best cooler for a road trip

Best Cooler for Road Trip with Various Capacities

The process of buying the best cooler for a road trip requires some level of skill. We know how easy it is to get overwhelmed by the many choices you’ll find on the market. However, revising your goals for the trip and the amount of time you plan to be on the road can be helpful.

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Best Cooler for Road Trip for 2023 Review: Key Features, Pros, and Cons

Taking a closer look at what every cooler has to offer is a great place to start. Our review indicates the best feature on the various coolers. First is a table that will help you make a decision more quickly. Read on to learn more.

ImageBrandCapacity Dimensions WeightFinish TypeDetails
Igloo 26 Liters12.87×16.65×18.2310 poundsMatteCheck price
SetPower 53 Quarts27.5×13.6×20.737.7 poundsMatteCheck price
AstroAI 4 Liters9.45×10×6.894.53 poundsGlossyCheck price
Igloo 51 Liters26.2×16.44×16.0616.34 poundsMatteCheck price
JoyTutus 25 Liters22.44×12.4×13.430 poundsMatteCheck price
YETI 24 Liters17.1×14.3×1812.8 poundsMatteCheck price
SetPower 12 Liters22.4×12.6×919.2 poundsMatteCheck price

1. Igloo 28 Quart Iceless Cooler

Highlighted Features
  • Swing–up bale handle
  • 8’ long power cords
  • Cools surrounding air to 36F
  • Brushless motor
  • Curved back

You won’t regret taking this cooler on the road for various reasons. We loved the fact that it has a swing-up bale handle, which makes it easy to carry.

You can take its 8-inch long power cable that you can plug into a cigarette lighter to activate THE cooler when traveling. That eliminates the need for ice.

This cooler does not use ice so it leaves more space for you to store your food and drinks. Also, you don’t have to worry about the contents getting soggy.

Its design ensures that it lays comfortably on your back when you carry it. Since it does not have ice, there is a brushless motor and fan that circulates cold air.

Igloo 28 Quart Iceless Cooler is the kind of cooler you get when you want convenience and efficiency.

  • The fact that it doesn’t use ice ensures that its contents remain cool and dry.
  • Its operation is quiet. There is a brushless motor inside and a fan that keeps things cool.
  • It is easy to carry. Igloo 28 Quart cooler comes with a swing-up bale handle and molded –inside handles.
  • The lid requires a bit of effort to close.

2. SetPower AJ50 53 Quarts Cooler

Highlighted Features
  • Compressor function
  • Max and Eco mode
  • 2-year warranty
  • DC and AC cables

SetPower AJ50 53 Quarts Cooler is the best cooler for road trip use if you look for durability and high functionality. The most impressive thing about this cooler is the fact that it keeps its contents cool without ice.

It cools using a compressor function instead of ice. You can look forward to dry packaged food by adjusting the temperature from 0 degrees to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

The manufacturer equips it for outdoor use since it comes with a DC power cable to charge in the car and a free AC adapter to charge at home. It also used energy efficiently.

There are MAX&ECO modes on it that ensure energy efficiency. It is a perfect design to include in equipment for use in the outdoors.

We also loved that it can handle a 30-degree bump. Once you have this cooler, you can trust it to take care of your food and drinks outdoors for a long time.

  • This model is energy efficient. It comes with two modes that ensure you can switch between eaters of the modes.
  • The cooling mechanism does not include ice which prevents food from getting wet.
  • Its design ensures that it can handle rough, bumpy terrain.
  • It is somewhat expensive. Some lower-priced models function in the same way and have similar features.

3. AstroAI Mini Cooler

Highlighted Features
  • Four – Liter Capacity
  • Removable shelf
  • AC/DC adapters
  • Semiconductor refrigeration chip
  • 3-Year warranty

The calibration used to make this cooler ensures you can use it to cool different things when traveling. Its construction is to keep things like medications and skincare products cool.

Adding to the fact that it is affordable, this cooler is one of the best gifts you can get a friend or relative. There are two plugs on it that you can use in a standard wall outlet or a cigarette lighter.

