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How to choose the best Rubbermaid cooler

Whether you’re camping, heading to the beach or having a backyard BBQ or block party, you need a way to keep some food and beverages cold. If you want to do that on a budget, Rubbermaid is the way to go. The company makes reliable coolers in a variety of sizes, so there’s sure to be one that fits your needs.

The Rubbermaid DuraChill stands out as a top choice for those looking for a good all-purpose model. It’s large enough to hold several days’ worth of food and insulated enough to keep ice for a similar amount of time. Plus, the towing handle and wheels make it easy to transport long distances.

What to know before purchasing a Rubbermaid cooler


With the exception of water coolers, which are measured in gallons, cooler capacity is denoted in quarts, and sometimes also in cans. Rubbermaid coolers come in capacities ranging from 5-150 quarts, and it’s important to buy a model that offers the right amount of capacity for your needs. 

If a cooler is too small, you won’t be able to pack enough foods and beverages inside of it. On the other hand, if it’s too large, you’ll have to use an excessive amount of ice to fill the empty space; otherwise, the small amount of ice you do use will melt too quickly. Also, carrying a cooler that’s overly large and heavy for your needs is an unnecessary hassle to transport.


Because you’ll be transporting your cooler to and from various locations, think about portability when choosing one. This means that along with picking one that’s the right size for your needs, you should look at the various other features that can make a cooler easier to transport, such as wheels, the style of handles and the weight. 

Where you’ll use it

Before buying a cooler, ask yourself where you’ll be using it. If you only plan on taking your cooler camping, to the park or to the beach, any standard cooler should do. However, if you plan on taking your cooler boating regularly, consider buying a marine cooler. These are made with rust-resistant hardware and feature extra-thick insulation to keep ice for days. Many Rubbermaid marine coolers also feature cooler pack inserts in the lid.

What to look for in a quality Rubbermaid cooler


Oftentimes, people wind up using coolers in places that may not have an ideal surface to put a cup down, such as on the beach or near a campfire. To help with this, some Rubbermaid coolers feature shallow cupholders on their lid.

Cup dispenser

Unlike standard coolers that you place cans, bottles and food inside of, you put beverages directly inside of a water cooler, which you can then dispense via a tap at the bottom. Some water coolers feature cup dispenser attachments that are designed to hold small plastic or paper cups for easy retrieval.

Split lid

Nothing melts ice quicker in a cooler than frequently opening and closing the lid. To help with this, some of Rubbermaid’s large coolers have a split lid. This design allows you to open just a small portion of the top of the cooler rather than the entire thing, which means less cold air will escape and less hot air will get in.

Carrying handle

It’s inevitable that you’ll be carrying your cooler, so the design of the handles matters. Some feature molded-in handles, while others have flip-up handles. The majority of people find flip-up handles to be easier to grip, and hence make it easier to carry a cooler for long distances.

Drain spigot

If buying a large cooler, you may want to look for one that features a drain spigot on the bottom. Even when all of the food and beverages have been removed, coolers can still be heavy simply due to the weight of the water from the melted ice. A drain spigot provides an easy way to empty it without having to tip it over.

How much can you expect to spend on a Rubbermaid cooler?

Compared to many other cooler brands out there, Rubbermaid models are generally quite affordable. The smallest and most basic models start around $20, while their larger models tend to cost $50-$100. Rubbermaid marine coolers cost $100-$150.

Rubbermaid cooler FAQ

How long do Rubbermaid coolers keep ice?

A. Different Rubbermaid coolers keep ice for different periods of time. The smallest and most affordable models may only keep ice for a day or so, while the larger and more expensive models may keep ice for 5-7 days.

How do I clean my Rubbermaid cooler?

A. You should avoid using harsh chemical-based cleaners in coolers. Not only can this degrade their integrity, it can also leave behind traces of chemicals that could potentially get into your food. Instead, simply clean them with a bit of warm water and dish soap after each use. Periodically, you should also do a more thorough cleaning with a mixture of warm water, dish soap and baking soda. 

What’s the best Rubbermaid cooler to buy?

Top Rubbermaid cooler

Rubbermaid DuraChill Wheeled Cooler

Rubbermaid DuraChill Wheeled Cooler

What you need to know: A 75-quart, 5-day cooler with wheels for convenient portability, the DuraChill should serve you well in a variety of situations.

What you’ll love: The split lid design minimizes the loss of cold air when retrieving something from inside, and a drain spigot makes it easy to empty.

What you should consider: The towing handle is too short for tall people.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Top Rubbermaid cooler for the money

Rubbermaid 5-Quart Cooler

Rubbermaid 5-Quart Cooler

What you need to know: A basic model, this 5-quart cooler is affordably priced and just the right size to hold a day’s worth of food and beverages and to use as a personal cooler.

What you’ll love: You’ll never have to worry about the handles potentially breaking because they’re molded in, and it’s generally manageable for a single person to carry when it’s loaded.

What you should consider: It lacks a drain, so you’ll have to tip it over when emptying out the water.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Rubbermaid 150-Quart Marine Cooler

Rubbermaid 150-Quart Marine Cooler

What you need to know: Whether you need a cooler to hold several days’ worth of food and drinks or your catch, this 150-quart marine model is up to the task.

What you’ll love: It has cooler pack cutouts in the lid for extra cooling power without taking up packing space, and it latches securely closed so you’ll never have to worry about it accidentally getting knocked open and losing all its cold air. 

What you should consider: Its large size means it will be very heavy when loaded up, but it lacks wheels so you’ll need two people to carry it.

Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot


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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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