If you are always camping, hiking, fishing, or taking boat trips in summer, you know the heat can be unforgiving. A portable cooler keeps your food and drinks cold and fresh for long. The best 20 quart cooler is not only for those who want to enjoy a cold drink, but also those who go fishing and want to keep the fish fresh for a long time.
The market is awash with coolers – some very effective and others that do not retain the cold for long. A 20 quart cooler is more versatile and accommodates hikers, campers, and fishers, and anyone else who needs to cool their food and their drinks.
When shopping for the best cooler, I considered the following factors:
YETI Roadie 20 Quart Cooler
Pelican Elite 20 Quart Cooler
Igloo Sportsman 20Qt Rotomold Cooler
Grizzly 20 Cooler G20
Driftsun 20-Quart Ice Chest
K2 Coolers Summit 20 Quart Cooler
RTIC Ice Chest
Arctic Zone Titan Ice Chest
RougeRV 20 Quart Ice Chest
A 20 quart cooler provides you with enough beverages for a few days to a week. It is ideal when you go camping in summer, when you go fishing and need a place to freeze the fish until you get home, when you relax at the beach, or when you go day hiking.
The 20 quart cooler is larger than the 9 quart cooler, so, you will carry more content, and smaller than a 25 or 45 quart cooler, so, it can fit in small spaces in your RV or truck. These coolers are easy to operate so you never have to struggle opening or closing your cooler.
All the top rated 20 quart coolers reviewed below are hardshell roto-molded coolers because they are the most versatile.
Soft-sided coolers are ideal when you need a unit that can retain ice for a few days, one or two days, and when you are on a budget. There are different designs of soft coolers with most having a fabric shell and being flexible inside and outside. When not in use, these coolers compress into a compact package that is easy to store in a tight space. Better yet, these coolers come with features that hardshell coolers miss such as straps and exterior pockets where you can attach water bottles and hold your car keys. Nevertheless, these coolers are less durable and have a low ice retention capacity.
Hardshell coolers feature roto-molding construction that makes them almost indestructible. Most of them can withstand impact and bear attacks. They offer utmost durability and can take heavy pounding on a deck. Besides taking any amount of abuse you expose them to, they retain ice for longer. Some will keep your food and drinks cold for longer than six days, thanks to the thick insulation.
Besides, they feature high-quality T-latches and self-stopping lid hinges. They also feature grab points, non-skid rubber feet, and handles that lock in position during portage. The durability of these coolers comes at a cost, but in the long run, they will be worth the money.
Ice retention determines the number of days a cooler will keep your food and drinks fresh. If you will be out camping for a week, or you go fishing for a week, you need a unit that will hold your drinks or your fish and keep them fresh for as long as you will be out. From the two choices above, a hardshell roto-molded cooler comes in handy.
Units with thick insulation will retain ice for longer than those with thin insulation. Today, most coolers have polyurethane foam insulation. As long as the foam is at least 2 inches thick, it will retain ice for longer than a few days. Again, ensure that the unit has a full-frame rubber gasket around its lid to ensure that warm air does not get in the unit. The rubber gaskets increase seal protection and enhance the insulation of the unit.
Although when you are choosing the 20-quart cooler you already know the capacity you need, coolers do not have the same design. Some are wide and short while others are narrow and tall. The storage capacity determines the amount of contents you carry and also the ice retention capacity. A large cooler will retain ice for longer than a narrow cooler.
Soft-sided fabric coolers are the lightest and easiest to transport. However, they may not offer you the ice retention or durability that you need. Roto-molded units are bulky, with some 20 quart coolers weighing more than 20 pounds. When loaded with ice, food, and drinks, the coolers are even heavier.
Manufacturers consider the weight of the coolers, and they might add caster wheels so you can haul your cooler through the wilderness. Most 20 quart coolers lack wheels as they never get heavy enough to require them. Even if yours has wheels, keep in mind that they might be challenging to use in the wilderness. However, they come with padded plastic or stainless steel handles for easy transportation. Some have a shoulder strap for even easier transportation.
Most units feature a plastic construction. If the cooler is not UV resistant, the lid might warp, get brittle, or discolor with time. When such happens, your cooler will be more exposed to the sun and this reduces its ice retention capability.
Most cheaper models might not have the protection needed, but high-end cooler models have the protection needed. Look for coolers with inbuilt sun protection.
Manufactures add so many accessories to the coolers to make them versatile. Some of the accessories include:
Your budget will determine the cooler you buy. Price is dependent on brand, accessories, materials, and design. For instance, a high-end 20 quart cooler will cost more than an ordinary marine cooler.
A warranty is a guarantee of quality and it comes in handy when you are shopping for a cooler. Ensure you get at least a 1-year warranty.
