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Best Outdoor Patio Coolers

10 Best Outdoor Patio Coolers 2020: Reviews & Buying Guide

Looking for a patio cooler?

You've come to the right place. 

When you are shopping for a patio cooler, you'll be drawn to the many styles and designs patio coolers come in, ranging from modern stainless steel roller carts to rustic wooden coolers.

But there's much more to a patio cooler than just the style.

Build quality, ice retention, and storage space are other important factors to consider when buying a patio cooler.

What's In This Guide?

In this in-depth buying guide, we recommend the best patio coolers you can buy online. We considered things like durability, materials, price, and, of course, style in choosing our top picks.

We also explain the benefits of a patio cooler and give you some tips for choosing the right one for your needs.

If you prefer a good old ice chest instead or a thermoelectric cooler, read our reviews of the best 12V electric coolers & ice chests


When Is A Patio Cooler Best?

Patio cooler

Patio coolers are great for, well . . . patios. They blend in well with patio furniture and look much better than an ice chest.

But it's not just about their looks – patio coolers are also very practical for outdoor use. Most are designed in the form of a raised trolley or stand that makes it easy to get drinks and foods out of the ice chest.

Most also come with wheels for easy mobility.

Despite their name, patio coolers are great for any outdoor setting to be it a backyard BBQ (handy for storing meats and other foods before they are cooked), a picnic, or even the beach.

If you need a nice-looking ice cooler, you can travel with but think old fashioned ice chests are a bit unsightly, get a patio cooler.

Look for one with wheels so you can easily move it from the car to where you are setting up.


Best Outdoor Patio Coolers 2020

BLACK+DECKER
  • BLACK + DECKER

  • Editor's Top Pick
  • Volume:


    20 gal
  • Insulated:


    Yes
  • Construction:


    Stainless steel
  • 35" x 29" x 35"
  • 44.5lbs

Giantex HW51578
  • Giantex HW51578

  • Best rattan
  • Volume:


    27 gal
  • Insulated:


    No
  • Construction:


    Galvanized steel, zinc plated metal and a rattan exterior
  • 43.3" x 23.4" x 34.6"
  • 47lbs

Best Choice Rolling Cooler Cart
  • Best Choice Products

  • Best modern
  • Volume:


    20 gal
  • Insulated:


    Yes
  • Construction:


    Steel
  • 15.5" x 36" x 33"
  • 44lbs

Igloo 49271
  • Igloo 49271

  • Best for large gatherings
  • Volume:


    31 gal
  • Insulated:


    Yes
  • Construction:


    Not specified (but likely heavy duty plastic)
  • 39.1" x 26.8" x 21.5"
  • 32.4lbs

Tommy Bahama Rolling Party Cooler
  • Tommy Bahama

  • Best steel patio cooler
  • Volume:


    25 gal
  • Insulated:


    Yes (but thinly)
  • Construction:


    Stainless steel
  • 33" x 18" x 29"
  • 49lbs

Merry Garden MPG-PC01
  • Merry Garden MPG-PC01

  • Most portable
  • Volume:


    13.7 gal
  • Insulated:


    Yes
  • Construction:


    Plastic insert and eucalyptus hardwood exterior
  • 17.2" x 23" x 20.5"
  • 36.4lbs

Rio Brands Rolling Party Cooler
  • Rio Brands Entertainer

  • Best for small parties
  • Volume:


    19.2 gal
  • Insulated:


    Yes (but thinly)
  • Construction:


    Steel
  • 32" x 17" x 15"
  • 33lbs

BELLEZE Portable Rolling Cooler
  • BELLEZE Rolling Cooler

  • Best value
  • Volume:


    20 gal
  • Insulated:


    Yes
  • Construction:


    Steel frame with rattan exterior
  • 34" x 19" x 17"
  • 34lbs

Clevr outdoor Cooler
  • Clevr Rolling Cooler

  • Best budget
  • Volume:


    20 gal
  • Insulated:


    Yes
  • Construction:


    Steel frame with rattan exterior
  • 15" x 34.2" x 34.2"
  • 37lbs

VINGLI Wagon
  • VINGLI Wagon

  • Best all-terrain cooler for Back Yards
  • Volume:


    20 gal
  • Insulated:


    Yes (but thinly)
  • Construction:


    Steel frame with rattan exterior
  • 34" x 18.8" x 16.5"
  • 47.2lbs

Top 10 Patio Coolers: Reviews

BLACK+DECKER Mobile Cooler Cart

Black+Decker's high-quality steel construction, large capacity, and affordable price make it our top pick.

