Yeti is a company who are well-renowned for making coolers to the highest levels of quality. Their price, however, can put many people off. Thankfully there are many brilliant alternatives out there.
You want to be able to have brilliant ice retention while also having a capacity which is perfect for you. We have completed extensive research to ensure we can find the best cooler like Yeti but cheaper for you. Once you’ve finished reading this guide, you’ll know exactly which cooler is perfect for you.
While plenty of coolers will have a vast array of features and various selling points, fundamentally there is only one feature which counts. If you're cooler doesn't keep the contents cool, then it's going to be fairly useless.
Thankfully, it's an area where this model from Pelican can deliver. That is due to the 2 inches of polyurethane insulation which it has all around the cooler. With that amount of insulation, you'll be able to get around 2 days of ice retention with regular use.
Some people, however, might well say that the insulation is a little bit too much. It makes it quite bulky, which surprises some users at the lack of space it has for quite a large box. It still has 30 quarts of space, and therefore you’ll be able to get plenty of stuff in there.
A negative of many coolers is that they are quite bland and don’t have a lot of style to them. The Pelican Elite is different as there are several different colors available to enable you to get something which matches your personality.
Aside from the insulation and the style, the cooler does have a lot of other great features which it can boast. The large locking latches are not just easy to use to seal the cooler, but they also have an immense amount of durability and will be able to last for a long time.
The hinges on the cooler are also durable. It all helps add up to a cooler which should be able to last for many years of continuous use. Some consumers have reported that there are some issues sealing the unit, but this must be very rare and not an issue that we found.
Other features are pretty neat too. There are 4 self-draining cup holders for you to be able to store your cold beverage. For those who love bottles, there is also a bottle opener that is going to be able to make your time away as easy as possible. You can check our Pelican 20 QT Cooler Review
While YETI might be a brand with an excellent reputation, RTIC is also well-renowned for producing coolers which have a brilliant level of quality. They have a very similar level of quality, but you'll be able to pick up RTIC as a cheaper alternative to YETI.
The 45-quart capacity is going to allow you to store many items. That makes it great for large groups or families who want a few days away or an epic day out. It gives it a great level of versatility, and you’ll be able to find many uses for this great cooler.
The negative of having a cooler of this size is the large amount of weight it has. It can be hard for some people to carry, especially when loaded. It's expected of a cooler this size, but it's something which you'll want to consider before buying it.
Part of the reason for that higher weight is because it is immensely durable. The roto-molded design is going to be able to cope with a lot of stress. RTIC cooler is never going to break, and it should be able to last you for a good number of years which makes it the best yeti knockoff.
That being said, we have noticed that there have been a few quality control issues. A handful of consumers have complained about problems upon delivery. While this is a rare issue, it can be hugely annoying when you're excited about getting a cooler.
They usually get it right, and when they do, the ice retention you'll get is incredible. That comes from the 3 inches of insulation it features. Even on a long weekend trip, you're not going to have any problems with keeping the contents cold.
Even though the cooler can be quite heavy, the large handles that it has makes it quite easy to carry. Once you place it down, the non-slip feet are going to keep it firmly in place. It’s an impressive cooler and one that comes in a nice range of colors. Check our RTIC 65 Cooler Review
Style isn't something which you'd commonly associate with coolers. Grizzly, however, has been able to produce a cooler which looks great. Not only does it have a sense of style, but it also gives you a wide range of colors to get something which matches your personality.
That will appeal to many people, but it's not just aesthetics where this Grizzly cooler can excel. It has many features which are going to give you a high level of usability. The overall build quality is also impressive to leave a great cooler.
One of the most obvious features that you instantly notice with this cooler is the large handle which it features. It makes it very easy to carry, and one person can easily transport it. The handle might not be from everyone, and that could be a little problem.
It can’t be removed, and therefore you are stuck with it if you’re the type of person who likes to carry it using side handles. It is also quite heavy for its size with the internal space being smaller than some people might expect.
The internal features of this cooler are very impressive, with one of them being a removable inner tray. It will help you to organize your internal space cleanly and efficiently. Once you've finished with the cooler, the large drain will ensure that it is easy to clean.
In terms of ice retention, the cooler will be able to keep ice for a whole weekend, even with continuous opening and closing. If you open it less, that retention time will be even longer. It makes it a great accessory for many different activities.