Types of Dirt in Your Cooler – The type of dirt and odors in your cooler will determine how you clean it. In most cases, your cooler will have mold, watermarks, nasty fish odors, stains, and dirt. If all you have is ice, leave the lid open for the ice to melt and open the drain plug to let the ice water out.
|Image||Title||Weight (pounds)||Insulation||Capacity (Cans)|
|YETI Roadie 20 Quart Cooler||15||2 inches PermaFrost||14|
|Pelican Elite 20 Quart Cooler||12.5||2 inches Polyurethane||15|
|Igloo Sportsman 20Qt Rotomold Cooler||16.5||2 inch foam||14|
|Grizzly 20 Cooler G20||16||2 inch Ecomate Polyurethane foam||24|
|Driftsun 20-Quart Ice Chest||18||3 inches commercial grade foam||13|
|ORCA Cooler||18||2-inch insulated foam||18|
|K2 Coolers Summit 20 Quart Cooler||16||2 inch foam||24|
|RTIC Ice Chest||20||3 inch foam||24|
|Arctic Zone Titan Ice Chest||16||2 inch polyurethane||20|
|RougeRV 20 Quart Ice Chest||13.2||2-inch polyurethane||16|
If you are looking for the best 20 quart cooler for the money, this might be it. It comes with a capacity of 14 cans so you can camp in a group of a few people and have enough water or food for a few days. The manufacturers recommend an ice to contents ratio of 2:1.
One of the strongest features of this cooler is its 2 inches of PermaFrost Insulation that ensures warm air doesn’t get through to warm your food and drinks. Further, the unit has extra thick walls with Roto-molded construction that makes it resistant to impact and enhances its durability. It will withstand the ruggedness of the wilderness.
The lid on YETI Roadie uses strong quality lid latches made of heavy-duty rubber to ensure they do not bust during use. This lid further uses patented keeper technology to enhance the strength of the lid.
The Pelican Elite is one of the most versatile coolers with a lightweight build but large 15 cans capacity. It sports extra thick polyurethane insulation to offer great ice retention – it can keep your drinks and food cold for up to three days.
Its design is unique – it looks like a tank. This gives it rugged construction that is leak-proof and waterproof. They can withstand the most demanding environments. Even when full with cans or bottles, the cooler is still easy to carry, thanks to its overmolded handle. It offers a great balance between space and portability.
To keep the contents of the cooler concealed, the unit has three inch locking latches, anti-shear hinge system, and a reinforced lockable hasp. It does not have a drain plug, which makes it 100 percent waterproof and gives it more ice retention.
The Igloo 20 Qt Cooler features a rot molded construction that makes it almost indestructible. It has a 2-inch form in its gasket lid and a 2-inch form in its walls for superior cooling. Each unit has a three-point grab handle made of corrosion-resistant aluminum with a cushioned grip for comfortable carry.
On one side is a threaded drain plug that lets you drain the cooler fast. The lid to the drain has a chain tether to ensure you never lose it. Further, it has rubberized T-handle latches for the lid to facilitate the security of your food and drinks during transportation. The lids further have self-stopping lid hinge to facilitate fast and easy opening and closing. The box material is polypropylene, which is strong and durable to last long.
The Grizzly 20 Cooler, G20 is a roto-molded unit ideal for fishing, camping, day-hiking, or for sunbathing at the beach. It sports a thick 2-inch Ecomate polyurethane insulation to retain ice for long. Its strong plastic body makes it almost indestructible. At the base are rubber anti-skid bases.
It has strong latches with T-handles to keep the contents of the cooler secure. It also has strong hinges that support for ease of opening and closing. It has an oversized drain plug to make it easier for you to empty its contents.
The Driftsun 20-Quart Ice Chest promises to keep your food and drinks cool for more than six days. It sports three inches of commercial-grade insulation and a gasket similar to that on freezers. It further has ColdSeal latches that ensure no warm air gets into the cooler.
It packs military-grade nylon rope handles for easy transportation. It further has a rubberized base for stability. On one of its shorter sides is a no-leak drain plug that allows you to drain the ice that turns to water. You can use it for the beach, fishing, or camping, and it carries enough can for two or three people. This 20 Quart Rotomolded Cooler is almost indestructible and is ideal for rugged use. It has thicker insulation than other coolers, making it better at ice retention.
ORCA Coolers have the advantage of having thick insulation that gives them great ice retention capacity. The thick walls also make the unit almost indestructible and ideal for rugged use. Further, the unit has roto-molded construction to enhance its strength and durability. Its integrated insulation technique enhances its ice retention.
