To spend a day out on the water, you must be properly equipped with the right gear. One of the most important pieces of gear that an angler can have is a fishing cooler. Not only do you need a place to keep beverages and food for boat grill recipes cold, but where are you going to store your prize catch.
The tricky thing about fishing coolers is that there are tons of them on the market. If you don’t have the information necessary to narrow these coolers down, you will end up with a garage full of junky coolers.
If you are tired of that process and ready to find one of the top ten best fishing coolers on the market. We have you covered.
Top 10 Best Fishing Coolers At A Glance
Although we encourage you to read through the individual reviews of each of these coolers, we get it; you need to get back out on the water. For some quick info about the top ten best, this chart can help.
|Cooler Name||Best For||Size||Cost||Rating|
|Igloo 25 Qt BMX Cooler||Best Overall Fishing Cooler||19.58 x 15.69 x 13.24 inches||Check Current Cost On Amazon||10/10|
|Yeti Tundra 35 Cooler||Best Premium Fishing Cooler||21.38 x 16.13 x 15.75 inches||Check Current Cost On Amazon||9.5/10|
|Igloo Outdoor Sportsman Series||Best Fishing Cooler On Wheels||39.76 x 18.5 x 19.69 inches||Check Current Cost On Amazon||9.2/10|
|Ice Mule Sand Boss Backpack Cooler||Best Backpack Fishing Cooler||17 x 11 x 24 inches||Check Current Cost On Amazon||9.0/10|
|Engel Coolers Live Bait Cooler||Best Fishing Cooler With Rod Holders||18.5 x 12.5 x 14.5 inches||Check Current Cost On Amazon||8.9/10|
|Frabill Magnum Bait Station||Best Live Bait Fishing Cooler||19.5” L x 11.5” W x 13.8 inches||Check Current Cost On Amazon||8.5/10|
|Cold4Fish Cooler Bag||Best Fishing Cooler Bag||24x10x16 Inch||Check Current Cost On Amazon||8/10|
|Kula Cooler 5||Best Fishing Cooler Bucket||11.75 Inches||Check Current Cost On Amazon||9/10|
|Arctic Zone Zipperless Deep Freeze||Best Zipperless Fishing Cooler||12.25 x 8 x 12.25 inches||Check Current Cost On Amazon||9/10|
|RTIC Ultra Light||Best Lightweight Fishing Cooler||27 1/4 x 17& 1/2 x 17 inches||Check Current Cost On Amazon||8.8/10|
Best Overall Fishing Cooler: Igloo 25 Qt BMX Cooler
The Igloo 25 QT BMX Cooler is the best overall fishing cooler on the market. The reason this cooler makes it to the top of our list is quite simple. You can use this if you are new to fishing or if you have been doing it your entire life. In addition, you can use this cooler from a boat on the land while fishing freshwater and even saltwater.
Unless you are going Swordfishing or trying to catch a Marlin, the Igloo 25 Qt should have enough room for your latest catch. The heavy-duty construction of this cooler will allow for many years of use without having to replace it.
With a 20% thicker foam and an insulated lid, the cooler claims to have ice retention up to four days. Although this may be a little longer than we would say is accurate, the chance of you losing a fish on an afternoon of fishing is quite slim.
- Cool Riser Technology for an elvated look
- 20% Thicker Foam
- Rust resistant works in the saltwater
- UV Inhibitors to protect the cooler from sun damage
- Not the largest cooler on the market, a little heavy for it’s size
Best Premium Fishing Cooler: Yeti Tundra 35
If you thought we were going to do a review of the top ten best fishing coolers on the market and not include a Yeti, think again. Let’s face it; Yeti has to make a list. Let’s also be honest here, these things are heavy, they are expensive, and they are not for everyone.
We have Yeti coolers, and we love them, but they are not the only fishing coolers we have. The color options and the ability to hold ice for days on end help the Yeti stand out. In addition, we like the capacity of this cooler with room for about 20 cans.
The new Rotomolded COnstruction ensures that this is a nearly indestructible cooler. Although you will probably want to be quite careful with it after spending this kind of money, if you happen to drop your Yeti Tundra 35, it would be done. The heavy-duty rubber lid latches also increase the ability of this cooler to stay closed and stay connected.
If you have the money, the technology from Yeti is well worth it. If you don’t have the money, keep reading because we have other options for you.
- Very durable cooler
- Can hold ice for days
- Available in many different colors
- Comes with dry goods basket
- FatWall design and Bear Resistant
- One of the more expensive coolers on the market
Best Fishing Cooler With Wheels: Igloo Outdoor Sportsman Series
A fishing cooler with wheels is beneficial for several reasons. For starters, these types of fishing coolers are typically easier to maneuver, they can have greater capacity, and they often provide an extra seat for anglers that are looking to take a load off.
The best fishing cooler with wheels is the Igloo Outdoor Sportsman Series Cooler. These fishing coolers come in various sizes, and they have soft ride wheels that make them very easy to maneuver and bring to your fishing site. In addition, the cushion grip ensures that you are not going to tire easily when pulling this cooler around.
