Igloo BMX 25 Review: Does This Budget Cooler Work? 

Long live the budget cooler

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by  Cooler Bill Barton | Last Updated: 

Whew, some of these coolers are getting expensive. And when you find something that’s affordable, it starts to make you wonder if it’s even worth the money.

This Igloo BMX 25 review will show you everything you need to know before you buy, including how this budget friendly cooler compares against the biggest brands in the cooler space.

My top budget pick for 20-25 qt coolers
74
VALUE
10
score
CAPACITY
8
score
INSULATION
7
score
DURABILITY
7
score
EASE OF USE
7
score
PORTABILITY
7
score
FEATURES
6
score
True Liquid Capacity:   25 quarts
Hours Below 40º F:   68 hours
Pros:
  • The Igloo BMX 25 offers excellent value-for-money when considering the insulating power and how Igloo compares to YETI, RTIC, and Orca
  • With a liquid capacity of 25 quarts, the BMX 25 holds much more than other small hard-sided coolers
  • Because it’s blow-molded and not roto-molded, it’s a much lighter than other coolers (nearly 50% the weight of its heaviest competitor)
Cons:
  • It’s blow-molded and not roto-molded, which means the plastic is a little more flimsy and less durable overall
  • There’s no gasket in the lid so it’s not watertight (and that also reduces the insulating properties)
  • It’s ugly and doesn’t look nearly as cool as most competitors

Have you looked at the price of a YETI lately? Those things cost more than a few bills, now. 

When I went shopping for a smaller camping cooler, it made my eyes water. 

Yes, I ended up buying the expensive coolers, but only because I run a cooler review site and that’s my job. But I know you’ve got other considerations. 

That’s why I picked up the Igloo BMX 25, the iconic brand’s budget-friendly small hard-sided cooler. 

Below, you can read about my experience with the BMX 25, plus how this Igloo compares to YETI, RTIC, and ORCA—three of the biggest brands in the cooler space. 

Igloo BMX 25 Overview

The Igloo BMX 25 is one of Igloo’s best-selling coolers, and it’s the smallest in the BMX line. 

You can also find a 52 quart version and a 72 quart version of the BMX if you’re planning bigger adventures. But the 25 is an ideal size for a single person to carry, and it has capacity for a big picnic, or supplies for an overnight camping trip for two. 

BMX stands for blow-molded construction (the “X” is just because it’s cool). I’m not going to share too many details about industrial plastic production because that’s super boring, but there are a few key differences between blow-molded construction and the popular rotomolded construction that YETI, RTIC, and many other brands use.

On the positive side, the blow-molded construction makes this cooler much lighter because the plastic walls aren’t so thick. 

On the negative side, it’s much less durable. 

But you can put a fish ruler on the top, which isn’t possible with rotomolding. Who doesn’t want a fish ruler?

Igloo BMX 25

It's not the prettiest cooler, but it gets the job done.

This is my top budget pick for the 20-25 qt cooler category because it's insulating power is quite good compared to brands that are double (and even triple) the price.

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We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Things to Consider Before Buying the Igloo BMX 25

The first thing I thought when I saw the Igloo BMX 25 was “man, that thing’s ugly.”

Obviously, aesthetics are a matter of taste and opinion. You might think the Igloo BMX 25 looks awesome. Or you may not care about your cooler aesthetics at all (which is completely reasonable). 

Me? I care. 

When it comes to performance, the BMX 25 fared the worst in all of my tests. But the difference between the worst and best wasn’t that major. 

If you’re someone who’s all about buying the best of the best, then you’ll likely want a different cooler. If you’re all about the overland truck experience and want a cooler that looks like military cargo, you’ll likely want a different cooler. 

But if you’re just looking for a decent cooler at an affordable price, then you’re in the right place. 

Why You Should Trust Me

I ran several tests on the Igloo BMX 25 to test its ice retention, capacity, insulating power, and water-tightness.

