RTIC vs YETI Coolers (The Complete Buyer’s Guide)
RTIC vs YETI Coolers
(Which One Is Better?)
We compared RTIC vs YETI on 4 different soft-side coolers, and 3 different rotomolded (hard) coolers for you.
We’ll admit. This post is extensive.
Don’t have time to read the entire post? Use the ‘Skip Ahead?’ box if you’re looking for something specific.
- RTIC vs YETI Coolers
- (Which One Is Better?)
- What is Roto-Molding?
- Coolers Similar To Yeti
- What We Compared (And What We Didn’t)
- What’s Important To You In A Cooler?
- RTIC vs YETI Comparison Graphs
- RTIC vs YETI Side By Side Comparisons
- Durability & Features (Rotomolded Coolers)
- Durability & Features (Soft-Side Coolers)
- RTIC vs YETI (Size Choices)
- RTIC vs YETI (Warranty Info)
- RTIC vs YETI (Our Pick)
Both of these brands are incredible, and they both offer products that fill a very
common and widespread need: Keeping things cool.
YETI was first in to the market in 2006 out of Austin, Texas. There wasn’t another cooler on the market at that time doing what YETI was.
The ice cooler was pretty much plain jane from the 1960’s until 2006 when YETI stepped in with their rotomolded cooler.
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, or form.
This process is used to create hollow singular pieces of plastic. This is the standard of high end coolers in today’s market after YETI popularized it.
But how does that keep your stuff cool?
Once rotomolded coolers are casted they are actually hollow within the thick walls and lid, and then they are filled with polyurethane insulation. Enough so that gap has some meat on its bones.
The thickness, and the insulation make a HUGE difference compared to a standard cooler where the lid is flimsy, and the outside environment can slip right past it, and straight to the contents of your cooler.
Not only do rotomolded coolers do well with ice retention, but they are VERY durable. They are intended to last a very long time. Hence the price.
Coolers Similar To Yeti
Funny how something as simple as keeping your stuff cold can be revolutionized. There’s always a solution, or better way to do something.
Tons of brands are trying to pave their way like YETI has. Being first to market was a huge advantage for YETI, but they aren’t the only one around anymore.
For another time we will be evaluating a list of coolers like Yeti, but for this review we are looking only at RTIC vs YETI.
Both of these brands are mostly identical..
Except.. the amount of capacity (in some instances), and the price tag.
Price is the biggest diferentiator here. When RTIC stepped in to the picture in 2014 they quickly became known as the cooler that was “a YETI for half the price!”.
On their site today it reads “half the price of a YETI, and holds more ICE!”.
It gained a ton of attention.
So much that YETI filed a lawsuit in 2014..
What We Compared (And What We Didn’t)
We compared the 3 aspects of these coolers which would be most important in being able to distinguish the two from each other, and also the aspects that would be most important from a basic needs perspective (i.e. ‘how well does the cooler do it’s job and what’s the price?’)
That means looking at:
- Ice Life
- Ice Capacity
- Price Tag
There are some other aspects that we will be looking at as well:
- Look & Color (Preference)
- Durability (Identical)
- Size Choices (Preference)
But these won’t be considered as heavily for the above reasons in parenthesis.
More on these 3 topics below.
Previously we mentioned we will be doing a post over the other coolers similar to yeti. In addition to that we will also be doing a post over RTIC vs YETI tumblers. Stay tuned for that.
What’s Important To You In A Cooler?
Do you only use a cooler for beverages? What about food too? A lot of it?
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? A few? What about more than a few?
May be best to look at one of the bigger rotomolded coolers (45 & up) if you’re more of the sharing type.
Don’t use a cooler much, but like to have one on hand just in case?
It may be best to look at the soft sided coolers (20 & 30), or the rotomolded 20.
Will you be putting this in the back of your truck bed? Or maybe just your car?
Do you want your spouse to be able to carry it when she needs it? What about one of your kids?
Like to fish? What about standing on your cooler when you fish?
Consider your situation before deciding what’s best for you.
RTIC vs YETI Comparison Graphs
Ice retention is sort of a grey area when comparing coolers. There are so many variables that can come into play when testing both brands.
It’s the safest bet to go by what you should expect under normal conditions.
RTIC publicly displays their ice retention while YETI does not as there are too many variables. We agree with that statement, and leveled these off on what you can expect from ice retention.
Now…if you were going to test the rotomolded coolers side by side with each other technically yes..the RTIC would last a bit longer than the YETI when we consider the amount of ice it holds…but…
Why not water capacity?
Water capacity wasn’t an important factor to us in this review.
Why? Most will be icing down their coolers instead of just filling with water. However if you need an RTIC or YETI to hold a specific amount of water then the Ice Capacity is directly related to Water Capacity.
