Last Updated on May 13, 2021

It’s the formal season, people! And thus, it is the cooler painting season. Over the past couple of years, painting coolers has become a popular fad. To send a remarkable statement with your cooler, you need to go for the best products that are easy-to-customize, weather, water, and chip-proof resistant. The best Coolers to Paint are different from the regular coolers because they are specifically designed by the manufacturer to be personalized and customized. These coolers do not need sanding or priming to decorate.

The best coolers to paint have no indentations or logos, no gloss coating, or unnecessary texture. We have customized a couple of paintable coolers over the years and have recorded mixed results. Drawing from our experiences, combined with research and reading through hundreds of online reviews, we came up with the best six on the market today.

They are easy-to-paint, durable, weather, water, and chip-proof resistant. They provide the perfect canvas to fully express yourself.

The 6 Best Coolers to Paint: Primary Keyword for 2021 Review: Key Features, Pros, and Cons

If you’ve read this far, it is because you want a cooler that you can truly make your own. There is no better way to personalize your cooler than to paint it according to your chosen design. The table below highlights the features and properties of the 6 best formal coolers to paint at a glance.

Best overall
COOLERSbyU 26qt Paintable Cooler
Premium pick
48Q Sanded & Primed Paintable Cooler
Best value
26Q Sanded & Primed Paintable Cooler
Name
COOLERSbyU Paintable Cooler
SratStar 48q Paintable Cooler
SratStar 26q Paintable Cooler
Quart
26qt
48qt
26qt
Weight
8 pounds
13 Pounds
17.64 Pounds
No of cans
24 Cans
76 cans
24 Cans
Best overall
COOLERSbyU 26qt Paintable Cooler
Name
COOLERSbyU Paintable Cooler
Quart
26qt
Weight
8 pounds
No of cans
24 Cans
Pricing
Premium pick
48Q Sanded & Primed Paintable Cooler
Name
SratStar 48q Paintable Cooler
Quart
48qt
Weight
13 Pounds
No of cans
76 cans
Pricing
Best value
26Q Sanded & Primed Paintable Cooler
Name
SratStar 26q Paintable Cooler
Quart
26qt
Weight
17.64 Pounds
No of cans
24 Cans
Pricing
Coleman Coastal Xtreme Series Marine Portable Cooler , White, 28 Quart
Coleman Coastal Xtreme Series Marine Portable Cooler , White, 120 Quart
Igloo Marine Ultra 54 Quart Cooler
Name
Coleman Coastal Xtreme 28Quartz
Coleman Portable Cooler
Igloo Marine Coolers
Quart
28qt
70qt
54 Qt
Weight
5.3 Pounds
5.62 kg
3.67 Kilograms
No of cans
39 cans
204 cans
85 cans
Coleman Coastal Xtreme Series Marine Portable Cooler , White, 28 Quart
Name
Coleman Coastal Xtreme 28Quartz
Quart
28qt
Weight
5.3 Pounds
No of cans
39 cans
Pricing
Coleman Coastal Xtreme Series Marine Portable Cooler , White, 120 Quart
Name
Coleman Portable Cooler
Quart
70qt
Weight
5.62 kg
No of cans
204 cans
Pricing
Igloo Marine Ultra 54 Quart Cooler
Name
Igloo Marine Coolers
Quart
54 Qt
Weight
3.67 Kilograms
No of cans
85 cans
Pricing

1. COOLERSbyU Paintable Cooler

BEST OVERALL
COOLERSbyU 26qt Paintable Cooler

  • 26qts
  • No embossed logos
  • Needs no priming

With so many coolers on the market these days, CoolersbyU thought outside the box and carved a distinct niche – paintable coolers. Their coolers come ready-made for painting without the stress of sanding, priming, etc. Seeing how Paintable coolers are becoming a regular feature for camping, tailgates, and fraternity formals, CoolersbyU will help you make a resounding statement with your coolers.

