A patio is the perfect place to enjoy a cool drink on a hot day, but rather than walking inside every time you need a refill, a patio drink cooler can keep it all close by.
These coolers combine practicality with style and come in all shapes and sizes to meet your personal taste, giving you the essential entertaining accessory.
What does a patio cooler do?
A patio cooler is a fancy term for a cooler chest, and they’re designed with a more stylish exterior that makes them great for entertaining.
Just like other coolers, they come in different sizes and vary in insulating properties to keep drinks and ice cold inside, with the added bonus of being nice to look at.
If you’ve been looking for a place to store refreshments that will keep them ice cold but want something a little fancier than your average cooler can offer, a patio drink cooler is the way to go.
We’ve created this buying guide to show you some of the best on offer and what features they can bring to your outdoor entertaining space.
Our Picks for the Best Patio Cooler
We’ve hand picked a few favorites in the patio cooler category to help you find the quintessential cooler to suit your style and size requirements.
With one of these on your patio, it can be a gamechanger, and it’s a must have if you want to turn your outdoor space into an entertainer’s dream.
Winner: Coleman Cooler
- Capacity: 54 quart
For the ultimate in retro style and the best outdoor patio cooler on our list, the Coleman Cooler ticks all of the boxes.
This red and white retro cooler features a 54-quart capacity which is enough to fit up to 85 cans, measures 25.1 x 17.5 x 17.2 inches, and is a heavy duty design that is as tough as it is pretty.
By far the best thing about this cooler is how it looks, with a special retro charm that fits in on just about any patio, and makes it an obvious standout when you see what other modern coolers look like.
It has a gorgeous cherry red finish with a black base and handle, and a crisp white strip for the seal, and is far more appealing than the other decorative coolers for the patio that we’ve seen.
The beautiful appearance aside, this cooler does a great job of keeping this cold and frosty, and it’s heavily insulated as well.
You can expect to have cold drinks ready to go without changing the ice for two days, so if you plan on spending the weekend on your patio and entertaining, it’s minimal effort to reach for a cold drink.
On the downside, some people had issues with the fact that the latch is only made of plastic, and they had fears about how it would hold up after some use.
If you plan on using your new patio cooler cart a lot and are worried about the handle’s durability as well, be careful while you open and close it.
For its size, the Coleman Cooler is a little pricey, and if you’re looking to save money on a patio ice cooler, there are cheaper picks.
The reason for the higher price tag is the look and design, which many are happy to pay for, but on the inside, it works just as well as comparably insulated styles.
The Coleman Cooler features comfort grip still handles on either side for easy carrying and it has a weight capacity of 250lbs so you can use it as a seat.
Other features include a no tilt draining system, steel hinges, and four day ice retention in settings up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, so it has a lot to offer.
If you like the classic look of a retro cooler coupled with the solid reputation of a brand like Coleman, theirs is the way to go.
This cooler can be purchased at Amazon for a great price and shipped to your door for free and has a massive six year warranty from Coleman. For looks and functionality, the Coleman Cooler is our absolute favorite.
Runner Up: Best Choice Products Rolling Cooler Cart
- Material: Stainless steel
- Insulation: Yes
- Capacity: 80 quart
Some patios need to call in the big dogs when it comes to a patio cooler cart, and if this sounds like your outdoor entertaining style, the Best Choice Products Rolling Cooler Cart is the way to go.
With a massive 80-quart capacity, dimensions of 15.5 x 36 x 33 inches, and enough room for 70 cans inside, it’s the entertainer’s dream come true, and all comes encased in a stainless steel exterior.
What customers loved most about this cart was its mobility, thanks to the wheels and stand that come included with it.
Having a rolling patio cooler is something you might not realize you need until you have it, and once you’ve rolled it around, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
Another major selling point is the size capacity, and it does it all without being too bulky or overbearing.
The overall weight is low enough that you can still push it around even if it’s full, but it has more than enough room to house all of the refreshments and ice you’d need for a massive party.
However, there were some disadvantages, and the main one customers mentioned the assembly process and how much work it took to get the legs flush.
As you have to attach them yourself, put aside some time to get it right, otherwise you’ll be dealing with a wobbly cart while you’re trying to serve drinks to your friends.
Another downside was the fact that it doesn’t have a great warranty period.
When you shop with other more expensive brands they often have 5+ years of warranty coverage to prove just how well made their product is.
If this peace of mind is important to you, don’t choose the Best Choice Products option, because it doesn’t have the same.
