Polar Bear made some of the most popular soft sided coolers on the market. They are made from high-quality materials, can keep ice for days and sell for a fraction of the cost of competing brands.
When doing my review on Polar Bear coolers I had a few questions that I personally wanted to know the answers to. These questions weren't easy to find the answer to so I figured I would collate them here to help anyone else who is interested.
How Long Do Polar Bear Soft Coolers Keep Ice?
There are 2 major types of polar bear coolers and each of them keeps ice for a different amount of time.
The Original Polar Bear coolers, which have a nylon exterior and are cheaper, keep ice for approximately 1 days.
The Deluxe Polar Bear coolers, which have a tarpaulin waterproof exterior and are more expensive, can keep ice for 3+ days which some customers reporting 4+ days ice retention from these coolers.
Polar Bear coolers have some of the best ice retention of all the soft sided coolers. The only cooler that may beat it is the Engel HD30 which keeps ice a ridiculously long period of time. Click here to see just how long the Engel HD30 keeps ice as well as read my full review on it.
The Deluxe Polar Bear coolers have 1 inch of closed cell insulating foam. There is a patent pending on their insulation and I'm not exactly sure what makes it so special but it obviously works pretty well.
The Original Polar Bear coolers use an open cell insulating foam which still keeps items cold all day but isn't as effective as the Deluxe coolers.
Polar Bear coolers outperform Yeti Hopper coolers when it comes to ice retention. They can keep ice 0.5-1 days longer than a Yeti cooler of a similar size.
How Much Insulation Do Polar Bear Coolers Have?
Polar Bear Deluxe coolers have 1 inch of closed cell insulation in the walls, base and lid of the cooler. This insulation is what causes the Polar Bear coolers to have such good ice retention.
The cheaper nylon coolers use an open cell insulation which isn't as effective, thus why they can only hold ice for approximately 1 day.
Some other coolers have more insulation than Polar Bear, while some have less.
Yeti Hopper coolers for example have 0.75 inches of insulation in the walls and 1.5 inches in the lid. TOURIT coolers have 2 inches in the lid and 1.25 inches in the walls. Click here to see how long TOURIT coolers keep ice and whether or not they are any good.
Are Polar Bear Coolers Leak Proof?
Polar Bear coolers are marketed as being 100% leak proof but some customers have said that while they don't leak with normal use if you tip them upside down the zipper isn't 100% waterproof.
The cheaper “original” nylon coolers are definitely not leak proof as they don't use a rubber sealed zipper.
I don't personally own a Polar Bear cooler to verify whether or not mine is leak proof but when I do get my hands on one in the future I'll make sure to check this.
Polar Bear Deluxe coolers (previously called H20 coolers) use a YKK10 zipper with rubber splash protection to stop water from getting out.
Where Are Polar Bear Coolers Made? Are Polar Bear Coolers Made in the USA?
Polar Bear does not disclose where their coolers are made, but it is unlikely they are made in the USA and it is more likely they are made in China – where most soft sided coolers (including Yeti and RTIC) are made.
If Polar Bear coolers were made in the USA then it is highly likely that this would be a big part of their marketing campaign. Other brands like ORCA who make all their products locally in the USA proudly state where their coolers are made. While other companies like Yeti or Canyon don't really advertise where their coolers are made.
I did some research a while ago for my article on the best coolers that are made in the USA and I have listed Polar Bear as one of the brands NOT made in the USA. But I can't remember where I got that information as I couldn't find it this time around.
I am almost 100% however that Polar Bear do NOT make their hard sided coolers in the USA. Their new range of hard sided coolers are a white-labeled cooler that is practically identically to multiple other brands.
A white-labeled cooler is one that is made by another company and then you just add your logo on it and sell it as your own. NICE coolers look identical to Polar Bear hard coolers and I know they are made overseas.
So if Polar Bear import their hard sided coolers then I wouldn't be surprised if they imported their soft sided coolers from another country also.
Are Polar Bear Coolers Better Than Yeti Coolers?
In some ways Polar Bear coolers are better than Yeti coolers and in other ways they aren't.
