Are you planning a camping trip? Maybe the annual football game is coming up? Either way, consider taking a water jug cooler with you.
With a little forethought, it’s easy to find the best water jug cooler in no time. We’ve got you covered with a detailed buying guide and reviews — everything you need to know is right here.
Finding the Best Water Jug Coolers
Shopping for water cooler jugs can be a little confusing at first. Yes, they come in many different sizes and have various features; here’s what to keep in mind.
How big you need the water jug to be is the most crucial factor. They come in a range of capacities starting from half a gallon up to 5 gallons.
Which size you should go for depends on your needs. If you’re often hosting or helping at sports events, a large 5-gallon jug is the best choice to keep the team hydrated. However, if you only need a jug for family picnics or outings, a 1- or 2-gallon should suffice.
Naturally, the bigger a water jug is, the heavier it is. Keep in mind that a water jug is made up of one or more layers of insulation. This can make it bigger and heavier than expected.
Smaller, half-gallon jugs are sometimes confused with water bottles. You’ll most likely be unpleasantly surprised by the size and weight of these. But, a water jug cooler will keep your water cold for much longer compared to a regular bottle.
For instance, a popular half-gallon water bottle on Amazon weighs 7 ounces. Whereas, the best half-gallon jug on our list weighs 1.5 pounds — that’s quite a difference. However, the water bottle cannot keep your water from going warm on a hot day.
The material used greatly influences the thermal effectiveness of the jug. Some of the most common materials used include BPA-free plastic and stainless steel.
Which material you should choose depends on whether the jug will spend most time indoors or outdoors. For indoor use, plastic will suffice — although it’s less durable, it’s cheaper.
On the other hand, if you’re going on frequent camping trips or hiking, you’ll need a material that can take a few hits. Stainless steel is the way to go since it’s highly durable and won’t stain or rust. However, most large water jug coolers are made of hard plastic.
Water jug coolers aren’t the cheapest investment; however, lower-priced products are available. Keep in mind that in most cases, you get what you pay for.
If you choose to spend less, you can’t expect the quality to be as high. The cooler might not be able to keep your water cold for long. High-quality jugs can sometimes be used for hot beverages too.
In saying this, it’s still important to not blindly trust a high price. We highly recommend that you find a product within your budget, then research real customer reviews to see how they found it. Some coolers will come with a warranty — this is usually either one year or a limited lifetime.
Our product review section further down covers these points for you, so we’ve already done the hard work!
Keeping your water jug cooler clean is crucial for you and your family’s health. Mildew is a common issue due to the moist and dark environment. On top of this, some minerals can quickly start to build up on the inside and in the spigot.
Cleaning a water jug cooler isn’t always an easy task. Smaller jugs, such as half gallons and maybe even 1-gallon jugs, might fit in a dishwasher. However, you should always check if yours 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.
Also, consider creating a disinfecting solution. A good way to do this is by mixing either unscented bleach or white vinegar with water. Let the solution sit for a couple of minutes in the jug and then drain it through the spigot. This will also ensure there’s no mildew building in the tap (2).
Insulation is critical in a cooler — without proper insulation, the jug simply isn’t worth it. Double-wall insulation is highly effective for outdoor use since it can withstand higher temperatures.
Another point worth checking is the lid. If the jug isn’t properly sealed at the lid, it won’t matter how good the insulation is. Look out for water coolers with a vacuum-sealed top for incredibly efficient insulation; others are sealed using a gasket.
The Best Water Jug Cooler Reviews of 2020
We’ve taken all the above factors and combined them with customer feedback and industry expert advice.
Finding the best water jug coolers isn’t difficult when you know what to look for. Consider an option from our list below, taking into account your specific needs and budget.
1. Igloo 5-Gallon Heavy-Duty Cooler
If you’re planning an event for a large number of people, this Igloo cooler is a serious player.
The jug can hold up to 5 gallons of water — enough to please a large crowd. It’s made of heavy-duty material and insulation that will keep your beverage cold on a hot day.
Cleanliness is often a concern when it comes to water coolers. However, Igloo has fitted this jug with a pressure-fitted lid that won’t trap mold or dirt.
Another smart feature in the lid is a built-in tether that keeps it close. The spigot is angled to help you get the last few drops out before refilling. This will also help children to fill their cups when needed.
Why We Love It
There’s nothing better than ice-cold water on a hot, sweaty day. But, some coolers tend to fail under these conditions. Due to the heavy-duty build of this jug, however, your water will be kept consistently cold. Igloo claims the jug can maintain ice for up to three days in 90-degree weather.
Easy to Pour Spigot
A common problem with water coolers is the spigot — you often have to be careful where you place it due to dripping. But, this spigot has been installed at an angle, making it resistant to drips. This also makes it easier to fit a cup underneath.
Storing a water jug can be tricky if the lid is bulky. This flat one, however, makes for a much better fit since you can stack other items on top. Also, if you’re out with the family and a child needs a rest, they can sit on the lid!
