Best Floating Ice Chests and Coolers of 2021 (Buyers Guide!)

Few things in life are better than hanging out poolside with a cold drink in your hand surrounded by people you love. But why get out of the water to fetch another drink when you can keep your beverages nice and cool using a floating ice chest? With all the options available, choosing the best floating ice chests and coolers can be tricky.

To make your life easier, we’ve created a list of the top picks for floating coolers you can find online. Whether you’re looking for something simple or decorative, you’ll find what you need below. We’ll also touch up on what you should look for when choosing a floating ice chest or cooler. By the time you finish reading, you’ll be ready to find the perfect buy.

Without further ado, here’s our list of the best floating coolers on the market. 

The Best Floating Ice Chests and Coolers (Editor’s Picks)

Below are all of our editor’s top picks for floating ice chests and coolers. You’ll see each product’s unique features along with a few pros and cons. Although we use a numbered list, the items aren’t placed in any particular order. 

1. Intex Mega Chill 35-Inch Floating Cooler

If you have a smaller group (2 to 3 people) and are looking for a reliable floating cooler for the pool, the Inte Mega Chill 35-Inch Floating Cooler is worth checking out. In this icebox, you can fit up to 30 regular sized cans of your favorite drinks. You can place your drinks in one of the handy cupholders, and there’s additional storage space located on each side. 

The Intex Mega Chill cooler is incredibly easy to inflate and comes with useful handles for portability. If you’re going tubing, you can easily attach this cooler to your innertubes so that you can enjoy a nice cold drink as you cruise down the river. If you do find any holes, the set comes with a handy filler patch to prevent the cooler from sinking. 

One of the reasons why the Intex Mega Chill cooler is a top pick is because of its durability. It’s rare to find a cooler that can survive river expeditions in one piece, however, this ice chest will remain intact. It’s also extremely affordable considering how strong it is, making it a solid choice for college students and young adults. 

Pros

  • Easy to attach to inner tubes
  • Highly affordable and built to last
  • Large storage capacity (can fit 30 cans)

Cons

  • Ice can melt easily in direct sunlight
  • Top of the cooler doesn’t seal well
  • Doesn’t track with kayak or other floating vessels

2. Cool Float Plastic Floating Cooler

In terms of design, this may be one of the most practical floating coolers on the market. The Cool Float Plastic Floating Cooler is perfect for pool parties as it can fit up to 18 cans of your favorite drinks plus ice. There are also 6 cup holders around the cooler with a few indents for other items like your phone, lighter, etc. 

While this cooler is mostly for pools, you can also bring it along to the lake or a slow-flowing river. You can easily connect it to your kayak, tube, or canoe using the side hook. The plastic is extremely durable and made in the United States, so you should need to worry about it breaking. Cool Float also uses 100% recycled plastic, making this cooler an eco-friendly party enhancer.

One noteworthy feature of this cooler is the cupholders. They are deep enough that your cans won’t spill or fall out, even when cruising down the creek. We would recommend the Cool Float Plastic Floating Cooler to anyone part with 3 to 6 people. The ¼ turn does a fantastic job of keeping your drinks cold even during the hottest of summers. 

Pros

  • Ideal for pool parties and tubbing
  • Firm plastic that doesn’t break or puncture
  • An easy-to-use hook attachment system

Cons

  • Although a strong cooler, it can easily nosedive in rough waters
  • Cup holders can easily fill with water
  • Only suitable for still water

3. Airhead Aqua Oasis Floating Cooler 

If you’re looking for a floating cooler more suitable for river cruising, then the Airhead Aqua Oasis may be an excellent choice. It’s also a reliable cooler to have for pool parties, lakes, the beach, or on dry land. Since the cooler is inflatable, there’s a good amount of space between the beverages and the base. This design helps keep your drinks extra cool all day long. 

Along the side of the cooler are 6 numbered cup holders, making it easier to know which drink is yours. You can fit up to 24 cans in the cooler, ice, or even a bottle of liquor. One thing we love about this cooler is the adjustable strap. It allows for an easier carry, especially while camping or at the beach.

You can inflate the Airhead Aqua Oasis by mouth and should only take a few moments. The cooler’s shape is designed to keep it stable, even when on choppy waters. While almost all floating coolers advertise to be durable, several customer reviews claim that they’ve never had any issues with the Airhead Aqua Oasis. 

