YETI coolers are extremely popular and widely considered an industry standard as far as quality and cooling abilities go. They keep your food and drinks ice cold for exceptionally long stretches of time (sometimes up to 10 days if properly pre-chilled) and they're virtually indestructible. That said, they also come with a hefty price tag. And while this price is well worth it if you can afford one (I've tried them myself and they're indeed amazing), the best YETI cooler alternatives offer many similar features, like thick insulation,
for a fraction of the price.
Before you jump ahead to my picks below, it's helpful to know a little bit about how YETI technology works. There are several things that set
YETI coolers apart, the biggest being their roto-molded designs. This type of construction, which is a hallmark of all of YETI hard-shell coolers, uses one thick wall of continuous plastic, which prevents cracks so cold air can't seep out. For this roundup, I made sure that all of the hard-shell models include at least one roto-molded alternative. I also looked for options with thick walls and strong, rubber latches — two other hallmarks of YETI coolers. And if you're looking for a YETI soft cooler alternative, I've included a couple of great dupes that boast thick insulation and rugged shells.
If you're in the market for a high-quality cooler but you're not ready to make the big ticket investment, check out the best YETI cooler alternatives below.
The Best YETI Tundra Haul Wheeled Cooler Alternatives 1. Blue Coolers Ice Vault Capacity: 60 quarts Money saved: $80 What's great about it: This Blue Coolers ice chest is truly one of the best coolers with wheels that you can find. Like the YETI Tundra, it boasts strong roto-molded construction that locks in the cold air and prevents the warm air outside from penetrating. It has two convenient wheels that roll smoothly and won't puncture or break easily. It's a bit bigger than the Tundra yet it costs less, and it also comes with cool bonus features like built-in bottle openers and a rapid drain valve. The sturdy handles are removable and easy to hold and it has high-quality rubber latches, along with nonslip feet. One reviewer wrote: "I always wanted a cooler that performed like a yeti, but couldn't bring myself to pay that much for a cooler. I got the blue cooler this spring and used it side by side with my dad's Yeti all summer and have loved the product, it's the same quality for less money. I really like the built in bottle opener and the blue color is unique and awesome. Way to go blue coolers!" 2. Igloo Ice Cube Roller Cooler Capacity: 60 quarts Money saved: $335 What's great about it: This basic wheeled ice chest isn't one of the higher-end, roto-molded coolers that will keep your items cold for a week straight. However, if you're simply looking for a durable, well-built cooler that does its job without costing a fortune, it's a fantastic pick. The insulated body is capable of keeping beverages cold for several days, according to reviewers, and the smooth scoop handles make it easy to pick up. The wheels are sturdy and the telescoping handles function like that of a suitcase, so you can roll it around with ease. It's not bear-proof like the YETI, so keep that in mind if you're camping in bear country. Other than that, however, it offers many notable features at a fraction of the price. One reviewer wrote: "Good portable size, cup holders in top are a nice touch. I wont keep ice for a week like a kysek or yeti but it also costs a lot less!" The Best YETI Tundra 45 Alternatives 1. RTIC 45 Cooler Capacity: 45 quarts Money saved: $75 What's great about it: RTIC is a brand that specializes in making coolers that are like YETI but cheaper. Their 45-quart option is a wonderful, well-built cooler that's more than capable of keeping food and drinks cold for seven to eight days, according to fans (which is a similar timeframe to the YETI Tundra 45). The tough, bear-proof cooler is exceptionally durable, with 3-inch insulated walls and a fully roto-molded design. It has smooth side handles that lift up and down, rugged T-latches, and a premium freezer-grade gasket. One reviewer wrote: "I tested this cooler against my Yeti 65. Both held ice in them for over 8 days with no issues. I do like that this cooler has two drain plugs instead of just 1 like the yeti. Very high quality product for the price, would buy again." 