When comparing Igloo Yukon vs Yeti I found that Yukon coolers offer a great price saving as well as more insulation, but the Yeti is overall a nicer cooler.
In this review I'll go indepth and show you all the major differences between these two coolers as well as offer my two cents on which cooler I think is the better buy.
These are two very different coolers and by the end of this review you'll know exactly which cooler is best suited to you.
Will it be the Igloo Yukon or the Yeti? Read on to find out.
Brief Overview of Igloo Yukon vs Yeti
Both Igloo and Yeti are pioneers in the cooler space. Igloo coolers was founded in 1947 and made some pretty famous coolers like the Playmate cooler back in 1972 and was the first to put wheels on a cooler back in 1994.
Yeti have only been around a little over 10 years. Founded in 2006 they single-handedly invented the premium roto-moulded cooler market with their Tundra series and are currently the most popular premium cooler in the market.
While Igloo fell behind the pack in previous years, but they are looking to make up some ground with their “innovative” Yukon cooler.
Really, there isn't much innovation going on but they are quite different from Yeti coolers in a number of ways. Here is a quick summary for those of you who don't want to read the entire indepth review.
Both Yeti and Yukon are extremely tough roto-moulded coolers that keep ice 5+ days
Yukon coolers are significantly cheaper than Yeti, providing $100 or more in savings for the same size. See latest pricing.
No comparison ice tests have been done, but Yukon coolers do have overall more insulation that Yeti.
Yukon coolers have a fairly masculine design with thick protruding handles and an oversized drainage cap, while Yeti has a sleeker more premium design.
Both coolers have an equal customer satisfaction rating of 4.5 stars, so both coolers are loved by their customers.
Yukon coolers are manufactured in the USA, while Yeti coolers are made primarily offshore.
Ice Retention and Performance
It's no secret that manufactures are often misleading about the ice retention of their products, so simply reading ice retention claims are hardly worthwhile.
Igloo Yukon even show in one of their videos that ice retention was under laboratory conditions, so who knows how well they keep ice in the real world.
Yeti has undergone multiple ice tests (I did my own Yeti ice test) and there are loads of ice test comparisons on YouTube.
Unfortunately I couldn't find a single ice test video for the Igloo Yukon, which was really disappointing. I do plan on buying one of these coolers to do a side-by-side comparison in the future, but until then I can't say which cooler keeps ice longer.
The best thing I have to go off is customer reviews on Amazon (see reviews here).
The general consensus from reviews is that the Yukon holds either either equal to or longer than a Yeti of a similar size.
Check out this review from Thomas D. John
I have not noticed ice melting faster than with the Yeti either, and I have been out in Texas Summer heat. Melt rate? Have no idea, but hitting the water at 6:00 AM, getting off after noon, the 20lb bag is 95% intact. That's pretty good.
The reason the Yukon likely performs similar to or better than the Yeti is that it does have slightly more insulation.
Their marketing will show you “3 inches of insulation vs 2 inches in the Yeti” but this is misleading. They are comparing the lids of the coolers only.
The Yukon lid has 3 inches of insulation, but the walls only have 2 inches of insulation…just like the Yeti.
So in terms of insulation they are similar, but the Yukon has slightly more in the lid, where the Yeti only has approximately 2.5 inches of insulation.
The Igloo Yukon is offers a great saving when you compare similar sized models.
Looking at the recommended retail price (RRP) we can already see that the Yukon is $50-$110 cheaper than the Yeti, which is a significant saving.
However, to add to that, you can often find the Yukon on sale and get it for even cheaper. For example as I am writing this the Igloo Yukon 70 is available on Amazon (see latest price) for $326.58. That's a full $60 cheaper than the RRP, making it a whopping $120 cheaper than the Yeti.
For the budget conscious shopper the Yukon is definitely going to be a better option. The Yeti is great, but if you're in a situation where you can't really afford that extra $100 then the Yukon is going to be a great option.
Design and Feel
These two coolers differ significantly in design (as much as a box to hold ice in can).
The Yeti cooler has a slimlined premium design. Made with a premium glossy plastic that looks and feels amazing the subtle curves and rounded edges contrasted with the black latches, handles and branding really make this cooler stand out.
