10 Problems With Lifetime Coolers: Read This Before You Buy

Lifetime coolers have taken the market by storm. They offer a bear proof cooler that is made in the USA, can keep ice for up to 7 days and is sold for under $100!

But there are some problems with Lifetime coolers that you should be aware of before investing your money into purchasing one.

Now for under $100 this cooler performs really well and it does a lot of things really well. There is really no other cooler that comes close to it in this price range.

It offers great value for money and to me none of these problems are deal breakers, but it’s good to be aware of both the positives and negatives before purchasing a product so you know exactly what you’re getting.

For a full write up on the features and the positive aspects of the Lifetime cooler check out my Lifetime Cooler Review or my Lifetime vs Yeti Comparison.

There are 10 problems with Lifetime coolers that I can see:

1. Construction is not as strong as other roto-molded coolers

Lifetime coolers are made of roto-molded plastic but instead are blow moulded.

Roto-molding is a manufacturing process that allows companies to make coolers with thick and strong plastic cooler moulds which are then filled with pressure injected foam.

The difference between roto-molding and blow molding is that blow moulding is cheaper and also it uses much thinner plastic.

This means that Lifetime coolers are able to be made much more affordably than coolers like Yeti, but it also means that the exterior plastic is not as thick and thus not as strong.

Lifetime coolers are certified bear proof but in the below image you can see that the bear was able to tear off large chunks of the cooler during the test. This is not something bears are able to do with roto-molded coolers and shows the difference in durability.

The Lifetime cooler is still incredibly strong and will still handle everyday use and last for years, but it’s not as strong as other coolers on the market.

2. It Is Not Watertight

Lifetime Cooler is not Watertight

The Lifetime cooler is not watertight. If you carry this cooler with water in it then water will splash out the front, back and sides even with the lid completely closed and the latches pulled tight.

This also means that if the cooler is in the back of your car, truck or van and happens to fall over during travel then water is going to leak out onto the floor.

In fact even just transporting it in a vehicle is going to cause the water to move around and splash up the sides likely completely wetting your car.

This means you’ll need to partially or fully drain the cooler before moving it around or before going on a road trip so you can make sure it doesn’t leak water everywhere.

3. Gasket Is Often Loose

The older models of Lifetime coolers (some of which you can still buy) have a gasket design where the rubber gasket is stretched over the main body of the cooler and is not glued onto the lid.

This design meant the gasket was simply held in place with elastic tension and tended to move around a lot and even fall off from time to time.

The new designs should fix this and stop the issue people we’re having with the gaskets.

On their website they tell you to reference the model number to make sure you get the right cooler with the new gasket type.

“You will want to reference the new model number. The redesigned cooler is model #90949. The old one is 90820.”

4. Leaking Drain Plug Issues

Some customers have reported issues with the drain plug leaking.

This video goes into detail on a couple of ways to fix this issue.

First you need to make sure that the washer on the inside of the cap is fulled seated inside the cap. If it isn’t in properly then it can cause leaking.

You also need to make sure that the threaded drain plug (the part attached to the main body of the cooler) is firmly screwed onto the cooler.

You can use a wrench to tighten this if you are having problems with leaking.

If you are still having problems then some plumbers tape on the thread could help to create a more watertight seal.

If you continue to have issues and you can remedy it with any of the solutions above you may need to contact Lifetime for a replacement cooler.

5. No Accessories

Canyon Cooler Free Basket

Many cooler companies offer accessories to their coolers. Everything from bottle openers, to cup holders, to side tables, to cutting boards and Molle wraps.

Lifetime coolers have absolutely no accessories available. No cutting boards, no bottle openers….nothing.

Now most people who purchase coolers don’t go on to purchase accessories so this isn’t an issue for most people, but something to consider.

If you want to deck out your Lifetime cooler and make it unique then you’re going to have to add your own DIY customizations.

6. Only 3 Sizes

Lifetime coolers only come in 3 sizes – 28-Quart, 55-Quart and 77-Quart.

While these sizes are good and they range from a compact cooler for a single person, to a cooler big enough to hold a week’s worth of food for a family, I would love to see a wider range of sizes.