Another great thing about this cooler is that it has UV inhibitors to ensure that it does not get eaten by the sun. Having a cooler sitting out on a dock all day will sometimes lead to it falling apart and deteriorating, but you won’t have that issue with this Igloo.
Although Igloo claims to have MaxCold 5 Day performance, we would trust it for closer to three days. Still, three days is pretty good and what most people will need for a great day of fishing.
- Comes in a few different sizes
- WIll stay cold for several days
- Cushin grip handle
- Easy to maneuver
- Will require some storage space in the garage
Best Backpack Fishing Cooler: Ice Mule 1500 Sand Boss Foldable Cooler
When you want to keep your hands free when fishing, the Ice Mule 1500 Sand Boss Foldable Cooler is an excellent option to consider. The entire weight of this backpack cooler is only 7.5 pounds, and you will barely know you have it on your back. This is a 30-liter cooler that holds 24 cans.
Part of what makes this one of the best coolers for fishing is the fact that there are pockets and zippers to help ensure that you are going to stay organized with all of your fishing gear. The PakShield zippers also ensure that you can keep water out of any of your belongings.
The shoulders straps are padded, and there is a cushioned hip belt to ensure that you never get tired carrying this backpack cooler for fishing. If you are a camper, love to fish, and want to carry a bunch of gear around with you, this cooler is an excellent investment.
- Can carry up to 60 pounds of weight
- Good for camping, fishing and backpacking
- Waterproof cooler
- Pockets to store your gear
- Plenty of padding for easy to carry comfort
- Expensive for a backpack, but has lots of functionality
Best Fishing Cooler With Rod Holders: Engel Coolers Live Bait Cooler
Having a fishing cooler with rod holders means that you can carry all of your gear with just one hand. Considering how much gear the average angler needs, this is a really important aspect to consider when choosing a cooler. The Engel Coolers are some of the best known in the world of fishing, and this Live Bait Cooler With Rod Holder is one of the best on the market.
The carry handles and shoulder strap make the cooler easy to move around and carry, even if hiking a long way to your fishing spot.
This is also a live bait cooler meaning that it comes with a 2 speed pump to help increase aeration. The pump is battery operated and has a water resistant housing. Overall the live bait aerator is not loud and will help to ensure that your experience out on the water is a great one.
- Can carry four rods
- Made with a polystyrene foam
- Carry handles and shoulder strap
- Stainless steel screws for durability
- We don’t love the buckle closure
Best Live Bait Fishing Cooler: Frabill Magnum Bait Station
Having a fishing cooler that works for live bait storage is an excellent option for those that find luck fishing with live bait. In the first part of your day, you can ensure that your bait is alive, and then after you make a few catches, you can store everything that you catch. The Frabill Magnum Bait Station is one of our favorite fishing coolers for live bait.
This cooler has a 13 quart capacity, and it comes with an integrated aerator. The aerator runs on batteries, and it is waterproof, so you won’t have to worry about long term damage.
In addition, the cooler was tested in below freezing temperatures, and it worked quite well. This makes a good option for those that are camping or even if you plan on doing a little ice fishing and you worry about the longevity of your cooler.
- Trusted anme in the industry
- Tangle free netting on the interior
- Power adapter or battery operated aerator
- Does not have the largest capactiy of the coolers on our list, limited in what you can carry
Best Fishing Cooler Bag: Cold4Fish Insulate Cooler Bag
For those that want a lightweight option that is not going to cause you to carry much extra weight around, the Cold4Fish Insulate Cooler bag is an excellent option for those that are spending a day on the water. The idea here is that the bag is lightweight; you can pack it down with more ice but not be bogged down as you get to your fishing location.
The bag is obviously thinner than something like a Yeti, and therefore you can only expect to get about 24 hours of ice with this cooler. The cooler bag is very easy to clean, and that is one of our favorite features. You can easily just rinse it, invert it and store it until your next fishing trip.
There is also a drain plug on the bottom of the bag, so at the end of your day, you can easily clean up and move on. The Cold4Fish also happens to be an affordable option that will allow you a solution even if you are struggling with being able to afford the right cooler.
- Easy to carry
- Great choice for the price
- Will keep ice for 24 hours
- Not as many features as other cooler options on the market
Best Bucket Cooler For Fishing: Kula Cooler 5
All serious anglers know that a fishing bucket is a necessary piece of equipment. However, it is not often discussed what a great idea it is to have a bucket that is also a cooler. Whether you are new to fishing or have been doing it your entire life, this is something that you are going to want to consider looking into.
The Kula Bucket cooler is an excellent option for those that are looking for storage, and easy to carry handle, and even a bottle opener all built into one cooler. There are also side mounted stainless steel latch points that you can add other accessories to.
The padded deck grip on the top of the cooler ensures that you can use the bucket as a seat, and some even use it as a casting platform. The versatility on the Kula is one of the best that we have seen on the market. Keep this choice in mind if you want a unique cooler for yourself or as an excellent fit for the fishing fanatic in your life.
