Choosing the Best YETI Cooler of 2020
Wondering which YETI cooler to buy? You’re not alone. Many folks struggle with the decision, mostly because there are so many different options. Most folks end up loving the YETI cooler they go with, but you do want to make sure you pick the right one. We’ve got our top 3 picks of YETI hard and soft coolers right here for you, but there’s a more further down, plus in-depth details on each one.
#2 Best Hard Cooler
#3 Best Soft Cooler
|YETI Haul||YETI Tundra 65||YETI Hopper Flip|
|CHECK PRICE ONLINE||CHECK PRICE ONLINE||CHECK PRICE ONLINE|
The Best YETI Coolers of 2020
1. YETI Haul
|Virtually indestructible rotomolded design and thick insulation|
|Solid, single piece never-flat wheels|
|Ice lasts for 7+ days, keeps food cold|
|Fits 45 cans with 2:1 ratio of ice to cans|
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The single most heard complaint regarding even the best YETI coolers: the weight of them. The thick, durable plastic and two inches of insulation is the only way to get the incredible ice life and durability that you expect from any cooler YETI makes, but it comes with a cost: it’s super heavy. Even their smallest cooler is 15lbs when empty. So, YETI produced the Haul – the first wheeled cooler, and in our opinion, it’s the best YETI cooler, for that exact reason. It’s not quite as big as the other hard cooler line, like the YETI Tundra 65, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in portability. Plus, it will still hold 45 cans, with ice, so you’re not even sacrificing much space at all. The ice in a YETI cooler will last you a long time, more than 7 days! With all that ice, if you’ve ever carried held a YETI with all the ice, cans and food in it, you’ll know that they are not light. This makes it perfect for a trip to the beach, an overnight camping trip, and more. Having the wheels takes the only downside of a YETI and leaves it in the dust. Of all the YETI coolers on the list, this is the best one you could spend your money on.
2. YETI Tundra 65
|2″ PermaFrost insulation, dry goods basket included|
|Superior build quality and materials|
|Expect 7+ days of ice retention|
|Will hold 42 cans with 2:1 ratio of ice to cans|
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If you’re worried that the Haul Yeti Cooler may be a bit small, YETI makes very similar larger products of hard cooler, the Tundra line. The only difference between the Tundra and Haul? No wheels and pull handle, the same rotomolded durable design and incredible ice retention, and 8lbs lighter. YETI makes the Tundra in many different sizes, but the Tundra 65 is our pick for best hard cooler due to its versatile size. Odds are, your old Coleman or Igloo cooler is somewhere between 50 and 70 quarts, so the 65qt YETI falls right in that great multi-use size range. It’s large enough for a multi-night camping trip, beers at the beach, or even as a marine cooler for a fishing trip. Like any other YETI cooler, the lice will last a very long time, up to 10 days in some cases! This is one of the best YETI coolers you can grab if you need the larger size. It’s also available in 5 different colors, while white is usually the best performing, the coral is our personal favorite, if you can find it in stock.
3. YETI Hopper Flip
|Closed cell foam insulation|
|Waterproof, UV, mildew, puncture resistant|
|Keeps drinks and food cold all day|
|Will hold 6 cans plus ice|
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While YETI is known for its large, rotomolded hard coolers, they’ve brought the same thoughtful design and quality manufacturing to their soft coolers. YETI has taken a few stabs at designing the perfect soft cooler – The Hopper, Hopper 2 and Hopper M30 – but the Hopper Flip is the one that meets all the requirements. It’s made of durable, FDA approved materials, providing a puncture resistant and waterproof barrier. Soft coolers such as this YETI cooler have a few features that make them more desirable than the hard ones: It’s comfortable to carry, and a great size for a day trip – fitting 6 cans, with ice. Ice doesn’t lasts a long time, not quite as long as the hard coolers, though that’s to be expected. The reason we like this YETI cooler so much is that the lid flips open for easy access, while staying small and portable. It’s an awesome cooler for a trip to the beach, for lunches or smaller trips like fly fishing.
