Table of Contents
- 1 Do You want to Have Cold Drink Any Time While Outdoors?
- 2 Coleman Leak-Resistant Low CO2 Insulation Xtreme Wheeled Cooler
- 3 Rubbermaid Extreme 5-Day Wheeled Ice Chest Rolling Cooler
- 4 Coolest Cooler
- 5 Coleman Xtreme Series Wheeled Cooler
- 6 Coleman 42-Can Wheeled Soft Cooler with Hard Liner
- 7 Pelican Products Pro Gear Wheeled Cooler
- 8 Igloo Max Cold Ultra Roller Cooler
- 9 Coleman 40-Quart Wheeled Cooler
- 10 Coleman 16 Quart Personal Wheeled Cooler
- 11 Benefits of Coolers on Wheels
- 12 How to Choose Best Cooler on Wheels for You
- 13 Winner: Pelican Products ProGear Elite Wheeled Cooler
Do You want to Have Cold Drink Any Time While Outdoors?
Nothing ruins a camping more than spoiled food and warm drinks. So we need to keep foodstuff and beverages fresh and cold on our next outing. And, we don’t want to spend energy lugging a full bin around that is going to tip over, open up and spill the contents. What we need is the best cooler on wheels that money can buy. Whatever our personal preferences, there is a cooler out there for us, for every affair. The key is finding the right one. Are we ready to learn more about which portable refrigerator to purchase? Read on to learn more!
How We Decided
We tested the most popular models which were purchased by our own funds.
Coleman Leak-Resistant Low CO2 Insulation Xtreme Wheeled Cooler
So here we go! Introducing the Coleman 62 Quart Wheeled Cooler, this large, high-tech portable refrigerator is made to keep the contents cold for five days in temperatures up to 90 degrees. The cooler’s technology makes it easy to tow by hand, carry and lift.
The compartment holds up to 95 cans. To keep drinks cold, Xtreme incorporates a specialized technology to insulate the lid. The lid is tough enough to place items weighing up to 250 pounds on it, or for an individual of the same weight to sit on it. The cooler’s wheels are constructed of well-made materials that allow for easy transport over a variety of surfaces. This cooler comes with a leak-resistant drain that allows it to be drained easily, and without slanting it. One unique feature is that the floor of the cooler is beveled so that any excess water pools for easy drainage
- The compartment holds up to 95 cans.
- Xtreme incorporates a specialized technology to insulate the lid.
- The cooler’s wheels are constructed of well-made materials that allow for easy transport over a variety of surfaces.
- Leak-resistant drain that allows it to be drained easily, and without slanting it.
- One unique feature is that the floor of the cooler is beveled so that any excess water pools for easy drainage.
- Several built-in cup holders to keep drinks in close proximity.
- 29” x 17.63” x 15.5”.
- 16.8 pounds
Our team loved the color scheme because it was attractive and made the unit easy to identify. Transporting the refrigerator was another plus, the “easy grip handles”, “large solid wheels” and long handle all allow for ease of towing.
Rubbermaid Extreme 5-Day Wheeled Ice Chest Rolling Cooler
Now for something completely different let us take a look at the Rubbermaid Extreme 5-Day Wheeled Ice Chest Rolling Cooler. The construction includes dense insulation that keeps the contents cold. Customer reviews confirm that the inside is roomy and expansive. Rubbermaid states that the cooler keeps things cold for up to five days at temperatures of up to 90 degrees (six days if purchasing the 75-quart cooler). This cooler is quite large and available in sizes ranging from 45 to 75 quarts.
Let’s take a closer look at this portable refrigerator. The measurements of the cooler are 16.9” x 33.3” x 19.4”, and it weighs only 14.8 pounds. This unit can hold a maximum of 130 cans in addition to the ice and has built-in cup holders for 12-ounce cans and 20-ounce bottles that keep those drinks close by. This model also has a split lid that lets us search the contents on one side while keeping the other side cold.
