Cubix cooler measurements

Choosing the Right Size Cooler: A Complete Guide

Choosing a cooler for outdoor adventures, like a beach day or just a backyard BBQ? Before you rush out and grab the first one you see, let's talk about choosing the right size cooler. Because let's face it, size matters when it comes to keeping your beverages cold and your snacks fresh.

How To Choose A Cooler Size

First, consider what you'll be using the cooler for. Are you planning a solo fishing trip, a weekend camping trip, or a full-blown party? The size of your cooler will depend on several factors.

Lady shopping with her cooler Cubix Viva Cooler

Factors That Influence Your Cooler Size Needs

Room Needed For Ice

Need maximum ice retention? When packing your cooler for maximum chill, you need a generous layer of ice on the bottom, with your food and drinks nestled between ice packed around them. It's like giving your drinks and snacks a little igloo to hang out in.

As for ratios, ideally, you want a 1:1 ratio of ice to contents for ultimate freshness. But hey, we get it. Sometimes, you have to make do with what you've got. You can skimp a bit on the ice, but remember, less ice means things might not stay frosty as long.

If your cooler is too big for the job, you'll run into problems with melting ice. Are you cramming in enough beverages and snacks to feed a small army? Then it's time to size up, my friend. But don't go overboard! 

Going larger than you need in size means you'll need even more ice and effort to keep things cool. And nobody wants to be lugging around a cooler bigger than they need!

Type Of Cooler

Are you in the market for a traditional hard cooler that's as rugged as your hiking boots? Or are you eyeing trendy soft-sided coolers that are as flexible as your weekend plans? Choosing a cooler can be challenging.

A soft cooler can be useful but has minimal ice retention. Like a Rotomolded Cubix cooler, a quality hard cooler has the best ice retention and can keep things frozen for multiple days. This means a small hard cooler needs less ice and does a better job than a bigger soft cooler.

Length of Time Needed

How long do you need to keep things frosty? Think of your activities like chilling for a day at the beach or a week-long road trip. The longer you need your cooler to keep things cold, the more strategic you have to be with your size choice. Larger coolers of 25+ Quarts usually have better ice retention. Don't let your party melt away before it even starts!

Number Of People

Whether it's just you and your trusty sidekick or a whole crew of thirsty adventurers, make sure your cooler can handle the party. The more people, the bigger the cooler you need.

Group of people on a picnic with a Cubix Viva cooler

How To Measure Your Cooler


Coolers are typically measured in Quarts (Qt). Ever wondered just how big a quart is in the grand scheme of things? Well, it's a quarter of a gallon. Now, when you're eyeballing those cooler sizes, you might see numbers like 24 Qt or 46 Qt thrown around like confetti. But what does that even mean? Let’s break it down: a 24 Qt cooler has about 6 gallons of room to stash your goodies.

But hold up! Before you dream of fitting in 6-gallon milk jugs, let's get real. Packaging takes up space, so while your trusty 24 Qt cooler can hold the volume, the practical size differs. That’s why another way to think of space is more along the lines of soda cans.


Since Quarts may not spark the imagination on how much space there is really, you can easily imagine the size of a can and how it fits in a cooler. Whenever you see cooler capacity measured in cans, think of the typical 12-oz soda can.

Person filling a Cubix cooler with snacks

Cooler Quart Sizes

Now, let's talk numbers. Coolers come in all shapes and sizes, but one of the most common ways to measure your needs is by quart size. Here's a rough guide to help you navigate the cooler aisle:

  • 20-30 quarts: Perfect for solo adventurers or small groups heading out for the day.
  • 40-100 quarts: The party's getting started! Great for larger groups and longer trips.
25 Quart Viva Cubix cooler and tumbler on a picnic blanket by the sea

Final Thoughts on Choosing The Right Size Cooler

When it comes to choosing the right size cooler, it's all about thinking ahead and catering to your needs. Whether embarking on a solo adventure or throwing the party of the year, selecting the perfect cooler size will ensure that your drinks stay cold, your snacks stay fresh, and your good times keep rolling.

Cubix coolers are rotomolded quality and can keep ice frozen for up to 5 days. So go ahead, shop a Cubix cooler that fits your style, and get ready to chill harder than in the Ice Age!


What is the best size cooler for a party?

You’ll want 40 to 100 quarts of cooler capacity to handle the food and drink needs of a party with lots of people. A cooler this size can also handle family events, parties, and long trips like fishing or camping.

What size cooler for three people?

Three's company, and you know what they say: the more, the merrier! Aim for a 25-60 quarts of cooler capacity for a trio of adventurers. This will offer enough space to stash your snacks and drinks without feeling like you're lugging around a mini-fridge!

How do you measure a cooler?

You can leave the measuring tape for DIY projects, as you can measure your cooler in quarts. If you need a better visual of the cooler's size, you can measure it in cans, which counts how many cans can fit inside it.