For many of us today, getting cool water at home is practically effortless. You can simply run your cold faucet and fill a glass of water, or leave a bottle in your refrigerator for a couple of hours. However, taking cold water with you is a trickier proposition.
While you could put an old-fashioned cooler full of ice in the back of your car or truck, there are also convenient water jug coolers that you can take anywhere, from a football game to a camping trip. If you aren’t familiar with these coolers, you might be unsure what to look for.
In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about jug coolers before looking at some of the best ones you can buy today. Our water jug cooler reviews judge these models based on their size, material, insulation, and value for money.
- Maintains ice for 3 days
- Easy to use angled spigot
- Stackable flat lid
- Thick insulation
- Fast-flowing faucet
- Splash seal lid
- Non-slip rubber grip
- Swing handle
- Half-gallon capacity
- Stainless steel construction
- Double-wall vacuum insulation
- 10 inches tall
- Flip-top spout cover
- Convenient carrying handle
- BPA-free material
- Large handle
- Wide-mouthed top
- ThermOZONE Insulation
- Can be taken apart to clean
- Leak-proof gasket
- Fast-flow spigot
Now that you know more about water jug coolers, it’s time for our water jug cooler reviews. We looked closely at the attributes we described above, as well as numerous customer reviews and professional opinions. Even if you don’t choose one of these coolers, they will provide a good starting point for your own search.
1. Igloo 5-Gallon Heavy-Duty Cooler
Best Overall Water Jug Cooler
If you are planning an event for numerous people, this Igloo cooler is a great option.
The jug can hold up to 5 gallons of water — enough for several people. It is made of heavy-duty material and its insulation will keep your drink cold on a hot day.
Hygiene is a leading concern when it comes to water coolers. To address that, Igloo has designed a pressure-fitted lid that won’t trap mold or dirt.
Another clever addition is the lid’s built-in tether to prevent it from getting lost. The spigot is angled to help you get the last few drops out of the cooler. This also makes it easier for children to fill their cups.
What We Like
There’s nothing better than ice-cold water on a sweltering day. Unfortunately, some coolers can’t cope with these conditions. Thankfully, with the heavy-duty build of this jug, your water will be kept consistently cold. Igloo claims this jug can maintain ice for up to three days in 90-degree weather.
Easy to Pour Spigot
A common problem with water coolers is their spigot — you often need to be careful where you place them to prevent dripping. However, this spigot has been installed at an angle, making it resistant to drips. This also makes it easier to fit a cup beneath it.
Storing a water jug can be difficult, depending on the shape of the lid. This flat lid is very versatile, as you can place other items on top of it. It also comes in handy as a makeshift seat if a smaller member of your family gets tired!
Easy to Keep Clean
A major issue with water jugs is bacteria and mold accumulating around the lid where moisture gets trapped. Igloo has avoided this problem by fitting the jug with a pressurized lid to keep germs at bay.
What We Don't Like
Most water jug coolers have a screw lid, but this one has a push-down design. Some customers noticed minor spills when the jug was full.
|Size||13.5 x 13.5 x 20.25 inches|
2. Rubbermaid Water Cooler
Best Water Flow
When you’re serving water to a large crowd, you want the line to keep moving. If your water jug’s tap doesn’t provide a sufficient flow, it can slow the line considerably.
Rubbermaid has fitted this cooler with a fast-flowing faucet that won’t keep people waiting. It can hold up to 5 gallons, so you won’t have to refill it often.
The cooler will keep your water fresh and cold for hours thanks to its thick insulation. It is an excellent addition to any camping trip or outdoor gathering.
Getting the lid on and off shouldn’t be difficult. It is fitted with tracks to help your grip as you screw or unscrew it.
What We Like
The thick insulation will keep your water cool and crisp for hours at a time. Multiple customers mentioned that they also used it to hold hot liquids such as coffee and even soup.
Having to wait a minute for your cup to fill might not sound like a long time. However, if several people are waiting, it can be much longer. Thankfully, Rubbermaid devised a solution to this issue and fitted its jug with a fast-flowing faucet.
You need to be careful where you place most water jug coolers due to dripping. However, this model’s spigot is resistant to drips, helping you save water and keeping the ground dry.
