You’ve likely heard someone talk about Yeti coolers and how good they are or how long they keep ice. But do Yeti coolers actually live up to the hype? Are Yeti coolers worth buying and are they worth the expensive price tag or should you save your money and buy something else?
A Yeti is a big purchase, so you want to make sure you’re making a good decision before you go ahead and spend the money.
I bought my own Yeti, as well as a bunch of other coolers, about 3 years ago and I’ve been researching and writing about coolers for years.
Ultimately only you can decide if a Yeti cooler is worth it FOR YOU. Everyone’s needs are different and everyone’s budgets and what they want to spend money on is different. But this article should give you a bit of insight into Yeti coolers, if they are any good and what your other options are.
So let’s have a look at some different aspects of Yeti coolers to help you make your decision.
Below you can see a comparison between the prices of Yeti and the prices of alternative coolers.
Yeti Tundra 45:
Yeti Tundra 65:
Sub Z 20-Quart Cooler:
Lifetime 55-Quart: $97.00 (see on Wallmart.com)
As you can see Yeti coolers are much more expensive. So lets now try and work out why they might be worth the extra expense.
What Exactly Makes Yeti Coolers So Good?
Before Yeti coolers the only real cooler option you had was the cheap $20-$50 cooler from your local hardware store that kept ice about a day.
Yeti changed all that back in 2006 when the introduced their expensive roto-molded cooler. So what exactly makes Yeti coolers so good?
1. Insulation and Ice Retention
Regular coolers might only keep ice for 1-2 days if you’re lucky. This is because they have thin insulation in the walls and base (usually about 0.75-1 inches) and ABSOLUTELY NO insulation in the lid…it’s just a plastic lid filled with air!
Yeti coolers on the other hand have approximately 2 inches of pressure injected insulation in the walls and base and up to 3 inches of insulation in the lid. The type of insulation they use is also better than traditional coolers, allowing them to keep ice for longer.
All this adds up to Yeti coolers being able to keep ice easily for 3-5+ days and in some situations even keep ice for over a week. In my Yeti 45 ice test shown below you can see that my Yeti was actually able to keep ice for more than 10 days.
I’ve also lived in a van with that same Yeti and when only partially filling it with ice and using it daily as our primary fridge it kept ice about 3-4 days in summer temperatures.
Expensive coolers generally keep ice longer, and Yeti is no exception to that rule. They are expensive, but they keep ice a lot longer than regular coolers.
2. Insane Durability and Longevity
Regular coolers are blow-molded, which means they have a thin outer shell that isn’t very strong. This is why they can get sun damaged and crack or break easily.
Yeti coolers, on the other hand, are roto-molded. This process means the outer shell of Yeti coolers is super thick and super strong. This is the same way they make high-performance kayaks.
Yeti coolers can handle almost anything. I’ve seen them being throw out of airplanes and fast moving vehicles, I’ve seen bears attacking them and cars driving on them. Below you can see a strong man trying to break the Yeti.
All this leads to a cooler that is highly unlikely to break and that will last you a lifetime.
So while it may be more expensive upfront for a Yeti cooler you will only have to buy it once and it will last you decades. Other coolers you need to continually replace as they break.
My Yeti is currently 3-4 years old and it’s still in just as good condition (minus a few scratches are marks) as it was when I bought it.
3. Amazing Design and Features
Regular coolers generally only come in two colors…bright red and bright blue, usually with a white lid. They aren’t very nice to look at.
Yeti took the cooler and made it sexy. The plastic feels premium and the different color options means you can choose the cooler that suits your style.
They also added new design features like a freezer grade gasket to keep out warm air and hold ice longer, pull down rubber latches, non-slip rubber feet and strong nylon rope handles for easy carrying.
Apart from the ice retention, durability and design/features the other reason Yeti coolers demand such a high price is their branding. I wrote more about this in my article on why Yeti coolers are so expensive.
Yeti is not only a lifestyle brand but they are also known and well trusted that they create high-quality products that are extremely durable and last a lifetime.
