There’s something different about enjoying a cooler made in America, especially when you learn why people choose them.
Local brands have much to offer, from designs and durability to the convenience of getting your cooler.
Here are the top USA-made coolers and why they’re worth buying.
8 Best USA-Made Coolers
There are many high-quality American-made coolers available in the market. However, it can be difficult to find which ones are the best.
Each brand can have the perfect cooler for different occasions.
To help, I’ve gone through the best cooler brands, so you know where you can buy great coolers.
1) Grizzly Coolers – Best Overall
When it comes to hard-shelled coolers, Grizzly Coolers are one of the well-known ones. It comes in different sizes and quart capacities (20, 40, 60, 75, 100, 160). Each of them should fit your different needs.
They’re extremely durable, thanks to their RotoTough rotationally-molded plastic. Its BearClaw latches are also for a more secure grip on your cooler.
They also have a foam rubber gasket that keeps their coolers well-insulated to keep cold air in and hot air out.
It’s no wonder they’re certified bear-proof by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC)! They’ve certainly set a standard for high-end coolers.
They also produce soft-sided coolers. However, these coolers are manufactured in a different country.
- Great ice retention
- Lifetime warranty
2) ORCA Coolers – Best Value
When it comes to value, ORCA’s coolers are best known, especially for their ice retention (along with Otterbox and Kong Coolers). That’s to be expected from the Outdoor Recreation Company of America.
Their hard-shelled coolers are exceptionally durable and are known to hold ice for up to 10 days!
They also feature excellent lid gaskets, which help the cooler retain temperatures.
They also make some of the best soft coolers on the market. ORCA soft coolers are reliable for daily use or short outdoor trips.
Their Pod and Podster coolers are known as the best backpack coolers, which boosted the brand’s identity as a reliable brand in the USA.
If you’re looking for great design, performance, and a variation of colors, you might want to check out ORCA coolers.
- Excellent ice retention
- Extremely durable
- Available in many colors
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Limited features
3) Kenai Coolers – Best Budget Pick
Source: Kenai Coolers
The same manufacturer makes Kenai Coolers as Grizzly coolers. That means you can get great ice retention without breaking the bank.
They share almost the same features and can hold cold temperatures and ice for a long time. Your refreshments will stay cold when using one of their coolers.
However, they’re marketed and sold very differently compared to Grizzly. That means Kenai coolers are significantly cheaper compared to more expensive coolers.
You’re also guaranteed Grizzly’s lifetime warranty, ensuring you get only the best cooler from Kenai.
Their only downside is that they can’t be bought in local stores. You’ll have to get a cooler online or through Amazon, but they’re very much worth it.
- Lifetime warranty
- Easy-to-use latches
- Can’t buy from local stores
4) Pelican Coolers
Source: Pelican Coolers
Pelican Coolers is another premium cooler brand that provides reliable coolers. They’re one of the pioneers when it comes to rotomolded coolers.
This brand is usually compared to the famous YETI cooler because of its ice retention and durability. They can retain temperatures for up to 10 days!
Their rugged look makes every Pelican cooler perfect for the outdoors. It can withstand any condition, so it will keep your refreshments in top shape anywhere you go.
They also have a great lifetime warranty that ensures you’ll only get an excellent quality cooler with every purchase.
Even though the company’s gone global, opening manufacturing locations outside the states, you can still get a locally-made cooler when you buy from local stores.
- Excellent ice life
- Rugged look
5) Cordova Outdoors Coolers
Source: Cordova Outdoors
Cordova is well-known for their reliable hard-shelled coolers that come with beautiful aesthetics. Each cooler comes with vibrant colors and styles to make them more eye-catching.
Despite their price, they’re actually one of the more affordable coolers. If you’re looking for a reliable cooler at an affordable price, you can also consider Cordova.
They’re known for adding amazing features to each cooler, making them stand out in the market. It adds to the price, but it keeps functionality in mind.
Most of their coolers also feature built-in bottle openers, making it one less tool for you to think about while planning for a trip.
They’re also IGBC certified and backed with a lifetime warranty. This trusted brand will provide only the best quality cooler with every purchase.
- Built-in bottle openers
- Great features
- Lifetime warranty
- Excellent ice retention
- Rugged styling
- Limited sizes
6) Taiga Coolers (Also Known As CAT Coolers)
Source: Taiga Coolers
Getting a cooler from Taiga Coolers is probably one of the most patriotic ways of purchasing a cooler. They’re a veteran-owned company that provides excellent coolers.