But I also did the same for several other brands so I could compare them all against one another. 

In this review, you’ll see how the Igloo BMX 25 compares with the YETI Roadie 24, the RTIC 20 QT, and the ORCA 20 QT. 

My ice tests were all identical and were all performed under the same conditions at the same time. I placed a hot dog in each cooler, filled each with seven pounds of ice, and measured the internal temperature of the hot dog over the course of four days. 

Testing my 20 qt coolers

I didn’t open any of the coolers during this test. While this test doesn’t really equate to real-world usage, it does give us some objective data so we can compare these coolers. 

I made a special note of when the temperature crossed the 40-degree and 50-degree marks (safe internal temperature for meats, and the limit at which beer ceases to be frosty). 

Again, the tests I ran don’t mimic how you’d likely use this cooler: opening, closing, putting on the hot sand, etc. I doubt you’d place a single hot dog in your cooler with seven pounds of ice and let it sit around for four days, unopened. But if you do, take a video and send it to me. 

Igloo BMX 25 Quart Cooler Review

Value

Let’s cut to the chase: if you want the best blend of insulating power and capacity at the lowest price and you don’t care what your cooler looks like, the Igloo BMX 25 is the best cooler for you.

In terms of value-for-money, the BMX 25 is excellent. 

I’ll dive deeper into how it actually performed in my ice retention and insulation tests, but the short version is that it held its own compared to competitors that are 150-250% the price. 

But value is subjective, too. 

My favorite cooler in the 20-25 quart category is the RTIC 20 Qt. And the best quality overall is the YETI Roadie 24

If I could only pick one, it’d be the RTIC 20, and my reason is that it has excellent durability and superior build quality to the Igloo, has tremendous insulation, and looks cool. Plus, it’s only about $50 more expensive than the Igloo BMX 25 at any given moment. Of course, that’s 150% of the price of the Igloo, but I’m willing to pay that for the style and build quality.

RTIC 20 Qt

All things considered, the RTIC 20 Qt is the best pick in the 20-25qt hard cooler category.

While the YETI Roadie 24 has more insulating power, I think the RTIC 20 is more than enough to keep your goods cold for a weekend and the value-for-money is phenomenal.

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The YETI Roadie 24 performed the best on all of my ice retention and insulation tests, but I’m not convinced it was that much better, especially considering it’s more like 250% the cost of the Igloo BMX. 

YETI Roadie 24

Compared to other hard-sided coolers in the same size category, the Roadie 24 has better insulation and it’s more practically easy to pack into your car and hit the road.

Plus, because it’s around three inches taller and three inches slimmer, it makes for a more convenient seat or table-top when camping.

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Capacity

The Igloo BMX 25 not only holds the most out of the coolers I tested, but it also has the greatest space efficiency. In the chart below, you can see how the Igloo’s space efficiency compares to its competition—I get this number by dividing the number of cans a cooler holds by its liquid quart capacity. 

It’s a fairly limited metric, but the idea is clear: not only does the Igloo BMX 25 have more internal space, but the shape and design allow you to fit more cans relative to the liquid capacity—it’s a double win for Igloo. 

In the chart above you can really see how much the Igloo BMX 25 outperforms in this category, with a space efficiency ratio of 1.48 (compared to second-best RTIC 20 with a 1.2). 

How many cans does the Igloo BMX 25 hold?

The Igloo BMX 25 holds 37 12oz cans.

question icon

The worst in this category is the YETI Roadie 24, though I found through practical use that the YETI is excellent for carrying a variety of goods. But it’s just a bad beer cooler because it doesn’t hold that many cans. I’m rarely carrying just beer, and the YETI is often much more useful for picnics than the above graph suggests. 

How much ice does the Igloo BMX 25 hold?

The Igloo BMX 25 can hold 15 pounds of ice total, but I recommend only adding 5-7 pounds to allow for other contents. 

