6 Best Ice Chest Reviews: Yeti vs Engel Coolers (In 2019)

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When you're looking for an ice chest it can be hard to know where to start. We have been working hard to figure out which company makes the best ice chest. The two leading cooler companies are Engel cooler vs Yeti coolers. They have been duking it out to see who the best cooler maker is. The best overall brand is Yeti, but Engel offers the best bang for your buck.

After reviewing the best ice chests on the market, we've determined that the Yeti Tundra 65 Cooler is the best of the best. It is highly rated on Amazon and is extremely heavy duty. We highly recommend checking it out!

One of the most important things about a cooler is that it does its job. That it's dependable and that it keeps items cold. The amount of insulation provided, inside the cooler itself, is the determining factor behind what makes a cooler the best. Engel coolers and Yeti coolers are easily two of the most popular brands of high-end coolers on the market.

3 Top Picks of Ice Chests

[BEST FOR THE MONEY]
YETI TUNDRA SERIES COOLERS

Editor's Rating:

4.5/5

Fatwall design, permafrost insulation, rotomolded construction

YETI TUNDRA SERIES COOLERSYETI TUNDRA SERIES COOLERS

  • Capacity of up to 14 cans with recommended 2:1 ice-to-contents ratio
  • Extra-thick walls hold up to two inches of insulation 
  • Extra-thick walls hold up to two inches of insulation 

Editor's Rating:

4.7/5

Non-absorbent surface, recessed ergonomic carry handle

ENGEL USA COOLER/DRY BOXENGEL USA COOLER/DRY BOX

  • Airtight insulated cooler box
  • Waterproof up to a depth of 3 feet
  • Insulated with high-grade molded polystyrene foam to keep the hot out and the cold in
[BEST PORTABLE COOLER]
YETI HOPPER 30 COOLER

Editor's Rating:

4.6/5

Coldcell isulation, hydrolock zipper, hitchpoint grid

YETI HOPPER 30 COOLERYETI HOPPER 30 COOLER

  • High-density fabric is waterproof and resistant
  • Waterproof and leakproof cooler zipper
  • Made from an FDA-approved food-grade material

So what's the best brand between the two? Or what separates one from the other? If you are interested in knowing what type of cooler you should purchase, understand that it's going to be contingent on specific needs. Which, when speaking about coolers, is general to keeping the contents cold enough for long enough.

Other Products We Reviewed


Editor's Rating:

  • Holds ice up to 10 days
  • Great price
  • 10 year warranty

Editor's Rating:

  • Doublehaul handles for extra durability
  • No sweat design
  • Rotomolded construction

Editor's Rating:

  • Comes in 4 different sizes
  • Ergonomic carry handle
  • Non-absorbent surface

What to Look for When Purchasing an Ice Chest

COOLING CAPACITY

In this article cooling capacity will be referenced in terms of how long ice stays ice, and if the water stays cold for several days, it was also mentioned. Both are the indicators because they will help you decide on what cooler to buy to fit your needs.

The coolers that have the best cooling capacity are the Engel ENG35T 35 Qtrs. cooler and the Canyon Coolers Outfitter Series. Hard coolers were able to keep objects cooler for longer when compared to soft walled coolers.

STORAGE CAPACITY

Storage capacity is important to know, packing a cooler is no easy task, you need to know how much room a unit has. We used two metrics to describe the storage capacity of each individual cooler. We provide internal measurements, measured in inches, and the storage capacity describes in terms of how many 12-oz cans will fit in the cooler.

The soft coolers hold fewer cans then the hard coolers, but that is because the Yeti Tundra™ and the Engel Live Bait Box are also two of the smallest coolers on the list. The cooler with the most space is the Engel 35-quart cooler.

PORTABILITY

Because none of the coolers have wheels, portability will be expressed in terms of empty carry weight, and any handholds that can be used to help move the coolers.

The best product in terms of portability is the Yeti Hopper® 30, with its handbag design, you can just sling it on your shoulder, and you’re ready for the day. Some of the coolers have an empty carry weigh between 25 and 30 pounds, so with larger coolers, a two-person carry is recommended.

OVERALL DESIGN

Overall Design will be commented up in terms of size, shape, recessed features and any pros or cons in any features of the cooler. The soft coolers stray away from the more traditional rectangular shape commonly found in a hard cooler.

The Canyon Cooler Outfitter is a right rectangle, so you don’t have to worry about wasting space by having it in the back of your vehicle.

SECURITY

When we speak of security, we talk about how well the latches and hinges can withstand the elements. Some coolers also carry the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee seal of approval to be bear resistant when using both fasteners.

