The 10 Best Floating Coolers

Updated May 05, 2017 by Chase Brush

10 Best Floating Coolers
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 44 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. When you're relaxing in the water, the last thing you want is the hassle of having to get out to find yourself a cool drink. With one of these colorful and functional floating coolers, however, you'll be able to keep all your beverages and snacks nice and cold and, most importantly, within reach, whether you're at the beach, on a river, or in a backyard swimming pool. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best floating cooler on Amazon.

10. Inflatable Pirate Ship

This Inflatable Pirate Ship may look ridiculous and probably won't last forever, but it's a fun party accessory that's fairly cheap, so you won't mind replacing it if it runs aground or sinks. It functions fine as a drinks holder, but also works as a standalone decoration.
  • can tote up to 72 cans
  • complete with jolly roger flag
  • not very stable in the water
Brand Beistle
Model 50989
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. Byers 1700 Big Bobber

Fishing enthusiasts with appreciate the Byers 1700 Big Bobber, which features a lid that closes completely and includes a built-in carrying handle for easily taking it out of the water. Its plastic body is lightweight and actually floats, though it can be prone to leaks.
  • great father's day gift
  • made in the united states
  • tends to tip over when overfilled
Brand Byers
Model 1700
Weight 4.9 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

8. GoFloats Giant Party Gator

Whether in the pool or on the river, the GoFloats Giant Party Gator is sure to be as good at sparking conversation as it is at keeping your beverages chilled. The center cooler holds up to 20 cans with ice, while four built-in cupholders allow for socializing.
  • oversized and stable design
  • perfect for kids or college parties
  • plastic material rips easily
Brand GoFloats
Model PG-01
Weight 2.6 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. TRC Recreation Super Soft

The funky-looking TRC Recreation Super Soft will do a good job keeping your party favors dry and afloat, thanks to its unique thick foam and glossy vinyl-coated construction. Each unit features two cupholders as well as a lid that fits securely over the main compartment.
  • comes in red or blue
  • includes matching tray
  • fairly pricey for such a basic item
Brand Texas Recreation
Model 8841048
Weight 7 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

6. Sevylor Inflatable

While the center compartment of the Sevylor Inflatable can be stocked with ice and drinks and used on its own, it works best when serving as a base for a hard-shell cooler. Snap cords on either side of the unit allow it to be quickly linked up to other flotation devices.
  • ergonomic locking valve
  • self-draining mesh bottom
  • does not include separate cooler
Brand Sevylor
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

5. Bestway Iceberg Island

The Realtree Max-5 camouflage print of the Bestway Iceberg Island should help it appeal to hunters and other outdoors-ey people looking for a stylish and reliable container in which to keep their brews. Pair it with the brand's matching camo tube for a complete look.
  • thick hinged lid opens easily
  • holds up to 4 gallons
  • great for lake and river trips
Brand Bestway
Model 92107E
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

4. SwimWays Kelsyus

The fabric cover and insulation of the SwimWays Kelsyus do a great job not just of holding your beers and sodas, but of actually keeping them cool, too. Six numbered cupholders are arranged around the main compartment, ensuring your drinks don't get mixed up.
  • main bucket includes zipped lid
  • pull-out liner for easy cleaning
  • carrying bag comes included
Brand SwimWays
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

3. Intex Mega Chill II

The Intex Mega Chill II is a mighty 48 by 38 inches in size, so it can hold enough beer and snacks to keep a party going all night. Its three air chambers make it super stable in the water, and the inflatable ice chest can be removed and replaced with a regular cooler.
  • can be towed using rubber grommet
  • four handles for easy carrying
  • includes patch repair kit
Brand INTEX
Model 58821EP
Weight 8.1 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Airhead AHAO-1 Aqua Oasis

The multifunctional Airhead AHAO-1 Aqua Oasis incorporates an insulated nylon cooler that can be separated from its inflatable, floating base, allowing you to take the former with you wherever you go. It's perfect for beach days that are only partly spent in the water.
  • pocket for storing suntan lotion
  • numbered cupholders in base
  • long shoulder strap for transporting
Brand Airhead
Model AHAO-1
Weight 3.4 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Wow Sports 30 Quart Floating Fridge

With its heavy-gauge PVC construction and massive size, the Wow Sports 30 Quart Floating Fridge is built to withstand any conditions you decide to use it in, whether it's a stony beach or rocky river bed. An ergonomic speed valve allows for fast inflation and deflation.
  • double-layered padded bottom
  • thick and durable walls
  • great for tubing
Brand WOW Sports
Model 11-2000
Weight 6.2 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

On Making The Most Of Summertime Fun

When the summer heat hits those top temperatures, there are essentially two options at your disposal: you can hide out inside with the AC and fans running and squander your precious free time, or you can jump into the pool, lake, or the ocean and keep cool while enjoying outdoor activities. Ever since the proliferation of private swimming pools began in the middle of the 20th Century, many Americans have enjoyed the opportunity for recreation and relief from the heat right in their own backyards. Public pools also offer respite from the heat of the summer, as does a trip to the beach, the river bank, or the lake.