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Part of the reason that the Igloo outperforms so strongly here is because of the blow-molded construction. The plastic is thinner and the manufacturing method allows for sharper corners, so there’s more internal space to go around. 

Insulation

The Igloo BMX 25 performed the worst on my ice retention and insulation test. But that doesn’t tell the whole story.

Take a look at the graph below:

The Igloo BMX 25 (represented by the green line), was consistently lagging behind the other coolers throughout the 96-hour test. 

But in real-world terms, this difference wasn’t that noticeable. 

You can see the difference in insulation more clearly in the graph below (just hours 60-96):

The Igloo BMX 25 held its contents below 40 degrees for 68 hours. The best performer, the YETI Roadie 24, held below 40 degrees for 73 hours. That’s a five hour difference in the span of roughly three days, which isn’t critical. Overall, the YETI performed around 10% better. At roughly 250% the cost, I leave it to you to judge whether that 10% extra cooling power is worthwhile. 

The contents of the Igloo rose above 50 degrees at 78 hours, so there’s a good chance you’ll have frosty beers through your entire three-day weekend with this cooler. 

Igloo BMX 25

It's not the prettiest cooler, but it gets the job done.

This is my top budget pick for the 20-25 qt cooler category because it's insulating power is quite good compared to brands that are double (and even triple) the price.

Buy Now at Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Durability

This is where the Igloo is weakest. Due to the blow-molded construction method, the thinner plastic is a bit of a liability.

I haven’t compared these coolers against one another dropping them from any great heights, but it’s pretty clear that rotomolded coolers like YETI and RTIC are far more sturdy. 

Still, despite the thinner plastic, the Igloo is still a tough cooler and I’m sure you could put it through a beating and it’ll come out fine. 

The main thing is that the handle stays strong when loaded with ice, beers, and food, and the rubber latches are still as good as new. 

Speaking of practical durability, the Igloo is fine. But I doubt it could withstand a bear attack and technically, it’s not as durable. 

Portability

Portability is a win for the Igloo BMX 25. Despite having the largest capacity of the small hard-sided coolers I tested (25 quarts vs 24, 22, and 20), it’s the lightest when empty. 

Of course, you have more room to load this bad-boy down, with weight, but strictly speaking, it’s the easiest to move around. 

Because of the thick plastic handle, it’s a bit tough to pack into a tight space. The YETI does the best in this situation because of its nylon handle, and the RTIC does well because the stainless steel bar is recessed into the cooler so it doesn’t take up extra space at the sides. 

The handle is comfortable and doesn’t put the cooler in an awkward position—you won’t need to bang up your shins and knees when lugging a heavy load in this. 

Features

Fish ruler, baby!

Two words: fish ruler.

You read that right; the BMX 25 has a molded-in fish ruler on top for you if you’re an avid angler. For the rest of us who aren’t regularly measuring our fish, there are four tie-down cutouts in the corners which are really helpful.

There are also a few interesting design features like the stainless steel kick plate—it’s mainly for design and it reminds me a little of the toys I used to play with when I was seven, but you can kick the front of your cooler all you want with no recourse. 

Ever just want to kick your cooler?

The latches are rubber t-handles, which are fairly easy to do and un-do with a single hand. However, I struggled a few times getting the cooler open one-handed as the latches are fairly stiff. 

There’s no drain spigot, but I doubt you’ll find yourself wanting one with a cooler this size—it’s small enough that you can generally pick it up and tip excess water out on your own. 

What do Other Reviewers Say?

On Igloo’s site, the BMX 25 has a 4.6-star average with over 200 reviews. 

Most of the positive reviews focus on the fact that the cooler does a solid job insulating and doesn’t cost too much.

The negative reviews mention the lack of a gasket around the lid, which does hurt the insulating properties—particularly on hot days. 

Igloo BMX 25 Qt Alternatives

YETI Roadie 24

The YETI Roadie 24 is the best quality hard cooler in the 20-25 quart category in terms of build, materials, useability, and insulation.

