A cooler is almost an essential item during the summer months.
Even when it gets colder, wrapping up and having a cold drink outside can still be enjoyable.
You might already have a portable cooler but they don’t have a very big capacity.
If you’re at home, you probably use the portable cooler or just walk back into the house to grab a beer from the refrigerator.
With a patio cooler, that will no longer be necessary. Patio coolers come in a wide range of styles and sizes. Many double up as tables or footstools. So when you open them up to reveal a selection of ice-cold drinks, you can be sure that you will impress all your friends.
Patio coolers are also great for parties. You can simply fill it up with ice, then fill it up with some drinks, and you have a stylish way of providing your guests with their favorite beverage.
So, to help you find the most stylish and impressive cooler to suit your backyard, we’ve put together a list of the best patio coolers available. Read on for a few ideas and also some tips to guide you through the buying process.
Is the weather heating up and you’re desperate for that outdoor cooler now? No problem, here’s our top pick for the best patio cooler.
OUR TOP PICK
- Dimensions: 37.5” x 18.5” x 33.7”
- Capacity: 80 Quarts
Our top pick for the best patio cooler is this spacious and stylish Permasteel 80 quart rolling patio cooler. This patio cooler is a great option for any outdoor space. It has a huge capacity so will be especially great for parties.
It has a lovely wooden exterior that comes in 6 different colors. So you will be sure to find one that will complement your other outdoor furnishings. The white option even comes with a retro Pepsi-Cola brand logo across the side.
This patio cooler may be large but it isn’t too bold. When the lid is closed, it simply looks like a charming piece of outdoor storage. (Unless, of course, you choose the Pepsi-Cola branded option. Then it’s pretty obvious what might be inside).
It is also a very practical choice. Like most other patio coolers, it has a metal bottle opened attached to the side.
But, unlike some of those other options, this Permasteel cooler also features a bin to catch the bottle tops, just below the bottle opener. This might seem like an obvious addition but it isn’t a very common one. And it will make all the difference.
There is also a shelf below the main cooler. This is in the same style as the rest of the cooler and is made up of wood-like slats. This is, again, a useful but rare feature. You will be able to store drinks beneath the cooler. Then quickly replace a can or a bottle whenever one is taken from the cooler.
Although this cooler looks as though it is made from wood, it is actually plastic. So you won’t have to worry about the structure rotting or becoming soft if it happens to get wet.
Another great feature of this patio cooler is that it is on wheels. It is easy to move about your patio so your guests will be able to grab a drink whenever and wherever they like.
This is especially useful if you have a pool in your backyard. You will be able to push the cooler around the pool, distributing drinks to your guests who won’t even have to leave the water.
- Large capacity
- On wheels
- Available in 6 colors
- Wood-look plastic finish
- Dimensions: 27.6” x 31” x 14.75”
- Capacity: 45 Quarts
This patio cooler is a great choice if you enjoy a rustic style. If your backyard isn’t a formal and stylized space, it can be difficult to find wooden furniture. But this cooler will suit a garden with traditional wooden furniture.
This is a very simple cooler but that is all part of its charm. It is simple and does exactly the job you need it to. This cooler is well insulated and with a capacity of 45 quarts is big enough for 45 cans, with ice.
It also features a bottle opener which is super useful. No more losing the bottle opener because someone else has it or it has been put down somewhere. This bottle opener is screwed on and isn’t going anywhere.
Another useful feature is the drainage spout. You won’t have to finish off your party by awkwardly scooping out half-melted ice from the bottom of the cooler. The water will easily drain out.
You will have to assemble the cooler yourself but, as it is such a simple design, this shouldn’t be too difficult.
- Rustic style
- Bottle opener attached
- Well insulated
- Includes drainage spout
- Very simple design
- Nails visible
- Dimensions: 19.5” x 33.2”
- Capacity: 36 Quarts
Even before you were looking for one, you will have seen this patio cooler. This style is incredibly popular and it’s no surprise why. This cooler looks like a standard patio furniture table. But opens up to reveal a well-insulated cooler.
When the lid has been lifted to access the cooler, it can still be used as a table. The support pole is sturdy and can still support items. So you can open up the cooler and have the drinks cooling inside with the snacks laid out on top.
The rattan material of this cooler is very stylish. A dark rattan is one of the most popular outdoor furniture materials.
So, even if this cooler isn’t by the same manufacturer as your rattan garden furniture, you can be sure that it will still fit in well.
Although it has a smaller capacity than some of the other options on this list, it is still quite large considering its style. Most coolers, both patio and portable, are square-shaped.
This is because they are easier to store and easier to fill up. The shape of this patio cooler is very unique.
The hour glass shape means that it will not store as much, but the narrow center will only be filled with ice. This means that the cooler can still fit plenty of drinks.
- Doubles as a table
- Suits most outdoor furniture
- Sturdy enough to still work as a table when opened
- Smaller capacity due to shape
- Dimensions: 15” x 34.25” x 34.25”
- Capacity: 80 Quarts
This cooler is made from a very popular dark brown rattan-like resin. This outdoor furniture style has been around for years. But it is still one of the most popular options available today.
The style is subtle and looks good in any outdoor setting. It is a combination of rustic and modern. It isn’t tacky and won’t look out of place if you have a lot of foliage or a large lawn in your garden.
Although the style of two lids opening at opposing ends is very common, it takes on a charming effect on this cooler. Due to the rattan-like style, the lids make this cooler look like a classic picnic hamper.
