6 Best Coolers Under $100 of 2019

Wow, I’ve to admit that this topic isn’t easy at all because it’s impossible for me to go out and say “Hey, look at this beautiful design with full basic functions, it is absolutely the best cooler under $100 for you”.

Nope! Everyone’s need is different.

So that is the reason I’ve come down to this list of best coolers based on variable categories.

Here are the best coolers under 100 you can buy in 2019:

  • Best Roller Cooler: Coleman Wheeled Cooler
  • Best Floating Cooler: Intex Mega Chill II
  • Best For Backpackers: SEEHONOR Insulated Cooler Backpack
  • Best Thermoelectric Cooler: Igloo Iceless Thermoelectric Cooler
  • Highest Quart Capacity: Coleman Cooler
  • Best Soft Cooler: Coleman 30-Can Soft Cooler

Best Roller Cooler: Coleman Wheeled Cooler

Top Pick
Coleman Wheeled Cooler
Coleman Wheeled Cooler
9Outstanding
Pros
  • Smooth, maneuverable wheels and easy-to-use telescoping handle for extra-easy transport

  • Sturdy lid that can withstand a max load of 250 lbs., allowing you to sit and rest

  • Can retain ice within 5 full days under harsh sunlight

Cons
  • The drain plug isn’t low enough to exhaust water

  • Pretty heavy once it’s filled

If you’re after a heavy-duty 50-quart, wheeled, roller cooler than this Coleman should be your best bet.

It’s equipped with two rugged, heavy-duty wheels that were tested to roll smoothly over terrains, even when fully loaded. Moreover, it is an additional telescoping handle, giving more reliable transport during picnics, tailgating parties, and camping trips.

What impressed me is its special insulated lid that’s not only easy to clean but also ultra-sturdy. Rarely a $43 cooler can allow you to sit on its lid like this Coleman. There’s also a built-in cup holder on the outside.

The biggest selling point here is premium insulation along the lid and walls that provide amazing ice retention of 5 full days while withstanding a temperature of 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Coleman Wheeled Cooler Specifications

Quart Capacity

50

Ice Retention (Days)

5

Can Capacity

84

Outside Dimensions (inches)

23 x 18 x 18 inches

Inside Dimensions (inches)

19 x 14 x 14

Weight

13.9 pounds

Highlight Features

telescoping handle and heavy-duty wheels, insulated lid and walls provide 5 full days of ice retention, sturdy lid supports up to 250 pounds

Verdict

Won the intensive personal tests of quality and performance, Coleman Wheeled Cooler is the #1 roller unit that anyone in a tight budget must consider.

Best Floating Cooler: Intex Mega Chill II

Intex Mega Chill II
Intex Mega Chill II
9Outstanding
Pros
  • Can hold 48 quarts of capacity and float nicely on the water

  • Easy to pump or inflate

  • 6 additional cup holders and a closure lid with Velcro tabs for flexible usage

Cons
  • The ice is melted faster than other coolers

Intex Mega Chill II is a really functional cooler with emphasis on the floating base that you don’t need to get out of the pool for a nice, cold drink.

Though priced a mere $27, this special floating base is indeed high-quality and heavy-duty that can hold up to 48 quarts of capacity (equal 72 cans and ice). I bet the premium 16 gauge vinyl material and three air chambers have made up such decent lightness and floating ability.

While other floating coolers just stop at giving you some handles and repair patch, the Chill II stands out with 6 additional built-in cup holders. It is enough for a big group of people to enjoy their pool parties with hands-free.

The lid is another concern of mine when it comes to choosing a floating cooler and luckily enough that this Intex has a flexible lid design. It does completely detach but still has Velcro tabs to tie the lid down at the center and lift half up to reach in for drinks. Very thoughtful!

Intex Mega Chill II Specifications

Quart Capacity

48

Ice Retention (Days)

1

Can Capacity

72

Outside Dimensions (inches)

48 x 38 x 24

Inside Dimensions (inches)

28 x 20 x 17

Weight

7.4 pounds

Highlight Features

4 durable grab handles
Removable ice chest holds up to 72 cans and ice
Use as a floating base for a cooler up to 48-Quarts
6 cup holders

Verdict

For those who are looking for an affordable, high capacity floating cooler for watery activities, like pool parties and kayaking, Intex Mega Chill II is highly recommended.

