Updated February 2019


Buying a cooler seems like it should be an easy purchase. However, there are a few things you need to consider before buying.

I’ve always said this – the cooler size after ice retention is the most important factor.

Are you going out to the beach for a short period? Do you want a personal cooler that’s enough to pack supplies for a friend or two?

What you need is a small cooler. However, if you are packing supplies for two or more people, I recommend you check out our Giant Cooler Reviews.

What makes a small cooler special?

Well, you can easily toss into your bag and hide it away from peering eyes so that you can savor what’s inside all alone. Don’t be self-centered though; there’s love in sharing right?

We combed through many reviews and roundups of small ice chests and had read hundreds of Amazon reviews to bring you the best options on the market. Our picks include great personal lunch coolers with more appeal for consumers that love the design.

Best Small Coolers – Personal Ice Chests For Users of All Kinds

To help you find pick a small personal cooler, check out the top compact ice chests in this crowded category.

Rubbermaid Cooler, 10 Quart, Blue FG2A1104MODBL
Coleman 16-Quart Personal Wheeled Cooler, Blue
Editor's Choice
YETI Hopper Flip 18 Portable Cooler, Fog Gray/Tahoe Blue
Igloo Iceless Thermoelectric 40 Quart Cooler, Silver
ENGEL USA Cooler/Dry Box, 19 Quart
Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze 30 Can Zipperless HardBody Cooler, Moss
Title
Rubbermaid Cooler, 10 Quart, Blue FG2A1104MODBL
Coleman 16-Quart Personal Wheeled Cooler, Blue
YETI Hopper Flip 18 Portable Cooler, Fog Gray/Tahoe Blue
Igloo Iceless Thermoelectric 40 Quart Cooler, Silver
ENGEL USA Cooler/Dry Box, 19 Quart
Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze 30 Can Zipperless HardBody Cooler, Moss
Capacity (Quarts)
5QT - 60QT
16QT
-
40QT
19QT - 30QT
30 Cans
Rotomolded
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
No
Dimensions
10.5 x 13.4 x 9.1 inches
15.4 x 14.9 x 10.8 inches
15.8 x 10.2 x 12.6 inches
21.9 x 15.2 x 16.8 inches
16.6 x 11 x 13 inches
16.5 x 11 x 12.8 inches
Rubbermaid Cooler, 10 Quart, Blue FG2A1104MODBL
Title
Rubbermaid Cooler, 10 Quart, Blue FG2A1104MODBL
Capacity (Quarts)
5QT - 60QT
Rotomolded
Yes
Dimensions
10.5 x 13.4 x 9.1 inches
Coleman 16-Quart Personal Wheeled Cooler, Blue
Title
Coleman 16-Quart Personal Wheeled Cooler, Blue
Capacity (Quarts)
16QT
Rotomolded
Yes
Dimensions
15.4 x 14.9 x 10.8 inches
Editor's Choice
YETI Hopper Flip 18 Portable Cooler, Fog Gray/Tahoe Blue
Title
YETI Hopper Flip 18 Portable Cooler, Fog Gray/Tahoe Blue
Capacity (Quarts)
-
Rotomolded
Yes
Dimensions
15.8 x 10.2 x 12.6 inches
Igloo Iceless Thermoelectric 40 Quart Cooler, Silver
Title
Igloo Iceless Thermoelectric 40 Quart Cooler, Silver
Capacity (Quarts)
40QT
Rotomolded
No
Dimensions
21.9 x 15.2 x 16.8 inches
ENGEL USA Cooler/Dry Box, 19 Quart
Title
ENGEL USA Cooler/Dry Box, 19 Quart
Capacity (Quarts)
19QT - 30QT
Rotomolded
Yes
Dimensions
16.6 x 11 x 13 inches
Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze 30 Can Zipperless HardBody Cooler, Moss
Title
Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze 30 Can Zipperless HardBody Cooler, Moss
Capacity (Quarts)
30 Cans
Rotomolded
No
Dimensions
16.5 x 11 x 12.8 inches

Rubbermaid Cooler / Ice Chest, 10-quart, Blue

Most people are choosy when it comes to picking a compact cooler: it has to keep ice for at least 12 hours. It has to be stain and odor resistant. It should have a comfortable handle and doesn’t leak or sweat. The design should get heads turned. The Rubbermaid Cooler ticks all those boxes for a very affordable price.

