The Ultimate RTIC vs YETI Comparison Guide
This is our ultimate RTIC vs YETI comparison guide.
To start off? A little background.[toc]
YETI is arguably the best known cooler brand out there.
And, just 10 years ago… coolers were coolers. They held your drinks and kept them cold (for not very long) Nothing more.
Now – coolers are brand statements.
YETI revolutionized the cooler industry with their everything proof (even bear proof) coolers that claims to hold ice up to 10 days+. Believe it or not – it’s legit. Cold coronas for days.
They weren’t the only ones though.
Competition came for the big bad bear.
One company that attempted to take the throne was RTIC Coolers.
RTIC created an identical product line to YETI Coolers.
Therefore, YETI sued RTIC coolers for patent infringement and trade dress (more on that below).
As a result, RTIC redesigned their entire product line. But even after redesign both RTIC and YETI coolers are still extremely similar.
Similarly, RTIC and YETI are both expanding their product lines beyond just coolers though. It’s the next logical step for both brands to cater to outdoor enthusiasts or beach bums like you.
Looking for something specific?
RTIC vs YETI Soft Side Coolers
RTIC vs YETI (Soft Cooler 12)
Either brand in this category makes for an excellent personal cooler.
This size is a great buy if you already own a larger cooler, and just need one for a short day trip.
There aren’t any major differences between RTIC vs YETI in the soft side 12 cooler size. The YETI Hopper has side handles, and also comes with a shoulder strap.
On the other hand, the RTIC lunch box has two side straps that come together at the top.
RTIC vs YETI (Soft Cooler 20)
Thise size is a tad larger than the YETI Hopper 12 and RTIC Lunchbox.
This size is where the body style changes for YETI. It slims down and gets away from the ‘lid style” and becomes more of a bag style cooler.
RTIC however, keeps the same style generally for all of their soft coolers.
The slimmer style can be nice to have if you will be carrying this cooler at your side.
RTIC vs YETI (Soft Cooler 30)
The soft 30 coolers are beefier versions of the 20s above.
We mentioned that YETI Coolers has more of a ‘bag’ type feel for their soft sides, and this can be good for carrying at your side.
But, we also found that the RTIC Soft Paks to be appealing if you want a true ‘lid’ to your soft cooler.
It can be helpful to have a lid when you’re dumping a ton of ice into the cooler. If you would like the cooler to stay open as opposed holding it open yourself then go with an RTIC.
Additionally, the RTIC SoftPak coolers can function as a seat if they are packed full of ice.
With YETI, this may be more difficult.
RTIC vs YETI (Soft Cooler 40)
The 40 size is the largest soft side coolers available in both RTIC and YETI.
Either brand in this category would be a great fit if you are an avid outdoorsmen that needs a spot to store food & drinks / supplies for extended periods of time.
RTIC vs YETI Backpack Coolers
Backpack coolers are getting more popular for the adventurous type who don’t want to lug around a larger cooler, or those who just want to keep it more portable in the first place.
Unlike regular backpacks – both RTIC and YETI’s backpack coolers sport insulation to keep the contents of your cooler just as cold as any other soft cooler from both brands.
The RTIC Backpack Cooler will hold roughly 30 cans of beer while the YETI Hopper BackFlip 24 will hold 20 cans of beer.
Both options are also waterproof and have straps on the front to easily attach bottle or can openers, fishing filet knives, portable speakers (with a caribiner), or anything else you may need.
RTIC vs YETI Hard Coolers
Both brands produce nearly identical hard coolers.
And, the hard coolers were the products that really ‘opened up the lid’ on the cooler industry.
For the purposes of this post we are only comparing the 20, 45, and 65 hard coolers.
YETI has a lot more hard cooler options so if you’re needing an in-between size they have what you need.
RTIC vs YETI (Hard Cooler 20)
This size is perfect for many situations, and the metal bar handle with soft grip can be a real life saver when carrying a full cooler.
The metal bar is the main difference between the 20’s and the 45 & 65 coolers below.
Plus, the ice life doubles for the hard coolers when compared to the soft coolers (both RTIC & YETI).
RTIC vs YETI (Hard Cooler 45)
Sharing is caring! This cooler size is exceptional for a large get together with friends and/or family.
Plus, to give you an idea of size range.. this cooler will hold 36 cans comfortably.
RTIC vs YETI (Hard Cooler 65)
Both the 45 and 65 hard coolers from RTIC and YETI come with marine grade rope handles.
