Not sure if you should pick up an Igloo or a Yeti cooler? This detailed comparison can help you make up your mind!
Cooler from both brands share lots of features, but they also differ in a number of ways. The most notable differences are in performance and price points – Yeti coolers are thought to be the better option overall, while Igloo coolers offer better value for money.
At A Glance: Best Portable Coolers
Read on to learn more about all the differences and similarities between Igloo and Yeti coolers, and to find the best option for yourself!
Best Cooler Overall
|SEE ON AMAZON →|
Best Lightweight Cooler For Hikes
|SEE ON AMAZON →|
|SEE ON AMAZON →|
Best Value For Money
|SEE ON AMAZON →|
Best Wheeled Cooler
|SEE ON AMAZON →|
|SEE ON AMAZON →|
If you want a wheeled cooler, the Tundra Haul is the best option from Yeti. It has a massive capacity of up to 45 cans of beer, which is really good. This can get you through a weekend camping trip with your extended family, considering that the cooler is as big as a checked suitcase.
However, it weighs a lot more than a checked suitcase. Tundra Haul weighs 37 lbs when totally empty, and I think the wheels are more a necessity than anything else.
In case you’re not familiar with Yeti coolers, the one thing you should know is that Tundra represents the pinnacle of their cooling technology. It’s their best and most impressive cooler, and with the Haul version, they just added a sturdy set of wheels and a lightweight aluminum handle!
Tundra Haul features Permafrost insulation that consists of pressure-injected polyurethane foam in the walls and lid. The walls feature up to two inches of insulation, which virtually guarantees that ice will stay ice for hours, if not days, in the Tundra coolers. The thickness of the insulation is the main reason why this cooler is so heavy – you can’t have such great performance without the extra weight.
This cooler also features heavy-duty rubber latches and a NeverFail hinge system, for the premium performance of all its moving parts. It’s an expensive option for sure, but you are definitely getting premium quality and performance for your money. And if that’s precisely what you are looking for, there’s no need to look further than the Tundra Haul.
The Hopper Flip from Yeti is the brand’s most popular softshell cooler. It is very lightweight, making it one of the best options on the market for people who need a cooler they can carry for prolonged periods of time. Whether you’re going on hikes or want to walk for a while before you find that perfect camping spot, the Hopper Flip will make it easier to do so while carrying a cooler.
This cooler is available in several different sizes and there’s even a very small option that fits just 6 cans. That’s the Hopper Flip 8, which weighs less than 3 lbs and is perhaps the best cooler for short one-day adventures. The other two options can fit up to 12 and 16 cans plus ice, and weigh up to 5 lbs when empty.
The Yeti Hopper cooler features closed-cell foam insulation that performs incredibly well. Also, the zipper is 100% leakproof and waterproof, allowing you to confidently use this cooler regardless of the weather conditions. And it’s remarkably durable for a softshell cooler – the exterior of the Hopper is resistant to punctures, abrasions, mildew, and UV rays, making it tough enough for any adventure.
One of the best things about this softshell cooler is the presence of external attachment points. They allow you to keep anything that doesn’t have to be ice cold outside the cooler, so stuff like glasses, can openers, cutlery, etc. You can even attach other bags or bulkier items to the exterior of the Hopper Flip, which is super convenient.
The only downside of this Yeti cooler is the price point. It’s one of the most expensive options in this review, and it costs twice as much as any other option from Igloo. If you’re looking for an affordable option, I’m afraid this is not it. But if you’re prioritizing quality, performance, and convenience over everything else, the Hopper is a great option for you.
The Roadie cooler is a great option if you want a classic hardshell cooler. It is a lot lighter than the Tundra, but it also has a smaller capacity. And that’s fine – if you don’t need to fit 40+ cans in a cooler, the Tundra is too big for you anyway.
The Roadie can fit about 18 cans of beer inside, which should be enough for a day outing or an overnight camping trip. It’s also half the price of the Tundra Haul and weighs about 25 lbs less, making it the more convenient option for most people. Unless you specifically need a massive cooler with wheels, I would recommend the Roadie over the Tundra Haul any time.