The lid gasket ensures that the unit has a perfect seal while the flex-grip handles ensure comfortable transportation. With its cargo net attachment, the unit offers extra storage for your food and drinks. Unlike any other best 20 quart cooler, this unit has a large capacity to ensure you have cool drinks for a few days.
The latches on the unit have fish-tail handles, which is the symbol of Orca. The latches are secure and easy to use.
The K2 Coolers Summit 20 is a large capacity 20 quart cooler. It can carry up to 24 cans with up to 10 pounds of ice. The manufacturer promises that it can retain the ice for at least 7 days, which makes it ideal when you are camping.
It sports a polyethylene construction for rugged use and durability. Instead of a handle, the cooler features an extra padded shoulder strap that makes it easier to carry. It has an Ice Vault lid gasket and high-quality lid latches to seal off the cooler for added ice retention. It has grip rubber feet that give it stability.
With each purchase, you get a 7-year manufacturer’s warranty. Its polyethylene construction makes it highly durable.
This RTIC cooler has a large capacity of up to 24 cans, but it is also relatively heavy. Its weight is due to its extra 3-inch thick walls that make it retain ice for more than four days – this makes it an ideal chest when you need one for camping. It sports a high-quality stainless steel handle that locks upright when you are carrying it.
On the lid are heavy-duty T-handle latches for easy opening and closing of the lid. If you need a large capacity cooler, this might be your best bet.
The Arctic Zone Titan is a large capacity cooler for rugged use. It sports built-in Microban protection that reduces the buildup of bacterial odors and stains. It has thick polyurethane insulation for maximum ice retention. Each unit comes with a freezer-grade 360-degree rubber gasket. It further has corrosion-resistant T-handle latches with a tight seal that ensures it is cold outside.
Its roto-mold construction enhances its durability while its anti-skid feet keep it stable on the ground. On its shorter side is a large drain plug to empty the ice that turns to water inside the cooler. On the top surface is an integrated fish ruler for those who will use this unit for fishing expeditions.
The RougeRV is a narrow but tall cooler to fit in small spaces in your RV. The manufacturer promises that it can keep your food and drinks cold for more than 4 days. It sports a 16-can capacity to last you a few days. Outside, the unit features a roto-molded construction to last long and offer ultimate cold retention.
It comes with built-in bottle opener, two cup holders, and anti-skid feet to make it more versatile. It features strong freezer-grade insulation with corrosion-resistant T-latches to create a strong seal to lock the cold inside.
Yes, you can carry wine bottles in the cooler. However, most coolers will hold only between three and five wine bottles. If you only carry wine bottles, you might need a size larger than a 20-quart cooler.
The ratio of ice to content, the design of the cooler, and the internal space will determine how much content the cooler can hold. Most coolers hold between 14 cans and 24 cans depending on the design. If you use a small quantity of the ice, the unit will hold more content, but the ice will not stay for long. When shopping, consider the balance between capacity and functionality so you do not end up with a large cooler that doesn’t retain ice for longer than a day.
In most cases, you will place the fish on a pile of ice and it may never come into contact with the cooler. If it happens to come into contact, most units come with plastic surfaces that are easy to clean. Better yet, some manufacturers add Microban protection that ensures odors, bacteria and stains do not stick on the surfaces of the walls of the cooler. If your cooler develops stains or has smells from the fish, refer to your manual for cleaning instructions or contact the manufacturer. However, since most of these are plastic, cleaning with warm water and drying thoroughly will work just fine.
No, they might be different sizes and capacities. Most 20 quart coolers are double a 9 quart cooler, but with extra height. The extra height ensures that you can stand a 2-liter bottle standing upright. However, manufacturers use different dimensions and that is what makes the units different.
You may not need a drain plug to empty all the water and ice from the cooler. However, the drain plug makes the processes a little easier. When shopping, ensure that the drain plug does not leak, and it comes with a chain to ensure you do not lose the plug lid.
Most quart coolers are white or bright colors to reflect as much light and heat away from the cooler. A dark color on your cooler will absorb heat and this may melt the ice inside especially if the insulation is not thick.
Metal handles are relatively durable and flexible. Most manufacturers create thin metal handles to ensure they do not add to the weight of the unit. The challenge with most metal handles is that even with padding, they might still feel thin and uncomfortable on your hands. Plastic handles are wide and easy to hold with or without padding. However, a plastic handle is less durable and less flexible.
You do not have to try out all the above coolers to get the best 20 quart cooler. The YETI Roadie 20 Quart Cooler and the Pelican Elite 20 Quart Cooler are the most versatile coolers with thick insulations and a large capacity to accommodate at least 14 cans. Manufacturers of these two units recommend an ice – content ratio of 2:1 for maximum ice retention. This way, you can use them for more than six days and still have your contents fresh.
You can check out the two coolers by clicking on the product links above.