The Best Choice Products Rolling Cooler Cart comes with lots of noteworthy features, like two safety locks to keep it in place, a bottle opened and disposal bin added to the side and an easy drainage system that doesn’t require you to tilt it at all.
They’ve also included a storage shelf for keeping things underneath, which is a great place to keep bottles and plastic cups.
If you want a patio cooler cart on wheels that has all of the bells and whistles, check out the Best Choice Products Rolling Cooler Cart.
It’s priced exceptionally well and can be found on Amazon, which also offers free shipping and returns if you need them.
Best Choice offers only a 60 day warranty, but that’s to be expected for the price, and it still rates highly as one of our favorites.
Alternative: Giantex Rolling Quarter Cart
- Material: Stainless steel, PE rattan
- Insulation: Yes
- Capacity: 80 quart
A rolling patio beer cooler is the ultimate talking point of any event, and Giantex has created a massive 80 quart one that will do just that.
This stainless steel and plastic cooler is covered in brown PE rattan and inside features refrigeration insulation that will keep your drinks cold for 36 hours.
The measurements of the cooler are 32.7 x 18.9 x 33.1 inches and it weighs just 28lbs so it’s a lot lighter than it looks at first glance.
The design of these stainless steel patio coolers means they fit in wonderfully with the rest of your patio furniture, especially if you’ve got other rattan or wicker pieces.
It looks more like a design forward bar cart when you first see it, and all of the plastic and steel parts are hidden away inside.
The PE rattan also makes it more resistant to fading so even if you get lots of natural sunlight on your patio, it’ll keep its appearance for years to come.
If you have big dreams for a stainless steel patio cooler, this one can deliver, and one of people’s favorite things about it was how much it fit inside.
With 80 quarts, it will comfortably fit around 70 cans, as well as ice, so it’s more than enough for one party. Rather than having a few coolers on the go, you’ll only ever have to rely on this one from Giantex.
One issue that customers had was the legs of this cooler and the fact that you had to keep an eye on them and not let them get wet, otherwise, they were susceptible to rust.
This also doesn’t speak well to its water-resisting abilities and probably means it’s not a good option for exposed patios that might get rained on occasionally.
Another design problem that customers noted was the fact that all four wheels don’t lock.
While it was helpful to have two of them lock into place, the cooler still didn’t feel secure like this, and it sometimes moved a little.
If you plan on resting the cooler somewhere with even the slope, you’re going to notice it.
These design flaws aside, there are still lots of features worth mentioning, including a bottle opener, cap catcher, and a drain plug so there’s no need to tip it over when you want to empty the melted ice.
Giantex has included two side handles and because it has wheels, mobility is easy with this patio cooler, even if it’s full of drinks.
The Giantex Patio Cooler has 80 quarts of space and enough room for any size event, as well as being reasonably priced, but there’s, unfortunately, no warranty cover.
Amazon has this cooler listed online for the lowest price and when you buy through them you get free returns for 30 days and free shipping, so you get to check it all out before you commit.
Alternative: Petgirl Rolling Cooler
- Material: Steel and foam
- Insulation: Yes
- Capacity: 80 quart
Petgirl has created a lightweight and affordable patio cooler with their 80-quart rolling model, capable of storing up to 70 cans inside.
This cooler is made with a powder coated steel exterior and with PP lined injection foam interior and lid.
The exterior is a cool silver finish and it features four 2.7 inch wheels and two handles to maneuver it around the patio as you wish.
Customers raved about how long this cooler kept ice and drinks cool for something in this price range.
If you only entertain now and then and don’t need a cooler that’s going to be out every weekend, this is a more affordable way to get it.
Another favorite feature was the space underneath for storage, which came in handy for storing things like bottles, plastic cups, napkins, or any other party favors.
This is especially helpful if you plan on taking the cooler to the beach for the day or camping, as it gives you a backup table to make use of.
In terms of durability, it’s not the heaviest or strongest, and this is due to the foam insulation body.
Although it gets the job done with insulating and saves a lot of money when you purchase it, some people found it felt a bit flimsy when they first picked it up.
Once you add the ice and drinks, it’ll get some weight to it, but before that, it’s noticeably lighter than others.
This is another cooler that could benefit from having four locking wheels, especially when you’re trying to store it on a slope or angle.
Some customers didn’t realize that there were only two locking mechanisms in place and had to constantly reposition the cooler on their patio, so one without wheels might be best if your patio has a slope.