It's a great choice for relaxing on the patio, backyard parties, and BBQs.

Pros

  • Large 20-gallon basin.
  • Durable stainless steel construction.
  • Lockable wheels.
  • An integrated drain makes it easy to get rid of melted water.
  • Built-in shelf, bottle opener, and cap catcher.

Cons

  • Doesn't come with all the screws.

Our Review

The Black+Decker cooler cart has a beautiful contemporary style that blends well with garden and patio furniture.

The body and base of the cart are stainless steel, ensuring durability and weather resistance (no rusting).

The cooler basin has a 20-gallon capacity, which is as large as most patio coolers. You can fit dozens of cans and bottles inside, not to mention plenty of ice to keep everything chilled.

A drain makes it easy to get rid of melted water.

The cart can get pretty heavy when fully loaded. But you can still move it easily on your own thanks to the 360-degree wheels. The wheels are lockable to ensure the cart doesn't roll away.

The Black+Decker patio cooler provides additional storage space at the bottom in the form of a shelf. The shelf is lipped, so when you move the cart, whatever is on the shelf stays put.

You also get a bottle opener with a cap-catching bin below it.

Issues & Limitations 

One issue several customers have brought up is regarding some missing screws. The cooler doesn't come with all the screws you need to assemble it.

But they are common sizes that are easy to find at a local hardware.

Bottom Line 

The Black+Decker mobile cooler cart is a great choice for anyone looking for a nice-looking, big, and durable patio cooler.


patio cooler

Rattan coolers have a beautiful rustic look and go really well with rattan patio furniture. Our most favorite rattan patio cooler is the Giantex 27-gallon cooler cart.

Pros

  • Beautiful rustic style.
  • Large capacity cooler.
  • Casters for easy mobility.
  • Plenty of storage space.

Cons

  • A cooler box is not insulated – ice melts quickly.
  • Screws are not rustproof.

Our Review 

One thing we love about the Giantex cooler cart, in addition to the beautiful rattan style, is the amount of storage it provides.

The 27-gallon bin is larger than in most coolers – you can pack lots of drinks, ice, and even some foods. The only addition we would have liked to see is dividers to make better use of the large volume.

There's also plenty of extra storage outside the bin. The largest is the shelf below the cooler box. Here you can place some utensils or additional food.

There are also hangers below the bin where you can hang wine glasses.

You also get a smaller shelf on either side of the cooler box. Each shelf can hold at least two 2-liter bottles.

Thanks to all that storage, the Giantex cooler is perfect for BBQs, outdoor parties, or a backyard family picnic. You can load it up in the kitchen with everything you need – drinks, fruits, utensils, etc. – and roll it outside.

The Giantex cooler has a durable steel frame. The exterior finishing is rattan with rustproof zinc-plated metal underneath.

Issues & Limitations 

The cooler box is not insulated. Ice melts quickly, requiring frequent refills. This can be frustrating for BBQs and parties that stretch for several hours.

Another issue is the set of screws provided for assembly. While the patio cooler is rustproof, the screws are not. You may want to replace them with weatherproof screws.

Bottom Line 

The Giantex cooler cart is a great choice for anyone looking for a large-capacity rattan style patio cooler.


outdoor cooler

If you prefer a more contemporary style, we recommend the Best Choice Products steel cooler cart. It has an all-steel construction, clean lines, and a modern red & black finish.

Pros

  • Beautiful contemporary styling.
  • Large 20-gallon capacity.
  • Durable steel construction.
  • Lockable casters.
  • Storage shelf.

Cons

  • Wheels don't line with the legs, making assembly difficult.

Our Review 

Many customers love the red and black combo of this patio cooler. It's eye-catching and looks great outdoors.

