How Do Yeti Coolers Work To Keep Ice So Long?

Yeti coolers can keep ice much longer than regular coolers. 3-5+ days is easily achievable and it can even keep ice up to 10 days! But how do Yeti coolers work and how do they keep ice so long when other coolers don’t?

Yeti coolers work so well and keep ice so long because they have thicker and better insulation that regular coolers. They also have insulation in the lid, a rubber gasket to keep out warm air and are raised off the ground by their rubber feet.

In this article we’ll look in more detail about what Yeti coolers are made from and the technology it uses to keep ice for so long.

Yeti tumblers work a little bit different so if you want to you can read my explanation on how Yeti tumbler cups work.

The Biggest Factor: Thick Insulation

Yeti Cooler Insulation

The main thing that helps Yeti coolers keep ice so long is the thick walls and the thick insulation.

Yeti coolers are made from a thick shell of polyethylene which is roto-molded to give it it’s shape. While this is primarily for strength and is what helps to make the cooler bear proof this plastic is also a good insulator.

Inside the polyethylene shell is pressure injected polyurethane foam, which sets hard. There is approximately 1.5-2 inches of insulation in the walls of Yeti coolers. Compare this to regular coolers which generally have less than 1 inch of insulation in the walls.

Thermal Conduction

The insulation in Yeti coolers is really good at stopping what’s called “thermal conduction”.

Thermal conduction is the movement of heat through an object or from one object that is touching another. Like when you put some food on a hot frying pan the heat from the frying pan moves into the food.

The plastic walls and insulating foam stop the heat from the outside of the cooler moving into the cooler. Because the walls are so thick they are able to stop a lot of heat

When there is little-to-no heat entering the cooler the ice will just stay frozen and only slowly melt over time. This is the main technology used to allow Yeti’s to keep ice so long.

For Best Results Prechill Your Cooler

Dry Ice In Yeti Cooler

If you want your Yeti to keep ice the longest then prechilling your cooler can add days to your ice retention.

This is because the plastic and insulation of the cooler itself can absorb heat and because quite warm when not in use. Putting ice straight into a warm cooler the heat from the cooler will melt the ice quickly as the cooler plastic and insulation cools down.

So for best results prechill your cooler the night before with a sacrificial bag of ice or a few frozen water bottles. Or for ultimate results put your cooler in a large walk in freezer (if you have one) before using it.

Click here to learn how to keep ice longer in your cooler

Insulated Lid

Most regular coolers actually have no insulation in the lid, the lid is just full of air. This lets a lot of heat into the cooler and melts the ice faster.

The lid of the Yeti cooler has 2-3 inches of insulation, further keeping out the heat from the sun and the outside air.

This also makes the lid super strong allowing you to sit on it, stand on it and people have even driven cars on top of it without it breaking.

Roto-Molded Plastic Construction

We mentioned it earlier but Yeti coolers are made from a thick polyethylene plastic which is roto-molded to create the shell of the cooler. This plastic is much thicker than the plastic on a regular cooler.

Polyethylene is also a good insulator. So while the pressure injected foam does most of the work of keeping the heat out the plastic shell also helps.

Freezer Grade Gasket

Yeti Commercial Grade Rubber Gasket

The lid of the Yeti cooler has a freezer grade rubber gasket that runs around the top of the lid. The main body of the cooler has a raised lip so when the lid is closed the rubber gasket pushes against this lip forming a tight seal.

This lid gasket helps to seal the cooler keeping the cold air in and keeping the warm air out. Warm air flowing into your cooler will speed up how quickly the ice melts, so keeping this air out improves ice retention.

Yeti coolers aren’t 100% waterproof or airtight so there will be a small amount of warm air that gets in, but it’s a lot less than a regular cooler.

When you open the cooler it obviously allows warm air into the cooler which is why if you want to keep ice longer it’s recommended that you only open your cooler when you reallyy need to, otherwise keep it shut as long as possible.

Pull Down Rubber Latches

Yeti Rubber Latches
Yeti Rubber Latches

The pull down rubber latches help to firmly connect the lid of the Yeti to the main cooler body, creating the pressure that the gasket needs to form that tight (almost) airtight seal.

The rubber latches themselves don’t insulation or make ice last longer in the Yeti, but they do help the rubber gasket do its job.

Raised Off The Ground

Yeti Non-Slip Feet

The Yeti cooler has non-slip rubber feet which help it stay in place and stop it from sliding around in your car, truck or boat. But they also serve another purpose in that they raise the cooler off the ground.

When the base of your cooler is touching the ground it absorbs heat from the ground which then gets into the cooler and melts the ice faster.

But raising the Yeti off the ground, even by a little bit, the rubber feet stop the cooler from absorbing as much heat and thus allow the cooler to keep ice longer.

Lighter Colors Keep Ice Longer

No all Yeti coolers are light in color, in fact there are 10+ different colors of Yeti coolers, some lighter and some darker.

This video shows that a cooler with a lighter color can keep ice up to 0.5 days longer than a dark cooler. This is because light colors reflect more light and thus more heat, meaning less heat gets into the cooler melting the ice.

Most regular cooler don’t have any color options. They usually come in a bright blue or bright red color with a white lid. At least with Yeti you have the option of white (which is what I own) so you can get even more ice retention.

Click here to see all Yeti color options

Do Yeti Coolers Keep Ice Longer?

Absolutely yes, Yeti coolers keep ice longer than regular coolers for all the reasons mentioned up above. You can also read about other differences between Yeti coolers and regular coolers here.

  • Thicker insulation in the walls and base
  • Thick lid insulation (where regular coolers have none)
  • Freezer grade rubber gasket
  • Thicker plastic shell
  • Pull down rubber latches
  • Feet that lift it off the ground
  • Option of a light color to keep ice even longer

You can also read my article on why expensive coolers keep ice longer than regular coolers.

Where To Buy Yeti Coolers

Yeti's National Distribution

Yeti coolers have a wide distribution in specialty stores all across the US as well as around the world.

You can purchase Yeti coolers at your local store, online through their website or Yeti also sell directly through Amazon with free shipping.

Below you can see the prices and links to Amazon for some of the most popular Yeti coolers:

Yeti Roadie:

Yeti Tundra 35:

Yeti Tundra 45:

Yeti Tundra 65:

Yeti Tundra Haul: