Test results for 13 hard, medium to large sized coolers priced from $83 to $400.
Now is the perfect time to enjoy an outdoor picnic, but no one wants warm drinks, a leaking cooler (affectionately known as the esky, after the brand), or most of all, to finish a great day out with a bout of food poisoning.
We found big differences in performance! We'll show you the better product options if you intend to use your cooler for storing food.
In our testing, we;
- find out which keep cool the longest
- are the easiest to use
Check below for the Brands and models tested tested, plus How we test.
Brands and models tested
- Caribee 80L Jumbo Cooler with wheels
- Chillco 60L Dark Blue Cooler DB60L
- Coleman 58L Xtreme wheeled cooler
- Dune 4wd 85l Wheeled Buggy Ice Box 90034886
- Esky 60L Hard Ice King cooler with wheels
- Evakool E60 60L Ice Box
- Ice Kool IK070 67L Ice Box
- IceMate IM070W with wheels
- Icey-Tek 70L Long Box
- Techniice Signature Series 70 L long
- Tropical Ice Box T62 62L
- Waeco WCI-70
- Willow 55L Wheelie 2146
Previously tested medium sized hard coolers from 2013
- Caribee 47L Family Cooler with Wheels
- Chillco 50 L Sky Blue Cooler SB50L
- Coleman Xtreme
- Esky 50L ES0500BL 1219784
- Esky 50L Wheeled Cooler 1257323
- Techniice Signature Series
- Waeco Cool Ice WCI-55
- Willow Quickserve Wheelie Cooler 20888
- Xtracool Long Ice Box - IBCAM055 Pink
We test the coolers' performance by loading each one with drink bottles to about 20% of its capacity. The coolers are preconditioned to 32°C. The tester fills each cooler with ice equivalent to 20% of the coolers' volume, closes them and places them in a temperature-controlled room at 32°C.The tester measures the time taken from when the average temperature inside the bottles rises by 0°C to 2°C, and then 2°C to 8°C. The slower the warm-up time, the better the performance score. We open the coolers for only a few seconds during the test to tamp down the ice; they'll warm up more quickly with regular opening.
Ease of use
Corinna assesses how easy each cooler is to carry, load and unload, and how easy it is to open and close the lid.
Strapped for picnic food ideas?
Try Cook’s CHOICE creations, such as egg and dill salad with crusty bread, potato and tomato salad, or watermelon with kaffir lime syrup.
Get access to our independent testing reports and save yourself time and money.