Their coolers offer excellent ice retention, which will be great for outdoor adventures. They’ve also produced coolers for other companies because of their products’ reliability.
They offer a great warranty deal to ensure their coolers’ quality and durability. If you have doubts, they also have a 60-day money-back guarantee (which I bet you won’t need).
However, their downside is they can’t be bought in local stores.
If you’re interested in checking them out and supporting their business, you can visit their official website or Amazon store.
- Great warranty
- Veteran-owned business
- Only sold online
7) Bison Coolers
Source: Bison Coolers
Bison Coolers is a brand that prides itself on its design and craftsmanship. They offer different kinds of coolers which are available in local and online stores.
Their ice retention is decent, while not as great as the more high-end companies. Their standard hard-shelled cooler usually keeps ice frozen for 5 to 8 days.
The more iconic part of their brand is its customization.
You can easily call their company if you have any special requests for your coolers. They can easily make that happen for your cooler, whether it’s a company or a sports team logo.
They also offer a decent warranty, so you’ll be guaranteed an excellent cooler with every purchase.
- Great warranty
- Reliable latches
- Average ice retention
8) Orion Coolers by Jackson Kayaks
If you’re looking for a unique cooler to help you stand out, you should check out Orion Coolers.
They’re iconic for their well-thought-out designs that are sure to gain attention. Each one looks like it’s a work of art.
It can help you blend into the wilderness or be so vibrant that it would be easy to spot.
Aesthetics aside, their coolers are made to pay attention to the small details, ensuring that each latch and hinge will be durable for outdoor adventures.
Their ice retention is also decent, thanks to how they were manufactured. Expect to have your items stay cool for 5 to 7 days, perfect for long trips.
- Unique designs
- Decent ice retention
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Coolers Made in the USA
Besides the label telling you which coolers were made in the USA, you’ll also have to look into the quality of the cooler you’re purchasing.
Here are the factors I looked into while finding the best coolers made in the USA.
The first thing to consider when looking for a cooler is its build. Many high-quality coolers in the market are made with only the finest materials.
Soft coolers need to be able to hold heavy weights. It shouldn’t easily tear, especially with what they have to support.
Hard coolers should be made with durable plastics. It shouldn’t be easily damaged, especially since there’s a big chance that you’ll be hauling it through different terrain.
Small details, like rubber latches and zippers, should also be properly attached and durable. These fasteners keep your cooler closed and contain the coldness of your items.
For cases of wheeled coolers and other add-ons, make sure that they are great accessories that will help you with your cooler.
It’s not a secret that most coolers, especially those with more features, can be expensive.
If you’re looking for cheaper ones that you can use daily, it’s best to go for soft coolers.
Those with a hard shell tend to be more expensive but can be used for longer periods.
Check out the accessories and features, as they affect your cooler’s price.
The cooler’s main purpose is to keep ice and other foods cold or frozen.
Check for the materials used for insulation. Besides being able to contain cool air, it should also be safe for your food and drinks.
Make sure its lid is also built for insulation. These parts of your cooler tend to take much heat, especially when you open them.
PRO-TIP: Keeping cold coolers packed or filled up can help retain insulation for longer.
Coolers can come in different sizes. Each can be used for different occasions.
When you buy your cooler, make sure you check its capacity and the storage space it can provide.
It’s important to know how you’ll bring your cooler around.
Some can have wheels or a cart to make it easier for you to bring around. Others would have straps, rubber or rope handles to hold onto or sling on your shoulder.
A great example would be backpack coolers which you can easily bring to short day trips and hikes. Larger coolers, on the other hand, would need to be transported with a vehicle.
It’s important to ensure that these are durable and will make transporting your cooler easier.
Pros and Cons of Buying Coolers Made in the USA
Everyone has their reasons for the brands and products they support. Whether you prefer buying local or
Here are the pros and cons of buying American-made coolers.
There are many benefits to buying your cooler from a local store.
These are the pros of buying coolers made in the USA.
Some people might want to be loyal to their country. One way to do that is to support local products like the ones I’ve listed.
Supporting the country’s products can help the economy while getting the materials you need for outdoor activities.
Supporting local means increasing demand for the product. When there’s demand, companies will start hiring.
Buying locally-made coolers can give an opportunity to Americans looking for jobs.
It also directly contributes to the local economy. The workers’ salaries and company sales boost the economy while providing you with quality coolers.
Quality and Customization
If you get a cooler from a local brand, chances are you might get one of good build quality.
Large US-based companies tend to have better quality control compared to other brands. Most of them would have more reliable products.
