Grizzly vs Yeti Coolers – Review & Comparison – Who Comes Out on Top?

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Arguably one of the most popular cooler brand comparisons has to be the Grizzly vs Yeti debate. In this article we take a deep-dive in both of these excellent companies, review their product line and compare them side-by-side to see who has the best ice retention, how their prices compare and who comes out on top overall.

So if you’re stuck choosing between ad Grizzly and a Yeti cooler, let this guide help you on your buying decision.

A Closer Look At The Companies

About Grizzly

All Grizzly coolers are made in the USA (Decorah, Iowa), so if you prefer to support homegrown businesses then the Grizzly has the upper hand here.

The Grizzly brand name is owned by Rotocast Plastics, Inc who has been in business for over 30-years. When they launched the Grizzly brand, their hard-sided coolers quickly became one of the top coolers on the market thanks to their clever marketing videos showing just how tough their products were.

About Yeti

Yeti products are manufactured in the US and the Philippines, so you ”could’ be getting a cooler made in the great US of A, but you won’t know for sure.

That aside, Yeti has been around since 2006 and are the most popular brand on the cooler market. Their products are high-regarded across the board, across many different outdoor pursuits and hobbies and they’re at the front of everyone’s minds when decided which cooler to purchase.

Grizzly vs Yeti – The Good & The Bad

Grizzly – The Good

  • Lifetime Warranty – A lifetime warranty is provided with the Grizzly rotomolded coolers.
  • Quart Sizes – The quart sizing is accurate, a Grizzly 40 = a 40qt cooler. Unlike Yeti where their sizing is inaccurate.
  • Cooler Weight – Despite similar dimensions, Grizzly coolers are much lighter than their Yeti counterparts.
  • Larger Drain Holes – These coolers drain much faster thanks to their superior drain channel and larger drain holes.

Grizzly – The Bad

  • Ice Retention – Not as good retention of the ice as similar Yeti models, over a 5-7 day window.

Yeti – The Good

  • Trusted Brand – This brand has been around since 2006 and is known for the quality and durability of its products.
  • Customer Service – Acting on the warranty is simple and you can get help from their customer service department or any of their stockists as they have an excellent program in place.

Yeti – The Bad

  • Inaccurate Size – The model number or size of the Tundra range is not an accurate correlation to the quart size. E.g the Tundra 45 comes in at 37 quarts.
  • Higher Priced – When compared to like-for-like Grizzly products, you will pay more for a Yeti

Grizzly Cooler vs Yeti Cooler Product Line

In some cases these coolers do have like-for-like comparisons, however, in most cases their model names and sizes do differ. So it can be difficult to compare then equally and avoid biases.

With that being said, below are the model numbers available for all roto-molded coolers for each brand, and we then dig into the details on those that we can compare accurately.

Grizzly

Whilst Grizzly don’t have as many size options than Yeti, they are continually launching new models to keep up with customer demand.

One of which is the new Grizzly Kenai range. For now, we will stick to the standard grizzly ‘G’ range.

Yeti

The Yeti Thundra range offers a wide range of cooler sizes from 20-quarts all the way to 350 quarts.

It’s important to note here that the model names are not an exact size correlation to the number of quarts you are getting. For example, the YETI Tundra 45, is actually 37.6 quarts.

Ice Retention

Ok, this section is an important one and is what many of us use as the yardstick for which to measure how ‘good’ a cooler is in comparison to another. So let’s get straight to it.

Over a 5-7 day window, the Grizzly cooler maxed out at around 5-days with there being very little to no ice remaining in the cooler.

The Yeti, on the other hand, had enough ice left to continue cooling for another 1-2 days max.

In short, when it comes to the mid-sized coolers (40-65 quarts), Yeti wins on ice retention. Now when we look at the smaller 20-quart sized coolers, the Grizzly’s actually came out on top.

So the takeaway here is that whilst ice retention is important, when it comes to testing there are many factors that can influence the result, such as the cooler color, as darker shades absorb more heat than say white.

To wrap this section up, if your main concern is going a full-week with your cooler then the Yeti is the better choice. For shorter trips, I’d go with the Grizzly.

Build Quality

Latch System

One of the biggest difference between these two cooler brands is their latch systems.

For Yeti we have the T-Rex ball latch system that is widely known through the industry and is very durable and secure.

I really like how the Yeti latches are ‘tight’, meaning that when you raise the cooler lid, they don’t drop down and prevent you from closing the lid again without moving them manually. (This is an issue we found with RTIC in our RTIC vs Yeti article and was one of the main drawbacks.)

Grizzly, on the other hand, have what is called a ‘bear claw’ latch system, which comprises of a rectangular shaped piece of rubber which wraps around the molded-plastic peg system of the cooler base.

If I have to compare the two systems, I have a slight preference for the Yeti ball-latch system for its simplicity and ease of use.

Durability & Security

In this video from Grizzly coolers named “Grizzly Coolers Torture Test”, you can see how a Grizzly 16 stands up against an 11,000 lbs John Deere tractor…impressive to say the least!

If you stow your cooler in your truck bed, for example, both coolers offer the ability to lock them closed using a padlock inserter between the small holes on the lid and base of the cooler.

I would say this is a nice to have but not a game changer for me personally. If someone wanted to get into the cooler…there’s not much you can do to stop them. Still, this could deter any opportunists that may be passing by.

Bear Proof

Both Grizzly and Yeti coolers are certified as bear-proof, which, depending on how and where you will use your cooler may or may not matter to you. Personally, if a bear wants to take my cooler he can have it whilst I make a swift exit!

With that being said, there aren’t many Yeti competitors that can display the bear-proof logo, which has given Yeti that “indestructible” reputation over the years.

Many of the lower priced competitors choose not to get certified to cut down on costs, which can then be passed onto you the consumer, in the form of a cheaper end product.

Price Comparison

If we take the middle of the road cooler from each brand, in this case, the Grizzly 40 and the Yeti Tundra 45, we can compare them on price and see how they differ.

You will find that you will be paying around $50 MORE for the Yeti, and that’s for a similar product and 3-quarts less than you get with the Grizzly.

When we step up to the larger coolers, taking the Grizzly 75 vs Yeti Tundra 75, we can see there is a $100+ price difference between these two like-for-like coolers.

Grizzly vs Yeti – The Final Verdict

So, is it worth paying the extra money for a Yeti cooler?

If you’re brand conscious and want to show people you have the money for the best gear, then sure, go ahead and buy the Yeti.

If, however, you’d rather save yourself the $100, perhaps spend it on beers for your buddies or other gear, then there is no reason not to choose the Grizzly.

They are both equally as durable, can stand up to a tonne of abuse and are likely to last you for many many years. With that said, what swayed my decision, in the end, was the lifetime warranty provided by Grizzly, in favor of just a 5-year warranty with Yeti.

My personal choice – go with the Grizzly.

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