Alyssa Broussard | Nov 16, 2023

Soft Coolers vs. Hard Coolers: 4 Key Differences

Buying a quality cooler seems to be a rite of passage nowadays. People love to invest in coolers that are going to enhance their adventures while offering the latest and greatest in cold tech and storage options. Well, luckily, coolers are kind of our thing! Seriously though, you won’t find a more versatile, feature-packed selection.

We are going to dive deep, exploring the differences between soft vs hard coolers!

Soft Coolers vs. Hard Coolers

A cooler is a cooler, right? Not necessarily. When talking about soft coolers, you should picture something that is lightweight, portable, and flexible. They are easy to store and are best used for short trips and activities like a family outing, birthday party, or sports game.

Hard coolers, on the other hand, are typically larger and are built for extended use. They can provide better insulation and are designed to be sturdy, making them perfect for camping trips and hot beach days in the sun.

So, which should you choose?

BrüMate Soft Coolers

Our MagPack™ Series coolers offer the benefits of portable, ice-cold convenience. With 3 different-sized options, you can take your pick on what might fit you best based on your use cases. This series packs big features into a smaller, more portable cooler option, featuring a 100% leakproof, magnetic lid (yep, no more fuss with zippers), cold drinks + snacks for 24+ hours, comfortable carrying straps or backpack straps so it’s a breeze to take on the go, and is fitted with a durable, puncture resistant +  waterproof shell so you can adventure more, and worry less.

BrüMate Hard Coolers

Our hard coolers come in two designs: the BrüTank Rolling Cooler and the BackTap™.

The BrüTank Rolling Cooler is unlike any cooler you’ll ever own. Its all-terrain wheels allow you to easily bring it along to any outing, no matter the terrain. Gone are the days of struggling to pull a cooler through grass, sand, or uneven terrain. Here are the days of convenience and customizability!

The BackTap offers the structure of a hard cooler with the size convenience of a soft cooler. It sports a removable, stainless steel insert and Drinkready™ tech that keeps your favorite drinks cold and ready whenever and wherever you are.

Now that we’ve “met” the coolers, let’s dig into their differences!

Key Differences

100% Leakproof

MagPack™ Series: This cooler is 100% leakproof. Plus, say goodbye to the peskiness of constantly zipping and unzipping your cooler lid every time someone wants a drink. Our Pivot™ lid uses magnets to create a fully leakproof seal, keeping the cold and any liquids safe inside.

BrüTank Rolling Cooler: Not only is this cooler leakproof, it’s feature-packed and versatile! The removable, 2.8 gallon drink tank holds your favorite beverages and is paired with a drink dispenser on the outside of the cooler, freeing up access to drinks without having to constantly open the cooler!

Backtap: While we can’t guarantee this cooler will be 100% leakproof (meaning don’t hold it upside down for long periods at a time), we can tell you it’s the first of its kind, and proudly offers both a cooler and built-in tap. Unless you’re carrying cans, you never even have to open the cooler to use it - just load it up with your favorite drink and dispense from the built-in tap.


MagPack Series: Our MagPack coolers are perfect for picnics, trips to the beach or even great to take to a friends’ house for a hangout.  The 12- and 18-Can coolers feature a carry strap that rests comfortably on your shoulder, while the 24-Can backpack cooler provides backpack straps. No matter which size you choose, you’ll enjoy our comfortable, adjustable, and removable straps on your journey.

BrüTank Rolling Cooler: Our rolling coolers were made for enhancing your adventures. Both the 35qt and 55qt are designed for all-terrain travel, so don’t let either size deter you. They’re equipped with a comfort-grip handle so you can easily pull both sized coolers with no problem. Having said that, the 35qt cooler is 30% lighter and more compact than the 55qt, only enhancing its portability - which makes this size a great choice if you typically stick to smaller gatherings or have a smaller vehicle to load it into for transport. For long camping weekends or tailgating with your crew, you may want to up your capacity to the 55qt for a bit more room.

Backtap: The Backtap is the perfect option for when you need to transport enough drinks for the whole crew. With the backpack straps or easy carry handle, easily bring 3 gallons of your favorite beverage or 12-14 cans to your next destination. Because it’s a hard cooler, we recommend using this for short walks from your car or home to the beach, pool, BBQ, or patio.


MagPack Series: All of our MagPack coolers are equipped with a Repel™ Waterproof shell which keeps your drinks and other cooler contents safe, and also features an antimicrobial interior liner to protect against mildew and bacteria inside the cooler. This is our way of saying use your cooler as much and as often as you want with no worries.

BrüTank Rolling Cooler: When you’re rolling your cooler to your destination, the last thing we want you to have to worry about is what exactly you may be rolling over something... That’s why it features puncture-resistant wheels, so you can roll on in confidence.  Plus, the nature of these being hard coolers means they’re built tough with an adventure-proof exterior design.

Backtap: Between this rotomolded design and the stainless steel insert, your Backtap is built to last! Just strap in and go.

Ice Retention

MagPack Series: Each sized cooler in this series is designed to keep ice for 24+ hours, making it the perfect portable companion for ice-cold drinks or snacks.

BrüTank Rolling Cooler: Whether you choose the 35qt or 55qt, you can count on 7+ days (yes, days) of ice retention. Instead of spending time running around looking for ice, pack everything you need and pop-a-squat on the BrüTank’s foam bench top to enjoy spending time with those around you.

Backtap: Whether you fill it with cans or your favorite beverage the BackTap is designed to keep ice for 24+ hours. Count on ice-cold drinks until the last sip.

Get Outside with BrüMate’s Soft and Hard Coolers

So, which cooler will you be choosing? We may be biased, but we don't think you can go wrong with one of each to suit all of your endeavors. Don’t just take it from us, check out what other customers are saying about our quality and innovative coolers and get adventuring today!

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