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If you're looking for a good value on a cooler this summer, then you'll probably see a couple of reviews pointing you toward the Coleman Xtreme Marine Cooler.
Coming in at a whopping 70 quarts, it's a popular pick that offers about as much capacity as you can hope to find for less than $50 (I got mine for $42 at Walmart). Even better -- that capacity claim turned out to be conservative, as the thing actually held 76.1 quarts in my tests.
The size alone might justify the purchase, but you'll find better performance if you shop around. Among marine coolers designed with boats in mind, the $329 Bison Gen 2 Cooler might be worth a look if you're itching for a heavy-duty, rotomolded upgrade with better options for extra features and customizations.
Meanwhile, the $45 Igloo MaxCold is a better choice if you just want something cheap that'll keep drinks cold as long as possible.
Available in stark white and designed to sit in the sun, Coleman's cooler is a classic, wide-bodied marine model intended to sit steady on open waters, but there's nothing stopping you from using it wherever you like. With no latching lid, the basic build isn't anything fancy, but it's at least sturdy enough to sit on, and it includes a couple of built-in cup holders for your beer, too.
At a claimed capacity of 70 quarts, the Coleman Xtreme Marine is the largest cooler I've tested to date. When I double-checked that number by filling it with water, it actually held 76.1 quarts before the lid finally wouldn't close without overflowing. You'll have a hard time finding any other cooler at this price that can come close to that kind of capacity.
Draining all of that water proved to be a bit of a pain, though, as the drainage spout sits well above the bottom of the cooler and protrudes inwards, as well. That means that you'll be left with a good half-inch or so of standing water after you empty the thing, so be prepared to pick it up and turn it upside down to toss the rest of that water overboard.
As for insulation, the Xtreme Marine was a decent, middle-of-the-pack performer, beating out cheaper competitors like the Igloo Island Breeze and Rubbermaid Ice Chest coolers, as well as budget-priced wheeled options like the Igloo Latitude and the standard Coleman Xtreme Cooler.
It wasn't able to keep 3 pounds of ice cold for as long as the Igloo MaxCold Cooler did, though. At $45 -- roughly the same price as the Coleman Xtreme Marine, albeit about 20 quarts less spacious -- that's currently my top value pick in the cooler category.
Still, the performance was better than average (at least among the cheap options), and it's also fair to say that Coleman was at a slight handicap because of the king-size capacity, which meant it had a bigger job on its hands than its smaller competitors did in the ice retention test.
All of that adds up to a cooler that merits consideration, especially if you just want the most capacity for your buck. Don't rule out the competition, though -- specifically the aforementioned Igloo MaxCold and the $97 Lifetime High Performance Cooler, which offers both stronger performance and a much better design.