Never run out space to put the Rubbermaid as it is small and can fit into any space. According to lots of user reviews on Amazon, the lid seals rather tight. Although some users have complained that the lid is a bit hard to open, you’ll appreciate
that the lid seals well and you don’t have to check for spills.

Easy to swing handles means you can effortlessly lift the cooler, while the handle also folds to the side when you want to access the lid.

What we like:

Affordable price
Compact size & great design
Easy to swing handles for effortless carrying

What we didn’t like:

The lid is hard to open
Flimsy parts – it shouldn’t come as a surprise. Afterall it sells for less than 50bucks.

Coleman 16-Quart Personal Wheeled Cooler

The Coleman 16 quarts holds up to 22 cans and has enough space for ice. Polyethylene insulation enables the box to retain ice for a day. If you often find yourself in hard terrains, you will appreciate the heavy-duty wheels, long and efficient telescoping handle makes rolling a breeze.

Hinged lid means the cooler doesn’t snap shut and allows for quick one-handed access. Carrying a full icebox has never been easier, well, the molded-in handles provide a good grip so that you can carry it for hours.

The compact size means you can easily carry the cooler at the back of your car, or on a boat, camping, tailgating and much more. You can also get the Coleman wheeled cooler in at least three colors.

Many users like the fact that the cooler does not break after continuous use. However, some complained of the wheels coming off.

Is the Coleman perfect? Not quite. Sure, it is an excellent budget choice, but the low ice retention and cheap construction are the major downsides.

What we like

Inexpensive
Holds up to 20 cans
Resistant to leaks and spill

What we didn’t like:

The wheels may fall out after continuous use
Doesn’t hold ice like high-end models – but gives a decent performance

YETI Hopper Flip Portable Cooler

If you need one of the best small cooler that’s leak-proof and will last years of abuse, the Yeti hopper is a winner. But it comes at a price? Yeah, high price. Is it worth it? Well, there’s only one way to find out.

Whether you need a great tailgating, camping, or picnic cooler, this Yeti hopper has your back.

The hopper flip utilizes a ColdCell insulation, a superior kind of insulation than regular soft coolers. Hyrolok zipper provides easy access to your items, while it also seals appropriately, blocking off heat and the heat stays in. When it comes to insulation performance, no cooler on the list holds ice better.

The material fabric is waterproof, resistant to mildews and punctures. In fact, the fabric does an excellent job at increasing the cooling. Tie-down points enable the cooler to be secured onto a boat.

Incorporating the hitchpoint grid enables you to attach accessories such as bottle openers, keys, and carabiners. The double stitched carry options and detachable shoulder strap means you’ve got plenty of options for transport.

Where does the Yeti Hopper fail? Well, most users are concerned about the hefty price. For a soft-sided cooler, the price is a deal breaker, and some don’t feel comfortable spending for a soft chest instead of a rotomolded option.

What we like:
Compact and appealing design
Strong Hydrolock zippers
Holds ice for 2 days

What we didn’t like:
Expensive
The zipper is a bit hard to zip/unzip

Igloo Iceless Thermoelectric Cooler

If you hate the whole conventional process of pre-chilling or loading coolers with ice packs, you’ll appreciate the whole dynamics of Electric coolers as they don’t require ice packs. Just plug in the cooler to any 12v outlet in your car to get your drinks iced. There’s also a warmer option for foods too.

The iceless igloo cooler comes with single swing handles, with a curved back which rests on your side for effortless carrying. It comes with a cigarette lighter. It also includes a brushless motor and convection cooling that increasing the cooling performance.

