Yeti Or RTIC: Which Brand Makes The Better Cooler? [2019 Review]
YETI used to be a cooler brand that surpassed all the others on the market. They are the first that came out with their bear-proof, all-proof ice chests that were meant to survive anything that you threw at it. They were incredibly successful at what they did as well.
However, because of this many competitors sprouted, one of the main competitors being RTIC. In fact, they pretty much stole the design of YETI’s coolers, and as the result of a lawsuit, had to change all of their designs. Albeit the designs to this day look incredibly similar to their competition. As this article will show you, a lot of the same things that YETI uses, such as handles and insulation, are also incredibly similar in the other.
RTIC vs YETI Comparison
Features to look out for:
When it comes to having a cooler, one of the most important things that it has to do is, well, keep things cold. The more and better insulation that it has, the longer that it can keep your food and beverages cold. So when you are looking for one of these to take with you, this is something that you really have to take into account.
These guys are something that will be dragged with you to all corners of the globe and in all terrains. This means camping trips, long-distance travel, road trips, and even family reunions on the grill. So you need to make sure that the one that you choose to buy will last you a long time. Consider durability as an investment, and understand that even if you pay a hefty price up front, it will pay for itself in the end if it lasts for years and years to come.
Coolers are pointless if they can’t hold anything. That is you should buy one that suits your particular needs. Both hard and soft coolers come in a variety of sizes. Also, you have to make sure that you can hold the right amount of drinks, as well as the right amount of ice. The common notion is that you need twice as much ice as drinks, that way it keeps your drinks cold the longest.
Price is important, as many people are on a budget and cannot spend hundreds of dollars os something that they may only be using a couple of time a year. However, for some people, they consider paying a higher price as an investment so that it can last the longest possible time. So when you are trying to find a good ice chest to use year after year, make sure that you can get one that is a good size for you, but also fits your price point.
Worrying about weight is something that is greatly determinate on what you are planning on using this for. For instance, if you are simply planning on having one of these for family dinners by the grill, or tailgate parties than you probably do not need to worry too much about weight.
However, if you are someone who is planning on taking it camping, then you may want to make sure that you are getting one that will not break your back while carrying it. Also, if you are using a long and heavy cooler, always make sure that you have a buddy come and help you, so you put less strain on your back.
Some are square, some are rectangular. This matters a lot if you are trying to find space to put it inside of your car. If you are planning a long trip, then a tall and long ice chest would probably be best, but if it does not fit inside your car, then it is a waste of money.
All of what is also a feature for a hard one is also a feature for these. However, there are a few more than soft ones utilize that the hard ones don’t really use.
Carry options (Is it easy to carry?)
Soft coolers are much more effective at carrying than their hard plastic counterparts. This is mainly due to the fact that they can be worn around the shoulder like a regular tote. Both of these brands come with a convenient handle, but you always have to make sure that they have one that is easy to utilize.
This makes camping out or carrying a refreshing lunch with you on a long trip with you a breeze. It basically acts as a lunchbox of sorts, and it works well in keeping your beverages and meals fresh and cool.
Tie-down points (Ways to secure)
Tie-down points are points on the product that is meant to be able to be… well… tied down. This helps if you are securing it to a bike when traveling, or tying it to a hiking pack. The less that you have to carry with your hands when you are hiking or camping, the better.
When you are tying it to a bike or even wearing it as a backpack, making sure that it is flexible enough to contour to your body can make the difference when it comes to flexibility. This also helps to ensure that the product itself will not break
What do they all have in common?
Hard coolers are known for their… well, hardness. Both brands contain bear-proof design, T-latches, non-slip lid, and commercial grade insulation. In fact, RTIC pretty much copied YETI word for word. They both have handles that are able to be gripped easily, hauling handles, a draining system, and non-slip feet.
Both of them also have a traction lid. These are used to be able to stand on them without slipping are you are planning on using it as a place to fish from. Trying to find a difference between these two guys is next to impossible, although some differences do exist.
These are much more flexible, and certainly, are not bear proof. Both of them claim to be waterproof, have leakproof zippers, have a durable shell that is resistant to punctures and tears, has closed-cell insulation, and even are anti-microbial. Again, there is very little difference between the features that both of these have, and it is mainly due to the fact that RTIC copied YETI.
What makes it different?
Again, everything that YETI mentions on their site as a feature has been copied by the other guys. So the main difference I would say between these two brands would be that YETI is more well known, and potentially creates much higher quality products. RTIC coolers, however, tend to be a little bit larger.
