If you are a cooler fan you probably have heard of the ongoing legal feud between one of the leading producers of ice chest coolers Yeti and the newer company RTIC regarding patent problems and the similarity of the RTIC products to those made by Yeti.
Well, as of April 2018, after an agreement was reached between the two companies, RTIC has been redesigning most of its ice chest and soft-sided coolers and has released its second generation product line.
Since both companies are based in Texas, and their products are quite similar, you may be wondering which coolers are better and how the Yeti coolers compare to those by RTIC.
Here is a detailed overview and comparison with all of the pros and cons of the main products offered by the two cooler makers which should shed some light, and maybe help you decide which brand to choose when buying a new cooler.
An overview of Yeti
There is no doubt that Yeti is the best-known premium cooler brand in the US. The company was established in 2006 in Austin, Texas and ever since then has been the leader in the line.
Its largest target audience includes hunters, fishers and all outdoor enthusiasts who want a sturdy cooler which can withstand the weather and other harsh conditions, and most importantly can keep ice for a very long time.
Yeti offers a wide assortment of coolers including ice chest coolers and soft-sided ones. The company also offers drink wear, ice buckets and all kinds of gear for the outdoors.
This year, as RTIC is redesigning its products and releasing its Gen 2 coolers, Yeti seems to be expanding its product list as well.
Yeti ice chest coolers
Yeti offers a very wide variety of hard-sided coolers, so there is definitely a Yeti cooler for just about anyone.
The hard sided coolers come in several series – the Roadie, Tundra, Tank and Silo series.
The Roadie series consists of more compact coolers which are meant for short trips, where the portability and small size is almost as essential as the ice life and the storage capacity. The Roadie cooler comes in a 20 size.
The Tundra series includes larger coolers which range from small to gigantic. This is the largest series and includes the following roto-molded ice chest coolers: Tundra 35, Tundra 45, Tundra 65, Tundra 75, Tundra Haul, Tundra 105, Tundra 110, Tundra 125, Tundra 160, Tundra 210, Tundra 250 and Tundra 350.
And the Silo 6G is a unique water cooler which has the cooling capacity and durability of the Tundra series and is a perfect hydration station.
Obviously, Yeti’s product line is much more expansive than that of RTIC, so we have compared only some of the coolers which have analogs among the RTIC hard coolers.
Yeti soft-sided coolers
Yeti’s soft-sided coolers are less in number but are still very resilient while at the same time light and portable. They come in different sizes, the smallest being the size of a lunch box.
These soft-sided coolers are much lighter and more portable than the ice chest coolers, but naturally, you can’t expect such a long ice life as that which the Yeti hard sided coolers can offer from them.
Yeti also offers a wide array of drinkware which is designed and made to keep your drinks cold or hot. The sizes vary from very small to large jugs and bottles. The current lineup in the drinkware section of Yeti’s product line includes a Rambler Colster, the Rambler 10oz Lowball, the Rambler 10oz Wine Tumbler, Rambler 10 oz Wine Tumbler two pack, Rambler 14 oz Mug, Rambler 16 oz 2-pack of stackable Pints, Rambler 20oz Tumbler, Rambler 30z Tumbler, Rambler 18oz Bottle, Rambler 26oz Bottle, Rambler 36oz Bottle, Rambler 64oz Bottle, Rambler Half Gallon Jug, Rambler One Galon Jug
RTIC ice chest coolers
Relate: Rtic Coolers – 2019 Review
The RTIC company is almost 10 years younger than Yeti. RTIC Coolers was established in 2014 in Texas, and it looks like, from the very beginning, the goal of the company has been to directly compete with Yeti.
In fact, this is one of the reasons why Yeti tool RTIC to court, because RTIC seemed to make ice chest coolers and other products which were way too similar to those offered by Yeti, but advertised and sold quite a lot cheaper.
Now that the second generation of RTIC coolers is being rolled out, it still looks like the company was very much inspired by Yeti and by the other premium cooler makers on the market.
RTIC has been winning over quite a bit of a following with their policy to contact its target audience and customers directly and via social media rather than to rely on expensive advertisements and campaigns and also to sell its products directly to the customers without any intermediaries which will make them more expensive.
