What makes a great cooler? More importantly, how do you determine value when looking for the best cooler for the money? In today’s market the market is flooded with seemingly endless brands of coolers and their wildly varying models, pricing, and features, how can you know if you’re getting the best cooler for the money? And can you be certain you’re getting the value you want out of your purchase?
Whether you’re on the hunt for the best camping cooler or searching for the best boat cooler or maybe looking for coolers made in the USA, here are 6 things to consider when buying a cooler.
When you decide to invest in a cooler, you’re going to want to make sure it, actually keeps food and drinks cool long enough to outlast a summer fishing trip or whatever adventure you find yourself on.
Premium hard-sided coolers like Kenai Coolers use Ecomate polyurethane foam. This foam is denser than the styrofoam used in cheaper coolers and contains even more and smaller air bubbles. It is generally pressure injected into a cooler mold where it fills up all the air gaps completely with up to two inches of insulation. Polyurethane sets hard which adds extra strength to the cooler and it’s one of the reasons coolers like Kenai are so strong and difficult to break.
The combination of better insulation mixed with rotomolding construction for thicker walls provides more insulation overall, plus extra features like high-end silicone rubber gaskets to seal the cold air inside allow these coolers to attain high ice retention.
When preparing to purchase a new cooler – especially for outdoor use – durability will probably be one of your concerns. After all, no one wants to make an investment in a fancy, new cooler for a week-long fishing trip only to have it let you down 75 miles from the nearest outdoor supply store.
Understanding how coolers are constructed and where they are built are two great ways to determine a cooler’s durability and ultimately if it is potentially the best cooler for the money.
- Rotomolded Cooler Construction – Rotomolding is a cost-effective method to produce large plastic parts. Resins are added into a mold that’s heated and rotated slowly, both vertically and horizontally. The simultaneous heating and rotation distribute and fuses the resin on the inner surfaces of the mold.
The result is a product that contains seamless parts with a uniform wall thickness with more material in corners to absorb shocks and stresses where they occur most. For example, rotomolded coolers benefit from the rotomolding process resulting in a leak-proof seeable container.
- Coolers Manufactured In The USA – When you buy American made you can usually be sure that you’ve spent money on something that is worth it.
The term “Made in the USA” speaks of quality, excellent craftsmanship, and a superior product. Unlike other countries, the United States prides itself on the exceptional safety standards that it sets in manufacturing facilities. Knowing where their products are coming from, consumers are more willing to trust your brand. They will know that your company has a set standard when it comes to the environment.
The cooler capacity is generally stated in quarts or capacity in 12-ounce cans. One quart equals about 0.75 cans, so a 24-quart cooler will hold about three six-packs or 18 cans. Another way to gauge capacity is to divide the capacity in quarts by 30, so a 60-quart cooler equals two cubic feet.
When determining what the best cooler for the money is, you will want to identify what kind of capacity you will need. There are a plethora of sizing options available on the cooler market today. Having an idea of what size cooler you are looking for ahead of time will help you narrow your gaze when looking to buy a cooler.
A common comparison offered by most cooler companies is how many cans a cooler will hold with ice. For example,
- The Kenai 25 can hold 27 cans with 5 lbs of ice. This is a 25-quart cooler.
- The Kenai 45 can hold 60 cans with 10 lbs of ice. This is a 45-quart cooler.
- The Kenai 65 can hold 60 cans with 20 lbs of ice. This is a 65-quart cooler.
For more information on cooler capacity visit our cooler capacity & size guide.
Options For Cooler Accessories and Add-ons
When searching for the best cooler for the money. One thing that is often overlooked is the available accessories for that particular cooler model. When it comes to cooler accessories it’s important that they align with your needs. For example,
- Cooler dividers to help separate your cooler’s contents.
- Dry goods trays or baskets to help keep perishable items cool and dry.
- Cutting boards can serve the dual purpose of being a cooler divider as well as having a handy option to cut up food while out on your adventure.
- Reusable ice packs can also serve a dual purpose as a cooler divider while helping to keep your cooler contents cold.
- Grip feet to ensure your cooler will stay secure when moving.
Pricing & Warranty
If you want to be sure you’re making a wise purchase, you’re probably a little concerned with the price. Let’s face it in today’s world purchasing a cooler is an investment with some models costing well over $500.
Kenai Coolers are top-of-the-line, rotomolded coolers that run anywhere from $50 to $150 cheaper than the leading competitor when comparing similar sizes. Best of all, we perform just as well – or better.
Perhaps, one of the most important things to consider when on your quest of seeking out the best cooler for the money is what kind of warranty is offered, if any. After all, you are making an investment – not only a monetary one but the time you have spent researching and comparing what the best cooler for you is. It only makes sense that there should be an adequate warranty for your cooler.
Kenai Coolers offers a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects as well as friendly, timely, and reliable customer service. More warranty details can be found here.
Is It American Made?
Finally, a Kenai cooler purchase is a nod toward supporting U.S. businesses and American-made products. Made by outdoorsmen for outdoorsmen, all Kenai coolers are manufactured right here in the good ole United States of America – in Decorah, Iowa to be exact. The same can’t be said for most of those other guys.