We appreciated the fact that this cooler is eco-friendly. It does not produce Freon, which is a toxic substance produced by freezers and refrigerators.

Getting this product comes with a variety of benefits, like the fact that it has a warranty. You can also trust that this product will be of service for a long time.

  • AstroAI mini-fridge is eco-friendly. It does not produce Freon.
  • The manufacturer includes a three-year warranty which is convenient.
  • It is affordable. This cooler outperforms some other more expensive models.
  • It is really a miniature cooler, so don’t expect to be able to fit anything more than what’s been described.

4. Igloo 52 QT BMX Cooler – Most efficient

Highlighted Features
  • Reinforced base
  • 4-5 day ice retention
  • UV inhibitors
  • Stainless-Steel hinge rods
  • Rubberized T-grip

If you have been looking for a heavy-duty cooler to take on family trips, consider the Igloo 52 QT BMX cooler. The thing you have to look forward to the most is the fact that it has a reinforced base.

This kind of design guarantees strength which is essential when you are outdoors. It is a wise investment based on the performance it offers.

We loved the fact that it is lightweight while still withstanding harsh conditions. You can have it in your car on a rough road, and it won’t break from being thrown around.

It comes with unique functionalities like UV inhibition that keep the sun out of the cooler. That way, its contents stay cool and fresh for a long time. Within it are insulated walls that keep contributing to keeping food cool.

All these parts work because it has a latch that helps keep the cold locked in. Also, you can count on the Igloo Cool Riser that keeps the cooler raised above warm surfaces. By all indications, this cooler is a safe choice for buying a cooler based on efficiency.

  • It is lightweight. Moving it from place to place when outdoors is easy.
  • The manufacturers include Igloo’s Cool Riser Technology within it, which increases its efficiency.
  • A user has an easy time securing the lid since it has a rubberized T-grip. It allows the cooler to keep its contents even when traveling on rough terrain.
  • Its construction is rust-resistant.
  • You have to watch out for the handle since it might slide when you hold it.

5. JoyTutus 26 Quart Portable Refrigerator – Most Innovative

Highlighted Features
  • 15-20 minutes rapid cooling
  • Aluminum evaporator
  • Battery protection
  • Two power cords
  • Embedded handle
  • LED touch-control

The first notable feature of this cooler is its LED panel that makes operating it easy. You can adjust the temperatures inside the cooler using this interface. You can follow the manual for directions on how best to utilize the panel.

Its manufacturer is also thoughtful since they include a two years quality warranty supported by the brand. On it are two cords that you can plug at home or in the car.

Once you plug it in, it takes less than twenty minutes to cool. It has an aluminum evaporator that makes this possible. Also, you will enjoy that it is easy to carry since it has an embedded handle.

The handle is long-lasting and unlike a strapping handle.  Another impressive and valuable feature of this cooler is its battery protection feature.

This feature keeps the battery from running down and protects the device as well. You will find these features helpful when on the road. It’s one of the best cooler choices if you like to camp.

  • It is portable. Its embedded handle is long-lasting and sturdy.
  • Operating this cooler is straightforward because it comes with a simple control panel.
  • Its warranty is a convenient part of the package.
  • The cooler is user-oriented. You have control over the temperatures within the cooler.
  • You might find the insulation disappointing. Condensation forms on the outer walls of the freezer.

6. YETI Roadie 24 Cooler – Most Convenient

Highlighted Features
  • Rotomolded Construction
  • Quick latch
  • 12.8 pounds
  • Metal frame

As the most convenient cooler in our review, this cooler meets all your needs. The first thing we noticed about it is that it is lightweight. The construction of the YETI Roadie 24 cooler is such that it is light enough to make movements easy.

Its lightweight is just one of the many properties that make it a smart pick for road trips. Unlike some coolers, it can fit in your car easily since it has a tall build.

Its tall construction comes along with the fact it holds 20 percent more content than a standard cooler. The manufacturer designed it to ensure that it outperforms the former YETI 20.

When it comes to carrying it, expect to have an easy time. The handle is flexible, which ensures it can last and that it is easy to move around.

It comes with a quick latch which makes accessing the cooler’s contents easy. Once you take a closer look at this cooler, you will realize that it’s for travel.

