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Shopping for cheap rotomolded coolers can be challenging. The lower you go in price, the more you will have to sacrifice to get a cheap cooler. For example, the cheapest rotomolded coolers are typically made overseas, which won’t be ideal for those who prefer products made in the USA.
With that said, you can find good cheap rotomolded ice chests if you look hard enough (yes, those made in the US too).
Despite being affordable, such coolers still offer excellent durability, insulation, and ice retention times – the things that rotomolded coolers are generally popular for.
If you’re nonetheless struggling to find the right cooler, then we’ll provide you with a few suggestions below.
We did a lot of digging and data-mining to find affordable rotomolded coolers out there – read on to find out about them!
In A Hurry? Here's Our Quick Recommendation
Don’t have time to read through our post? Then shop for affordable rotomolded coolers from these two brands. You won't be disappointed.
Read on to see our runner-up picks and get more insight into our selection methodology.
Cheap Rotomolded Coolers – How We Chose
To compile our top of the cheapest rotomolded coolers, we’ve gone through the catalogs of 25 cooler brands. We’ve done two things to identify the most affordable rotomolded coolers around:
- Paid attention to the absolute price of the cooler in dollars. This allowed us to see which is the most affordable ice chests in general.
- Calculated the coolers’ price per quart. This allows us to more or less directly compare the cost of coolers that have similar capacity.
We’ve narrowed our picks down to the 10 most affordable rotomolded based on the price per quart.
Note: We didn’t take wheeled coolers into account for a more consistent feature – wheeled coolers are typically more expensive (both per quart and in absolute terms) than non-wheeled coolers of the same capacity.
Then, to make the job a little bit easier for ourselves and you, we’ve divided the coolers into 3 size categories:
- Small (15-34 quarts)
- Medium (35-64 quarts)
- Large (65-100 quarts)
For each category, we’ve made comparison tables including specs & features such as absolute price, the price per quart, capacity, IGBC bear resistance certification, and country of manufacturing.
You’ll also see that our tables include YETI coolers. These are great, but rather expensive coolers, but we’ve added them because many people compare prices against them.
We’ve chosen YETI coolers that have the comparable capacity with that of the cheap rotomolded coolers in the category.
Apart from YETI coolers, we’ve also included the most expensive cooler in the given category to let you know where the ceiling is.
Finally, we’ve selected Editor’s Picks – cheap rotomolded coolers that we think are the best in their capacity category. Here’s how we chose them:
- We didn’t aim to merely pick the cheapest coolers. Rather, we wanted to shortlist cheap coolers (within the top 10 cheapest at their capacity) that offer good value for the money.
- We gave preference to coolers with unique features, e.g. IGBC certification, US manufacturing, accessories, insulation, etc., while making sure that our picks stay cheap.
- We’ve opted for trusted brands that have long been in the industry and are unlikely to go out of business in the foreseeable future.
Cheapest Rotomolded Coolers – Small 15-34 QT Category
|Price Per Quart|
|Made in...||IGBC Cert.?|
|editors-choice||4Best||Canyon Outfitter||22||99.99||4.55||TH / US||No|
|8||Artic Zone Titan||20||115.26||5.76||China||Yes|
|17||YETI Tundra 35||29||249.99||8.62||PH / US||Yes|
Above is our comparison table for the small 15-34-quart category. As you can see, the top 3 cheapest coolers:
- Aren’t made in the US.
- Do not have IGBC bear resistance certification.
These are understandable because at a given capacity, added features or even US manufacturing imply higher absolute prices.
However, this cooler isn’t among our best picks – it’s just the cheapest per quart and is here for reference.
Our Best Pick – Canyon Outfitter 22QT Cooler
- Capacity: 22qt
- MSRP: $99.99
- Price per quart: $4.55
At $4.55/quart, Outfitter 22QT isn’t the cheapest on our list (it’s #4), but it offers amazing value thanks to its features and the reputation of Canyon.
Canyon is a loved brand in the rafting community and has been producing premium coolers since 2010. Their products have been field-tested by thousands of buyers (including ourselves) and received universal praise.
The Canyon lifetime warranty is also worth mentioning – it applies even to such cheap coolers as this one.
