Summer is quickly approaching and we all know what that means: backyard barbecues, impromptu road trips, and hot days at the beach.
No matter what you’re doing this summer, keeping your food and drinks cold is key to having a great time. The last thing you want to do on a hot summer day is crack open a warm beer. The 20 quart cooler is one of the most popular “go-to” ice chests available, but with so many brands and options on the market, which one is right for you?
Below, we review the top 20 quart coolers that are now available for summer 2021. No matter the adventures you have planned, here is everything you need to know about buying the perfect cooler.
What Makes a Great 20 Qt Cooler?
The 20 quart cooler is one of the most popular options on the market because of its versatility. A cooler this size should easily keep your goods chilled for at least a day, meaning they’re perfect for fishing, beach days, road trips, and picnics. Some models can even hold ice for 2-3 days with regular opening!
So, what should you look for when purchasing a 20 qt cooler?
If you’re on the market for a cooler, chances are that you’ll want to use it again and again without it falling apart. You’ll want to purchase a cooler that can be opened repeatedly without the plastic hinges breaking.
Is the cooler strong enough for people to sit on? What happens if you accidentally drop the cooler while taking it out of the truck? The best coolers available are impact resistant whereas cheaper coolers are more likely to get damaged. Another consideration is whether or not the cooler is UV resistant. Remember, your cooler will likely spend a lot of time out in the sun, so it’s important that the cooler won’t get damaged by sitting outside all day long.
There’s a reason you’re looking for a cooler and not a refrigerator! You want something that can keep your drinks and food chilled while you’re on-the-go. However, there’s a fine balance between durability and portability. Sure, you can get a cooler that’ll last forever and keep the ice frozen for as long as scientifically possible, but chances are that that cooler will be extremely bulky and inconveniently heavy.
Instead, you’ll want to find a cooler that is easy to transport without a massive sacrifice in ice retention. If you’re going camping or to the beach, for example, you’ll be moving the cooler around the site all day long. If you’re going hiking, then portability will be an extremely important factor.
Easy to clean and keep clean.
Pandemic or not, you’ll want to make sure that the inside of your 20 qt cooler is as clean as possible. Keep in mind that bacteria likes to thrive in moist, warm places. Once the ice melts and the water warms up, the interior will be a breeding ground for bacteria.
Hard coolers are generally easier to clean than soft-sided coolers. You’ll also want to make sure that your cooler’s lid is able to open fully so that you can clean and disinfect the inside. This will keep your food and drinks safe for consumption!
By keeping each of these must-haves in mind, you are guaranteed to purchase a quality cooler.
All of our favorite 20 quart coolers listed below meet these specifications. They are durable, portable, and easy to clean and maintain. Below, we review the brands and specific models we recommend!
Our Favorite 20 Qt Coolers
Yeti Roadie 24 Cooler
The Yeti Roadie 24 is an updated version of its flagship product and top seller, the Yeti Roadie 20 Cooler. This is our top rated 20 quart cooler for 2021. It offers a variety of colors to suit any person.
A few things to note:
- The Roadie 24 boasts a capacity of up to 18 cans with a recommended 2:1 ice-to-contents ratio
- The Roadie 24 is 10% lighter and 30% more effective in keeping your items colder, longer when compared to its predecessor
- The dimensions are 16 1/2 inches long x 14 1/2 inches wide; 17 1/2 inch depth
- Weighs 15.8 lbs when empty
YETI boasts that this particular cooler is certified bear-resistant. Yes… BEARS! This means you can rest assured that bears won’t be able to forage through any food that is stored inside. You can sit on the cooler, accidentally drop it, or even leave it out in the sun all day long. This beast of a cooler is virtually indestructible!
AmazonCommercial 20 Quart Cooler
If you were a fan of the cooler brand Super Handy, we have good news! The popular Super Handy coolers are now being sold as AmazonCommercial 20 Quart Coolers.