Coolers from local brands are also easily customizable.
You can call the company and request the logos of sports teams and company logos to be on the cooler. You can even add a personal message with your cooler.
Easier Customer Support
Their customer support will most likely be in the US. That will help you easily call them if you have trouble with your product.
It also helps you get replacements and repairs faster compared to imported brands.
While there are many positives to supporting local, it also has its downsides.
These are the most common cons when it comes to buying coolers made in the USA.
One reason why people would prefer to buy coolers from other countries is that they’re significantly cheaper.
Companies are hiring manufacturing companies outside of America because of cheap labor. It allows them to sell those coolers cheaper than a local brand.
Quality and Limitations
Some people think that products ONLY made locally keep you from the potential of other brands. Especially with coolers, some of the most well-known tend to outsource their manufacturing.
There are also times when manufacturers from other countries can provide better quality coolers than local ones.
When choosing between imported and local, it feels like you’re tossing a coin.
You won’t be able to enjoy the features and perks from other brands, like the following:
- Ozark Trail
- Canyon Coolers
- Polar Bear Coolers (for soft ones)
These are well-known brands that have been produced abroad.
Frequently Asked Questions
You may have more questions about coolers made in the USA.
I’ve gathered the commonly asked questions to help you further understand these coolers and what makes them all American.
Are Yeti Coolers Made in the USA?
While Yeti coolers are an American brand, they’re NOT fully made in the USA. They’re a lot like Coleman coolers.
Their company started by manufacturing coolers in Asian countries like Thailand, the Philippines, and China.
Once demand went up, they built manufacturing facilities in Iowa and Wisconsin to have some locally made Yeti coolers.
You can call in and request to purchase a locally-made Yeti cooler if you want to be sure that you get one from the USA.
What Does “Made in the USA” Mean?
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), this would mean a product was manufactured in America using materials from American soil.
The FTC regulates this so companies won’t make false claims regarding their products.
However, this rule has many nuances, and many companies can easily question it.
For the product to be recognized as American-made, it has to follow certain criteria. Most of its manufacturing costs and assembly must be done in the USA.
How Do I Know if a Cooler Is Made in the USA?
Source: Federal Trade Commission
Cooler brands usually include this claim in their packaging and marketing. You will notice that there’s a logo or stamp when coolers are made in the USA.
However, it’s easy to put these labels, even if the FTC prevents companies from making false claims. In these cases, it’s best to check the product’s description.
Check if they include claims like “Made in the USA with imported materials” or “Assembled in the USA.” These products may not be 100% from the USA.
Are Hard-Sided Coolers or Soft-Sided Coolers Better?
Your type of cooler would depend on your activities. Some may require hard coolers, while others would be cool with soft coolers.
Soft-sided coolers are best for everyday use. They’re smaller and collapsible, making them easy to store when not in use.
Soft coolers are also great for short trips with small groups of people, like picnics and days on the beach.
On the other hand, hard-sided coolers are made for more rugged adventures. They can last longer and can hold ice for longer amounts of time.
These are perfect for camping and hunting trips which require a lot of storage.
You can easily find both kinds of coolers in a single brand.
Recap of Top Picks
Many cooler brands offer durable and reliable products. However, some stand out more than others, especially with the features they have to offer.
Here’s a recap of my top picks for the best USA-made coolers.
Best Budget Pick – Kenai Coolers
Source: Kenai Coolers
When it comes to affordable coolers, getting a Kenai cooler would be the TOP CHOICE.
You’ll be guaranteed the best ice retention of a high-end brand at a low price, making it great for anyone just starting with their outdoor adventures.
A great American cooler doesn’t have to be expensive if you know where to find a great one.
Best Value – ORCA Coolers
ORCA coolers are known for their performance and value, especially among brands from the USA.
You can easily rely on this brand if you’re looking for soft or hard-shelled coolers.
Add color to your adventures throughout the USA with their iconic coolers.
Best Overall – Grizzly Coolers
If you’re the type who’s always outdoors, it’s best to invest in a cooler brand that will have your back throughout your trip.
Grizzly coolers are at the top when it comes to premium coolers, whether that’s local or in other countries.
They’re known for the best rotomolded coolers on the market. However, note that they manufacture their soft coolers (no matter how great they are) in a different country.
American-made coolers are a great choice, especially when you know which brand to look into.
Trying out a local brand can easily help you find a reliable and durable cooler if you’re looking for a high-quality cooler.
Lead marketer, brewer, dad, and husband. Pretty much an all-round awesome guy.