The Engel coolers use marine grade stainless steel latches, whereas Yeti uses T-Rex ™ lid latches which are made of heavy-duty rubber, that are designed to handle a certain level of abuse.

Yeti Coolers vs. Engel Coolers - The Comparison

Here is the skinny on the Engel vs Yeti coolers. If you’re looking for a made in America product, we recommend Yeti over Engel but read Yeti’s labeling. Yeti has two plants in the U.S. and one in the Philippines; whereas Engel only has one plant in Thailand. In terms of cost, an Engel cooler will run significantly less than a Yeti.

Yeti is the more recognized brand when compared to Engel because the Yeti Tundra™ line reinvented coolers. In terms of cooling capacity for Engel coolers vs Yeti, Engel coolers have the edge because the ice in these coolers last several days longer when compared to a Yeti.

Engel also has a 10-year warranty, and Yeti only has a 5-year warranty. Yeti coolers are more aesthetically pleasing, because of the use of a high gloss plastic. The last point worth mentioning in the whole Engel cooler vs Yeti debate is bottle openers, Engel has a built-in bottle opener, and Yeti requires you to buy one.

The Yeti is by far the most recognizable of the two. Manufactured in both the US and the Philippines. This cooler is wonderfully made and easily the more popular of the two. But while it may have more brand and name recognition, it also comes with a steeper price. It is certified bear proof, so your perishable food will be safely secured away from animals. The most notable model is the Yeti Tundra Models 20-125. The manufacturer does want to ensure your purchase isn't made without absolute guarantees, so all models come with a five-year warranty. Will hold ice for 5-7 days.

By comparison, the Engel is the most economical choice. Much more affordable than the Yeti, many of the product features are very similar. The most popular model would be the Engel Deep Blue Series 25-123Q, which is roto-molded and bear proof, as is its opposition. One of the cons of this manufacturers products is that the warranty is two years less than that of the Yeti, bringing it to only 3 years of coverage. Also holds ice from anywhere between 5 and seven days.

YETI STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES

Yeti’s biggest strength is also their greatest weakness. They cater to one target audience; male southerners who are outdoorsmen. Yeti is available online, or at specialized realtors such as Dicks and Bass Pro Shop. Yeti also echoes its ethos of being for outdoorsmen by outdoorsmen by having brand ambassadors who are famous fishers, hunters, cookers, speaking to the quality of the product.

Most people who invest in a Yeti loved the product, and Yeti offers repairs for damaged coolers. While all of this is well and good, Yeti coolers only come in one of five colors. Yeti coolers are heavier and cost more than other high-end coolers.

ENGEL STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES

Whereas the Yeti Tundra™ revolutionized the high-end quality market, there wouldn’t even be a market if Engel didn’t start making coolers back in the ’60s. Engel coolers can claim the title of the more economical high-end cooler and the more lightweight cooler. Engel coolers are also able to be submerged and keep items dry at a depth of three feet.

The floor of an Engel cooler is also angled allowing for easy draining. Rather than have a cooler with a bunch of fancy gadgets attached to it, Engels are simple, rotomolded coolers, designed to let the craftsmanship of the cooler do the talking, not some gizmo you connect to the side.

The Engel does not come without a few chinks in its rotomolded armor. The latches are not as sturdy as the T-Rex™ lid latches. The handles on some models are also uncomfortable to grip.

Ultimately, the differences come down to warranty, price and aesthetic.

Our Favorite Yeti and Engel Ice Chests In 2019


Editor's Rating:

4.7/5

YETI TUNDRA SERIES COOLERSYETI TUNDRA SERIES COOLERS

The Yeti Roadie™ 20 Cooler is the perfect cooler for a day on the water, going to the beach, or a barbeque that is BYOB. The cooler measures 18.5" x 13.6"  x 14.4", interior dimensions are 8.4" x 9.8" x 13" and when empty, weights 16 lbs. 

This little guy can fit 14 12-oz cans and was built to withstand the elements, or at the very least resist a bear attack. The no sweat design of these coolers, paired with its size, make these great travel companions.

A sturdy, roto-molded constructed cooler, made with thick, durable material. Your food will be protected with preeminent permafrost insulation; this provides unmatched thermal resistance which keeps them fresh.

The top, a self-stopping hinged lid that is crafted not to bend or break. Easy draining option that provides no mess. A heavy duty cooler with 18-gallon capacity.