Don’t worry — nothing has changed from the original Super Handy coolers except for the branding. These ice chests provide retention of up to 3-5 days. You can get even longer retention if the items (drinks, meats, etc.) are already pre-cooled before being added to the ice. The chest is durable enough for dry ice, which can also increase the retention. Dry ice and ice blocks will help prolong the retention time, whereas smaller ice cubes will help increase the intensity of the chill. In other words, if you need to keep meat chilled for a long period of time, then use dry ice or a block of ice in this cooler. However, if you want your drinks to be as cold as possible, then you’re better off using the smaller ice cubes.
- Fits up to 23 (12 oz.) cans without any ice
- Weighs 16.7 pounds when empty
- Boasts a 360° seal gasket, zero-leak drain plug
RTIC Hard Cooler, 20 Qt
Going on a camping trip? The RTIC Hard Cooler might be the best fit for you. This cooler has been nicknamed a “portable freezer” because of its ability to keep ice up to 10 days. How? The RTIC 20 has up to 3 inches of insulated walls.
In addition to the cooler’s impressive retention, it also boasts a no-sweat exterior and non-slip feet. This means that the cooler is perfect for everyday use but can also be brought camping or fishing with no problem whatsoever.
Our favorite feature? We love the heavy-duty stainless steel handle that locks upright. This makes the RTIC hard cooler easy to transport anywhere.
- Can fit up to 24 cans plus ice
- Has tie-down slots so you can anchor your cooler
- Freezer style lid gasket to keep contents cool for as long as possible
Orca 20 Quart Cooler
ORCA’s 20 qt coolers are double walled and vacuum sealed, keeping drinks cold up for up to 10 days. The best part? They come with a free lifetime warranty, so you can bring your cooler anywhere with peace of mind. We have a feeling you won’t have to use that warranty, though, because of the cooler’s durable build and roto-molded construction.
One of the things that makes the ORCA 20 truly unique is its attached cargo net. This gives you room for more storage without having to take up precious interior cooler space. Some people even use the cargo net as a trash can for empty bottles and wrappers. The cargo net makes this cooler a favorite for anyone who frequently goes boating or fishing.
- 24 can capacity
- Dimensions are 14 x 10 x 11 inches
- Weighs 19 pounds when empty
Frosted Frog 20 Quart Cooler
The Frosted Frog 20 qt cooler is lighter than many of its peers, weighing only 14 pounds when empty. This makes it a popular choice for camping trips or lake days that require a lot of movement. Just because the Frosted Frog weighs a little lighter, it doesn’t mean they sacrificed quality.
The outer shell of this cooler boasts UV protection, keeping the insides of the cooler chill regardless of how hot it is outside.
Other unique features we like include the 2 built-in bottle openers and the cooler’s environmentally friendly, pressure-injected insulation system.
- Internal dimensions are 14.1 x 7.8 x 9.8 inches
- 3 inches of commercial grade insulation for maximum ice retention
- Heavy duty steel handle with comfort grip
Titan Deep Freeze 20Q Cooler
In the aftermath of COVID-19, more people than ever before are conscientious about cleanliness and preventing the spread of bacteria and germs.
One of the unique things about the Titan Deep Freeze 20Q Cooler is that it’s built with Microban®, an antimicrobial protection. The company guarantees that Microban® will last the lifetime of the product. Not only does the proprietary technology prevent the development of bacterial odors and internal stains, but it helps make the cooler easier to clean.
Another nice feature is the oversized drain. Instead of having to wait for the cooler to drain, you can quickly empty the case of its liquid contents.
- Certified bear resistant by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee
- Features a rotating stainless steel handle
- Dimensions are 21.26 x 13.98 x 13.00 inches
Igloo 25 Quart Cooler
The Igloo 25 Quart Cooler is one of the cheapest options on our list, but don’t mistake its affordability for a lack of quality. This cooler has UV inhibitors, which helps protect the case itself from sun damage. The inhibitors prevent the outer shell from overheating and cracking, which is what typically leads to cooler failure.