These factors are mentioned by the management of RTIC Coolers as the main reason why the company offers premium coolers at lower prices than most of its competitors (namely Yeti).
But just recently, RTIC Coolers which renamed itself to RTIC Outdoors has opened its first brick and mortar store in Houston, Texas, and has announced its plans to further expand its chain of stores, rather than selling the coolers directly from its warehouse.
Also, the company is planning on adding a larger assortment of products for outdoor adventures and is now selling its coolers and accessories at Amazon and other online retail website.
RTIC’s hard-sided coolers
It was the first generation of RTIC’s ice chest coolers that bothered Yeti so much because of the obvious similarities between them and Yeti’s premium ice coolers.
Now that a second generation is being rolled out, you can still find ice chests from the first generation as well as the newer ones.
The RTIC hard sided coolers come in fewer sizes than those by Yeti, but still, the assortment is wide enough so that everybody can find an RTIC ice chest cooler for their needs. The RTIC coolers in this line include the RTIC 20, RTIC 45, RTIC 65, RTIC 110 and RTIC 145.
The five sizes look like they have been chosen to directly compete with Yeti’s ice chest coolers of a similar size.
RTIC’s soft-sided coolers
The soft-sided coolers offered by RTIC are named SoftPak coolers and also come in fours sizes which seem to be aimed at competing with Yeti’s soft-sided coolers.
Fans of RTIC can soon get a Back Pack cooler from the company which is pretty similar to the one offered by Yeti.
RTIC produces and sells a wide variety of insulated drinkware for the outdoors, just like Yeti does. You can get RTIC tumblers, water bottles, bottles, food canisters, and specialty drinkware, as well as accessories for them.
The sizes vary and can be directly compared to similar products offered by Yeti as well.
The RTIC Tumbler comes in 20oz, 30oz and 40oz sizes. The RTIC water bottles offered are sized 16oz, 20oz and 26oz. the insulated bottles are sized 18oz, 26oz, 36oz, 64oz, Half Gallon and One Gallon. And the food canisters by RTIC are 12oz, 17oz and 25oz.
To cut to the chase – are RTIC or Yeti coolers better?
As you can see, the products offered by both companies are pretty similar when it comes to type, size and looks. So, the questions is, are the flagship products – the ice chest coolers from Yeti better than those made by RTIC, or is it quite the opposite?
In order to find out, we have done a thorough comparison between the ice chests of similar sizes offered by both premium cooler makers.
The RTIC 20 vs the Yeti Roadie 20
Both the RTIC 20 and the Yeti Roadie 20 are roto-molded ice chest coolers. Although they carry the same number in their names, there is a difference in their capacities, with the RTIC getting a slight edge with its 22 quart capacity over the 20.8 quart capacity of the Roadie 20.
RTIC’s smallest ice chest cooler can hold 24 cans, 25 lbs. of ice or 5.5 gallons, while as the Roadie 20 can carry significantly fewer cans – only 16, 20 lbs. of ice and 5.2 gallons.
The weight of RTIC’s small cooler is 17.5 lbs. and its dimensions are 15 x 20 x 13 ¾ inches. The Roadie weighs 15 lbs. and is a tad smaller with a size of 14 3/8 x 19 x 13 ¾ inches.
The RTIC 45 vs the Yeti Tundra 45
Again, both of these ice chests are roto-molded and sturdy, but once again the RTIC beats the Yeti when it comes to capacity. The RTIC 45 has a capacity of 45 quarts and can fit 36 cans, 40 lbs. of ice or 11.25 gallons. The Yeti Tundra 45 has a capacity of 37.6 quarts and can fit up to 28 cans, 34 lbs. of ice and 9.4 gallons.
Size wise, the Tundra 45 is slightly smaller and lighter than the RTIC 45. The Yeti cooler weighs 23 lbs. and is 15 ½ x 25 ½ x 16 inches, while the RTIC 45 is 15 7/8 x 26 ½ x 16 ½ inches in size and weighs 25 lbs.
The RTIC 65 vs the Yeti Tundra 65
These mid-sized ice chest coolers are both roto-molded but have different capacities. The RTIC 65 has a 65-quart capacity which is sufficient to hold 64 cans, 70 lbs. of ice or 16.25 gallons. The Tundra 65, on the other hand, has a capacity of 57.2 quarts and can hold only up to 42 cans, 52 lbs. of ice or 14.30 gallons.