Because of that it seems like they are easier to carry. The ropes allows for more flexibility to carry as opposed to the stiff bar that comes with the 20.
This size cooler size holds 64 cans with ice.
RTIC vs YETI Drinkware
RTIC vs YETI 10 oz. Lowballs
No difference here. If you’re evaluating what stainless steel cup is better to drink your whiskey out of it’s a complete branding preference here.
RTIC vs YETI Colster
Both of these are very similar as well.
It can be somewhat tedious unscrewing the top part to put in a new beer everytime you finish one.
One of our favorite alternatives to the colster from both brands is the Thermos Can Insulator.
It does the job just as well if not better than both brands and you can slide your beverage in easily with no screw top. When you tilt the drink to pour it doesn’t slide out either because the rupper lip towards the top holds it in place. It’s a great product.
RTIC vs YETI Coffee Mugs
You don’t see RTIC or YETI coffee mugs very often! They aren’t as common as some of the other tumblers in this list. These are great ‘stay at home’ type of coffee mugs because the handles get in the way of fitting in your cars cup holders if you were to take it in to work.
The application of the stainless steel here works great because you can’t feel the hot coffee directly against your skin as much as a regular cup, and one of the main differences is that RTIC’s version has a flip tab on the lid so if you’re not ready to drink your tea or coffee just yet you can keep it closed to make sure it’s trapping all of the heat.
RTIC vs YETI Pints
YETI and RTIC Pint Tumblers are also with the coffee mugs on the list of uncommon products.
You’ll notice how the YETI Pint is larger towards the top?
It serves 2 purposes. 1 is so that the beer can form a head at the top like a normal pint glass, and the other reason is to be able to stack them. If you plan on getting multiple pint containers then YETI could be a better bet here, but if you like the slim profile look of the RTIC Pint then that’s also a good option.
The RTIC pint is just a slimmer version of the 20 ounce tumbler so your decision could be between those 2 if you want more options. The tumblers are listed just below.
RTIC vs YETI Tumblers
The tumblers are the flagship products of both brands. You see them everywhere. YETI started the tumbler trend, but then RTIC followed suit as well as a bunch of other knock off brands that compete with YETI’s product line in some form or fashion. Where YETI and RTIC separate themselves are their color choices.
Above are the standard 20 oz tumblers and just below are the 30 oz options. It isn’t listed here in our post, but RTIC even has a 40 oz option if you work outside a lot and need to hydrate more frequently than most.
RTIC vs YETI Gallon Jug
The gallon jugs are great for camping trips and having enough water on hand for more than 1 person.
This is extremely important if you’re looking to go on an extended hiking trips, or if you’re not sure if you’ll be by a fresh water source.
RTIC vs YETI Open Top (Beach) Bags
If there’s one thing that RTIC & YETI can do it’s get their products in the hands of beach goers.
Or, maybe beachgoers just want quality products?
Most likely the latter, but regardless they both have great options for sturdy ‘no lid’ type bags that can be all purposely used for sunscreen, beer, beach cover ups, sunglasses, holding phones, holding gadgets, and whatever else you need.
RTIC calls their the RTIC Beach Bag while YETI calles theirs the Camino Carryall.
RTIC vs YETI Duffel Bags
At first glance the duffel bags from both companies look like they could be duffel bags AND coolers. Could they be a cooler?
The short answer is no, that’s not what the duffel bags are intended for, but they can certainly be used as coolers if you don’t have one. You certainly won’t have any issues with water and ice escaping from the inside and leaking because of the stay dry material, but that definitely isn’t their purpose.
These are great for:
- Long Weekends At The Beach
The duffel bags have the same or similar material on the outside as the soft coolers from each brand, but they have less structure to them. They don’t have the internal ‘boxy’ type frame that the SoftPaks / Hopper Flips offer – rather they have more of a ‘barrel’ type frame so that you can use them for virtually anything.
The small 40-liter RTIC duffel bag is perfect for an extended trip. 40 liters is roughly 10.5 gallons so more than enough room for clothes, and other things. Enough room for more if you wanted to use this duffel bag for 2 sets of clothes.
RTIC and YETI both sport detachable, adjustable shoulder straps that you can use to carry across your body complete with padded side handles to make it easy to grab this thing out the back of a vehicle or lug it into a boat with a friend if it’s heavy.