- Can hold a maximum of 130 cans
- Built-in cup holders for 12-ounce cans and 20-ounce bottles
- Split lid
- Easy-to-clean liner with Microban antimicrobial protection
- 16.9” x 33.3” x 19.4”
- 14.8 pounds
- Made in USA
The design is meant to make gripping more comfortable and strong to guarantee it can be carried or lifted without a problem. On that note, the handles swing sideways to make the job even easier. Worried about the drain? Fear not. The drainage mechanism allows for a simple and quick process.
Coolest Cooler made with Kickstarter, the insulation used keeps the contents cold for up to the standard five days in temperatures up to 90 degrees. There are many electronic gadgets and unique features that enhance the experience of using this portable refrigerator at tailgates and parties.
The refrigerator is available in a variety of snazzy, bright colors that liven up any get together. The measurements of this model are 24” x 19” x 17” and the cooler’s capacity is 55 quarts. Among the unique built-in features we can’t find on other coolers is a blender that crushes ice. The blender has a lithium-ion battery that is rechargeable. It also has Bluetooth speakers for playing music.
The speakers are removable. There are USB ports for charging phones, an LED light on the inner lid to help us find our favorite drink, and cup holders with a magnetic base that helps keep drinks in place. For convenience, there is also a bottle opener molded into this model. This portable refrigerator is 4-star rated. But there are questions about the product.
The wheels are constructed with good materials that include stainless steel for the axle. The telescoping handle (made of aluminum) makes moving this portable refrigerator carefree. A telescopic handle means the handle can be extended or contracted as desired. The company says it is strong enough to hold 600 pounds on top. This portable refrigerator is highly rated. But there are questions about the product. See below.
For serving a lot of food, this cooler comes with plates, utensils, dividers, a corkscrew and a cutting board. So if we want to picnic or tailgate, this refrigerator seems like the best choice. It does not appear to be good to bring on camping trips and hikes where quiet and simplicity are what we prefer. Given the legal issues with the company and poor customer service, plus the higher than average price, this model is not the one we want to buy.
Coleman Xtreme Series Wheeled Cooler
The Coleman Xtreme Series Wheeled Cooler comes only in black. The product is well-insulated both in the walls and lid. It promises the contents will keep cold for up to five days in heat up to 90 degrees. The wheels, hinges and handles are all built well for durability and longevity. The size of this model is convenient for storage and transport.
The product has a telescopic handle that makes it easy to adjust for one’s height. The dimensions of the refrigerator are 23” x 18” x 18” and it weighs a little over fourteen pounds. The holding capacity for the Xtreme Series is 50 quarts. It is made to store up to 84 cans. This particular model has a functional drain that makes it possible to drain excess water without moving the cooler.
- Telescopic handle
- 5 full days of ice retention
- Cup holders molded into the lid for easy access to beverages
- 23” x 18” x 18”
- 50 quarts, up to 84 cans
- 14.2 pounds
This portable refrigerator is made especially for activities like camping so if the great outdoors is where we’re heading, this model may be the best choice for us. Picnickers will prefer this model as well.
Coleman 42-Can Wheeled Soft Cooler with Hard Liner
The Coleman 42-Can Wheeled Soft Cooler construction makes it easily moved or carried. Interestingly, with this portable refrigerator, we can use ice or ice substitutes for keeping things cold. The nice thing about this model is the added pockets are great for keeping non-food items as well like sunscreen, keys or a wallet. The front zippered compartment zips down almost to the bottom. The actual pocket is quite wide and spacious. There is also a zipper and bungees attached to the top of this model.
This portable refrigerator holds 42 cans, weighs only 1.12 ounces and has dimensions of 21.3” x 12.6” x 11.4”. One of the coolest things about this portable refrigerator is its soft PEVA liner which complies with the FDA rules. PEVA refers to a material that is biodegradable, non-chlorinated vinyl which is commonly used in padding for food containers. It is also known as polyethylene vinyl acetate or ethylene vinyl acetate. The liner is complemented by a hard additional plastic liner so that the contents remain protected.