This small dude can sit in the back seat your car without taking much space. Scared that the cooler will drain your car battery down? Then don’t cause the cooler automatically shuts down when the car engine is off.

A user said even with no power outlet, he filled in ice in the cooler and it lasted for more than a day. This means the cooler seal tight. Hence it traps all the cold in.

Is the igloo ice thermoelectric cooler perfect? The answer is No it’s not and here’s why – the power cords can get burnt. Aside from that the cooler is ideal for users on the go.

What we like:
Great construction
Can keep your food warm
Thermoelectric Technology to keep your items cold.
Comfortable carry options – swing handle and molded in handle

What we didn’t like:
Power cord often melt

ENGEL USA Cooler/Dry Box, 19 Quart

When it comes down to a cooler, one of its most essential functions is keeping your drinks and food at consistent temperature.

This rugged Engel cooler is lightweight and holds ice incredibly well for long. Fortunately, many user reviews say the Engel USA is durable and will last two or more years of use. It’s also available in three different colors to satisfy buyers.

Offering enough storage space, you can stuff in up to 24 cans plus plenty ice. Molded polystyrene insulation improves cooling, while it includes stainless steel latches to shut the ice chest tight.

It has a single handle in the lid which aids in transporting items. Great as a kayak cooler, it has four 4 pole holders where you can keep a safety flag.

What we like:
Long ice retention
Rugged, lightweight build
It comes with a holder to keep your flags, golf umbrella etc

What we didn’t like:
Thin-walled
Weak hinges

Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Zipperless Cooler

Sometimes you need to get away for a while, go to the beach and have a quiet time. The Artic Zone is a personal cooler you need to grab on your next adventure.

One the unique features is a hard liner which allows you to organize your foods and drinks so that it doesn’t get crushed. It also has flip-flop zippered lid that provides easy access to items.

There are also multiple zippered compartments to keep your accessories like keys, sun shades, and so much more.

The titan Deep freeze Zipperless cooler comes in a 16, 30, and 48 can size means you have many options to choose from.

Although the bag doesn’t leak or sweat, unfortunately, it doesn’t hold ice for more than a day.

Adjustable and padded shoulder strap provides stability when you are carrying heavier loads. With plenty of zippers and an internal compartment, this small personal icebox is designed to help you stay organized.

What we like:
Organized interior compartment
Easy to clean liners – stain and odor proof
Plenty zippered pockets to hide accessories

What we didn’t like:

Stanley Adventure Cooler

The Stanley Adventure cooler features a double wall foam insulation; the result is increased ice retention. The cooler comes in two colors – the Green and the Navy. The gasket lock is leak resistant; you wouldn’t bother about spills cause the latches and hinges completely seal the cooler.

This 16 quarts cooler can store up to 21 cans, while keeping ice for more than a day. with Bungee cords you never have to leave any gear behind, simply tie the gears on the lid.

It has a single swing handle which is easy to carry with you wherever you go. The durable construction of the Stanley adventure cooler makes it perfect for daily use.

Small Coolers – Things You Need to Consider

You know that you need a portable cooler is you are not going to be gone for long. Portable coolers are best fit for short periods; these large coolers can be awkward and heavy to carry. The portable ice chests provide versatility, so it is essential to consider some few factors before choosing.

Size

Any small cooler will do the job, right? Bad news, No it won’t.

Small ice chests come in different sizes and shape that’s why you have to check the quart capacity before you make a decision.

However, this depends on the occasion you are using the cooler for. So it is important you select the capacity that will suit the event as the case may be.

Ice Retention

The ice retention in small coolers is a bit low. Considering they are often implored for short periods usually not more than a day. Although the ice retention is not as high as Rotomolded options, you will need a cooler that can hold ice for up to a day. This makes it easier for all your drinks to be cold throughout the period.

Conclusion

Even if you are looking for a small cooler for a short time, you still need to the pick the best options. All the options included in our best small coolers review have been tested and reviewed by users to have all the things you are looking for in a compact sized icebox – Portable, versatile, and beautiful, we all have them here.