Transporting a full 5-gallon water jug cooler can be difficult. Water can splash against the lid and escape the cooler. Thankfully, this screw lid has a splash seal. This will keep all of the water inside the jug, even on a bumpy road.
What We Don't Like
Difficult to Pour
The spigot on this model is angled straight down instead of at 45 degrees, which would be more user-friendly. As a result, some customers found it difficult to pour water into their cups.
|Size||19.25 x 14.5 x 13 inches|
3. Igloo Proformance Half-Gallon Sport Jug
Best Water Cooler for an Active Lifestyle
If you lead an active lifestyle, drinking water frequently is even more important. A jug cooler will keep your H2O cool wherever and whenever you need it. This sports jug from Igloo might become your favorite workout partner.
The compact jug holds half a gallon — enough to get you through an intense workout. It has thick insulation that will keep your drink cool for hours.
Igloo has equipped the jug with a few smart, subtle features. These include a rubberized handle and durable hooks, so you can hang the cooler anywhere.
What We Like
Having a cold drink ready after a game can be a life-saver. This fully insulated jug will keep your water cool for hours.
It is also made with “cool riser” technology. This improves the jug’s performance by elevating it above hot surfaces, minimizing contact and keeping the water cooler for longer. (1)
If you’re sweating after a workout or take your jug with you for a run, many coolers can be tough to hold onto. However, this sports jug is covered by a non-slip rubber that makes it easier to maintain your grip.
To make this jug even easier to take with you, it’s fitted with a swing-up handle. It is a comfortable size to hold, even when you’re running. The handle also easily folds down, making it less difficult to store.
Keeps the Jug off the Ground
Placing your jug on the ground during a game or workout isn’t always appealing. For example, it could be raining or the ground might simply be dirty. Keeping your water jug off of the ground will limit its exposure to dirt, grime, and bacteria.
To help you keep it elevated, this jug is fitted with two rotating hooks that can be attached to a goal post, fence, or any other convenient object.
What We Don't Like
Some customers reported that the lid would leak slightly when the jug was placed horizontally. This seems to occur more often when the jug is full.
|Size||6.5 x 11.6 x 6.6 inches|
4. YETI Rambler Vacuum Insulated Jug
If you’re looking for a small jug with powerful insulation, this model fits the bill. This tiny YETI jug is equipped with double-wall vacuum insulation that will keep your beverage icy cold or hot.
The stainless steel body doesn’t only look good; it is also highly durable and should serve you for years. It’s fitted with a MagCap that locks into its dock and will stay in place as you drink.
Thoroughly cleaning a water jug can be tricky, but YETI has made it easier by designing this jug to be dishwasher safe.
Taking the jug with you on an adventure is easy thanks to its large handle. It is comfortable to hold and makes it easier to pour a refreshing drink.
What We Like
The body is made of kitchen-grade stainless steel that won’t rust. It can also take a few hits without being punctured.
Some stainless steel jugs can be too hot to hold with a high-temperature drink inside. That won’t be a problem with this model, even if you are carrying steaming hot soup.
High-quality insulation is exactly what you need to keep your drinks at a consistent temperature throughout the day. The YETI Rambler is designed to be out in the wild, whatever the weather. It features double-wall vacuum insulation, which maintains the temperature of the beverage inside.
Having to carry a bulky jug with you can a nuisance. YETI addressed this by creating a compact jug that holds half a gallon. It measures 10 inches tall and 6 inches wide, making it suitable for most trips.
For Hot and Cold
Cold water might not be the only drink you need on a trip. This jug allows you to bring whatever you like, whether you want to fill your Rambler with refreshing iced tea or hot coffee.
What We Don't Like
Difficult to Grip the Lid
Several customers mentioned that they wished the lid was easier to screw on and off. Some complained that it was difficult to get a good grip.
|Size||10 x 6 x 6 inches|
5. Under Armour Sideline Jug
Best Budget Pick
If you want a colorful water jug to take with you during a workout, this is a great option. This sleek Under Armour water jug is available in 10 different vibrant colors.
It has double-wall foam insulation to keep your drink cold for up to 12 hours. Another helpful feature is the leak-resistant lid, which has a flip-top cover to keep the spout clean.
