Updated November 27, 2018 by Gabrielle Taylor

The 10 Best Floating Coolers

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We spent 46 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, 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. Beistle Inflatable Pirate Ship

9. TRC Recreation Super Soft

8. GoFloats Giant Party Gator

7. Sevylor Inflatable

6. Bestway Iceberg Island

5. CreekKooler Outdoor

4. Airhead Aqua Oasis

3. SwimWays Kelsyus

2. Wow Sports Float Fridge

1. Intex Mega Chill II

On Making The Most Of Summertime Fun

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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Gabrielle Taylor
Last updated on November 27, 2018 by Gabrielle Taylor

Originally from a tiny town in Virginia, Gabrielle moved to Los Angeles for a marketing internship at a well-known Hollywood public relations firm and was shocked to find that she loves the West Coast. She spent two years as a writer and editor for a large DIY/tutorial startup, where she wrote extensively about technology, security, lifestyle, and home improvement. A self-professed skincare nerd, she’s well-versed in numerous ingredients and methods, including both Western and Asian products. She is an avid home cook who has whiled away thousands of hours cooking and obsessively researching all things related to food and food science. Her time in the kitchen has also had the curious side effect of making her an expert at fending off attempted food thievery by her lazy boxer dog.


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