Yeti has over 10 different sizes of cooler. My Yeti 45 (which is 37-Quart) is my favourite size cooler for most occasions. It’s small enough to use for a road trip or for a barbecue but it’s also large enough to hold food for my entire family if needed.

I find the 28-Quart Lifetime a little too small and the 55-Quart a little too big.

However, these coolers are just so cheap compared to Yeti that I’ll put up with a little inconvenience given how good the price it.

Plus anyway…they said size doesn’t matter 😉

To see the current sizes and prices on Walmart (and maybe even purchase a Lifetime cooler your) use the links below:

Lifetime Cooler 28-Quart (at Walmart.com)

Lifetime Cooler 55-Quart (at Walmart.com)

Lifetime Cooler 77-Quart (at Walmart.com)

7. No Wheeled Version

Lifetime coolers aren’t light. They have 2-3 inches of insulation in the walls and lid which makes them quite heavy even when empty.

When full they start to get back-breaking. Especially the 55 and 77-Quart varieties.

Some cooler companies out there have added wheels to their coolers. This makes them extremely easy to move around and you simply tip them and wheel them around.

The Coleman Xtreme 5-Day Cooler is under $50 and has wheels whereas the Yeti Tundra Haul is nearly $400, but it too has wheels.

There is no wheeled version of the Lifetime cooler, which is a shame because some added wheels would give people another reason to buy this cooler over other brands.

6. 5-Year Warranty

Lifetime coolers have a 5 Year Limited Warranty to protect you against manufacturing defects.

This is a good warranty, but some other cooler companies like Orca Coolers offer a lifetime warranty on their coolers.

Lifetime’s warranty covers manufacturing defects but doesn’t cover you if you accidentally break the cooler yourself, and as this cooler isn’t as strong and durable as roto-molded coolers it is more likely to break.

7. Only Sold In The US

Yeti coolers are sold all over the world. They have wide distribution in multiple countries including America, Canada, Australia, England and Europe.

While Lifetime’s products are sold in over 100 countries I couldn’t find any information on Lifetime Coolers being sold in other countries.

If I do find a way to grab my hands on one (I’m in Australia) then I definitely will.

8. Ice Retention Not As Good As The Expensive Coolers

For under $100 Lifetime coolers have great ice retention. They claim 7+ days of ice retention but realistically you’re looking at 4-5 days of ice retention with everyday use.

While this is good and much better than a regular cooler that you would pick up from your hardware store, it’s not as good as other coolers on the market.

The below graph claims that the Lifetime holds ice longer than the Yeti, but the test is flawed because they compare a Lifetime 55 (which actually has a capacity of 60-Quart+) to a Yeti 50 (which actually has a capacity of just 47-Quart).

Lifetime vs Yeti in Ice Retention

There are many coolers on the market that outperform the Lifetime in terms of ice retention. Orca, TechniIce and Kong just to name a few.

9. No Tie Down Latches

There are so spots on the Lifetime cooler to be able to tie it down.

Yeti has tie down slot on the main body of the cooler so you can strap it onto your truck, boat or into your car and it won’t move around while travelling. They are designed so you can still open the lid even when the cooler is tied down.

Lifetime coolers don’t have anything like this so to tie it down you either have to run a strap over the lid or you have to somehow tie down the nylon rope handles.

This is made extra annoying by the fact that Lifetime coolers aren't watertight and so if they were to fall over they would spill everywhere. So you really do need to tie them down in a lot of cases.

10. Only Sold In One Color

Henry Ford famously said

“You can have any color you want, so long as it’s black”

Lifetime coolers come in just one color variation. A light grey cooler with blue and black highlights.

What if you want a white cooler or a tan cooler or heck what if you want a neon pink cooler? Well unfortunately you’re out of luck.

You can have any color as long as it’s grey.

With time and the success of Lifetime coolers they may introduce color variations in the future, but for now if you want a Lifetime cooler you can only buy it in one color.

To see the current pricing of Lifetime coolers and to purchase your own from Walmart for a discounted price click on the size you want below:

Lifetime Cooler 28-Quart (at Walmart.com)

Lifetime Cooler 55-Quart (at Walmart.com)

Lifetime Cooler 77-Quart (at Walmart.com)