Best For Backpackers: SEEHONOR Insulated Cooler Backpack

SEEHONOR Insulated Cooler Backpack
SEEHONOR Insulated Cooler Backpack
9Outstanding
Pros
  • Unique and cool cooler backpack for phenomenal portability and style

  • The well-organized interior while the major compartment can hold up to 30 cans

  • The inner lining is completely leak-resistant, anti-odor, heat-sealed

  • Adjustable, sturdy, and well-padded shoulder straps for comfort and reliability

  • Waterproof outdoor shell for lower maintenance and worry-free of weathers

Cons
  • Not waterproof zipper so the backpack must be upright all the time

  • Don’t have a back pad

Seems like I’m blowing your mind, huh?

A legit unique cooler in the shape of a sleek backpack. Its construction can really fool you of a normal backpack with a well-organized interior.

There are 2 side bottle holders, 2 front zippered pockets, and 1 mesh pocket. The biggest difference lies in the major compartment which is lined with 100% premium thicken PEVA hot-pressed material.

Combining with an additional insulated zippered pocket on the lid, it keeps the inner temperature below 15℃ within a day. Rest assured that this lining is odor resistant as well that you can keep fish, cheese, or meat inside.

While the sturdy, well-padded shoulder straps make this special backpack so reliable and comfortable to carry around, its roomy capacity can hold up 30 cans and ice, guaranteed to be 100% leak resistant.

SEEHONOR Insulated Cooler Backpack Specifications

Quart Capacity

40

Ice Retention (Days)

1

Can Capacity

30

Dimensions

17.7’’ x 7.9’’ x 13.0’’

Weight

1.74 lbs.

Highlight Features

Insulated with thickening leakproof PEVA liner on all sides
Made of heavy-duty nylon, lightweight, padded and fully adjustable shoulders straps

Verdict

With special outlook and construction, SEEHONOR is your best pal for all type of outdoor events or simply a perfect insulated lunch backpack for daily work.

Best Thermoelectric Cooler: Igloo Iceless Thermoelectric Cooler

Igloo Iceless Thermoelectric Cooler
Igloo Iceless Thermoelectric Cooler
9Outstanding
Pros
  • Doesn’t cost much energy while running silently

  • Lightweight and portable with ergonomic design for more comfortable transport

  • Roomier for more items

  • No need for drain plug

Cons
  • Need to plug it all the time for stable cooling temperature

There are really many persuasive reasons to pick an iceless thermoelectric cooler.

First off, this innovative type gives more room for your items while less weight to be carried during your trip. Second, it is to avoid the common problems of drainage that you could get stuck in when using the ice coolers.

The only thing you need to concern about is the electricity cost of this Igloo and luckily enough that it’s really budget-friendly. Moreover, run by a brushless motor and using a fan to circulate cold air, the noise is hardly noticed, if not saying silent and bother-free to the others.

I’m glad that the power cord of this Igloo cooler is up to 8 feet long, which is enough for portable use without being too short. You can connect it for any 12V DC outlet, on both direct electric source or a generator.

Igloo Iceless Thermoelectric Cooler Specifications

Quart Capacity

26 quarts or 28 quarts

Ice Retention (Days)

5

Can Capacity

19.5 cans or 21 cans

Outside Dimensions

18.19″ L x 13.13″ W x 17″ D

Inside Dimensions

13 1/2″ H x 9″ D x 10 1/4 W

Weight

1 pound

Highlight Features

Swing-up bale handle with comfort grip
Molded-in side handles
8′ long power cord plugs into any 12V DC receptacle for portable use

Verdict

Igloo Iceless thermoelectric cooler is the best solution for those who want to get rid of drainage issues of ice cooling method and have more room for drinks and foods.

