(This site is reader-supported. When you buy something using retail links on our articles, we may earn a small commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)
If you are an outdoor enthusiast, you do know how handy a rotomolded cooler aka rotationally molded coolers during your trips. There are hundreds of models out there in the market. If you are looking for one here is our buyer’s guide on finding the best rotomolded cooler.
What Are Rotomolded Coolers?
Rotomolded coolers are a camper’s best friend. They are designed like classic ice coolers, only they are more efficient at keeping food cold, not to mention preventing animals from reaching the food in the wilderness. The difference between rotomolded coolers and other similar boxes is in the overall design.
The cooler design is based on rotationally molded plastic. It is efficient in keeping food cold, but it is also extremely durable. Many rotomold coolers easily withstand rough handling even by grizzly bears and other forest creatures that might be tempted by your food. Such coolers gets certified by agencies like Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee.
Rotomolded coolers are designed to last forever, so they usually come with a long warranty. To make them even better, some manufacturers use material that will not harm animals if ingested.
Roto molded coolers can be used apart from camping, for a number of activities, such as:
- Action Sports
5 Best Rotomolded Coolers in 2019
YETI Tundra 45 Cooler
YETI Tundra 45 is one of the best rotomolded coolers due to so many reasons. It is made by one of the leaders in the industry and it comes with 3 inches thick PermaFrost insulation. The fat wall design is there as well and all of that is mandatory if you want to keep food and beverage cool as long as possible. They will stay cool for several days, regardless of where you are.
The lid is special and we loved the T-rex latches included. They are easy to use, but they are extremely durable and strong. In addition, the latches had to pass strict tests that made the cooler super safe and impossible to open accidentally. At the same time, they will keep the lid closed at all times, meaning the air won’t be able to penetrate the cooler. The overall integrity of the cooler is impressive as well. It is very strong and durable. Yes, you can have it in different colors.
The cooler will accommodate 26 cans of beverage. Don’t forget that the manufacturer and we recommend a 2:1 ratio. Basically, you need 2 times more ice than the cans. There are so much we liked about this model. It is strong, durable, well-made, excellent value for money and it met all our desires. We know it will meet your desires as well, so we had to place it in the first place on our list.
- Perma Frost
- T-rex latches
- 3 inches insulation
- Strong and durable
- Choice of available colors
- Sensitive plug
Pelican Elite 50 Quart Cooler
Pelican Elite has a 50-quart capacity which makes it one of bigger units out there. The attention to detail and the design are still the biggest pros and the main advantages we liked. The cooler looks like it are made for military usages. The handle is massive and very comfortable to use. The lid is massive as well and hinges are made to last. They actually feature non-tear design. All of this means that the cooler looks futuristic and it is probably the best-looking model of all times. You can have it in any color you want and all models are made in the same way.
The ice retention is above average. There is 2 inches thick insulation all around the cooler so you can be positive that the food and beverage will stay cool as long as you need them. These were the main characteristics, but there are a few less-known as well. For instance, the cooler comes with a convenient plug for draining the fluids, you get cup holders and even a steel bottle opener. All of this makes it a great choice for camping or spending time in nature. It is practical simply because it is designed in a unique way.
Additional features include molded holes for fixing the cooler with rope. Another thing we liked is the legs made of rubber. They will make sure that the cooler stays in place while traveling and even protect your floor while filling the cooler at your home. The bottom line is simple. This is a premium cooler that comes with all the features you will ever need, it is strong and durable. However, all of this comes at a price.
- Very strong
- Bottle opener
- Cup holders included
- Heavy-duty handle
- 2 inches insulation
The ORCA cooler may look ordinary, but it is far from that. As a matter of fact, it is one of the most sophisticated and most advanced models available on the market. The cooler is made to last, has very durable construction and a handle made from stainless steel. This handle won’t rust or corrode ever and it requires no maintenance. It looks nice also so this may be an advantage for some of you. We are mostly focused on the practicality, but we love well-made and beautiful cooler which has a lot to offer.