Pros

  • Has enough space to hold full bottles
  • Ideal for tubing, pool parties, and lakes
  • Well insulated and keeps beverages cold for several hours

Cons

  • Color can fade over time due to sun exposure
  • Water makes its way into the cooler/cup holders
  • More affordable options available

4. CreekKooler Outdoor Floating Cooler

Without a doubt, the CreekKooler Floating cooler is one of the best you can get your hands on. It’s also one of the favorites for people who enjoy fishing since you can use it to store your catches. The lid locks in place to prevent any water from getting inside, keeping all of your goods dry while you have fun in the water. 

One fantastic aspect of this cooler is the extremely strong handles. You can attach it to a canoe, kayak, fishing boat, tube, and have your drinks right by your side all day long. The CreekKooler has an amazing storage capacity. You can easily fit up to 30 cans of your favorite drink along with up to 20 pounds of ice to keep them cool.

Finding a floating cooler that’s durable and inexpensive can be challenging. However, we think this one from CreekKooler is an excellent value for money. Several customer reviews claim their cooler is long-lasting and suitable for choppy water. Not only is this cooler by CreekKooler good in the water, but you can also drag it through dry land if you’re camping or at the beach.

Pros

  • The locking lid protects water from getting in
  • Durable and useful in various settings
  • Can keep ice cool for up to 48 hours

Cons

  • Although the lid protects water from getting in, there’s no drain hole to get water out
  • Heavy to carry (17 pounds)
  • The attachment rope is flimsy

5. Byers Big Bobber Floating Cooler

Having a dependable floating cooler for pool parties or fishing will tremendously make your experience better. The Byers Big Bobber Floating Cooler offers everything you need in an ice chest, such as sufficient storage capacity, durability, and compact design.

The cooler works exactly like a fishing bobber, so you and your friends can have to ice-cold drinks without leaving the water. One reason this cooler is a party favorite is there’s no inflating. All you need to do is fill it with your favorite refreshments, drop it in the water and you’re good to go. It also comes with useful handles to make it easy to transport from your house or car.

On the cooler’s side are holes where you can attach it to a canoe, kayak, raft, or inner tube. The materials are top-notch and American made, so the Byers Big Bobber can take a beating. Its design is what really takes home the cake. Any fishing enthusiast is destined to compliment you when they see your bobber floating around the party. 

If you have a friend or family member that’s into angling, this cooler makes for a fantastic birthday or Christmas present. 

Pros

  • High-quality materials made in the USA
  • No need to inflate
  • Quality and functional gift for fishing friends

Cons

  • No cup holders 
  • Smaller storage capacity
  • Heavy to carry (27.5 pounds)

6. GoFloats Giant Party Gator

The last thing you want to see when swimming in the water is an alligator creeping up on you. That is, of course, unless it’s the GoFloats Giant Party Gator holding your favorite ice-cold drink. This is one of our top favorites for several reasons. For starters, the design is absolutely amazing. The gator is a great conversation starter and will get tons of people in the pool.

Hence the name, the GoFloats Giant Party Gator is large. You can fit up to 20 regular sized cans along with ice to keep your drinks nice and chilled throughout the entire party. If you don’t want your gator cooler floating around, you can use one of the grommets to tie it up and keep it in a fixed position. 

The GoFloats Giant Party Gatos is made from premium vinyl. The company claims that their floating coolers are 25-50% more durable than others on the market, and several customer reviews back this up. It only comes with 4 cup holders, however, the open storage area makes it easy for party goers to grab an ice-cold drink.

Pros

  • Incredible design that’s guaranteed to spark conversations
  • Floats well even when full
  • Can float freely or set in a fixed position

Cons

  • Doesn’t keep drinks cold as long as other options 
  • Ice can rip the cooler
  • Frequent air leakage

7. SwimWays Kelsyus Floating Cooler

If you’re looking for something more heavy-duty, then the Kelsyus Floating Cooler by SwimWays might be worth checking out. SwimWays is known for creating high-quality products, and this ice chest is no exception. Like the Intex Mega Chill, there are 6 cup holders around the cooler’s side where you can hold your drinks. 

Since the cooler is made from fabric, it’s a lot stronger and has better insulation than those made from rubber. However, the Kelsyus is quite small compared to other choices on this list. You can only fit up the 18 cans inside along with ice, making it only ideal for small groups. With that in mind, it’s compact design makes it much easier to fold and store away.

