When comparing Orion coolers vs Yeti I found that Yeti coolers performed better, but Orion coolers are so badass that they just might be worth the cost.
Usually when comparing coolers to Yeti I need to justify why Yeti is worth the extra money. But Orion coolers are actually one of the few brands that are more expensive than Yeti.
So in this review we'll look at what makes Orion coolers unique from Yeti and whether or not they are worth the extra cost.
A Brief Overview of Orion Coolers vs Yeti
Yeti single-handedly created the premium roto-moulded cooler market back in 2006. Since then they have grown to be one of the profitable and well recognized cooler brands on the market.
Orion coolers were only introduced recently in 2015 and are actually created by Jackson Kayaks, which was founded in 2003.
As Yeti is the most popular roto-moulded cooler on the market, every cooler coming to market is trying to outdo Yeti in one way or another. Most coolers try to be cheaper than Yeti, but Orion have taken a different approach.
Here's the quick overview of Orion vs Yeti for those of you who don't want to read the entire article.
Orion coolers are more expensive than Yeti by around $50-$70, though the smaller 25-Quart size is significantly more expensive.
Yeti coolers are a better known brand, but Orion coolers have a lot of features that you need to purchase separately with other coolers.
Orion comes with bottle openers, non-slip rubber lid mat, dry rack with torch and a metal track for (almost) unlimited accessories. Yeti only comes with a dry rack and all other accessories must be bought separately.
Both coolers perform similarly in ice retention tests with no obvious difference in performance.
Yeti's design is smooth and simplistic, coming in 3 gloss plastic colors.
Orion's design is more earthy with camouflage and mixed color coolers.
Both coolers come with a 5 year warranty.
Orion coolers are made in the USA while most Yeti coolers are made overseas.
I'll leave my opinion as to which cooler is a better buy for the end of this article. But for now know that both coolers perform well and the Orion is more expensive but it comes with more premium features built in.
Ice Retention and Performance
When comparing two coolers like the Orion and the Yeti I always look first at the ice retention. Because if the cooler can't keep ice for a longer period of time then generally it isn't worth the expensive price tag.
I'm happy to say that both of these coolers perform extremely well in ice tests.
There aren't many ice tests comparing these two coolers online as the Orion cooler is fairly new (only released in 2015) but there are 2 quality ice tests that we can review.
One ice test (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0tQS4PxIpk) was done inside with the Orion 25 and the Yeti 35. Both coolers lasted almost 12 days!
In this review they show the yeti performing a tiny bit better, but you have to remember the Yeti 35 hold over 3-Quarts more ice, so it's not a completely fair comparions.
Another ice test was done outside in 90 degree heat and compared the Orion 45 vs Yeti 45 (only 37.8-Quart). It showed the Yeti holding ice for 6 days and the Orion holding ice for 6.25 days.
Again these coolers were different sizes so it's not a completely fair comparison.
Regardless, these 2 ice tests give me the complete confidence to say that these 2 coolers perform almost identical to each other with only some slight differences based on internal capacity.
This means that ice retention won't be a deciding factor and we'll have to look at the other things that makes Orion coolers different from Yeti.
Orion coolers have slightly more insulation than Yeti with around 2.5 inches of insulation all the way around. The Yeti, in comparison, has around 2 inches of insulation in the walls and around 2.5-3 inches in the lid.
When it comes to insulation, Orion may have slightly more insulation than Yeti but this doesn't seem to lead to better performance.
Orion are offering a premium cooler, with premium features, at a premium price.
Most of the Orion coolers are $50-$70 more than the comparable Yeti model with the exception of the smallest size (25) which is a whopping $160 more than the Yeti.
Given that Yeti is already considered the most expensive cooler in the industry, this make Orion one of (if not THE) most expensive roto-moulded cooler on the market.
But as you go through this review you'll begin to see that with all the features Orion packs into their coolers they actually seem to be better value than the Yeti.
Here are some things that come standard with Orion coolers that you would have to buy separately with a Yeti cooler:
- Bottle Openers – Yeti Cost: $19.99
- Non-slip rubber lid mat – Yeti Cost: $69.99
- Metal gear track for attachments – Cost: $10
- Free internal torch attached to dry rack – Cost: ~$9.99
- Total extra cost: ~$110
So as you can see Orion coolers come packed with approximately $110 worth of added extras, more than making up for the increase in price.
Design and Feel
These coolers are quite different when it comes to their design and feel.
Yeti design could best be described as sleek. It's minimalistic design combined with it's premium glossy finish and branding make it really stand out as the best designed cooler on the market.
If coolers were phones then Yeti would 100% be an iPhone.
You open the box and feel like “Wow, this is a really premium cooler” and extreme care has gone into the design and the feel of it.
Let's just say my wife likes the Yeti the best, and she's an interior designer. So it's got that sort of feel to it.
The Orion design is completely different. With it's mixed camo colors, rubber non-slip lid mat and the metal pieces (from the latches to the locks) this cooler is a gear junkie's wet dream!
It looks rough and tough, a true blue wilderness cooler.
While the Yeti feels so nice you almost wouldn't want to get a scratch or a mark on it, the Orion feels like it's designed to be thrown around.
I love the bold colors, all the metal pieces and the huge logo on the lid.
I think both coolers look awesome in completely different ways.
Sizes and Capacities
Both coolers have some pretty neat features, with Orion taking it to the extreme and providing more premium features than any other cooler on the market.
Both coolers are made from tough roto-moulded plastic which means they can withstand almost anything.
The stainless steel locking points on the Orion cooler double as bottle openers which is an awesome feature.
The Yeti has rubber pull down latches that lock the lid into place while the Orion has a rubber/metal latch that works using a cam system. Pull it down and then push the metal into place.
A nice thing about the Orion latches is they go completely flush with the cooler, meaning they'll never catch on anything.
Both coolers have nylon rope handles. The Yeti uses a firm rubber grip while the Orion uses a motobike handle grip which feels extremely sturdy and strong.
Both coolers are certified bear resistant, but you need to use 2 locks in the front corners for it to be bear resistant. Otherwise the bears can rip off the latches.
The Yeti lid is just plain plastic with a gritty non-slip surface. The Orion takes this further and has a rubber non-slip mat built into the lid.
This makes the Orion safer to stand on (eg. for casting off) and also makes it more comfortable to sit on.
Both coolers have a 1 inch drain plug which can either be completely removed or just turned partially to drain the cooler without removing.
Yeti's come in 3 colors – white, desert tan and ice blue. These 3 colors all look really nice with Yeti's glossy plastic finish.
Orion comes in 6 main colors – Most of which are a mixture of colors (with the exception of the stone color). They also have over 10 additional colors that you can order through their website, but there is a waiting period of up to a month if you go with a less popular color.
Orion vs Yeti – Which Is The Better Buy?
My Preferred Cooler Is: Yeti
Why You Should Buy An Orion Instead
Thanks for reading this review, and until next time, stay cool!