Founded in 1983, Grizzly Coolers has consistently upped its game to become one of the leading manufacturers in the highly competitive market of portable coolers
No one can deny that life has become more stressful for individuals and families alike. As a result, people are looking for easier, quicker ways to relax and reconnect.
Participation in outdoor recreation activities such as camping, hiking, and even eco-tourism have skyrocketed lately. (Footnote)
Regardless of the choice of activity, if you are going to be spending time outside, you are going to need beverages and food.
If it is for an extended period of time, you are going to need a way to keep those items cool, and outdoor portable coolers are the way to go. But there are so many out there, how do you choose one?
With several different sizes and colors to choose from, how do you know which are the best Grizzly coolers? Read on to see what Grizzly has to offer.
|Product Name||Best Feature|
|Grizzly 40 Quart||Tall enough to stand bottles upright|
|Grizzly 60 Quart||Great storage; easily cleaned|
|Grizzly 20 Quart||Fits neatly on passenger floor board|
|Grizzly 15 Quart||Adjustable strap makes it easy to carry|
|Grizzly 75 Quart||30” ruler on lid great for fishing|
|Grizzly 100 Quart||Sturdy enough to use for sitting|
|Grizzly 165 Quart||Incredible storage space|
10 Best Grizzly Coolers
Our Top Picks
This cooler was the most popular, and most highly rated cooler, with an average 4.5 out of 5 star rating (with 81% being full 5 stars) over 42 reviews. Consumers loved the size, stating that it fit perfectly on the floor board on the passenger side of a Mini Cooper.
Other users commented on the ice retention and how easy it was to clean. With a 40 quart capacity, it is roughly 24 lbs when empty, so really loading it up could make it heavy. But with all of the standard Grizzly features and its capacity, this easily becomes the top choice.
- Holds 56 – 12 oz cans; tall enough to stand bottled beer and sodas upright
- comes in 10 colors
- molded-in heavy duty handles
- rope handle with nylon sleeved rubber handle area
- standard Grizzly cooler features
- some reports of it not holding ice
Coming in a close second, the 60 quart Grizzly obtained a 4.4 out of 5 star rating over 25 reviews, with 84% of those at 5 stars. One reviewer noted that after a crawfish boil, the cooler cleaned up extremely well, with no fishy smell left behind.
As with the 40 quart, the 60 quart can be heavy. It weighs in at 30 lbs when empty, filling it up with 3 cases of drinks plus ice could very well make it too heavy to move (unless you have some linebackers with you). Being realistic about its use could make this a top buy.
- Holds 72 – 12 oz. cans
- Can be locked
- Size allows for multiple sized items and cooling methods
- Comes in 10 colors
- Standard Grizzly cooler features
- Too heavy for long distance manual portability
With a 4.3 out of 5 star rating over 43 reviews, the 20 quart seems to be one of the more popular sizes of cooler. The two 20 quart size enables the user to cool two cases of canned beverages and 10 lbs of ice easily.
The 20 quart has molded in heavy duty handles, as well as a stainless steel handle with a foam grip for individual portability. At 16 lbs when empty, the smaller size also allows for this cooler to be carried for longer distances, either by one or two people. The 17” embossed ruler on the lid makes this the perfect size for fishermen to store their catch.
- Holds 24 – 12 oz. cans
- Fits nicely on passenger side floor board of most cars
- Comes in 10 colors
- Standard Grizzly features
- Not tall enough to stack two 12 oz.
- Cans on top of each other
- Handle does not lock
- Rubber feet aren’t adjustable
The smallest of the Grizzly’s hard-sided coolers, the 15 quart still has everything the bigger ones have, plus its own benefits. The size enables you to take it from your car to your outdoor adventure easily.
The heavy-duty 2” adjustable shoulder strap with a molded carry handle makes it ideal for one person carrying. With a 4.2 out of 5 average rating over 36 reviews, it is obvious that although small, the capacity is still big enough to make this the perfect overnight or short trip cooler.