Polar Bear coolers are cheaper than Yeti coolers and can hold ice for longer. They also come with an external pocket as well as a built in bottle opener. When it comes to value for money I think Polar Bear coolers are better than Yeti and people on a budget should definitely consider Polar Bear coolers.
However, Yeti coolers have a slightly higher build quality and are likely to last you longer than a Polar Bear cooler. The design of the Yeti cooler and the branding is far superior in my eyes making me prefer the Yeti over the Polar Bear if money isn't an issue.
Both of these coolers are great and while I do think Polar Bear offers great value for money, being nearly half the price of Yeti, I still personally think the Yeti is a better cooler if money isn't an issue.
Do Polar Bear Make Hard Coolers As Well?
Yes – Polar Bear now sell hard coolers as well. However, the hard coolers they sell are generic white labeled roto-molded coolers that are almost identical to a bunch of other brands.
For a long time Polar Bear focused almost exclusively on their line of nylon and tarpaulin soft sided coolers. Recently they have added a few hard sided coolers to their lineup.
Currently they are only selling these through their website and they are not available on Amazon like their range of soft sided coolers are.
However, looking at these hard sided coolers I can see they are basically identical to other brands like NICE Coolers and I have seen these coolers for sale on wholesaling sites like Alibaba so I don't believe Polar Bear manufacture them themselves.
What Is The Warranty On Polar Bear Soft Coolers?
Polar Bear offer a 3-year limited warranty on their soft sided coolers and a lifetime warranty on their hard sided coolers.
This only applies to coolers bought through their website or a registered seller and only to the original owner of the product. Amazon is included in this I believe but they do warn about buying from Craigslist.
Whats The Difference Between The Original and The Deluxe Polar Bear Coolers
Polar Bear sell two main types of coolers. They have had multiple names over the years but they now go by the names “Original” which is the cheaper version with a nylon exterior and “Deluxe” which is the more expensive version with a waterproof exterior.
While these coolers have the same form factor (aka they come in the same shape and sizes) they are quite different. Below you can see a comparison between the two different types of Polar Bear coolers.
Polar Bear Original
Sizes: 6-can, 12-can, 24-can, 48-can + backpack
Exterior: 1000D Nylon
Ice Retention: 24+ Hours
Insulation: Open cell foam
Price Range: $40-$150
Polar Bear “Deluxe”
Sizes: 12-can, 24-can, 48-can + backpack
Exterior: Heavy Duty Tarpaulin
Ice Retention: 3+ Days
Insulation: Closed cell foam
Price Range: $130-$230
Zipper: YKK10 Slpashproof
The biggest differences are:
The exterior – The Original is not waterproof while the Deluxe is
The zipper – The Original is not leak proof while the Deluxe is
The ice retention – The Original can only keep ice about 1 day while the Deluxe can keep ice for 2-4 days.
The price is almost slightly different with the original coolers being cheaper than the waterproof Deluxe coolers.
Below you can see the prices of both the Original Polar Bear coolers as well as the Deluxe version:
Polar Bear Original Coolers
Polar Bear Original 6-Pack: - (see details at Amazon)
Polar Bear Original 12-Pack: - (see details at Amazon)
Polar Bear Original 24-Pack: - (see details at Amazon)
Polar Bear Original 48-Pack: - (see details at Amazon)
Polar Bear Original Backpack: - (see details at Amazon)
Can You Use Polar Bear Coolers To Keep Items Warm/Hot
Yes you can. The Polar Bear Deluxe coolers are graded to even handle boiling water however I wouldn't really recommend doing this often as it may affect the plastic.
This closed cell insulation in the cooler can keep heat ice (to keep your ice frozen) but it can also be used to keep heat in and keep items warm. So if you need a soft-sided cooler so you can keep some dinner or lunch or other food warm then the Polar Bear coolers will do a great job at this.
How Can You Get A Personalized Polar Bear Cooler
Polar bear offer personalization to their coolers so you can get your name or company logo added onto the cooler.
To get your cooler personalized you need to purchase them through Polar Bears website and request what you want printed on the cooler.
Where Can You Buy Polar Bear Coolers?
Polar Bear coolers can be purchased through their website or through Amazon. Most customers purchase them on Amazon as it's much easier and you can get access to cheaper prices and free shipping.