The 11 Best Insulated Grocery Bags to Spare Your Frozen Goods
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We've rounded up functional and stylish picks to keep your popsicles, beverages, and fresh produce chilled for the long haul.
There’s rarely a weekend afternoon spent running errands where just one stop is on the agenda. If you’re anything like us, you’re likely bouncing between the grocery store, the coffee shop, the home improvement store, and the coffee shop again — you get the idea. So, rather than worrying about arranging your day just to get your groceries home to the refrigerator promptly — or worse, risking spoiled milk or soggy greens — make your weekend market trips easier by investing in a few insulated grocery bags.
From roomy soft coolers to cute totes that can go from the farmer’s market to the park in style, these insulated options will come in handy time and time again. We researched tons of options, looking for the best insulated grocery bags that not only keep your food perfectly chilled (a must!) but also make your groceries easier to organize and transport.
Learn more about our selects below, and breathe a big sigh of relief — your favorite ice cream will never be melted by the time you get home again.
Nook Theory Insulated Grocery Bag
Pros: The exterior of this insulated grocery bag is made from scratch-resistant canvas, so it will look brand new even after dozens of uses.
Cons: This bag doesn’t have an elongated cross-body strap, and the shoulder straps may be snug depending on how full the bag is.
For a basic insulated grocery bag that performs well and doesn’t break the bank, you can’t beat Nook Theory’s Insulated Grocery Bag. Available in a variety of chic shades and made from durable scratch-resistant canvas, this roomy bag can hold up to 30 pounds of groceries, keeping them properly chilled for up to six hours when closed.
We love how sturdy this bag feels, and the insulated interior is surprisingly thick and padded. It’s also leak-proof, it folds flat for easy storage, and it’s designed with two side pockets that can house dry goods or anything else you don’t need to keep chilled.
Price at time of publish: $25
Capacity: 30 liters
Dimensions: 15 x 9 x 12 inches
Bodaon 2-Pack Insulated Reusable Grocery Bag
Pros: These grocery bags come in a variety of capacities, so you can size up or down depending on how large your typical grocery runs are.
Cons: Food will only stay cold for a little over an hour in these bags, so they’re not the best option if you’ll be away from a refrigerator for a while.
You probably recognize this next pick if you’re a fan of Uber Eats, Seamless, or any other number of food delivery services. These bags are the pick du jour, thanks to their inexpensive yet functional appeal, foam insulation, and an easy-clean foil lining that, while thin, can keep your goods cold for up to 1.5 hours. The exterior color options are bold and bright (think: watermelon pink and lime green), so you’ll never lose track of them in your trunk or entryway closet.
Price at time of publish: $17
Material: Non-woven fabric
Capacity: 30 liters
Dimensions: 16 x 9 x 13 inches
L.L. Bean Insulated Tote, Large
Pros: This insulated grocery bag can be personalized with your choice of initials, a name, or a phrase.
Cons: The zippered mouth of this grocery bag is smaller than many of the others on our list, which can make it difficult to get groceries in and out.
L.L. Bean is a trusted, timeless brand, so it’s no surprise that their insulated grocery tote wins the best splurge on our list. The quality of this piece is apparent, from the durable coated canvas exterior to the padded interior, which is made of food-grade BPA- and PVC-free lining. There are even exterior pockets where you can stash dry goods, cutlery, and more.
Pack this tote to the brim with farmer’s market finds or bring it on a last-minute grocery run before a picnic. Either way, the comfy shoulder and cross-body straps will help you tote your snacks and beverages with ease.
Price at time of publish: $89
Capacity: 33 liters
Dimensions: 17.25 x 7.5 x 14 inches
Hydro Flask 35 L Insulated Tote
Pros: This bag can be folded completely flat and compact, so it's a great option if you’re someone who travels often and loves to hit up markets on the go.
Cons: While the bag is self-standing in most instances, it doesn’t have a dedicated flat bottom, so its ability to stay upright may be compromised if overstuffed.
Toting around a huge insulated grocery bag isn’t always practical, especially if you’re someone who is frequently on the go and picking up a carton of eggs here or a quart of milk there. Enter: This Hydro Flask tote, which is sleek and stylish enough to front as everyday gear while working hard to keep any fresh meat, dairy, or produce you have on-hand cold for up to four hours. The soft exterior is durable and waterproof and is paired with a fully lined interior that can be wiped clean of any spills or stains.
Choose from three different sizes — 8 liters, 20 liters, and 35 liters — and a variety of playful colors for a find that seamlessly marries form and function.
Price at time of publish: $75
Material: Coated fabric
Capacity: 35 liters
Dimensions: 23.82 x 5.79 x 16.57 inches
Lotus Trolley Bags Reusable Grocery Cart Bags
Best for Grocery Shopping
Pros: The bags in this collection are machine washable, so spills and leaks don’t have to mean a massive cleanup.
Cons: There are no zippers at the tops of these bags, so groceries can easily spill out if they’re tossed around the trunk or tumble out of the cart.