The rubber feet will be able to keep it nice and stable. It means you'll even be able to use the cooler as a step or a seat. With 20 quarts of space, it doesn't have the highest level of capacity but is perfect for those who don't need any more volume than that.
We were incredibly impressed with this Bison cooler. Going by the reviews it has from customers, it seems as though the feeling is mutual. It’s a truly fantastic cooler and one which is going to be able to make any outdoor adventure even better.
Most coolers have a long rectangular design, but the 25-quart model from Bison is much more squared. It’s a unique design but one which makes it very easy to store. Bison also has 50, 75 and 125-quart models which all have a fantastic level of quality.
It means that you’re going to be able to get the perfect cooler to match your needs, whether that is a short trip with the family or a long fishing trip. Whatever you’re planning on doing, you will be able to get an immense amount of ice retention.
If you're careful with how you use it, then you could well have ice which lasts for a week. For a regular amount of use in average temperature, you're probably looking at an average of 5 days of superb ice retention which makes it one of the best cooler similar to yeti.
Part of the reason for that immense ice retention is because of how well it seals. The silicone gasket is excellent quality and also the heavy-duty latches will help to keep the lid pinned to the rest of the box and keep that unbreakable seal.
It’s not the only area of the cooler which has a brilliant level of quality. The large grab rails are easy to use, the drain is large, and the overall durability is impressive. It all adds up to significant weight, but you should expect that with such a cooler.
There are also no wheels, but it’s small enough to be easy to carry. Some might not like the handles whereas others will love their usability. Some aspects of coolers come down to personal preference, but in terms of performance, this cooler can’t be beaten.
K2 is another company who has been able to make a high-quality cooler which will be perfect for a wide number of different activities. It has a compact boxed design, and therefore it’ll be ideal for those who are looking at a cooler for those shorter trips.
It has a very clean design which will appeal to many users. It is also available in quite a few different color options with some having different color lids to the box. It makes them a bit more interesting than the majority of coolers out there.
While there have been some quality control issues on delivery, on the whole, this is a highly durable box. If something does go wrong with the cooler then you are going to have the peace of mind that you're protected by a very long warranty.
The roto-molded polyethylene box will be able to take a lot of punishment and can even be used as a seat or a stand if needs be. The box itself isn’t going to fail you, and it should be able to last a lifetime of great memories. 4
The cooler has rope handles which make it very easy to carry with two people. Some people might love having the rope handles, whereas others might see them as a bit of a nuisance. It has no carrying straps which also might put some people off.
In terms of ice retention, the cooler is quite impressive. Even with moderate use in decent temperatures, you should be able to get 3-4 days. It makes it highly versatile as you'll be able to enjoy a long weekend away while having a constant source of ice.
Aside from all the advantages that we have looked at here, there are also some other great features. The latches are heavy-duty and easy to use with the drain being large with a very tight seal. All together it makes for a brilliant cooler with great quality.
Engel has been able to make this classic-looking cooler which can give you a decent level of ice retention. The style is fairly boring which will bother some, especially those who want to be able to have the option of a few different colors.
For those not bothered by a lack of style, this is a brilliant cooler with quite a few impressive features. One of those is the stain-resistant surface. It makes it very easy to clean both inside and outside after any type of trip.
The cooler is listed as having 25-quarts of internal space, but with the amount of insulation in there, it is around 21 quarts. That might be a little too small for some, but that will depend on your needs and what you plan on doing.
That insulation it has is 2-inches thick all around the cooler and will give it around 2 days of ice retention with relentless use. That is helped by the silicone gasket featured on the Engel DeepBlue Performance Cooler which will help to give it a very tight seal.
While that seal works very well for more customers, some have reported some leaking issues which can lead to ice not lasting for very long at all. This must be a quality control issue as the vast majority of users don’t have those issues.
The non-skid lid is a great little feature. It makes it extremely robust for standing and sitting on, which will further increase the amount of use you’ll have for it. It also shows the great durability it has as it will be able to take a lot of weight.
The bottom is also skid resistant but adds to that stability. The cooler isn’t the most attractive that you’ll ever see, but if you don’t care about that, then you’re going to be able to get a great cooler for many great adventures.
With the previous cooler, we mentioned that it had a lack of style and also a lack of color options. In complete contrast, the Orion has been able to make a range of coolers with designs which are bold with a multitude of different colors.
There will some who would prefer to have something a little less loud. As previously mentioned, a lot of this is down to personal preference. As well as the two-toned designs, Orion also has block colors which are going to be more subtle.
