The 10 Best Cooler for Fishing in 2019 [Buying Guide Included]

best cooler for fishing

Now that you have the best yacht, fishing rod, reel, lures, and a net, the next great thing to worry about is to keep your fish fresh. You will need a fishing cooler for that, especially on a hot sunny day. 

Fishing coolers come in various types, sizes, quality, and prices. In this millennial age, you need to check their make and durability to avoid buying a counterfeit product. In this article, we have listed down the 10 best cooler for fishing in the market today to make your fishing escapade’s checklist complete.

best value

  • Convenient ruler molded into lid that measures fish
  • Dual Stainless Steel Lid Locking Plates
  • Exclusive MaxCold thermal barrier - retains ice for more than a week
  • Excellent and comfortable handles

Popular

  • Provide multiple options for secure transport
  • Great Rotomolded shell - Extremely durable
  • Bottle openers as bumpers to protect cooler from collisions.
  • Check Circle
    Can easily mount a wide range of fishing accessories

One of the most obvious reasons why you need a cooler for fishing is to keep your catch fresh. Typically, fishes are perishable, and you will need to keep them in a cooler for their longevity, especially if you are going to spend the entire sunny day fishing.

Did you know that keeping your fish in a cooler makes them taste better compared to when kept on a stringer? You will also be surprised to know that cleaning and filleting become more comfortable when the fish had been kept in a cooler. Ultimately, getting a good model is essential for your fishing trip.

Top 10 Table Of Comparison

We have designed a comparison table below for your easy reference. However, it is important to note that the positions are in no particular order of importance.

ProductFeaturesOur Rating


Yeti Tundra 45
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Volume: 45 Quart

Capacity: Up to 26 cans

Roto-Molded: Yes

Insulation: 3" Permafrost

Dimension: 26 x 15.5 x 16 inches

Weight: 27.5 lbs

4.9/5.0


Price: $$$$

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Orion Heavy Duty Premium Cooler 45 Quart
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Volume: 45 Quart

Capacity: Up to 52 cans

Ice Retention: Up to 7 days

Roto-Molded: Yes

Insulation: 2"

Dimension: 18.75 x 9.5 x 12.25 inches

Weight: 31 lbs

4.5/5.0


Price: $$$$$

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Igloo Yukon Cold Locker Cooler 50 Quart
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Volume: 45 Quart

Ice Retention: 7-14 days

Roto-Molded: Yes

Insulation: 3" Polyurethane

Dimension: 34 x 17 x 18 inches

Weight: 32 lbs

4.2/5.0


Price: $$$$

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RTIC Cooler, 45 Quart
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Volume: 45 Quart

Ice Retention: Up to 10+ days

Roto-Molded: Yes

Insulation: 3"

Dimension: 26.9 x 17.4 x 16.4 inches

Weight: 31.7 lbs

4.3/5.0


Price: $$$

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Coleman Heavy-Duty 50-Quart Wheeled Fishing Cooler
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Volume: 50 Quart

Capacity: Up to 84 cans

Ice Retention: Up to 5 days

Roto-Molded: Yes

Dimension: 23 x 18 x 18 inches

Weight: 12.9 lbs

4.0/5.0


Price: $

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Pelican Products Progear Elite Fishing Cooler 45 Quart
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Volume: 45 Quart

Ice Retention: Up to 10+ days

Roto-Molded: Yes

Insulation: 2" Polyurethane

Dimension: 30 x 20 x 21 inches

Weight: 36 lbs

4.3/5.0


Price: $$$$

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Igloo Marine Breeze Roller Fishing Cooler 28 Quart
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Volume: 28 Quart

Capacity: Up to 41 cans

Roto-Molded: Yes

Insulation: 2" Polyurethane

Dimension: 18.5 x 13.4 x 16.1 inches

Weight: 8.81 lbs

4.2/5.0


Price: $$$

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Driftsun 75 Quart Heavy Duty Fishing Cooler
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Volume: 75 Quart

Ice Retention: Up to 7-10 days

Roto-Molded: Yes

Insulation: 3"

