Small personal coolers, a.k.a small ice chests, offer an ideal solution for you if you are looking for a way to pack your lunch before leaving for work each day. These units are big enough to hold your lunch. The drinks will stay cold for several hours. These units are easy to carry around, making them a great choice for commuters as well.
Small personal coolers come in different styles. You can opt for the right unit base on your needs. They can serve you for a variety of purposes in different situations, such as sporting events, hiking or just spend some time at the beach. These portable units will keep your drinks and food cool for several hours.
||Rubbermaid Cooler, 5 Quart, Blue||4.1|
||Coleman FlipLid Personal Cooler, 5 Quarts||4.3|
||Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Zipperless Hardbody Cooler||4.1|
|Coleman 16-Can Soft Cooler with Removable Liner||4.4|
||Igloo Ice Cube Cooler (14-Can Capacity, Ocean Blue)||4.5|
|Igloo MaxCold Hard Top Gripper 22 Cooler||4.0|
||Coleman Excursion Portable Cooler, 9 Quart||4.4|
- Factors to consider when choosing the best personal small cooler
- Best Personal Small Coolers 2023
- Rubbermaid Cooler, 5 Quart, Blue FG2A0904MODBL (Sports)
- Coleman FlipLid Cooler, 5 Quart , Blue (Sports)
- Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Cooler – 30 Can Zipperless Hardbody Cooler – Navy Blue with Deep Freeze Insulation, HardBody Liner, and SmartShelf (Sports)
- Igloo Ice Cube, Ocean Blue, 14-can Capacity, 32607 (Sports)
- Coleman Excursion Portable Cooler, 9 Quart , Blue (Sports)
Factors to consider when choosing the best personal small cooler
When buying a cooler, make sure you consider a few important variables. Based on your personal needs, you may be looking for a small lunch cooler or a bigger premium one. Given below is a description of a few factors that should be taken into account while making the buying decision.
When it comes to size, you need to consider two major metrics: the dimensions of the unit and the storage size.
- storage Size: This refers to the volume that you can store in the unit. The advertised storage volume is usually higher than the actual storage volume. Small, soft-sided units feature separate sections for non-chilled and chilled items. It’s important that you take into account the types of things you want to carry. The cooler you want to buy should have enough sections to hold those items.
- Cooler Size: Cooler size refers to the room that the unit takes up. Bigger units take up a lot of space and are difficult to carry around. These units are more durable and provide longer ice life as they have thicker walls. Smaller units have less capacity. They take up less space and are easy to move around.
Manufacturers use different types of materials to make personal coolers. Common materials include plastic, metal, fabrics, and rubber. Let’s discuss them.
Plastic: Most personal coolers are made of plastic as plastic is cheap, tough, lightweight and waterproof. Plus, it is a very good insulator. The downside is that plastic coolers are not as durable as the metal ones.
- Metal: Metal coolers are less common as they have metal hardware, such as zippers, handles, and hinges. Metal coolers are expensive, durable and aesthetically pleasing.
- Fabrics: The outside of most soft-sided coolers is made of different types of fabric. Not all of these units offer the same degree of insulation, waterproofness, and strength. Some of these units cost a few dollars. But don’t expect them to stand the test of time.
The high-end units, however, are made of nylon. They cost more but stand the test of time.
- Rubber: In these units, rubber is used in some specific areas, such as between the box and lid to make the unit airtight. Cooler handles and wheels are also made of rubber for better grip.
A personal cooler will be easier to handle if it has many carrying methods, such as side handles, lid handles, wheels, and shoulder straps. You can get the right type based on your needs.
If you want the highest insulation ability, go for the metal units or the units made of high-end fabrics. Obviously, high-end units will cost you a lot of money. But these units will keep your stuff cold for more than 6 days.
No cooler will last forever, but the high-end ones, especially those made of metal and highest quality fabric can last a long period of time. Again, these coolers cost a hefty sum of money.
If you need a unit that won’t get damaged in wet conditions, opt for one made from high-quality fabric. Most of these soft-sided coolers have plastic or rubber belly. Also, almost every hard-sided unit offers excellent water-resistance capability.
If you want to store your non-chilled items, get a cooler that offers external storage as well. You can store other items in these pockets, such as keys, wallets, sunglasses, and towels, to name a few.
In short, these are a few factors that you should consider when buying a small personal cooler. Reading reviews can also help.
Best Personal Small Coolers 2023
Given below is a list of the best personal small coolers available on the market.
1. Rubbermaid Cooler, 5 Quart, Blue FG2A0904MODBL
This USA-made mini cooler box features high thermal retention to keep food and drinks cold. Its top swing handle allows ease of carrying. This lunch unit resists odor and stain and holds 6 cans as well as ice.
If you are looking for a medium-sized personal cooler, go for it.
- Perfect for lunch
- Affordable and easy to use
- Keeps the contents cool for up to 6 hours
- Rubber saved on manufacturing, which making the unit not as insulated as it should be
- Seems too small for most applications
2. Coleman FlipLid Personal Cooler, 5 Quarts
Coleman FlipLid personal cooler is small and portable. It’s good at keeping your food and drinks cold. It can hold as many as 6 cans. Its molded beverage holders offer a stable surface.
