Best Car Coolers: Keep Snacks Cold on a Hot Day

A car cooler will keep your drinks cool and close at hand during a trip

Entering our 7th season of /DRIVE on NBC Sports, and with millions of YouTube and Facebook followers, The Drive is a leading authority of all things automotive.

The Drive on NBCThe Drive on YouTubeThe Drive on Facebook

  • Product Network

    17 Products

  • Clock

    9 Hours

  • Reviews

    11 Reviews

How We Decided

The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.Read more.

PUBLISHED ON November 15, 2019

Some drivers spend a lot of time in their cars. It can be expensive and inconvenient to stop on your drive to buy food and drinks. Car coolers provide a great option for snacking while driving. You can save time and money by packing some beverages and easy-to-eat food items instead. Our buying guide features some of the best car coolers on the market.

  • Best Overall
    Igloo Iceless Cooler

    A hard-sided cooler with a top handle that will keep your food cold by plugging it into your car’s cigarette lighter. Ergonomic design for comfortable carry.


    Available in a 26-ounce or 28-ounce size, this cooler chills without ice. This is a portable unit. The power cord is 8 feet long, allowing you to put the cooler in the back of the car.  An LED light lets you know the unit is plugged into power.


    This cooler will only charge when the car is running. If you want to plug it into an AC adapter, you will need to buy the power cord.

  • Best Value
    Arctic Zone Titan Cooler

    This shoulder bag carry car cooler is available in three sizes. The inner hard shell keeps the soft-sided cooler from collapsing. Add pre-frozen ice-blocks and you are ready to go.


    The cooler has several pockets for storing various items. It comes with a zipperless, flip-open lid for easy access. This bag is leakproof. The inner liner can be removed easily for cleaning.


    You will need to purchase reusable ice blocks and freeze them before using them. Once the ice starts defrosting, the temperature may not stay cold for as long as you need it.

  • Honorable Mention
    Wagan Electric Cooler

    This is a car cooler that looks like an armrest. It can be used for keeping food cold or hot. Connector included. Has no handle, but it can be easily moved with two hands.


    It has two external cup holders and a central spot to hold other small items. The cooling capacity of 32-36 degrees. It offers plenty of space, as it can hold up to 30 cans. At less than 12 inches wide, it can be used as an armrest.


    It does not have a handle for transport. This is a cooler, not a refrigerator. It works as a warmer, not a product that will heat your food. You will need to purchase an additional adapter if you want to plug in this unit at home.

Why Trust Us

All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with each product we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

Learn more


  • Check the size of the car cooler. Smaller coolers may be designed to hold only a few items. If you want to carry more items on your drive, look for a bigger size.
  • Some car coolers use electrical connections that only keep cool when plugged into a power source. Make sure you have a source for power and a long cord.
  • These types of coolers are not for storing frozen food. You may be able to bring home frozen food from the market, but don’t plan to take any frozen food with you on a long trip.


Q: What should I look for in a car cooler? 

A: Buy a car cooler to fit your driving habits. If you take road trips or spend many hours driving, then consider a larger cooler that will hold more items. 

Q: Why should I buy a car cooler? 

A: It will help you save money and time and help you eat healthier. You can bring along food and drinks that you like best, so you don’t have to stop to buy items at a convenience store.

Q: What should I pack in a car cooler?

A: Pack some of your favorite snack items. Bring water, soda, fruit and vegetables, sandwiches, and any other popular food items. Pack food that is easy to eat while driving.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for a car cooler, consider the Igloo Iceless Cooler. The handle makes it easy to transport, and it keeps your food cool through its plug-in design.

For a budget-friendly option, try the Arctic Zone Titan Cooler.