To enjoy your visit to the local swimming spot (even if it is on your own property) it's important to plan things properly. Make sure you bring along everything you're likely to need throughout the day so you minimize the need for trips back to the car, the hotel room, or to a store. That means bringing plenty of sunblock and ideally a way to create shade, such as with an umbrella or a pop up sun shelter. You should bring one towel to use on your beach chair or on the sand, and another for use to dry off after each dip in the water. As for recreational activities, your "kit" might contain everything from a book to a football to a surfboard -- that part of the equation is entirely individual.

One thing any successful day at the beach or the pool needs, though, is great snacks and beverages. Liquids in particular are important to have when you are spending long amounts of time outside on sunny, warm days. It's important to keep yourself properly hydrated, so pack plenty of water and/or hydrating beverages along with you. And if you like to enjoy a beer or cocktail while poolside or on the beach, go ahead and indulge, but make sure to increase your intake of water even more so when consuming alcohol -- the sun and the booze don't mix well without proper hydration.

When spending time outside, best place to store your food and drink is in a reliable cooler. And the place for your cooler to be is floating right next to you in the water.

Choosing A Floating Cooler For The Pool

If you're going to be spending a day at the pool, then almost any floating cooler is an acceptable choice. Many coolers with open tops are not acceptable for use in rivers, lakes, or the ocean where the current or waves could spill water into the cooler and out of which cans, bottles, or foodstuffs could easily spill, thus leading to pollution. The calm waters of a pool present much less chance of a spill, and even if something does fall into the pool, it's easy enough to retrieve it.

There are many novelty floating coolers available that can make a playful atmosphere even more fun, or that can work with the theme of a party. Many of these coolers are inflatable, allowing for easy storage when not in use and easy portability, too. The drawbacks come from the chance for a puncture that will render them unfit for use in the water, and from the fact that they don't tend to insulate as well as some of the more sturdy, substantial floating coolers available.

For use in the busy pool filled with active people, consider a floating cooler with a cover to protect your food and drinks from splashes. In general, you shouldn't need a cooler with built in cupholders when at the pool, thanks to the plentiful places to rest a drink. But you can always consider these options for added convenience and less reason to get out of the water. More important is simply considering the capacity you want out of your cooler. There are floating coolers that can store just a few bottles and cans and that take up minimal room, making them good for smaller pools. And then there are floating coolers that can hold up to 72 cans, making the great for the large group ready for a long day of beverages.

Choosing A Floating Cooler For The River, Lake, Or Open Water

If you are bringing a floating cooler out into a river during a tubing or canoe trip, into the lake while you swim, or out into the surf of the ocean or sea, you need to make sure your cooler can stand up to the waves and the current. That means choosing a floating cooler with a top that closes reliably enough to keep water out in the event of splashing or larger waves, and that won't spill its contents into the water even if it is jostled or tipped. It's important that you keep your foods and drinks clean and safe and that you avoid spilling things into the water at the same time.

When you're choosing a cooler to use in a river or in open water, you want to make sure its use will be as convenient as possible, as you can't just hop out of the water as is possible in a pool. Choose options that have cupholders to make it easier for you to put a beverage down between sips, and consider a floating cooler larger enough to even offer some floatation you can take advantage of. Once the water is too deep for standing, you'll be glad to have a float nearby so you don't have to constantly tread water. (And so much the better when that float is filled with beer.)

If you are bringing your cooler along for a trip down a river, chances are good that it will encounter rocks, branches, and other obstacles. Consider a cooler with hard sides and that floats low in the water to offer your chilled goods the best chance to avoid damage and to avert capsizing when the cooler bumps off of submerged hazards.



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Last updated on May 05, 2017 by Chase Brush

Chase is a freelance journalist with experience working in the areas of politics and public policy. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, he is also a hopeless itinerant continually awaiting his next Great Escape.


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