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When people ask us about recommendations for ‘coolers like YETI’, we assume they mean products that not only look and perform like YETIs, but that are cheaper as well.
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After all, if you wanted a cooler like a YETI, but didn’t care about the price, you’d just go and buy an actual YETI – right?
In this article, we’ve listened to you, the reader, and created a condensed, all-in-one guide of the best coolers like YETI, but cheaper.
There have been dozens and dozens of YETI imitations in years past, but the brands that we’ve picked here have proven time and time again to hold up just as well in terms of performance, quality, durability, and ice retention.
So if you’re one of the thousands of outdoors people that would love to own a YETI, but can’t bring yourself to pay the hefty price tag, take a look at these picks for YETI like coolers – we don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Coolers Like YETIs, but Cheaper: Established Competition – The BIG 5 (Hard Coolers / Ice Chests)
These are the top 5 most well-established alternatives to YETI's reign; you’ve likely heard of them before.
A couple of brands market themselves as actually being superior in performance to YETI (and thus aren’t much less expensive), while the main draw of the other cooler brands is that they’re drastically cheaper while maintaining the same quality.
Here’s our list of the top YETI-like coolers:
Cordova Coolers – Best YETI Alternative (Best Value)
In a world where so many coolers look like pure YETI-knockoffs, Cordova Coolers really stand out. That's one of these brands we really can't say a bad word about.
Let's start by saying that not only are their coolers 100% manufactured in the US (Idaho), but they're actually the most affordable brand when it comes to coolers made in USA.
Regardless of the size – and Cordova has 4 of them – when you calculate the price per quart, Cordova wins.
To give you an example, last time we checked, the medium-sized, 48-quart Cordova cooler was priced at $209.99, or $4.37 per quart. Its YETI counterpart, Tundra 65 that has about 61 quarts, was priced $349.99, or $5.73 per quart. That's 25% less dollars per quart.
But it's not only the price that makes Cordova one of the best alternatives to YETI coolers. These coolers look unique and have many patented features. Take the handles for example.
They ditched the rope handles in favor of the metal ones, which not only look cool but make cooler easier to carry, especially when it's packed and heavy. There's even an integrated bottle opener in each handle.
As for the insulation, Cordova is able to keep ice for days. They use a high-density foam with a closed-cell structure that is 2 to almost 3-inch thick. The foam is eco-friendly, with no impact on the environment.
The freezer-grade gaskets provide an airtight seal. When you shut the cooler, it feels like a refrigerator door shut.
There are many other, practical features: the lid stays open till you force it down and it has a raised lid tray, so when you put something there, it won't slide off the cooler. The top-loader latches will let you open the cooler without a need to drop your tailgate to get access to it.
As if that wasn't enough, Cordova Coolers are IGBC certified as bear-resistant and backed by a lifetime warranty.
If you decide to purchase Cordova from their store, it doesn't hurt to use the “save10now” coupon code to get an additional $10 off.
Features of Cordova coolers:
RTIC Coolers – Another Recommended YETI-like Cooler
RTIC Coolers has without a doubt been YETI’s biggest rival in terms of lost sales.
In fact, ever since they began manufacturing back in 2015, the brand has been full-throttle as far as their advertising and marketing campaigns, never afraid to shy away from calling out YETI directly.
Their company slogan at that time? “Half the price … Holds more ice.”
They’re definitely spot on with the ‘half the price’ part; it’s clear their sole intention from the beginning was to offer very similar style coolers as the YETI, at a 50% price cut.
And they’ve been extremely successful in doing so – they’ve catered to the massive crowd that would love to have a really nice quality outdoor cooler but finds it ridiculous to pay YETI’s prices.
However, some time ago RTIC’s bold advertising has caught up with them in terms of legal disputes; they’ve been in and out of court with YETI basically ever since they began marketing, and in 2017 they finally decided to settle the lawsuit and pay YETI a big chunk of money, as well as discontinue production of their earlier models.
This doesn’t mean they have gone out of business, oh no; They’ll still manufacture and sell awesome coolers at about half the price as YETI. They just had to change their design a bit. They also ditched the slogan for the new one: “Over Built – Not Over Priced“.