The unit is available in 20 different color options. All of them are made in the same way and come with the same features. They are versatile and can help you make your cooler different than any other. You can have this unit in 20, 26 or 75-quart size. We tested two smaller options and we were impressed. The ice retention is stunning, as you shall see.
The cooler is capable of retaining the ice for 10 days, an impressive result. There won’t be any issues with the food or beverage inside and you can enjoy nature as long as you want. One reason why this is possible is the gasket of the lid. It is super easy to install, requires no maintenance yet allows you to feel soft closing of the cooler. A nice, small and important element you need to remember.
- 10 days of ice retention
- 20 different colors
- Stainless steel handle
- Lid gasket
- The biggest model isn’t available at the moment
- Drainer sprout is complicated to use
ORCA ORCG020 Cooler
ORCA ORCG020 is designed elegantly. The handle itself is extremely easy to use, it is comfortable, and it is made from stainless steel. In reality, this handle is something you are going to need if you are looking for a high-end cooler to use for the most complicated operations. Yes, it has the grip element as well, so it is comfortable.
The cooler is available in different sizes. You can have it in 20, 26 or 140 quarts. Each one shares the same rotomolded design and each one is extremely tough. The only difference is in the size obviously so you can choose the one that matches your criteria perfectly. Don’t forget that there are several colors to choose from as well. They can help you get a more unique and personalized cooler that will help you stand out from the crowd.
Some of smaller features include a cargo net which is shipped with any cooler and the gasket of the lid. The gasket offers a tight fit and it will make sure there are no leaks. This model is made for heavy-duty usages and it comes with all the essentials you are going to need. In essence, it is suitable for those who need practicality, strength and a lot of space. 140-quart model is massive and it is suitable for several users. Thanks to the handle, even the largest model is easy to carry and transport.
- Massive size available
- Great handle
- Lid gasket
- Several color options available
- User manual
Engel Eng35 Cooler – Value for Money
The Engel Eng35 has a unique set of benefits and advantages to offer. The model is an excellent value for money. It is one of the most affordable, durable and strong coolers you can find. Despite the low price, it is strong, IGBC Certified (when 2 latches are used) and it can meet the toughest challenges and requirements. The cooler looks decent, but the design isn’t the main advantage here.
If you are looking for a durable model at a low price, you will love it. The silicone gasket and 2 inches insulation will make sure ice stays intact for 10 days and the unit is compatible with dry ice as well. The standard size is 35 quart and we know it is going to be the most popular choice. It isn’t too big nor too small and it offers a high level of practicality. At this point, we don’t have anything else to say about the tested model. It performed well on all our tests and it met all our expectations.
The bottom line is Engel Eng35 is affordable, strong and effective. It doesn’t look special, but this isn’t the main goal of the manufacturer. The main goal is practicality and usability over design. For folks under a budget, this is going to be the best rotomolded cooler.
- 10 day Ice retention
- Compatible with dry ice
- IGBC Certified
- Obsolete design
- Customer support
How To Choose The Best Rotomolded Cooler
How you can tell which unit is the best and why? You will either have to purchase 20 models and find the one that is great for you, or you can read our buyer’s guide and place a single order that will meet all your expectations.
Which rotomolded cooler is the best?
There is no simple answer. As a matter of fact, there are a few answers which we can combine into one. Basically, the best cooler will maintain ice for the longest period of time. It will make sure the exterior is thick and durable. A great handle is mandatory and nets, bottle openers to name a few.
The best cooler of this kind is massive, offers strength and practicality while meeting your needs.
How long a cooler should retain ice?
Different coolers offer different ice retention characteristic. However, we were able to create a small list of several possibilities here.
A few hours- Models that are made from soft materials, small and practical usually can retain ice for a few hours. They are not high-end coolers designed for camping. They are affordable, simple gadgets you can use while walking, sitting at a park or etc.
