Best Insulated Cooler? Go High End With Our Rotomolded Coolers Guide

CanyonEngelGrizzlyIglooK2OrcaPelicanTypesYeti

by Luke2

There are coolers, then there are best high end coolers. One you can find and pick up at your local drugstore and are usually pretty flimsy, while their higher end counterparts are more likely to be found in specialty shops or online.

And, oh yeah, the higher end models have a tendency to function more like a portable refrigerator, minus the buzzing motor.

But which cooler is the best insulated cooler then? Is it the same as the best rotomolded cooler? Read on to get answers and to meet the best high end cooler on the market.

Best High End Coolers – Comparison Table

 PictureProduct NameSize AvailableRoto-
molded
Ice Retention
(our score)
Price
editors-choice.Editor's ChoiceOrca Heavy Duty20 - 140 QTYes5 star$$$
.Yeti Tundra20 - 420 QTYes5 star$$$
.Pelican ProGear20 - 150 QTYes4 half star$$
.Grizzly Cooler15 - 400 QTYes5 star$$$
.Engel DeepBlue25 - 320 QT Yes4 half star$$
.Canyon Coolers22 - 125 QTYes4 half star$$
.Igloo Yukon50 - 150 QTYes4 half star$$$
.K2 Summit20 - 120 QTYes4 half star$$

Best Rotomolded Cooler Reviews – Our Top Picks

Rotomolded coolers are among the best in the industry.  Not only can they stand up to the outdoor elements, but they also provide long ice retention times.  Here is a closer look at some of the top ones we have found.

Engel DeepBlue High Performance – Best Insulated Cooler

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Click for larger photos (Amazon link)

The Engel DeepBlue High Performance cooler is a rotomolded cooler with much to offer.  The two-inch walls make for thicker insulation and longer ice retention times than some cheaper coolers you may find on the market.  The pitched floor makes draining of this cooler easy, as it self empties.  You also can pick these up in a variety of colors.

One of the reasons many opt for the Engel line is the two inch insulation can be found throughout the entirety of it’s body.  Some coolers only offer thicker insulation around the cooler, but Engel’s can be found with the same thickness even on the floor of the cooler, making it hold ice for much longer times.

One user mentioned that the durability of the hinges and latches will stand up to someone sitting, standing or even jumping on them without fear of it breaking.  Not something that one would think of doing, though it should make you feel comfortable knowing that rough terrain, heavy use and heavy weight on top of the cooler won’t break it down.

Another user also mentioned that the ice lasted nearly a week in the cooler, and more than likely could have gone another one or two days. This is why we’re marking Engel with the Best Insulated Cooler stamp.

>> Check out Engel DeepBlue on Amazon

Pelican ProGear – Best High End Cooler To Use With Gloves On

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Click to read more details on Amazon

The Pelican comes in various sizes ranging from 20 to 150 quarts.  With a freezer grade gasket and two-inch insulation, one can see how the manufacturer can boast an ice retention time frame of up to 10 days.  Wide latches that function from pressing and pulling make it easy to get open, even if you are wearing gloves.

A stainless steel plate with a hole for a padlock, molded in tie downs and hinged handles mabke this one of the most secure high-end coolers that you’ll see around.

With all of these great features, there is one user who reported that it is on the heavy side, noting that when it’s full that you’ll need two people to lift it into a truck.  However, if durability is important to you, then the heavier weight is actually something you should be happy about.

Several users reported that the Pelican is built so sturdily that it will be the only cooler you will ever need, noting that it should last you a lifetime.  If you are still on the fence and need a little more convincing, according to the manufacturer’s description, the Pelican is certified bear-resistant.  If that doesn’t push you over the edge to purchase, we’re not sure what will.  After all, it’s been voted the best high end cooler by many of our readers – and for a reason.

>> Check out Pelican ProGear on Amazon

Igloo Yukon – Best Rotomolded Cooler For Maximum Security

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Click for large photos (Amazon link)

If you are looking for versatility and a wide variety of sizes then let us introduce you to the Igloo Yukon Cold Locker Cooler.  You’ll find the Yukon in sizes ranging from 50 to 150 quarts.  Double lid locks provide the ultimate and maximum in security.  Your food or whatever you catch will be safe, sound and most importantly – COLD.  One user reported an extremely versatile use of the lock.  The user locked it in the bed of his truck, making it nearly impossible for thieves to steal.

An oversized and bigger drain plug makes draining and cleaning up easy.  According to the manufacturer, you can expect ice retention in the range of one to two weeks, which is appealing for the outdoorsman that plans to be on longer hunting trips.

Several users reported tests that they personally ran with this cooler.  One user mentioned ice staying frozen for several weeks.  Another mentioned a reduction of the amount of ice needed for the same amount of time, just by switching to an Igloo from another well-known cooler company.

If you have come to trust the Igloo name, and are a die-hard fan of their products, then you may want to give the Yukon a closer look as this is one of the best rotomolded cooler for the money.

>> Check out Igloo Yukon on Amazon

Yeti Tundra – A Candidate for the Best Extreme Cooler Title

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Click to read reviews on Amazon

Anyone looking for the best extreme cooler with multiple features, longer ice retention times and a durable build will definitely need to give the Yeti lineup a closer look.  Coming in at a variety of sizes and colors, you’ll find the Tundra series can be had from 20 to 65 quarts and in colors such as white, tan and blue.

Built from the same materials as whitewater kayaks, the Yeti Tundra will be the perfect companion on your next camping, hunting or fishing adventure.

Several users have also noted the longer ice retention times that can be found with the Tundra.  One user mentioned that the ice was still frozen after three days and probably had more time to go until it fully melted.  Another user mentioned returning from a four-day canoe trip in direct sunlight and the contents of the cooler were still cold.