Easy to Keep Clean
A major concern with water jugs is bacteria and mold gathering around the lid where moisture gets trapped. Igloo has avoided this problem by fitting the jug with a pressurized lid, keeping germs at bay.
Keep In Mind
Most water jug coolers have a screw lid, but this one uses a push-down function. A few customers noticed some minor spilling when the jug was full, and that water pushes against the lid.
|Size||13.5 x 13.5 x 20.25 inches|
2. Rubbermaid Water Cooler
When you’re serving water for a large crowd, you need that line to be moving. But, it can go rather slow if the water jug tap doesn’t provide a good flow.
Rubbermaid has fitted its cooler with a fast-flowing faucet that won’t keep your guests 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 due to the thick insulation. It’s an excellent addition to any camping trip or large gathering in the garden.
Getting the lid on and off shouldn’t be a difficult task. It’s fitted with tracks to help you get a good grip as you screw it on or off.
Why We Love It
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 soups.
Having to wait a minute for your cup to fill might not sound like a lot. But, if you’re 10 in a line, it can be stressful. Luckily, Rubbermaid found a solution to this issue and fitted its jug with a fast-flowing faucet.
You often have to watch where you place your water cooler due to drips. However, the spigot fitted to this model is resistant to drips, and it keeps the area dry.
Transporting a full 5-gallon water jug cooler can be tricky. Water can quickly splash against the lid, compromising the seal. Thankfully, the screw lid here uses a splash seal. This will keep all of the water inside the jug, even on a bumpy road.
Keep In Mind
Difficult to Pour
The spigot on this model goes straight down instead of at a 45-degree angle, which would be better. As a result, some customers found it difficult to pour.
|Size||19.25 x 14.5 x 13 inches|
3. Igloo Proformance Half-Gallon Sport Jug
When you’re living an active lifestyle, water is even more essential — and you need a jug to keep your H2O cool at all times. This sports jug from Igloo might just become your new workout partner.
The compact jug holds half a gallon — enough to get you through a tough workout. It has thick insulation that will keep your beverage cool for hours at a time.
Igloo has fitted the jug with a few smart but subtle features. These include a rubberized handle and durable hooks, so you can hang it anywhere.
Why We Love It
Having a nice cold drink ready after a game can be a life-saver. This fully insulated jug will keep your water cold for hours.
It’s also made with “cool riser” technology. This improves the jugs’ performance by elevating it from hot surfaces, minimizing contact with hot areas and keeping the water cooler. (3)
When you’re sweaty after a workout or taking your jug out on a run, a cooler can be hard to keep hold of. However, this sports jug is covered in a non-slip rubber that makes it a breeze to carry.
In order to make this jug even easier to bring with you on a jog, it’s fitted with a swing-up handle. It’s a nice size to hold and won’t feel bulky when you’re on the go. A bonus feature is that the handle folds down easily when stored.
Keeps the Jug off the Ground
Having to put your water jug down on the ground when practicing or working out is not always possible. For example, the weather might not be suitable, or the ground simply won’t make it a clean choice. Keeping your water jug off of the ground can limit exposure to dirt, grime, and bacteria.
To avoid this, this jug is fitted with two rotating hooks so you can hang it on a goal post, a line or any other elevated object.
Keep In Mind
A few customers noted that the lid would leak a tiny bit when the jug was laid on its side. This was mostly noted when the jug was 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 little guy is it. This tiny YETI jug is fitted with double-wall vacuum insulation that will keep your beverage icy cold or even hot.
The stainless steel body doesn’t just look good; it’s also highly durable and will last you a long time. It’s fitted with a MagCap that locks into its dock and will not budge as you drink.
Cleaning a water jug can sometimes be tricky. YETI, however, has made it a bit easier by making this jug dishwasher-safe.
Carrying the jug along on an adventure is easy with the help of the large handle. It’s comfortable to hold and makes it easier to pour yourself a refreshing drink.
Why We Love It
The body is made of kitchen-grade stainless steel that won’t rust. It can also take a few hits without puncturing.
Stainless steel jugs can be tricky to hold on to, depending on the beverage inside. However, this jug won’t sweat, even if you’re transporting a steaming hot soup.
High-quality insulation is just what you need to get you through the day. The YETI Rambler is made to be out in the wild, no matter the weather. It features double-wall vacuum insulation, which maintains the temperature of your beverage inside.
Having to carry a bulky jug with you can be frustrating at times. The manufacturer took this into account and created a compact jug to hold half a gallon. It measures 10 inches tall and 6 inches wide, making it an easy fit for most trips.
For Hot and Cold
Cold water is not always the only beverage needed on a trip. This jug allows you to bring whatever your heart desires. If you want to fill your Rambler with refreshing iced tea or nice hot coffee, the choice is yours.