RTIC coolers have been field-tested by millions of users, and are known for durability and long ice retention, measured in days. If you need specifics, expect over week-long ice retention for their mid-sized coolers, with up to 10 days in case of the larger ones.
Insulation wise, RTIC uses over 2-inch thick, commercial-grade PU (polyurethane) foam, which is pressure-injected into the rotomolded body of the cooler, creating tight, dense insulation layer. It's basically the same type of insulation YETI uses in their Tundra coolers.
If you want to grab one of these new RTIC coolers then check out the RTIC's official store here to see all the size options, available colors, and read the customer reviews.
Pelican Elite Cooler
Pelican Elite is another one of those coolers that’s not necessarily much cheaper than YETI but instead has tried to construct a product that’s even superior, and then manufacture those on the U.S. soil.
In fact, Pelican has earned the reputation among many hardcore outdoors people as being the best-performing and most durable cooler on the planet. Perhaps this is why their hard coolers are backed by a lifetime warranty.
In terms of ice retention, it is actually pretty well-known that Pelican’s gasket design is superior to YETI’s, and they will hold ice longer under the same conditions.
Pelican Elite coolers come in 9 different sizes, 2 of which have wheels – the 45QT and 80QT models.
Interestingly, the 4 smallest sizes (20, 30, 50 and 70qt) are injection-molded coolers, which makes them about 30% lighter as compared to rotomolded coolers of the same size. All of their larger coolers are rotomolded though, and the same goes for the two wheeled models.
What's consistent across the entire line-up of Elite coolers is the robust insulation. This is the one continuous, thick layer of the highest-grade, pressure-injected polyurethane (PU) foam. There are no cut-outs or any thin-wall sections you can see in cheaper coolers. No compromises.
If you’re not specifically looking for coolers way cheaper than YETI, and are more concerned with performance instead, or if you want to support the US economy, then you might really want to check out Pelican’s line-up in their official store.
Engel Coolers – Same Quality Like YETI but Cheaper
Engel Coolers is another brand that’s survived basically by offering coolers that are cheaper than YETI, yet super high quality.
They’ve actually been around for much longer than their rivals (since 1990s, in fact), but their popularity never really took off until the massive YETI craze settled in.
Engel actually has got one of the most loyal followings of outdoorsmen and women anywhere. Their Deep Blue performance ice chests have become especially popular in boating communities. They've also ranked very high in our very own best boat cooler ranking.
Engel's major claim to fame is that their ice chests are 100% indestructible, and they come with a 10-year guarantee — all while being about 20-25% cheaper than YETI coolers.
Another good thing about Engel is that they have plenty of colors and size options to choose from, giving them a more complete rivalry to YETI’s Tundra series than, say, ORCA’s lineup. In fact, that's the only brand that can rival YETI when it comes to the number of available sizes.
To be specific, Engel's line of hard-sided coolers now includes 11 different sizes, starting from 21 quarts and going up to 293 quarts, while YETI currently offers 12 different Tundras to choose from.
Orca Coolers are one of those brands that don’t necessarily market themselves as being cheaper than YETI’s.
However, tons of people have said that strictly in terms of quality and performance, they’re actually better.
One of the huge draws of Orca coolers is that, unlike some of the YETIs, all of them are coolers made in USA. This is actually an aspect that’s caused YETI to lose a lot of their loyal customers; even after outsourcing part of their manufacturing to the Philippines and China, they continue to charge top dollar.
With the Orca cooler line-up, you’ll get numerous sizes to choose from, including most popular ones: 20, 26, 40, 58, 75 and 140 quarts. You can find all sizes and color options available at Amazon right here.
YETI-like Coolers: Rising Stars
These are the brands that aren’t quite as popular or well-known as ‘The Big 5’, but have proven to be great performers, and are cheaper than most any of the other top picks. Here’s our list of the best cheap coolers like YETI.
Blue Coolers is another really ‘under the radar’ brand that we did a write up for a while back, and predicted good things from.
What’s cool about them is their coolers offer thicker insulation that the YETI coolers, which is rare for companies whose main marketing point is economical prices.
Construction-wise we found that Blue coolers are built with nearly the same materials as YETI’s, and will easily keep ice for days. The only difference we've seen, insulation wise, is that the Blue had noticeably thicker insulation on the walls (watch the video below).