They are larger than their counterparts, but that does not mean much because they claim to be able to hold fewer drinks. This is probably because their bags only have one zipper that allows access into the bag, which can become a nuisance after awhile.
The differences between these two are pretty minor, and much of it has to do with how they advertise themselves. For instance, this brand claims to be able to keep ice cool for up to 10 days, while the other one does not make any such claims. Aside from that, these two are pretty much the same in this respect. RTIC also has an easy grip base, and even adds 2 inches of insulation to the lid as well.
According to the two websites, the major changes that I can find would be that this brand has a flip top design for easier access. This is something that their competition does not provide, as it zips and opens like a traditional purse. Now, this may only be a small change, but it is something that this fella does that but it slightly more ahead of their competition. That seems to be the only major change between the two.
RITC vs YETI Review
Best 20 Soft Cooler
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RTIC Softpack 20 vs YETI Hopper 20
Since this fella is such a small bag, it is hard to find out which one works out better. They both hold ice for about the same amount of time, about 72 hours. Both are highly durable and have pretty much everything else the same. The main difference is that the Softpack has a flip top, while the Hopper does not.
Another main difference comes in line with the pricing. The Softpack is only 109.99 and comes in a variety of colors, while the Hopper costs 2.5 times that much at 249.99, and only comes in a single color. The color might not be a big deal for most people, but it is something to consider if you want a more fashionable bag.
In this case, I would say that the SoftPack won.
Best 40 Soft Cooler
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RTIC Softpack 40 vs YETI Hopper 40
These two are almost indistinguishable from the 20’s, except that they are a larger size. For instance, the Hopper holds 34 cans, and 40 pounds of ice, while the Softpack holds 40 cans or 40 pounds of ice. The soft pack also has a flip top, like the 20, and a price of 164.99. The Hopper costs more than twice that, at 349.99.
Both are fairly small, but in this case, the Hopper is a good deal larger than the other. However, this wideness might not be made up for with the fact that it is a pointed top and therefore has less volume.
I would say the Softpack wins this round.
Best 60 Soft Cooler
RTIC 60 vs YETI Hopper 60
The funny thing about mentioning these two is that they don’t yet exist. However, it will probably exist in the near future.
Best 45 Hard Cooler
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RTIC 45 vs YETI Tundra 45
In this case, the Tundra has more colors than the other one, which as of writing this article, only had a single color available. A kind of ugly Seafoam Green. RTIC is cheaper, of course, at 189.99 as opposed to 299.99, and is even a single inch longer. The Tundra holds 28 cans, and 34 pounds of ice, as opposed to the other, which holds 36 cans and 40 lbs of ice.
This makes the first one cheaper, holds more ice, although it is a little heavier. So it is more of a tie this round.
Best 65 Hard Cooler
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Rtic 65 vs Yeti Tundra 65
When it comes to both of these, the 65 is longer than the 45. However, the Tundra is just slightly shorter than the other brand, making me think that they might have done that on purpose. The larger size does come in handy if you need more storage space for your drinks and food. Again, the RTIC is cheaper, at 239.99 compared to the 349.99 of their competitor.
The Tundra holds fewer cans than their competitors, at 42 cans vs 64, and 52 lbs of ice vs 70. So I would say the former would be the best one.
Best 110 Hard Cooler
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RTIC 110 vs YETI Tundra 110
The Tundra is larger this time around, but only in one way. Aside from this, it can only hold 74 cans, or 90 pounds of ice, as opposed to their competition, which can hold 110 cans or 115 pounds of ice. When it comes to the price difference, RTIC wins again, at 319.99, vs 499.99. It can also hold ice for longer.
One thing that should be noted is that despite being cheaper, they are also smaller, but has a lot more room inside to work with. According to my calculations, the Tundra has 4466 Square Inches to work with, as opposed to the other, which has 6048 Square Inches. Which means that it makes sense that it will be able to hold more soda and ice, despite being smaller otherwise.
In this case, I would say that the RTIC won in a landslide.
How much space can you use?
Reading these, you may think that RTIC is superior in terms of size, but that might not be the case at all. YETI measures the size based on beer cans, and the other brand measures it based on beverage cans. The thing is, beer cans are often much taller, and potentially even thicker than, say, a can of Pepsi. So keep that in mind as you are reading through the sizes.
For the soft coolers, I could not find any data on how much water they could hold.