The PetGirl 80 Quart Rolling Cooler features a built-in bottle opener and cap catcher, as well as two durable steel side handles for easy transportation.
Half of the lid opens with hinges so you can find what you need inside, and then flips back down and seals again to keep everything cool.
When you’re done with the cooler, just open the drain spout, and the water will make its way out without any hard work or tipping on your part.
If you want a cheap alternative to rolling patio coolers and lean towards the classic retro style, the PetGirl 80 Quart is one of our top picks.
Unfortunately, this cooler doesn’t come with a warranty, but if you buy it online at Amazon they do offer free returns, so it’s not a huge risk giving this a go.
Alternative: Rio Brands Rolling Party Cooler
- Material: Aluminum, foam
- Insulation: Foam
- Capacity: 77 quarts
Rio Brands Rolling Party Cooler is one of our favorites for entertaining, and it not only has a huge capacity with a 77-quart size but it’ll be the center of attention too, thanks to its sleek black finish and rolling wheels.
The overall dimensions of the cooler are 32 x 17 x 15 inches and it weighs 33lbs in total.
This cooler has a great capacity with space for around 77 cans to fit inside, and people found it was deceptively large when they first looked at it.
Inside you get a lot of space and it’s not wasted like other models we’ve reviewed so if you’re looking for a larger one to suit parties and big events, the Rio Brands can certainly deliver.
People loved how much of a talking point this cooler was as well, and it steals the show of any event you have on your patio.
With a sleek black finish and aluminum body, curved edges, and unique lift off design, it’s an obvious standout when you stack it up against the other patio coolers on the market.
For a more expensive cooler, it was slightly disappointing to find this only had injected foam as the insulation material, which is a cheaper option to make.
Although it still does a good job with keeping drinks cold, it probably won’t last as long as others, so consider upgrading if you prefer a more durable construction.
There was some wasted space underneath that could have been used as a storage spot to keep things like cups and liquor bottles, but instead, it was used to make the appearance better.
This was slightly disappointing and customers weren’t able to store anything on there like they could with other rolling bar car coolers.
Although you can open just one half of the cooler and store some things on the other side, it’s not the most practical design.
The Rio Brands Rolling Party Cooler can fit 100 12 oz cans, has two deluxe carry handles, and four rolling wheels with two locks in diagonal positions to keep it in place.
The cooler also has a cap catcher and bottle opener, and when the party’s over, you just open up the drain spout and let the melted ice disappear.
If you want a showstopping cooler at your next part, this one from Rio Brands is the best way to get it.
It’s a little more expensive than other foam insulated coolers but makes up for it in style, and Amazon has it available online for a great price plus free shipping and returns.
There’s no warranty cover by Rio Brands, but if the happy customers are anything to go by, it’s worth taking a chance.
Patio Cooler FAQs
A patio cooler is a must-have if you like to entertain outdoors, and they’re versatile enough to take anywhere else, like camping, fishing, or a day at the beach.
To learn more about what a patio cooler is and how to find the right type to suit your outdoor space, we’ve answered some FAQs that can do just that.
How Effective Are Patio Coolers?
A patio cooler is only as effective as its insulation capabilities, as this enables the ice and drinks inside to remain colder for longer.
Although the exterior might look pretty, it’s the base inside of the patio cooler that does all of the work, and they can be just as effective as a standard cooler.
Which Cooler Is Best In Summer?
A highly insulated cooler is going to perform best in summer, so pick something with thick walls to keep the temperatures inside down and look for those with at least double insulation.
Many modern coolers are designed to withstand summer heat and even being exposed to the sun, so there are lots of viable options to choose from.
What Size Cooler Do I Need?
To determine the size cooler you need, think about how many refreshments you’ll store inside, and account for the fact that the inside measurements are usually smaller than the outside.
Up to half of the cooler’s interior capacity will be filled with ice which means just 50% of the interior space is usable for other things like food and drinks.
How Do I Choose A Good Air Cooler?
An air cooler with a large water tank is going to provide better cooling than a small one, so this is the most important feature to look for.
If you’re choosing an air cooler for outdoor use, make sure it’s weather resistant and suitable for this setting, otherwise, the exposure to the elements could do some damage.
A Patio Cooler for Style and Function
Having a patio cooler on hand at your next outdoor event is the perfect way to showcase style and functionality.
These standing coolers are perfect for the patio and as you can see from our reviews, they come in all shapes and sizes.
Adding one of these to your outdoor space will give an immediate enhancement of coolness, and not just for the drinks inside.