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Igloo Island Breeze Cooler, 48 quarts review: Breeze on by this cheap, ineffective Igloo cooler

It's a dirt-cheap budget pick, but you should still skip the Igloo Island Breeze Cooler in favor of something better.

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Ry Crist
Ryan_Crist2.jpg
Ry Crist Senior Editor / Reviews - Appliances

Originally hailing from Troy, Ohio, Ry Crist is a text-based adventure connoisseur, a lover of terrible movies and an enthusiastic yet mediocre cook. A CNET editor since 2013, Ry's beats include smart home tech, lighting, appliances, and home networking.

3 min read

One of several options in the Island Breeze lineup, the 48-quart Igloo Island Breeze Cooler is one of the cheapest coolers you'll find at retail. I got mine on sale at Dick's Sporting Goods for just $15.

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5.0

Igloo Island Breeze Cooler, 48 quarts

The Good

With 47.6 quarts to its name, the Igloo Island Breeze offers plenty of space for beverages.

The Bad

It won't keep those beverages cold for long -- in fact, you'll get better performance from just about any other cooler on the market. It also lacks a drainage spout and a latch for the lid.

The Bottom Line

I spent $15 on this crappy cooler so you wouldn't have to. Cool your jets and buy something else.

Well, you get what you pay for -- and in the case of the Island Breeze, that means you won't get much. For starters, the design lacks a lid latch or even a drainage spout for when your ice inevitably melts. And melt it will, my friend, as the Island Breeze put up some of the worst performance I saw from any of the coolers I tested. You'd arguably be better off with a disposable Styrofoam cooler like the $4 Lifoam model I used as a control.

My recommendation: Upgrade instead to the Igloo MaxCold Cooler. At a cost of $45, it offers top-notch performance for the price, and even managed to beat out a couple of high-end coolers that cost hundreds more. But whatever you do, skip the Island Breeze, because like most island breezes, it runs warm.

Which cooler should you buy this summer? We tested 18 of them

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Filled to the brim, the Igloo Island Breeze Cooler held 47.6 quarts of water before I was unable to close the lid without spilling.

Ry Crist/CNET

The Igloo Island Breeze is as basic as hard coolers come. The only features of note are the handles, the hinges and the fact that it comes in a couple of different color options.

Igloo pegs the cooler's capacity at 48 quarts, and that number checked out when I filled the thing with water. To be exact, the measured capacity came in at 47.6 quarts, so Igloo isn't shortchanging you on size the way some other brands do.

All of which brings us right to performance, and I'll tell you right off the bat, it ain't pretty. With 3 pounds of ice inside, the Island Breeze didn't even last a day before returning to room temperature. That left it in a virtual tie for last place with the Rubbermaid Ice Chest, another cheap cooler that just isn't worth it.

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The Igloo Island Breeze Cooler (green) was one of the worst-performing coolers we tested. Its average temperature during this test was about one degree warmer than the disposable Lifoam cooler (white) that cost $4.

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Igloo's average temperature over the course of that ice retention test actually came back about a degree warmer than what we got from a throwaway Lifoam cooler that cost $4.

Ry Crist/CNET

The picture gets even worse when you compare the Igloo's performance with that of the disposable Styrofoam cooler I tested alongside it. 

Though it wasn't able to pull the temperature down by as much as the Igloo or the Rubbermaid, that $4 Lifoam cooler held pat at its minimum temperature for longer than either of them, and it lasted an extra couple of hours before returning to room temperature, too.

In the end, that meant that the Lifoam actually returned a lower average temperature over the course of the test than the Igloo did, which was a pretty stunning result. Translation: Your beers will get warmer in the Island Breeze faster than they will in a crappy, $4 throwaway cooler.

You'll be quite a bit happier with your cooler if you spend a few bucks more on the Igloo MaxCold, which costs $45. True, that's $30 you could otherwise spend on beer, but it'll do a much better job of keeping the beer you've already got cold -- much better than any cheap cooler I tested, and better than some of the super fancy rotomolded coolers that cost hundreds of dollars, too.

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Igloo Island Breeze Cooler, 48 quarts

Score Breakdown

Features 4Design 5Performance 5Usability 5.5
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