Welcome to F&W Gear Guides. Each week on Wednesday, we publish a buyer’s guide to an essential piece of kitchen gear based on real world testing. Missed an installment? Find them all here.
A good cooler can serve many masters, from soccer moms to avid campers to frat boys. But until you actually fill one up with ice and juice boxes, how can you tell what you're going to get? We tried seven models to test the claims of their makers and found that performance varies significantly from cooler to cooler. Read on to see how we arrived at three favorites: a full-featured premium pick, an excellent budget model and a smaller high-end cooler for those who don't need quite as much cooling capacity.