- PEVA liner
- Telescoping handle and durable wheels handle the load with ease
- Use ice or ice substitutes to keep treats cold
- Side handles for more carrying control
- Front, zippered pocket; inside top and side mesh pockets and lid bungees for optimal storage space
- 21.3” x 12.6” x 11.4
- Holds 42 cans
- Weighs only 1.12 ounces
Transporting the cooler over sand or gravel was not easy and the it was prone to tipping and spilling the contents. We liked the various pockets located in the front and on top of the refrigerator that allowed for extra storage of non-food items. Another popular item were the bungee cords that let carry additional items like towels that could be secured with the cords on top.
Pelican Products Pro Gear Wheeled Cooler
The Pelican Pro Gear Wheeled Cooler is larger than average and durable enough to last a lifetime. This model is able to store 80 cans with an 80-quart capacity (45-quart and 55-quart are available). The design of this portable refrigerator allows the contents to remain cold for as long as 10 days depending on the surrounding temperature. There are latches that operate by press and pull, and this mechanism ensures a secure closing using a freezer grade gasket.
Additionally, Pelican has included two-part polyurethane insulation for an airtight seal. The wheels, handles and tow are all made of durable materials that make the product strong and heavy-duty. Other components include tie downs that are molded into the product, raised feet that prevent marking surfaces, a sloped drain that makes drainage efficient and a guarantee for life. This product is made in the USA.
- Can keep ice cold for up to 10 days
- Press & Pull Latches (Wide for Gloved Use)
- An integrated fish scale on the lid
- Heavy-duty wheels
- Built-in bottle
- Molded-In Lock Hasp, Stainless Steel Plate
- 29.66″ x 20.00″ x 19.25″
- Made in USA
Another unique feature for this refrigerator is its bear-resistant certificate issued by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee. The program is beneficial to both bears and humans by decreasing human-bear meetings. If bears can’t get to the contents of the cooler, it stops the bears from developing a taste for people food. It eliminates any attraction to enter areas where humans are visiting.
In order for a product to be certified, the refrigerator must pass rigorous impact and puncture tests. Believe it or not, captive grizzly bears are even used to determine how much abuse the model can take after being tossed about by a grizzly. The coolers are then inspected to conclude how well they stood up to the tests.
There are not many negative things to say about the Pelican model. It has practical features that work well because the product is built with strong materials like stainless steel. This guarantees there will be no chance of parts corroding. The drain is sloped for good drainage and it includes a tethered plug.
Igloo Max Cold Ultra Roller Cooler
The Igloo Max Cold Ultra Roller Cooler is made using polyethylene and has a 40 Quart capacity. Additional insulation has been added to both the lid and walls in order to maximize the unit’s ability to keep the contents cold. The dimensions of this model measure 17.6″ x 13.6″ x 23.5″ and weighs 10.1 pounds. The manufacturer claims the refrigerator keeps the contents cold for the standard five days with temperatures up to 90 degrees. The reality is the average span is three days. But we have to note that continuous opening and closing does have an effect on how long the contents stay cold.
We find it to be a perfect size – large enough to hold a full day’s supply of drinks for the whole family, but small enough to fit easily in the trunk of your car. The wheels are small but wide and work very well. Handles are large and easy to grip, the latches can break with rough usage, they are easy to replace if necessary.
The main complaint about this product is the lack of a drain plug, but everyone finds that it is small enough to lift and empty. There is a one-year limited warranty from the manufacturer.
- Retractable handle
- One hand opening
- 17.6″ x 13.6″ x 23.5″
- 10.1 pounds
Coleman 40-Quart Wheeled Cooler
The Coleman 40-QT Wheeled Cooler is quite large, transports well and won’t leak. We can store up to 59 cans of our favorite beverages in this model. Towing is made easier by the extra-large wheels, a handle that adjusts to a person’s height, and comfortably designed grips. There are cup holders built into the unit. And, there’s more! This outdoor refrigerator has a rustproof drain and requires no adjusting the unit to drain. The dimensions of this cooler are 14.2” x 22.7” x 16.8” and it weighs eight pounds.
