Best Yeti coolers

Stacey L. Nash

Direct sunlight will heat your cooler faster. Either store it in the shade or cover it with a blanket or towel to keep the interior temperature down.

Designed for more than a backyard picnic, Yeti coolers have the rugged durability needed for fishing and hunting trips in the toughest terrain. They come in everything from soft coolers you can sling over your shoulder to heavy-duty hard coolers that can hold enough drinks and food for a crowd.

We've provided this brief overview of the important considerations, features, and questions you might have before buying a Yeti cooler. Our research has also led us to three products we feel represent the best Yeti has to offer, so don't forget to check out our top picks.

Considerations when choosing Yeti coolers

Capacity: How much room do you need in a cooler? Yeti measures capacity based on the number of soda or beer cans the cooler holds. The smallest Yeti soft cooler weighs just 2.8 pounds, with an eight-can capacity. When empty, the largest model weighs 89 pounds, with a 259-can capacity. Take a good look at the duration of your trips. Are you going to need the cooler for a day, weekend, or week? The longer your trips, the larger the cooler you'll need.

Soft or hard: In general, hard coolers perform better at keeping food cold, while soft coolers offer better portability. Keep in mind that some Yeti hard coolers weigh well over 50 pounds when empty. That's the kind of cooler you're going to move as little as possible. If you'll be loading and unloading your cooler, you should consider a soft cooler or a small hard cooler.  

Yeti cooler features

Durability: Yeti and durability go hand in hand. The soft coolers are made of the same materials used to make hazmat suits and whitewater rafts. You can fill these coolers to the max and the zippers still hold. The hard coolers have heavy-duty rubber latches and extra-thick walls for better insulation.

Tie-downs: Both the hard and soft coolers may come with built-in tie-downs. The hard coolers with this feature can be strapped to the bed of a truck without the risk of the cooler moving or the lid coming open. Some of the soft coolers feature D-ring tie-downs that work well for transport in a truck or boat.

Versatile add-ons: Yeti soft coolers come with a Hitchpoint Grid that enables you to add on a dry pack or any equipment you want to carry hands-free.

Yeti cooler prices: For about $200 to $500, you'll find all of the soft coolers with a capacity of up to 20 cans. The hard coolers in this price range hold from 16 to 42 cans, and you'll see a good variety of designs, including some with wheels for easier portability. From $500 to $900, you'll find large hard portable refrigerator coolers with a capacity of 92 to 181 cans -- when we say "portable," we mean you'll probably need a dolly to move these when they're full and maybe even when they're empty! At over $900 are the monsters of the Yeti cooler world. These offer the same rugged design as smaller models but with a 259-can capacity. When empty, these coolers weigh 89 pounds.


Q. How much ice do I need to keep my food and drinks cold in the cooler?

A. Yeti recommends an ice-to-food ratio of two to one. However, you might need more or less ice depending on the outside temperature and how often you'll be accessing the cooler.

Q. Do any of the hard coolers come with wheels?

A. Yeti makes one hard cooler with wheels. It also has a retractable pull handle that tracks right or left for easy transport. A taller design allows for good capacity and makes it easier to pull. This is the cooler for those who literally want to drag their cooler everywhere.

Yeti coolers we recommend

Best of the best: Yeti Tundra 65

Our take: With impressive capacity and the durability you expect from Yeti, the Tundra 65 pushes the limits of what's considered portable. If you'll be out in the backcountry for days or need to keep food and drinks cold for a large crowd, this is the cooler for you.

What we like: Built-in tie-downs make it possible to secure this beast of a cooler. While Yeti has some coolers with greater capacity, this is probably the largest one you'd still call portable.

What we dislike: Empty, it weighs 29 pounds. Pack it with ice, drinks, and food, and its portability gets questionable.

Best bang for your buck: Yeti Hopper Two 20

Our take: Provides the ultimate in cooling and portability. Throw it over your shoulder for a day of fishing or take it along on a trip to the beach. People who want a cooler that can go anywhere without a lot of fuss will be happy with this one.  

What we like: We love that it keeps drinks and food cold for a day or two, which lets you use it for a weekend trip. The shoulder strap leaves your hands free for other gear or balance.

What we dislike: The zippered opening is a bit narrow when you're trying to load ice. While the zipper is advertised as leak-proof, some users experienced leakage when the cooler was left on its side.

Choice 3: Yeti Roadie 20

Our take: Works for those who play hard enough to need a balance between durability and portability. It's got a better capacity and cooling power than a soft cooler but is light enough for one person to carry.

What we like: The combination of size and cooling technology makes the Roadie hard to beat at cold retention.

What we dislike: While it keeps food and drinks colder than a soft cooler, it still weighs more.

Stacey L. Nash is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

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