The brand aside, Outfitter also offers remarkable simplicity with no fancy features that only add cost – it’s just designed to keep your food cool. It doesn’t have the bells & whistles of our other top picks, but this won’t be a problem for many people.
The insulation is thick, up to 2.7″ allowing for about 2-3 days of ice retention. This isn't best-in-class, but for such as small cooler like this one, it's actually very decent (the larger the cooler is, the longer it can keep ice).
The good thing about this little ice chest is that it's very light, just 11 pounds when empty, the lightest in this category.
Though this cooler isn’t formally IGBC-certified, it should be very strong and bear-resistant – it’s built the same as its larger variants, which do have IGBC certification.
Note that this cooler isn’t made in the US – it’s assembled in Thailand. However, its materials are claimed to mostly (80%) come from the US – e.g. the foam insulation from Alabama, the seal from New Jersey, etc.
Runner Up 1 – Reyleo 21QT Cooler
- Capacity: 21qt
- MSRP: $89.97
- Price per quart: $4.28
The Reyleo 21QT cooler lands on our Runner Up 1 spot with a price of $4.28 per quart. It’s the third-cheapest cooler in this category but the second in the 20-22-quart range.
Despite its cheapness, this cooler has a few remarkable features to boast. First up, it has a cool (pun intended) design – it looks unique and isn’t just another YETI knockoff, like many other coolers on the market are. This cooler is also available in several color options for even more eye-catchiness.
Notably, this cooler is the cheapest competitor to YETI Roadie 20, so if you like its features but don’t have the budget, consider Reyleo 22QT.
The insulation is the second-best in this category – this cooler is advertised to store ice for up to 3-4 days. And perhaps most importantly, this cooler is designed to be bear-resistant (though it’s not IGBC-certified).
The Reyleo 22QT cooler has a number of handy features for added convenience as well, including a bottle opener, bottle holder, 16-inch fish ruler, drain plug, pressure & water relief valve, and a UV-resistant build along with a metal handle.
Interestingly, this cooler is also claimed to support up to 700 pounds, which allows you to use it as a seating space completely safely. Plus, you could confidently stack stuff on top of this cooler for transportation.
Runner Up 2 – CaterGator 20QT Cooler
- Capacity: 20qt
- MSRP: $80.63
- Price per quart: $4.03
CaterGator is a lesser-known brand belonging to Clark Associates. Clark Associates also owns the Webstaurant Store – the only place where you can find CaterGator coolers.
We’ve picked CaterGator as the second runner up because it’s the cheapest rotomolded cooler in absolute terms – just $80.63 as of this post’s writing. The price per quart is the second-lowest after the Giantex cooler – a mere $4.03 per quart.
Although the cheapest on our list, CG20 is advertised to have ice retention of up to 10 days – the best in this category. To be fair, there is no chance the 20QT cooler can reach 10 days, but in the case of their larger ones, and in ideal conditions, it might indeed be possible. This one, however, should keep ice frozen for 2 to 3 days.
The rotomolded build in CaterGator is decent and should take quite the beating. Its set of features is also not bad, including a fish ruler, cup holders, bottle openers that also serve as padlock slots, and a stainless steel handle.
For the money, this CaterGator does offer excellent value. Priced lower than our top pick and first runner up, it probably won’t be as durable, but this shouldn’t be a problem for light use cases.
Cheapest Roto Molded Coolers – Medium 35-64 QT Category
|Price Per Quart|
|Made in...||IGBC Cert.?|
|8||Cascade M Tech||45||189.99||4.22||China||Yes|
|18||YETI Tundra 65||57||349.99||6.14||PH / US||Yes|
Now, let’s have a look at our medium-size picks. As you can see from the table above, the cheapest mid-size coolers are again from China, and they offer no special features other than durable rotomolded construction.
The cheapest in this category is again a cooler from Giantex – it’s a 64-quart cooler priced at just $2.59 per quart. But again, this cooler isn’t among our best picks (of course, if you want, you can buy it on Amazon here).
Also, notice that medium-size coolers are cheaper per quart than small coolers. You’ll see the same trend in the large category. This implies that a larger cooler is a more money-saving buy as long as capacity goes.
