rtic vs yeti

RTIC vs Yeti Cooler: The Ultimate Showdown (2020 Edition)

In the battle for outdoor coolers, both Yeti and RTIC produce a popular range of lines. The 2006 founded Yeti company is arguably the more popular of the two, but this doesn’t mean that RTIC has been asleep at the wheel. In fact, their most recent line of outdoor coolers has continued to make a splash. This means that for consumers there are more choices than ever when it comes to the ideal cooler. It also means that consumers also have to make a choice between two premium brands. So, in the great RTIC vs Yeti debate, which one is better?

Side Note – Check out this article on Raving Trends

The Outdoor Cooler Trend

Whether it’s a tailgate party or a picnic, a lot of people enjoy getting out the cooler and having a grand old time of it. In fact, many people like to show off a good looking cooler. This is why both Yeti and RTIC produce coolers with ever increasing feature footprints and aesthetic qualities.

What Should You Look for in an Outdoor Cooler?

If you’re looking for a good cooler, there are a number of things to consider, including but not limited to:

1. How it Looks

For many people who enjoy having picnics, tailgate parties, and other outdoor activities, the way that a cooler looks is important. A good looking cooler makes them feel as if they have a premium product that will impress other people.

2. Durability and Strength

Moat people who know coolers can attest to the toughness, strength, and durability of Yeti coolers, but this doesn’t mean that RTIC has not been improving in this area.

Ideally, any outdoor cooler is tough and durable. It should be made from good quality materials that will last for many years of heavy use. 

3. Features

In the race to get the consumer dollar, both Yeti and RTIC have been improving on their designs and have been including more and more features in their coolers. This has led to a wide range of products.

Features such as soft sides, double wall insulation, and so on have become “must have” inclusions in outdoors coolers and many people now expect them.

4. How Cold it Gets and How Long the Ice Lasts

When you buy a cooler, you need to know that it will do the job of keeping everything inside it cool. The one thing that it should do admirably well is to keep the ice cold enough to keep everything else cool and to use as ice cubes in drinks. In part, this may also be due to included features such as insulation walls, such as the RTIC cooler featured here

5. How Much it Costs

Of course, the price is always going to be a factor when it comes to choosing an outdoor cooler. While it might seem like a good idea to spend less on a cooler, if you’re the kind of family that enjoys the outdoor life, a premium quality cooler will serve you much better. In this sense, you tend to get what you pay for.

6. Cooler Size

The size of the cooler does matter. If you’re wanting to use it for a lot of outdoor events, it might be better to invest a little more money into a cooler that can accommodate everything you need to take with you and keep cool. The good news is that there are a range of cooler sizes from both Yeti and RTIC.

7. Extras

Finally, there are a few extra things that might determine how you choose your new cooler, including the warranty period and the reputation of the company. In the case of both Yeti and RTIC, they are both well-known companies. They both produce premium coolers. However, Yeti has been around for longer and this may count positively for some customers. Having said that, you should always invest in a cooler that a company will support through service and a solid warranty period.

What’s the Deal with RTIC?

Interestingly, RTIC have based their cooler business on going toe to toe with Yeti. Being one of the biggest and most well-known cooler makers in the industry, Yeti has always set the pace. RTIC has recognized this and they continue to manufacture products that directly compete with Yeti products. This is also why so many of the cooler products both companies produce seem to have parity in terms of their features.

Will this fact affect your purchasing decision? It’s going to be different for everyone, so it’s wise to remain open-minded. If your goal is to buy the best cooler possible, with all of the features you need, for a good price, then both Yeti and RTIC are worth serious consideration. Both companies produce premium quality coolers. So, who wins in the RTIC vs Yeti battle?

A Side by Side Shootout

Given that so many of their coolers are so similar, it’s worth comparing apples with apples and oranges with oranges. Their similarities make this a fairly simple comparison. 

1.  Yeti Tundra 45 Versus the RTIC 45

They both look very similar and have similar coloring and design, but each of these multipurpose coolers feature slightly different specifications that may affect our buying decision.

One of the most important features in any cooler is how many cans of drink it can store easily. Here. The RTIC just edges out the Yeti because it can store up to 40 cans of drink. Interestingly enough, though the Yeti seems to be able to hold only 26 cans, a lot of it depends on how they are packed. If you pack them carefully, you can actually squeeze more cans of drink in there.

Though the design of both coolers is very similar, the Yeti can keep drinks and food cold for up to 10 days if ice is packed inside. The RTIC still has a good ice life, but maximum seems to be around the 7 day mark. Of course, this is going to be more than enough for most people, but if you plan to do a lot of road travel and you need the cooler to keep your food and drinks nice and fresh, the Yeti just edges out the RTIC. 

In terms of how portable and easy to carry they are, both coolers are very similar. When weighing the empty coolers though, the Yeti is slightly lighter at only 23 lbs. That’s two pounds lighter than the RTIC. It’s a close call here, but the Yeti just wins the portability race.

Both the Tundra and the Yeti 45 offer very similar specifications. The RTIC might appear to be the winner with a slightly bigger internal capacity, but the Yeti has a slightly longer ice life and is slightly lighter. This makes it the winner.

2. Yeti Roadie 20 Versus the RTIC 20

The first thing you’ll notice is that the RTIC 20 will hold up to 24 cans, whilst the Yeti is only rated to hold up to 14. That seems like a significant difference, but careful packing and frugal packing of ice packs can alleviate this difference to a reasonable degree.

One of the problems with the RTIC 20 is that the lid doesn’t stay up on its own. This may seem insignificant until you start to use it, and then it becomes a bit of a hassle to constantly open and keep open with a hand or other prop. In this sense, it’s the small details that let the RTIC 20 down a bit.