If making grocery shopping a less hectic occasion is on your wishlist, then these bags from Lotus need to be added to your Amazon cart ASAP. They’re made for streamlining the physical “add to cart” process, with long rods at the top that allow them to nest neatly atop your grocery cart. Each bag in this collection comes with an insulated insert, as well as pouches to keep fragile items like eggs or bread separate from the pack.
While these lack a sealed closure — and therefore won’t keep your groceries cold for longer than four hours — they do solve a particular pain point that makes them a worthwhile investment.
Price at time of publish: $60
Capacity: 50 pounds
Dimensions: 27 x 3 x 12 inches
NZ Home 3XL Insulated Bag for Food Delivery
Best Extra Large
Pros: This insulated grocery bag folds flat when not used, making for easy, seamless storage.
Cons: There are no interior pockets or dividers on the inside of this grocery bag, which can make it difficult to organize given its massive size.
Shopping for a family of four? Instead of buying (and toting around) several different insulated grocery bags, add this oversized design to your arsenal. The 3X size is so utterly massive, you could easily fit an entire week’s worth of groceries inside — which is great if you’re a family that loves to stock up on freezer meals during the occasional trip to Trader Joe’s.
The handles on this design are reinforced with a cross-stitch to ensure they stay sturdy and strong even through daily use, and the interior is made from a triple-layered easy-clean foil. The best part? The entire top flap zips open so you can easily pack and unpack your haul without a lot of hassle.
Price at time of publish: $28
Material: Non-woven fabric
Capacity: 79 liters
Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 14 inches
CleverMade Collapsible Cooler Bag
Pros: Sturdy side handles give you an additional way to carry this insulated grocery bag and make it easy to retrieve from the cart or trunk of your car.
Cons: The patented SnapHinge interior on this design makes it extra sturdy but means you can’t quite “stuff” this style full as much as others on our list.
If space is at a premium — either in your car or in your house — then the last thing you want is a bulky grocery bag that takes up even more room. This collapsible style from CleverMade is ideal for grab-and-go ease, folding down to less than 3 inches thick and immediately returning to shape once propped up thanks to the patented SnapHinge frame inside. Plus, with three layers of leakproof padding, it's great for storing liquids or sauces and can even handle bagged ice without leaking.
Price at time of publish: $45
Capacity: 30 liters
Dimensions: 18.25 x 12.25 x 11.5 inches
Yeti Hopper Flip 8 Portable Soft Cooler
Best for Beverages
Pros: Lots of extra bells and whistles — like an exterior bottle opener and hitch point grid — provide added value and functionality to your purchase.
Cons: This insulated bag is the priciest pick on our list and paying a premium for such a utilitarian product may not be for everyone.
With a mid-size interior and ergonomic shoulder strap, this portable soft cooler features above-average cold retention, promising to keep your contents chilly for hours on end — ideal if you’re looking to pack up a few favorite brews for the fairway or canned cocktails for a picnic in the park. It’s also made from the same DryHide shell as many other YETI products, which is resistant to punctures and UV rays and is leakproof.
Translation: If you do choose to use this bad boy for the occasional grocery store run, it will certainly be able to hold its own.
Price at time of publish: $200
Material: High-density fabric
Capacity: 8 liters
Dimensions: 11.5 x 8 x 10.5 inches
OtterBox Trooper Cooler
Best Ice Retention
Pros: This cooler has one of the hardest exterior shells on our list, making it a great option if you’re frequently shopping for more fragile items, like pastries.
Cons: With an 18-liter capacity, this cooler is one of the smaller on our list and is therefore better suited to city living or smaller grocery runs.
Need your ice to last over three days? Of course, you do! That feat is no match for OtterBox’s Trooper Cooler, which has some of the best ice retention of any cooler on the market. Though not technically geared toward grocery shopping, this design is a good option to have on your radar if you’re serious about preserving frozen items on the regular or are someone who will be out and about with a small selection of groceries over an extended period.
The semi-hard shell frame keeps the interior contents safe, while various add-ons — like an adjustable padded shoulder strap, bottle opener, and accessory mounting system — help it stand out from the crowd.
Price at time of publish: $100
Material: Thermoplastic Polyurethane
Capacity: 18 liters
Dimensions: 14.3 x 17.50 x 10.25 inches
dbest products Ultra Compact Cooler
Best with Wheels
Pros: The telescoping handle on this cart tucks away neatly to grant you extra room in the trunk of a car or on public transportation.
Cons: The wheels on this cart do not boast the 360-degree swivel we’ve come to know and love on many pieces of luggage, which can make it difficult to maneuver this piece on crowded sidewalks.
There’s no denying it: Carting groceries down the subway stairs or up to a fifth-floor walkup can make for a serious workout. Take a bit of the stress off your back and shoulders with this insulated grocery bag on wheels. Instead of shoulder straps or handles, it mimics the look and feel of a piece of carry-on luggage, granting you an easier way to get peaches, pork, and pasta from Point A to Point B.
The best part? Unlike bulky grocery carts that boast metal frames, this (mostly) soft-sided design folds nearly flat for compact storage when not in use.
