What to Buy

12 Best Coolers to Keep Your Drinks From Sweating

Who wants a can of warm beer or room-temp snacks? Absolutely no one.

June 23, 2021
Photo by Rocky Luten

There’s no worse feeling than an ice-cold drink sweating it out or your favorite dip going down to room temp before you can finish them. And if you’re planning to see friends and family for backyard hangs or picnic dinners, it’s the last thing you need to ruin the good vibes.

A good cooler can help prevent those dreaded drops of condensation and keep drinks and snacks chilled for hours—long after the last bottle’s open. Take your pick of classic soft- or hard-sided coolers, hands-free backpacks, or even upgraded koozies for canned wine, bottled wine, and beer. Whichever your flavor, rest assured that your drinks won’t be warm before you can finish them.

Here are our 12 favorite coolers to keep things chill all season long.

Soft-sided coolers

If you’re only carrying a few drinks and snacks, a soft-sided cooler is much more convenient than a hard-sided one. These two look like any other bag you’d carry during the weekend, but with an insulated interior to keep your rosé at the right temp. The chances of melting ice leaking through the insulation is higher than hard-sided coolers given the material, so we suggest using an ice pack over real ice.

Shop Business and pleasure Vintage-Inspired Striped Canvas Cooler Tote, $99 Photo by Rocky Luten
Shop L Space Cameron Picnic Cooler Bag, $158 Photo by Anthropologie

Hard-sided coolers

For families or crowds, there’s nothing better than a hard-sided cooler (preferably on wheels) that can fit drinks and snacks for days. They’re much more of an investment than soft-sided coolers, but they’re built with extreme durability in mind—melting ice won't leak through the heavy-duty insulation and the tough exterior can withstand years of scrapes and scratches.

Shop Coleman Xtreme 150 qt Cooler, $72.36 Photo by Walmart
Shop YETI Tundra Haul Portable Wheeled Cooler, $399.98 Photo by Amazon

Backpack coolers

Or go hands-free with a backpack cooler. Since the weight is more evenly distributed on your back, this is a great option if you’re carrying containers of snacks, six-packs of beer, or a few bottles of wine. Both bags from Picnic Time and Corkcicle have extra compartments for utensils and napkins, as well as adjustable straps. And if you’re ever without a bottle opener, don’t worry—Picnic Time even has one built in for convenience.

Shop Picnic Time Portable Backpack Cooler,$54.95 Photo by Julia Gartland
Shop Corkcicle Eola Bucket Cooler Bag, $149.95 Photo by Corkcicle

Wine coolers

For BYO situations, don’t forget to bring along an insulated wine chiller to keep the bottle cold until the very last drop. Uashmama’s version comes as a cute tote bag with handles while Vinglacé is molded like a wine bottle—guests will barely notice it’s there.

Shop Uashmama Wine Bag & Cooler, $38 Photo by Rocky Luten
Shop Vinglacé Wine Bottle Insulator, $35–$90 Photo by James Ransom

Beverage coolers

Just slip your favorite canned wine or beer into one of these upgraded koozies and keep your drink chilled for hours. There are different versions for tall boys and standard cans, but each one works the same—pop in your drink, secure it to the cooler at the top or bottom, and enjoy.

Shop BrüMate Hopsulator Slim Can Cooler, $19.99 Photo by Amazon
Shop YETI Rambler 12 oz. Colster for Standard Cans, $24.99 Photo by Amazon

Insulated mugs

While not necessarily a cooler, one of our go-to way to keep drinks cool at the beach or picnics is with the same travel mug we use for the workweek—preferably with a cocktail instead of coffee. It’s also an easy way to store snacks like cut fruit without needing food storage containers—the insulated mugs will keep them chilled until you’re ready to dig in.

Shop W&P Porter Ceramic Mug, $30 Photo by Amazon
Shop Contigo Autoseal West Loop Vacuum-Insulated Travel Mug, $20.99 Photo by Amazon

What’s your surefire way to keep drinks cool? Tell us in the comments below!

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Jada Wong

Written by: Jada Wong

Jada is the market editor at Food52 with a decade of experience writing and editing for online publications such as Refinery29, Cosmopolitan, and Insider.