Yeti make great coolers, but they also make Yeti Ice which are well made but expensive ice packs.
You might be looking at these ice packs and wondering how does Yeti ice compare vs regular ice?
Does Yeti Ice last longer than regular ice? Is it worth the money? Well I've done a lot of research into this and here's what I found:
Yeti Ice is different to regular ice. It's designed to extend the life of regular ice by melting earlier and making the ice around it colder as it melts. It'll extend ice in your cooler by 0.5-1.5 days. People also use them as standalone ice packs.
So comparing Yeti Ice to regular ice is difficult because Yeti Ice is designed to be used WITH regular ice, not as a completely replacement for regular ice.
How Long Does Yeti Ice Last? How Does That Compare To Regular Ice?
When used in a good cooler with regular ice you can expect your Yeti ice to last between 2-4 days and should extend the life of your ice by 0.5-1.5 days. Larger Yeti Ice bricks last longer than smaller ones.
Yeti Ice does not last as long as regular ice. This is because it is designed to melt earlier than regular ice, making the regular ice around it colder in the process.
So when comparing Yeti Ice to regular ice and if you're only going to be using one option by itself then regular ice will stay frozen longer than Yeti Ice.
However in saying that Yeti Ice is frozen into large blocks and so it may actually outperform the same quantity of loose ice because of it's form factor. When thinking about how to keep ice longer in your cooler single larger blocks of ice tend to outperform the same quantity of ice that is split into smaller blocks.
When using Yeti Ice by itself in a cooler you can expect it to last 0.5-2 days in a lunchbox or small Yeti Hopper. The larger the size and the larger quantity of Yeti Ice you use in a cooler plays a big role on how long that ice will last.
I discovered when creating my epic in-depth post on the best coolers for ice retention that putting a little bit of ice in a big empty cooler means the ice will melt really quickly compared to that same amount of ice in a smaller cooler.
So you want the amount of Yeti Ice you use to be proportional to the cooler you're using it in.
How Does Yeti Ice Work?
How exactly does Yeti Ice work to keep ice frozen for longer and how should you best use it to get the ultimate effect?
The way Yeti Ice works is pretty simple but also pretty genius.
Yeti Ice is designed to melt at an early temperature than regular ice. But as it turns from a solid to a liquid it needs energy to make this change. So as it melts it draws energy (in the form of heat) from the surrounding ice making that ice colder in the process.
So a Yeti Ice brick will extinguish it's cold power (so to speak) earlier than regular ice but in the process it'll make regular ice colder and thus help it stay frozen for longer.
How To Use Yeti Ice
Yeti Ice is designed to be used with regular ice, so how you use it matters if you want your ice to stay frozen as long as possible.
To use Yeti Ice either place it on the bottom of your cooler before your ice or near the top of your cooler with a layer of ice both on the top and bottom of it. You want the Yeti Ice to be completely covered with regular ice.
When Yeti Ice is completely covered with regular ice you'll get the maximum benefit from it. As the Yeti Ice melts it'll make the ice around it colder. I covered this in more detail in my article on if you should put ice packs on the top or bottom of your cooler.
This is why a lot of people will find that regular ice will form a solid block around the Yeti Ice. The Yeti Ice will refreeze ice that has just melted.
Once your Yeti Ice is completely liquid inside and there is no longer any ice stuck to it you can remove it from your cooler and just leave in the regular ice.
Alternatively you can use Yeti Ice by itself in a smaller cooler to simply keep your lunch or a few items cold.
For example, the 2 pound Yeti ice brick fits perfectly in the bottom of the Yeti DayTrip lunch bag.
You can either put the ice on the bottom of the bag to keep some items cold and other items (like sandwiches) not so cold, or you can place it closer to the middle so it's touching all your items and makes them all cold.
Yeti Ice bricks work fine by themselves and still last 0.5-2 days by themselves. The bigger ice bricks and the more you use will cause the Yeti Ice to last longer.
Does Yeti Ice Freeze Colder Than Regular Ice?
While you might see some people online saying that Yeti Ice or other ice packs “freeze colder” than regular ice this isn't actually true.
While it's true that Yeti Ice stays a liquid until a colder temperature than regular ice this doesn't mean that if put in the same freezer Yeti Ice will be colder than regular ice.