Dimension: 33.5 x 18.5 x 18 inches

Weight: 32 lbs

4.6/5.0


Price: $$$$

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Grizzly Fishing Cooler 40 Quart
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Volume: 40 Quart

Roto-Molded: Yes

Insulation: 2"

Dimension: 26 x 17 x 16 inches

Weight: 24 lbs

4.5/5.0


Price: $$$$

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YETI Roadie 20 Quart Fishing Cooler
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Volume: 20 Quart

Capacity: Up to 14 cans

Roto-Molded: Yes

Insulation: 2" PermaFrost

Dimension: 19 x 14 x 15 inches

Weight: 15.98 lbs

4.3/5.0


Price: $$$

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10 Best Coolers For Fishing Reviewed

1. YETI Tundra 45 - Best Fishing Cooler

You will need to consider getting the YETI Tundra 45 Cooler for every fishing tour or other outdoor adventures. YETI Tundra has been known for its durability and capacity. It comes in over 7 diverse colors that give you multiple options to choose from.

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2. Orion Heavy Duty Premium Fishing Cooler

This is another excellent cooler for fishing you can consider. It comes in 9 different colors from Stone, Blaze, Desert, Dorado, Ember, Forest, Limestone, Ocean, and Red/White/Blue.

Orion Heavy Duty Premium Cooler comes in various sizes that match your needs ranging from Orion 25, Orion 35, Orion 45, Orion 55, Orion 65, and Orion 85.

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3. Igloo Yukon Cold Locker Fishing Cooler (50-Quart)

This cooler for fishing has an integrated ruler on the lid where you can measure the size of your fish. The beauty with this fishing cooler is that they can be locked to maintain maximum security and to keep your stuff safe. The plates that lock the lids are made of stainless steel.

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4. RTIC Fishing Cooler, 45qt

RTIC Cooler is one of the best coolers for fishing that can keep your fish fresh. It is known for its resistance and durability. See this purchase as a long term investment that will improve your fishing escapades. When it comes to ice, it has very high ice retention, even on a sunny day.

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5. Coleman Heavy-Duty 50-Quart Wheeled Fishing Cooler

You will not have an issue with carrying heavy materials with this great cooler, because it has wheels attached. It is made of an EZ-clean lid which makes it very easy to clean. Its texture is naturally smooth to make it very easy to wipe clean when dirty.

You will also be happy to know that you can use it as a seat if you weigh less than 250 pounds. Its sturdy lid supports your weight correctly.

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6. Pelican Products Progear Elite FIshing Cooler, 45 Quart

This is another great fishing cooler that many people found helpful in keeping their catch freezing cold. From its look, you can tell that this is a well-built cooler of exceptional quality. 

It comes along in a selection of 6 diverse colors including dark blue, light blue, marine white, OD green, outdoor tan, and purple.

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7. Igloo Marine Breeze Roller Fishing Cooler 28 Quart

You will like the style of this cooler which resembles a briefcase with some wheels and telescoping handles. You don’t have to worry about how heavy it is to lift the cooler full of your stuff. 

With Igloo Marine Breeze Roller Cooler 28 Quart, you can easily transport your stuff from one place to another.

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8. Driftsun 75 Quart Heavy Duty Fishing Cooler

This fishing cooler comes in 5 different colors ranging from Coral, Grey, Seafoam, Tan, and White. The Driftsun 75 Quart Heavy Duty Cooler is built in a way that it can retain the ice for a few days even during summer. You can comfortably do the fishing for some days while still keeping your fish fresh.

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9. Grizzly Fishing Cooler 40 Quart

This is another top cooler for fishing that will ensure your stuff remain cold and fresh during your outings and adventures in the summer.

It comes in 10 diverse colors, including Gray, Lime, OD, Orange, Red, Sandstone, Seafoam, Tan, Teal, and White. Its RotoTough UV-stable Polyethylene ensures that the contents remain cold.

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10. YETI Roadie 20 Fishing Cooler

YETI Roadie 20 Cooler comes in 8 different colors ranging from White, Desert Tan, Ice blue, Charcoal, Pink, LE Coral, Reef Blue, and Seafoam.