Our cooler arrived in a beautiful box, something we have only observed in a few other cooler brands (even the big boys). The box had all the information you need to know about the product. The second most observable feature was the consistent, flat, smooth walls. This is precisely what you need in a paintable cooler to make your creative expressions stand out.

The cooler does not come with features such as cup holders, fish scales, pressure release valves, built-in bottle openers that you will find in other cooler brands. But this is not the intention behind creating the CoolersbyU Cooler.  While these features are great, how will you paint around them? It is definitely going to hamper your expressions which is the reason for opting for a paintable cooler in the first place.

This cooler is Food Safe and BPA-free. We were able to fit 24 cans of beer in it, and they were chilly for 48 hours.

Pros:

  • The six paintable sides are smooth and consistent.
  • The cooler is BPA safe.
  • With a careful arrangement, this cooler contained 24 cans of beer with ice.

Cons:

  • This product does not come with a cup holder, fish scales, and pressure release valves.

2. SratStar 48q Paintable Cooler

PREMIUM PICK
48Q Sanded & Primed Paintable Cooler

  • Durable plastic built
  • 25 x 13 x 14 inches

Let’s start by saying the SratStar 48q cooler is substantially bigger than the COOLERSbyU Paintable Cooler. And it’s worth checking out for a number of reasons.

First, this cooler allows you to preserve perishable items during camping or tailgates for hours. It is large enough to store a bunch of cans and tall enough to hold 2 liters bottles standing upright. This is plenty of space for refreshments and fun for a whole group.

The heat from the environment is no match for this bad boy; it offers 3-day ice retention, even in an environment with temperatures as high as 80 degrees Fahrenheit. When it comes to paintable coolers, aesthetics is not a competitive price point, but this one aims to please. With four pre-sand, pre-primed smooth white walls, this cooler is beautiful and ready to be customized to your taste.

Pros:

  • This product needs no sanding and priming.
  • The SratStar 48q cooler offers 3-day ice retention.

Cons:

  • This SratStar 48q cooler does not come with a cup holder.

3. SratStar 26q Paintable Cooler

BEST VALUE
26Q Sanded & Primed Paintable Cooler

  • 26qts
  • Weighs 17.64 Pounds
  • Durable plastic built

At 26QTS, this cooler is not the biggest cooler on this list or on the market. Still, this simple Paintable Cooler can accommodate 24 – 12oz cans with ice, so we call it “the portable bar.” We found that this cooler also maintains a chilly temperature for 48 hours like the CoolersbyU above. It is sturdy and offers durable leak-free construction.

Made in the USA, SratStar Paintable Cooler boasts the usual features of smooth, consistent paintable walls and reliable insulation. Having said that, you will also love some other characteristics we found in this model.

First, the handle is durable and tucks in flush. This makes moving this cooler around super-easy and easily storable when not in use. The feet are fitted with anti-slip, meaning this unit won’t skid if you accidentally place it on a slippery surface.

In addition, the drain is broad. The construction is done in a way that allows water to drain quickly. You won’t have to wait till eternity like in some other coolers whose water drains as slow as molasses.

Finally, the walls come sanded and primed with no logos. This cooler is designed explicitly for painting; all the hard work has been done for you.

Pros:

  • This unit comes with no logo.
  • The wall is pre-sand and pre-primed for you.
  • It comes with a durable handle that tucks in flush with the body of the cooler.

Cons:

  • At 26qts, you can’t store more than 24 cans of beer with ice

4. Coleman Coastal Xtreme 28Quartz — Rust-proof paintable cooler

Coleman Coastal Xtreme Series Marine Portable Cooler , White, 28 Quart

  • Antimicrobial additive
  • Comfortable grip handle
  • UV Guard material

The Coleman Xtreme 28 quart is slightly more expensive than the above-reviewed products. You will surely get your money’s worth, especially if you go on regular trips that requires bringing a cooler along.

This best coolers to paint is not pre-primed or sanded like the above reviewed, but you will get identical results with slight modification. It comes in white color and requires little sanding and priming to make the plastic surface receptive to acrylic paint.

