Why Are YETI Coolers So Expensive? Is It Worth Spending All That Money?

You’re thinking of buying a new cooler and you’ve heard of YETIs, the high spec, top-end coolers – and you’re wondering, why are they so costly and is it really worth spending all that money on an ice box when you can pick up a regular one for a lot less money?

So why are YETI coolers so expensive? Here, I will take a detailed look at these coolers to help you understand why they cost so much – and I will also give you a few pointers to help you decide whether you need to spend all that money just to keep your food and drinks cold.

Why Are YETI Coolers So Expensive?

1. Rotomolded, Foam-Injected Coolers For Insulation

YETI Tundra 45 Cooler

YETI Tundra 45 Cooler - Via Amazon.com

The primary function of any cooler is to keep food cold to preserve it for longer periods. Perishable foods need to be kept at below 40°F or they will quickly go bad, and a cooler’s performance can be judged on how long it is able to keep food below this temperature.

One of the key features of YETI coolers (as well as the other brands of premium coolers that followed) is the ability to retain ice for extended periods and so preserve food much longer. YETI claim that their coolers are able to retain ice for up to ten days.

The innovation that allowed this increased ice retention compared to regular coolers was a technique known as rotomolding where the entire shell of the cooler is made from a single piece of plastic with no joints, increasing its insulating properties.

YETI Roadie 20 Cooler

Via Amazon.com

Rotomolded cooler shells are then filled with pressure-injected foam. This further increases the insulating properties of the cooler, allowing it to retain ice for such extended periods. YETIs are rotomolded, pressure-injected foam coolers and this is the first reason for the high price.

Pressure-injected Foam Insulation - Via Shedheads.net

2. Rugged And Resistant

YETI Tundra 65 Cooler

YETI Tundra 65 Cooler - Via Amazon.com

If you are willing to spend such an amount on a cooler, you will also require something that is going to last a long time and something that will be able to stand up to any amount of punishment it is subjected to.

The second advantage of the rotomolding and foam-injecting manufacturing process is that it increases the toughness of the cooler. Once the foam is inside the shell, it sets hard and so, as well as providing a high degree of insulation, it also reinforces the structural integrity of the cooler.

The result is a cooler that can take a lot of abuse and one that you can even stand on without any concerns that it will collapse under your weight.

YETI Tundra 45 Cooler

YETI Tundra 45 Cooler - Via Amazon.com

Other than the rotomolded, foam-injected shell, YETI coolers also include a number of other features designed to ensure they can withstand whatever is thrown at them. YETI coolers include heavy-duty latches, polyester rope handles and tough gaskets, all of which ensure the cooler will have a long life.

YETI coolers are simply well-made pieces of kit. They have been designed to last and the company is so confident in its product that most YETI coolers come with a five-year warranty period. It is a well-constructed product made of top-grade materials and this is the second reason the price is so high.

3. Other Useful Design Features

YETI Roadie 20 Cooler

YETI Roadie 20 Cooler - Via Amazon.com

YETI coolers aren’t just made to be strong and durable. They have also been carefully designed with lots of useful features to make them easy and practical to use.

One important feature of these coolers is that they are designed to be completely bear-proof and if you need a cooler to take into bear country, this is absolutely essential. You want a cooler in which you can store food with the confidence that if a bear comes in the night, he won’t be able to get in.

You can watch a bear vs. a YETI here:

Another feature of YETI coolers is the non-slip feet. This might be important if you plan to use the cooler in a situation where it might end up moving about like on a fishing boat. With the non-slip feet, you don’t need to worry about the box sliding about and becoming a potential danger.

Some other useful features include the good drainage system for letting out the water that collects at the bottom and the non-sweat shell which prevents condensation from forming on the outside. On top of all this, they just look like a high-quality piece of gear.

All in all, these coolers have been designed to be a pleasure to use and this high quality of design is also part of what you pay the extra money for.

Is It Worth Spending All That Money?

YETI's Price vs Value - Cash, Calculator And Pen On White Background

All of these features come at a cost. Do you really need to spend all that money just on something as simple as an ice box? The answer depends entirely on you and the requirements you have for your cooler.

Broadly, there are three types of cooler, soft coolers, regular hard coolers and premium hard coolers.

Soft coolers are lightweight and easy to carry but don’t retain ice anywhere near as long as hard coolers. These coolers are suitable for day trips or perhaps one-night trips.

Regular coolers are traditional ice boxes that don’t cost a great deal but don’t have the same ice retention capabilities as a premium cooler. If you only need to keep food or drinks cold for a couple of days, it might not be necessary to spend money on a premium model.

Premium coolers, of which YETI is the original and, many would say, still the best, are coolers for serious expeditions when you need to keep food and drink cold for extended periods. These expensive coolers might be required for long hunting or fishing trips or similar activities.

Are There Any Alternatives To A YETI?

Gray Camping Cooler Isolated Over White Background

YETI may have been the first company to produce premium coolers that can retain ice for up to ten days and withstand any rough treatment that comes their way – but several other companies soon followed suit and there are now various other options.

Some of the best coolers on the market in direct competition with YETI are made by companies such as Orca, Grizzly and Pelican Pro Gear. Coolers produced by these companies offer similar specs to YETI coolers but also sell for similar prices (some are slightly less money) – so you are just choosing between different brands.

If you are interested in checking out some different options, have a look at my guide to choosing the best camping cooler.

Another option that offers a similar high-quality product at a lower price point is an RTIC cooler. RTIC sell coolers direct from their website cutting out the middle man, allowing them to reduce costs and pass the savings on to their customers. You can check out my guide to RTIC coolers here.


YETI coolers are without any doubt a high-quality product and the only issue is the price. If you only need a cooler for occasional use or short trips, you might find that a YETI is unnecessary and a cheaper, regular cooler will do the job just as well.

If you need a heavy-duty cooler that can take a lot a punishment and will keep your food cold for up to ten days on extended camping, hunting or fishing trips – and you are willing to pay – several options are available. YETIs, the original premium coolers, are as good a choice as any.​

Do you have a YETI? Or perhaps you prefer a Grizzly or an Orca. What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear from you – and if you liked my article, please don’t forget to share!

Julie McClain

Chief editor here at Outdoorzer. I'm an outdoor lover and ever since I was a little girl, I've worked hard to learn all I could from my Dad about Camping, Hiking, RVs and surviving in the woods.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 1 comments
John McElyea - July 30, 2017

I have Yeti, Grizzley and Cabela’s coolers. All 3 do a good job of retaining ice. If you have 110 volt or 12 volt access, try an ARB cooler, no ice worries ever. I run my ARB off solar charged Goal Zero Yeti 400 and chained batteries.

See YouTube vid



Leave a Reply: