The RTIC and YETI coolers are two of the best cooler products as of this year. The reason why they’re currently the best cooler manufacturers is that they produce a lot of top- notch models, which are all capable of keeping your foods fresh for several days.
A lot of their products actually provide similar performances. In fact, most of their products are so similar that yeti took a legal action against the rtic. The yeti won and has demanded the other company to redesign most of their products.
However, they may look similar, but which of them have the best models and what are their differences when it comes to its features? Let’s find out.
Overview of Both Companies
Before we move on to the comparison of products, let us first look at the broad overview of both companies and the kind of products they offer. This way, we’ll know more about their industry and some of the differences in their coolers.
Arguably, yeti is the most well-known premium cooler in the industry. Yeti is a cooler company in Austin, Texas, and was founded by two brothers in 2006, and ever since then, they have taken over the cooler industry. Their main and largest targets are outdoor enthusiasts, who are usually looking for a cooler that is tough enough to withstand the harsh environment of outdoors, and those who need a cooler that has a longer ice cooling life.
The yeti company offers a wide selection of coolers in different shapes and sizes, and both are in soft and hard-sided variations. In addition to their products, they have also included tumblers, ice buckets, and other cooling gears.
After the recent release of the rtic’s new lineup of models, yeti has also released some new products to keep up with their rival.
The RTIC cooler company is much younger than yeti, they’ve been established in the year 2014 and also founded by two brothers. The approach of their business is quite unique as they have made it seem like they are directly competing with yeti. In fact, most of their products are designed feature-by-feature with the yeti’s models, which they will then advertise at a much cheaper price than the yeti.
Despite the recent RTIC coolers vs YETI lawsuit, it is still quite obvious that their products took inspiration from YETI and from other cooler brands. According to their official site, they are able to provide cheaper products because they avoid the traditional distribution channel of coolers. It would also mean that they’ll rely more frequently on word of mouth since they don’t sell in typical big stores.
With that said, let’s now move on to product comparisons.
YETI vs RTIC Coolers
Now let’s compare some of the soft, hard-sided, and drinkware products of the companies. But before we compare them, let us first have an overview on each of their models.
• YETI Soft Coolers
The original soft-coolers of yeti are called Hopper, and they have expanded their product’s name into 2 categories: One if the Hopper Flip, and the other is the Hopper Two. The Hopper Two model is much larger and more resilient than the Hopper Flip, it also has a zip-open entry while the hopper flip has a flip-open top. The Hopper Flip is quite similar to a typical lunch box.
There are two of the three sizes of hopper flip that’s been released, and it is suspected to be in response to a higher competition from RTIC. Since the Hoppers doesn’t have a hard plastic wall, it makes them more compact, lighter, and much more convenient than traditional hard-sided premium coolers.
However, the downside of soft-sided coolers is that they have a shorter ice life, and not tough enough to last for a long time. This is also worth noting that from the ice life and toughness viewpoint, both the new and old hopper models have no major differences from each other. Another worth mentioning is that yeti now has a backpack cooler as well.
The YETI hopper products look more like a purse or duffle style bag, and its zipper is located near to cooler’s top. This kind of style makes it much easier to carry around, which makes it great for camping, staying at a beach, or fishing. Like the rtics, the yeti hoppers are also rigid enough to provide a good structure of the bag.
And what makes the yeti more convenient is that it can be crammed down into a smaller size for better storage.
• RTIC Soft Coolers
As for the rtic soft coolers, they are called the SoftPak coolers and they are quite similar to their hard coolers. These models come in various sizes to compete with the yeti’s Hopper models. Rtic also has a convenient compact lunch box for shorter journeys.
The products that are shown above are the designs to look less like the yeti’s hoppers. Aside from that, they have also released a couple of portable models which are intended to hold items and keep them dry. These new portable models are called Small SidePack and SidePack. However, these new items aren’t designed to store ice and other cold items. Rtic has also released their own backpack cooler to compete with the yeti’s backpack model.
• YETI Hard Coolers
The yeti hard-sided cooler model comes in two types, the Tundra Series and the Roadie Series. The Tundra Series is much larger than the roadie, it is designed to have a bigger storage and long ice life, which makes it perfect for picnics, camping, and other activities that require a long night stay, while the roadie is designed to have better compact and mobility for short trips.
The yeti company has stuck up with this kind of lineup for quite some time now, and for a good reason. They continue to be one of the most expansive hard cooler lineups in terms of the optional sizes.
In fact, some of the sizes are not compared to some rtic products, simply because rtic doesn’t have the same sizes. The sizes includes the yet 350, 250, 125, 210, 105, 160, 75, 110, and 50.
• RTIC Hard Coolers
Unlike the yeti models, the rtic hard coolers don’t have a fancy name, the coolers are simply called the Roto-Molded Coolers. And unlike the yeti’s, they only come in 5 sizes which ranges from a portable 20 up to a huge 145 hard cooler size.
