Cooler Lights: For Food & Drink at Night Outdoors


Image Source: iStockPhoto

Cooler lights may be small but the positive impact they can make is big. Not only do they enhance the functionality of your cooler, but they also elevate its convenience and appearance. 

Whether you’re camping, tailgating or enjoying a family barbeque, having a quality cooler light can make finding the drink of your choice a lot easier and safer. 

If you’re tired of reaching into your cooler at night unsure of what will emerge, continue reading below to learn how a cooler light can upgrade outdoor activities with food and drinks.

Quick Takeaways 

- Cooler lights provide low cost, low maintenance safety and convenience
- LED cooler lights will use 75% less energy than other types of light, such as fluorescent
- LED bulbs last up to 30 times longer than incandescent or halogen lighting
- Lights are classified on an Ingress Protection scale that determines an enclosure's resistance to damage from items entering it, such as water and dust
- Cooler lights with the highest level of protection against dust and water will have an IP rating of IP68 

Ultimately, investing in a waterproof LED cooler light is the best way to achieve quality, long lasting light to illuminate food and drink outdoors at night.

In addition to those mentioned, there are several additional benefits of cooler lights and features you should keep an eye out for while shopping. 

Why Buy a Cooler Light?

Cooler lights come with many benefits, including: 

- Effortless location of food and drink
- Low maintenance
- Safer accessibility
- Appealing visual 

Not to mention, they can be installed in minutes and are generally inexpensive. To learn what characteristics make up the best cooler lights, continue reading below! 

What to Look For 

When it comes to cooler lights, there are a few key elements that make up the perfect option – you want something that will last long and keep you safe in the dark. Since coolers are cold and damp, your lights will also have to withstand exposure to low temperatures and wetness.


Light-emitting diode (LED) cooler lights are specifically designed to replace high maintenance and low-lifespan lighting like fluorescent and incandescent. 

In addition to high performance in cold temperatures and damp environments, there are several aspects that make LED the best choice.

High Light Output 

LED technology produces more light than incandescent or halogen because it requires less thermal energy. This can be a major advantage in cooler lighting because your source will be brighter, last longer and produce minimal heat.


Incandescent bulbs release 90% of their energy as heat whereas LED lights release 60%, resulting in a bulb that’s cool to the touch.

If you’re using a light source that gives off heat, your cooler will require much more effort to keep food and drinks cold.


LED lamps are the most energy efficient bulbs on the market and use 75% less energy than other lighting options.

If you’re camping at night and need reliable light for food and drink, LED bulbs will last the longest. 


LED lights are made with epoxy lenses as opposed to glass, which are much more resistant to breakage.

When you’re rooting around in your cooler at night, any impact on an incandescent bulb may result in a cooler filled with broken glass – a safety hazard no one wants to encounter.

As you can see, choosing an LED light cooler means: 

- Protecting the environment
- Saving energy
- Maintaining cost
- Minimizing installation efforts
- Maximizing longevity
- Promoting safety 


Equally as important as the aspects above, the best cooler light will be waterproof. After all, it will be sitting in a pool of water and ice! 

To ensure you choose a cooler light that can withstand the elements, take note of the product’s Ingress Protection, or IP, rating. An IP rating is a measure of an enclosure’s ability to resist items entering it, such as water and dust.

IP ratings are classified by two-digit codes and summarize the level of protection present. 

- First digit: represents level of protection against intrusion of foreign bodies (such as dust) 
- Second digit: resistance against moisture (such as water) 

To understand the different levels of protection, assess the chart below.

IP rating scale

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A cooler light with the highest level of protection will have an Ingress Protection rating of IP68. Although, a rating of IP66 will work as well as long as you drain melted ice before the cooler becomes a swimming pool. 

This is one of the best ways to ensure your cooler light is of the highest quality! 

The Best Cooler Lights 

Now that you understand what qualities to look for in a cooler light, you can determine which one is best for you! See below for some of our favorites for food and drink at night outdoors.

StarBright Cooler Light

StarBright cooler light

Image Source: Amazon [affiliate link] 

This cooler light is rechargeable and perfect for soft, YETI and camping coolers. Water resistant and sumbergeable for up to six hours, it also offers two color options: white for tailgating and red for hunting and fishing. 

Black Anchor Universal LED Cooler Light 

Black Anchor Universal LED Cooler Light

Image Source: Amazon [affiliate link]

This waterproof LED light is mountable to any hard shell cooler, such as YETI, Igloo or Coleman. With an automatic on and off sensor and 72 hours of life, this is a great option for any night time activity with food and drinks.

Coolerbrightz LED Light Rope 

Coolerbrightz LED Light Rope

Image Source: Amazon [affiliate link] 

This light strand is a great way to add a pop of color to your cooler during a tailgate or outdoor party. These lights are fully waterproof and easy to install, last for over 24 hours and make a great gift for your favorite host! 

Fenix CL26R Camping Lantern 

Fenix CL26R Camping Lanters

While the CL26R is only waterproof to IP66 standard, we'd be remiss not to mention at least one of our great Fenix lights! The CL26R lantern is designed with a unique cold-resistant structure. This design creates a cold-resistant layer for the battery compartment which protects the battery from the strain that you typically see when using rechargeable batteries in cold environments. This makes the CL26R a perfect candidate to pop into your cooler. Plus, it is a great camping lantern to boot, so it's a multi-use tool for your next tailgating event and your next campout! The IP66 rating waterproofing may not guarantee full submersion in liquid, but it'll definitely be able to handle being in a wet environment for long periods of time!

This model is durable, rechargeable and effortlessly provides lots of light. It’s small size and lightweight feel makes it perfect for lighting up the inside of your cooler!


When shopping for the best cooler lights, the most important aspects are durability and performance. With lighting specifically designed to combat cold and moisture, you can provide safe and efficient lighting for food and drinks at night. 

For more tips on perfecting your outdoor activities at night, visit our other blogs at today!

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