Blue offers their coolers at incredibly low prices, which is possible due to the fact these coolers are being made overseas and sold exclusively online. At just $3.64 per quart in case of the mid-sized, 55-quart cooler, it's very aggressive pricing.
As for the actual sizes, there are just three, at 30, 55, and 100 quarts. The medium one is also available as a wheeled cooler. All of them are available in three different colors (yes, blue is one of them).
Watch the Blue & YETI Tundra being cut in half to see which one has thicker insulation:
We did an in-depth Thermik Cooler review a while back, back when they first hit the market and had almost zero reviews or customer feedback.
We had pretty good things to say about them back then and predicted that they would turn out to be a successful brand.
Well, we hate to brag, but as it turns out, we were right.
The company has been doing really well since their first batch of premium roto-molds hit the market, and positive customer reviews have continued to roll in thick and fast.
This is a brand that’s very similar to YETI; their main draw is that they’re about 50% less expensive than the top brands.
The only negative thing we have to say about Thermik Coolers is that they (still) haven't expanded their range of sizes. They've started with just three sizes (25QT, 45QT, and 75QT) and as of 2020, these are still the only ones.
If any of those three sizes is what you're looking for, be sure to check out Thermik's listing at Amazon for more pictures, information, and real reviews from actual customers.
Kysek is a brand that we really fell in love with a long time ago, and that we’ve continued to follow since their introduction to the market.
With these guys, innovation is the name of the game: their coolers and soft ice packs are chock full of original, well-thought-out, well-designed, and well-constructed features that are actually fully functional, not useless gimmicks like we’ve seen other brands try and pull off.
Kysek Coolers are rated to hold ice for up to 10 days, but our favorite thing about them is their totally unique CodeBlue Mobile App and Sensor that alerts you when the internal temperature falls below a specified range.
This is the only cooler in the world that you can sync to your mobile device via an app, and we guarantee that it’s only gonna increase in popularity in years to come.
Additionally, all models and sizes available here (ranging from 25 to 150 liters), come standard with integrated bottle openers, heavy-duty removable wheels, XXL drain plugs for ultra-quick draining, and fully customizable lid labels – definitely one of the most unique and original brands out there.
Orion is a really top-class brand that doesn’t have much interest in overly marketing themselves to single-handedly dominate the performance cooler market.
They’re made by the same world-famous company that makes Jackson Kayaks, so they don’t need to validate their brand with corny marketing slogans or useless gimmicks – with their signature camo-swirl designs, they’re all about style, performance, and durability.
And speaking of performance, it's really hard to find a better-made ice chest. These things are the absolute best of the best, but you will pay for it in terms of price, unfortunately; they don’t make much of an effort to be cheaper than the competition.
Orion currently is manufacturing six different size rotomolded coolers (25-quart, 35-quart, 45-quart to 85-quart), though they can be pretty hard to find for sale online as of late.
Your best bet is going to be keeping tabs at Amazon to see what they’ve got in stock, as they’ve been known to be on sale there.
Coolers Like YETI Roadie 20 / 24: Our Best Picks
The YETI Roadie 20, and now also the newly released Roadie 24, represent the smallest, most economically priced options in the YETI hard cooler lineup. We had a lot of fun reviewing both of them (first the Roadie 20 here and then Roadie 24 here).
These are our top picks for their best alternatives:
K2 Summit 20 qt
In terms of performance, the K2 Summit 20 qt is probably the best rival to the YETI Roadie. And, it’s a good deal less expensive too.
It features up to 3” of insulation foam, so you can expect it to easily match the YETI as far as ice retention goes.
Another thing we really like is the heavy-duty padded shoulder strap in place of the stainless steel metal rod that’s on the Roadie.
K2 is one of the more popular and well-respected brands, so you won’t have any issues about durability or customer care; they’ve got a full 7-year guarantee that’s one of the best in the business.
Check the available color options and the latest price.
Nash Sub Z Cooler
The Nash Sub Z Cooler is without a doubt the cheapest rival to the YETI Roadie, coming in at well under 50% the MSRP cost.
And from what we’ve seen, it’s performance is right up there as well – this might finally be the high-quality, low-cost match that other companies have been trying to manufacture for years.
