Ice coolers are a staple in sheds of outdoorsman and backyard barbecues everywhere. However, most ice coolers are cheaply made and quickly fall apart. A new market has emerged, led by Yeti and Orca, that offers quality coolers that perform and stand up to even the most demanding adventures.
Yeti and Orca are well known for their prowess in the premium cooler market, but which one is really the best? Here we’ll put the two titans to the test and compare the premium cooler lines from the best in the business.
Whether you’re in the market for a premium cooler or just want to learn more about these companies, read on and learn more about YETI and Orca coolers in our head-to-head comparison of these two industry leaders.
- 1 The Matchup
- 2 YETI Hard Coolers
- 3 ORCA Hard Coolers
- 4 Head to Head Comparison: The Contenders
- 5 Conclusion
- 6 FAQs
Base in Texas, YETI is a well-known manufacturer of premium outdoor products. In addition to coolers, they manufacture a variety of high-quality drinkware and insulated containers that are well-known for their durability.
YETI made their first cooler in 2007 and, since then, they have become a leader in the industry. The company was literally founded on the purpose of building a better, more durable cooler.
With their line up of premium coolers and other outdoor products, it seems that they have achieved that goal and then some. YETI coolers are some of the best on the market, and they are virtually indestructible.
ORCA, an acronym for Outdoor Recreation Company of America, was founded by outdoor enthusiasts who wanted to build better, American-built coolers. Founded in 2012, their main facility and company office is in Nashville, and all of their production facilities are in the USA.
Today the company makes much more than coolers, with product lines offering drinkware, licensed pro sports products, and even apparel. On their website, ORCA states that their guiding principle is to “make every moment cool” and that creed is evident in all of their quality products.
ORCA designs their products to stand up to the abuse of that trail, the slope, or even your backyard. Wherever you plan to use it, there is little doubt that ORCA has a product that can keep your beverage chilled and delicious.
YETI Hard Coolers
YETI Tundra Coolers
Tundra coolers are one of the YETI hard cooler product line offerings. Out of the three available hard cooler lines, Tundra offers some of the largest sizes and has a long list of features that will appeal to any outdoor enthusiast.
YETI’s smallest offering in its Tundra line is the Tundra 35. It features most of the same features as its bigger siblings, but it weighs a comparatively light 20 pounds and it measures less than 22 inches at its widest.
It’s a great choice for someone who wants the full range of features that come with a premium cooler in a portable package. You get the signature durability and performance that made YETI an industry-leading manufacturer in the most compact and convenient size available in the full-feature Tundra lineup.
The Tundra 45 is the next size up from the YETI Tundra 35. It can hold up to 28 cans of beer, 34 pounds of ice, and weighs 23 pounds when empty. It has all the same features as the other coolers in the Tundra line, so you still get the NeverFail hinge system and industrial lid gasket.
When choosing a YETI Tundra cooler, the most important determining factor in choosing the best cooler for your needs is size and price. The Tundra 45 is about 26” wide, and 16” high and long and it’s the second smallest cooler YETI makes, so this is one of the more compact coolers.
It’s perfect for shoppers who need an upgrade in size from the Tundra 35, but still, want to keep to budget.
If you don’t think the Tundra 45 or 35 are enough, you may want to consider upgrading to the Tundra 65. You’ll enjoy all the great performance and tough durability that’s built-in to all the Tundra line coolers, and you get it all in a medium-sized cooler that is perfect for the most average outdoor adventurer.
This cooler has a 42-can capacity and can accommodate up to 52 pounds of ice. It’s about 31” wide, 16” inches tall and about 17” deep. It’s great for the boat, truck, or RV and can keep up with you anywhere you go, keeping things cool on all of your outdoor adventures.
YETI released the Haul model in response to customer feedback. This durable cooler features a set of wheels and an extendable handle, so you can easily carry your fully-loaded cooler without breaking your back.
The wheels and handle have been designed with the same YETI attention to detail as all of their other coolers, so they will stand up to abuse as well as any other YETI product and, with the added convenience of the wheels and handle, it’s the perfect cooler for anyone with an on-the-move lifestyle.
The Tundra 350 is the granddaddy of all the YETI hard coolers. This is the largest premium cooler offered by YETI, with an enormous capacity of over 82 gallons.
This thing is a mammoth, but when you absolutely, positively have to pack everything in your cooler, the Tundra 350 is up to the job.
A few other things that are enormous on this extra-large cooler are its weight-class, tipping the scales at a back-breaking 89 pounds when empty, and its price tag. With a cost of over one thousand dollars, make sure you actually need a cooler of this size and quality to avoid overpaying for capacity and features you don’t need.
The Roadie is basically a smaller version of the Tundra, and has a lot of the same features, like the ColdLock® gasket and lid clamps. This pint-sized addition to the YETI hard cooler family is the smallest and most portable offering from YETI.
With a convenient carrying handle and an empty weight of only 15 pounds, this cooler is built for the road. It’s perfect for the hiking, kayaking, paddleboarding, and more!