RTIC can hold 20 cans or 20 pounds of ice and is 10″ x 11.5″ x 7″ on the inside. The other can hold 16 cans or 20 pounds of ice and is 7 x 12.5 x 15.
RTIC can hold 40 cans or 40 pounds of ice and is 9.5 x 16 x 13. The other can hold 34 cans or 40 pounds of ice and is 10 x 16 x 18.
Does not exist yet.
YETI is 28 cans, or 34 pounds of ice, and is 9 x 11 x 18. It also holds 9.4 gallons of water.
While the competition is 36 cans or 40 pounds of ice and is 11 x 19 x 10.5. It holds more water at 11.25 gallons.
YETI is 42 cans, or 52 pounds of ice, and is 11 x 11 x 23. It holds 14.3 gallons of water.
Meanwhile, the other guy is 64 cans or 70 pounds of ice, and 13 x 25 x 12. Holding more, at 16.25 gallons.
And the 110 has the most space of them all, with the YETI having 74 cans or 90 pounds of ice. The competition has 110 cans or 115 pounds of ice. As a result, this one also can hold ice for the longest amount of time. I also do not know how much water that it can hold.
How long can they hold ice?
When it comes to finding the best one to fit your needs, we have to determine which one works better. For instance, which ice chest keeps ice… well, ice, the longest. So outside of the soft packs, there is a noticeable difference between the two brands on which guy keeps your food cold longer.
Both can hold ice for about 72 hours. Both are fairly small, so differences in insulation between the two are expected to be minuscule.
Again, it is a tie, about 95 hours of ice life for each.
Does not exist yet, but it probably will soon
When looking at the hard ice chests, you will notice that one brand tends to hold longer than the other one. This is because RTIC puts an extra inch of insulation on the lid, in order to keep ice from melting longer. This may not seem like a huge difference, but it can mean hours extra when it comes to the life of the ice.
The RTIC can hold ice for up to 140 hours, as opposed to the other brand, which only holds for 120.
RTIC wins again, holding ice for over 200 hours, as opposed to 170 for the competition.
I could not find any data comparing the 110’s of each brand, but I reckon that it would be able the same in terms of what to expect.
What accessories can you buy for them?
There are many accessories that you can buy from both brands, from miscellaneous hats and mugs, but I am going to keep it to what you can buy that helps your cooler specifically.
Not too much you can buy here, although you can buy zipper lubricant. That should help you open and close the bag more easily.
There is a lot more when it comes to these types. For instance, you can buy a small basket that hangs near the top and can hold your food. You can also buy a divider, in case you want to keep your drinks and your food separate. Or the alcoholic drinks from the kid-friendly drinks.
Again, not too much to buy here. Although making sure you invest in some YETI ice packs may save you some headache later on. Of course, you can buy a bottle opener or whatnot too, but I am trying to stick to things that specifically benefits the cooler.
Here you can buy baskets and dividers as well. However, the one thing that stands out to me is the locks and cables that you can buy to make sure that your food and drinks are as secure as possible. They are bearproof as well.
Questions to ask yourself before choosing
Not everything is going to be black and white, and a lot of the time, you have to ask yourself some questions. This helps to make sure you are not only getting a great deal but that you are actually buying something that you will use regularly enough for it to be worth it in the long run. No need to get a larger one if you are only going to fill it half way and only occasionally use it.
What will you use it for? Drinks, Food, or both?
Depending on your answer will determine how much ice you will need to add in, as well as how much space that you will need to hold it all. Also, since drinks are generally heavier than food items, you can probably expect it to be much more of a load, so consider weight into the equation.
Other people use their coolers for other reasons as well, such as a place to hold tools, etc. So if that is something that you are considering using it for, maybe factor that into it all.
How many people will your cooler usually cater?
If you are planning on having a large part, or a family gathering by the grill, or even if you are going on a long road trip, it would probably be best to get a larger size. It should go without saying that you will need a much larger one if you are planning on using it to cater to more people.
If you only have you and perhaps one other person, consider a small cooler. If yours is far too small, it cannot hold as many goodies, and as a result, can make some people go hungry. Don’t let people go hungry, get an appropriately sized one.
Where will you use it? Beach/lake/pool?
Where you are planning on using it will determine not just the type of cooler that you will need, but potentially the size of it as well. If you are taking it on a road trip, you obviously need a bigger ice chest than if you are just going to the beach, for instance. The length of the trip will also matter, but we will get into that in a minute.
How long are you planning on using it for?
