Cooler Size Guide

It can be tricky to find a cooler that’s exactly the right size for your lifestyle. That’s why Igloo offers a wide variety of cooler sizes and styles, so you can find exactly what you need. In order to ensure you find the right option, take an in-depth look at the different cooler sizes you have to choose from. 

You can use this cooler size guide to determine exactly what product will be best for your next adventure or hangout. From mini lunch coolers to massive coolers built for long weekends, read through to find out exactly what works for you. 

How to measure a cooler

Exploring the Igloo website, you might notice that our products are measured in two different ways: quarts (Qt) and the number of cans. Here’s what each of those ways of measuring cooler capacity means. 


A quart is a quarter of a gallon. It’s common to see cooler sizes in quarts listed alongside a product, like a 24 Qt or 70 Qt cooler. If you’re having trouble picturing how large a 24 Qt cooler is (for example), it might help to imagine that that’s about 6 gallons’ worth of space. 

Note, however, that 6 milk or water gallon jugs might not fit in a 24 Qt cooler. For most packaged items — like milk bottles or soda cans — the packaging will also take up some space. 


Cans are another way that Igloo measures cooler capacity. Whenever you see a cooler’s capacity described as a number of cans, it means the standard 12-oz soda can. 

Cooler capacity depends on a few factors

As previously mentioned, a 24 Qt cooler won’t necessarily hold 24 1-Qt bottles. That’s because cooler capacity can depend on other factors, like the shape of the food and drink you’re storing inside. Here are a few factors to keep in mind: 

  • Size of contents: Larger, bulkier items will take up more space inside the cooler than smaller ones. 
  • Shape of contents: Some items can stack evenly inside a cooler, like juice boxes or soda cans, while others, like packaged food or glass bottles, might be harder to arrange evenly. 
  • Ice: In order for your cooler to perform optimally, it’s important to pack ice or ice packs in along with your food and drink. Ice will also take up space inside the cooler. 

How much cooler do I need?

If you’re planning a trip, building up your backyard BBQ kit, or just looking for your next go-to ice chest, you might be wondering how big your cooler should be. Here’s what you can do with each different cooler size we offer:

Personal (mini or lunch)

Mini personal coolers are great for keeping your lunch fresh, bringing along some snacks for a hike, or packing goodies for a small picnic. There are a few mini cooler options to choose from.


Small coolers make a reliable option for a backyard get together, one-night camping trip, or a day at the beach. Small coolers come in hard- and soft-sided options. 


Medium-sized coolers are a great choice for your favorite hobbies. Fill a medium cooler with drinks for a party, or bring it along on your next weekend outdoor adventure. 


Large coolers help get the party started. Whether you’re packing the whole family in the car for a long weekend camping or setting up the backyard to have a bigger house party, a large cooler has the capacity to keep everything you need fresh. 

Extra large

If you’re looking for something much roomier than a standard cooler size, we offer extra-large coolers — larger than 100 Qt. These make a great choice for longer getaways and bigger outdoor gatherings.

Are hard or soft side coolers larger?

Hard and soft-sided coolers both come in a wide variety of sizes. There are mini hard coolers, like Playmate lunch boxes, as well as mini soft coolers, like our insulated lunch bags. There are also large hard coolers and large soft coolers to suit a variety of lifestyles. 

If you’re not sure what size you need, but know that you need either a large cooler or a soft cooler, you can browse by those features.

You can also browse by lifestyle category to find the right cooler. Just be sure to check the size specification when selecting the right cooler for your hobbies. 

Many Igloo cooler brands, like the Mission Series, BMX, or Playmate, come with a number of different cooler sizes. So, if you find an option you love but not in the right size, be sure to check whether there are other cooler dimensions available in that line. Take the time to browse our collection, make a cooler size comparison, and find the right companion for your lifestyle today.