Price at time of publish: $42
Capacity: 15 liters
Dimensions: 12 x 10 x 36 inches
TOURIT 30 Cans Cooler Backpack
Pros: This backpack touts lots of extra exterior pockets to make organizing snacks and supplies easier.
Cons: There isn’t a hard side or base to this backpack, so any food or groceries inside are susceptible to damage.
Whether you’re a backpacker that wants the freedom to hit up farmer’s markets in France or a city dweller that simply prefers to go hands-free, nothing can beat the ease and functionality of this lightweight pack. It’s lined with high-density insulation that is leakproof and promises to keep your food cold (or hot!) for up to 16 hours.
The padded shoulder straps and sleek shape make this a comfortable and stylish option if you’re a foodie who also likes to hike the trails or bike your way from market to market.
Price at time of publish: $42
Capacity: 28 liters
Dimensions: 13 x 7.5 x 15.8 inches
Factors to Consider
When shopping for an insulated grocery bag, one of the first factors you should consider is the type of material you want your design to be. Look for interiors (and even exteriors!) that are wipeable, since schlepping groceries back and forth will likely come with more than a few spills. There are also personal preferences to consider, like whether your chosen insulated grocery bag has any hard sides, which will protect your groceries from bumps and drops.
Lastly, consider how durable you need your bag to be. Are you just going from the store to the trunk of your car? If that’s the case, you probably don’t need anything too thick or hefty. But if your average grocery shopping journey consists of six subway stops and a few city blocks, you may want a bag that’s made of more sturdy material, like coated canvas.
Size and Capacity
Perhaps the most important consideration when shopping for an insulated grocery bag is the size and capacity. Your exact needs will come down to how much you typically buy at the store at any given time. Someone who makes several trips a week to the farmer’s market will need a bag that’s drastically smaller than the lead shopper for a family of four who makes bi-weekly Costco runs. Most of the insulated grocery bags that made our list hover around a 30-liter capacity, though plenty of them are available in multiple sizes to help cater to your exact needs.
If you’re someone who has to physically carry your groceries long distances, the comfort of your insulated grocery bag will be a big factor for you. Look for pleasant additions, like padded shoulder straps, which will help make the schlepping process a bit more comfortable. You should also pay attention to how exactly each of these bags is meant to be carried — some people prefer a cross-body carry, while others do best with a backpack-style bag.
When it comes to insulated grocery bags, there are a lot of options out there, which means it’s possible to find a great design that caters to your exact use. When reviewing our winners above, shop with your intended use in mind. If you don’t envision being away from your refrigerator for an extended period (maybe one to two hours while grocery shopping and that’s it), then you probably don’t need to spring for a cooler bag that touts a 16-hour chill time.
Likewise, a design focused on liquid retention probably isn’t a must if you don’t see yourself piling a cooler high with ice. Shopping for just the features you need — and none that you don’t — is a great way to stay on budget and find the right design for you.
While all of the insulated grocery bags above can be wiped clean, not all of them are entirely washable in a traditional machine. In most cases, because these models are also waterproof, any spills or liquid won’t sink into the fabric, meaning a wipeable design should be more than adequate. But, if you fancy yourself a fairly messy grocery shopper, a completely washable insulated tote may be something you want to keep an eye out for when shopping.
The insulated grocery bags we awarded above all have various levels of bells and whistles, from the very basic to name-brand models that promise to be by your side through every adventure and travel that comes your way. If you’re looking for a bag that gives you a bit more bang for your buck, look for nice-to-have features like an exterior bottle opener, added pockets, interior organization, or hooks for additional gear.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do insulated food bags need to be refrigerated?
No, insulated food bags do not need to be refrigerated to work, provided the food is cold when you first place it in the bag. These bags will not cool food that is already room temperature — they are more geared towards maintaining the temperature your food is already at.
How long do insulated bags keep food hot or cold?
In general, most insulated grocery bags will keep food to a safe temperature for at least an hour, though many last much longer than that. When shopping, it’s important to keep temperature stability in mind, as it can range between products from one hour to 16 or more.
How do you clean an insulated grocery bag?
To clean your insulated grocery bag, wipe down the interior and exterior with warm water and mild dish soap, if necessary. You should avoid placing the entire pack (or any of its parts) in the washing machine unless specifically instructed to do so by the manufacturer.
What is the best bag to use for groceries?
The ideal insulated grocery bag is one with enough room for your typical haul and the ability to keep your groceries cold for at least a few hours at a time. Beyond that, you should shop with your specific needs in mind, including how you prefer to carry your bag and any other perks or features you might need.
What is the difference between a cooler bag and an insulated bag?
The terms cooler bag and insulated bag (or insulated grocery bag) are typically used interchangeably, and both can refer to designs that will help cart around your groceries and keep things chilled.
Alyssa Longobucco is a freelance writer, editor, and stylist living in New York with over a decade of experience in the food, home, and lifestyle categories. When she's not diving into the latest trends and products, she's restoring an 1820s farmhouse in the Hudson Valley alongside her husband and children.
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