Best Choice – Cordova Adventurer 48QT Cooler
- Capacity: 48qt
- MSRP: $209.99
- Price per quart: $4.37
We’ve selected Cordova’s 48-quart cooler because it’s the most affordable 100% American-made cooler on this list (on the entire list, not just this category). It’s also priced at just $4.37per quart, $0.07 lower than the 45-quart Kenai cooler (the runner up pick).
Apart from the fact that this cooler is made in Idaho, the US, what also made us choose this cooler as our top pick is its IGBC certification. In this category, the Cordova 48-quart cooler is one of the two coolers to have IGBC certification, with the other one being a China-made cooler.
This cooler offers great longevity as well thanks to its tough aluminum handles, quad-core gasket, and, of course, the rotomolded build. The rubber gasket in the Cordova cooler also offers excellent insulation for days of ice retention. All this beauty is covered by Cordova’s lifetime warranty.
The latches are also interesting in this cooler – they are oriented top-down, which allows you to open the cooler without having to move it up or away in your trailer or boat. For added protection, the lid is lockable as well.
Fun Fact: Cordova coolers used to be more expensive than YETI coolers, but that’s no longer the case. In fact, at this price point, there’s no cooler from YETI that would be better than this Cordova cooler – for the money, it’s an absolute a steal!
Runner Up 1 – KENAI 45 Cooler
- Capacity: 45qt
- MSRP: $199.99
- Price per quart: $4.44
At $4.44 per quart, KENAI 45 is the 10th cheapest cooler in this category. It’s priced exactly like RTIC and Sevilis coolers, but we chose it because it is made in the US by Grizzly. KENAI 45 is a quality cooler that’s more affordable than classic Grizzly coolers.
On the outside, the KENAI cooler is extremely simple, and it also lacks many of the fancy features we’ve seen in previous cheap rotomolded ice chests. However, appearance is deceptive – most of the special features of this cooler are hidden inside.
The highlight of KENAI 45 is the Ecomate insulation that is claimed to keep your things cool without ozone depletion or global warming potential. The insulation is also pretty solid, capable of storing ice for about 3 days. It’s also dry ice-compatible.
The rotomolded build in this cooler seems extremely durable as well, but it’s not IGBC-certified, unlike our top pick from Cordova.
KENAI also boasts about divider slots, which allow you to keep ice, food, and drinks separate from each other. For added carrying comfort, this cooler also features molded handles, as well as tiedown slots for stability in your RV or boat.
RELATED: Read our full KENAI cooler review.
Runner Up 2 – Blue Coolers 55QT Cooler
- Capacity: 55qt
- MSRP: $199.99
- Price per quart: $3.64
Priced at $3.64 per quart, the Blue Coolers 55-quart cooler is our final pick in the medium category.
Blue Coolers are made in China, though this company has a facility in Salt Lake City, Utah. Their coolers are backed by 5-year parts and construction warranty, as well as a 90-day unconditional money-back guarantee.
The primary reason why we picked this 55-quart cooler as the second runner up is its thick insulation – on the walls, it's thicker than in the YETI Tundra of comparable capacity (watch the video below for details). With this cooler, you can store ice for up to 6-8 days before it melts.
The Blue Coolers 55QT cooler is also advertised to be bear-resistant, but it doesn’t have IGBC certification.
This model is rather simplistic but has a few features for added convenience as well, including a lockable lid, bottle opener, and a rapid drain system.
Given its exceptionally low price per quart, the Blue Coolers 55QT cooler is a bargain too. If you don’t care about it not being made in the US, then it may be the best option for you.
RELATED: Read our full Blue Coolers' review
Cheap Rotomolded Ice Chests – Large 65-100 QT Category
|Price Per Quart|
|Made in...||IGBC Cert.?|
|6||Cascade M Tech||80||269.99||3.37||China||Yes|
|8||Canyon Outfitter||75||269.99||3.60||TH / US||Yes|
|18||YETI Tundra||87||479.99||5.52||PH / US||Yes|
Finally, we have large, 65-100-quart coolers.
Once again, the table above shows us that the cheapest rotationally molded coolers in this category are China-made and have no IGBC certification.