Knowing this…RTIC will hold more on the hard sided coolers (just by a bit on the 20 & 45 rotomolded coolers, and 14 pounds more on the 65).
RTIC vs YETI Side By Side Comparisons
RTIC vs YETI (Soft-Side 12)
You can’t go wrong with either one of these coolers if you need a good personal cooler that will last.
It’s almost too personal for my liking as it only holds about 6 cans with ice. So if you’re more the type to be sharing the items you have in your cooler then this isn’t the cooler for you.
This cooler is nice to have if you already have a hard sided rotomolded cooler and need one for a day trip to the beach, or if you decide to go on a short road trip.
Out of ALL the soft sided coolers the main difference here between these two are the straps. The hopper has side handles, and also comes with a shoulder strap while the RTIC lunch box has two side straps that come together at the top for each pick up and move.
RTIC vs YETI (Soft-Side 20)
The soft side 20 coolers pictured above are step up from the lunch box and hopper flip.
If you need more room to share and hold some extras then this will be a great fit for you.
With YETI this is where the body style changes on the soft side coolers. When you step up to the hopper 20 the body changes to a slimmer style cooler than the RTIC.
We found this to be appealing when carrying the color at your side.
RTIC vs YETI (Soft-Side 30)
Beefier versions of their little brother above. Same color choices.
We mentioned above that the YETI has more of a bag type feel, 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’ type feel to your soft cooler. This can help when dumping ice into it (especially 30 pounds of ice). If your cooler is jampacked with Ice, then you can actually sit on the RTIC as well.
Just something to keep in mind…there is more insulation within the lid of the RTICs than around the zipper of the YETI hoppers.
RTIC vs Yeti (Soft-Side 40)
These are the granddaddy soft side coolers available in both brands. Just another step up from the 30 in terms of capacity and price.
Either one of these would be a great fit for you if you are an avid outdoorsmen that needs a spot to store food & drinks / supplies for extended periods of time.
Would also be a good fit if your main job is to transfer human organs from state to state, and weren’t given the proper medical equipment to do so.
Kidding of course 🙂
RTIC vs YETI (Rotomolded 20)
This size range is our personal favorite as it can be applicable to a lot of situations.
We personally liked the metal bar handle with soft grip that you can use to carry or move the cooler. Besides size this is the main differentiating size between the 20’s and the 45 & 65 coolers below.
The ice retention increases two fold for the rotomolded coolers compared to the soft sides. It jumps 5 days to 10 days.
This is due to the thickness of the walls, and the insulation that is injected into them.
RTIC vs YETI (Rotomolded 45)
Sharing is caring! This cooler is exceptional for a decent size get together with friends and/or family.
To give you an idea of size range this cooler will hold 36 cans comfortably.
RTIC vs YETI (Rotomolded 65)
This 45 size mentioned above and the 65 both come with marine grade ropes at the sides so that you and a friend can carry it to the beach party you weren’t invited to.
This size holds 64 cans. Should be enough for you to get an invite back.
Durability & Features (Rotomolded Coolers)
These 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
Durability & Features (Soft-Side Coolers)
Again the big difference is here 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. 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.
You won’t have this issue with a rotomolded cooler, but consider your situation and what the cooler will be used for.
- Straps To Easily Carry
- ‘Stay Dry’ Material
- Waterproof Zipper
- Heavy Duty Nylon Shell
- No Sweat Exterior
RTIC vs YETI (Size Choices)
Here is a list of all the YETI size choices that RTIC (at time of post) does not carry.
There are 10:
- YETI 35
- YETI 50
- YETI 75
- YETI 105
- YETI 110
- YETI 125
- YETI 160
- YETI 210
- YETI 250
- YETI 350
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.
Some of the others towards the top are for ‘in between sizes’.
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.
We personally liked the look of the YETI 35 in terms of size as it’s between the Roadie (20), and the 45.
RTIC vs YETI (Warranty Info)
YETI has a 3 year warranty from time of purchase for their rotomolded coolers, and 3 years for their soft coolers.
RTIC has a 90 day warranty for ALL of their products from time of receipt.
YETI obviously 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.
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.
It could be difficult to get a replacement if you were doing a YETI test throwing the cooler out of the back of your truck, or abusing the product on purpose just to “test it”.
RTIC vs YETI (Our Pick)
Out of all of the aspects we weighed we feel like price was a critical factor in our decision. If we were comparing YETI to a different cooler with different features then we would be less focused on price, but given..
- The rotomolded coolers are identical
- The RTIC Soft Coolers have the lid advantage
- We’ve seen that RTIC Coolers have typically been around half the price of YETI coolers (just as they say).
Our winner here is…