When you buy a Yeti product you know that their quality standards are high and you know you’re going to get a good product.
It’s also a brand recognized and respected by a lot of people, so owning Yeti products helps you stand out to your friends, which can be very valuable and make you love your cooler even more.
No one envies a cheap Coleman cooler, but people will envy you and your Yeti.
Do Yeti Coolers Work As Well As Advertised?
Yeti make some bold statements in their advertising as to the ice retention and durability of their products. They even say their coolers are completely bear proof.
But do Yeti coolers actually work as well as advertised?
As a Yeti owner and cooler review specialist I can say with certainty that YES Yeti coolers do work as well as advertised. If you know what you’re doing they can actually perform better than advertised.
If you look at the reviews on Amazon you’ll see that most people review their Yeti with 5 stars – see Yeti reviews.
Most people who give Yeti a poor review complain about the ice retention performance. But there are actually a few reasons why ice can melt fast in your Yeti. Address these issues and your Yeti should perform as advertised.
I have heard very few stories of Yeti coolers actually not being as good as they were advertised to be.
Personally, I was impressed with my Yeti cooler and the quality of the finish compared to other coolers. For the last 3 years it has worked great for me and continues to do so.
Is All This Worth The Extra Cost?
So we’ve learned that Yeti coolers legitimately work better than regular coolers.
They keep ice longer, are far more durable and are also sexier and with desirable branding.
Now you need to have a think about whether these extra features are worth the extra cost FOR YOU.
This is all about you and how much use and enjoyment you’re going to get out of it.
Yeti Coolers ARE Worth The Extra Cost If…
In my opinion Yeti coolers are worth the extra cost if:
- You are going camping or going off-grid for long periods at a time
- You use your cooler a lot and are finding ice melts too quickly in your coolers or they are breaking too often
- If you need a cooler for commercial use
- If you have lots of money and saving a couple of hundreds dollars doesn’t matter that much
- If you’re camping/hunting in bear country and need a bear proof cooler
- If you’re fishing and want a cooler that keeps ice all day and is strong enough you can cast off it
- You want to buy one high-quality product and own it for life
- If you want to own the premium brand and be proud of your cooler
If you think it’s worth it then you can buy Yeti coolers through their website, through local specialty stores or through Amazon.
Below I’ll link up to some of the most popular Yeti cooler sizes so you can see the prices and look at them in more detail at Amazon.
The links are my affiliate links so if you buy something on Amazon after clicking them I appreciate it as it helps support me to keep creating better and more useful content.
Popular Yeti Hard Sided Coolers
Yeti Tundra 35:
Yeti Tundra 45:
Yeti Tundra 65:
Yeti Tundra Haul:
Popular Yeti Soft Sided Coolers
Yeti DayTrip Lunch Bag:
Yeti Hopper Flip:
Yeti BackFlip 24:
Yeti Hopper M30:
Yeti Coolers are NOT Worth The Extra Cost If…
In my opinion Yeti coolers aren’t worth the extra cost and you should buy something cheaper if:
- You already own a cooler and it’s serving you well and you don’t really need a new one
- If you’re not going to use it much or for long periods of time
- You’re strapped for cash and saving money is important to you
- If brand name isn’t important to you and you want to get a cooler just as good but for cheaper
- If you don’t need the features or ice retention of a Yeti
If you’re not going to use the cooler much then you aren’t going to get great value out of it so it may make sense not to buy it.
Also if you are budget conscious and don’t care about the brand name there are other cheaper options out there that are just as good which we will talk about in a little bit.
Are Yeti Coolers Technically Better Than Any Other Cooler?
It’s important to note that Yeti coolers are not TECHNICALLY better than any other cooler. I use the word technically because the term “best cooler” means different things to different people.
In terms of performance Yeti does NOT keep ice longer than every other cooler on the market. It fact there are a number of cooler brands that have been shown to keep ice longer than the Yeti.
Other coolers on the market are also similar to Yeti in terms of their build quality and their durability. Plus there are coolers out there with a lifetime warranty whereas Yeti only has a 5-year warranty.