The Yeti is durable and made of quality materials, though the same cannot be said of the RTIC. Apart from the lid not staying open on its own without assistance, some people have found that there are defects in the molding of the lid and other parts. 

If it were a Yeti, customer service would sort it out quite quickly because that’s what you pay a premium for. When it comes to RTIC, the customer service on issues like this can be lacking, and that’s a problem. As a customer, you need to weigh the price versus the customer service and potential defects.

In more positive news, both of these coolers will keep your drinks and food cool for three or four days. The Yeti offers only slightly longer ice life, but it’s a very close race. The ice life of any cooler is going to be impacted mostly by the temperature outside of the cooler, so this has to be taken into account.

If quality is what you’re truly after, you won’t go wrong with the Yeti Roadie 20. If you’re happy to spend less and take the risk on potential defects and customer service, then the RTIC has similar enough specifications and features that the two are neck and neck. 

3. Yeti Hopper 30 Versus RTIC 30

So far, all of the talk in the RTIC vs Yeti debate has been about hard sided coolers, but soft sided coolers offer great portability and are much easier to carry and pack for many people. Of course, both RTIC and Yeti offer soft sided coolers, so how do they compare?

In terms of storage, both the Yeti Hopper 30 and the RTIC 30 can hold up to 30 cans of drink. In this regard, there is really nothing to choose between them. Having said that, the ice life of the Yeti Hopper is marginally better than the RTIC model, coming in at 8 hours longer if the outside temperature is ideal. 

Both of these coolers are easy enough to carry around and the empty weight is comparable. The biggest difference between the two is the quality of materials. In this regard, the Yeti is made of tougher stuff and will likely be the more durable of the two coolers. Of course, this must be weighed against the price difference, as the RTIC is less expensive.

In broad terms, the Yeti is the winner, but if the price is your main concern and you just need a cooler that will do an admirable job, the RTIC is the one to go for in the soft sided cooler stakes.

Should You Invest in Yeti?

When it comes to coolers, we all have slightly different needs. Some people just want a cooler for the occasional weekend away or picnic, and others want their cooler to be more of a lifestyle choice so that they can get the most out of their outdoor adventures on the weekend.

So, what does Yeti really have to offer you if you’re looking at coolers? Here’s a brief rundown:

1. Durable Materials

Without a doubt, Yeti uses better quality materials than RTIC do in their coolers. On the surface, the materials may look the same, but when you really dig deep, Yeti often uses better quality stitching around the carry handles, as well as better overall materials.

2. Customer Service and Warranty

Yeti is well-known for going the extra mile. If you want a solid warranty period, Yeti is the brand to choose. Likewise, if you happen to get a Yeti cooler with a problem, their customer service is solid too.

3. Features and Designs

Yeti produces well-constructed and well thought-out coolers for a wide range of consumers. This is what they’ve been doing for a long time and they know their game well.

Even though RTIC may seemingly be ahead of them in some features, Yeti’s designers have always produced well-balanced and well-engineered coolers that are eminently usable.

4. Good Ice Life

One of the most important aspects of any cooler, no matter what the brand, is how long it can keep things cool and fresh inside. In this context, the race between RTIC and Yeti may seem close, but Yeti just edges it out time after time. Even if you need an extra day or half a day of cooling, Yeti will most often get you there with little fuss.

Thoughts on Yeti Coolers

The fact is that if you’re in the cooler market for the best, Yeti is really going to be the only choice. It will certainly be the best choice if quality, durability, ice life, warranty period, and customer service are what you care about. Having said that, Yeti coolers do cost a pretty penny and all of those features are expensive. This is why, if you’re on a tight budget, you may wish to look at RTIC offerings instead.

Side Note – Blaux Portable AC article by Raving Trends

Should You Invest in RTIC?

Here’s a brief rundown of what RTIC coolers offer you as a consumer:

1. Price

Without any doubt, RTIC offers less expensive coolers than Yeti do on comparable lines. For many people, this is going to be enough to sway them in favor of buying RTIC coolers, and there’s nothing wrong with that. 

2. Durability

Of course, RTIC coolers are not as well-made or as durable as Yeti coolers, but will that really matter in the end? If you just want a cooler that does the job and will stand up to rough treatment and heavy use, then RTIC produces some excellent coolers for the money. They’ll certainly be better than most of the less expensive brands on the market and many third-party brands. In this sense, their durability benefits from being a copy of Yeti coolers.

3. Design

Once again, RTIC coolers benefit from copying Yeti coolers. In this sense, they have similar designs to their Yeti counterparts. This is a big reason why they are very attractive to many consumers and why they often do so well in the market.

Thoughts on RTIC Coolers

There are a few reasons to consider RTIC coolers over Yeti coolers. The first is that the prices are right. They are less expensive than Yeti and for many people this is really all that matters. They’ll be buying a good enough cooler for their needs and it will be at a price that they can easily afford.

RTIC coolers also benefit from the fact that they are in many cases direct copies of Yeti coolers. This makes them equally well-thought out designs with plenty of features.

With all of that being said, there are a few downsides to RTIC. Their customer service is lacking compared to Yeti. Their quality control may also be lacking, as some customers find deformations. 

The other issue is that Yeti has sued RTIC for copying many of their designs and have won the case. RTIC has had to change some of their designs to comply with the court order. This may or may not be a concern to you as a consumer, but what it demonstrates is that RTIC is following the leader. If it is the leader that you want to invest in, RTIC may not be the right brand for you.


RTIC and Yeti both make great coolers with plenty of features. Choosing between them often comes down to price, but there are other considerations, such as features, ice life, and so on. If you want a good quality cooler for your outdoor adventures and you’re upgrading from inferior products, the RTIC and Yeti are both worth looking at.

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