The Coleman Xtreme coolers are notable for their superior insulation and unrivaled durability. The insulated lid and extra insulation in the walls help your ice stay cold for three days while the stainless-steel hardware resists rusting. It also comes with a large grip comfortable handle for moving your perishable items safely from one place to the other.

The Coleman Coastal Xtreme 28Quartz fits 38 cans of soda or beer and tall enough to accommodate 2 2-liter bottles upright.

Pros:

  • This cooler will keep your refreshments chilly for up to 3 days.
  • It is crafted from stainless-steel hardware that resists rusting.
  • This unit comes with a cup holder to keep your drinks close.

Cons:

  • It is not pre-sanded and primed.

5. Coleman Portable Cooler – The have-a-seat portable cooler

Sale
Coleman Coastal Xtreme Series Marine Portable Cooler , White, 120 Quart

  • Durable plastic material built
  • 62 Kilograms
  • 70Qt

This is another superb paintable cooler with insulated walls and insulated lids. This product has thick walls. We found the wall thickness to be around 1.5”. This is noticeably thicker than regular camping coolers and plays a vital role in keeping your items chilly.

Another great feature we observed is the leak-resistant drain that is perfect for removing melted water. This feature is more common on large-sized coolers as smaller ones can easily be tilted to eliminate excess liquid.

You will also find the Coleman Have-A-Seat Support Lid on this product. A feature that confers this portable cooler with a carrying capacity of up to 250 pounds. As such, it can be used as a temporary step stool. And will also come in handy when you need extra seats around a campfire.

Although this unit does not come ready-to-paint, its spotless white color and smooth surface make it a prime candidate for customization. This, combined with the awesome features it comes with, and the affordable price earns it a position on this list.

Pros:

  • This cooler has a carrying capacity of 250 pounds.
  • It comes fitted with an internal drain for eliminating excess liquid.
  • This unit can keep your item chilled for 6 days.

Cons:

  • The handles can be better.

6. Igloo Marine Coolers — The UV resistant Cooler

Igloo Marine Ultra 54 Quart Cooler

  • 51 Liters
  • UV resistant exterior
  • Stainless steel

Although the Igloo Marine Coolers is not as long-lasting as the Coleman Portable Cooler, it is quite popular because of its customizable white color, price, and quality. If you need a paintable cooler that can hold ice for three to four days, this is the right product for you.

It is also perfect if you are on the market for a second cooler to keep your fish fresh while preventing fish smell meshing with your food.

It comes in a 54 quart that can accommodate up to 85 cans of beer/soda. The walls are just over 1 inch thick. We like the integrated measuring ruler fitted on the lid, which will come in handy during tailgates or camping. The handles are non-slip; as such, it is easy to carry around.

This unit is not pre-sanded or pre-primed; its sparkling white color means it can be easily customized without much stress. A small price to pay for this bad boy!

Pros:

  • The 96-quartz variant can accommodate up to 140 cans of soda.
  • It will keep your item cold for up to 5 days, even at temperatures of up to 90-degree Fahrenheit
  • The non-slip, comfort-grip handle handles make it easy to carry around.

Cons:

  • Some users complain the hinges can be crummy at times.

best Coolers to Paint

Best Coolers to Paint:  Buying Guide

A lot of consideration goes into picking the best coolers to paint than you might think. Features like seals, insulation, and drains are vital factors to consider when choosing a unit to customize. We have identified 5 important criteria that you should look at before making a buying decision.

Insulation

Insulation is the first factor you should consider when choosing between two or more coolers. There are different types of insulation across different products. Each unit has a unique level of effectiveness in keeping the internals sufficiently chilled.

While manufacturers use different materials for insulation, you should beam your searchlight on the thickness of the foam. This is the most important feature that determines performance; all other features marginally affect performance. In this regard, you might want to settle for the Coleman Portable Cooler with 1.5” insulation foam thickness.