The RTIC 110 vs the Yeti Tundra 110
The RTIC 110 has a 110 quarts capacity and can hold and cool a massive 110 cans, 115 lbs. of ice or 27.5 gallons of water. It weighs 48.5 lbs. and is sized 35 3/8 x 19 x 20 inches.
The Yeti Tundra 110 has a capacity of 74 cans and 90 lbs. of ice. It weighs 39 lbs. and is 37 ½ x 18 1/8 x 20 inches.
Yeti vs RTIC ice chest coolers – the ice retention competition
When it comes to ice retention, the comparison between the Yeti and RTIC coolers can be quite tricky because of the way in which the ambient temperature, the positioning as well as the way one is using the cooler affects the longevity of the ice.
The ratio of ice to cans and foods, as well as how often the cooler is opened and closed also affect the retention of the ice inside.
We did a lot of research in order to make a comparison between the two brands. Yeti hasn’t officially claimed how long the retention of ice of its coolers is, while as RTIC advertises its hard-sided coolers as having an ice retention time of up to 10 days, but some users have claimed that their RTIC ice chests have retained the ice in them for up to a whopping 14 days!
So, we can safely say, that no matter the weather conditions and the use of the coolers, you can expect the ice to stay frozen in both for at least a few days when you are outdoors.
Since Yeti’s ice chest coolers are significantly sturdier and bulkier than those made by RTIC, it can be expected that the Yeti coolers will probably keep the ice frozen for longer given that the same conditions are applied for both.
Since the whole idea of these coolers is to keep ice frozen and stuff cool when used outdoors, we have attempted to compare the ice retention of each of the same sized coolers by RTIC and Yeti in these kinds of conditions.
The RTIC 20 vs. the Yeti Roadie 20
The Yeti Roadie 20 is the smallest of Yeti’s hard-sided coolers and being so small, you can’t expect it to perform as the largest ones offered by the company. Instead, a realistic expectation with the Roadie 20 is to have frozen ice for up to 4 days.
The RTIC 20 is a tad larger than the Roadie 20, as you can see from our size and capacity comparison above. It can fit 25 lbs. of ice as opposed to the 20 lbs. capacity of the Roadie. Since it can fit more ice, chances are that the ice will stay frozen for longer, but actually, because of its small size, you should expect the ice life to be up to 4 days too with the RTIC 20.
So overall, we must say that the verdict in this competition is a Tie.
The RTIC 45 vs. the Yeti Tundra 45
The Yeti Tundra 45 is constructed like the Roadie but provides a larger storage capacity of up to 34 lbs. of ice, and thus can fit more ice. This factor, as well as the overall volume of the Tundra 45, means that you can expect to have ice for up to 5 days with this cooler.
The RTIC 45 is again a bit larger than the Yeti Tundra 45 and can fit 5lbs. more ice than it. this fact combined with the larger size of the ice chest means that it may be able to keep ice for up to 5 ½ even 6 days.
So, the verdict in this competition is a win for the RTIC 45.
The RTIC 65 vs. the Yeti Tundra 65
The Tundra 65 has a similar design and make as the 45, but it is larger and can hold up to 56 lbs. of ice. Given its significantly larger size than the previous model, and its thick insulated walls, the Yeti Tundra 65 can hold ice for up to 7 days.
The RTIC 65 is quite a bit larger than the Tundra 65 and can hold 13 lbs. more ice than its competitor. This is the main reason why you can expect the ice life to continue for up to 8 or even 8 and a half days.
So, the verdict in this ice retention competition is pretty clear – the RTIC 65 beats the Tundra 65.
The RTIC 110 vs. the Yeti 110
The large sized ice chests from both companies are pretty much the same size, but the RTIC has a capacity of 115 lbs. of ice, as compared to the 90lbs. capacity of the Yeti 110.
Given the proportion of the size to the ice capacity, you can expect that both coolers will keep the ice frozen for 10 or more days, but if you put these two large ice chest coolers side by side in the same conditions, you can definitely bet on RTIC to hold the ice for longer, just because it can fit more ice.