It’s also the most expensive. 

One thing you get with YETI that you don’t with Igloo is that “military cargo” style that’s perfect for overland adventures. If that’s important to you, or if money isn’t an issue for you and you want the absolute best quality possible, check out the YETI Roadie 24. 

You can also read my review of the Roadie 24 here

YETI Roadie 24

Compared to other hard-sided coolers in the same size category, the Roadie 24 has better insulation and it’s more practically easy to pack into your car and hit the road.

Plus, because it’s around three inches taller and three inches slimmer, it makes for a more convenient seat or table-top when camping.

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RTIC 20 Qt Cooler

The RTIC 20 Qt cooler wins my vote for the best value-for-money overall 20-25 quart hard cooler. 

To me, the RTIC blends the aesthetics of YETI, has a strong performance in the insulation and ice-retention tests, and is loaded up with the most practical features.

While it’s more expensive than the Igloo BMX 25, I felt the additional cost was worthwhile, especially because the style is important to me. 

RTIC 20 Qt

All things considered, the RTIC 20 Qt is the best pick in the 20-25qt hard cooler category.

While the YETI Roadie 24 has more insulating power, I think the RTIC 20 is more than enough to keep your goods cold for a weekend and the value-for-money is phenomenal.

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My Thoughts Overall On the Igloo BMX 25

What I Like

  • The Igloo BMX 25 performs nearly as well as major competitors in insulation and ice retention tests, but it’s a fraction of the price. It’s an ideal budget pick.
  • Small hard-sided coolers are typically between 20-22 quarts, so the 25 quart capacity is excellent considering the footprint is comparable.
  • With a blow-molded construction, the plastic makes the BMX 25 much lighter than competitors.

What I Don’t Like

  • Because it’s blow-molded and not roto-molded, the plastic is thinner and more flimsy compared to other major brands.
  • There’s no gasket in the lid which allows it to leak when tipped over and also reduces the insulation significantly on hot days.
  • I personally think it’s pretty ugly.

Who is the Igloo BMX 25 cooler for?

The Igloo BMX 25 is an excellent cooler for you if you’re more interested in a good deal than you are style. If you just want a cooler that works and you don’t care about the bells and whistles, the BMX 25 is perfect.

The Verdict

The Igloo BMX 25 is my top budget pick in the 20-25 quart hard-sided cooler category.

Compared to other brands, it’s far lighter and can carry a lot. Plus, the handle makes it easy to transport. And while it didn’t do as well as other brands during the insulation and ice retention tests, it was in the same ballpark as brands that cost 150-250% Igloo’s price.

I don’t like the style of the Igloo BMX 25 much. But that’s subjective. I also think rotomolded is a better choice if you’re planning on taking your cooler on a lot of adventures—rotomolded coolers can withstand tougher treatment.

For these reasons, I recommend the RTIC 20 Qt as my personal favorite cooler in the 20-25 quart category. It does cost more than the Igloo, but I think the variety of features, style, and boost in insulation (plus the gasket on the lid) make it a more versatile and durable option.

Igloo BMX 25

It’s not the prettiest cooler, but it gets the job done.

This is my top budget pick for the 20-25 qt cooler category because it’s insulating power is quite good compared to brands that are double (and even triple) the price.

Buy Now at Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

FAQs

How long does the Igloo BMX 25 hold ice?

The Igloo BMX 25 holds ice for around 80 hours. The internal temperature of the goods I measured when doing my insulation test rose about 40 degrees at 68 hours, and above 50 degrees at 78 hours.

What is the difference between Igloo BMX and IMX coolers?

For practical purposes, the styles are just different. Plus, the IMX coolers have a drain spigot, gasket, steel handle, better insulation, and cost more. The IMX line is made through an injected-mold method rather than the blow-molded construction of the BMX line.

Does the Igloo BMX 25 have a gasket?

No, the Igloo BMX 25 doesn’t have a gasket in the lid.