  • It is lightweight.
  • There is a quick latch on this cooler ensures that you can access the contents fast.
  • YETI Roadie 24 cooler is efficient. The construction is such that it holds 20 percent more than the previous models.
  • The cooling mechanism in this cooler is underwhelming compared to previous models.

7. SetPower FC12 13.5 Quarts –User Friendly

Highlighted Features
  • Compressor
  • Battery Protections
  • 12.6-quart capacity
  • Control Panel
  • 2-year warranty

One of the things we know you will love about this cooler is the control panel. It has a sleek design and is easy to use. You have control over the main functionality of this cooler thanks to this feature

The manufacturer makes it in a lightweight design with travelers in mind. All you have to do is find the sleek design hidden in the handles, and you can easily transport it to any place.

 Another great thing about this cooler is that it does not use ice. Anything you have in the cooler, therefore, remains cool. Since you don’t have to use any ice in the cooler, it leaves more storage space.

Its battery protection feature has three levels. It comes into play when the battery is running low. Besides the three functions, it also has a temperature memory function. This cooler can also withstand any terrain, making it useful on different kinds of road trips.

  • This cooler comes with a two-year warranty. Conveniently, the manufacturer looks out for the user’s needs.
  • Using it is easy since it has a control panel that gives you access to its functionality.
  • It comes to battery protection which should put you at ease about catering to replacements and repairs.
  • The cooling process is fast since it uses a compressor instead of ice.
  • It is somewhat small. You can only use it conveniently to house a few cans.
best cooler for a road trip

Best Cooler for Road Trip Buying Guide

When buying a cooler for a road trip, there are a few things that you should consider. It is essential to ensure that you don’t miss anything that contributes to the cooler’s functionality. Here are some things that you have to be on the lookout for.


You can measure it by the number of cans your cooler can hold when it comes to capacity. Also, put into account the amount of ice you can use at a go. The best way to go about it is to ensure that it can hold more internally.

If you are going to use cans to measure, you must pack them tightly together. Big coolers can hold about 50 cans, while a smaller one can accommodate an average of seven. The goal is to have sufficient space for food and drinks.


The portability of your cooler mostly depends on its size. You can expect large coolers to have sturdy handles, while smaller ones may have straps.

Manufacturers often consider the portability of a cooler when it has contents and when it’s empty. You can look at portability depending on what you have planned for your trip.


Coolers with Rotomold constructions like YETI Roadie 24 cooler are good options for going fishing or camping. Campers prefer coolers constructed this way because they can withstand rough terrains. Get a cooler that can last long since it will end up saving you from spending money replacing it now and then.


Your cooler can have either polystyrene or foam insulation. Polystyrene is affordable and keeps the heat off for many days. If you get a cooler with this kind of lining, you must ensure it’s thick to promote efficiency.

Foam, on the other hand, keeps the conditions inside a cooler cool for a few hours. Most small coolers have foam lining for insulation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How big should a cooler be for a road trip?

When picking out a cooler for a road trip, depending on capacity, some factors like the number of days you plan to be on the road can help. A 12-quart cooler can hold a six-pack plus ice. So once you decide on the number of people going with you also, you can know how big your cooler needs to be.

Q: What can you put in your cooler to increase its efficiency?

Besides filling your cooler with the maximum amount of ice it can take, you can also fill it with frozen cans. Also, ensure that you use block ice instead of ice cubes.

Q: Where do you put ice in a cooler?

The best position for ice is at the bottom of the cooler. The most perishable foods go on top of the ice first. It’s best to seal the foods that you want to keep dry and prevent cross-contamination. How long does food inside the cooler stay fresh?

Q: How long does food last in a cooler?

Foods inside the cooler are safe to eat within their natural period and stay in temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, you have to ensure that you seal it the right way to prevent contamination.


Finding the best cooler for a road trip will serve you well during your road trip as long as you know what you want. You are spoiled for choice if you are looking for coolers that use ice and those that don’t. Consider YETI Roadie 24 Cooler if you are looking for something long-lasting. You can make your fa

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