We like this model because of its durable construction that allows the unit to be transported over almost any rough terrain like sand, gravel and dense grass. Unlike some portable refrigerators that claim an ice retention rate of up to five days in extreme heat that don’t deliver, this model does keep the contents cold for five days, easily.
- Hinged lid with built-in can holders
- Rustproof, leak-resistant drain for no-tilt draining
- Tall enough to fit several 2-liter bottles or wine bottles upright to help prevent spills
- 14.2” x 22.7” x 16.8”
- Up to 59 cans
- 11.6 pounds
We heard a story about a customer who was traveling internationally and, after a long flight, the contents remained cold. This story made it clear this portable refrigerator was good for longer journeys. Flying internationally probably fits that definition!
Coleman 16 Quart Personal Wheeled Cooler
Last, but not least – the Coleman 16-QT Personal Wheeled Cooler. Coleman does not claim that this model’s rate of ice retention extends beyond its capabilities. It clarifies that this portable refrigerator works well, but only up to two days. Also, this model has a large interior that is capable of holding up to 22 12-ounce cans or two 2-liter bottles. The unit has recessed wheels with a telescoping tow handle. The specially designed grips on the handles make lifting and carrying this cooler effortless. The weight of this cooler is a little over four pounds with dimensions of 15.4” x 14.9” x 10.8”.
The cooler does not have a feature which is standard on many other models – cup holders. But consumers suggested a simple solution – research online ways to attach cup holders to smaller refrigerators. The only other negative point about the unit – it did not have adequate side handles that made it more difficult to lift and carry when full.
- Great mobility
- Telescoping tow handle
- Holds 22 cans
- Store 2-liter bottles upright
- 15.4” x 14.9” x 10.8”
The benefits of this portable refrigerator are simple – It’s durable enough to survive drops, it will last a long time, and it is small enough to go unnoticed when stored. If we’re heading out on our own, or in a small group, this model will more than meet our needs. Made especially for short day and overnight trips, the 16-QT cooler is perfect.
Benefits of Coolers on Wheels
So let me say this as clearly as possible. We need a cooler on wheels for any deck party, camping trip, outdoor activity or tailgate party. What has not been discussed is the need for a dependable cooler in emergency situations. In times where extreme weather can turn our lives upside down, the only option for keeping food fresh for an extended period of time is a spacious cooler that functions properly.
Whether we live in tornado alley or hurricane country, power outages can last for days depending on the storm damage. In the Midwest and New England, loss of power from blizzards can last for over a week. It’s no longer about enjoying a day picnicking in the park. It is now a question of ensuring the well-being of ourselves and those we love. Having a good cooler can be a lifesaver.
Now if our goal is to save our energy for the activities, the last thing we want to do is spend it on hauling around a bulky cooler by hand, especially longer distances and over rough terrain. A cooler on wheels allows us to tow our favorite food and beverages with less strain on the body. If we’re transporting a full cooler over challenging surfaces like sand or gravel, we can, depending on the size of the wheels, do so effortlessly. Let’s check out how to choose perfect cooler for your needs.
How to Choose Best Cooler on Wheels for You
Size and Weight
The large, heavy-duty portable refrigerators are what you need for extended camping trips where the cooler may take a beating under harsh conditions and still continue to function efficiently. They are also perfect for those who live in areas prone to severe weather because having a cooler that is large enough to keep several days’ worth of food fresh can be a life-saver during emergency situations where there is no electricity for extended periods.
The 80-quart capacity Pelican Product Pro Gear Elite Wheeled Cooler definitely fits the bill for these uses. Due to its heavy-duty bear-proof construction, the exterior dimensions are much larger than the interior dimensions. The exterior is 42.88” x 20.75” x 20.25” at 49.5 pounds, it is the heaviest of the coolers on our list but this model has also 45 and 55-quart models.
The Coleman Leak-Resistant Low C02 Insulation 62 Qt. Wheeled Cooler is another good choice for a camping trip. It weighs only 16.8 pounds and is 29” x 17.63” x 15.5”. Its sturdy construction makes it strong enough to provide you with extra seating around the campfire, and its size and shape also make it easy to stow in the trunk of your car for your next trip.