These can be used for a variety of reasons, up to and including going to the beach, hiking, or a road trip. If you are just going by yourself to the beach, or with one other person, then it might be best to buy a soft pack. However, if you are going on a longer trip, or planning on bringing a lot of people, then a bigger size might be warranted.
If you are going on a camping trip of someplace for an extended period of time, depending on how long you need them, you might want to go for a size larger than what you have planned, just in case.
What is your budget?
These are expensive, although some more expensive than others. As a result, it would make a whole lot more sense to make sure that whatever you buy is worth the money. YETI is a more known name brand, so as a result, their prices are pretty high. It would not be shocking to put down 300$ or more on one of these bad boys.
However, not all of us have a ton of money to put down on one of these, and as a result, RTIC is much cheaper. Sometimes up to half the price that you would expect from their competitor. So keep in mind what your budget is when you are going into buying one of these guys.
You really don’t want to get into debt just for something to hold your beers in. So make sure that you are making a good investment as well as great quality and usability.
Steps to test your cooler when you get it
A great thing that you should do once you get your ice chest and to test it in real life conditions. This is because many manufacturers will say that ice, for instance, does not melt for up to 10 days. However, they will ignore many key things such as how long you keep the lid open, and if you drain the melted water inside.
So what do we think you should do to ensure that you got your money’s worth when it comes to a cooler?
Durability to mean plenty of things. For instance, tugging at the lid to see if the hinges work properly, or yanking on the handles. You can also stand on the lid, or push it down, to see if it breaks or comes loose in the process.
Another thing that you can do is fill it with water, and see if it has any leaks. Leaks can be detrimental to the life of the ice inside it, and also shows that the structure is not as strong. So make sure that it is top notch when it comes to creating a seal.
If you have time, you can do a test to see how long the ice will last under most conditions. Most of the time, ice retention is measured without taking into account that people drain the excess water, or open the lid at all. So measure the ice retention on a typical day, a day that you expect to be outside in the elements.
This also means that you should open the lid often enough to make sense. You should also drain the excess water when it gets too full. Seeing how long the ice lasts makes sure that you know how long you can last before your food spoils and your beer gets lukewarm.
Nobody wants to break their back carrying one of these, so make sure that you are able to hold it while moving it. This includes handles that are able to be gripped easily, the sturdy ropes, and even how the straps work if you plan on attaching it to a car.
One way to do this would be to see if you are able to pick it up, either by yourself, or with a buddy, depending on the side, and see if you are able to carry it while full of water. This will let you know if you can carry it full of ice and food.
Does it have wheels?
Neither the soft ones nor the hard ones, come with wheels. So do not be expecting to roll this across the floor when you get it. It is most likely going to be heavy when full, so definitely grab a friend or a buddy when you want to move it.
What size can fit in my car?
It really depends on the size of your car. If you have a large van, then maybe a 110 would fit. It would definitely fit if you have a truck. But if you have a small car, I would suggest a much smaller sized one.
Do the coolers keep food hot as well?
They are not really designed to keep food hot. In fact, I would highly suggest NOT keeping anything hot in these coolers. Mainly because, at the end of the day, they are still plastic. They will melt when close to a hot flame or exhaust. So I would recommend only using these for cold product.
However, both products do have tumblers and other products that can hold hot or cold liquids, but that is probably as close as you are going to get to carrying hot product.
Does it come with a warranty?
This is one of the places where YETI shines, as they offer a 3-5 year warranty, depending on which product that you are planning on buying. For instance, the Tundra and the Roadie have 5-year warranties, while the Hopper has a 3-year warranty. RTIC is less forgiving, offering only one year for all of their coolers.
I would have to say that one of the biggest things that stuck out to me was the fact that RTIC not only copied their competitor but improved upon their work. This is despite the fact that the work really was not theirs to improve upon in the first place.
For instance, let’s compare the 65’s of the hard coolers. They took the Tundra, and basically copied it verbatim, but also made it one inch longer on each side. As if it was a way to stick the middle finger up at their competition. Now being slightly bigger does not necessarily mean that anyone is better or worse off, but sometimes you can just tell what a company is trying to do.
That aside, there were some improvements that RTIC made on the model that has been for the better. For instance, they now have an extra inch of insulation in their lid. As a result, are able to keep ice frozen for longer. Sometimes for dozens of hours longer, which can definitely make a major difference when you are planning on going on a long trip.
RTIC seems to be better, mainly because they built upon work that was already done. But that does not take from the fact that they seem to be the more improved version.