The Best Coolers Like Yeti — Only Cheaper in 2023
If you’re a self-proclaimed “lover of the outdoors,” you’ll definitely have dreamed of owning a Yeti cooler at some point. After all, Yeti has built up a long-standing reputation for quality and durability, two very important things for a beloved camping companion. However, if the hefty price tag is keeping you from upgrading to the Yeti cooler of your dreams, there’s no need to worry. The cooler brands of today are better than ever, and you have a range of options for coolers like Yeti — only cheaper. Here’s a rundown of the best coolers in 2023.
Best Hard Coolers Like Yeti
RTIC’s hard cooler has a lot of similar features to Yeti. They come in a range of sizes — 20, 45, 65, 110, and 145 quarts. If you want durability and ice retention but have been struggling with Yeti’s smaller size options, the RTIC is a great option. RTIC also offers ultralight coolers, soft coolers, day coolers, and lightweight backpack coolers.
If you’re someone charmed by the small details, you’ll enjoy seeing Orca’s tail-shaped latches and bright colors. Their hard coolers come in 6 different sizes; 20, 26, 40, 58, 75, and up to 140 quart-sized ice chests. The insulated walls are several inches thick, designed to keep contents cold.
Grizzly makes some really high-quality coolers that come in 10 different colors and nearly as many sizes. On their store page, you’ll find 15, 20, 40, 60, 75, 100, and 165-quart hard coolers, along with options for 12 and 20-quart soft coolers.
Pelican’s selection of Elite coolers comes with a range of features that make them a solid choice for a camping trip, including decent ice retention, stainless steel bottle opener, and press-and-pull latches. The hard coolers come in 14, 20, 30, 50, 70, and 95-quart sizes and 45 and 80-quart sizes for a wheeled model.
Blue Coolers may be one of the top of the line rotomolded coolers. Their Ark series range up to 110 quarts. That puts them in a category with the Yeti Tundra 110, but at a significantly lower cost.
One of the main reasons to consider Blue Coolers as a Yeti alternative is the 10 day ice retention. That’s right, a week and a half of ice thanks to 2” of insulation, one of the highest on the cooler market.
And this is the perfect cooler if you are looking for a large cooler with wheels. It has all of the bells and whistles of a Yeti with one significant difference – the price.
Engel Coolers are a popular brand with fishermen and women. The Engel Drybox, which comes in 7.5, 13, 19, and 30-quart sizes, boasts superior durability and an airtight EVA seal on the lid. It can function as both a cooler and a dry box for keeping out dust and moisture away from valuables.
The 19-quart size actually made our annual review of coolers less than $100.
If you’re looking for a heavy-duty cooler, the Siberian Alpha Pro series is a great investment for a high-end cooler. It’s made with hard-anodized aluminum and stainless steel, so you know it can take a beating. Size options range from 22, 45, 65, to 85 quarts.
The 70-quart Coleman Xtreme is a great cooler for any partygoer at an affordable price — it can hold up to 100 cans and comes with cup holders molded into the lid. It’s ice retention can hold it’s own against any premium cooler, but with a much lower price tag. It can also double as a convenient seat, as the closed lid supports up to 250 pounds.
K2 Coolers’ Summit 20-quart cooler is a good option for small spaces like the back of a car or a boat, perfect for a road trip. Similar to the Yeti Roadie, it comes with a padded shoulder strap for hands-free carrying.
It has a freezer-style lid gasket, built-in lid latches, an integrated hinge system, and non-slip rubber feet, along with one-piece roto-molded construction.
Kenai is another brand that makes high-quality coolers similar to Yeti models, but at a fraction of the price. They come in various sizes, include a lifetime guarantee, and really shine in terms of performance.
They use envirinmentally friendly Ecomate insulation and include silicone lid gasket for cold retention on par with your freezer.
It’s ice retention keeps up with other brand name coolers on this list.
Canyon Coolers offers a solid range of both hard and soft coolers. The 35-quart hard cooler can hold up to 36 cans and keep them cool with an airtight seal and thick insulation. The attached drain plug makes draining a cinch. You also don’t have to worry about securing the contents, as the lid is lock-compatible.
The Igloo BMX was designed with sturdiness in mind. The reinforced, molded base and kick plates help protect the contents of your cooler even when you get the outside banged up. The 52-quart model can carry up to 83 12-ounce cans. In terms of ice retention, Igloo BMX is a very affordable alternative to Yeti coolers.
Not only is it a decent alternative to Yeti, we also included it on our list of best coolers under $100.
