Pontoon boaters face unique obstacles when it comes to entertaining and providing for their guests on pontoon boats. In particular, because most pontoon boats are designed to carry a larger number of people than other recreational boats such as speed boats or fishing boats, one challenge pontoon boaters face, is having a cooler large enough to accommodate enough cold beverages, all the fish they've found and caught, and other important items for all their passengers.
Even on the largest of pontoon boats, space can become limited very quickly due to the bags, lifejackets, and other recreational items that the boater and his or her guests will bring on the boat with them.
With children on board, the amount of gear, baggage, and recreational items your guests will bring onboard your pontoon boat will increase dramatically.
As such, most pontoon boat owners need a large cooler for their pontoon boat that will both accommodate enough drinks and snacks for their guests, but also will not take up too much space on the boat while also providing other features for versitility, such as cup holders or seating.
In this article, we will explore a number of the best coolers for pontoon boats on the market today, and help you make an informed and wise choice about which cooler may work best for your pontoon boat given various factors, such as how many guests you typically have on deck, the size of your boat, and what you typically store in your cooler.
Top 5 Model Comparison Table
Best Coolers for Pontoon Boats Reviewed
Igloo Marine's Talon Pontoon Series offers a great option for pontoon boat owners looking for both convenience and versatility in their cooler for their pontoon boat.
Igloo Marine is a division of Igloo, the company that has been making coolers, thermoses, and other similar products for decades, and is a trusted household name. Their marine line is crafted with additional durability to help add longer life to the cooler while adding value to your boating experience.
One great feature of the Talon Pontoon Series is that it has a cushioned seat that you can use as a seat or even as a footrest. The thick, plush seat cushion is made with UV resistant marine-grade vinyl that is also mildew resistant--two things that are a must for pontoon boat cooler cushions when you are on the water.
The high-compression foam padding won't wear out easily, even with regular use.
Only 26 inches wide, 14 inches deep, and 185 inches high, while holding 48 total quarts of content, this cooler won't take up precious space needed for moving around or for other equipment on your pontoon boat.
Too, thanks to the cushion, it will provide extra seating when you have a capacity crowd. The seating is great for kids who seem to always like to be in motion on a boat and have a little space to themselves.
A separate mounting kit can be purchased to securely fasten the cooler to your boat in the event of choppy waters.
- 48 qt. capacity
- Takes up little space
- Padded cushion
- Mounting kit sold separately
Although priced at the higher end of the spectrum for coolers for pontoon boats, the Wise Offshore Swingback offers a number of features other coolers for pontoon boats don't offer.
This cooler's massive 70 qt. capacity is a great asset to this product. You can hold multiple drinks, plastic containers holding food, cooling ice, and more in this cooler with this capacity.
Second, the padded bench on top actually swings out with a backrest, which is offered by few products on the market. While coolers with simply a bench on top are great for kids, older riders usually want some kind of back support. Plus, given the size of this bench, it will comfortably fit two average sized people.
With a six-year frame warranty and three-year upholstery warranty, it offers one of the best warranties in the industry of any manufacturer of coolers for pontoon boats.
Molded mounting brackets are included with this cooler, meaning you don't have to make an additional purchase to secure the cooler.
The marine-grade vinyl upholstery is both UV and mildew resistant, both a must for coolers for pontoon boats.
- 70 qt capacity
- Bench seats two comfortably
- Lengthy warranty
- Mounting brackets included
- Very expensive
Another great Igloo Marine product, the Wise Premier 48-quart cooler features a seat cushion made of Igloo's UV and mildew resistant marine-grade vinyl.
A half-inch longer than the other Igloo Marine product on this list of the best coolers for pontoon boats, it offers many of the same features.
However, this cooler may prove a little more difficult to open, because the lid is designed a little differently than on other Igloo Marine products.
With a total height of 19.5 inches, this product works great as a bench or ottoman, but is very similar to other Igloo products that are 48 qt. capacity with most of the same bells and whistles.
It does not come with its own mounting brackets; you must purchase those separately.
This cooler for your pontoon boat does come in multiple color schemes.
- Takes up little space
- Multiple color schemes available
- No Mounting brackets included
- Can be difficult to open
One of the most economical coolers for pontoon boats on the market, the Igloo Marine Ultra is manufactured to be tough and durable and is from an internationally-known brand you should know and trust.
However, this cooler does sacrifice some features for economy. For one, it comes with no seat cushion, meaning it isn't really rated to work as a bench on your boat, meaning it takes up space while only offering you one use--that of a cooler for your pontoon boat
The cooler is manufactured with UV inhibitors to protect against damage from the sun's rays.
At 26.375" long, 15.5" wide, and 15.5" high, you'll have to reach down farther to get into this cooler, and it also takes up a bit more space than some of the coolers for pontoon boats on this list.
While this cooler will work for ice, drinks, and snacks, it is really designed as a fish cooler. It has a fish-measuring ruler molded into the lid, which will help you keep compliant with regulations in your jurisdiction on throw-back requirements for certain species of fish.
It has a threaded drain plug allowing you to hook it to a hose for easy drainage, and also includes non-slip comfort grip handles.
- Economical price
- Fish measuring ruler molded in to top
- UV inhibited materials
- Won’t work for seating
- Takes up more space than many coolers
#5. Yeti Tundra 35
Available in multiple colors to match your pontoon boat, the YETI Tundra 35 is a great portable pontoon boat cooler.
It can hold up to 20 cans of beverage with a recommended ice-to-beverage ration of 2 to 1.
YETI's proprietary PermaFrost Insulation means that your ice will stay frozen longer than with many other coolers. Though a newer brand, YETI is known for its high-quality. But, with that high quality also comes a higher price tag.
At 20" long, this cooler won't take up too much space in your boat. YETI's patented "Neverfail" hinge system means you will be able to use this as the cooler for your pontoon boat for years to come.
It also comes with non-slip feet to keep the cooler in place, even without a tie-down, although a tie-down kit can be purchased separately.
- No-slip feet
- Low capacity
Pontoon Boat Coolers Buying Considerations
The most important thing you’ll want to consider when purchasing a cooler for your pontoon boat is durability. That includes UV and mildew resistance—especially if the cooler has an upholstered top.
Size and Space
The second thing you will want to consider is how much space the cooler actually takes up. Will you have space on your pontoon boat for the cooler you like best if you have a large crowd?
Make sure the cooler will hold enough of what you typically bring on your boat, whether that is simply ice for fish or drinks and snacks.
Additionally, you will want to consider that coolers designed for drinks will likely be better insulated than coolers whose primary duty is to keep fish iced down until you reach the shore.
Some coolers for pontoon boats come with warranties. Those with upholstery may have separate warranties for the upholstery than for the remainder of the cooler.
Read the manufacturer’s warranties closely to determine if your cooler will be protected, especially if it is a pricy cooler.
There are many coolers for pontoon boats on the market today. We believe these five are the best ones on the market today.
However, take care to consider space requirements, your needs for extra seating, and other factors when making your purchase. Remember that your cooler for your pontoon boat is an investment—even if a small one—and you want to make the right purchasing decision.