Say you put room temperature Yeti Ice and room temperature water in a freezer. Now a freezer is usually set to 0ºF (-18ºC).
As water lowers in temperature it will start to turn into a solid at 30ºF (0ºC) whereas Yeti Ice will still be a liquid at this temperature.
As you get to 28-24ºF (-2 to -4ºC) the Yeti Ice will now start to turn into a solid.
Then the freezer will eventually lower both the Yeti Ice and Regular Ice to 0ºF (-18ºC) and both will be the same “coldness”.
What Do People Say About Yeti Ice?
The customer reviews to Yeti Ice are overwhelmingly positive. At the time of writing they have a 4.7 star rating on Yeti's website and a very similar star rating on Amazon.
I've gone through and looked at a bunch of the positive as well as the negative reviews to see what people thought about it. Here's some positive comments I thought were interesting
stays cold much longer than originally expected!!!
Great Product – Works better than expected stays frozen for days
This ice is by far the best ice block ever purchased. This is best used at the bottom of the cooler with some traditional ice on top – it will end up molding traditional ice to create a large ice block which lasts 72 hrs. I would highly recommend this product.
And here's some not so positive feedback:
I love yeti coolers and drink containers but, to be honest, this ice pack is nothing special. Overpriced for something that performs like a regular lower priced ice pack that you can get at a retail store.
Same as a regular ice pack, actually the one I got for free in a breast milk cooler lasted longer
Cheaper ice packs work just as good. Nothing special
What Makes Yeti Ice Unique Compared To Other Ice Packs?
When making a direct comparison between Yeti Ice packs and other ice packs it's difficult to find anything that makes Yeti Ice truly unique.
Ice packs rarely if ever say what's in them in and Yeti Ice is no different. So you don't know what chemicals they use though you can read my article on are ice packs toxic to learn
Really Yeti Ice is extremely similar to any other ice pack that is designed to melt at 28ºF (-2ºC). The only major differences are in the design and branding of the ice brick.
Yeti Ice packs are made to have a hole in them which not only makes them easy to grab but also means they freeze faster in the freezer and there is more surface area to help keep ice frozen in your cooler.
Other ice packs achieve a similar outcome by being super thin, but Yeti Ice packs are thicker than most other brands.
Yeti Ice packs also come in larger sizes than most other brands. The 4 lb ice pack is one of the largest ice packs on the market. Meaning you don't need lots of little ice packs to achieve the same result. It's just easier.
Lastly, when buying a Yeti Ice pack you know you're getting a durable product because Yeti makes everything super durable. So there is the brand confidence as well as the fact that Yeti Ice is designed to fit really well into Yeti coolers. So if you have a Yeti cooler they are a great companion accessory.
Alternatives To Yeti Ice
If you don't think the Yeti Ice is for you, or you want to save yourself a bit of money then there are a bunch of different alternatives to the Yeti Ice out there that also work great.
Better Performance: Engel Ice
I haven't seen many ice tests putting ice packs heat to head against each other but on the one I did see the Engel Ice 20's outperformed the Yeti Ice.
The Engel 20's are designed to melt at 20ºF (-.6.7ºC) which is even earlier than the Yeti Ice.
There are also the Engel 32's which melt at the same temperature as water. Engel 20's are best used in conjunction with regular ice while Engel 32's are better if you're just looking for an ice pack to use by itself. See my Engel 32 vs Engel 20 article to choose which one best suits you.
Both of these are great ice packs. They are a similar price to Yeti but work just as well if not better.
Customers Love: Cooler Shock Hard Packs
Cooler Shock hard packs are designed to be super thin so they freeze really quickly.
They are built tough with the same plastic used to make Yeti Ice and they get delivered to you empty with powder inside. You just fill them up with water, shake and you're good to go.
The positive reviews on this product are actually mind blowing. People can't say good enough things about these ice packs. I expect that passion towards other products, but not ice packs. So they must be doing something right.
They come with a 1 year warranty if you have any issues and they are well priced.
Budget Option: TOURIT Ice Packs
If you're looking to save some money the the TOURIT Ice Packs are much cheaper than the Yeti Ice and are a good budget option.
You basically get 4 ice packs for the price of 1 when you compare them to the price of Yeti Ice.
People seem to like them and they have positive reviews. They aren't anything fancy but they do the job and they don't leak or break.