- Holds up to 20 – 12 oz. cans
- Easy to secure latches
- Comfortable to carry even when full
- Comes in 10 colors
- Standard Grizzly features
- Small interior size given large
- Bulky exterior
- Size prohibits usage for more than 2-3 days
- Not big enough to hold taller containers upright.
The last three coolers on the list are almost a class of their own, because their sizes make them more useful as stationary coolers. The 75 Quart weighs 31 lbs when empty, meaning it is almost double the weight of the 15 quart, even before adding items!
The size makes it ideal for leaving in the back of a truck when tailgating or camping, but forget about trying to hike in to a campsite with it.
Overall height top to bottom is 18”, so many taller beverage containers can be stood upright, reducing internal spillage. Three reviewers gave this an average of 4.5 stars, so if you are looking for a sturdy cooler that won’t be moved, this is an excellent choice.
- Holds up to 80 – 12 oz.
- molded in heavy duty handles
- Rope handle with nylon sleeved rubber handle embossed 30″
- ruler on lid
- Standard Grizzly features
- Size even when empty makes carrying prohibitive
- only comes in two colors.
- RotoTough rotationally molded construction
- Dual 2 inch drain plug for easy, quick draining with full length drain channels for complete draining
Grizzly products are so consistent, there isn’t honestly much to be said about the 100 quart that hasn’t already been discussed. Coming with all of the standard Grizzly features, including the dual 2” drain plug, this cooler is ideal for using as a stationary cooler.
At 38 lbs when empty, its size and sturdiness also allow for it to be an additional seat around the campfire, providing the person sitting on it doesn’t mind getting up repeatedly! If you have a lot of people to feed and keep hydrated, this is the size for you.
- Holds up 130 – 12 oz. cans
- Rope handle with nylon sleeved rubber handle
- Standard Grizzly features
- Can only be carried short distance even when empty
- Only comes in two colors
The Big Daddy of the Grizzly coolers (only the limited availability 400 is bigger), the weight when empty is 62lbs, so this guy isn’t moving anywhere! However, with the capacity to hold just over 6 cases of 12 oz cans as well as 50 lbs of ice, why would you want to be able to move? Have a seat and enjoy all of the standard Grizzly cooler features you have become familiar with.
- Can hold up to 152 – 12 oz
- Beverage cans plus 50 lbs of ice
- Huge capacity for food
- cooling method for multiple days.
- Very difficult to carry any distance
- Only comes in two colors.
About The Company
For 35 years, Grizzly Coolers has produced high quality, sturdy, portable coolers. One of their biggest attractions is that their products are American-made, as everything from concept to production occurs in Decorah, Iowa.
With such long-standing in the marketplace, they know what people want in a cooler, and they know how to make coolers at the top of the line. They also know that having different sized coolers doesn’t have to mean different features.
This is really something that sets them apart, because regardless of the size, you’ll be getting the same quality product.
Grizzly coolers offer many standard features from their smallest 15 quart to their largest 165 quart (NOTE: They do make a whopping 400 quart cooler, but that size is not readily available in online markets.
As a result, it will not be included in this review). Knowing that you aren’t being cheated out of a feature because of the size of the cooler instills more product confidence.
Body and Drainage
Let’s start with their trademarked “RotoTough” rotationally molded construction. This simply means that the body is all in one piece, allowing fewer areas for air to enter the cooler. The rotational molding ensures equal thickness of all walls. When combined with the environmentally friendly insulation, the Grizzly provides unparalleled ice and cold retention (more on that later).
Draining water out of a cooler can be a frustrating experience, and Grizzly addresses that handily. Except for the smallest 15 quart, all of their coolers have a 2” drain plug for quick and easy draining. In addition, the six largest coolers have full length drain channels, and the three largest models have dual drain plugs to speed drainage even more.
Interior and Exterior
Grizzly coolers are measured inside to inside, not to the outer walls like some others. This means that you are getting a true quart capacity, allowing you to store more in the space provided. This can make a big difference once you start adding ice to cool everything.