Best Soft Coolers Like Yeti
When someone says “cooler,” your first thought is probably the beat-up — but still much-loved — hard cooler you drag along on every camping trip. They’re definitely handy to have around, but sometimes, you just want to make a quick hike or a relaxed day trip and don’t want to drag along a heavy, solid 45-quart box. On days like those, your best bet is a soft cooler. The soft coolers of today are more portable and comfortable than ever, and the best part is that you don’t even have to break the bank by going for a Yeti. Here’s a rundown of the best soft coolers like Yeti on the market today.
Whether it’s a family BBQ or a camping trip with your buddies, the TOURIT backpack cooler is sure to be one of your new best friends. It’s made of highly durable leak-resistant fabric, and inside you’ll find high-density insulation material and a leak-proof liner.
If you’re regularly going on trips where you (or your bag) are going to take a dip, having a completely waterproof backpack is a must. This Skog Å Kust backpack is one of your best bets for a reliable airtight, waterproof bag.
Slick, no-nonsense, and durable, the ROCKBROS soft cooler is another solid pick for a companion on your outings. The shell is made of 840D Nylon and TPU, creating an excellent waterproof and leak-proof exterior.
Are you a fan of the color blue and keeping your food and drinks cool? Then you’ll want to take a look at the Malo’o backpack cooler. It comes in a vibrant blue, a darker blue, and a cool gray.
The lightweight ICEMULE insulated cooler comes in two sizes: Large, with a 24-liter or 18-can capacity, and X-Large, with a 33-liter or 24-can capacity. The outer layer is made of heavy-duty 1,000-denier tarpaulin and welded seams for top-quality waterproofing.
Red, orange, light coral, lime green, light blue, purple hot pink — you might think this is just a strange rainbow, but in actuality, these are some of RTIC’s 12 color options for their soft coolers. If you’re interested in non-backpack style soft coolers, it’s worth checking out.
Plus, it squeaks in under $100. That makes it one of the coolest coolers.
Another solid entry for those who prefer non-backpack style soft coolers, the ROCKBROS soft cooler comes with good insulation and a leak-proof guarantee. The bottom is covered in an 8-cm thick soft sponge covered by an 840D nylon shell that lets you set it down without worry.
Durability is the name of the game when it comes to an insulated cooler you want to bring on a camping trip. Its insulation is made of 25 millimeters of eco-friendly NBR closed-cell foam, protected by the exterior made of five-layer bonded construction.
If you’ve got an outdoor party coming up, the BUILT soft cooler is going to make a great drinks bucket with its rollover top and built-in bottle opener. With its tough shell fabric and abrasion-resistant EVA bottom, you can lug it around without worry.
When you don’t have any traveling companions other than yourself, the last thing you want is a backpack that’s too large. The COHO cooler bag, with its 20-can and 24-can options, is a good fit for these situations.
Here is a complete comparison table of all of the above coolers. It’s a little easier to see them all side by side.
4 Things To Consider When Buying a Hard Cooler
3 Things To Consider When Buying a Soft Sided Cooler
Hard Coolers vs. Soft Coolers
Hard coolers, especially rotomolded coolers, are increasingly popular these days. But you probably have wondered what the advantages are over soft coolers, aka lunch coolers.
Soft coolers are easier to transport and store, but the downside is that they also come with a smaller capacity and weaker ice retention. They’re a good option if your trip only involves going to school or work, but if you’re going to be roughing it in the outdoors when you need your ice to last a long time, a hard cooler is still your best bet.
What is Rotomolding?
It’s basically a process of molding plastic by heating it in a rotating mold. As it rotates in two directions, centrifugal force keeps the melted plastic stuck to the mold.
It’s essentially a tilt-a-whirl for plastic.
Here is the summary as explained at Science Direct:
Rotational molding (Rotomolding) is a process that makes hollow plastic objects. The process starts with putting some polymer in the mold. The mold is closed and put in an oven. While it turns, the polymer inside starts to melt.
When the inner surface of the mold is hot enough, the polymer begins to melt (or react in the case of thermosets). The polymer then coats the mold.
The mold keeps turning and new polymer layers keep getting put on the inside of the mold. This happens until the whole pool of polymer is gone. Then the mold goes into a cold section.Science Direct
Since it is a “process that makes hollow plastic objects”, my wife thinks that my head may be rotomolded. Does that make me cool? I don’t know. People talk.
Wrapping Up — Best Coolers Like Yeti
There are a lot of coolers like Yeti out on the market at a much lower price point — all you need to do is to find them. Don’t let an expensive cooler get in the way of your love of the outdoors. This roundup should help you get started on your search for a great new cooler, but feel free to do a bit of digging yourself to find the best bang for your buck. Your new cooler should deliver quality above all else.