So, the verdict in this ice retention competition is the RTIC 110.
Overall, in our direct hard side cooler ice retention competition it seems like RTIC is the overall winner.
Ice retention of the Soft-Sided Coolers of RTIC vs. Yeti
Now it is time to compare the ice life of the various similar-sized soft-sided coolers from RTIC and Yeti.
The RTIC SoftPak 20 vs. the Yeti Hopper 20
The Hopper 20 is the smallest soft-sided cooler offered by the company after the Hopper Flip 12, but despite its small size, it has very impressive insulation as well as other features which will help retain the ice for as long as possible. Still, given the small volume, you can expect it to hold ice for up to 3 days.
The RTIC SoftPak 20 can hold the same amount of ice as the Hopper 20, but has a larger capacity for cans which is up to 20, as compared to the 18 can capacity of the Yeti Hopper 20. Since the build-quality of the SoftPak 20 is pretty similar to that of its competition, and its size is almost the same, the ice retention time is the same too – up to 3 days.
Thus the verdict in this category is a tie.
The RTIC SoftPak 30 vs. the Yeti Hopper 30
The Yeti Hopper 30 can hold an extra 10 lbs. of ice as compared to the Hopper 20, which can easily bump up the ice life to up to 3 and a half or 4 days.
The RTIC SoftPak 30 can hold up to 30 cans which is 6 cans more than the Hopper 30, but the ice quantity is the same – 30 lbs. So again, you can expect it to retain the ice for up to 3 ½ – 4 days.
The verdict in this battle is again a tie.
The RTIC SoftPak 40 vs. the Yeti Hopper 40
The Yeti Hopper 40 is the largest of the soft-sided coolers offered by the company. It has a thick 1.5-inch ColdCell foam insulation and a lot of other features to increase the ice life. The capacity of the Hopper 40 is 40 lbs. of ice which means that you can rely on this soft-sided cooler to keep the ice for about 4 days.
The RTIC SoftPak 40 is very differently shaped than the smaller sized SoftPak 30, but still holds more cans than the Hopper 40, even though the difference, in this case, is only 4 cans. The ice capacity is the same as the competition – 40 lbs. so as you have already guessed, the ice life is the same – a solid 4 days.
The verdict is yet again a tie.
The overall verdict in the ice life competition between the soft-sided coolers from Yeti and RTIC is a tie.
The toughness competition
Yeti coolers have been widely recognized for the wide array of premium features which have made these coolers one of the definite leaders in the premium cooler market.
Yeti has more years of experience in roto-molding design and production than RTIC and has outsourced part of its production due to its large size.
For every premium cooler, it is essential that it is tough enough to stay whole and safe from damage even after bumpy rides, accidental blows and in harsh weather.
So how to the RTIC and Yeti coolers compare when it comes to toughness?
Yeti is still considered the maker of the highest quality hard-sided coolers in the industry. It uses top quality materials, a roto-molding technique which makes a seamless shell with no weak points, as well as added insulation, excellent locking systems, and other features which ensure that the cooler stays safe even in the harshest of conditions.
As we mentioned earlier, RTIC has seemingly being copying Yeti since the beginning, so you are probably not surprised by the fact that RTIC uses a very similar approach when it comes to making its roto-molded coolers.
The same goes for the technology and materials used for the soft-sided coolers, drinkware and other accessories offered by both companies.
Overall, in a direct comparison between the Yeti and RTIC ice chest coolers we can see the following same features in both:
- Roto-molded shell construction
- Heavy duty, durable latches
- Very thick insulation in the walls
- Use of commercial grade foam for insulation
- Large freezer gaskets to keep the cool in and the heat out of the cooler
- Built-in slots for tying down and anchoring the ice chest to the floor
- Use of premium hardware
- Non-slip rubber feet for added stability
- Traction lids
- Bear resistance
- Draining system and drain spouts
- Integrated locking system
- No sweat exteriors
- Heavy-duty rubber latches (except the smallest Roadie and RTIC 20)
The following features are the same when it comes to the soft-sided coolers of Yeti and RTIC:
- The use of high-quality materials and hardware
- Sturdy and puncture resistant outer shells
- Antimicrobial liners
- Top quality durable stitches
The difference between the two is only in the 2-inch closed cell foam used for insulation in the lids of the RTIC SoftPaks.