Entertaining large groups calls for a roomy portable refrigerator to hold plenty of drinks for the whole gang. The Rubbermaid Extreme 5-Day Wheeled Ice Chest Rolling Cooler weighs only 14.88 pounds and has lots of room with dimensions of 16.9” x 33.3” x 19.4”. The Coolest Cooler made with Kickstarter is another great choice for entertaining. It is one of the heavier coolers at 29 pounds, but is also one of the strongest coolers, allowing it to double as extra seating at your next party. This cooler’s dimensions are 24” x 19” x 17”.
For smaller gatherings of about four people, or short day trips, a mid-size portable refrigerator is what you need. The Coleman 50-quart Xtreme Wheeled Cooler only weighs 13.7 pounds with dimensions of 22.6” x 17.6” x 17.7” fits the bill. The Coleman Xtreme Series Wheeled Cooler has slightly different dimensions and is a bit heavier at 14.1 pounds due to extra insulation. Its dimensions are 23” x 18” x 18”, which is a convenient size for both storage and transport, easily stored in the trunk of your car or in your home.
Another good model for small groups is the Coleman 40-Quart Wheeled Cooler which has dimensions of 14.2” x 22.7” x 16.8”. This mid-size refrigerator only weighs 8 pounds, and its compact size makes it easy to store in a small apartment or vehicle. It’s just right for a short outdoor excursion or a small get-together of four people.
When you are planning an intimate picnic for two, a slightly smaller mid-size lightweight portable refrigerator is the way to go. The Coleman 42-Can Wheeled Soft Cooler With Hard Liner is perfect for this type of usage. Its dimensions are 21.3” x 12.6” x 11.4”, only weighs 6.4 pounds making it easy to transport. Another good choice for a two-person outing is the Igloo Max Cold Ultra Roller Cooler dimensions of 23” x 12.9” x 17.4”. This mid-size cooler weighs 9.5 pounds, provides enough space to pack food and beverages for a two-person picnic, but is lightweight and easy to transport. The Coleman 16-Quart Personal Wheeled Cooler is the smallest cooler on our list weighing only 4.6 pounds with dimensions of 15.4” x 14.9” x 10.8”. This lightweight cooler is just right for short day trips for one or two people.
Ice Retention Rates
Concerning the rate of ice retention, the standard claims by the manufacturer is that the ice will last for five days in high temperatures. That is not necessarily true. The rate of ice retention will differ depending on where the cooler is stored, in sunlight or shade, for how long in that environment, and how often the it is opened and closed.
So when choosing the best unit, you should consider two things. First, how long will our outing be, and second, what sort of conditions will there be?
The Coleman Leak-Resistant Low CO2 Insulation 62 Quart / Xtreme 5-Day Ice Retention Wheeled Cooler, the Rubbermaid Extreme 5-Day Wheeled Ice Chest Rolling Cooler, the Coleman Xtreme Series Wheeled Cooler, the Coleman 50 Quart Xtreme Wheeled Cooler, and the Coleman 16-QT Personal Wheeled Cooler all retain ice on average for two to three days. These portable refrigerators are best used for day trips, overnight and weekend excursions like tailgates, parties, the beach, long hikes, and no more than three days camping. The Coleman 40-QT Wheeled Cooler based on customer comments does retain the ice for up to 4 days, so it can be used for a long holiday weekend.
The only refrigerators that retained ice for up to five days were the Coleman 42-Can Wheeled Soft Cooler with Hard Liner and the Igloo Max Cold Ultra Roller Cooler. In addition, if it is important to the consumer, the 42-Can model is the only unit that can use ice or ice substitutes. These two coolers are recommended for use by anyone going on a week-long camping trip, extended outdoor activity or who lives in an area where severe weather can mean a loss of power for an extended period of time. For trips lasting longer than one week, or in preparation for lengthy power outages, only the Pelican Pro Gear Wheeled Cooler is guaranteed to keep the ice for up to ten days.