2-3 days- Most cheap and affordable coolers will provide ice retention of 2-3 days. This is a low end of the scale and you can see that most, solid made coolers now offer this time frame. In addition, all the foods and beverages will be perfectly cold during this period of time. Most of them can retain ice 2 days, and the third it will start melting.
5-6 days- These coolers can provide decent ice retention. They are reasonably affordable. When it comes to the size, models here are small and medium sizes.
10+ days- The best and the ultimate coolers can withstand all temperatures and make sure your food and beverage are up to 10 days cool. They are the most durable, the most versatile and the most expensive.
What size rotomolded cooler do I need?
The size of a cooler is the next big thing you will need to consider. There are a lot of models, with different capacity out there. The smallest rotomolded models that are practical and useful have a size of 25 quarts. One quart is space for 0.75 beer bottle. They are small, yet lightweight and practical. You will choose one if you are planning to go into nature with a loved one.
45-quart models are the most popular at the moment and they are ideal when you and your friends are going camping for a few days. Usually, up to 5 days, you will have everything you need thanks to the cooler. The only drawback is the price. Coolers of this size are affordable for most and you will need to make a careful investment. We recommend them as the most versatile and the most desirable.
Then we have massive coolers. They have a capacity of up to 150 quarts and they are huge. You can place anything you like in them and it will stay cool for 10 days or even more. These are not models suitable for couples or individuals. They are made for large groups or families. Yes, they are also expensive, but they are very durable and come in all possible shapes.
Are steel coolers better than plastic rotomolded ones?
Yes and no. The first thing to consider is which type of steel manufacturer used. If they used ordinary steel, you should avoid this cooler. It isn’t immune to rust and if we know that the cooler will be frequently exposed to water and ice we can deduce that it will have a short lifespan. A model made from stainless steel is completely opposite. This type of steel is immune to rust, therefore, a cooler will stay like new for a long period of time.
The benefits of steel coolers are obvious. They are more durable, stronger and they can last for decades. But, they are also more expensive, heavier and more complicated to transport.
A few years ago we would have suggested you to purchase a stainless steel cooler. Today, thanks to modern technology you can get a cooler made from plastics that will outperform any stainless steel model. It will be almost equally strong and far more practical. We recommend you plastics models, the ones we mentioned in the list. Stainless steel units are reserved for extreme conditions.
Why Yeti coolers are so expensive?
One of the most common questions we were able to discover is why Yeti makes some of the most expensive coolers out there. First and foremost, these coolers are designed and made in the United States. Labor here is expensive, so the price of the units must go up. Then we have the overall quality. Yeti coolers are some of the most durable, the strongest and the best in general.
What type of handle a rotomolded cooler should have?
There are several types of handles found on coolers. The first type is the lid handle. It is used for smaller coolers designed for a single person. What this means is that you can grab a cooler and carry it easily. The type of this handle isn’t common on large coolers and the weight load is limited.
Side handles are much better. They are suitable for bigger coolers and they can withstand a lot more weight. In addition, they can be seen on bigger and more expensive coolers and they are great for two people carrying the cooler.
A shoulder strap is common but usually on smaller models. It is essential for users who want to carry their cooler over the shoulder and have free hands. We liked this type and we believe it is one of the most desirable for single-user coolers. Anyway, the best and the most popular option is the side handles.
We can add that some models come with wheels. This is rare and reserved for massive coolers. Anyway, we liked this addition and we believe it is one of the best for those who want to transport their coolers effortlessly and for a long period of time.
YETI Tundra 45 is the best rotomolded cooler in our opinion if you are not limited by budget for a 45 quart one. The unit has massive space, it uses T-rex latches and offers 3 inches of insulation. It has Perma Frost technology which is one of the best in the world. If you are looking for a decent affordable model we suggest Engel Eng35 which offers comparable features at a lower price range and lower size.