The 35-quart capacity is very good for most activities. It’s an ideal size for a family or small group of friends on any kind of trip. Some may find it to be a little too bulky, but with two people carrying it, there shouldn’t be a problem.
Of course with that bulky size also comes more weight and that is another aspect which should be considered. It’s an excellent cooler for carrying beer with the 4 bottle openers that it has and also the high level of ice retention.
With regular use, you'll still be able to get 5 days of ice from it. That's a lot longer than many of its rivals and also helps to make it a great Yeti competitor. It has that great insulation while not having the same expensive price tag which makes it best yeti alternative.
If you wanted to be able to throw it onto the back of a trailer, then that won’t be a problem as the cooler is very easy to tie down. Once you’ve finished with it, the large drain plug is going to make sure it’s easy to clean and ready to be used again.
If you're worried about security then this is a cooler which will appeal to you. It can be locked, which will prevent any wandering hands from getting into the contents. While this cooler has a range of bold colors, it also backs that up with brilliant performance.
Ice retention is a vital aspect of any cooler, but it can be tough to measure. There is little point in measuring ice in an unopened box as that is not going to be how it's used. In different areas, there are different temperatures which can all affect retention.
The way we have talked about ice retention here is with moderate use in average temperatures. That gives you a good idea of how long ice will last in practical terms. Most coolers will be able to easily last for two days but the highest quality coolers can last for a lot longer.
The capacity of coolers is measured in quarts, and that term comes from it being a quarter of a gallon. That works out to be two pints and four cups. That should be able to give you a good idea of the exact capacity you’ll get here.
Getting the right capacity can be difficult. The bigger they are, the heavier and less portable they will be. That being said, it’s usually a good idea to get a bigger model if you are struggling to pick. You don’t want to be left short when it comes to packing your cooler.
Before getting your cooler, you want to know how you’re going to be able to use it. Are you planning a weekend camping trip or perhaps you are going on a long fishing adventure. If you’re the type who loves multiple different activities, then you’ll want a versatile cooler that is capable of delivering in different environments.
Latches – The latches on these coolers need to be heavy-duty and capable of dealing with a lot of punishment. A tight seal is also required, and the latches play a significant role in that. Having poor quality matches will quickly render your cooler useless.
Non-skid – There are two ways a cooler can be non-skid, both on the bottom and on the top. Non-skid feet are imperative for preventing the cooler from sliding around everywhere when it’s in use. A non-skid top will automatically make it a great place to sit or stand.
Openers and holders – While the performance of a cooler is by far the most important feature, having the ability to open or hold bottles can be a great selling point. This is especially good for those who plan on taking their cooler to a beach or a boat.
Security – There is a good chance that you’ll never be too far from your cooler and therefore security isn’t going to be that big of an issue but some of these coolers and able to be locked. In terms of being secure while being transported, having the ability to tie down your cooler can be a great feature.
Drain – Having a large drain is an important part of your cooler being easy to clean and maintain. You want any excess water to be able to leave the cooler quickly but you also want to make sure it has a tight seal once you’ve finished.
Can you use dry ice?
Dry ice is more or less the best way to keep your cooler cold for as long as possible, but not all coolers are capable of holding it. You want to look for hard rotomolded coolers which have the added level of durability and performance.
Are they easy to carry?
Most full coolers are going to be heavy and quite different to carry. If you’re in a large group of adults, this is unlikely to be an issue, but if you’re on your own, you’ll need a smaller cooler. Most have large carry handles which will make life as easy as possible.
Being able to preserve food can make a camping trip even more incredible, or being able to get a cold beer can make a beach party memorable. To do that, you need a great cooler, and you don't always have to turn to Yeti to get one.
What is the best cooler like Yeti? The range of Bison Coolers is hard to beat. They have an immense level of ice retention while also having all of the features that you’d want from a high-quality cooler which is built to last.
It might be, however, that you are looking for a different size or design. All the coolers that we have looked at here have the highest level of quality. All that’s left to do is choose your favorite one and enjoy your next adventure, whatever that may be. If you still like to have YETI cooler check our YETI Roadie 20 Cooler Review
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Since the age of 10, Tim, a writer at Outdoor With J, has enjoyed camping in the great outdoors. Although he loves the peace and quiet of the outdoors, he also likes his creature comforts. Tim’s mission is to make camping a fun and comfortable experience for all. You can find more about him here
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