As usual, YETI is a legend when it comes to manufacturing coolers. This is another make that caters all your outdoor adventures and keeps your stuff fresh all day long, even in summer.

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Best Fishing Cooler Buying Guide

Having gone through our list of the top 10 best coolers for fishing, you must have fallen in love with one that will serve your needs. However, if you are still wondering which one to choose, then this guide will help you settle.

Of course, there are many fishing coolers in the market both genuine and counterfeits, and if you fail to consider some factors, you might end up in regret. You can make all your purchases worthy by considering the following factors:

1) Insulation

You cannot afford to overlook this one factor; the more insulation on your cooler, the colder your fish will be. This will translate to the longevity of your fish. Insulation also affects the retention capacity of the ice in your cooler.

Proper insulation ensures that there is no cracks, spaces, or holes that are letting air into the cooler. If your cooler is cracked, your insulation cannot work correctly and the temperature inside will be affected. Poor level of insulation will make you cut short your fishing escapades.

If you are going to be on the sea for a week or so, look for the best cooler that has insulation of 2-3 inches. With that, you can be sure that your fishes, drinks, and meals are well preserved.

2) Size

This is another great factor that will determine the cooler of your type. The reason why we listed the exterior dimension of all the coolers is to help you visualize whether the cooler fits in your car, yacht, or boat. This dimension also enables you to know whether one person can carry it or not.

If you want a cooler for fishing that is portable, then you will need to consider its compactness. Typically, it should be light and compact, especially when it doesn't contain anything.

In case you are going to be out in the ocean for a week, you will need a large sized cooler that can handle the large amount of fish that you will catch. Most large-sized coolers are well-insulated to handle some fishes.

3) Construction

A good cooler for fishing should be durable and sturdy. It should have the capacity to resist those adverse weather and physical barriers. Whether it is camping, fishing, or any outdoor adventure, your cooler should be tough to overcome the bumpy terrains and other harsh conditions. Look for a cooler that is made of tough materials that can easily carry heavy stuff without wobbling.

Some of the best ones are rotomolded coolers that are UV resistant, which prevents corrosion even under hot weather conditions. It is advisable to check the quality level of hinges, latches, straps, and handles. 

If possible, go for a cooler that has stainless steel on its hinges and latches. All these should be made of heavy-duty materials that will not break even when carrying heavy stuff.

4) Price

You need a cooler for fishing that caters for all your needs yet it doesn’t cost much. Although most heavy-duty and durable coolers are expensive, you need to buy one that matches your budget. This is where you need to consider various online outlets that sell these products.

It is always advisable to buy a pricey cooler that is sturdy and durable rather than a cheap one that will force you to go back for shopping after a month.

Always go for those coolers that come along with many years of warranty. That means their quality is excellent. The best cooler for fishing is worth investing in.

5) Capacity

This is different from the size of the cooler itself. Size refers to the exterior dimensions, while capacity refers to the interior measurements. A cooler may appear big, but it ends up carrying very few fish.

This is because of the insulation, which is sometimes 3 inches. You should know that the thicker the insulation of your cooler, the smaller its interior capacity.

A cooler with a capacity of 45 Quart and above is suitable for those long fishing adventures. You will need a cooler that’s large in its capacity to accommodate the huge number of fishes.

6) Drainage

This is what will determine how easy it is to clean your cooler. After the ice has melted in your cooler, you need to drain the water easily without any hassles. Of course, you must have a good cooler which doesn’t leak when the ice melts.

Most fishing coolers tend to leak, and therefore you need to be careful about the type of the cooler you buy.

You should consider buying a cooler that has a drain plug or hole to make it easier to drain this water. Nevertheless, ensure that the drain plug is waterproof and doesn’t leak.

7) Portability

You will need to look for a cooler that you can easily handle. Go for a lightweight and sizable fishing cooler that you can manage easily. In case you are walking for a long distance before reaching the shore, you should get yourself a portable cooler.

8) Maintenance

One of the essential maintenance practice is wiping it dry before storing it. Otherwise, it provides an excellent breeding ground for molds and mildew. You might also need some mild soap and a soft brush to make it cleaner through soft scrubbing. You need to rinse it thoroughly and close the drain after cleaning it.

9) Aesthetics

Well, you may like to have some colors that are more feminine or masculine. Most of the best fishing coolers we have listed above comes in various colors, so you can choose depending on your taste and preference.

Another feature that you may need to consider is the design of the cooler. Modern fishing coolers come in some awesome designs that will increase your morale of going to the sea. Check the designs displayed on the hinges, lid, handles, and even wheels. If you are dealing with very heavy stuff, you will need a cooler that has some wheels for easier transportation.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. ​How long should I keep the fish in my cooler?

This will depend on several factors like the ice retention capability of your cooler, the duration of your fishing tour, the urgency of use of the fish, and the level of insulation, among other factors.


If the fishing cooler is functioning normally and has the best level of insulation, you store your fish up to 14 days. This is possible if the weather is not too hot and you are using the best cooler in the market. Typically, store your fish in the cooler for as long as you can see some ice in your cooler.

 

2. I am using a fishing bag, why should I start using a fishing cooler?

Well, a fishing bag is flexible and can easily be hanged on the side of the boat or yacht. It keeps the fish cold and fresh, but if you are going to spend many days out in the sea, perhaps you will need to think of using a cooler.


This is because a fishing bag doesn’t store your fish for long; they will soon get spoiled. You might also like the aspects and features that a fishing cooler presents you. For example, some have some inbuilt bottle openers, a rack for placing your phone and fishing baits, a groove for placing your cup of coffee, and you can use it as a seat.


Some go to the extent of having calibrated ruler which you can use to measure your fish and consequently use the lid as a table.


3. I want to purchase the best fishing cooler, how should I choose? 

This will depend on some factors that we considered above like the level of insulation, their construction, size, price, durability, and capacity, among others.


The best fishing cooler will have a great insulation level that will consequently retain ice in your cooler for a more extended period. Choose a cooler that will satisfy all your needs.


4. How do I keep my fishing cooler functional for long?

The first step involves choosing a high-quality cooler that is made of durable materials. Ensure that you clean your cooler thoroughly to keep your cooler in perfect working condition.


You can use some soap and a soft brush to scrub lightly any sticking stain. Ensure you dry it thoroughly before storage. Never leave the drain open. Keep it fresh always else, a stench will build up in it, and that will not be so appealing when you open the lid.


5. How do I clean my cooler for fishing?

Cleaning is the best maintenance practice to keep your fishing cooler functional. It is one thing you need to get rid of is the fish odor in the cooler and some sticky spots. Use some soap, baking soda, and a sponge or soft brush to clean it.


You can then spray bleach that is food-friendly and safe. After some minutes, rinse it properly and leave it to dry. Alternatively, you can spray a mixture of chlorine and soap, both internally and externally. You can then rinse properly and leave it to dry. You can keep repeating the process until the odor is completely gone.

FINAL VERDICT

Every serious-minded fisher or an avid adventure should have a great cooler in their list of equipment. Compared to the losses that you may incur of having spoilt fish after a long day of toiling in the sea, a cooler will be an excellent investment.

It goes without mentioning that you need to be extra careful when looking for a cooler in the market. Some many designs and brands are very attractive but may not cater to your needs adequately.

With the above factors and the list of the 10 best cooler for fishing we have described above, it should not be difficult for you to get the right one. For us, we find the YETI Tundra 45 cooler to be our best pick due to its excellent ice retention capability and durability.

Remember proper maintenance is the key to the durability of your fishing cooler. In the long run, you see the fishing cooler paying for itself. If you have already purchased one of these coolers, then feel free to let us know in the comments below.


4.9/5.0
Our Rating
Adam Parsons

Hi! I'm Adam Parsons - a fishing enthusiast. I have been fishing for more than 15 years now and I still strongly remember that the toughest part for me was during the learning process. Most guides I read during that time was too technical to understand. Therefore, I make sure that everything I post on dream-guides regarding fishing is written well and easy to understand even if you are a newbie.

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