But the cooler is good for more than just its looks. It's very practical as well.

The 20-gallon bin can hold about 70 cans or 50 bottles. But it's hard to see a scenario where you need 70 drinks. A more realistic combo would be a dozen cans, a pack of beer, maybe two large bottles of juice or soda, ice to keep everything cool, and a bag of ice to add to the drinks.

The bin is insulated, which keeps the ice solid for hours. Users say they've found frozen ice two days or longer after they put it in.

The insulated bin not only keeps your drinks chilled, but it also reduces how often you have to refill the bin with ice.

There's more storage space on the shelf underneath the bin. You can also hang some towels on the large handles on the side.

For easy mobility, the cart comes with 360-degree wheels that you can lock in place to keep the cooler from rolling.

Issues & Limitations 

The most common problem customers encountered was during assembly. The wheels don't align perfectly with the legs – you have to force them into place.

Clearer assembly instructions would be welcome.

Bottom Line 

If you have modern patio furniture, this cooler from Best Choice Products will blend in great. It's also a good choice for anyone looking for a large and durable patio cooler.

4. Best for Large Gatherings:

Igloo 49271 Party Bar Cooler

Igloo 49271 Party Bar Cooler

The Igloo 49271 is the largest patio cooler we found. At 31 gallons, it holds more drinks and foods than any other patio cooler, making it a good choice for large parties and gatherings.

It comes with dividers so that you can make the best use of all that space.

Pros

  • Extra-large bin.
  • Dividers for better organization.
  • Interior lighting.
  • Lockable wheels for easy mobility.

Cons

  • Flimsy lid.

Our Review 

If you frequently host family gets together or home parties, this Igloo cooler will make it so much easier to entertain your guests.

It holds plenty of drinks, meaning you don't have to keep adding more drinks. In most cases, you just need to fill it up once or twice.

We love that the bin is insulated, which keeps the ice solid for longer. When it melts, use the drain plug to get rid of the water. You can even connect a garden hose to direct the water somewhere specific.

The Igloo 49271 cooler is not large but also practical. Dividers ensure you make the best use of the spacious interior. You can separate drinks based on guest preferences and age.

You can also use some of the sections to store a bag of ice or meats for grilling.

By the way, the dividers are removable in case you want one large space.

When the party runs into the night, the Igloo 49271 has interior LED lights to make it easy for guests to grab a drink. The lights require 4 AA batteries, which are not included.

The Igloo 49271 cooler is set a bit low than other coolers. The lockable wheels and base help raise it off the ground, but it's not as high as conventional patio coolers.

The upside is that you can easily fit it into the trunk of a truck without disassembling it – perfect for picnics, camping, and road trips.

Issues & Limitations 

Many customers have complained about the flimsy lid. However, it doesn't seem to affect the cooler's performance that much. It still keeps ice cold.

In fact, there's an option to remove the lid completely for easier access to drinks. The ice will still stay solid for hours.

So don't let the lid issue stop you from getting the Igloo cooler.

Bottom Line 

The Igloo 49271 patio cooler is a solid choice for anyone who often hosts large parties and gatherings.


outdoor cooler cart

Steel patio coolers are durable, can withstand rough outdoor use, and they look great. The Tommy Bahama rolling party cooler is our top pick for anyone who prefers the reliability and longevity of a steel cooler cart.

Pros

  • Durable stainless steel construction.
  • Large 25-gallon capacity.
  • Lots of extra storage.
  • Lockable casters.

Cons

  • Expensive.
  • Could use better insulation to keep the ice solid for longer.

Our Review 

The Tommy Bahama stainless steel cooler is the heaviest among our picks. That's an indication of its durable construction.

And don't worry about moving it. The heavy-duty casters allow you to push it on your own, even when it's packed full of ice and drinks.

It's also big, with a capacity of 25 gallons. It's perfect for large parties.

There's a large storage shelf beneath the cooler as well as a flip-out side shelf. You can also hang hand towels on the large side handle.

Other convenient features include a drain cap to get rid of melted water and a bottle opener with a cap catcher beneath it.