4. YETI Roadie 20
|2″ insulation with ColdLock Gasket|
|Built with quality rubber, stainless steel|
|Ice retention 7+ days|
|Fits 16 cans plus ice|
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The YETI Roadie 20 is arguably YETI’s most identifiable cooler that they make. The Roadie is also a perfect size for day trips and beach days (and roadtrips, obviously). While it doesn’t have a handy shoulder strap, the foam wrapped metal handle makes it easy to lug around. The 2″ thick insulation gives you much better perfomance than a soft cooler, giving you – literally – days of ice. If you spend all morning, and afternoon at the beach or on the boat with hot sun beating down on your cooler you will want a cooler like this rather than a soft cooler. There’s nothing worse than warm beers or sodas and this YETI Roadie will ensure you never have that problem. It will be a bit heavier than a soft cooler, mostly because of the thick insulation so that’s the trade-off you have to live with. It’s also much larger, fitting 16 cans. This is an awesome YETI cooler that you won’t be disappointed with. We find the best price is usually online since you avoid the retail mark-up, and check out the new Seafoam color!
5. YETI Hopper M30
|New, improved design from Original YETI Hopper|
|Magnetic, leakproof closure (no zipper to break)|
|Durable, puncture proof interior and exterior|
|7.2 gallon capacity can hold 20 cans|
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If you ever owned any previous version of the YETI Hopper soft cooler, you’ll probably know the issues they had. The zippers failed often, and the opening to the cooler was poorly designed, only allowing part of the cooler to open fully. The M30, the third generation of their soft coolers, avoids the issues from the first two versions. The cooler now opens from end to end, and instead of a zipper that can fail over time, the cooler uses strong magnets, plus a quick fold and snap buckles to produce an easy to access, leak proof closure. The insulated walls aren’t thick and inflexible like the boxier Flip (#3 spot above), which makes it much easier to stow away in your car or under the stairs when it’s empty and not in use. You can likely imagine carrying boxy soft coolers such as the Flip with a shoulder strap and have the sides bump your legs on every step? The non-boxy shape of the M30 makes it a soft cooler that’s extremely comfortable to carry making it ideal for hikes, the beach and boat days. It’s also much larger than the Flip, fitting 20 cans. So if you want a soft-sided cooler and something larger, this is one of the best YETI coolers you can get your hands on. Of course, if you don’t think the issues from the previous soft cooler products will phase you, they’ll likely be available for a bit cheaper.
5. YETI Backflip
|Ultra portable design|
|Like a Hopper Flip but twice the capacity|
|Durable quality materials, interior and exterior|
|Holds 20 cans, with 2:1 ice:can ratio|
|CHECK PRICE ONLINE|
The next best YETI you can grab is the new Backflip. It’s essentially the Hopper Flip (#3 on the list) but 2.5x the size, and in backpack form. Instead of 6 cans, this one fits 20 – with a 2:1 ratio. It’s got the same easy-access flip up zipper, durable materials (in and out) but with more capacity and a more comfortable carrying method. The straps are easily adjustable for any person to carry. It’ll keep your food cold, drinks frosty, and still have room for your personal belongings. It’s a great YETI cooler for the beach since your hands can be free for your towel, umbrella and whatever else you need. This will be your go-to portable cooler, without a doubt.
6. YETI Tundra 45
|Convenient size with great performance|
|Quality built, durable, premium materials|
|Great retention, stays frozen 7+ days|
|Good balance of useful capacity and light weight|
|Holds 14 cans, with 2:1 ratio|
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The last YETI cooler on our list is the Tundra 45. It’s the second-smallest Tundra (aside from the 35), making it a super convenient size for a small cooler. It’s got enough room for 14 cans with a 2:1 ratio. What’s nice about these coolers is that they’re easy to store, easy to carry (only 15lbs) and will keep everything cold all the while. If you’re camping for longer than one night, you may want to consider a larger cooler, but this is one of the best YETI coolers you can get if you need a smaller thing to keep everything cold.
Other YETI Coolers to Consider
If none of the YETI coolers on this list was a size that you need, there are a couple different options you can choose from. The largest on our list is the 65qt, but after that, they make hard coolers in 75qt, 105qt, 110qt, 125qt, 160qt, 210qt, 250qt, and even a 350qt. The largest hard coolers are made for the hardcore hunters and fishers, although some food vendors also use these larger products. It’s great to have that large capacity, but remember they get heavier as they get bigger.
How did we choose the Best Yeti Coolers?