So Yeti isn’t THE BEST option on the market. There are a lot of great other options
The Best Alternatives To Yeti Coolers
There are now so many brands out there that are similar to Yeti. Some have better ice retention, some are extremely affordable, some offer extra features, some look almost identical but are cheaper.
To feature all of these coolers would take too long so below are what I believe are the best alternatives to Yeti for similarity, cost, ice retention, extra features and lifetime warranties.
Most Similar: Orca Coolers (or RTIC)
If you’re looking for a cooler that is most similar to Yeti in terms of it’s design then I would personally recommend ORCA.
ORCA are a USA made cooler (Yeti coolers are made overseas) and they are backed by a lifetime warranty.
ORCA also have some of the best ice retention of any cooler on the market and they hold ice longer than Yeti coolers. They are also slightly cheaper so you’ll save a few dollars by buying an Orca.
They have lots of color options and you can also buy coolers customized with your favorite team’s logo on them. All around a great cooler and one of Yeti’s biggest competitors
The other brand most similar to Yeti is RTIC. In fact RTIC was sued by Yeti for being too similar and they had to redesign a lot of their products.
Their coolers still look very similar and they are high-quality coolers that perform similar to the Yeti but sell for a little bit cheaper.
Most Affordable: Lifetime Coolers
Lifetime coolers are another USA made cooler that is sold for an extremely affordable price, mostly through Walmart.
Their coolers have similar ice retention to Yeti coolers and they have easier to use latches and I also love their grip/slide feet. When horizontal the feet are non-slip so your cooler won’t move around. But when you lift up one side of the cooler they become easy slide feet and you can pull your cooler around.
Ice Retention: Kong Coolers
Ok I’m starting to notice that most of these Yeti alternatives are USA made. That wasn’t intentional but obviously USA made coolers are made to a very high standard.
Kong Coolers are also made in the USA and are a new entrant into the market. Their ice retention is surprisingly high compared to other coolers and it even outperforms the Orca (which outperforms the Yeti).
This is a high-quality cooler and it also has some really cool features like being able to add side tables as well as something to stop kids fingers getting hurt when the lid shuts.
Extra Features: RovR Cooler
The RovR Cooler (oh wow another USA made cooler) is the roto-molded cooler that is packed with the most features.
It’s got wheels, it’s go a bike attachment, it’s got an internal dry storage container, it’s got an external gear bin so you can use your cooler to haul lots of gear. It’s like a Yeti but with more features.
I love this cooler, it’s one of my favorite out there and there aren’t really any other roto-molded coolers trying to be as useful as this.
Best Warranty: Canyon Coolers
I recently wrote an article on the best coolers with a lifetime warranty. There are actually quite a few options out there but Canyon Coolers hands down has the best warranty.
Yeti offers a limited 5-year warranty on their coolers only covering manufacturing defects and this is only for the person who initially buys the Yeti.
Canyon offers a full lifetime warranty, no matter who you are or what has happened to your cooler. It allows you to buy their coolers knowing that no matter what, you’re going to have this cooler for life.
So Are Yeti Coolers Worth The Cost?
To summarize everything my answer is: YES
Yes I do think Yeti’s are worth the cost. They perform so much better than regular coolers, keeping ice for over a week in some case. Plus they are so much more durable and will last you years and even decades without needing to be replaced.
The cooler is extremely high-quality and in my opinion offers long term value for money. I don’t regret buying my Yeti and it is still one of my all time favorite coolers even though there are now multiple copycat brands on the market.
I’m one of those people who is a sucker for branding. I love that Yeti is a premium product from a premium brand, it makes me feel happy whenever I see my cooler.
If you agree with me and think Yeti is worth the money then click the link below to browse every Yeti cooler on Amazon.
Fun fact: Yeti actually sell their coolers directly through Amazon. So when you’re buying a Yeti on Amazon (as long as it’s from “Yeti Authorized” then it’s coming directly from the company).