Both options out of all 3 sizes are very similar. They both have the hardshell exterior that is resistant to puncture, both are completely waterproof and they are both high quality products.
The main difference in the duffel bags here are the capacity amount between sizes.
RTIC goes from 70 liters on their medium to completely double the capacity at 140 liters while YETI jumps a modest 25 liters starting with their medium at 75 liters to their large at 100 liters.
If you need a gigantic bag then the RTIC large duffel is the one for you.
Additionally, one thing we wanted to mention is that YETI has a Panga Backpack. This is a great choice for those who need a good fishing trip back that is completely portable and waterproof. It holds up to 28 liters of whatever the heck you need to put in it.
RTIC & YETI Chairs
RTIC Beach Chair
This won’t be a match up at all. Not that one brand exceeds another they are just meant for different people.
RTIC has a couple different chairs that they make. They make a quality beach chair in a few different color variations, and they also have a ‘Big Bear’ foldable chair that you’d see parents rocking at a tee ball game, or anywhere else. The Big Bear chairs just look like average folding chairs that you could buy at Academy with the RTIC logo on it.
RTIC beach chairs are a good pickup if you need one!
YETI Hondo Base Camp Chair
YETI created one of the most durable, high quality chairs we’ve ever seen.
We didn’t even know that chairs could get this quality. This is definitely a case where YETI went all out, but you will pay a pretty penny to sit your butt in it. If you have kids that play sports, go to the beach a LOT, or just need a good quality chair to sit in outside then look no further.
Here are just a few of the things that make the YETI Hondo Base Camp Chair so cool..
- 100% Breathable and tough as nails fabric. Supports up to 500 pounds without losing it’s form.
- Solid casted joints so you can fold it up a million times and keep going.
- Double barrel frame so the frame doesn’t bend or give out on you.
Other RTIC & YETI Products
YETI Loadout Bucket
The YETI Loadout Bucket is an all purpose and durable bucket that can be used for anything from fishing to holding baseballs at the field, to carrying mulch from your truck bed to the flower bed.
Regardless, it’s rugged and will last a long time.
The YETI Tank is your party go to. I think there were enough fraternities supporting the YETI brand throughout the last year that they listened to their needs and created this.
You can keep a keg ice cold in this thing, put your caught fish in it, put an enormous amount of trash can punch in it (they say this on the description on their website), or literally anything else.
Unlike the YETI Loadout bucket which sports a handle for 1 person carry, the TANK is obviously for 2+ person carry given it’s size and the amount of contents that fit inside of it. It comes in a 45, and 85 size.
What Makes RTIC & YETI So Great?
Both of these companies make high quality products. One of the most rugged and longest lasting part of both product lines are their hard coolers (or roto-molded coolers). They are bear proof and can last you a lifetime. That’s what kick-started both of these brands. Let’s see what makes them so great.
What is Roto-Molding?
Rotational Molding is a process that involves taking a thermoplastic (or plastic that is moldable above a specific temperature range), and casting it into a specific shape.
This process is used to create hollow singular pieces of plastic.
After YETI rolled out the first rotomolded cooler it became the standard for the market.
But, how does that keep your beer cold?
The space between the outside environment, and the items in your cooler are what makes a difference.
And the casting results in thick hollow walls and a lid, which are then filled with polyurethane insulation.
Hence, the thickness of the plastic and the amount of insulation make a HUGE difference compared to your grandpa’s cooler.
Plus, not only do rotomolded coolers do well with ice retention, but they are VERY durable.
Like…bear proof durable.
Let’s stack these 2 up against each other.
Rtic vs Yeti Coolers Ice Life & Capacity
There were a list of factors that we considered weighing, but for this post it made the most sense to compare 2 simple aspects:
- Ice Life
- Ice Capacity
Here are some of the other things we touched on that may be important to you..
- Look & Color (Preference)
- Durability (Identical)
- Size Choices (Preference)
Before you start to compare coolers – what’s important to you?
If you’re a YETI fan (they’ve been around longer) get a YETI.
If you don’t care and you want the best bang for your buck you’ll most likely save a lot of money if you go with RTIC on every product line. Most of the time RTIC will be half the price, and sometimes more when you compare the product to their YETI counterparts.
Consider some of these things..
- Need a small cooler, or a large one?
- Are you only going to use a cooler for beverages? What about food too?
- Do you mainly use a cooler when you are out at the beach/lake/pool?
