Every once in a while we go all out and do something bug for you, our reader. We pick a product, dissect it 7 ways to Sunday, and find the best brands of that product that you can buy to fulfill your needs.
Of course, we do that with all of our articles, but there are those unique extra-long gems we prepare to give you a complete buyer’s guide. This is going to be one of those pieces. We’re going to do a water jug cooler review and point out the best water jug coolers on the market. Don’t even know what a water jug cooler is? Read on!
Water Jug/Water Cooler? What exactly are we going to talk about?
Water jug coolers are to the world of coolers what actual jugs are to the world of containers. Sometimes you don’t need too much water, so you get a simple bottle for your needs. Sometimes you need a lot, so you get a bucket or even a barrel. However, what happens when your needs are right in the middle? Do you get many bottles and fill them up? Do you instead get a large bucket and fill it in half? That’s where a jug comes in. They fill in the void left in the middle and solve the problem.
It’s pretty much similar with coolers. You have the insulated vacuum bottles and soft coolers on one hand, and large hard-sided coolers on the other. Right in the middle are the water jug coolers. They come in half a gallon, 1 gallon, 2 gallons, 3 gallons, and 5 gallons options; all the way to over 10 gallons (Here they overlap with hard-sided coolers).
Based on what you’re going to do, you’re very likely to need a water jug cooler. From picnic goers to people hosting tailgating parties, to people who just need a way to pack their lunch for work. We’re willing to bet there’s a water jug cooler for every need under the sun. What we’re going to do today is tell you the best water cooler jug for every need so you don’t have to go through the hassle of doing that research yourself.
The Water Cooler Jug Olympics: Our Picks in each Category
Let’s start with our picks from the very small one, the 1/2 gallon water jug and then go up till the largest beasts with a capacity of 10 gallons.
Half Gallon Water Jug Cooler Reviews
Best Stainless Steel Half Gallon Jug – YETI Rambler Jug, Vacuum Insulated with MagCap
Yeti never disappoint. On the occasions when you do get disappointed about Yeti, it’s because you can’t stop wondering why the heck they’re so pricey. What you get in return does look fantastic though.
Yeti’s Rambler is a work of art over and above a water cooler jug. This water cooler does its job effortlessly and looks good without a sweat. The ‘without a sweat’ part is true both literally and figuratively. The Yeti Rambler doesn’t sweat; something you have to endure with many other brands. It also comes with an inch of lid insulation so your drinks stay hot or cold extra-long.
The MagCap lets you drink from the jug without worry, and the stainless steel design is both stylish and durable. If you’re looking to make a statement, you can make a loud one with the Rambler.
Yeti also offers a 1-gallon Rumbler Jug option in case you need twice as large capacity.
Best Alternative: Have you ever heard of RTIC Tumbler? RTIC is Yeti’s main competitor. We once compared both tumblers, here.
Coleman Half Gallon Jug – Best Value
The Coleman 1/2 Jug Cooler is a pretty great convenience when it comes to water jug coolers. At a tenth of the price of the Yeti Rambler, it certainly doesn’t have too many bells and whistles. However, it does its core job of keeping the cold in and the warm out pretty well.
The Coleman half gallon jug features a wide mouth twist on cap with excellent insulation that keeps your ice cold for hours. The plastic is high quality and durable, resisting scratches and fading. Your cooler will look new for years. The specific material used is Coleman’s trademarked ThermOZONE™ material, which is a polyethylene blend. This cooler is functional and does the job for those who aren’t too interested in a flashy apparatus.
Igloo Proformance ½ Gallon Insulated Sports Jug
Igloo have outdone themselves with this cooler. Built specifically for sportspeople, it has many features they’ll find useful. Let’s start with the colors: they’re very racy and sportslike, with options like black, yellow, red, blue and pink available.
The sporty design of the Igloo Proformance puts a lot of emphasis on grip and being able to hold the jug in any situation. There are chain links integrated into the handle, allowing you to hang the water cooler jug practically anywhere so it’s always within reach.
The non-slip body is made to make holding the water cooler jug with 2 hands exceptionally easy. The handle also has textured grip so carrying it around won’t be a problem. To top it all off, it keeps your beverages cold for hours so you can get back to your jug after a long game and still enjoy a cold drink.
One Gallon Water Jug Cooler Reviews
Rubbermaid Victory Water Jug Cooler
The Rubbermaid water jug cooler is a leader in its class, as far as functionality is concerned. With thick urethane-based foam insulation, its thermal retention is one of the best in the market. It also has an easy to clean inside liner and a strong polyethylene jacket that’s resistant to fading, odors, cracks, and dents.
The Rubbermaid Victory certainly goes a long way in staying functional and giving a resounding bang for each buck it costs. However, what stood out the most for us is the fact that each Rubbermaid Victory is made in the USA. With the current outsourcing trend in the coolers market, it’s comforting to know that a purchase we make keeps other Americans employed.
