Don’t Want to Drop Cash on a YETI? These Coolers Are Even Better

I.e. coolers for smart people.
By Brianna Lapolla
April 21, 2023

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It starts with a few targeted Instagram ads and some good old word of mouth, and before you realize it, you’ve just dropped half a paycheck on a cooler. But you’re smarter than that, and you know not every popular product is actually the best in its class. Sure, not much beats an ice-cold 12-pack while stuffing down hot dogs at the tailgate, or cracking open a cold one during a 90-degree day on the lake. However, there are much better uses for your hard-earned cash than spending $500 on a piece of plastic, like optimizing your health, investing in bitcoin, or, we don’t know, buying a pickleball league.

Consider this an intervention: you can achieve all of the above with a cooler that isn’t YETI. Start your own trend, and shop some of the best coolers on the market.

Drink This

The 8 Best Coolers Like Yeti

Magellan Outdoors Pro Leakproof 24-Can Backpack Cooler

Capacity: 24 cans
Price: $90
YETI version: $325

If you’re looking for an easy-to-carry cooler that’s leakproof, waterproof, has extra storage, and floats, the Magellan backpack cooler is where your search ends. It’s made with super-durable material and water-tight zippers that lock in the cold and prevent water from getting in or out. It has multiple straps and handles for lugging it from place to place, however is most convenient at that moment. At just $90, the Magellan Backpack Cooler is nearly half the price of every other option on this list, making it a budget-friendly buy for anyone just dipping their toe into the cooler game.

Blue Coolers​​ 60 Quart Ice Vault Roto-Molded Cooler with Wheels

Capacity: 60 quarts
Price: $320
YETI version: $500

Listen, filling a 60-quart cooler to the brim with full beers, waters, and grilling meats gets very heavy, very quickly. If you’d rather not tear a rotator cuff on the way to the boat, opt for this cooler with wheels. It keeps its contents cold for up to 10 days, features easy-close latches, a built-in bottle opener, non-skid feet so it won’t move unless you want it to, and a rapid drain system to empty any melted ice with ease. The YETI version costs $400 to $450, so you’ll save yourself an extra buck/buck fifty by going with this option.

Pelican 20QT Elite Cooler

Capacity: 15 cans
Price: $200
YETI version: $250

According to the brand, Pelican got its start in 1976 protecting defense, emergency, and scientific expedition equipment from some of the harshest conditions on earth. And it brings the same level of intensity to its cooler game. Its coolers are extremely durable—you’ll buy it once, and have it for a lifetime. But if Kevin gets carried away and rips a latch off after a playoff loss, the lifetime guarantee has your back. It weighs in at a solid 12 pounds, features four cup holders on top, and has a tall, slim design, which is easier to toss in the car while on the go. Expect your contents to stay cold for up to 10 days, so when you inevitably forget to empty the leftovers after the game, you don’t wind up with skunked beers immediately. The one annoyance: there isn’t a drainage hole, but it’s small enough to tip upside down.

Cordova 48 Quart Basecamp Class Hard Cooler

Capacity: 48 quarts; 42 cans
Price: $260
YETI version: $300

This American-made cooler can fit up to 42 cans or 40 pounds of ice so all your things stay cold for as long as you need them to. But what makes this cooler especially worth it is its bear-resistant lock technology, anti-slip Goat Feet (pads that keep the cooler from slipping or sliding on a variety of surfaces), and a patented lid lock, which keeps the lid up and locked in place at 70-degrees and 90-degrees so it doesn’t smash down on your fingers while reaching for another beer.

RTIC 32 QT Ultra-Light Cooler

Capacity: 32 quart; 48 cans; 30 pounds of ice
Price: $150
YETI version: $275

If your empty cooler is already heavy, filling it with cans and ice will only make it more difficult to move around. That’s why the experts at RTIC engineered a cooler that’s 30 percent lighter than its other models. This one still fits more than enough and keeps contents cold for up to six days thanks to 2.5 inches of foam insulation and freezer-style gasket seals. It also features a built-in bottle opener, tie-down slots to secure it in place on a boat, trailer, or truck bed, and two drainage holes for efficient draining in any position. It’s also more than 41 percent cheaper than the competition.

RTIC BackPack Cooler

Capacity: 30 cans
Price: $180
YETI version: $325

Want something even more lightweight and portable? Opt for RTIC’s backpack cooler. It’s leakproof, durable, and weighs next to nothing courtesy of its meticulously compact design. We love this cooler most of all, because it floats. It’s built with welded seams which make it 100 percent waterproof—bring it with you into the lake so you don’t have to get out to grab another beer.

Otterbox Trooper 20 Soft Cooler

Capacity: 20 quarts; 24 cans
Price: $250
YETI version: $300

When you need your beers to stay on ice for up to three days, enlist the help of Otterbox’s Trooper 20 Soft Cooler. It’s large enough to hold 24 cans and has a wide opening that makes loading and unloading cans easier, and even features a bottle opener if you’re more of a long-neck guy. If you’d rather not haul multiple bags, this option also features exterior pockets with water-resistant zippers—store your phone, keys, and any other valuables without a second thought.

TOURIT Leak-Proof Soft Pack Cooler Bag

Capacity: 30 cans (plus ice)
Price: $140
YETI version: $350

We like options. And this Amazon-famous cooler delivers. It can be carried three different ways, with a detachable shoulder strap, top handles, and two side grab-n-go handles—the world is your oyster. Load it up with a whole 30-rack and still have room for ice. Whatever you do, its three layered-design keeps its contents cool for up to three days. Plus, you never have to worry about melted ice leaking through the bag and onto your car floor. It’s 100 percent leakproof and impact- and UV-resistant, making it the perfect companion for a day on the water, at the tailgate, or in the backyard.