Keep In Mind
Difficult to Grip the Lid
Several customers noted that they wished the lid was easier to screw on and off. Some said it was hard to get a good grip.
|Size||10 x 6 x 6 inches|
5. Under Armour Sideline Jug
If you’re looking for a colorful water jug to bring with you during a workout, this could be the perfect choice. The sleek-looking water jug is available in 10 different vibrant colors.
It uses double-wall foam insulation to keep your beverage cold for up to 12 hours. Another attractive feature is the leak-resistant lid, which is fitted with a flip-top cover that keeps the spout clean.
When you need to go for a run or a hike, this jug is a perfect companion. Holding the fold-down handle is comfortable, and it securely locks into place due to the integrated fence hooks.
Why We Love It
Excellent for Athletes
Whether you’re training or going to a tournament, this jug will make sure you’re staying hydrated. It holds 64 ounces and keeps your water as cold as you need it to be, for up to 12 hours.
The spout on a jug can sometimes be worrisome, especially if it’s exposed all the time. However, this jug features a flip-top cover that easily opens with the push of a button when you need it.
Convenient Carrying Handle
The carry handle makes transporting this water jug a little easier. It’s comfortable to hold and locks in place using the built-in hooks.
The BPA-free material will keep you safe from possible toxins. It’s highly durable and built to be taken with you, no matter the occasion.
Keep In Mind
Difficult to Clean
A smart thing about many smaller water jugs is that they’re dishwasher-safe. However, this one comes with quite a list of do’s and don’ts when it comes to maintenance. If you don’t follow the instructions, the jug might leak, as several customers found out the hard way.
|Size||6.4 x 6.1 x 11.7 inches|
6. Coleman One-Gallon Jug
This compact water jug cooler is the perfect addition to a bbq night with the family. It’s easy to bring out into the garden or on a picnic thanks to the large handle.
There’s no spigot at the bottom, but there is a flip-top spout that easily dispenses chilled water. You can effortlessly fill the jug through the wide-mouth top that also accommodates large ice cubes or fruit chunks.
The insulation will keep your beverage cool for a long time. You also won’t have to worry about harming the environment since the insulation is free of CFCs, HCFCs and HFCs. These are gasses or liquids commonly used in foam insulation, despite being destructive to the ozone (4).
Why We Love It
Easy to Carry
Carrying a cumbersome water jug can be annoying. But, thanks to the large handle, you can easily take this jug with you. The small and compact size also makes it a comfortable fit on a picnic table or in the back of your car.
Filling the water jug is made a little easier due to the wide-mouthed top. You won’t have to spend time chopping ice into small bits or freeze dozens of cubes. The lid is screwed on and off, and it’s resistant to leaks and spills even on bumpy roads.
Solvents such as CFCs are often used in insulation foam. Even though this process is effective, it’s not good for the environment. Thankfully, Coleman has avoided using unsafe materials and created its ThermOZONE Insulation that’s effective and eco-friendly.
Keep In Mind
Unfortunately, there’s no spigot for easy water dispensing. Several customers pointed this out, saying it was difficult to pour without a few spills.
|Size||8 x 12.8 x 8.2 inches|
|Water Dispenser||Flip-top spout|
7. Stanley Insulated Water Jug
When you need a little more water than 1 gallon, but don’t want to carry around a 5-gallon jug, this is a good option. This Stanley water cooler can hold 2 gallons, making it an excellent choice for outings with the extended family or friends. Because it’s only slightly heavier than the 1-gallon, it’s easy to carry with you.
It comes with a large spigot with a fast flow of water. You can take it apart completely when it needs a clean — this is a convenient way to keep mildew at bay.
The BPA-free body is durable and comes with a limited lifetime warranty. To keep the lid secure, Stanley has fitted the jug with latches to lock it in place.
Why We Love It
The 2-gallon jug provides just enough water for a large family outing. It also only weighs a little over a pound more than a 1-gallon model. You can easily pack it into the back of the car or place it on a small table.
Mildew or mold is often a concern within the spigot, mostly because it can be difficult to clean properly. However, this jug allows you to take it apart to clean it thoroughly.
The foamed lid is fitted with a leak-proof gasket that locks it in place. It effectively keeps the icy temperature on the inside while keeping the heat outside.
Having to wait for your cup to fill when you’re thirsty can be frustrating — especially when a line is building behind you. Stanley solved this problem by creating a fast-flow spigot that keeps the water and line running smoothly.
Keep In Mind
Even though it’s easy to take apart for maintenance, this also created a few leak points. Several customers noted that the jug would leak around the spigot and even out the lid when 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|
Staying hydrated is crucial, but it’s no fun if all you have is warm water. The best water jug coolers will keep your H2O cool and crisp throughout the day.
When searching for the right product to suit you, consider the size and how easy it is to transport. If you’re living an active lifestyle or you’re often on the go, a light and compact jug is the best choice. However, if you’re planning a family outing or a sports event, a 5-gallon jug is what you need to keep everyone hydrated.
Have any questions or comments for us? Please get in touch with us in the section below!