The set also comes with a bag you can use to carry your cooler around. We think the bag is a nice touch because other coolers require you to carry it with your hands, which can be taxing if you have a long trek to the water. If you’re looking to host a large party, you’ll need to get a few of them or opt for a bigger cooler. 

Pros

  • Extremely durable fabric material
  • Compact and easy to carry
  • Can tether to a boat, canoe, kayak, or inner tube

Cons

  • Much smaller than other coolers within the same price range
  • Can’t fit many drinks if you add ice
  • Not as visually appealing as other options

8. Summer Waves Personal Cooler Lounge

Looking to add a bit more comfort to your pool party? The Summer Waves Personal Cooler Lounge will completely transform your outdoor experience. This floating pool lounge comes with 2 comfortable seats along with a handy cooler right in the center. The seats are made from a soft mesh material, providing enough support for you and your partner. 

One reason why this floating lounge is better than tying tubes together is that you won’t ever get separated or tangled as you cruise down the river. You and your partner can enjoy the ride and an ice-cold drink together. The seats are comfortable enough, even for taller passengers. There’s also a convenient cup holder on each side of the cooler to place your drink. 

While this is an excellent choice for couples, it’s not ideal for large parties as the cooler storage space isn’t as deep as others. However, having one of these at your pool party could be useful as it allows guests to relax together and enjoy a nice conversation while drinking a cold one. 

Pros

  • The cooler is attached to 2 high-quality lounge chairs
  • Easy to inflate and use
  • Summer Waves is a reputable brand

Cons

  • Not ideal for multiple guests
  • Can easily puncture if you’re not careful
  • Sometimes the seats can rock up and down making passengers dizzy

9. TRC Recreation Blue Floating Cooler

TRC Recreation is a household name when it comes to iceboxes, and their Blue Floating Cooler is a perfect example of why the company is an industry leader. This cooler has enough storage space to comfortably fit up to 18 cans of your favorite drinks along with enough ice to keep them cold. 

It also comes with a handy grommet you can use to attach the cooler to a dock, kayak, canoe, or anything else nearby. TRC Recreation uses a vinyl material for this cooler, so you can rest assured that it’s designed to take a beating. For insulation, they use foam which helps keep the content cold for several hours. 

For those looking for a reliable floating cooler with a nice design, this one by TRC Recreation is worth considering. It has all of the features you would need from a floating ice chest, such as durability, grommets, suitable storage capacity, and it’s highly affordable. You can always count on TRC Recreation for high-quality products, as they use American made materials. 

Pros

  • Easy to store indoors when you don’t need to use it
  • No inflating needed
  • Keeps your drinks chilled with minimal ice

Cons

  • Lower storage capacity than other coolers within the same price range
  • Some users report that the foam isn’t sealed properly
  • Doesn’t track well with kayaks

10. WoW World of Watersports Floating Cooler

If you’re into tubing, rafting, kayaking, or anything related to rivers, then the WoW World of Watersports Floating Cooler may be the best choice for you. The most noteworthy feature of this cooler is the exceptionally durable grommet you can use to attach to whatever vessel you have at the ready. 

This cooler by World of Watersports is the ideal floating fridge for those looking to enter rough waters. The buoyant bottom allows the cooler to easily float down rapids without spilling any of the contents inside. It also comes with a whopping storage capacity that can easily fit 30 cans of beer or beverage of choice. 

World of Watersports uses thick padding for the material, offering more insulation that keeps your drinks cold longer. Unlike other floating coolers that require a ton of effort to set up, the WoW ice chest is incredibly quick and easy to inflate. Once you blow it up, you can carry it into the water using one of the tote handles. 

Since this cooler is made from strong vinyl, you shouldn’t need to worry about it puncturing; even if you’re dragging it through rocks and sticks. 

Pros

  • Specifically designed for watersports such as rafting, kayaking, and tubing
  • The ziplock lid keeps all of the contents fresh and dry
  • The thick padding can take a lot of damage and will rarely puncture

Cons

  • Ice can melt easily when under direct sunlight
  • Easy to tip over
  • Cup holders aren’t stable

11. COOL FLOAT Plastic Floating Cooler

The COOL FLOAT Plastic Floating Cooler brings a whole new meaning to the term “poolside chilling”. This compact but effective cooler can carry up to 24 cans of your favorite drinks, ice, and has 6 additional cup holders to rest your beverage. The cooler itself only weighs 10 pounds, so lugging it around is effortless.