Highest Quart Capacity: Coleman Cooler

Coleman Cooler
Coleman Cooler
9Outstanding
Pros
  • Can hold 70 quarts and become the cooler with the highest capacity

  • Limit the carbon emissions from foam producing -> eco-friendlier

  • Flap plug-in drainage system to ensure no leakage

Cons
  • Awkward to move

  • Not hold ice so long

Regardless of the highest quart capacity of this Coleman 70-quart cooler, I like the eco-friendly message coming from its low CO2 insulation for decreased carbon emissions.

Though different incapacity, I find many similarities in Coleman’s cooler lineups, including the sturdy lid that can support 250 pounds of load, the EZ-Clean material or the no-crush handle grips.

Even the ice retention of 5 days or its capability to withstand the temperature of 90ºF is all the same.

The biggest highlight here is its leak-resistant drain. Since it’s a flap plugin with no screws, the drain plug ensures no leakage of water while in use even when you’ve taken it on/out to drain many times.

Coleman Cooler Specifications

Quart Capacity

70

Ice Retention (Days)

5

Can Capacity

52

Outside Dimensions

28” x 15.5” x 15”

Inside Dimensions

24″ X 12.5″ X 12″

Weight

12.3 pounds

Highlight Features

EZ-Clean lid, sturdy lid supports up to 250 pounds, no-crush handle grips

Verdict

To prepare for a big party or an outdoor trip of 4-6 people, a cooler with high quart capacity comes into play in this case and the Coleman 75-quart seems to be a good pick.

Best Soft Cooler: Coleman 30-Can Soft Cooler

Coleman 30-Can Soft Cooler
Coleman 30-Can Soft Cooler
9Outstanding
Pros
  • Removable hard plastic liner to prevent leakage utterly while giving flexible usage

  • Easy to clean

  • Zipper works smoothly and is waterproof

Cons
  • Keep food and drinks quite short

While people underestimate the soft coolers than the hard ones, it’s not the case with Coleman 30-can unit.

Regardless of the brand reputation, the seams of this soft cooler are carefully heat-welded to avoid liner leaks while the lining is crafted 100% from PEVA material that meets FDA requirements for food contact.

There are many highlights to know about this kind of material, for example, the resistance of mold, mildew, and odor or, the ease to clean and flexibility. Moreover, this liner is totally removable for easier packing.

I also love the additional features built-in this Coleman 30-can, such as the two sides mesh pockets, the inner top mesh ones or the front zippered for extra storage space with organizing and the comfy shoulder straps with adjustability.

Coleman 30-Can Soft Cooler Specifications

Quart Capacity

40

Ice Retention (Days)

1

Can Capacity

30

Outside Dimensions

12.2 in.(L) x 9.65 in.(B) x 13.78 in.(H)

Inside Dimensions

11 x 10 x 8.5

Weight

2.2 pounds

Highlight Features

Removable hard plastic liner, adjustable shoulder strap
Front zippered pocket and inside top mesh pockets
Easy-to-clean permanent, flexible, soft PEVA liner

Verdict

For those who are in need of something that’s going to be easier to carry then the Coleman Soft Cooler is my suggestion to you.

How To Choose The Best Coolers Under 100?

Size, Weight & Portability

  • Size does matter. The bigger the cooler, the more flexible it is.

  • An ample unit will give you more space for food and drink. When considering which is the most suitable for you, also take note of the recommended ice-to-content ratio if it’s an ice-cooling model.

  • Usually, ice will take 40% to 60% the inner space of a cooler.

  • Another must-consider is the cooler’s weight as well as its weight capacity. Unless your pick is a rotomolded cooler, it’s usually lightweight (within 1 pound to 20 pounds). But the real concerning issue is the weight after it’s fulfilled. This depends on its quart capacity.

1 Quart = 2.0864 pounds

  • So, suppose that your cooler has the 20-quart capacity. After fulfilled, its total weight might be up to a mere 42 pounds. The larger the capacity, the heavier.

  • To prepare for a big party, like 5-8 people, it’s compulsory to leverage a huger cooler. Now, it’s time to consider about its portability.

