Yeti coolers have taken the market by storm. They started with a couple of guys in their shed and have grown to a company now worth billions of dollars.
People spend hundreds of dollars on Yeti coolers and just as much money on other Yeti products. But what is so special about a Yeti cooler?
Why do people pay so much money for a Yeti cooler and why is Yeti the most popular cooler brand?
What makes Yeti coolers so special is their ability to keep ice 5-7+ days, their extreme durability (they are super strong and bear proof), their high-quality finish and their brand value. While there are similar coolers out there nothing FEELS quite as special as a Yeti.
In this article we'll have a look in more detail about what makes Yeti coolers so special, why they are so popular and why (despite their cost) I still think they are one of the best value for money coolers out there.
Pioneers in Ice Retention
Yeti coolers were pioneers in ice retention. Back in 2006-2008 when Yeti was just beginning there were little to no coolers on the market that held ice for a long period of time.
Most coolers were cheap commodities in a race to the bottom with ever decreasing price and quality.
Yeti came out with a cooler completely different. It was 10 times the price of a regular cooler but it held ice significantly longer and was much more durable.
Yeti quickly grew a cult following in outdoors communities for their extremely high performance and how long they held ice.
When I did my ice test video with my Yeti 45 it kept ice a whopping 10+ days! This was unheard of at the time so Yeti gained a reputation as the best cooler on the market for holding ice.
Over time new entrants have come to the market with more insulation and other features that allow them to hold ice longer than a Yeti cooler. Yeti are no longer the best cooler for ice retention (the current winner of this category is Kong Coolers) they still hold ice for an extremely long period of time. Much longer than any regular cooler.
See my full list of the best coolers for ice retention (Yeti currently ranks #10 on the list)
Ultimate Durability (Bear Proof)
Yeti coolers are also know for their extreme durability.
Instead of creating a cheap blow molded cooler with a thin brittle exterior that is prone to cracking and breaking especially if dropped, Yeti made an almost indestructible cooler.
Yeti coolers uses a manufacturing process called roto-molding which gives it a strong, thicker shell and also impact resistant so you can throw it, drop it and even drive over it and it is unlikely to break.
And what says durable more than making your cooler BEAR PROOF! Yeti coolers are certified bear proof, something which almost all high-end coolers after Yeti have copied.
Yeti coolers are made to last a lifetime and they are backed by a 5 year warranty.
My Yeti 45 is now over 5 years old and it still works just as great as it did when I first bought it. Sure it's a bit dirtier and more skuffed than when it was brand new but it still looks great and still keeps ice just as long.
Now An Aspirational Brand
Asking the question “what is so special about Yeti coolers” is similar to asking the question “what is so special about Nike shoes, or Apple iPhones or Coca Cola's cola?”
Over time it becomes less and less about the differentiating factors of the product and more about the brand and the value that adds.
As new, better performing coolers started coming to the market Yeti focused less on keeping up with every minor cooler improvement and instead focused on making a desirable lifestyle brand.
While other companies are talking about thickness of insulation Yeti are making mini-documentaries on inspiring outdoors-people.
The Yeti brand is now associated with outdoors, adventure and living an amazing life. You want to “Just do it” so you buy Nike, you want to “think different” so you buy an Apple device, you want to explore the great outdoors and live a wild life so you buy a Yeti to help you do that.
It is now the brand and what Yeti represents that makes Yeti coolers and all their products so special.
When you're buying a Yeti you know you're going to get great quality. You know you'll get great ice retention and you know you'll get great durability.
You know Yeti overbuild their stuff and make them last. While Yeti might not be the cheapest product you know they make some of if not THE best products on the market.
You can buy a Yeti with 100% complete confidence in their quality. That's special and that's something worth paying extra for.
An Expensive Price
A lot of people complain about the price of a Yeti cooler, and don't get me wrong they are still one of the most expensive coolers on the market.
However, the expensive price of a Yeti is something that actually made them special.
Back in 2008 when they were the only brand around a cooler that cost hundreds of dollars was completely unheard of. It was something worth talking about.
Friends would justify their purchase telling each other how good the cooler was and why it was worth the money and it became an aspirational product to own and remains aspiration to this day.
The same way Gucci, Chanel and Louie Vuitton are known for their high prices and desired because of it Yeti are also known for their high prices and desired because of it.
Still The Best Quality Cooler
I own more coolers than I am proud to admit (perks of being The Cooler Guy I guess) and I have to admit Yeti coolers still FEEL the most premium.
It's hard to truly express this in an article or even in a video but the quality and attention to detail of a Yeti cooler is just better than any other cooler.
Their roto-molding is completely smooth with no obvious joins or marks, the colors and the finish of the plastic just feels more premium.
It sounds dumb to say buy a white Yeti cooler feels like an expensive white, while some other white roto-molded coolers feel cheap in comparison.
So Yeti coolers continue to feel like the most premium cooler and that feeling of having an amazing cooler definitely makes me feel special and I think it's a big part of what makes Yeti coolers so special.
So What Makes Yeti Coolers So Special?
As you can see it's a combination of things that goes together to make Yeti coolers so special and a one of a kind cooler.
Great ice retention performance mixed with premium quality and durability making it a cooler you're super proud to own.
And Yeti's superb branding makes you have a feeling and association with the brand and what they stand for which makes you love and enjoy your cooler even more.
While they are expensive, they are one of the best coolers on the market. I love Yeti and will continue to recommend them.
Even as new brands come out trying to replicate what Yeti has done none have seemed to be able to capture the magic of what it is to own a Yeti cooler. So well done Yeti and keep up the great work.