Coleman 1 Gallon Water Jug
This is practically their half gallon water jug cooler with double the capacity. The color scheme, materials, and functionality are almost all the same. There are, however, some notable exceptions.
The 1 gallon Coleman water jug was made with campers in mind, and that’s why it features a wide mouth twist-on cap so you can easily pour stuff out. It also has a large bail handle for easy carrying and a flip-top snout at the top for easy drinking if you want to drink straight from the jug.
The liner inside is odor resistant and easy to clean so you don’t have to worry about what you put inside it. The materials are also high quality, guaranteeing durability and a high resistance to dents and fading. The ThermOZONE insulation keeps things fresh for hours, as usual, and is environmentally friendly, containing no CFCs, HFCs, or HCFCs. All in all, it’s a pretty excellent water jug cooler.
Igloo Legend 1 Gallon Water Jug Cooler
The Igloo Legend water jug cooler is another premium cooler designed with campers and outgoing people in mind. It has a wide mouth twist on the cap for the heavy pouring and flip snout for drinking straight from the jug. It has a simple but tasty looking design with durable materials that are guaranteed to last.
The Igloo Legend has a swing handle to make carrying and pouring extra easy and side pull up grips on the spout to keep the drinking surface clean for you. It’s also insanely easy to clean and, above all, has high thermal retention.
Best 2 Gallon Water Jug Cooler
Rubbermaid Victory 2 Gallon Water Jug Cooler
The Rubbermaid Victory series of water jug coolers extends from the half gallon through to the two gallon. This water jug cooler is practically similar to the others in the series except for the fact that it’s larger and has a little spigot near the bottom for easy pouring. This particular water jug cooler was made for campers, tailgaters, and people going out for picnics. It has the same thick urethane-based insulation Rubbermaid Victories are known for and great durable materials.
TIP: We’ve covered Victory Jug series in our Rubbermaid cooler review post.
Coleman 2 Gallon Party Stacker Beverage Jug Cooler
This little Coleman water jug cooler is adorable. It comes in many color options and has a very homely design that you wouldn’t mind having at your family function or school party. In fact, it was made specifically for such purposes and would be a great gift for your school-going son or daughter.
The Coleman Party Stacker features vertical storage so you can pack your food and beverages in the same jug, a little spigot for easy pouring, a large bail handle for easy carrying, and great thermal retention capabilities. You can even use different colored jugs for different foods and beverages!
Stanley Adventure Water Jug 2 Gallon
Like the name suggests, this water jug cooler was made for adventurers. It has a very outdoorsy design and is made from hardy materials that should be able to handle anything Mother Nature throws at them.
The lid has leak-proof gasket locks to keep the jug well insulated and secured. The spigot at the bottom makes for easy pouring and has a nifty ICE catch that ensures it won’t clog, and the latches at the top make for easy handling and transportation. It also features an easy to clean liner and great thermal retention capabilities.
All of this together makes the Stanley 2 Gallon Water Jug a premium adventure jug/cooler, definitely worth checking out.
Best 5 Gallon Water Jug Cooler
Igloo 5 Gallon Seat Top Beverage Jug Cooler
As a water jug cooler gets larger in size, the chances of it not doing its job increase. It’s therefore essential to use only the best materials and designs for all your products. Igloo understands this, and they didn’t cut any corners with the Igloo Seat Top Cooler.
The UltraTherm insulation on the Seat Top is guaranteed to keep your beverages cool for over 24 hours, the high-pressure lid keeps everything insulated and is dirt resistant, the bottom is impact resistant for those unfortunate moments when you drop your cooler, and the reinforced handles are both durable and practical. It’s a water jug cooler you’d be proud to own.
Coleman 5 Gallon Beverage Cooler
The Coleman 5 gallon beverage cooler was made especially for teams going out, whether it’s camping or a tailgating party. It features premium insulation that will keep the cold in and the warmth out, a secure twist-on lid that fits closely and gives good insulation while being wide for easy pouring, and a great capacity of 8 glasses. The whole team will get refreshed with this 5-gallon water jug cooler. It is also made out of high-quality materials that are easy to clean and resistant to wear and tear.
K2 Coolers Water Jug Roto-Molded Premium Cooler – Editor’s Choice
K2 didn’t take any chances with their 5-gallon water jug coolers. When we say this is a premium cooler we mean just that. The cooler itself is rotomolded, meaning it’s got the most stable construction you’ll ever find on a cooler. This water jug is made using the same methods they use to make premium hard sided coolers!
TIP: For more facts and details on K2 coolers, check this post.
The K2 has stainless steel latches holding down a gasketed lid and tie down strap guides to keep everything secure and well insulated. The internal insulation itself is good enough to keep your beverages cool for days! The materials and design of this water jug are guaranteed high quality and durable. In fact, they’re so good, K2 are giving you a 7-year warranty on each of these water jugs.