  • Most coolers come with sturdy handles but the heftier ones will have additional attached wheels and a telescoping handle to easily pull or push them. This is really handy as just one person can effortlessly carry their cooler around.

Performance

  • I guess the ice retention is what you keep eyes on the most when choosing a cooler, huh?
  • And it’s really untrue about the rule – the cheaper the cooler, the shorter of time it can keep ice. Many models in the list above can give an amazingly extended time. Such as the “Coleman Wheeled Cooler” and the “Igloo Iceless Thermoelectric Cooler” with 5-day ice retention.
  • Your task is to consider how many days you need ice to stay ice.
  • Ice retention of a cooler will depend on two things:
  • Insulation thickness: This insulating material layer is attached to the cooler’s lid and walls. The thicker, the better. It’s good if you can find a cooler built with 2” insulation foam. Or for short trips, 1” is just fine.
  • Lid Latch System: A tightly closed lid will do its best to lock the cold air inside while preventing heat from the outsides in. Hence, the content is kept cool longer.

Brand

  • With the target of choosing a cooler under $100, it’s a bit of gamble if you go for an unknown or strange brand.

  • A reputable brand, in this case, is indeed essential.

  • At least you can ensure a great chance of getting a higher-quality cooler that will last a long time. Here are some reliable brands to go:

Which Brands Make The Best Coolers Under 100?

Coleman

  • This is actually the Father of portable coolers with the very first model produced in 1954. No strange when their lines are vast and spreading over a wide range of prices. While Yeti is the statue of high-end coolers, Coleman is a popular customer-friendly brand to go.

Intex

  • Every brand will try to be the market leader in a specific niche and with Intex, it’s the floating coolers, aiming to serve the needs of people at pool parties, the beach, kayaking or other water activities. Their lines in this field are quite various and have got many positive feedbacks from customers.

SEEHONOR

  • In terms of cooler backpacks, though other Mr. Giants also join in this piece of cake, like Yeti and Coleman, SEEHONOR takes high advantage of prices and trendy designs along with ice performance and well-organized construction. For that reason, it becomes the king.

Igloo

  • Igloo’s coolers are diverse in capacity and design. Being a top-rated brand and giving affordable coolers is a dream combo adding Igloo to the list of best coolers under $100. But to talk about the most outstanding, their thermoelectric coolers are top-rated.

FAQs

How cold is a cooler full of ice?

It depends on how good its insulation and lid latch system. With a cooler that is well-performed at those two features, the temperature can be 25-32 degrees F.

Is dry ice better than regular ice in a cooler?

Dry ice is better than water ice in a cooler for some reasons:

  • Can keep things frozen, not just cool

  • Doesn’t make your items wet

  • Lasts longer (up to 10 days), especially in a well-constructed rotomolded cooler

  • Takes less room

  • Cheaper

How long will cooler keep food is frozen?

Actually, a freezer makes things frozen while a cooler just keeps them cool. It’s quite challenging to keep foods safely frozen inside a cooler but with some vigilance, it can be 24 hours.

Are metal coolers better than plastic?

Metal coolers aren’t actually better than the plastic in all aspects. They come with specific pros and cons:

Metal coolers

Plastic coolers

Weight

Heavier

Lighter

Price

Costlier ($150 - $250)

Cheaper ($30 - $100)

Durability

Higher (can take heavy wear & tear)

Lower (prone to breaking and cracking)

Ice retention

1-3 days

1-3 days (ordinary models)

5-10 days (rotomolded models)

Can you keep milk in a cooler?

Yes, you can. But don’t expect it would be kept as long as when in a fridge. The longest time in a cooler is 2-3 days.

How can I keep food cold in a cooler for 2 days?

Yes, you can if following these tips:

  • Cool the cooler firstly

  • Choose dry ice

  • Start with frozen food

  • Pack the cooler tight and keep it in shade.

Conclusion

Before ending this article, I’d like to give you one last note. No matter how well-constructed of your desired cooler, the more you open its lid, the quicker the items will heat up. So, it’s good when you limit the times of opening the cooler.

Hopefully, the list of 6 best coolers under $100 helped you figure out which is your best bet. Thanks for reading!

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