If the Yeti cooler was a phone it would be the iPhone, with that amazing design you can't really explain but know is there.
It looks and feels like a high end designer product and has the brand recognition to go with it. Most people know that Yeti is a top of the line cooler so it's nice to be able to show that off.
Where the Yeti is smooth, rounded and slimlined the Yukon is square, bulky and bold.
With beveled edges, protruding moulded handles and an oversized drainage plug this cooler really makes a statement.
While the Yeti is understated and elegant the Yukon looks over-engineered for the toughest conditions.
Truthfully the design of the Yukon originally put me off, but over time I have come to respect how different this cooler looks from the Yeti. It's not a “me too” cooler like so many other models, it really stands out and makes a statement.
Sizes and Capacities
The Yeti has a large range of models and sizes, so you can almost always find the perfectly sized cooler. The Igloo Yukon coolers on the other hand come in a much limited range.
Yeti Range and Capacities[table id=10 responsive=scroll /]
NOTE: It’s really important to note that Yeti model names do NOT represent the internal capacities of their coolers. Yeti are misleading in their naming of their coolers. Check our full list of Yeti cooler capacities to ensure you know exactly what you are getting.
Igloo Yukon Range and Capacities[table id=18 responsive=scroll /]
As you can see the Igloo Yukon cooler range starts much larger than the Yeti's (50-Quart vs 21-Quart) and the Yeti cooler range also goes much larger (420 model vs 250-Quart).
This means if you are looking for a cooler smaller than 50-Quart then Yukon isn't going to suit you and you should consider other coolers like Yeti.
Also if you are looking for a cooler larger than 250-Quart then the Yukon also won't suit you and you'll either have to go with a Yeti or another brand that does large coolers like Canyon.
Yeti also sell soft sided coolers as well as a range of tumblers and bottles while Yukon has none of the sort.
But in saying all that Yukon's range isn't too bad. 50-Quart is a good size for a family cooler or for 1-2 people on a longer trip so often going smaller than 50-Quart means you don't have enough room in your cooler.
When looking at the Igloo Yukon vs the Yeti a good way to determine which cooler is right for you is to compare their features. While some features we look at will be similar (both coolers are roto-moulded for example) other features will be different.
So have a read through the different features of these coolers and this should help to make your buying decision easier.
Roto-Moulded Construction and Durability
Both of these coolers are made of heavy duty roto-moulded plastic packed with pressure injected foam.
This means that both coolers offer similar durability and can both handle being thrown around (either by yourself or by a really strong guy.
Also both of these coolers are bear proof when locked keeping your goodies away from grizzlies if they happen to wander into your camp.
All in all both these coolers are made to last you a lifetime and will be way stronger than a $30 cooler you buy from Wallmart.
The latches both use a similar mechanism. They are thick rubber latches that you pull down in order to keep the lid on tight.
The Yeti uses the ball shape of the latch to fix into the cooler body while the Yukon uses a hole in the latch which goes over a pin on the cooler body.
Both latches work similarly so in mind mind there isn't much different. Though I do think the Yeti latches look a bit nicer.
The Yeti has nylon rope handles with a rubber handle. This feels quite nice to hold, however, it does mean that the cooler can sway a bit when carrying which makes moving it around (especially when full) harder.
The Yeti also has moulded in handles, however the knots for the rope handles take up some of the space. This means you can only fit about 3 fingers in the moulded handles. This is fine when carrying the Yeti empty but is annoying once the Yeti has stuff in it.
The Igloo Yukon on the other hand has thick moulded handles that stick out from the side of the cooler and are fixed in place.
These are much easier to grab and provide a much more secure hold when carrying. They are also great for carrying with a friend.
The downside of this is that the cooler takes up more space. The Yeti handles fall flush with the side of the cooler (they fit into an indent in the side) and thus take up less space than a Yukon of the same size.
Does saving space matter to you? If so the Yeti might be the best option otherwise it's up to you which handle style you prefer.
Bear ProofingBoth of these coolers are certified bear resistant and will keep out a Grizzly.
It's important to note however that this is only the case when the coolers are locked through the front corners of the cooler using separately purchased locks.