Things We Liked

  • Two inches of insulation, designed to keep drinks colder for longer
  • T-Rex™ lid latches made of a heavy-duty rubber, so they won’t break
  • Specially constructed to take a beating

Things We Didn't Like

  • Insulating material keeps the drinks cold for only 36 hours

[BEST FOR THE MONEY] 2. ENGEL USA COOLER/DRY BOX

Editor's Rating:

4.5/5

ENGEL USA COOLER/DRY BOXENGEL USA COOLER/DRY BOX

The Engel USA™ Cooler is a lightweight and airtight cooler that is designed to keep things cold, hot or dry, depending on your needs. The cooler’s exterior is 16.6 x 11" x 13"; interiorly this cooler’s dimensions are 13.5" x 8" x 10".

This cooler when empty weighs 25 pounds and can hold a maximum of 32 12-oz cans. This cooler is also IGBC certified bear resistant.

A cooler insulated with high-grade polystyrene complete with handles made with an ergonomic design, it comes with a shoulder strap for long hauls.

Compact, easy to clean and portable. A warm tan color, it isn't an eyesore like some other coolers can be. Stainless steel latches at the front that can easily be pulled down to fasten the top.

Things We Liked

  • Latches and hinges are replaceable and made of marine stainless steel
  • A separator tray is included to keep dry items dry
  • Waterproof at a depth of three feet

Things We Didn't Like

  • Shoulder strap included but unnecessary due to the weight of the product

[BEST PORTABLE COOLER] 3. YETI HOPPER 30 COOLER

Editor's Rating:

4.6/5

YETI HOPPER 30 COOLERYETI HOPPER 30 COOLER

The Yeti Hopper® Two portable cooler is designed to look like a large handbag, but Yeti has reworked the soft cooler category and created a one of a kind cooler. The coolers exterior measurements are 12" x 18" x 25"; internally the hopper is 9" x 14" x 17" and this cooler weighs 4.4 pounds. 

The Yeti Hopper™ also can hold 23 12-oz. cans, and is constructed with material found in Hazmat suits, and whitewater rafts, to allow for a high level of durability.

A compact, portable product with shoulder straps which makes it easy to carry. Ice will last in this cooler for days. Puncture resistance on the outside and leak proof from within. Cold-keeping hydro lock material that's heavily padded.

A bit smaller than others on this list, only holding 6 and a half gallons. Perfect for tailgating or a day at the beach.

Things We Liked

  • Dryhide™ Shell: designed to be waterproof and mildew resistant
  • Hydrolok™ Zipper: Tough, high quality zipper intended to be leak proof
  • Comes with a detachable shoulder strap and three sets of hand holds
  • Hitchpoint™ Grid: Special straps designed to be a point to fix small objects to the Hopper

Things We Didn't Like

  • This cooler requires prechilling for best results

Editor's Rating:

4.1/5

ENGEL DEEPBLUE SERIES HIGH PERFORMANCEENGEL DEEPBLUE SERIES HIGH PERFORMANCE

The Engel 35-quart cooler is one of the best coolers at keeping cold items cold; on average ice in the cooler stays frozen for seven days, and the water stays cold for another three. External dimensions are 25.3" x 14.5" x 15.3," and internally it measures 20" x 10" x 10".

Coupled with its 42 12-oz can carry capacity, this cooler is ideal for fisherman and grill masters alike. The TruHold™ design, also keeps the inside well insulated, and its strong enough to stand on.

One of the most sizable options on this list, this cooler, has 2-inch walls with polyurethane insulation.

It's ideal for numerous items you need to keep fresh; whether it be multiple beverages or food. There is a pitched floor that makes the drainage completely mess free and easy. Also includes rope handles for long trips.

Things We Liked

  • Has a 10-year warranty
  • Has two inches of high-density insulation on all sides
  • Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) bear resistant certified
  • Lid can be used as a casting deck for fly fishing

Things We Didn't Like

  • The cooler is on the heavier side

Editor's Rating:

4.4/5

YETI TUNDRA 50 QUART COOLERYETI TUNDRA 50 QUART COOLER

The Tundra™ series was what started the high-end cooler revolution, and with all the features in it, we can see why. Two-inch-thick Permafrost™ insulation and the rotomolded construction makes it durable. 

The Doublehaul™ military grade handles make the Tundra series one of the most rugged coolers on the market. This cooler measures at 17.5" x 24" x 18.2" externally and 16.6 x 16.6" x 10.8" externally. The 50 Quarts. Tundra™ weighs 29 pounds and has a carrying capacity of 42 12-oz cans.