Issues & Limitations 

The Tommy Bahama patio cooler is understandably expensive. The stainless steel construction and extra-large capacity don't come cheap. If you are looking for a budget patio cooler, this is not it.

For the price, however, the manufacturer could have used thicker insulation. The cooler box has thin plastic walls that don't keep the ice solid for long.

Bottom Line 

Looking for a large and heavy-duty patio cooler? The Tommy Bahama stainless steel cooler cart is a great choice.

6. Most Portable Patio Cooler:

Merry Garden MPG-PC01 Wooden Patio Cooler

patio cooler

If you need a patio cooler, you can easily carry to picnics, camping, and other outdoor activities, the Merry Garden MPG-PC01 cooler is the most portable.

Pros

  • Highly portable – perfect for camping and picnics.
  • Rustic wooden finish.
  • Carrying handles.

Cons

  • Many reports of the cooler arriving while damaged.
  • Low capacity.

Our Review

Sometimes you want a patio cooler that you can use away from the patio.

The Merry Garden MPG-PC01 has a smaller capacity than most patio coolers, but that makes it perfect for picnics, camping trips, and road trips.

The 13.7-gallon cooler has a compact design that easily fits in the trunk of a car or truck with plenty of space left over for other stuff.

We love the rustic wooden exterior of the Merry Garden cooler. It is made out of eucalyptus and finished with an oil-based stain.

The plastic insert cooler is double-walled to keep the ice inside solid for longer.

Issues & Limitations 

To enjoy this cooler's portability, you have to make do with the smaller capacity. At 13.7 gallons, the Merry Garden cooler holds enough drinks for small families.

An even bigger issue is one many customer have experienced. We are not sure whether it's the packaging or rough handling from the delivery company, but many customers have reported receiving a damaged cooler.

The hinges and the lid seem to be especially vulnerable.

Luckily, Amazon can send you a new one if yours comes broken, though some customers say even the second one arrived broken.

The manufacturer needs to find a more secure way to package the cooler.

Bottom Line 

The Merry Garden cooler is a great choice for anyone looking for a compact patio cooler they can use at and away from home.


Rio Brands Cooler

With a capacity of 19.2 gallons, the Rio Brands cooler is just the right size for small parties. It's large enough to hold all the drinks you need and compact enough to fit in the corner of a small yard or balcony.

Pros

  • Compact, space-saving design.
  • Lockable wheels.
  • Detachable base.
  • Bottle opener and cap catcher.

Cons

  • Insulation is a bit thin.

Our Review 

If you need a patio cooler for just your family or small parties, you don't need something big that will take up a lot of space.

The Rio Brands rolling party cooler is compact but with enough capacity to hold about 100 cans.

We love the midnight black finishing it comes in, and the contrasting silver handles and bottle opener.

Something else we love is the detachable base. The cooler sits on the base without any screws. So, anytime you want to detach it, you simply lift it off the base.

This is handy when you want to put the cooler in the car for a picnic or store it without the base.

To keep the ice cold for hours or even days, the cooler box is insulated, and the bi-fold lid has an injected foam construction.

The Rio Brands cooler doesn't have a shelf for storage, but it does come with a bottle opener, a cap catcher, carry handles, and a drain spout.

Issues & Limitations

The insulating wall around the cooler box is thinner than we would like. On hot days, it doesn't keep ice solid for long.

Bottom Line 

The Rio Brands cooler is a great choice if you are looking for a compact patio cooler for small gatherings.

Portable Rolling Cooler

The Belleze portable rolling cooler is our top value pick. It has a large capacity and a beautiful rattan finish but costs less than comparable patio coolers.

Pros

  • Good value for money.
  • Large capacity.
  • Rustic rattan exterior.
  • Lockable wheels for easy portability.

Cons

  • No extra storage.
  • Lack of cross braces makes the legs wobbly when rolling the cart.

Our Review 

The Belleze patio cooler looks more expensive than it is. The rattan finish gives it a beautiful rustic look that blends well with garden or patio furniture. It looks especially great if you have rattan furniture.

The cooler is easy to put together. An Allen wrench is included for assembly.

The insulated cooler box has a 20-gallon capacity, enough for about 100 cans. Though the insulation is not as thick as in other coolers, it keeps the ice frozen for at least a day.