Since there’s a hook on the cooler’s side, you can attach it to whichever water vessel you choose. Therefore, this cooler by COOL FLOAT is perfect for pool parties, rafting, fishing, kayaking, or tubbing. COOL FLOAT uses a durable plastic to protect the cooler from breaking, even if you’re in rough waters.

Although COOL FLOAT isn’t a worldwide brand, they still have a track record for releasing high-quality products. The company also uses 100% American made materials for this cooler. Therefore, we would recommend their plastic floating cooler to anyone looking for an affordable way to enhance their fun on the water. 

Pros

  • Floats smoothly and hold all drinks in place
  • Can easily fit a case of beer in the cooler
  • The cup holders are spacious

Cons

  • Might tip over often if the water is choppy  
  • Not ideal for moving water
  • Water can make its way into the cup holders

12. BigMouth Inc Flamingo Cooler

If you want to bring a tropical vibe to your pool party, the BigMouth Inc Flamingo Cooler is exactly what you need. The vibrant color, incredible design, and extremely affordable price make this one of the best options on the market. Not only does it do an excellent job of keeping your drinks cool, but it’s also a fantastic conversation starter. 

The cooler alone only weighs 100 grams, making it incredibly easy to carry around. You can fit only about 8 cans in the cooler with ice, so make sure it’s not the only cooler you’re using. One thing we like about the Flamingo Cooler by BigMouth is the deep cup holders. They should be able to comfortably hold your beer, even if you have a koozie on.   

We won’t say that the Flamingo cooler is the most high-quality or durable cooler available. However, it’s a fun product to use at your pool party as it’s bound to strike up conversations and get people into the pool. 

Pros

  • Fun and stylish design
  • Deep cup holders 
  • Extremely lightweight

Cons

  • Low storage capacity
  • Insulation could be better
  • Can puncture easily

Best Floating Ice Chests and Coolers Buyers Guide – | Your Guide to Selecting the Best Product

When it’s time to choose a floating cooler, there are a lot of factors to consider. That’s why we created this neat little buyers guide to help you make the best choice. Continue reading below to learn about what to look for when selecting your floating fun box so that you can have the best experience possible. 

Choosing the Right Storage Capacity 

If you’re looking to choose the best floating cooler possible, you’ll need to pay extra attention to the storage capacity. The amount of storage you’ll need will vary depending on several factors. Therefore, you must know your needs before selecting a cooler. You can think about how many guests you’ll have, how many drinks you’re buying etc. 

Most of the coolers above can hold at least 15 regular sized cans, making them suitable enough for groups of 3 and up. However, if you plan on having 10+ party guests, you’ll need something more heavy-duty. If you only need a cooler for personal use, you can opt for one of the more compact choices. 

Understanding the Best Materials

When choosing a floating cooler, you’ll need to find something that’s built to last. However, it can be challenging to know what the best materials are if it’s your first time buying a floating cooler. Most products are made from either vinyl, fabric, or rubber. Vinyl tends to be the most durable where rubber coolers tend to puncture or tear over time. 

If you’re buying your cooler online, it can be tricky to see whether or not it’s durable. For the best insights, make sure to check out several customer reviews and see what people have to say about the materials. All companies will say that their coolers will last ages, however, nothing is more valuable than reviews from real-life customers.

Remember that when you’re searching for your cooler, don’t automatically go for the cheapest option. While you may save some money initially, you’ll likely get a low-quality product that will break after using it a few times. It’s better to find a cooler within a reasonable budget that has a good reputation online.

Finding the Right Size

We understand that you want a cooler that can fit all of your refreshments, but the last thing you want is to be lugging around a robust ice chest when you’re trying to enjoy some sunshine. Therefore, you should always consider the cooler’s size before making a decision. However, if you plan on having a big pool party, you’ll absolutely need a larger cooler.

Thankfully, most of the big-sized coolers come with carrying handles or a bag. This way, you can easily carry your floating freezer throughout the party. Remember that the pool is also for swimming, so getting a cooler that’s too big might take up too much space for guests who want to take a dip in the water.

(You might be interested in reading our article on Best Inflatable Serving Bars)

Choose Your Style

Once you’ve figured out all of the logistics, it’s time to choose a floating cooler that matches your style. You can opt for something minimal, or choose a fun design like the GoFloat Giant Party Gator. There are typically several styles, colors, shapes, and themes to choose from. So, finding one that perfectly matches your taste shouldn’t be too difficult. 