The most affordable rotomolded cooler in this category is a 100-quart cooler from CaterGator – just $2.14 per quart. It’s not among our top picks though.
As mentioned in the previous section, prices per quart go down as cooler capacities increase. With that, although large coolers are pricey, they are more cost-efficient than smaller coolers.
Best Choice – Cordova Journey 88-Quart Cooler
- Capacity: 88qt
- MSRP: $287.99
- Price per quart: $3.30
Yet another Cordova cooler as our top pick! This 88-quart model is pretty much identical to the Adventurer 48-quart Cordova cooler in the previous category, so there isn’t much new to add.
The 88-quart cooler again offers IGBC bear certification, bottom-up latches, aluminum handles with bottle openers, a lockable lid, lifetime warranty, and other things. The unique design of the Adventurer cooler is here as well.
For many people, it’s also going to matter that Cordova coolers are made in the US.
The Journey cooler is pretty cheap as well and costs low per quart – only $3.30/quart. For some perspective, the comparable YETI Tundra 105 is priced at $5.52 per quart!
Not only is Journey not too expensive by itself, but it’s also a more cost-efficient buy than the 48-quart Adventurer since the latter costs $4.37 per quart – over a dollar more!
With that in mind, Journey offers excellent value for the price, which earns it the title of the best cheap large cooler out there.
Runner Up 1 – RTIC 65-Quart Cooler
- Capacity: 65qt
- MSRP: $239.99
- Price per quart: $3.69
RTIC is YETI’s main competitor and is responsible for a good chunk of YETI’s lost sales.
Although RTIC coolers are made overseas, they deliver premium quality and are advertised as “overbuilt, not overpriced”. And the brand’s cheapness probably is the main reason why many people choose RTIC over YETI. It’s got some remarkable features as well.
The highlight of the RTIC 65-QT cooler is its 10-day ice retention – comparable to YETI coolers that are double the price. Its rotomolded body is also advertised as bear-resistant, though this cooler isn’t IGBC-certified.
The lid in the 65-quart RTIC cooler is interesting as well – it’s grippy and may be used as a casting platform. The cooler also has molded tie-down slots for secure transportation in boats or pickups, as well as heavy-duty rope handles for convenient carrying.
At $3.69 per quart, this cooler is the 9th cheapest cooler in this category, on par with a 75-quart cooler from Driftsun (not on our top picks). However, we picked RTIC over Driftsun due to its reputation and quality – RTIC coolers have been field-tested by thousands of buyers and left many customers happy.
TIP: Read our full RTIC vs YETI comparison
Runner Up 2 – Cascade Mountain Tech 80-Quart Cooler
- Capacity: 80qt
- MSRP: $269.99
- Price per quart: $3.37
The Cascade Mountain Tech 80-quart cooler is the only one China-made cooler on this list to have IGBC certification. So if bears are likely to be a headache during your trip, this cooler is a nice choice.
Apart from that, the Mountain Tech cooler offers thick 3-inch insulation that is claimed to keep ice cool for up to 10 days. Thanks to the included basket, this 80-quart cooler does a good job of keeping food items organized too.
There also are small convenience & safety features in this cooler here and there, including corner bottle openers, a cup holder, molded lock plates, and tough nylon rope handles.
We like the design of Mountain Tech as well – it’s simple yet has a futuristic vibe that makes it stand out from other coolers on this list.
And price-wise, the Cascade Mountain Tech cooler is $3.37 per quart – the 6th cheapest in this category – so it again is a steal for the money.
TIP: Read our full review of Cascade Mountain Tech
Cheap Rotomolded Coolers – Final Words
As you can see, we did a lot of data crunching to find you the cheapest rotomolded coolers on the market. Going through 25 cooler brands to compile all the lists was a time-consuming but rewarding exercise, and we hope you find this useful.
Now it's your turn. You’ll likely have to sacrifice something when shopping for cheap rotomolded coolers, be it features, durability, insulation, or US manufacturing.
No matter what you do, understand your demands, and use cases. And know that with our picks, you should be pretty safe since they are versatile and capable of meeting many needs.
Till next time!
Last update on 2020-10-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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