The caster wheels allow for easy portability even when the cooler is full of drinks. Two of the wheels are lockable to keep the cart from rolling off.

The build quality is pretty good. The frame is steel, and the cooler feels like it'll last a long time. The double doors provide full access to the interior.

The Belleze cooler comes with side handles, a drain plug, a bottle opener, and a cap catcher.

Issues & Limitations 

Be careful when rolling the cooler outdoors. Avoid rolling it on rough surfaces or uneven ground.

Unlike most patio coolers, the Belleze cooler doesn't have a lower shelf. The shelf provides extra support for the legs.

Without it or some form of cross braces, the legs on the Belleze cooler tend to wobble, especially when the cooler is full.

Bottom Line 

The Belleze patio cooler is a great choice if you are looking for a bargain on a large, good quality patio cooler.


9. Best Budget:

Clevr Rolling Cooler

Clevr Rolling Cooler

If you are looking for a patio cooler on the cheap, try the Clevr 80 Quart rolling cooler.

It has a large ice chest, durable steel construction, and a beautiful rattan finish, but costs less than other comparable patio coolers.

Pros

  • Low price.
  • Lockable wheels.
  • Large capacity for the price.
  • Durable steel construction.

Cons

  • Leaky drain plug.

Our Review 

It isn't much you have to sacrifice to get this affordable patio cooler.

It has most of the best features of pricier coolers, including a long-lasting steel frame, an insulated cooler chest, and a lower shelf for storage and stability.

It also comes with locking wheels for easy portability as well as a bottle opener and cap catcher.

The only area it could do better is ice retention time. Premium patio coolers can keep ice frozen for days; the Clevr cooler manages, at most, just one day. The insulation is a bit thin.

This is not necessarily a downside. Most people buying a patio cooler only need it to keep drinks frozen for only a few hours.

The cooler chest is plenty big. It can easily fit 100 cans or a mixture of cans and bottles. You can also throw in a bag of ice to add to drinks.

The lower shelf provides extra storage and stabilizes the cart to keep it from wobbling.

Issues & Limitations 

The main complaint we've heard from customers is the leaky drain plug. If your cooler leaks, we recommend not leaving the ice in the cooler for more than 24 hours.

But most users were able to find a way to stop the leaking.

Bottom Line 

The Clevr cooler is cheap for its size and quality. We highly recommend it for anyone looking for a low-cost but good quality patio cooler.


10. Best All-terrain Cooler for Back Yards:

VINGLI Wagon Rolling Cooler

VINGLI Wagon Rolling Cooler

Most patio coolers have small wheels that work well on smooth surfaces like pavement or flooring.

If you have a lot of backyard parties or need a cooler you can take to the beach, we recommend the VINGLI Wagon Rolling Cooler.

Pros

  • All-terrain wheels.
  • Large capacity.
  • The long handle makes it easy to pull the wagon behind you.
  • Bottle opener and catcher.
  • Affordable.

Cons

  • Insulation could be better.

Our Review 

VINGLI is the off-road version of cooler carts. It spots a lifted wagon body and large 10" inflatable wheels.

Like an off-road vehicle, VINGLI is designed to go where other coolers can't: your bumpy backyard, the beach, picnics, camping, and any outdoor place were rolling a conventional cooler would be a problem.

Two of the wheels are lockable so you can park the cooler on a slope without worrying it will roll away.

The long handle makes it easy to pull the cooler behind you.

There are two styles available: one with a rattan finish (most popular pick) and another with a black metal finish. Both have a steel body, so the best choice comes down to your tastes.

The 20-gallon cooler chest is insulated, though insulation is not as good as in other coolers. It keeps ice solid for about 24 hours, less if you are using it out in the sun.

The chest is big enough to fit dozens of cans and bottles, enough for the entire family or a large party.

You can also use VINGLI to keep things warm for about 8 hours.

Issues & Limitations 

Insulation around the cooler could be better. Ice stays frozen for about 24 hours before it starts melting.

But unless you are planning to take it on a 3-day camping trip, 24 hours is plenty enough for most people's needs.

