rtic vs yeti - which cooler is better

Yeti vs Rtic


It’s Yeti vs Rtic in today’s post, as we compare these two brands to see which one is really the best cooler. Yeti has made a name for itself as the luxury brand of roto molded coolers, but Rtic is here to challenge it as a cost effective alternative. Can Rtic compete? Is Yeti all hype?

It seems like Yeti is worried about the answer to that question since they sued Rtic, who were forced to change their design for being too similar.  Though they aren’t the first lawsuit under Yeti’s belt, and the company has also come after many others, such as Wal-Mart and Home Depot, for the same thing.

But, does that mean that these knock-off coolers are just as good as Yeti? Is that why they’re so scared of the competition?

In this post, we intend to answer that question. We’ll be doing a side by side comparison, of Rtic vs Yeti coolers, to see which one really gives you the biggest bang for your buck.

In our review, we’ll be focusing on the Rtic vs Yeti 45 model coolers. We’ve chosen coolers that are equal in size in order to keep things fair. While we’ve done a pretty lengthy write up on the subject, we understand if you don’t have time for the whole thing. So, we’ve also done a little summary here of our top pick. Spoiler alert: It’s Yeti.

Editor’s Pick


While the Yeti has a hefty price tag, sometimes you have to pay for quality. The Yeti not only performs phenomenally well in field testing, as well as in all of our criteria categories, but it also comes in at number one for customer service.

That may not a big deal for some people, but it’s a huge deal for us. Even a knock-off Yeti cooler is a serious investment, and we’d prefer to buy from a company that stands behind their products.

Yeti offers a 5 year warranty to Rtic’s 1 year. This leaves us a little worried about how much faith Rtic has in their own products. Not to mention the fact that Yeti has a bit larger selection of coolers and more durable construction.

While the Yeti does does fall short a little bit on capacity, it’s not enough to sway our vote. Yeti is the winner, hands down.


Sticking around for the whole review? Awesome! We’ll be dividing this showdown into categories based on what we think matters most to consumers. Those categories are: ice retention, durability, capacity, customer service, and available options. Let’s get started with the category that everyone cares the most about…

Ice Retention


Rtic is cheaper than Yeti, but how does it stack up where it really counts?

This is the most important statistic for most people. They want the cooler that will hold ice for the longest, because well, that’s why you’re buying a cooler in the first place. While Yeti is a lot more reserved in their estimates, Rtic will proudly state that their cooler’s ice life is up to 10 days.

Yeti and Rtic ice life test.

This of course is dependent on several external factors, such as how you pack the cooler, air space and the external temperature though. No cooler that’s sitting in the middle of the desert will retain ice for 10 days, sorry.

If you’d like to see the ice retention of both of these coolers in action, then I refer you to this video, which does a fair job of showing the difference between them.

If you don’t want to waste your time watching the video, then I’ll go ahead and tell you that the Yeti retained more ice than the Rtic in this test.

but, there are many, many ice life tests on Youtube, and some of them tell a different story. So, what’s the deal? While we know that this can be confusing, the truth is that ice retention is really difficult to measure even though it seems like a simple experiment.

As previously mentioned, there are a lot of factors which will impact ice retention and any variances could corrupt your results. The good news that there are a lot of things you can do to increase ice retention on your own regardless of what cooler you buy.

How to increase your ice retention


  • Don’t put food or drinks into a warm cooler
  • Pre-chill drinks you plan to put in the cooler
  • Focus on a 2-1 ratio of ice to drinks/food
  • Pack the cooler tightly for better retention
  • Utilize layering for more even cooling
  • The drier the ice, the better
  • Don’t open the cooler too much
  • Store your cooler in the shade
  • Use block ice instead of cubed ice
yeti vs rtic ice retention

So, in short, Yeti wins our ice retention showdown, but it’s a pretty close contest. The truth is Rtic and Yeti coolers both perform well in the ice department.

So, you should also keep the above points in mind if you’re really concerned with ice retention, because even the best cooler will perform poorly when placed in less than ideal conditions.

Conversely, even a cheap cooler’s ice life can be improved, at least somewhat, when the proper procedures are in place. Set yourself up to win, and you’ll be much happier.

Durability and Construction


Is a Yeti cooler stronger than a Grizzly Bear?

Our next category explores how well these coolers are made. Does a reduction in price mean a reduction in quality for Rtic? It looks like this one may be a little bit true at least.

Some consumers have complained about inferior seals on Rtic coolers vs Yeti, and that will definitely impact your ice retention if yours wear out.

Yeti’s coolers have extra durable latches and hardware to keep their coolers securely closed.

Yeti has also created a number of novelty videos to show off the durability of the coolers. They’ve done Yeti vs fireworks, Yeti vs stuntman, and Yeti vs Grizzly Bear, as seen above. Both coolers claim to be bear resistant, but while there are many videos showing the Yeti cooler being tested by bears and thrown off the backs of trucks, there don’t seem to be any to prove Rtic’s claim. That leave’s Rtic’s bear resistance status unverified, and so, we’re forced to declare Yeti the winner.

Oh, yeah, and here are the other durability videos, just for fun.

Capacity


Rtic vs Yeti coolers: Rtic has better can capacity.