Again, rtic has designed the sizes of their products to compete with the yeti’s hard cooler sizes, and with a similar designation of the names. However, as per the requirements of their lawsuit with the yeti, they have just recently updated the designs of their hard-sided coolers, and surprisingly they are yet to come up with other sizes.
It seems that they are sticking to their small to mid-sized coolers until October. Therefore, at that point, yeti would significantly stand out with their various optional sizes.
• YETI Drinkware
Aside from soft and hard-sided coolers, yeti has also come up with specialized drinkware to keep your drinks hot or cold. And like their other products, the drinkware also come in various sizes. Their size ranges from smallest, which seems to be designed to only hold a cup of coffee, to a large jug and bottles that can hold to up to 1 gallon of liquid.
• RTIC Drinkware
RTIC produces various drinkware items, which includes portable tumblers and up to insulated bottles. They target and advertise their products to be able to compete with the yeti’s products in terms of shapes and sizes. However, when it comes to the lineup of drinkware, rtic clearly has a much larger lineup than the yeti, especially in the category of bottles.
In addition, some of their products may also be redesigned prior to the lawsuit’s requirements, so the current designs are prone to change.
Things To Consider Before Buying Any of the 2 Types of Cooler Brands
+ The Quality of Plastic
When it comes to the brand’s plastic materials, both of the company’s brands are quite similar. This isn’t really surprising as they are just plastic, which is molded over an insulation and nothing special. When it comes to durability, most models of both brands can take several beatings and won’t crack that easily.
+ Rubber Comparisons
The rubber on the rtics hard coolers is slightly less in quality compared to yetis. The cooler’s latches are much easier to snap in place, it is possible that the rubber may wear out over time, which is enough to break the seal of the lid. They are not very noticeable in case it happens, and you can replace them anytime in case the rubber wears out at that point.
In addition to the quality of the rubber, it is much flimsy and a bit thinner than the yetis. Therefore, the rubber on the yeti’s hard coolers has more quality than the rtics. If you still prefer using the RTICs hard coolers, we would recommend that you put an epoxy or superglue in the rubber’s gap to prevent it from coming off the cooler when it wears out.
+ Rope Handles
Some of the company’s hard-coolers have ropes as a handle, but when it comes to comfort, the rope handles of the yeti company sure has a better quality than its rival. Also, the handles actually have rubber on them. Unlike the yetis, the rtics handles are made of foam so you’ll have an insight that it’ll degrade over time.
+ Shipping Services
Some customers of rtics have claimed that their coolers have blemishes and scratches upon receiving it. These issues may be possible due to the damages received during shipping, or maybe from the reshipment of returned hard coolers within the 30-days warranty.
This is actually a rare issue and is purely cosmetic as it won’t affect the performance of the coolers, but still, we have mentioned this for additional information.
Despite the products being designed in the US, both of the cooler’s brands are manufactured in China. But regardless of that, it is clear that when it comes to the material’s quality, yeti surely surpasses the RTIC’s.
+ The Design and Materials Used in Soft Coolers
The RTIC has preferred to market a more traditional looking style of the soft cooler in their line of SoftPak with a flip-up lid. However, yeti has also made a similar cooler but more unique than the RTIC’s model. Yeti has marketed a yeti hopper, which is styled as a duffel bag cooler.
RTIC has taken the attitude “if it’s not broke, do not fix it” and the traditional design in creating their flip-top coolers. This is actually great because despite the insulation being soft, it’s still rigid enough to make the whole cooler have a uniform shape and stiffer structure.
Therefore, even if you throw your soft cooler in your car with other camping materials, your delicate things that are stuffed inside your soft-sided cooler won’t get crushed, such as sandwiches and other soft delicacies.
However, you can’t fold the bag for storage that is as small as the yeti. We have also found out that the box style cooler isn’t as comfortable as the yeti.
+ The Quality and Design of Materials Used in Hard Coolers
As you have seen on the provided pictures above, you’ll notice that most of the coolers of both companies are almost identical to one another. You are not the only that has noticed this, even Yeti has noticed this which is why they have filed a lawsuit against RTIC.
Both brands have thick rubber latches, non-stick feet, lockable corner slots, thick insulation, rubber lid gasket, tie-downs, drain spots and more. But, that is not what you really need to know, here are the key differences.
+ The Size and Colors of Hard Coolers
Most rtics hard coolers are mostly available in white or tan colors, while the yetis have white, seafoam green, tan, and light blue colors. If you don’t want a tan or white color cooler, then we suggest that you get one of the yeti’s available blue or green cooler.
And in terms of sizes, the yeti would surely win on this category. They have a total of 10 available sizes, which are far more than the rtics. In addition to this, the yetis hard coolers have a slightly larger dimension, despite the supposed number of its quarts.
The large dimension of the rtics is mostly due to its plastic, also the insulations are slightly thicker than the yeti. Another thing about its thickness is that it adds up some weight, so if you are looking for a cooler that has a lighter weight then we suggest that you get one of the yeti’s products.
+ Bear-Proof Coolers
Here is another feature that Yeti’s can boast and which the rtics doesn’t have. Yetis hard coolers are certified to be bear-proof. As a test, they have filled one of their coolers with yummy foods and have let the grizzly bears go at the cooler. The cooler has a designated hole at the corner of the lid, where you can use a padlock, to keep it locked tight and safe from the animals during your outdoor stay.
This is an awesome feature for a hard cooler, especially when camping or during your stay at a beach. The Rtics may not be certified bear-proof, but they are also quite similar to the yeti as they also have the same padlock hole for security.
+ Ice Retention of Both Brands
Now, this is what really matters when it comes to purchasing hard-coolers, their ice retention. So which cooler has a longer ice life? If you are going to spend your $200 or more for a cooler, you would expect it to perform well when it comes to retaining the cold.
Surprisingly, when you compare rtic vs yeti, the rtics are more effective in retaining ice much longer than the yetis. We have mentioned earlier that the rtics have a thicker wall than the yetis, this actually contributes to the rtics to have better ice retention.
We may have mentioned that rtics provide better ice retention, you should also know that the difference from each other isn’t that big. Both coolers are great in retaining coldness, but it is actually very interesting to know that, for half a price, rtics can perform a better job than the yetis.
+ The Hard-Sided Cooler’s Price Difference
We already know who wins at this category, when it comes to the brand’s prices, rtic’s definitely won on this round. The reason why the yetis have an expensive price tag is hard to say. But partially, this actually has something to do on its marketing. Since they are the original roto-molded cooler, people will pay more for this fact, just like they are paying to have an official bear-proof certified cooler.
With that said, here’s a quick recap on which hard-cooler wins each of the categories:
- Features and Design: Tie
- Size and Weight: YETI, they are lighter and has a wide variety of selection
- Materials Quality: YETI
- Available Sizes: YETI
- Bear-Proof: Only YETI
- Available Colors: Yeti has a lot more options
- Ice Retention: RTIC
- Price: RTIC
- Warranty: YETI
High-Density Fabrics of Both Products
The yeti soft-sided coolers are composed with a tough high-density fabric, which is completely waterproof. The bag has a “DryHide” shell that is mildew, UV ray, and Puncture resistant to lessen the degrading of outer materials.
Also, the bag is also equipped with a 100% leak-proof zipper to keep the water out of the bag, and in the worst case scenario, if there’s a leakage inside the bag, it would keep the liquid inside rather than messing up all over your things.
As for the Rtics SoftPak, the materials used in making their outer materials, are also very similar to the yeti’s models. The rtics soft coolers are also puncture resistant, anti-microbial, and waterproof. It also has a heavy-duty, nylon material that has a bit if rubber feels to it. The Rtics are decently cooler than the yeti’s, we have also seen a couple of issues with them, which aren’t present with the yeti’s products.
The rtic soft coolers claim that they are sweat-proof, however, there are some customers that have reported that the bag’s sweat in higher temperatures. In addition, the seams aren’t assembled well, which is one of the downfalls of the cooler.
The Size and Colors
The rtic soft coolers come in three sizes and they are measured by the number of cans, including ice, they can carry. The Rtic SoftPak 40 is the biggest one that can a whole family’s lunch, and it is much more versatile than the others. This is great for a weekend camping. They are also available in several colors, so you’ll have plenty of designs to choose from.
The yet hopper is also available in three sizes, however, the rtic soft cooler bags can hold more cans than the Yeti’s hoppers. Therefore, if you are planning to have a weekend trip or have a big family, we suggest that you get the Hopper 40 to hold a lot more foods. Unlike the rtic SoftPaks, the yeti hoppers are only available in two colors, which include grey and silver.
Bear-Proof Soft-Sided Coolers
The yeti hard-sided cooler may have been certified to be bear-proof, but unfortunately, both brands of soft-sided coolers are neither granted with such feature. Therefore, both rtic and yeti soft coolers cannot withstand an attack from a bear or from any other animals.
Unfortunately, unlike the brand’s roto-molded cousins, both brands of soft coolers don’t have long ice retention. But according to some tests, the yeti hoppers can hold ice much longer than the rtics Softpaks. The hoppers, when closed tightly, the retention of ice can last for up to 72 hours. While for the SoftPaks, they only have a retention of 62 hours.
The Price Difference
Since the rtic company lives up to a saying of “yeti for half a price”, expect their products to have more affordable prices than the yetis. This includes their soft coolers, rtic’s soft coolers are 2 to 3 times less expensive than the yetis. So if you have a tight budget, and is not really sensitive when it comes to some minor issues, then we suggest that you get an rtic soft cooler.
And there you have, as you can see from this review, the yeti coolers have clearly won to some categories, such as the warranty, customer service, quality of materials, and the durability of their products.
While for the rtics, they have clearly won on the category of price, some of their coolers have better ice retention, and colors. If you are aiming for a high-quality cooler, you should definitely go for the YETI’s. But if you are in a tight budget, then consider getting yourself an RTIC, the RTIC’s quality of materials isn’t that far off from the YETI’s.