- Very versatile cooler
- Sticky feet on the bottom so it wont slip
- Works as a step stool and a seat
- Can be used as a bucket when not fishing
- Overall capacity is not all that large
Best Zipperless Fishing Cooler: Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze
Although zippers are not always a bad thing on a cooler, you have to try and remember what saltwater does to zippers over time. If you do a lot of saltwater fishing and need an excellent cooler choice, we highly recommend this Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze.
The Rhino Tech Water and Stain Resistant fabric used to make the cooler means that it will look great from the time you purchase at the time you move on to your next one. The HardBody liner with removable SmartShelf also ensures your fish will stay protected, or your lunch can stay separated from the fish that you catch.
The zipperless lid is our favorite feature of this best fishing cooler as it allows for easy access, and you won’t have to worry about long-term deterioration. In addition, the adjustable shoulder strap and shoulder pad make this a very easy cooler to carry down the dock.
- Leak proof
- Easy to clean
- No zippers
- Available in severl colors
- Slightly smaller in size than other options on our list
Best Lightweight Fishing Cooler: RTIC Ultra Light
The lightweight cooler can be kind of a relative thing. There are lightweight, small coolers, and lightweight large coolers. The RTIC Ultra Light is a lightweight large cooler that gives fishermen a perfect combination of storage capacity as well as functionality. If you have a lot of gear to lug around, the last thing you need is a cooler bogging you down. This option is about 15 pounds which is light for a cooler this size with this much functionality.
The RTIC Ultra Light has 3 inches of close cell foam insulation. This ensures that ice is going to last for quite some time. In addition, the cooler will work as a step stool or even cutting board because of the large surface area. There are also tie downs on the top of the cooler to ensure that nothing can get in and a few different color options.
IF you have enjoyed the RTIC brand in the past but were disappointed with the overall weight of the cooler, this could be the best option on the market.
- Comes in several different colors
- Durable and long lasting yet lightweight
- More affordable than Yeti type coolers
- Tie down and latches to keep food and fish secure
- Still will be cumbersome without a fishing cart
Buyers Guide: How To Choose A Great Fishing Cooler
Fishing coolers can be expensive, but they can last for years. If you purchase the right cooler, you could have it for years to come. The key is purchasing a cooler that will work for your needs. There are a few critical things to keep in mind when choosing a cooler. These are the cooler capacity, pricing, and cooler type.
The cooler capacity should be chosen based on the type of fishing that you are doing. If you are trying to catch trout or redfish, or bonnethead shark, the cooling capacity that you need will vary. Although large coolers are appealing, they are also heavy and difficult to maneuver; choose a cooler that matches your needs as an angler.
Coolers can range in price from less than $50 to well over $500. Try to consider how often you will use the fishing cooler and the price that you can justify. Many people will use this fishing cooler for vacations and for the beach as they are often great at holding ice for long periods of time.
On our list of the best fishing coolers on the market, there are many different types that you can choose from. Backpack coolers are lightweight and easy to carry. Wheeled coolers give you an option to take a load off your bag. A live bait cooler has a built-in aerator that you can use to keep your live bait alive. The cooler type is probably the most important decision of choosing a great fishing cooler. From years of experience, we can tell you that you will likely end up with more than one.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the questions that fishing fanatics often ask. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about coolers before purchasing. As we said initially, we all have more coolers than we should because you can’t buy these things and then research them after the fact!
What Fishing Cooler Is The Best?
The best fishing cooler that we have found is the Igloo 25 QT BMX. This cooler is going to be high functioning, hold ice well, stay in great condition, and it has a nice overall look to it. If you want something that is fairly priced yet does a very good job of what we need it to out on the water, this is the cooler you need.
What Size Cooler Is Good For Fishing?
Many people will tell you that the 52 Qt cooler is the best for fishing. However, we agree that this storage capacity is excellent; especially when fishing offshore, it can be a bit cumbersome to move around. For those that like camping, hiking, and traveling to a remote location to fish, think about something like the 25 Qt cooler or even 30 Qt to make the trip a bit easier.
What Is The Difference Between A Cooler And A Marine Cooler?
The main difference between a cooler and a marine cooler is the amount of time you can keep your ice cold. The marine cooler has thicker insulation allowing for quite a bit of time, with the cooler being cold. This is great for a long day of fishing when you need to ensure that the fish stay in excellent condition until you get back to the dock.
What Is The Difference Between An Ice Chest And A Cooler?
The terms ice chest and cooler are often used interchangeably. An ice chest is going to have an area where you can store ice; a cooler is considered to be something that you would store food, fish, ice, and more. The idea is essentially the same, to preserve the ice as long as possible, however over time, you will notice that the coolers really do the same thing as an ice chest; they are just usually more portable.
Hopefully, you now feel as though you can purchase the best fishing cooler on the market with complete confidence. However, there are so many great options out there; only a few of these stand out as something really worth purchasing. Try to keep in mind all of the information about size, capacity, type, and pricing to ensure you are happy with your final purchase. The Igloo 25 Qt BMX Cooler is the best overall fishing cooler on the market. We are impressed with the durability and overall features. If you are new to fishing, start with this and see what you think. It will undoubtedly serve your needs for the first few years in the game.