- As for the drinkware, the similarities in the construction and materials between RTIC and YETI include:
- The use of stainless steel
- Double walls for insulation
- Single piece designs
- No sweat or condensation retention
The difference in this direct competition for toughness is that RTIC’s drinkware has an easy grip base, which Yeti doesn’t have.
Overall, it is pretty obvious that RTIC has done a very good job in monitoring exactly what Yeti is doing and mimicking it to a point that it is even better.
Still, we can’t be certain that Yeti hasn’t been concealing one or more little secrets and steps in its manufacturing process which may make its products tougher than those made of RTIC. But given what we know and have seen from both companies, we can conclude that RTIC’s coolers and drinkware are as tough and durable as those offered by Yeti.
After a direct comparison of all their features, we even found that RTIC has some features which Yeti is lacking, including the 2-inch thick insulation made of closed cell foam on the lids of the SoftPaks and the easy grip bases of the drinkware made by RTIC.
The verdict in the competition for toughness is a Tie.
The size range competition
We didn’t have to do too much research to name the winner in this competition between the size ranges available from Yeti and those offered by RTIC.
It is pretty obvious that Yeti offers a much wider size range, especially when it comes to its ice chest coolers.
But let’s take a look at the size ranges of the different types of coolers and products being offered by both cooler makers.
Yeti offers a very vast size range of hard sided coolers to choose from, as well as of its soft-sided coolers and its drinkware. You can say that there is a cooler and product which is the perfect size for just about anyone.
As for RTIC, being a relatively new and much smaller company, it can be expected that the size range of its products is quite smaller than that offered by Yeti.
All of the hard-sided coolers offered by RTIC are designed and made to directly compete with the coolers carrying the same number in their name made by Yeti.
So, in this competition, we must agree that Yeti is definitely the winner when it comes to the choice of size in the ice chest coolers and not so much in the size range of the soft-sided coolers and the drinkware.
The looks competition
Even though it would have been hard for people back in 2006 to predict that premium coolers will become a status symbol, today this is a fact. More people want to show off their cooler when tailgating, fishing, camping or spending times outdoors.
This is why, even though the main purpose of coolers is to keep the ice frozen and your drinks and food cold, aesthetics has definitely become a factor as well when it comes to high-end coolers which cost hundreds of dollars.
So here is how Yeti compares to RTIC when it comes to the looks of the coolers.
Yeti offers a very wide range of colors for its ice chest coolers as well as a variety of patterns including college team logos and offers a customization service for all its products, so you can get your own logo, sports or other personalized pattern added to your Yeti cooler or drinkware.
As for RTIC, the choice of colors for the ice chest coolers offered is sort of limited to grey, pink, white, tan, blue and seafoam green. The SoftPaks and the other soft-sided coolers offered by RTIC have a wider color and pattern choice including pink camo, black, pink, tan, blue and grey, rift blue, strata, viper, viper snow, seafoam green, steel blue, camo, and others. Also, recently the drinkware offered by RTIC has also been boosted and now more colors and patterns are available too including orange, red, camo, blue and others.
Since recently, RTIC has begun offering customization of all of its items as well including customizing of the coolers as well as adding color logos or laser etching logos on the drinkware.
Even though they are pretty similar, Yeti still has a wider choice of colors and patterns than RTIC, so we have to declare that the winner in the competition for aesthetics is Yeti.
Company reputation, customer care, and warranty competition
It is important when you are making a large investment for a premium quality cooler to know how the company will respond in case you have a problem with your cooler, and for how long you can rely on customer support, right?
So, let’s compare how Yeti and RTIC compare when it comes to the service they will provide you after your purchase of their product.
When it comes to reputation, Yeti is a leader in the industry. It has a longer history than RTIC and has established itself as a reliable company which makes top quality premium coolers.
RTIC has avoided expensive promotional campaigns, hiring ambassadors and has been avoiding the large retail stores up until recently, which means that although the company has a growing base of loyal fans in Texas and throughout the USA, it still has to work hard on equaling the reputation which Yeti has in this business.