In any case, you can drain the melted water using the drain plug and add more ice into the chest.

Bottom Line 

 The VINGLI Wagon Rolling Cooler is a great choice if you need a cooler cart you can easily roll to your backyard, a beach or a picnic site.

Pros and Cons of Patio Coolers

Portable Air Conditioners Pros and Cons

Patio coolers are mostly great. But they have their downsides too. Here's a look at the pros and cons of patio coolers.

Pros

  • No more bending: Patio coolers typically come with a rolling base that raises the cooler chest high enough that you don't have to bend when picking a drink. Big convenience for the elderly, those with back problems, and us lazy types.
  • Easy portability: Ever tried to lift and carry a full cooler chest, even a small one? Yeah, it's a pain. With a rolling patio cooler, you just push the cart wherever you want to be it on the patio, beside the pool, or to the backyard.
  • Easy drainage: Most patio coolers come with a drain plug at the bottom that makes it easy to get rid of melted water in the chest.
  • They look good: Cooler chests are great, but most are ugly. Patio coolers have the 'ugly' chest inside and use a more appealing finish on the outside, such as rattan (our favorite), wood, or plain metal. A patio cooler is essentially a part of your patio or garden furniture.

Cons

  • Reduced portability: With a conventional chest, you can quickly put it in the trunk of your car for picnics and camping trips. Patio coolers are harder to carry around because of the rolling base. But there are some with a detachable base; look for one of these if you want a patio cooler you can travel with.
  • Reduced insulation: Most patio coolers don't have as good insulation as conventional cooler chests. They keep ice frozen for less time, usually 1-3 days.
  • Pricier: You can get a good quality ice chest for well under $100. Most patio coolers, even smaller ones, start at $130 and can reach $500 for large premium cooler carts.

Buying Guide: What To Look For in an Outdoor Patio Cooler

Outdoor Patio Cooler

1. Capacity 

Similar to a conventional ice chest, capacity is the most important factor to consider when choosing a patio cooler.

Standard patio coolers have a 20-gallon cooler, enough to hold 70-100 12 oz. cans. Go higher if you are looking for a cooler that can handle large parties or smaller if you need a patio cooler for just yourself or you and your partner.

2. Construction 

stainless steel patio coolers

The best patio coolers are made with stainless steel. It is durable and weatherproof.

Make sure the cooler is sturdy and has lockable wheels for easy portability.

3. Finish 

Rattan-finished patio coolers are popular, but you can also find coolers with a plain metal exterior or a rustic wooden finish.

4. Storage 

Patio cooler storage

Extra storage on a patio cooler is handier than you think. A bottom shelf can be especially useful for storing utensils or some extra drinks that don't need to be chilled.

Some patio coolers also come with side shelves and a bar or handle to hang a hand towel.

5. Insulation 

Almost all patio coolers you'll find in the market have an insulated ice chest. But it's always good to check. Some just have a metal box with no insulation. Ice melts within no time.

Also, check the quality of insulation. If you want the ice to stay frozen for more than a day, get a patio cooler with thick insulation and an insulated lid as well.

6. Detachable Base 

Patio cooler detachable base

The ability to detach the cooler from the base makes it easier to travel with the cooler or store it away.

7. Drain Plug 

A drain plug is a must-have. It makes it easy to get rid of melted water from the cooler chest. Some coolers have a hose-compatible drain plug that allows you to connect a hose for easier draining.

8. Accessories 

pure outdoor cooler

Considering what most people put inside the cooler, two accessories that every patio cooler should have are a bottle opener and a cap catcher.

The cap catcher ensures your guests don't leave caps lying all around.


Final Thoughts 

Best Outdoor Patio Coolers

Patio coolers are not just good for the rustic décor they add to your patio; they are also very practical.

You can wheel the cooler where you want, carry more drinks and ice than you would with a conventional cooler, and there's no more bending to pick a drink.

About the Author Tom Hanson

I’ve worked as an HVAC tech in Phoenix, AZ for the past 10 years. I created CoolAndPortable.com to help home owners select the right portable air conditioner, cooler or air purifier for their needs & budget in just a few minutes.

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