also becoming quite popular. You can also check these out to see if they fit your requirements.
Backyard coolers can be considered as an outdoor furniture investment and should last for many years. Since these units will be left outside for most of, if not the whole, year, it is essential that they are constructed with high-quality materials.
You do not want your outdoor drinks cooler to rust or break down after just a few months.
The best material for a backyard cooler construction is stainless steel or a weather-resistant resin material as these materials not only look attractive but also ensure durability.
Weight and Size
It is vital to make sure that the cooler does not weigh much when it is empty. You should also be interested in its interior as well as exterior volume. You will need to put your patio cooler in storage, so keep the available space in mind as well.
In addition to size and weight, it is also important to consider the aesthetic appearance of a backyard cooler. For instance, a barrel cooler not only works great but also adds a classy look to your patio.
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.
Benefits of Backyard Coolers
Outdoor activities need coolers that can withstand extended and rough handling. Heavy-duty hard-sided coolers work best as backyard coolers as they are solidly and sturdily built and can withstand rigorous use. They also keep drinks and other items cold for longer compared to conventional units.
Some other benefits of backyard coolers include:
Since they are made from hard plastic, backyard coolers are able to take a beating. They are constructed using rotomolding or rotational molding, which is a useful manufacturing technique that produces a more durable plastic.
These units have a uniform density that ensures better insulation. Backyard coolers typically come with an extended warranty that provides users with complete peace of mind.
Backyard coolers are designed with a large storage capacity. They make it easier for users to pack more stuff and not just a few canned drinks.
Backyard coolers are measured by volume, and you can choose a unit according to your personal needs.
Efficient Ice Retention
Heavy-duty roto-molded backyard coolers offer another great advantage to users. They ensure cold drinks for an extended period of time.
They have remarkable ice retention that makes them very popular with outdoor enthusiasts as they are able to keep their drinks and other food items cool even if the weather is hot.
Backyard coolers are constructed with groundbreaking engineering and innovative materials that offer superior insulation that is much superior to other products available. You can choose from a wide range of products, ranging from those with stiff lids to those with impeccable seals.
Since they are equipped with advanced insulation components, these units deliver outstanding performance, which is closer to fridge freezers. Some of these units are also dry ice compatible. They have much more cooling power as compared to wet ice.
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.
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.