Take a small table and this cooler with you the next time you attend an event outside. It provides enough space to hold a full meal if you are planning to go on a picnic. Also, the bail handle allows you to carry the unit easily. The lid flips over once you place the unit on a surface, and can be used as a tray. After use, the top of the unit is easy to wipe.
- Its small size allows you to store it in the trunk or behind your car seats
- Has bait fox for storing fishing trips
- Provides better insulation than most fabric lunch boxes
- Easier to wash and dry
- Offers longer lifespan compared to fabric lunch boxes
- May not an ideal choice for Tupperware
- The lid can’t be locked
- Insulation is not that impressive
3. Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Zipperless Hardbody Cooler
This small cooler offers the best insulation with its radiant heat barriers just like a small cooler Yeti. It also comes with front pockets with insulation capability. For quick access to the contents, the zipperless lid works like a charm.
This small unit has leakage proof lining that offers excellent protection against stains and bacterial odors, which makes it easier for you to clean the product. For ease of carrying, the unit comes with a backsaver shoulder strap that can be adjusted.
The exterior is strong enough to withstand water, stains, and abrasion. Besides, the product features a zippered soft pouch, which is non-insulated. Both sides of the unit have a handle. The top of the lid can be kept closed using Velcro strips. All in all, this cooler is great for cans.
- Small enough to fit in the tour box on your Harley
- Can hold 9 cans
- The bin can be removed.
- Multiple compartments
- The plastic liner is sort of brittle
- Can’t keep ice cold for longer than 3 days
- Containers don’t seem to fit properly
- Might Leak on the outside due to condensation
4. Coleman 16-Can Soft Cooler with Removable Liner
This soft cooler can hold 16 cans. It’s treated with quality antimicrobials to prevent damage from fungus, mildew, mold, and odor, which makes it easier to clean the product. The zippered compartments keep all the contents cold for several hours.
For hands-free carrying, it’s shoulder straps can be adjusted. For additional storage, the unit features a pair of side mesh pockets, lid bungees, and dry storage pouch. Leakage is no problem as the seams are heat-welded.
The Coleman 16-Can soft Cooler is an ideal choice for tailgates, sporting events, camping, BBQs and picnics. The liner material is approved by FDA for food contact, which can be removed.
- Perfect Size for most applications
- Additional zipper pockets
- Easy to clean
- Awesome workmanship
- It has barely enough room for 16 soda cans
- Can’t keep the contents cold for more than a couple of days
- May not be easy to carry
5. Igloo Ice Cube Cooler (14-Can Capacity, Ocean Blue)
Igloo Ice cube cooler is an ideal choice if you want to carry food and drinks with you on your trip or picnic. With its 12-quart capacity, it has enough room to hold 14 soda cans. The cube shape allows better cold retention and stability.
This cooler has a dry compartment for other stuff, such as keys, wallets, and phones. The curved design makes it easier for you to carry the cooler anywhere without a problem. Molded corner feet offer more stability and the cube geometry offered improved cold retention. The swing-up handle is strong and comfortable. The lower compartment is ideal for snacks, Tupperware, bottled water and lunch. It’s a good choice if you need an Igloo small cooler.
- Has lots of capacity (Can store 5 drink cans and 7 water bottles, a little bit of ice)
- Good at keeping the contents ice cold
- It has perfect shape and size
- Easy to carry
- May not keep stuff cold for more than 48 hours
6. Igloo MaxCold Hard Top Gripper 22 Cooler
Igloo MaxCold Hard Top Gripper 22 Cooler features MaxCold insulation that offers 25% more foal for an extended period of cooling. It has an extra compartment for dry storage as well. The shoulder strap is long and adjustable. Its antimicrobial liner is leak-resistant.
For a comfortable grip, the cooler has a rubberized handle. Both the front and back sides have slip pockets. So, this small cooler has plenty of space. On the inside of the top lid, you can use the space for snacks, forks, and spoons, for instance.
- Portable and easy to use
- Excellent design
- Lots of room for lunch, energy drinks, soda cans, and water bottles
- The quality of zippers is not very high
7. Coleman Excursion Portable Cooler, 9 Quart
This portable beverage cooler comes with a 9-quart capacity, which is enough to hold a full meal or 9 cans. It’s integrated lid hinges are strong enough to help against frequent opening and closing. For one-handed comfortable carrying, the unit features a bail handle.
Whether you are going to work or on a picnic, this cool can be your fellow. It’s lots of space and is easy to carry around.
- Comfortable handle
- Excellent build quality
- Not 100% waterproof
- Hard to open
- The handle is problematic
Small, personal coolers are versatile. They can be used in different situations and offer great results. Although these small units can’t compete with bigger models, they are effective. The bigger models serve different purposes.
Small coolers are ideal for personal day-to-day use. Most of them have enough room to hold a medium-sized lunch and a few drinks. They are good enough to keep your drinks and food cold for several hours.
If you are looking for the best small cooler bag, make sure you follow the guidelines given in this article.