RTIC vs. Yeti cooler

Coolers

While both RTIC and YETI claim that ice can last up to 10 days in their coolers, these conditions are under ideal circumstances. The cooler is filled with ice, kept indoors and never opened. In a real-world situation, ice may last three or four days, depending on several variables.

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Should you buy an RTIC cooler or a Yeti cooler?

A budget cooler is great for saving you money but not successfully keeping your food and drinks cold. On a hot day, a low-end cooler might not even last for the duration of your event. That is why high-end coolers that keep ice frozen for days have become so popular.

Two of the top brands are RTIC and YETI. But which one is best? The answer to that depends on how important the budget is. Both coolers are uncannily similar in construction, features and performance. So similar that YETI filed a series of lawsuits against RTIC for trademark infringement. However, because of the company’s direct-to-consumer business model, RTIC is available at a price considerably less than YETI.

RTIC coolers

RTIC was founded in 2015 by two brothers who lived in Texas. Their goal was to create rugged outdoor gear that was overbuilt but not overpriced. They accomplished this by having the manufacturing done in China and utilizing a direct-to-consumer business model that reduces expenses. On the downside, bypassing the dealer means it may take longer to get service if you have a problem with your cooler.

RTIC is primarily considered “overbuilt” because the coolers use a process called rotomolding. With rotomolding, a massive machine holds a mold filled with powder. The machine begins rotating in two directions while placed in a large oven. This process ensures consistent wall thickness and strong outside corners, making a product that the company claims is tough enough to withstand mishandling by a grizzly bear. 

As far as pricing, if you buy direct from RTIC, the coolers range from $140 for a smaller 20-quart cooler to $160 for a 100-quart cooler. If you purchase an RTIC cooler through a retailer, however, you will be paying more.

What you’ll love about RTIC coolers

  • If purchased directly through RTIC, the company’s coolers are priced considerably lower than YETI coolers.
  • The RTIC T-latch is not as rigid as the YETI T-latch, making them easier to close.
  • RTIC coolers handles are a little longer than YETI handles, making them slightly easier for most individuals to carry.
  • RTIC coolers are larger when compared to comparable YETI coolers.
  • RTIC coolers feature impressive cold retention that keeps ice frozen for days, a rugged build, a drain, padlock holes, molded handles, a gasket for better sealing, built-in tie-down slots and a non-skid bottom.

What you should consider about RTIC coolers

  • Without the benefit of a local dealer, it may take significantly longer for service.
  • The warranty is only for one year.
  • YETI initially sued RTIC for trademark infringement.

Top RTIC coolers

RTIC Hard Cooler

RTIC Hard Cooler

This model comes in three sizes, including 20-quart, 45-quart and 65-quart. It has no-fail hinges, heavy-duty T-latches and a no-sweat exterior. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Shop NowRTIC Ultra-Light Cooler

RTIC Ultra-Light Cooler

This specially designed cooler has all the same features as the classic RTIC hard cooler. It weighs 30% less, making it easier for transport.

Where to buy: Sold by RTIC

Shop Now

Yeti coolers

YETI was founded in 2006 by two brothers who lived in Texas. Their goal was “to build the cooler we’d use every day if it existed.” The company uses the same rotomolding process as RTIC to ensure a rugged build. These coolers are manufactured in Iowa, Wisconsin and the Philippines, not China. Additionally, YETI coolers are IGBC-certified to be bear-resistant.

YETI coolers range from $200 for the Roadie 24 hard cooler to $1,300 for the Tundra 350 hard cooler.

What you’ll love about Yeti coolers

  • YETI coolers have a 5-year warranty.
  • The handles on the YETI cooler feel better in your hand.
  • YETI coolers meet the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee standards for bear-resistant containers.
  • Owning a YETI cooler is a status symbol.
  • YETI coolers have a larger variety of designs and a wider selection of accessories available for purchase.
  • RTIC coolers feature impressive cold retention that keeps ice frozen for days, a rugged build, a drain, padlock holes, molded handles, a gasket for better sealing, built-in tie-down slots and a non-skid bottom.

What you should consider about Yeti coolers

  • YETI coolers cost considerably more than RTIC coolers.
  • YETI coolers are smaller than comparable RTIC coolers.
  • Customers report the company’s coolers will leak when tilted.

Best Yeti coolers

YETI Tundra 65 Cooler

YETI Tundra 65 Cooler

This large-sized cooler is 30 1/2 inches long by 17 1/2 inches wide by 16 inches high. It comes with a dry goods basket and is certified bear-resistant. The extra-thick wall design holds up to two inches of insulation to keep your beverages and food cold longer.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Shop NowYETI Tundra 35 Cooler

YETI Tundra 35 Cooler

If you are looking for a smaller or more affordable YETI cooler, the Tundra 35 is a solid option. This cooler has a carrying capacity of up to 20 cans and only weighs 20 pounds when empty, but it still has the same features as the larger YETI coolers.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Shop NowYETI Tundra Haul Portable Wheeled Cooler

YETI Tundra Haul Portable Wheeled Cooler

This is the perfect model for the individual who would rather roll their YETI cooler than carry it. It is the first model from the company to feature wheels. It has a durable welded aluminum arm with an ergonomic grip and the never-flat wheels help you navigate a wide variety of terrains.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Shop Now

Should you get an RTIC cooler or a Yeti cooler?

Since construction, features and performance are so similar, both brands offer consumers a high-quality product. If you are not concerned with budget and are interested in the original brand, an option with status and is easy to purchase at various retailers, YETI is the brand for you. If you want the best price and prefer to purchase directly from the manufacturer, RTIC is the cooler you’ll want to get.

 

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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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