All models come with a dry goods tray. We have all had that experience of something needing to be refrigerated, but the packaging (and therefore the product) being ruined by touching the ice. This tray alleviates that, while not taking up that much space in the interior.
The lid of a Grizzly cooler has a molded-in hinge with a stainless steel pin, which stands up to even repeated opening and closing. The rubber gasket provides a sturdy seal, and the trademarked BearClaw Latches (which do not require hardware for installation) keep a secure grip. These three aspects work together seamlessly to keep coolness in and hot air out.
On the exterior, Grizzly coolers come with 2” tiedown slots and non-marking, non-slip rubber feet. These provide more stability. They also all have embossed rulers on the lid, allowing fishermen to check their catch immediately, thereby saving insulation inside the cooler.
Ice and Cold Retention
Grizzly boasts one of the longest ice retention rates in the industry, at an incredible 19 days.
This, of course, is dependent on the size of the cooler and the amount of ice you start with (a 165 quart cooler will hold more ice than a 20 quart, allowing for more ice to stay solid).
Practical testing and consumer reports show an ice-retention rate of 8-10 days, which is still impressive.
Grizzly coolers go through a rigorous testing process in a 90 degree climate controlled room. Ice levels are monitored twice a day, with increasing frequency as the ice eventually starts to melt.
This testing ensure that your cooler will stay insulated ice will remain solid even on long trips and hot days. Grizzly coolers are also dry ice compatible, giving you more cooling options.
It is important to note that most complaints about the Grizzly coolers revolve around ice retention. It is obvious that the more a cooler is opened and closed, the more chances there are for hot air to seep in.
In addition, if the cooler is too packed with items that there can’t be enough ice added, items will not remain as cool as necessary. Common practice is a 2-to-1 ice to drink ratio for best results.
Certifications and Warranties
If you are taking your cooler into the wild (and we mean the forest, not the parking lot of the stadium), certification by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) is a must.
The IGBC tests include both the sturdiness of the product and safety for bears (so they don’t ingest toxic materials). All of Grizzly’s coolers are IGBC certified.
As mentioned, all Grizzly coolers are made in the USA and they offer a Lifetime Warranty on their product. Because of the wear and tear that coolers often receive, this makes the Grizzly brand especially attractive.
So, if all of this comes standard on all Grizzly coolers, how do you determine which ones are the best Grizzly coolers?
That becomes a matter of preference, and what the cooler will be used for. Let’s take a look at what makes each cooler unique, and at overall customer satisfaction.
For our purposes, we took the number of reviews on each product into consideration when determining the order of best to “worst.” (NOTE: Price ranges reflect color choice of model; base price is lowest price).
|1||Grizzly 40 Quart Tan/Cooler||$269.99||Buy on Amazon|
|2||Grizzly 20 Quart Red/Cooler||from $189.99||Buy on Amazon|
|3||Grizzly 15 Quart Red/Cooler, Red||$129.99||Buy on Amazon|
|4||Grizzly 60 quart Rotomolded Cooler||$299.99||Buy on Amazon|
|5||Grizzly 165 quart Rotomolded Cooler||$499.99||Buy on Amazon|
|6||Grizzly 100 Quart Tan/Cooler||$399.99||Buy on Amazon|
|7||Grizzly Coolers Drifter 12+||$99.99||Buy on Amazon|
|8||RTIC Soft Pack 30, Grey||$109.99||Buy on Amazon|
|9||Pelican Elite 20 Quart Cooler (Dark Grey/Green)||$129.20||Buy on Amazon|
|10||ENGEL Cooler/Dry Box 19 Qt - Tan||$64.89||Buy on Amazon|
Wrapping It Up
As you can tell by the comparisons, Grizzly is one of the most consistent products out there.
Because of its industry-leading standards, you can be certain that you will be getting a top of the line cooler with the same standard features regardless of what size you need.
So take a look at what you want to use the cooler for, and find the Grizzly that best suits your purpose!