YETI has been at the forefront of this roto-molded cooler movement for almost 15 years, after being founded by two brothers. And since then, they’ve been hard at work producing large, quality insulated hard and soft coolers, but also improving on them. They listened to the design flaws of their Tundra and Hopper products, to make the Haul and M30 arguably the best YETI coolers you can buy. They’ve also been hard at work protecting their designs from copycats, and have more than a few lawsuits ongoing and some resolved. These competitors are attempting to offer the same quality of product at a lower price, since YETI coolers are a little on the price side. In order to choose the 6 best YETI coolers on this list, we thoroughly reviewed each cooler in several categories, which we break down in more detail next.
Materials & Manufacturing
The method by which these coolers are produced is called rotational molding, or roto-molding. Roto-molding is a process whereby a liquid plastic polymer is fed into a rotating hollow mold. The plastic cools slightly, then more molten plastic as added, all while the mold is spinning. This process produces thick, uniform walls without any seams required to glue or otherwise attach together. In the case of these ice chests, the plastic is fed over top of thick insulation, producing a thick-walled cooler with no seams. The insulation that is used in the walls is a pressure injected commercial-grade polyurethane foam that retains the cold extremely well.
Having a cooler that doesn’t have seams greatly increases its lifespan and durability. Your old Coleman or Igloo coolers likely are manufactured using multiple pieces, glued together. If you use your cooler on a boat, water can seep in between the seams and slowly degrade the tight seal. Any seam will also allow for heat to make contact with the insulation, warming up the inside of your cooler more quickly. Having the entire tub and lid being encompassed in a single piece of material means you get a durable container that retains its temperature more effectively. It’s definitely a “buy it for life” type product.
Key Design Features
These YETI coolers aren’t just like the cooler you have sitting in your garage. And these coolers have some awesome and well thought out features. So awesome in fact, they are the reason they have had to file lawsuits against competitors to protect their designs. Here’s a few of our favourite features:
Very thick, and heavy duty insulated cooler walls to keep your things cold (or hot). Ice lasts up to 7 days or more in the YETI and that’s not an exaggeration. The insulation works both ways and should you need to keep some hot food in there for a pot luck or party, you can count on it to do so.
The T-shaped latches on the coolers are made of very thick, heavy duty rubber. The fit is so tight that you can’t just push the latches into place with your palm, you need to actually pull down fairly hard on the latch and then lock it into place.
The cooler sits on (somehow trademarked) rubber feet, that prevents any slipping around. This is especially great if you use the cooler in a boat, as it will keep it in place even if the floor gets wet. The feet also allow air to pass underneath the cooler, preventing any ambient heat from the ground or floor warming up the insulation.
Military-grade polyester ropes function as the handles for the boxes, that are securely mounted to the box. You don’t have to worry about those cheap-o plastic handles that always get loose and fall off.
Two slots mounted on the rim of the tub functionas anchor points for tie-downs, which are great to secure the icebox to your boat, trailer or truck bed.
The thick rubber gasket helps produce a tight seal that locks in cold, and keeps in any odors that wildlife may be attracted to. The interlocking hinge won’t fall apart like other cheaper cooler models.
A rugged, leak-proof spout drains water in a vortex which quickly drains any excess liquid.
When you lock the icebox with a padlock in the designated slot in the corner, it becomes IGBC-certified bear-proof. It also keeps your beer and food safe from people!
A small wire frame basket is also included in most models (excluding the Roadie) to help maintain some organization and keep certain goods dry.
Clearly, these iceboxes have a great design, but how do they actually perform? Is it all just marketing? There’s obviously no point in having a great looking product if they don’t keep your ice solid and your beer and food cold.
It’s hard to declare an exact number of days it will keep, since there are many different factors that will affect the performance of your cooler, such as:
– What type you use: large blocks will last longer than smaller cubes (a combination of the two is a great way to extend the life of your ice)
– What temperature it is outside: your cooler just won’t perform the same way it does in summer as it does in winter
– How often you open the lid: every time you open the lid you let in warm air, so if you can refrain from opening the lid as much as possible, you can keep the ice much longer
– Whether or not you pre-cool: using a “sacrificial” bag is recommended with roto-molded coolers. Because the insulation is so good at keeping things cold, it also keeps things hot well. For the best performance it’s recommended you cool ahead of time by filling it with ice, as well as storing the icebox in a cool space like a shed or the basement.
All of these various factors aside, the YETI coolers are very good at staying cold. You can definitely count on it to keep frozen through an entire weekend, and if you’re good at keeping it closed, it can certainly stay cold for up to a week.
