REVIEW – The Coolest Cooler is a very expensive, multi-featured cooler that acts more like a mini mobile bar than a traditional cooler that you’d take along for a day at the beach. At a whopping $399.99 for the version that includes a blender, portable Bluetooth speaker, and USB charging port, the Coolest Cooler definitely isn’t for everyone. You could certainly source all of these components elsewhere, spending less money and getting better overall quality. But, if you’re willing to pay a premium to have a bunch of cool mediocre, albeit functional, features all wrapped up in one package, then this just might be the cooler for you.
What is it?
The Coolest Cooler originated as an insanely popular 2014 Kickstarter campaign that became a victim of its own success. Supporters have literally waited years for their coolers to arrive. Now that the cooler is available for purchase by everyone, Coolest is working hard to fulfill all of the supporters’ original orders.
The cooler itself is basically a one-stop-shop for everything you might need on a beach, tailgating, boating, or picnic excursion. The designers tried really hard to anticipate your needs in a bunch of different situations and, for the most part, they were able to address a lot of them. But, unfortunately, the Coolest Cooler’s components don’t all shine in every environment, they’re kind of average overall. This mediocrity is pretty frustrating after laying out around $400 for a cooler that was pitched as next best thing.
The Coolest Cooler comes in a big, heavy box with a cute little quote on it. Although, this quote might not seem too cute to the original Kickstarter supporters, some of whom are still waiting for their coolers to ship well after they became available on Amazon to other consumers.
The cooler is well packed and works great as additional shipping protection for all of its components.
What’s in the box?
- 1 Coolest Cooler
- 1 Blender Pitcher
- 1 Coolest Bluetooth Speaker
- 1 Speaker Charging Cable
- 1 3.5 mm Aux Audio Cable
- 1 20-volt Rechargeable Battery
- 1 Battery Recharging Adapter
- 1 Power Supply for Battery Recharging Adapter
- 1 Corkscrew
- 4 Hard Plastic Plates/Frisbees
- 1 Ceramic Knife
- 1 Cooler Divider/Cutting Board
- 2 Instruction Manuals
- 1 Mix Master Guide
- Dimensions: 26″ (L) x 21″ (W) x 19″ (H)
- Internal Volume: 55 quarts
- Weight Empty: 38.3 lbs
- Insulation: Polyurethane foam
- Battery: Removable 20-volt rechargeable
- Casing: Water resistant
- Dimensions: 5.8″ (L) x 1.9″ (W) x 3.7″ (H)
- Drivers: Dual 5-watt
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0 and 3.5mm aux input
- Battery: Built-in rechargeable lithium-ion
- Charging: Micro USB port
Design and features
When you first open the Coolest Cooler, you can feel that it has a great build quality. All of the parts feel a little heavier than you’d expect, which bodes well for its future durability. Although weighing in at close to 40lbs empty, I wouldn’t mind if it was a little bit lighter overall.
The hinges, screws, axle, and other metal hardware in the cooler are made of rust-resistant stainless steel. At this price point, I expect that type of construction, but it’s still nice to see every time you open the lid.
A lot of thought went into the design of this cooler, highlighted here by the inside of the left lid which has a cup holder and spot for the blender pitcher to rest while you’re retrieving ice.
A place for everything and everything in its place. The OCD part of me loves the organization of this cooler and how everything has a neat little place to be stowed. The seams and fit of the cooler are impeccable and the lines are beautifully designed. Again, you can see where the high price comes from; there’s no play in the lid or jiggle on the wheels. There is a lot of play in the collapsible handle though, but we’ll get to that later.
The included plastic blender pitcher fits perfectly into its designated spot and during use, it feels as though it would stay in place even without the requisite hand held over its top.
The pitcher also has cool markings on the side approximating levels for drink mixes and ice cubes.
The red spring-loaded switch on the left side of the cooler runs the blender and due to a magnetic kill switch, will only work if the blender is sitting properly in place. The blender doesn’t have different modes like a home blender would have; pull the switch down, the blender goes, release the switch, the blender stops. You can kind of pulse it manually if needed.
A great add-on to the Coolest Cooler is the Coolest Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker. I love the design of this speaker. It’s got a great rubberized, water-resistant exterior, large easy-to-use buttons, and a shiny grill that looks like it came off of a hot rod from the fifties.
The back of the speaker hides an impressive little 2 by 3-inch bass driver.
Once set up, the speaker can be paired with other Coolest Speakers to sync to music coming from one source, a feature called Party Pairing.
The speaker has a non-removable internal battery and two ports behind a water resistant flap on the side.
The ports are for the included micro USB charging cable and a 3.5mm aux cable for playing music from devices that don’t support Bluetooth.
Like most of the items on the Coolest Cooler, the speaker has a nice little home for storage, in this case, nestled behind the panel on the cooler’s face.
The panel allows the speaker to come along for the ride while still blasting out the beach jams.
The panel lid locks into place and secures the speaker to prevent it from falling out during rough transport.
A bottle opener is also located on the front of the cooler. The back plate of the bottle opener is magnetized to catch the fallen bottle caps, great design ideas at work.
There’s an included corkscrew as well that stows neatly inside the speaker compartment by attaching magnetically to the interior. Coolest also suggests that this is a good place to store your keys.
The collapsible handle works well but could pose potential problems during heavy beach use. The handle itself, once extended, has a lot of play in it and it feels very much like one wrong turn with a cooler filled with ice, food, and bottled beverages will twist the handle, damaging it.