Even though the Yeti and the Rtic appear to be the same size, looks can be deceiving. So, what’s the real capacity here?

The best way to measure this in an easy to understand metric is by can capacity! After all, that’s what you really care about, right?

The Yeti 45 comes in at an empty weight of 23 pounds, making it slightly lighter when compared to the Rtic’s 25 pounds. However, the Rtic can hold 36 cans to Yeti’s 26.

That’s a pretty big difference when you’re trying to maximize your beer space on a fishing trip. So, what’s up with the numbers? Is Yeti counting on you using less ice?

The answer is that while they both have the same 3 inches of thick insulation in them, it seems that if we take the measurements into account, the Yeti is actually significantly smaller than the Rtic cooler. So, size-wise in the Rtic vs the Yeti cooler debate, Rtic is the winner if you want to bring the most beer on your hunting or fishing trip.

yeti vs bear

Warranty and Customer Service


Yeti offers their customers a comprehensive 5 year warranty. They also have lots of replacement parts available in the event that something does break that’s not covered.

Their replacement parts catalog includes things like handles, drain plugs and latches that you may lose or destroy. This keeps you from having to buy a brand new ice chest just because you managed to tear off a handle somehow.

They also offer stellar customer support, and most customers who have had to deal with them rave about how quick and easy it was to get their issues rectified. Rtic on the other hand has a rather annoying support ticket system that some people have had issues with, and in some cases their coolers have arrived damaged, causing some concern in regards to quality control and shipping procedures. The availability of stock also seems to be a constant issue, with coolers sometimes being sold out for months at a time.

This Youtuber got his replacement Yeti in just 12 days.

Rtic offers a paltry one year warranty, and to be honest, we’re curious about why that is. Surely for a product this expensive a little better warranty should apply?

In the event that you need to return your Rtic cooler outside the initial 30 day window, you’ll also need to pay for shipping.

That’s not cheap for an item that can easily weigh 30 pounds or more!

Yeti provides free pre-paid shipping labels for warranty claims, and for that, they get a gold star from us. Their customer support department is top notch, and if that’s something that’s important to you, then you may want to spend a little bit more to get a Yeti cooler.

Size Range and Designs


Yeti offers larger coolers, which Rtic does not.

One of the biggest advantages that Yeti has over Rtic, is that they just have a greater size range available. This likely isn’t a deal breaker if you need an average size cooler like the 45, but if you need something a little bigger, say for your boat, then Yeti is the better choice. Rtic’s sizes stop at the 145, but Yeti’s sizes keep on going like the Energizer bunny, all the way up to their whopping 350 model!

This beast of a cooler holds up to 259 cans, and it’s 63 inches in length. That’s perfect for fishing trips to keep your beer and your catch nice and frosty. Just make sure you’ve got a few buddies to lift this thing into your boat, because it weighs 89 pounds bone dry. Once you realize how hefty it is with ice weighing it down, your back will start preemptively crying. Yeti coolers also come in a variety of cool colors and sports team wraps, whereas Rtic has only boring colors. So, Yeti definitely wins in the selection department.

So, what’s the verdict here?

Alright, so after all that who makes the best cooler? The honest answer is that it really depends on what you want, both of them have their merits. Our personal pick is the Yeti cooler thanks in part to their outstanding customer service and warranty, but..

If you need an affordable cooler that will keep your food and drinks icy cold without breaking the bank, then the Rtic more than lives up to the challenge. They’ve got great storage capacity, and the price is right, but we’d like them much better if their warranty wasn’t so short.

Even though you’re saving money over purchasing a Yeti, it’s still a sizable investment. One that we think deserves a better warranty and a little confidence from the company offering it.

So, if you feel that you may need to use the warranty on your cooler at some point, Rtic might be a bad choice, and you’d be better off with the Yeti.

Yeti offers a lengthy warranty, attentive customer support, easy claims processing, premium services, a wide selection of products, and superior durability. While Rtic can hold its own in capacity, ice retention, and price, they don’t seem to have all the finer details worked out yet. For consumers who want assurances and easy claims on their warranties, Yeti is the clear winner. Though there is one other small issue here that may impact your decision: availability. Rtic seems to have constant issues with whoever manufactures their coolers. Yeti has been around longer and their operation is more streamlined, but Rtic is still pretty new, and you may be disappointed to find that your cooler of choice may be out of stock, sometimes for months at a time. So, if you’re looking to buy a cooler quickly, then Yeti is your best bet.

Yeti/Rtic Comparison Chart

PROS

  • 5 Year Warranty
  • Most Durable
  • Better Ice Retention
  • Great Customer Support
  • Replacement Parts Available
  • Large Selection Of Products
  • Larger Sizes Available

CONS

  • More Expensive
  • Lower Can Capacity

PROS

  • Most Affordable
  • Larger Can Capacity

CONS

  • Not As Durable
  • Poor Customer service
  • 1 Year Warranty
  • Slightly Worse Ice Retention
  • No Large Coolers Available

Alright, well that’s our review! We hope that this article has been helpful in your decision making process, and we hope that you’ll stay tuned for more great content from us. You can browse the blog to read about more great hunting and fishing gear. We are constantly posting new reviews and product comparisons for our readers.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on reddit
Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on email
Email
Share on reddit
Reddit