Other specific features we learned about include the split lids on the Rubbermaid Extreme 5-Day Wheeled Ice Chest Rolling Cooler. The frequency with which the refrigerator was opened and shut affected the ice rate of retention, if the group is larger than normal, it would be wise to look closely at the double-lid model.
If only one lid is opened to retrieve contents, the side of the refrigerator with the lid closed better retains the cold. It may not seem like a big deal, but if the temperatures are extreme and the cooler is in the sun for an extended period of time, the constant foraging through the cooler will make a difference in how it keeps the items cold without question.
The drain is another important thing to consider. If we care about the refrigerator self-draining, we certainly need a unit with the proper construction to do so. The Coleman Xtreme Series Wheeled Cooler is an example of an efficient drainage system albeit one that must be tilted. For those who don’t care about a drain, a “basic” model at a low price is our best bet. Overturning a cooler full of ice water may require extra strength, however, so one’s physical condition may be an issue to consider with this cooler.
Finally, when deciding which portable refrigerator to purchase it is important to consider our personal needs. Based on specific features, what coolers can be matched to which activities? After all, we do not need to buy a product offering features we won’t use. If our main interest is fishing, then obviously the fishing scale on the Pelican Pro Gear Wheeled Cooler is in fact, our best and only choice. In addition, if we are headed into bear country, this model is the only one that won’t attract bears in search of food.
So it’s a practical concern for safety that we don’t have to worry about if we’re going to the beach. For beachgoers, tailgaters and partiers, smaller portable refrigerators are the way to go if our main concern is keeping the contents cold for the day. Any of the models that retain ice for several days will suffice. If as a tailgater, having drinks nearby is important, stay away from units that don’t have built-in cup holders like the Coleman 16-QT Personal Wheeled Cooler. Dividers are another issue. If we simply want to store contents and don’t care about tidiness and separation, we don’t need to worry about dividers. Likewise, the Coleman 42-Can Wheeled Soft Cooler with Hard Liner is the only model with extra pockets. If it isn’t important that we have places to store our non-food items, that feature isn’t a consideration.
The team that worked on this review
By now we’ve got a fairly good idea of the variety of coolers on the market. So it’s time to announce the winner by comparison for the best cooler on wheels. Before declaring the winner, it’s important to note that many points were taken into consideration. How strong is the construction of the unit and how long will it last? Does the cooler have more functional amenities than other models? How easy is it to transport the unit when full? How fast and efficiently does the unit drain excess water? Is the cooler worth the price? Does the cooler perform as the manufacturer promises, and if not, is there any type of warranty offered by the company?
And the winner is – The Pelican Pro Gear Wheeled Cooler! Why? It’s simple. Durability and strength were the main considerations. The design is superior in that locks, handles and tie downs are molded into the unit. Stainless steel parts mean there’s no corrosion. There is a guarantee for life made by the manufacturer. Plus, because of the engineering, this portable refrigerator keeps the contents cold for up to ten days. Most competitors only promise half the time, and in many instances customer feedback confirmed the cooler did not function as efficiently as the manufacturer said it would. This cooler is by far the most expensive but you get what you pay for.
But here’s what separates the Pelican from the rest, hands down. It’s certified to be bear-resistant. We know this because the coolers have actually been tested by the bears! Just to clarify, the bears themselves did not take the portable refrigerator on a picnic, but they did enjoy throwing the coolers around in an attempt to break them open. They were, by the way, unsuccessful in this attempt! It is an environmentally friendly unit that decreases encounters between wild animals and people, and that’s good for both the bears and humans.
So whether we’re going out on the water, deep into the woods or to a party, the Pelican is the portable refrigerator that is proven to be superior in terms of efficiency, and ability to handle any heavy impact if dropped while still protecting the contents. And, if a bear can’t get into it, then the cold can’t get out of it!
In the end, the choice is personal. Our choice of the right cooler is whatever meets our needs. It’s your decision and that’s all that really matters.