One common user complaint is that sand renders the handle unusable by easily getting jammed into the sections and preventing it from collapsing. Coolest addresses this issue by saying that it designed the handle to have play in it specifically to allow sand to escape the sections. That explanation doesn’t sound particularly logical to me and could just be some savvy damage control.
The cooler tires are very wide and rubberized, supposedly twice as wide as most wheeled coolers, but users have complained that they are only really effective over flat, hard surfaces.
In deep sand, the small clearance of these tires renders them useless compared to the bigger, balloon-like knobby tires you see on all of those beach wagons beach goers use these days.
Coolest has called out this tire shortcoming as well, noting that the bottom of the cooler was designed to be shaped like a sled to be easily pulled over loose sand. Again, sounds good on paper, but that’s small consolation when you’re dragging your very heavy $400 cooler through the sand to find a good spot on the beach.
Continuing on with features, inside of the right lid are the stowed hard plastic plates and ceramic cutting knife.
The rustproof ceramic knife is held safely in place inside a plastic sheath held closed with a red plastic retainer.
This knife is ridiculously sharp, so be very careful using it, especially after downing a few freshly made frozen concoctions.
After use, the cooler’s four dishwasher safe plates fit snugly back into their rubber-lined slot under the lid. As an added bonus, Coolest designed the plates to work as basic frisbees. I was disappointed though to receive bland white plates instead of plates color matched to my cooler as depicted on Coolest’s website.
The interior of the cooler is pretty spacious. The wheel wells take up a bit of room as does the battery pack on the underside of the left lid.
There’s a removable divider that helps keep ice meant for drinks separate from ice meant for keeping food cold. I was pretty surprised at how much stuff I was able to fit inside the cooler even with the divider in place.
Once removed, the divider also functions as a cutting board, another great intuitive design feature.
Removing the divider will give you a lot more space to store your drinks and food.
Another great feature on the cooler’s interior is a LED light for seeing what’s in the cooler once the sun goes down. Just hit the metal button inside the left lid and you no longer have to search aimlessly in the dark for that last can of PBR. And if you forget to shut the light off because you’ve had one too many PBRs, no worries, it has an auto-off function. The odd thing about this is with the divider in place, the light doesn’t really illuminate the right side of the cooler where most of your drinks would be stored. The light is more useful when the divider isn’t in place though.
Housed inside the left lid is the 20-volt rechargeable battery that powers the blender and the USB charging port. Simply slide the battery into the lid dock and you’re good to go. The battery took about three hours to fully charge the first time and is supposedly good for about six straight minutes of blending. That works out to around 16 pitcher 20-second blends. My testing came in a bit below that and I wasn’t using the USB port for charging.
One thing that concerns me about the battery is how many times Coolest mentions that if you allow the battery to fully discharge during storage it will “sustain irreversible damage”. That really worries me, mainly because I only use my coolers during the summertime. There’s a good chance I may forget to check the level on the battery of my cooler that I threw in the back of my garage after my last camping trip at the end or middle of the summer. And with the price of a replacement battery coming in at $50, this isn’t something I’d want to deal with.
Anyway, as long as the battery is working you can use it to charge your devices via the USB port located on the back of the cooler behind a waterproof plug.
Inside the cooler on the right side, you’ll find the compartment’s drain plug.
The interior drain for the cooler has a recessed area around it to help prevent clogging.
The external drain plug is located on the underside of the cooler between the wheels.
One major drawback here is that there isn’t a tether on the drain plug, so it’s very easy to lose, especially when Coolest recommends leaving the plug off to keep food stored in the cooler from getting soggy.
Just inside of the telescoping handle on the rear of the Coolest Cooler is the “Done in One” tie-down bungee cord.
The cord is long and adjustable and is secured around the front face plate of the cooler.
I think this is a great addition to the cooler, another one of those well-thought-out design features, but I worry the thin bungee cord won’t last more than one summer’s worth of excursions. It would’ve been nice to see something a little thicker here in its place.
In my testing, the Coolest Cooler kept ice cold for about the same amount of time as my old Coleman camping cooler. The Coolest Speaker was about as loud and clear on tracks like L’Trimm’s “Cars with the Boom” as my Echo Dot. The Coolest Blender blended ice about as well as my $17 Hamilton Beach Personal Blender. Do you see the point I’m making here?
The Coolest Cooler is a beautiful piece of equipment, don’t get me wrong. I love all of the smart little design features. I love that the bungee cord secures around the face of the cooler which holds the speaker, which looks like a retro futuristic radio. I love the large wide handles on the side and extra wide low-rider tires and the slick font of the Coolest logo. In short, if design and aesthetic, along with ease of use, are important to you, then the Coolest Cooler is the way to go. Otherwise, you can find better, more effective versions of these elements elsewhere.
What I like
- Great all-in-one functionality
- Sturdy construction of cooler itself
- Well-designed and intuitive features
What needs to be improved
- Very expensive for what you’re getting
- Overall performance lacking
- Pop-up handle feels weak
- Heavy even when empty
The Coolest Cooler does a lot of things well. It keeps your food and drinks cold, not for a super long time, but for long enough. It can blend your frozen drinks, not perfectly smooth, but smooth enough. And it can play your music, not totally clear and loud, but loud enough. Basically, the Coolest Cooler will get you where you need to go, but you’re going to pay handsomely for that frozen-drink-filled, Bluetooth-music-thumping, frisbee-plate-throwing trip. Sure, you can build your own Coolest Cooler feature set for much less than $400, but where’s the fun in that?