2. Igloo BMX 52 Cooler Capacity: 52 quarts Money saved: $183 What's great about it: While not as fancy as the YETI Tundra 45 or the RTIC, this well-made mid-range cooler offers a fantastic alternative. In fact, some might say that it's the best non-roto-molded cooler out there. It's constructed with heavy-duty walls and insulation capable of keeping ice chilled for an impressive four to five days, even at outside temperatures of 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The rubberized T-grip latches seal in the cold air, along with the freshness of your food, and the swinging handles have sturdy stainless steel reinforcements. It boasts a fish ruler and tie-down loops and, as a bonus, it's considerably more lightweight than the first two options, making it easier to haul around. One reviewer wrote: "I didn't like the Yeti coolers because they were large and heavy but had smaller interiors. I wanted their same latch capabilities. I didn't expect this cooler to work as well, but as long as it was close, I would be happy. I went on a weekend camping trip with this cooler and my friends all brought their Yeti's. This was a true test since all coolers were put through the same weekend with 90 degree weather. I was happy that this cooler retained ice just as well as the Yeti's." 3. DEWALT Roto Molded Ice Chest Capacity: 25 quarts Money saved: $165 What's great about it: This roto molded ice chest is a great option if you want the cooling power and durability of a YETI cooler, but don’t need wheels or a super large capacity. The lid locks securely closed with two latches, and there’s a removable carrying handle with an integrated bottle opener. The inner lid has space to store extra ice packs, while the top of the lid features two standard cup holders. This ice chest has nonslip feet on the bottom so it won’t slide around. This cooler will keep your ice cold for days, making it a great choice for fishing or car camping, and it also comes in both smaller- and larger-capacity sizes. One reviewer wrote: "Love the built in bottle opener and Easy-open lid latches provide secure rubber gasket closure. Plenty of room for bottle beverages, & food. The perfect day trip cooler. Sturdy construction and keeps ice longer like a YETI. This 25 QT is way more affordable than the 20 QT YETI. Highly recommend.” The Best YETI Hopper Flip Portable Alternatives 1. BISON COOLERS Soft Sided 24 Can Cooler Bag Capacity: 24 cans Money saved: $121 What's great about it: Made with extra thick insulation and a 1,000-denier vinyl shell, this heavy-duty ice chest is one of the best soft coolers around. It keeps both food and drinks ice cold for up to 24 hours (in temperatures of 120 degrees Fahrenheit, no less) and the puncture-proof material is tear-resistant up to 375 pounds. It features non-fading UV-protection and holds up to 24 beverage cans. It is similar to the YETI Hopper Flip yet costs a full $120 less. One reviewer wrote: "This product is excellent. Ice retention is awesome. Carrying strap is very functional." 2. TOURIT 20 Cans Soft Sided Cooler Bag Capacity: 20 cans Money saved: $180 What's great about it: Built with three layers, including a rugged, waterproof exterior, high-density foam insulation, and leak-proof inner lining, this durable 20-can soft cooler is another great alternative at a wallet-friendly price. Like the YETI, it can keep things cool, chilling your drinks and food for up to three days. It has handles on the top and side, so it’s super easy to grab, plus it has a comfy padded shoulder strap. The interior is smooth and easy to clean, and it even has an attached bottle opener for extra convenience. It's also available in a 30-can size, and in a few different colors. One reviewer wrote: "Side-by-side, this cooler beat our Yeti by a landslide, so much so that I don't think I'll ever go back. I followed the instructions and after 3 days I still had ice. The ice had only melted by about half, and it was opened a lot over those 3 days. After that I dumped the ice to head home, but the drinks were still pretty cold a full day later after bringing the bag inside." 3. Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Zipperless Hardbody Cooler Capacity: 16 cans Money saved: $265 What's great about it: If you’re looking for a high-quality flip-top cooler on a budget, it’s hard to beat the Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze, which costs around $35 for the 16-can size. Made from durable TPE ripstop, it uses a radiant heat barrier in the insulation to reflect rather than absorb heat, which will keep your ice and drinks cooler for longer. It has a hard shell interior compartment with a soft outer, and the zipperless lid means it’s easy to open with one hand. The exterior is resistant to stains, water, punctures, and abrasions, and it comes with a comfortable shoulder strap for easy carrying. Still not convinced? This popular cooler boasts over 25,000 five-star ratings on Amazon. One reviewer wrote: "I have checked into several options and of course considered high-end YETI for its feel luxurious look and feel. This one does it for me for a fraction of the price. Very happy!”
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This article was originally published on
May 17, 2020