When you go for a run or hike, this jug is a perfect companion. The fold-down handle is comfortable to hold, and it securely locks into place using its integrated fence hooks.
What We Like
Excellent for Athletes
Whether you’re training or entering a tournament, this jug will make sure you stay hydrated. It holds 64 ounces and keeps your water as cold as you need, for up to 12 hours.
A jug’s spout is often its weakest point, especially if it is always exposed. However, this jug features a flip-top cover that opens at the push of a button when you need it.
Convenient Carrying Handle
The carry handle makes it easier to transport this water jug. It is comfortable to hold and locks in place using the built-in hooks.
The BPA-free material will protect you against toxins. It is highly durable and built to be taken with you, whatever the occasion.
What We Don't Like
Difficult to Clean
One benefit of many smaller water jugs is that they are dishwasher-safe. However, this model has a list of requirements when conducting maintenance. If you don’t follow the instructions, the jug might leak, as some customers found out the hard way.
|Size||6.4 x 6.1 x 11.7 inches|
6. Coleman One-Gallon Jug
Best 1-Gallon Jug Water Cooler
This compact water jug cooler is a perfect addition to a barbeque with your family or friends. It is easy to carry into your garden or a local park thanks to its large handle.
There is no spigot at the bottom, but there is a flip-top spout that dispenses chilled water. You can fill the jug via the wide-mouth top that also accommodates large ice cubes or pieces of fruit.
The insulation will keep your drink cool for hours. You don’t need to worry about harming the environment, as the insulation is free from CFCs, HCFCs and HFCs. These are gasses or liquids commonly used in foam insulation, despite not being environmentally friendly (2).
What We Like
Easy to Carry
Carrying a water jug can feel cumbersome, but this model’s large handle means you can easily take it with you. The compact size also means it will fit comfortably onto a picnic table or in the back of your car.
Filling this water jug is made easier by its wide-mouthed top. You won’t have to waste time breaking ice into small pieces to make it fit inside. The lid is screwed on and off, and it is resistant to leaks and spills, even on bumpy roads.
Solvents such as CFCs are often used in insulation foam. Although they are effective, they also harm the environment. Coleman has avoided using unsafe materials and instead created its ThermOZONE Insulation that is both effective and eco-friendly.
What We Don't Like
Unfortunately, there is no spigot, unlike most drink dispensing coolers. Some customers named this as the model’s biggest flaw, saying it was difficult to pour without spilling the contents.
|Size||8 x 12.8 x 8.2 inches|
|Water Dispenser||Flip-top spout|
7. Stanley Insulated Water Jug
Best 2-Gallon Jug Water Cooler
This Stanley insulated water cooler is ideal when you want more than a gallon, but don’t want to carry around a 5-gallon water jug. It can hold 2 gallons, ideal for outings with your family or friends. As it is only slightly heavier than the 1-gallon model, it’s easy to carry with you.
It features a large spigot that provides a fast flow. You can take it apart completely when it needs cleaning — this will help you keep mildew at bay.
The BPA-free body is durable and includes a limited lifetime warranty. To keep the lid securely in place, Stanley has fitted the jug with latches.
What We Like
The 2-gallon jug provides enough water for a family outing. It also only weighs about a pound more than a 1-gallon model, but keep in mind the weight of the extra water. You can easily fit it into the back of a car or place it on a small table.
Mildew or mold often gets into spigots, largely because they are difficult to clean properly. This jug can be taken apart for thorough cleaning to avoid this issue.
The foamed lid is fitted with a leak-proof gasket that locks it in place. This effectively maintains the icy temperature on the inside by keeping the heat out.
Waiting for your cup to fill can be frustrating — especially with a queue of thirsty people behind you. Stanley avoided this problem by creating a fast-flow spigot that provides a smooth flow.