One user did have a recommendation though.  The user reported that if all you were planning on doing was keeping items cold for the day then you’d be better off getting a cheaper cooler.  However, if your concerns are to keep food and liquid items cold for days at a time, then this will be the best extreme cooler for you.

>> Check out Yeti Tundra on Amazon

Grizzly – Won the “Best 5 Day Cooler” Prize in Many Tests

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Click to read customer reviews on Amazon

Rounding out our list is the Grizzly.  This high-end cooler ranges from a low of 15 quarts to a high of 75 quarts (see all available sizes).  You can also get this cooler in many different colors such as tan, blue, green, white and also others with graphics on them.  Rubber feet that won’t skid, a large drain measuring two inches and long ice retention times make the Grizzly an attractive choice for some hunters.

One user mentioned the ice lasted at least 7 days after following the enclosed instructions.  Another user reported having a very similar experience, stating that frozen drinks were still to be found at the bottom of the cooler after 7 days’ time.

And yet another mentioned the 7-day mark, saying that this cooler was kept in the back of a truck for a week and still kept food and drinks cold.

Another user reported getting this for a family member who works outdoors.  The user said that the cooler is in direct sunlight all day long and after five days there was still ice to be found in it. That’s why Grizzly takes the best 5 day cooler prize in our contest.

Not only is the Grizzly built to last, but it’s also IGBC certified.  IGBC stands for Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee.  And yes it does exist.

>> Check out Grizzly Coolers on Amazon

What Features Make Up A High End Or 5 Day Cooler?

Well, there are many features that can be found in a higher end cooler, however there are very specific features that make them much better than one you’d find in any old shop.  Here’s a closer look:

Design & Makeup

The design of these coolers is what you’ll hear most about. Rotomolded coolers are what you typically hear. We’ll talk in more detail about rotomolding, but it all comes down to a process that allows the coolers to be constructed as strongly as possible, while providing the best performance.

Functionality & Ice Retention

Best Insulated Cooler - High End RotomoldedIf all coolers were able to hold ice for several days, then there wouldn’t be much need for this article.  However, not all coolers are created equally.  In fact some pricier coolers are far outdone by their higher end counterparts.  There are also some coolers that have been known to hold ice for a week or more.

One user conducting an experiment went as far as saying that small pieces of ice remained nearly three weeks later. That kind of result can be only achieved when using best coolers – the high end ones, that is.

Build

The best high-end coolers and best 5 day coolers are typically solidly built, and with a solid build comes extra weight.  What you’ll also find is the accessories are made out of higher-grade material.  Accessories like latches, wheels and hinges won’t be the flimsy type you may have seen on other coolers.

High End Rotomolded Coolers Explained

So you’ve been hearing all about rotomolding, but have no idea what it is or why it’s important, right?  Or perhaps, you already know but just need a refresher and  more reasons why you should pick up a rotomolded cooler.

First off, a rotomolded cooler means it has been put through a rotationally molded process.  The rotomolding process mentioned earlier is one that allows the manufacturer to build the strongest cooler possible, while still being able to provide a cooler that performs at a peak level.

The process itself hinges on consistency.  This consistency allows each part to be free from imperfections, as well as the same wall thickness.  This process also ensures that the finished product can stand up to the toughest environments and situations.

Another reason why rotomolded coolers, or really anything that is put through the rotomolding process, is so popular is due to the fact that rotomolding produces the highest quality end product possible.

What is the best feature of rotomolding?

Quite possibly THE main reason that many opt for rotomolded coolers is that they are expected to last a lifetime.

Just some names that you may recognize that produce rotomolded coolers are Pelican, Engel, Igloo, Yeti and Grizzly.


Here are Some High End Coolers we Recommend



Best Insulated Cooler – Bottom Line

There are several different high-end coolers to choose from on our list.  In order to find the best high end cooler or best 5 day cooler for your needs, you’ll need to look into the mirror and ask that person exactly what they need.

For instance if you need a cooler that offers maximum security, then you may want to give the Igloo Yukon a shot.

If you are constantly wearing gloves on hunting trips, then you may want to check out the Pelican ProGear.

Again, all of the listed coolers here will provide superior ice retention times as well as durability.  When you get down to it, finding the right rotomolded cooler will really boil down to your personal needs and wants.

Taking a closer look at the reviews once more, you should be able to see what needs and wants you can have filled by the specific coolers.


Here’s a nice video made by folks behind Grizzly showing how the roto molding process works:
https://vimeo.com/58459287


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Comments (2)

  1. Thanks for the review. I wanted to comment briefly about your bit about rotational molding. You got some of the fact wrong though your main point about durable products is correct. You mentioned consistency and the same wall thickness. Good rotomolders will get good consistency but one of the processes weaknesses is it can’t be as consistent as some other plastic forming processes. And “the same wall thickness” is just wrong. Rotomolding most definitely does not produce a uniform wall thickness. It is both a strength and a weakness. As the mold rotates the plastic resin inside the hollow mold rolls around in the mold and melts into place on the hot mold surface. Since the resin tends to spend fractionally more time in the corners during rotation the corners will be thicker and the larger flat areas thinner. In the case of coolers that is a benefit as corners tend to be weak points the process naturally reinforces them with additional thickness. The downside is they can’t precisely control the thickness so the overall amount of resin needed to ensure the large flats are thick enough causes the corners to be thicker than really necessary adding weight. So it’s both good and bad. Since these coolers tend to be super heavy anyway I doubt the negative aspect is all that significant. Anyway, I hope this is helpful.

    1. Thanks Mark, this is extremely helpful! You’ve made some very good points about the rotomolding process and the thickness on the corners. We’re going to expand this post to provide more information on that. Thanks again for sharing all of this information with us and other readers!

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