The coolers, as they come from the factory, are not bear proof by themselves. The bear can rip the rubber latches off both these coolers and get in.
So if you are going to be in bear country, then lock up your cooler. But for most of us this won't actually be an issue.
A lot goes into a lid in one of these roto-moulded coolers, so lets have a more indepth look at the Igloo Yukon vs Yeti when it comes to the lid.
Something cool about the Igloo Yukon ice chest is that it has a measuring tape moulded into the lid of the cooler.
This means you can use your cooler to quickly measure your latest catch and to help you decide whether to keep it or throw it away.
The Yeti doesn't have this feature but the lid does have a similar non-slip surface to the Yukon meaning you can stand or cast off both these coolers without fear of slipping off.
The Yeti uses a single pin hinge while the Yukon uses a 2 pin stainless steel hinge.
The Yukon claims that their hinges are stronger and other brands have weaker hinges, but I'm not actually buying it.
Both of these hinges are incredibly sturdy and would be expected to last the life of the cooler. So they are slightly different, but still perform just as well.
Indentation To Keep Open
Both lids will stay open if you lift them all the way up. However, the Yukon actually has an indentation in the lid so when you lift it up it clicks into place.
This keeps the lid firmly open and makes it less likely to shut from a bump in the road or a sway of the boat.
The Igloo Yukon features a 2 inch drainage plug that is attached to the cooler with a stainless steel chain.
This is great if you want to drain your cooler fast (a 70-Quart cooler will drain in 60 seconds) but I personally find this drain plug too big.
Often you'll want to let just the water out of your cooler and not the ice, and this is difficult to do with the Yukon as the ice comes straight out through that massive hole.
The Yeti has a 1 inch drain plug that isn't attached (meaning you're more likely to lose it). But it does have a really nifty partial turn feature. By partially removing the drain plug you can actually let all the water out without having to take the cap off at all.
The Yeti comes in just 3 colors – white, desert tan and ice blue. All of these colors are made of a premium glossy plastic that looks absolutely amazing.
My favorite color is actually the ice blue, I just love how it stands out a bit more and I'm biased because blue is my favorite color. But I actually own a white Yeti because my wife loved white the best and you know how it is….happy wife = happy life.
The Yukon cold locker cooler comes in white, tan, green/tan and purple/yellow.
The purple/yellow cooler really stands out and some people are absolutely going to love being able to make a statement with their cooler. No cooler, not even the Pelican cooler has a color this bold.
In my opinion the white looks the best, followed closely by the tan. But I'll leave it up to you which color you prefer.
Both coolers comes with non-slip rubber feat that stops your cooler from sliding around on your boat or in your truck.
The feet also help to raise the cooler off the ground, giving you airflow underneath and a potentially better ice retention. See my article on how to make ice last longer in your cooler for more details.
However, the feet of the Yukon can actually flip around to become easy slide feet. So if you want to easily slide your cooler around your garage or into the back of the truck you can reverse the feet.
This isn't something that can be done on the fly though as you will need tools to make this change.
The Yeti also offers easy slide feet, but these need to be bought separately.
It's hard to directly compare the weight of these coolers to each other as they have slightly different capacities. But overall the weight of these coolers seem to be similar with neither being hugely heavier or lighter than the other.
Tie Down Points
Yeti has tie down points in the sides of their coolers so you can fix it into place in your car, truck or boat. They work so that you can still open and use the cooler while it is tied down.
If you want to tie down the Yukon you'll have to use the handles. This works fine and you can continue to use the cooler whilst tied down, but it doesn't look quite a nice.
You can also buy a tie down kit for the Yukon, but this is over $100 and you have to manually screw these brackets in place.
The following features don't really differ much from cooler to cooler, but are worth noting anyway.
Gasket – Both of these coolers have a commercial grade rubber gasket that runs the full length of the lid, keeping in the cold and keeping out the heat.
Locks – Both of these coolers have lock points on the two front corners. These make them bear proof, but can also protect what is inside your cooler. The Yukon have the addition of a stainless steel plate to the corner locks, but the functionality is still the same.
When looking at which cooler is the best buy I don't just look at the cooler itself, I also look at the accessories that come with it.