The only difference in performance is insulation thickness. The Tundra coolers from Yeti feature three layers of insulation, but the Roadie only has two layers. It performs slightly worse than Yeti’s most expensive option, but it is still capable of keeping your drinks cold for days at a time.
In addition to that, this Yeti cooler features a soft shoulder strap with padding, which is more comfortable than the Tundra’s aluminum handle. It makes it easier for you to carry the Roadie for prolonged periods of time and it’s a huge upgrade over the old metal cooler we had on the previous Roadie models.
Other features of the Roadie 24 cooler include the same rubber latches and the NeverFail hinge system as you have on the Tundra, as well as wine-friendly internal height. You can easily fit 2-liter soda bottles upright in the Roadie 24 cooler, while the quality rotomolded construction guarantees that the durability isn’t impacted by the weight reduction.
The BMX Family cooler is a great option if you want a simple hardshell cooler. It is available in several different sizes from a small 25-quart option to a massive 72-quart cooler. The pricing of the BMX starts at some $60 for the smallest option, and it goes up to $150 for the largest cooler. The exact price depends on the cooler you want, but it’s important to point out that this is still cheaper than anything Yeti offers.
The BMX cooler has a ruler in the lid, making it a great option for fishing trips. It’s not exactly a ruler you can use to take photos while holding fish, but it will certainly let you measure your catch of the day.
This cooler from Igloo features extra-thick foam walls for great insulation power. Even the lid is fully insulated, so you can be certain that whatever you put inside the cooler will stay chill for hours. The lid is secured with rubberized T-latches that seal in the cold, and which are really simple to use.
Additionally, the BMX cooler features oversized hinges and stainless steel screws that are extremely durable. There are also stainless steel diamond plates that improve overall toughness and durability, making the cooler more resistant to external factors and damage.
On top of all that, this Igloo cooler boasts swing-up handles on the sides. They are reinforced with stainless steel and they feature rubber grips, for comfortable and convenient carrying of the BMX. But I think it’s worth pointing out that this cooler is engineered so that it’s best for two people to carry it. The bigger options are just so wide that it’s not comfortable or easy for one person to carry it, and that doesn’t even account for the weight of a fully packed 72-quart plastic cooler.
The Ice Cube cooler is great for people who are tired of carrying heavy coolers in their hands. It has two sturdy wheels and a retractable wheel handle that let you treat this massive cooler like your checked luggage. And yes, the handle has its own compartment where it stores, so it’s not going to be in the way when you’re actually using the cooler.
Additionally, there are cutouts on each side that function as handles, allowing you to pick up the cooler if you just want to quickly move it from one place to another. This is quite convenient since it means you don’t have to extend the telescopic wheel handle for every little thing.
The total capacity of the Ice Cube cooler is 60 quarts, which is equivalent to some 57 liters. That’s enough space to fit 90 12-ounce cans, so unless you’re throwing a fraternity party it should be more than enough for a weekend.
And yes, the cooler performs well enough to keep everything in it cold for at least a weekend. In fact, it’s capable of keeping ice frozen for 3-4 days, depending on the conditions it sits in. And there is a faucet at the bottom that lets you drain water, so there’s an easy way to get rid of the melted ice inside.
Now, the best thing about this cooler is the price point – it retails for about $50, which is absolutely insane for the quality and capacity! Plus, it features cup-holders built into the lid, so it can also double as a table on picnics.
The Playmate cooler from Igloo is a great small-capacity option if you just want to keep a few beers ice cold. It is lightweight, compact and features easy, push-button opening of the lid. When you press the button, the lid swings to the side for easy access to the contents.
Also, the cooler features a soft grip rubber grab handle for great grip and comfortable carrying. It’s a lightweight cooler that weighs only about 4 lbs when empty, so it won’t be a big deal to carry it in your hand for more than 5-10 minutes a time. Sure, it can get heavy when filled to capacity, but the comfortable handle makes everything a bit easier.