- What about sitting around enjoying a few drinks with friends?
- How many friends do you normally get together with?
If you plan on using your cooler for parties and/or food storage we recommend a bigger hard coolers (45 & up).
- Don’t use a cooler much, but like to have one on hand just in case?
Maybe look at the soft sided coolers (20 & 30), or the rotomolded 20. Doesn’t take up a ton of space, but nice to have it when you need it.
RTIC vs YETI Comparison Graphs
RTIC vs YETI Coolers Ice Life
Ice life is a grey area when comparing coolers because there are too many variables that can affect the time before the ice actually melts.
RTIC publicly displays their ice life while YETI does not as there are too many variables. We agree with YETIs route here, and leveled these off on what you can roughly expect from ice retention under normal conditions.
Now, if you were going to test the rotomolded coolers side by side with each other yes..the RTIC would last a bit longer than the YETI when we consider the amount of ice it holds.
All things considered they will both hold ice for a long time.
RTIC vs YETI Coolers Ice Capacity
Although the RTIC and YETI names are identical on the rotomolded coolers it doesn’t directly correlate with the ice capacity…
You can see below that the soft coolers are identical on ice capacity, but RTIC coolers hold more than YETI on the hard coolers.
Although RTIC hard coolers hold more than YETI hard coolers when compared side by side, we didn’t relate that to ice life.
Consequently, yes – being able to hold more ice would relate to greater ice retention, but there are too many variables to test that.
RTIC vs YETI Hard Coolers Durability & Features
Both RTIC & YETI coolers are made to last. Period.
All of these features will come standard whether you get an RTIC or a YETI:
- Rotomolded Construction
- Non-Slip Feet
- Integrated Locking System
- Bear Resistant
- Marine Grade Rope Handles
- Heavy Duty Rubber Latches (Except YETI Roadie & RTIC 20)
- Large Freezer Gasket
- Draining System
- Traction Lid
- Drain Spout
- No Sweat Exterior
RTIC vs YETI Soft Coolers Durability & Features
The big difference in the soft side coolers is the lid. RTIC has insulated flip top lids on all of their SoftPaks while YETI only has a zipper. Although it’s only one feature it may be an important one depending on what the cooler will mainly be used for.
Also, consider the nylon shell exterior in regards to what type of environment you will have it in.
Most noteworthy, it may not be best to go with a soft side if your cooler is going to be around a bunch of tools or sharp objects.
- Straps To Easily Carry
- ‘Stay Dry’ Material
- Waterproof Zipper
- Heavy Duty Nylon Shell
- No Sweat Exterior
RTIC vs YETI Coolers (Size Choices)
YETI takes the cake on size choices. If you have a specific size you need then go check out their page here.
The company has all of the in-between sizes that RTIC just hasn’t broken into yet as well as all of the new products that they continue to innovate into.
The question to ask yourself is whether or not RTIC has the size you are looking for. If they don’t, and you aren’t considering any other brands it looks like you’re left with one choice (YETI).
Some of these coolers on the bigger side are for HUGE events where you need to supply crowds with drinks, or for deep-sea fishing.
If the RTIC or YETI 45 or 65 isn’t a good size for you then YETI has you covered on all of the in-betweens.
RTIC vs YETI Coolers (Warranty Info)
YETI has a 3-5 year warranty depending on what type of cooler you purchase.
RTIC will warrant your soft or hard coolers for 1 year.
Yes, YETI has a longer warranty, but if you’re an average consumer putting these coolers to normal use I highly highly doubt you will be filing a warranty claim on something that keeps your drinks cold considering how durable these coolers are.
If you read up on their warranty it does not cover normal wear and tear, and is always at the discretion of the manufacturer so nothing is 100% guaranteed anyways. Keep that in mind.
Final Thoughts on RTIC vs YETI
If you’re looking for a winner you have come to the wrong place!
These companies use to be close as their product lines were so close in what they each had to offer.
However, as time has passed YETI continues to innovate in places that RTIC hasn’t broken ground on yet. YETI has so many in between cooler sizes, and thoughtful products.
RTIC continues to be a close copycat to YETI, but if all you are doing is copycatting and not innovating your own products then someday we could see YETI extend their product selection lead.
That’s not to say that RTIC is going anywhere anytime soon though. They make excellent products that last just like YETIs and they do it for an absolute bargain.
If you’re heading to the beach – either one of these brands will treat you well.