If you like the style of a wicker picnic basket and also like the idea of having a giant wicker picnic basket on wheels, then this cooler is for you.
This cooler is also on wheels so is easily maneuverable. It also has handles at either end which add to its maneuverability. But don’t worry, the wheels also lock in place so it won’t go rolling off anywhere.
There is also a useful shelf beneath the main cooler section for storage.
- Finish matches most outdoor furniture
- Addition shelf beneath cooler
- Bottle opener
- Bottle top bin
- Bottom tray, wheel, and legs don’t look as nice as the cooler section itself
- Dimensions: 29.5” x 16.9” x 31.5”
- Capacity: 60 Quart
This patio cooler is of a similar structure to the other options on this list but is very different in style.
This retro Coca-Cola branded cooler would be a great, fun addition to any outdoor space. Its retro charm has a super summery feel. It will be the talking point of any party.
It is available in three different classic Coca-Cola styles. So you have the choice of whichever retro vibe suits your outdoor style best.
This cooler looks great but is also practical. It is on wheels that have brakes so can be easily moved or kept in place. It also features a Coca-Cola bottle opener.
The lid is a standard double lid but is removable. This means that it can be used for big parties or smaller gatherings. It also features a towel rail.
This is not a very common feature of patio coolers but it is a useful one. Wiping down drinks or cleaning up melted ice will need to happen regularly.
Another useful feature is the drain. This might not be a very exciting feature but it will be incredibly useful.
Being able to simply drain the melted ice out by just pulling the plug will save you a lot of time during the post-party clean-up.
- Retro Coca-Cola style
- On wheels with brakes
- Bottle opener
- Removable lid
- Towel rail
- Features a drain with plug attached by a chain
- Branding won’t go with most outdoor furniture
Best Patio Coolers Buying Guide
Size and Capacity
Size and capacity are two of the most important things to consider when purchasing a patio cooler. Be careful when deciding on which cooler to buy, as overall size dimensions are not a good indication of capacity.
Of course, you need to know the overall size. You will need to know how big it is in comparison to your other outdoor furniture. You also need to know if you have the space to store it away.
But a large overall size does not indicate a large capacity. The most standard shape of a patio cooler is essentially a large portable picnic cooler on legs. There are, of course, a range of variants on this. But, there are others in very different styles.
There are plenty of patio coolers of innovative shapes and styles. So make sure to double-check the actual capacity. Otherwise, you may end up buying a patio cooler that looks cool but isn’t all that practical.
When deciding on the capacity you need, there are a few things to consider. These are primarily; the kind of events you will be using it for, how many people will be at those events, and how often you will be using it.
Obviously, if you plan on having numerous large gatherings, then you need a large capacity. In general, you need around 1 quart per drink. This is a general guideline so there will of course be variations, depending on the size of the bottle or can.
Don’t forget, you will also need plenty of space for ice!
Patio coolers come in a range of styles, the most common being the large picnic cooler style mentioned above. There are some very interesting styles available, many of which double up as other outdoor furniture pieces.
Some are designed to also be cocktail tables, stools, or coffee tables. These are all great uses of space. So, if you only have a small outdoor area, they are a great option.
Several of the options on this list are quite large and would require a lot of outdoor space. But there are plenty of options available that will allow you to make the best use of the smallest of spaces.
The choice of a lid or none at all is very useful. If you are having a large party, then the opening and closing of the lid would be annoying and could wear it out. It’s best to leave it off. There won’t be any worry about the ice melting or the drinks getting cold. They will need replacing often anyway.
But, if you only have a few friends over, then not as many people will be opening the cooler as often. This means that the lid will be necessary to insulate the cooler.
Material is another very important aspect to consider when it comes to choosing your patio cooler. Metal looks great and has a retro aesthetic. But it will rust easily. For metal coolers, you’re also going to need to invest in a cover for bad weather.
Even though a cooler will be filled with ice and drinks and so its entire purpose is to store liquids, it still has the potential to rust. The interior insulated section of the cooler may be waterproof and won’t be made of metal.
The most waterproof options are plastic and resin. This doesn’t mean that your cooler has to look simple or like it’s made from plastic at all. As can be seen by several options on this list, there are plenty of different styles available.
You can still find a patio cooler that will match your wicker or wooden outdoor furniture. But it can be made from a more waterproof and durable plastic or resin.
Choosing a patio cooler will usually involve choosing between wheels or no wheels. Even if you have a small outdoor space and won’t need to wheel the cooler around, wheels are a good idea.
Coolers can be pretty big and surprisingly heavy. They can be quite dense objects, especially when full of ice and drinks. So wheels will make moving them - even just into storage - a lot easier.
If you do have a large outdoor space or maybe even a pool, then wheels are absolutely a great idea. Wheels will allow you to move the cooler around like your own little drinks cart. This means that you, or someone else, can push the cooler around the backyard and the pool, handing people drinks.
Wheels are both practical and make for a fun, retro feel. Pushing the cooler around the backyard will make you feel like an old-fashioned drinks seller at a fair.
But don’t worry, coolers with wheels also come with breaks. So if you only want wheels to make it easy to move in and out of storage, it will still be able to stay in place (and not roll into the pool…)
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I keep my cooler cold?
One problem with an outdoor cooler is that the ice may melt quickly on a warm day.
Most patio coolers come with a removable lid. So, if you’re concerned about the ice melting, just make sure to keep the lid closed as much as possible.
It’s not really possible to stop the ice from melting entirely. But keeping the lid closed will definitely keep it frozen for longer.
Last update on 2021-09-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API