Seal

If the seal on your preferred cooler is not effective, having all the insulation in this world won’t matter. If warm air on the outside can find its way into the internals of the coolers due to poor sealing, the cooler will become useless.

There are simply no “ifs” and “buts” here; any item with the tag “cooler” should seal correctly. If you notice discrepancies in the sealing mechanism, abandon the present and simply look for a better one.

We recommend that you go for a cooler with lid gaskets, like the Coleman Coastal Xtreme 28Quartz, and the COOLERSbyU Paintable Cooler. Other sealing mechanisms are okay, too, as long as they are super-effective. One method we use to ascertain the effectiveness of a cooler seal is by attaching an air compressor to the drain and checking for escaping air. This will give you an excellent gauge of the state of the cooler seal.

Ease of painting

To easily customize your cooler, you need a smooth surface on which to stick your paints. One way to do this is by sanding – which is definitely hard work. Sanding the length and breadth of a cooler is an activity that might take hours to complete. But this activity is crucial to the success of making a statement with your cooler.

Alternatively, pick one cooler from the best coolers to paint above. The coolers come in a ready to paint, smooth, white color. They do not require sanding or any prep work. Buy, stick your paint on the surface and express your creativity. This will save you time and stress – time that can be used for other important activities.

Drain

This is another element to consider when looking for the best coolers to paint. This is because you can’t avoid getting the interior parts wet. Except you’re camping in Antarctica, your ice won’t remain solid forever. And if you are, you won’t be needing a cooler in the first place. When the ice in your cooler inevitably melts and fills the internals with water, you will need an excellent drain to rid your cooler of the excess water.

Prompt draining of liquids will help you conserve the remaining ice. Thus, pick a cooler fitted with a drain in the interior part of the unit like the SratStar 26q Paintable Cooler and the Coleman Portable Cooler. This is because it won’t come off if your cooler gets impacted by something.

There was a particular cooler I bought for a get-together with the team. We were having fun and skipping rocks when a rock slipped and accidentally hit the cooler. Since this particular model had its drain externally fitted, it came off immediately and was damaged beyond repair.

Go for a cooler whose drain is sturdy and reliable. The last thing you want to contend with is a leaky drain that soaks your car seats.

Handle

Many people consider the handle of a cooler as nothing more than a trivial detail, but this feature is actually very important. When you fill your cooler with bottles, food, and ice, you will be grateful it has an ergonomic handle to ease the stress of moving it around.

While comfort is essential, you also need to ensure that the handle is durable. You will not like to buy a product whose handle threatens to come off in the middle of your party. It will be terrible if all your perishable supplies are sent rolling down the dust.

Lastly, go for coolers with handles that tuck in flush like the COOLERSbyU Paintable Cooler, Coleman Coastal Xtreme 28Quartz, and the Igloo Marine Coolers. With this, you can easily store the cooler when not in use. Always keep this golden rule in mind about handles; if a handle feels cheap, it probably is and won’t serve you for long!

FAQ

What kind of paint can I use to customize a cooler?

Acrylic paints! They are perfect for the cooler background.

If you plan to use multiple colors on the background, paint one color at a time. Allow the acrylic paint to dry before applying the second and so on. A coat of acrylic color will be enough to stain the background.

Can I paint a cooler without sanding it?

Yes!

There are paintable coolers that come ready for customization. We have reviewed the 6 best paintable coolers on the market today. Scroll up to find the products that will save you time and stress. Plus, they are very easy to customize.

Can I paint the insides of my cooler?

Yes! You can paint the interior part of your cooler. First, consult your local health codes and read the safety instructions about it. To stain the internal parts, you will need a moisture-cured urethane or a similar coat finish.

Conclusion

For most campers and get-togethers, the best coolers to paint are an essential piece of equipment.

I personally love bringing my customized cooler along for everything from fishing trips to canoeing to kayaking, camping, for long road trips, lounging on the beach, and much more.

If you are searching for a paintable and functional cooler to paint, the reviewed products above are perfect. They are the best of the rest on the market today.