Two features that make this cooler effective are its cool riser technology (elevated platform) and ultratherm body insulation.
Now, this cooler won’t last a lifetime like some of the other options on our list. However, if other coolers are out of your budget and you’re not frequenting the outdoors often, this could be a potential solution for you. On the other hand, if you’re active and love the outdoors, you’ll likely be better off considering one of the other options on this list.
- Corrosion resistant
- Built in fish measuring ruler
- Tie down loop feature, which is perfect for boating or fishing
Coleman 28 Qt Cooler
One of the things people love about the Coleman 28 Qt Cooler is that it keeps its shade of white over the years. Most white coolers eventually turn yellow or brown from too much time in the sun. However, this model by Coleman features a UV reflective color additive that keeps this cooler looking new.
Another fan favorite is the fact that this cooler weighs only 5.3 pounds when empty. This makes it one of the lightest options on the list, yet it still boasts 3 day ice retention. The cooler is a little taller than other coolers of this size, so it can also double as a chair at a picnic or campsite. There are also two holes that serve as drink holders on the top, so you never have to worry about that icy beverage accidentally tipping over.
- Dimensions are 18 x 12.75 x 15.75 inches
- Antimicrobial additive on internal liner
- Large enough to hold 48 cans or 2-liter bottles upright
Yeti Roadie 20 Cooler (Discontinued)
The YETI Roadie is where it all began. YETI is one of the biggest names in drinkware and coolers, but the Roadie 20 Cooler was the company’s first product and its flagship product.
A few things to note:
- The Roadie boasts a capacity of up to 14 cans with a recommended 2:1 ice-to-contents ratio
- The dimensions are 19 inches long x 13 ¾ inches wide; 14 ⅜ inch depth
- Weighs 16 lbs when empty
Considerations Before Purchasing Your Cooler
Every cooler on this list is worth its price and is top of class for its category. To determine which cooler is right for you, ask yourself the following questions:
- What am I using this for? Do I need a rugged cooler that can withstand the rigors of camping? Or am I only using this for a day trip to the beach? How often will I need to use this cooler?
- What features are the most important to me? Am I primarily going to use this for camping (which would necessitate a bear resistant cooler) or am I primarily going to use this for social events (which might not necessarily need as much durability)?
- What is my budget? Is it worth paying for a higher end cooler, especially if I’m going to use the cooler frequently or annually? Or do I need the cooler for one specific event?
While every cooler on this list is a quality cooler, that doesn’t mean that it is going to be right for your situation. It is easy to get caught up in the bells and whistles of each ice chest, but it is important to focus on the specific needs that you have. Some coolers, for example, are better for camping whereas others are better for fishing trips. If you are going to carry the cooler to a lot of places, then the weight of the cooler may potentially come into play.
By determining which features are the most important to you, then you’ll be able to find the perfect cooler to enjoy!
Final Thoughts on the Best 20 Qt Coolers in 2021
Again, you can’t go wrong with any cooler recommended on this list.
They are truly the top of the class for this category and size. Each has unique features for different lifestyles, so you should be able to find the best cooler for you.
If you have an active lifestyle, don’t be afraid to invest in a high quality cooler. Sure, they may be more expensive than their cheaper counterparts, but the money pays for itself. High-end coolers are much more durable and many of them even come with lifetime warranties. The technology within coolers has also advanced rapidly in recent years, so the ice can stay cooler for longer. Some of the coolers on this list, such as ORCA’s 20 qt coolers, are able to keep ice for up to 10 days.
No matter what 20 Qt cooler you decide to go with, just make sure that the insulated lid is tightly sealed and fully locked. Most cooling capabilities are lost through the lid.
Other than that, we hope that you enjoy your 2021 adventures with your new cooler!