Made in a fantastic no sweat design, a much more compact cooler than others. Holds about 32 cans, a vortex drain system at the bottom of the cooler which helps to brain melted ice.

The roto-molded construction provides heavy duty exterior. It makes a great seat when closed.

Things We Liked

  • Large rope handles that are super durable
  • Bearfoot™ non slip feet designed to stop the cooler from sliding
  • Drying basket included to keep some items cold and out of the ice

Things We Didn't Like

  • Doesn’t have wheels

Editor's Rating:

4.4/5

ENGEL LIVEBAIT COOLERENGEL LIVEBAIT COOLER

The Engel live bait cooler is a second-generation product from Engel. They improved on the existing model, using feedback from the preexisting one. The two issues were the aerator and the hangable tray. The aerator was positioned to where the bubbler would splash water, but by moving it to the lid, the splashback is non-existent. 

The other feature was replacing the basket with a net which means changing the water or bait is easier to do now. The internal measurements are 18.5" x 11" x 11.8", and the external measurements are 19.5" x 12.5" x 14.5". The cooler also weighs 5.5 pounds.

A perfect cooler for those who find themselves on a fishing boat often. Incredibly compact and high impact.

Made from material that does not absorb odors, which makes it easy to clean after the fact. Extremely portable and keeps bait cool and insulated before use.

Things We Liked

  • Aerator can run on either batteries, or by being plugged in
  • Aerator has multiple settings
  • Insulated to help protect the bait before fishing

Things We Didn't Like

  • Small cooler designed just for bait

Editor's Rating:

4.8/5

CANYON COOLER OUTFITTER SERIES 35 QTRSCANYON COOLER OUTFITTER SERIES 35 QTRS

The Canyon Cooler Outfitter Series is a one of a kind product. It is an IGBC certified cooler that is packing about three inches of insulation. 

The straight wall construction also allows it to be stored without wasting space. This cooler also offers 25% more insulation when compared to other coolers at this price point.

The external measurements are 23.8" x 16.8" x 15.5"; internally it is 17"x 12.5" x 9.7". Each cooler in this series is also made of a high impact polyurethane that is commonly used for whitewater kayaks.

Things We Liked

  • Has recessed features to allow for easy storage
  • Only cooler listed that has storage space for two dry baskets
  • Ice stays frozen for seven days
  • Covered under a lifetime warranty

Things We Didn't Like

  • The Canyon Cooler is about 25 pounds, so it may be heavy to some

Editor's Rating:

4.8/5

Engel COOLERS ENG 25 ROTO-MOLDED COOLEREngel COOLERS ENG 25 ROTO-MOLDED COOLER

The Engel 25-quart rotomolded cooler is an IGBC certified cooler designed to take a beating and keep your items ice cold for eight days. Externally the Engel 25 measures in at 20.0" x 14.9" x 14.9"; internal measurements come in at 14.5" x 9.3" x 9.3". 

This cooler weighs about 12.5 pounds and can hold up to 40 12-oz cans.

Like most other Engel coolers, this cooler has a sturdy non-skid lid, so it is safe to stand or sit on it. The drain plug in this model is also recessed into the side of the cooler near the base.

Things We Liked

  • Covered under a 10-year warranty
  • Best cooler for keeping things cold
  • Includes padlock holes for additional security

Things We Didn't Like

  • Not tall enough for all types of beer bottles

Editor's Rating:

4.0/5

Yeti HOPPER BACKFLIP 24 COOLERYeti HOPPER BACKFLIP 24 COOLER

The Yeti Hopper Backflip™ is one of the sleekest soft coolers offered online. Whereas the Hopper® Two looks like a handbag, the Backflip functions and appears as a backpack. 

The Backflip has all the features of the Hopper® Two, but it also has the Hitchpoint™ grid which allows easy attachment of accessories. 

The external measurements are 13.8" x 8.5" x 19.1"; internally it measures at 12.8" x 6.5" x 15". This cooler also weighs 7.6 pounds and can hold a max of 24 12-oz. Cans.

Things We Liked

  • Has, Hitchpoint™ Grid, Coldcelll™ Insulation, and the Hydrolok™ Zipper features
  • Only cooler that has multiple straps
  • Wide mouth for easy visibility and packing

Things We Didn't Like

  • The Hopper® Backflip keeps items cold only for 24 hours

When you're trying to decide which brand has the better cooler, it honestly comes down to slight differences. If the price is a huge selling point for you, go with the Engel, if you can afford the extra dollars, pick the Yeti. Ultimately, both brands make great products that last long and are effective.

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