Also, the legal problems between the two companies has become widely publicized, and the fact that RTIC has agreed to redesign many of its products so as not to be in infringement of the Yeti trademark is another possible blow to the reputation of the company.
Still, it looks like the RTIC management is doing everything possible to change this by opening a brick and mortar store and making its products available on the large online retail websites.
But nevertheless, when it comes to reputation, the clear winner is Yeti.
As for the warranty, Yeti offers a very impressive 5-year warranty on its roto-molded coolers, and 3 years of warranty for the soft-sided ones.
As for RTIC, originally it offered a mind-blowing 7-year warranty for its ice chest coolers and 90-days for the rest of its products. But today, when the new versions (Gen 2) of its coolers have already been released on the market, the warranty dropped to 5 years for the hard-sided coolers and to 3 years for the soft-sided ones. But when we last checked, it seems that the warranty conditions offered by RTIC have changed once again and have dropped to 1 year for the hard-sided coolers, the soft-sided coolers, and duffel bags, and 90 days for the drinkware.
So, Yeti is the clear winner when it comes to the warranty provided as well.
As for the customer service, this one is a bit more difficult to measure and compare.
But it seems that overall Yeti is handling customer service much better than RTIC who look like they are overwhelmed with the sudden interest and growing demand of their redesigned products, many of which are often out of stock.
It will take time for RTIC to get back on its feet in order to meet the demand and to handle customer service in a timely manner.
So, we must say that Yeti is the winner in the customer service category as well.
One of the things which we like more about the RTIC company policy is its clear-cut cooler naming and sizing. When RTIC advertises a cooler as RTIC 45 it means that the capacity of the cooler is 45 quarts.
We cannot say the same about Yeti’s product names and numbering, which we think can be misleading for newbies and people with no previous experience with Yeti coolers, because the numbers do not actually stand for the capacity of these coolers. In fact, the Yeti Tundra 45 has a capacity of only 37.6 quarts
It will fit only 28 cans or 34 lbs. of ice, so the number 45 has no relevance to either.
Since RTIC built its company based on the idea to make Yeti-like coolers but at a lower price, it is not surprising that the price you will pay for an RTIC cooler or other product in most cases will be significantly lower than that for the same sized Yeti cooler or product.
In fact, RTIC has included the difference in the price of each of its products as compared to Yeti on its website. But the truth is that now that RTIC coolers and products are available on Amazon and in a number of online and brick and mortar stores, as well as online on the official website, you can see quite a bit of fluctuation in the prices.
Still, officially, you can save a considerable amount of money if you choose to buy an RTIC rather than a Yeti cooler of the same size. You can save about $135 for choosing the RTIC 20 vs the Yeti Roadie 20, about $190 if you pick the RTIC 45 over the Tundra 45, about $240 if you buy the RTIC 65 and not the Tundra 65 and the price difference can reach up to $320 like for the RTIC 110 vs the Tundra 110.
This kind of price difference for products which are so similar is a pretty serious reason to prefer the RTIC coolers and products.
Then again, we don’t know what will happen once the older generation of the RTIC coolers is sold out and the new Gen 2 ones step in, so if you are looking for an affordable premium quality cooler, you may want to buy an RTIC cooler now!
RTIC Coolers vs Yeti – who is the winner?
As you can see by our comparison and review, the products offered by both companies are pretty similar, even though Yeti’s range in sizing and assortment is quite bigger.
We must say that the competition between the two rival companies is pretty close.
According to our side-by-side review, RTIC is the winner in the ice retention and ice capacity competition. In the toughness competition, we have declared a tie between the two. As for the size range, Yeti is the clear winner, and it also wins the company reputation, warranty and customer service competition.
Yeti also wins when it comes to aesthetics but RTIC is an undisputed winner when it comes to price.
So, our final verdict is that we have yet again a tie.
If you are looking for ice capacity, ice retention and a lower price, then RTIC is the way to go. If you are more interested in the company name, the looks of your cooler and the warranty and customer service as well as the wider product assortment you should opt for Yeti.
Whichever brand you choose, you will be making a pretty good decision because they both make top quality, durable and highly efficient coolers, and outdoor products!