What Size Cooler Do I Need?

Whether you are planning a day trip to the beach, a fishing session, or a few nights camping in a tent, a cooler can be a really useful item.

To help you find the right cooler for you, this guide will explain everything you need to know about the product. This will include the various sizes available.

What Are Coolers?

Coolers are cold containers that frequently house food and drinks.

They will keep these foods and beverages at cold temperatures. Coolers are frequently constructed from vinyl, plastic, or different types of metals.

Why Use A Cooler?

As mentioned, the primary function of a cooler is to keep things cool.

This allows food to be safely transported. Here are some of the reasons why you may use a cooler:

They may be used to keep food and drinks chilled if you are having a barbeque. It is important to keep meat at a cool temperature (28°F to 32°F/ -2°C to 2°C).

You can bring refreshing beverages to the beach.

Coolers can be used to keep fishing bait alive.

Any fish that are caught can be kept cool in one of these items.

They may be used for other outdoor activities, such as hikes or camping.

What Size Cooler Should I Get?

The cooler size that you should invest in will depend on what you need it for. It will also be reliant on the amount of food you need and the number of people you are feeding.

To help you decide what cooler to get, we have listed the typical sizes and their usage.

Usually, a cooler’s capacity will be measured in quarts. Here is a list of the various cooler sizes available to you.

Tiny Coolers (5-10 Quart)

The smallest-sized coolers, these items are designed for personal use.

You may want to use these items like lunchboxes, keeping your personal food and drink cool. You will not have a ton of room in these coolers.

Because of this, you may only be able to put a drink and one or two food items in a cooler of this size.

Aside from taking this to work, you can also take tiny coolers for solo days out. They may also have enough capacity to have a very small picnic.

If you are looking for an example of this product, you may want to give this Coleman product a try.

Small Coolers (10-19 Quart)

Small Coolers (10-19 Quart)

These coolers are a little bigger than the previous model.

Despite that, they remain easily portable. Yet, they can hold more food and drink. Consequently, they will be well-suited to small gatherings or picnics.

If you are going on a date to the beach or a picnic, these coolers will have enough space for your food and refreshments.

They may also be spacious enough for a small family to be able to eat outside.

Coolers of this capacity will only be suited to day trips, as the ice will only last for 3 days maximum. It could only last for a day if you have an especially small cooler.

If you desire a slightly more substantial cooler, this Igloo Playmate unit may be ideal for you. You can either get a 14 or 16 QT cooler depending on the amount of food you have.

Medium Coolers (20-30 Quart)

Another stage larger, these coolers will be harder to carry. In fact, some people may struggle to carry them on their own.

The ice in these coolers should last for at least 3 days, though it is unlikely to still be there after 5 days.

If you have a small or medium-sized family, this cooler should be of sufficient capacity for a day trip.

For example, if you are planning a family hike, this cooler will be big enough to store enough food for the day. However, you may want to take it in turns carrying it.

Like the previous size range, medium coolers will be best suited to day trips.

Unless you are a single person, these coolers are unlikely to have enough capacity for multiple days. If you are planning a solo adventure for around 3 days, this cooler size should be adequate.

This 25 QT cooler from Igloo will be excellent for people who want a product in this size range.

Standard Coolers (31-55 Quart)

Perhaps the most common cooler size, standard coolers are quite hefty. Because of this, they are quite versatile products.

For example, they will hold enough food for an outdoor barbeque or beachside lunch. This will also be big enough for a large family day trip.

Plus, if you are going camping or fishing for a few days, it will be big enough to store all the food that you could want.

If you get a really efficient cooler of this size, the ice could last for a maximum of seven days. Because of this, you can use it for a short holiday for you and the family. Of course, you may need to replenish the food supplies.

The downside to this size bracket is that the units are going to become more expensive.

If you are willing to spend a little extra money on securing a high-quality standard-sized cooler, this Kong product will work wonders. If you are shopping on a budget, we suggest this Coleman cooler.

Big Coolers (56-80 Quart)

This is where things get serious. Coolers with this capacity are likely to be very heavy. As a result, it may take more than one person to lift them.

In fact, coolers of this size are better suited to commercial events.

We only recommend getting a cooler of this size for personal use if you regularly have large parties. Otherwise, you will probably not need a cooler that is this big and hefty.

It will be hard to maneuver, thus limiting its portability. It may also be used at hunting events for storing any killed animals.

Coolers of this capacity will last for up to 10 days. The ice should last for at least 5 days.

They can be quite costly investments, so you should only consider getting a big cooler if you are sure that you will use them regularly.

If you are searching for a 60 QT cooler, this RTIC version will be superb.

Massive Coolers (81+ Quart)

Lastly, this size bracket is primarily used for commercial coolers. They will be way too large for personal use.

You will probably struggle to carry a cooler this massive on your own. In fact, it may not even fit into your car.

Frequently Asked Questions

The most popular cooler size tends to be the standard size bracket, meaning between 31 and 55 QT. This is the most popular capacity because it is big enough for most family’s needs.

How Should I Choose A Cooler?

Aside from the size and capacity of the cooler, there are several other factors that you will need to consider. These include:

  • Price
  • Portability
  • Durability
  • Ease of storage

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, the size of the cooler you should invest in will be reliant on what you want to use it for.

Furthermore, you will need to consider how many people you want to feed. Larger parties will likely require a bigger cooler, as more people will need to be fed.

Hopefully, the list above will help you to find the right-sized cooler for your needs.

George Alexander
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