What We Don't Like
This model is easy to take apart for maintenance, but this also created a few points that are susceptible to leaking. Some users mentioned that their jug leaked around the spigot and even from the lid when it was full.
|Size||11.7 x 11.7 x 13.5 inches|
|Warranty||Limited lifetime warranty|
|Igloo 5-Gallon Heavy-Duty||Overall||5 gal.||13.5 x 13.5 x 20.25″||6.63 lbs||1-year warranty||Spigot|
|Rubbermaid Cooler||Water Flow||5 gal.||19.25 x 14.5 x 13″||6.45 lbs||Not specified||Spigot|
|Igloo Proformance Sport Jug||For an Active Lifestyle||½ gallon||6.5 x 11.6 x 6.6″||1.5 lbs||Not specified||Spout|
|YETI Rambler Vacuum Insulated||Insulation||½ gallon||10 x 6 x 6″||3.86 lbs||Not specified||Spout|
|Under Armour Sideline||Budget||64 oz||6.4 x 6.1 x 11.7″||10.1 oz||Not specified||Spout|
|Coleman One-Gallon||1-Gallon Jug||1 gallon||8 x 12.8 x 8.2″||1.6 lbs||Not specified||Flip-top spout|
|Stanley Insulated||2-Gallon Jug||2 gal.||11.7 x 11.7 x 13.5″||4.43 lbs||Limited lifetime warranty||Spigot|
Features to Look For
Shopping for a water jug cooler can be overwhelming at first glance. They are available in numerous sizes and have various features. Identifying your individual requirements can help you narrow down your search, so keep these attributes in mind.
The capacity of your water jug is the most important question you need to answer. They are available in a range of sizes, from a small half-gallon water jug cooler up to a large 5-gallon model.
Only you can decide which size is right for you. If you often host or help out at sporting events, a large 5-gallon jug will help you keep the team hydrated. However, if you only need enough for family picnics or days out, a 1-gallon or 2-gallon water jug should suffice.
Unsurprisingly, the larger a water jug is, the heavier it will be, especially when it is full of water. A water jug has one or multiple layers of insulation. This can make them bigger and heavier than expected.
Smaller, half-gallon jugs are sometimes mistaken for water bottles, but they are larger and heavier. However, a water jug cooler will keep your water cold for much longer than a standard bottle.
For example, one of the most popular half-gallon water bottles on Amazon weighs 7 ounces. In comparison, the best half-gallon jug on our list weighs 1.5 pounds — that’s quite a difference. However, the water bottle won’t keep your water cool on a hot day.
The material used plays a significant role in the thermal effectiveness of a jug. The most commonly used materials include BPA-free plastic and stainless steel.
Which material to choose depends on whether the jug will be used primarily indoors or outdoors. For indoor use, plastic should suffice — although it is less durable, it is also cheaper.
On the other hand, if you frequently camp or hike, you will need a tougher material. Stainless steel is the best option as it is very durable and won’t stain or rust. However, most large water jug coolers are made of hard plastic.
Proper insulation is critical in any cooler — without it, a jug won’t be worth buying. Double-wall insulation is particularly effective for outdoor use as it can withstand warmer temperatures.
Another area to check is the lid. If the lid doesn’t seal the jug completely, it will essentially make the insulation pointless. Look for water coolers with a vacuum-sealed lid for the most efficient insulation; gaskets are less effective.
Keeping your water jug cooler clean is essential for your health and that of anyone else who uses it. Mildew is a common issue due to the moist and dark environment. In addition, some minerals can quickly accumulate inside the jug and its spigot.
Cleaning a water jug cooler isn’t always easy. Smaller jugs, such as half-gallon and even some 1-gallon jugs, might fit in a dishwasher. Make sure your chosen model is dishwasher-safe. To keep it clean, we recommend that you give the inside a quick wash after every use, to prevent bacteria from settling.
Consider creating a disinfecting solution. One way to do this is by mixing either unscented bleach or white vinegar with water. Leave the solution in the jug for a couple of minutes, then drain it through the spigot. This will also ensure that no mildew gathers in the tap (4).
The best water jug coolers aren’t particularly cheap but less expensive products are also available. Keep in mind that in most cases, you get what you pay for.
If you choose a cheaper cooler, it might be unable to keep your water cold for as long. High-quality jugs can sometimes also be used for hot beverages.
At the same time, it’s important not to blindly trust a high price. Look for a product within your budget, then read some customer reviews to see how they found it. The best products will include a warranty — this is usually for one year or a limited lifetime.