The 15-liter capacity of the Playmate is enough to hold 30 small cans of beer, which should be plenty for a day outing. You can also fit some ice in addition to those cans, to ensure they stay cold for as long as possible.
The exact type and performance of the insulation in the Igloo cooler are not specified, so I wouldn’t expect too much from it. Especially with the affordable price tag. Also, it’s worth noting that the lid of the Playmate cooler is not insulated, so it’s best not to put anything above the walls of the cooler. And if you must do that, I would recommend sealing the contents so that the cold air can circulate around the items at the top.
Do you want a hardshell cooler, a softshell cooler, or an option with wheels? Both brands have excellent products in each of these categories and before you can decide which cooler will work best for you, it’s important to figure out exactly what you need.
Softshell coolers are generally better for people who will spend a lot of time walking or hiking with the cooler. If you have to carry it for more than 10 minutes, you either need a softshell cooler or a hardshell option with wheels.
The main advantage softshell bags have is their weight – they’re usually at least 50-60% lighter than thick plastic coolers, making them the more comfortable option for long-haul adventures. Also, they usually have either a shoulder strap or backpack straps, so they’re much easier to carry.
Hardshell coolers with wheels are another great option, but they’re still not good enough for hikes. These are heavy, plastic coolers with big capacities. The wheels allow you to fill them to capacity without worrying that you will be inconvenienced by their weight.
I wouldn’t recommend them for hikes because the wheels aren’t exactly designed for rough terrain, and they’re still really heavy. A wheeled cooler is a great option for a camping trip or a day on the beach – when you have to transport it from the car to your final destination, but it doesn’t take more than 15-20 minutes to do so.
Are you looking to get a premium portable cooler or an affordable option? If you want something you can use occasionally, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get the best cooler that exists. A mid-range option will work just fine and Igloo is the better brand for you.
But if you want the absolute best coolers on the market and are fine with spending a lot of money on them, then go with Yeti. They offer premium materials, excellent insulation, and incredibly tough construction that will last you years, if not decades. But their coolers are expensive – the more budget-friendly options are around $100-200, with their most premium coolers retailing for well over $400.
Igloo coolers are nowhere near as expensive. I think that the priciest cooler they make is about $250, which is virtually the starting price for most Yeti coolers. Igloo is particularly affordable when it comes to small and simple coolers, with most options being under $100.
And you can find some great lightweight coolers from Igloo for less than $50 – if you just want something affordable, definitely check out the budget-friendly options from Igloo.
Are you interested more in premium performance or fun features?
If you’re looking for pure insulation power and excellent performance, any Yeti cooler will do. The brand really puts performance over all other features, at times even sacrificing convenience and capacity to favor it. While their coolers might be heavy and bulky, at least you can be certain that they will do a spectacular job at keeping your drinks and food cold.
On the other hand, if you want a decent cooler that has some interesting gimmicky features, you might just enjoy the Igloo coolers more. The Playmate is shaped similarly to a six-pack, the BMX cooler has a ruler on the lid for measuring fish and the Ice Cube has cup holders!
They’re not the most functional features out there, but they certainly make the coolers more interesting. And if you like items that attempt to be more versatile, definitely consider going with an Igloo cooler.
There are pros and cons to both Yeti and Igloo coolers, so I won’t say that one is always better than the other.
What I will say that Yeti is the obvious choice if you want a cooler you can take on hikes. Their Hopper Flip cooler is ridiculously lightweight and easy to carry even at full capacity, which makes it the best choice for outdoor adventurers. Especially with the waterproof construction, sturdy materials, and external attachment points that allow you to carry all sorts of items in addition to the food and drinks.
But if you just want a sturdy hardshell cooler that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, the Igloo Ice Cube might be the best option for you. It’s very affordable, durable, and features excellent insulation that keeps ice frozen for days at a time. This cooler also features a pair of wheels and a telescopic wheel handle, for easy transport even at full capacity.
Head over to Amazon to see all the different sizes these coolers are available in, as well as their prices. And if you want to check out even more options, be sure to go through our related posts!