There are plenty of different variables that folks will consider when buying their next cooler: factors such as ice retention, storage size, durability, mobility, accessories, and others enter in to play. However, one important thing that may trump all and become a deciding element in which product you go with will be the asking price. Men and women normally have a set budget and will need to be happy to compromise on other features or performance to fulfill their budget needs.
Because of this, we feel it is very important to deliver a lot of our strategies for everything we feel are the most useful budget coolers. “Budget” could be a bit subjective since there can be an enormous variance in the dimensions of a cooler. Obviously, a little personal cooler will most likely be cheaper than an enormous plastic cooler that may fit 120 cans but does that automatically imply that the Best Cooler is budget and the large ice chest will not be? We don’t believe it does. Therefore, we analyze items depending on how much it costs per quart of storage size. This permits us to more easily directly compare two products of vastly different size and application.
We define “budget” as being a merchandise that is typically in the lower third tier of online prices. Since prices over a specific price can vary based on availability, location, shipping, etc., we often avoid mention specific prices. However, most of these products will be good targets for those who are looking to minimize the affect on their wallet. They must fall into pretty much everyone’s price range even when they are somewhat strapped for money.
Common Features of Budget Offerings: Just what are We Giving Up to avoid wasting Money?
We want to emphasize there are still A LOT of great products out there that happen to be inside the budget cooler category, many of which can have long ice life and stay quite durable. However, we have seen common trends the more cost-effective products tend to share. Despite these common themes, we encourage anyone to do individual research to discover what product fits best for your requirements. Remember: no two coolers are exactly alike!
The majority of your budget coolers within this price tier will almost be exclusively manufactured from plastic, rubber, or a type of fabric. A lot of the hardware will probably be plastic rather than metal and the fabric used won’t be of as top quality. For many this won’t become a big issue but on some of the coolers that may be exposed to more extreme environments having plastic hardware and hinges may well be a potential weak point down the road. This can limit the lifestyle in the cooler so you might have to disintegrate and get another product quicker than you have hoped.
While there are still many ice chests that will last two or three days with ice, you will notice an overall decline in just how long items stay cold budget cooler in comparison to higher-end offerings. This is caused by various things: lower-quality materials, shortcuts in build construction, weaker seals, etc. For somebody that may be only needing a product or service to maintain items cool for a day or two this shouldn’t be an issue but when someone needing a week’s amount of performance it might get them to heavily consider taking a look at some more expensive offerings. However, in budget coolers you will discover a significant array of ice life through the best performing for the worst performing so performing due diligence is without a doubt necessary.
Most of these will be subtle, for example less intricate stitching, more “play” inside the lid, looser hinges, etc. These shortcuts can impact both product life along with cooling performance. You will typically not find roto-molded construction in budget coolers, which is a type of selling point in many the premium coolers which we have reviewed. That isn’t to express that the cooler can’t still be tough without having to be roto-molded but there is however definitely a direct connection.
Lots of the higher-end products have various additional features that can really help these to be noticeable. Such things as modular ice trays, various external storage options, easy-access drain plugs, multiple ergonomic carrying methods, bottle openers, and also included silverware! To some this can be things which are sorely missed in cheaper products and to others, they could be simply a gimmick. It will likely be your decision to make a decision do you know the core features you are looking for inside a cooler.
Typically the costliest products lasts a whole lot longer. Obviously, this may vary a lot on what type of environment you expose these to, but to some buying one of many premium coolers that may cost several large sums of money is seen being an investment in something they intend to last for quite some time. Unfortunately, some budget coolers may last a season or two and then begin to crumble. Think of how you intend on using the cooler and regardless if you are ok getting a new cooler every few years to save a few dollars.
These are merely a few factors to consider when looking at budget coolers. With that in mind, here are several of our own top alternatives for affordable ice chests.