The Seven Day Ice Test:
In the above video, using the 75 quart model, they were able to keep the cooler ice-cold for 7 days (with some significant melting). But again, how long it lasts will depend on how and where you use yours.
Picking a Size
There are several different colours and sizes of cooler available. They are available in 5 colours: classic white, desert tan, and blue. They also come in sizes ranging from 20 quarts – perfect for short trips – all the way up to 350 quarts, most typically used by fishermen or in some cases hunters. Regardless of how and how often you will be using it, there will be a perfect size for you.
Unlike RTIC coolers, one of YETI’s main competitors, which provides only a 30-day return policy, YETI offers an impressive warranty. Not only do they offer a 30-day satisfaction guaranteed return policy, but an additional 60-day exchange policy.
They also provide a 5-year limited warranty for any defects in workmanship, materials or manufacturing. Keep in mind if they deem your issue as normal wear and tear or from improper use, you may not be eligible for warranty. You can check out more information on their website.
While these iceboxes are clearly industry leaders, they do have a few drawbacks.
For one, they are quite heavy, even when empty. The smallest model, the 20 quart “Roadie, weighs 15 lbs when empty. The 50 quart size, a common size for weekend camping trips and beach days weighs 26 lbs when empty. The heavy weight is due to the thick insulation and plastic walls and lid, and is the trade-off you have to put up with to get such a heavy-duty and durable container.
In addition to being heavy, they do not have wheels – unless you get the YETI Haul. Keep in mind that if you are going to be lugging the chest around far distances when full of beer, food and ice, it’s going to be a bit of a workout. We definitely advise against dragging it since it will eventually wear through the base of the tub, so make sure you can lift the cooler once full, or plan to leave it in your vehicle. Otherwise, you’re going to want to consider the Haul.
While YETI is considered the original roto-molded cooler, they come with a fairly steep price tag. Of course with all the great features, quality and warranty, it should last you years, but they can be a bit pricey. If you need a cooler just for the occasional short trip, it may be worth getting something cheaper. If you’re going to be regularly using it, for weekend or week-long trips, parties, camping, fishing and hunting, it will be worth the investment.
Lastly, although these iceboxes are designed in Austin Texas, and used to be manufactured there, they are now made in China. With the change of location YETI hasn’t lowered their prices, so we expect they’re making a pretty penny off of their high prices. It’s probably necessary to fund all of their lawsuits… Yes, they are more expensive than their competitors, but you are paying for great quality materials and a great warranty from this trusted brand.
One Of Our Top Cooler Reviews
Check out more cooler reviews here to see what models come close to taking on YETI, and which fall short. While they are one of the best reviewed models, there are a few brands that compete with unique features and discounted pricing. Check out the guide, it’s worth a look before you pull the trigger.
The Bottom Line
So, which YETI is worth your money?
Well, it depends what you’re going to be using it for. If you need something for day trips to the beach with your family, a YETI haul is probably one of the best coolers you could get for all uses. Do you need an ice chest to keep meat cold on the trip home from hunting, or on the boat for keeping your fish chilled while on the water? You’ll probably want to consider a larger model, like either two: the Tundra 75 quart or even 105 quart. Regardless, we know you’ll be happy with whichever one you choose.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What Cooler is better than a YETI?
A: While no other cooler like YETI on the market that quite compares in terms of performance and durability, the other cooler we recommend you check out is ORCA, as they’ve got some unique feautures that YETIs lack.
Q: Which cooler keeps ice the longest?
A: YETI coolers keep ice the longest in our experience. Followed by ORCA, Pelican, Grizzly and RTIC.
Q: What is the best YETI cooler to buy?
A: In our opinion, the YETI Haul is the best YETI cooler you can buy. It’s got the same performance and materials, but with wheels making it easy to transport. It’s undoubtedly the best cooler for the money.
Q: Where are they Made?
A: Although originally manufactured in the USA, YETI coolers are now made in China. Their marketing states that the product is “designed in Austin Texas, made in China.”
Q: So why are they so expensive?
A: A few reasons. Roto-molding is an expensive process, but since they manufacture in China, a good chunk of what you are paying for is their marketing. That said, YETI is a trusted brand, and considered the original roto-molded cooler. The materials they use are good quality and, their warranty is one of the best.
Q: Is there a cheaper alternative?
A: There are other brands that produce roto-molded coolers at a lower price such as RTIC, if you are shopping on a budget, check them out.