When you're spending hundreds of dollars on a cooler that is going to last you a lifetime, often you also want to get some accessories to make that cooler even better.
Yeti have a decent range of accessories (not as good as the Orca though) and you can get everything from seats, to cup holder to bottle openers and even fishing rod holders.
The Yukon on the other hand has just 2 accessories. A padded seat and a tie down kit. So if you want a cooler that you can accessorize over time then the Yukon isn't going to be the best cooler, unless you use aftermarket products.
One thing that I love about the Igloo Yukon is that it is made in the USA, while the Yeti is made primarily in the Phillipines (see more details).
So if you want something that is locally made then you have to go with the Yukon.
Both of these coolers offer a 5-Year warranty on their coolers, which I think is generous enough.
Some coolers offer lifetime warranties, while others have sorter warranty periods.
For most people, 5 years is going to be long enough to discover any defects in the product. Chances are it'll last you a lot longer than 5 years.
I'm going to be honest with you here. Originally I looked at the Yukon and thought “Just another sub-par roto-moulded cooler”…but then I saw the customer reviews.
The Igloo Yukon is one of the highest rated coolers with an average 4.5 star rating over 61 reviews (as I write this). Seeing this high customer rating as well as the positive things customers had to say about it changed my mind.
Check out this review by Steve Rishel:
I had a Yeti cooler and it did not keep ice as long as my old Igloo cooler They were about the same size. Same contents same amount of ice. Summer time inside
My camper shell Used 3-22lbs bags of ice a week in the Yeti. Compared to 2- 22 lbs in the Igloo It's cooler now 1-22 lb bag has lasted over 4 weeks . I am so glad I switched to a YUKON cooler.
And this one by Kiki:
Bought this for my husband as a medium sized cooler. We have a Yeti- which we thought was the best. This Yukon is better! The handles are molded in, makes it easier to carry. The locks- or opening tabs are easier to use than the Yeti. The water drainer is much larger- and easier to open on old hands! I highly recommend trying a Yukon.
The Yeti also have a 4.5 star rating and has a lot more reviews that the Yukon (600+ reviews) and there are loads of customers raving about the Yeti too.
But it's good to know that existing customers of both coolers overall have great things to say. This means you can buy with confident that you're getting a product you'll be happy with.
Igloo Yukon vs Yeti Conclusion – Which Cooler Is The Better Buy?
When I started this review I thought for sure the Yeti was going to be a better buy for most people. But after reviewing the features, the customer reviews and the pricing I would have to say that the Igloo Yukon is a better buy for most consumers.
Let me explain:
My Preferred Cooler: Igloo Yukon
The Igloo Yukon seems to perform just as well as the Yeti but for a fraction of the price. When you can save over $100 (in some cases on Amazon I saw a price difference of over $150) that's a huge incentive for people to go with a Yukon over a Yeti.
Add to that a similar warranty and the fact that Yukon coolers are made in the USA and the Yukon just seems like a better buy.
The Yukon coolers have those nice carry handles as well as the measuring tape on the lid and all in all they seem like really great performing coolers that I would be happy to recommend.
Why You Should Buy an Yeti Cooler Instead
Yeti coolers are great, I own one of them myself and absolutely love it.
Here are some reasons you might want to buy a Yeti instead of a Yukon.
Yeti's look nicer – Yeti's are the most beautiful cooler on the market, with a glossy plastic that looks premium. If looks matter to you I would recommend the Yeti.
The Yeti Brand – Yeti has a strong brand that is recognized by a lot of people. You may want to buy a Yeti for the brand and that's totally understandable.
Accessories – Most people won't accessorize their cooler, but it's nice to know that with Yeti you have the option to.
Size – Yeti coolers come in a wider variety of sizes and the rope handles tuck away so they coolers don't take up as much space as the Yukon.
So in summary, both coolers are great coolers that perform similarly to each other.
The design elements are different as are some of the features, but all in all they will do the same thing and you should be happy with either cooler
Both coolers are great, it’s now up to you to decide which cooler is best for you.
Click the links below to choose for yourself (my affiliate link, thanks). Igloo Yukon vs Yeti…which one will you choose?
Thanks for reading this review, and until next time, stay cool!