Insulation is Everything

There’s nothing worse than taking the time to set up a floating cooler only to find that your drinks are still warm. The key is to find a cooler that has good insulation. Coolers are designed to slow down air circulation, keeping whatever inside nice and cold. A high-quality cooler should be able to keep your ice frozen for at least 24 to 48 hours

Don’t Forget Stability

You should be able to rely on your cooler to hold your food/drinks safely without tipping over. However, even the strongest coolers can capsize. To ensure you’re getting a floating cooler with optimal stability, be sure to check out customer reviews and the company’s product description. If your cooler isn’t stable, you’ll spend more time retrieving your goods than having fun.

How to Find the Best Floating Cooler for Pools

If you’re having a pool party, a floating ice chest is an excellent addition to the water-filled fun. Fortunately, you won’t need a cooler with an intricate locking mechanism, as it’s unlikely a large amount of water will get inside. The cool calm waters of the pool make it easy for the cooler to float casually, and if anything does fall overboard it’s easy to recover. 

Several floating coolers are perfect for pool parties. All you need to do is inflate it when you need it, and deflate it and store it away once the party’s over. However, the main issue with inflatable coolers is they can puncture easily, especially if alcohol is involved. They also don’t have as good of insulation as other designs but are more than enough for parties.

If you think your pool party will get rowdy, it’s best to go with a cooler with a top. This way your drinks are secure if anyone accidentally bumps into them, which almost always happens in crowded pools.

Since most pools come with tons of places to rest your drink, cup holders aren’t necessary. However, they can be handy for keeping track of which drink belongs to who. 

How to Find the Best Floating Cooler for Lakes, Rivers, and Open Water

Lakes, rivers, and open water are a whole different ball game. You’re dealing with waves, currents, rocks, etc. So, you need to find a cooler that can take a beating. It goes without saying that you’ll need to choose a cooler with a cover, preferably one that locks in place.

(We also have our top pickups of Best Cooler Tubes for Rivers)

Without a cover, it’s inevitable to lose your food/drinks, causing harmful pollution to the waters and possibly ruining your outdoor fun. You’ll also need to heavily consider the cooler’s design since you can’t take it in and out as easily as when you’re at the pool. For that reason, finding a cooler with cup holders and handles is crucial. 

One of the biggest benefits of having a floating cooler in open water is that you can hang onto it when the water is too deep to stand. This is not only safe, but it will also save you a lot of energy because you don’t need to constantly tread water. 

Best Floating Coolers Comparison Chart

ProductPrice MaterialInner DiameterUnique Features
Intex Mega Chill 35-Inch Floating Cooler$Vinyl35"Easy to attach to inner tubes, highly affordable, large storage capacity
Cool Float Plastic Floating Cooler$Plastic19"Ideal for pool parties and tubbing, firm plastic that does not break
Airhead Aqua Oasis Floating Cooler $Heavy-gauge k80 PVC24"Has enough space to hold full bottles, ideal for tubing and lakes
CreekKooler Outdoor Floating Cooler$Synthetic35"The locking lid protects water from getting in, durable, can keep ice cool up to 48 hours
Byers Big Bobber Floating Cooler$Plastic35"High quality material, no need to inflate
GoFloats Giant Party Gator$Vinyl34"Floats well, can set in fixed position
SwimWays Kelsyus Floating Cooler$Nylon30"Extremely durable fabric material
Summer Waves Personal Cooler Lounge$Plastic & Nylon45"Easy to inflate and use, convenient cup holder on each side
TRC Recreation Blue Floating Cooler$Synthetic16"No inflating needed, keep your drinks chilled
WoW World of Watersports Floating Cooler$Heavy-gauge PVC16"The zip lock lid keeps all the contents fresh and dry
COOL FLOAT Plastic Floating Cooler$Plastic23"Floats smoothly and hold all drinks in place
BigMouth Inc Flamingo Cooler$PVC23"Stylish design, deep cup holder

Wrapping Up

Floating coolers are a fantastic way to take your pool parties or water sports to the next level. We hope that our list of the best floating ice chests and coolers was helpful, and you’re more ready to make a decision. Remember, always consider all of the important factors before making your choice.

Sometimes, finding the best cooler requires some trial and error. Fortunately, most of the items on our list are affordable, so there’s little risk with trying a few of them out. 

If you know someone who’s always throwing pool parties or going rafting, be sure to share this post with them so they can upgrade their experience. 

 

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