Oh, and don’t forget about all three color options you can choose from!
Best 10 Gallon Water Jug Cooler
Igloo 10 Gallon Seat Top Beverage Dispenser with Spigot and Cup Dispenser
What happens when you need to store 10 gallons of a beverage? You need the cups to serve it too, of course. Igloo thought about this and figured the best thing to have on a 10-gallon water cooler is an extra cup dispenser!
The cup dispenser isn’t the only great feature this Igloo water jug cooler has, however. It includes a large button spigot that can be operated by hands of all sizes. It’s recessed into the jug body and angled for easy dispensing too. A keeper cord secures the lid to the cooler for extra insulation and also to keep it clean. And, of course, a water jug this big can be a seat too with the flat top! The insulation keeps your beverages cold for days and ensures you and your friends have drinks as cool as your party.
Gatorade 10 Gallon Cooler – Best Performance
Gatorade’s 10 gallon water jug just had to feature in this article for the great features it has. This premium cooler has it all. Industry grade construction; great thermal retention capabilities, allowing it to keep your beverages cold for days; in molded side handles with secure grip for handling and transportation; a screw-on lid that keeps your beverages well insulted; materials built to last.
It’s all part of Gatorade’s signature. You can bet you won’t get disappointed.
Rubbermaid 40 qt. Water Cooler – Best Large Water Jug
Here the line between water jug cooler and the hard-sided cooler is blurred, and this Rubbermaid can pretty much function as both. With robust construction and great thermal retention capabilities, this cooler will certainly rival your average hard-sided cooler in terms of functionality.
It’s a bright and happy orange, has a diameter of 16 inches, and a tight screw-on lid that can serve as a seat top. If you’re having a large number of friends over for a party, or going camping with the next door family, then this water jug should be perfect for you.
Choosing the right Water Jug Cooler Size – Buyer’s Guide
So far this review has pointed out the best insulated water jug coolers at different sizes, but it hasn’t really said anything about how to decide which size is best for you. Well, don’t worry about it, we’ve got you sorted!
To start with, a water jug cooler is an insulated beverage container that is designed to keep your beverages hot or cold for extended durations regardless of the temperature in the surrounding environment. Some of them are designed to only keep beverages cold, rather than warm, while others are designed to take both food and drinks.
Ultimately, the defining factor here is that water jug coolers are larger than insulated water bottles but smaller than hard sided coolers in capacity. Their thermal retention capabilities are also halfway between the two.
Who needs a Water Jug Cooler and Why?
Water jug coolers are a major convenience for anyone who engages in a lot of outdoor activities. For example, a sports player may need something slightly larger than a water bottle but does not want to spend a lot on a hard-sided cooler.
Besides, while hard sided coolers store bottles, water jug coolers can have the liquid poured in so you can get your drink directly from the cooler. That’s why they have spouts.
Different coolers are ideal for different occasions. School children who need drinks to last them all day on a field trip will appreciate a half gallon water jug. A family going out on a picnic, on the other hand, will prefer a 5 gallon water jug. If you’re going camping with many friends, or if you’re the drinks guy at a tailgater, a 10-gallon might be a better idea.
The kind of conditions the water jug will be subjected to also matter. Water jugs with the hardiest construction and most durable materials are used by adventurers and people working in tough work conditions, such as a construction site. If there will be a lot of carrying involved, you want handles with a strong grip. If there is a lot of dirt in the environment, you’ll want dirt-free lids.
What Water Jug Size do You Need?
This is based on 2 things:
- the capacity you’re likely to consume
- and the conditions of the environment where you’ll be using the cooler.
If you’re typically going to use it in situations where many people need a drink, go for a large water jug. If it’s just for you, a half-gallon cooler or a 1 gallon cooler will do. It’s advisable, however, to go for a slightly larger water jug than you think you need, just to be safe.
If you’re only going to use the water jug cooler for family picnics, or school, or mild work conditions, then you don’t need to fork out extra dollars over a hardcore industrial grade construction. A quality water jug with home grade materials will do. If, on the other hand, you’re going to subject it to stressful conditions, go for the best. The extra cost will be worth it.
Water Jug Cooler Survey
We thoroughly enjoyed doing this review. We got to learn a lot more than we had no idea we didn’t even know. In the same spirit, we’d love to get your opinions on the subject. So the question is:
We’d love if you picked something out from the list above and mentioned it in the comments. Be sure to give your reasons why and we can have a chat about it!
Water Jug Cooler – Summing Up
This water jug cooler review has come to an end, like all good things. We feel like this is probably one of the most convenient inventions since windshield wipers. They solve a niche problem that the affected parties will greatly appreciate: storing your beverages without having to spend too much on a hard sided cooler.
Ultimately, a water jug cooler is as good as its design and features, and those, in turn, make it ideal for specific purposes. Picking out the right one for you is all about understanding what your needs are. However you look at it, though, a water jug cooler is a great thing to have!
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