Size-wise it’s actually a little bigger than the Roadie, coming in at right around 23 quarts, and people are really liking that, unlike the YETI, it comes in 5 different colors. Check them all at Amazon right here.
Of course, the Nash brand is a far cry from the iconic status that the YETI name bears, but if status symbols are of little concern to you, you might really want to check out the Sub Z.
Bison 25Q Cooler
Bison 25Q Cooler is a brand that hasn’t held the greatest of reputations over the years (they were slammed pretty hard when they made the switch from the Brute brand name), but we will say one thing: if you can find the small size 25-quart cooler, buy it!
They have become quite hard to come by since the company downsized manufacturing, but these are very well-made coolers that are just a hair more expensive than the dirt-cheap Nash Sub Z.
Bison Coolers Discount
If any of the above ice chests caught your attention then note that you can get a 5% off the retail price by using this Bison Coolers link when buying from their website (note: the discount will be applied automatically during checkout).
Soft Cooler Bags Like YETI Hopper
YETI’s soft Hopper cooler, reviewed by us here, is another super popular model and is a great addition to the larger hard-sided coolers.
Here are our top picks for the best soft coolers like YETI:
Igloo Marine Cooler Bag
The Igloo Marine Ultra Square Soft is an insane bargain at almost 10x less than the cost of a YETI Hopper – and of course, it wouldn’t make it onto this list if it wasn’t worthy in terms of quality and performance.
Size-wise you’ve got several different options to choose from actually, ranging from 24 to 46-cans, available in either square, backpack, or console styles.
You can see all the models and styles listed in Igloo's official store right here.
Other than the price, of course, one of the users’ favorite features of these cooler bags is that they’re built to withstand marine environments, and are made with 100% non-corrosive zippers and hardware that won’t rust or get frozen in place in the salty air.
And as far as ice retention, the MaxCold insulation provides 25% more insulation than other brands, so you can expect your goodies to stay cold inside for up to 48 hrs.
Engel Cooler Bags – Standard And Performance HD Series
The 23-qt soft cooler bag by Engel is definitely a step up in quality over the Igloo bag, but you can be expected to pay for the difference in terms of price; this is kind of an intermediate-level soft cooler between the YETI Hopper M30 and the inexpensive Igloo Square Softs.
It’s another super-popular bag for saltwater anglers, and like the Igloo, it is purpose-built to be able to withstand corrosion brought on by salty environments.
Also, one really cool thing that customers love about the Engel soft cooler bags is that, in addition to the standard white, they’re also available in many colorways.
If ice retention is your key criteria, however, then you should out the Engel's HD series. The HD soft coolers are amongst the industry's best, if not the best, soft coolers for keeping ice.
Not only they're completely welded (while most other coolers are sewn), but in addition to thick foam insulation, Engel also added to them an innovative vacuum valve technology.
The valve lets you suck out excess air and thus improves the ice retention further on. Check out our dedicated review for more information.
RTIC Soft Pack
And finally, last but not least is the RTIC Soft Pack, available in either 8, 20, 30, or 40-quart varieties. Not long ago, they also added day coolers and backpacks into the line-up.
These are going to be the most like-for-like options in terms of soft coolers like YETI, and from the thousands of reviews they’ve collectively gotten so far, they perform just as well at a small fraction of the price.
Oh, and one really cool thing? RTIC has brought back they’re super popular camo colorway!
Check out all the sizes and color options right here.
Coolers Like YETI but Cheaper: The Bottom Line
The bottom line is, there are plenty of options out there when it comes to options for coolers like YETI.
Whether you’re in the market for a full-size cooler, something smaller like the YETI Roadie, or the soft-sided YETI Hopper, these are the best overall picks if you’re looking for something cheaper, but still want to maintain the same quality, performance, and durability as the most reputable cooler brand in the world.
That said, we still love YETI for their quality…and let's be straight: their brand is very, very cool. Although a bit overpriced, in our opinion, they're products are amazing and built to last.
If your budget permits and none of the YETI cooler alternatives we've introduced above caught your attention, you can always go and check out the full YETI line-up in their store and make your choice.
Last update on 2020-11-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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