The sky’s the limit and, though you may not know where your next adventure will take you, the Roadie is small enough and tough enough to keep by your side on the journey.
Tank and Silo Hard Coolers
YETI also offers one other alternative hard cooler products, the Tank. This guy is like the little siblings of the YETI hard cooler family.
The YETI Tank is the company’s version of an ice bucket. While it still has rotomolded construction and PermaFrost® insulation, this model does not feature the ColdLock® gasket. Lastly, the six-gallon Silo is a water cooler with a six-gallon capacity that’s perfect for any job site or outdoor hydration station.
ORCA Hard Coolers
Classic 20-Quart Hard Cooler
To the smallest member of the family, the 20-quart hard cooler from ORCA is also the most portable model offered in ORCA’s hard cooler line.
While we have selected the basic model for this review, the 20-quart size is offered in various versions, including models with NHL, MLB, and NFL pro sports designs.
The product features the same high-end insulation as larger models, and it even includes a durable, steel handle for easy carrying. Additionally, a cargo net attachment is available to increase storage capacity. With integrated insulation and a lid gasket, this little cooler can keep up with you through all of your adventures.
35-Quart Liddup Hard Cooler
ORCA’s Liddup line of products offers all of the same performance and durability as a standard ORCA cooler, except they have one additional feature.
Liddup series coolers, available only in 35-quart capacity, features ORCA’s auto-activating LED lighting. When you lift the lid, LEDs powered by AA batteries will illuminate the contents of your cooler. It’s great for camping trips, late-night fishing expeditions, or even nocturnal hunting.
Whatever the conditions, with the ORCA’s Liddup coolers you can not only keep your drinks cold, you can easily see inside your cooler during the darkest of nights.
140 Quart Hard Cooler
The largest offering in ORCA’s hard cooler lineup, this goliath can have a volume capacity of over 29 gallons. That’s up to 192 cans! Of course, you also get all of the other features you would expect from a quality manufacturer like ORCA.
The built-in lid gasket and advanced insulation will keep your good cold and fresh for longer. When you decide to bring out this 140-quart, 64-pound mega-cooler for a day of fun in the sun, you can do so in style with 10 available colors options.
Additionally, ORCA offers an available cargo net for expanding storage even further.
Any military enthusiast, outdoorsman, or survivalist is most likely familiar with MOLLE. This versatile system was designed by the military to enable soldiers to customize the load-outs on their assault vest, gun belts, and backpacks.
Today, MOLLE is a standardized modular customization system that has expanded into the civilian world as well. ORCA offers a variety of MOLLE softshells that are available for certain coolers in their lineup. They also offer a range of accessories to attach to the MOLLE, like an insulated drink holder, first aid kit, or even a pistol holster!
It’s perfect for the serious outdoorsman and, because it’s MOLLE compatible, you can use customize the shell with any MOLLE accessory you may have or want to purchase.
Head to Head Comparison: The Contenders
YETI Tundra 75 Ice Chest
The 75 was chosen for comparison because it is in the middle range of available size options, offering close to 75 quarts of capacity. This cooler can hold up to 57 cans of beer and up to 70 lbs of ice!
It’s loaded with tech and features to equip it for all kinds of outdoor adventures, like heavy-duty latches, tie-down slots, YETI’s Neverfail® hinge system, and much more.
This model of Tundra cooler is only available in white. However, other Tundra coolers have other color offerings. It’s a little on the heavy side, weighing in at a solid 34 pounds, but it’s a worthy price to pay for the myriad of premium features you get with this model.
ORCA 75 Quart
ORCA’s answer to the Tundra 75 is their 75-quart hard cooler. It has similar dimensions to the YETI and holds up to 90 cans.
ORCA coolers feature the same quality workmanship found in the YETI cooler we reviewed earlier, including roto-molded construction, integrated insulation, and a heavy-duty lid gasket.
This particular cooler is available in five colors, including white, so there are a lot of available options to find one that suits your style.
It’s plenty of storage and style for most outdoor enthusiasts and can accommodate enough supplies to last a weekend. ORCA even claims that this model will keep your stored items for up to 10 days, so it can accommodate longer trips too.
Evaluation: YETI vs. ORCA
|Parameters||ORCA 75 Quart Hard Cooler Classic||YETI Tundra 75 Ice Chest|
|Dimensions||33 7/16” x 17 ⅞” x 18 ⅜”||33 ½” x 17 ⅞” x 17 ½”|
|Weight (Empty)||40 Pounds||34 Pounds|
|Capacity||75 QT/ 18.75 Gal / 90 Cans||74.8 QT / 18.7 Gal / 57 Cans|
|Walls / Lid Width||3” Walls / 3” Lid||2” Walls / 3” Lid|
|Holds Ice Up to 7 Days||Holds Ice Up to 5 Days|
|Warranty||Lifetime, All Components||Five Years, Factory Defects Only|
|Price||Check Price||Check Price|
Both of these companies use the same method of insulating their products, polyurethane foam. While both of these products are extremely durable because of their rotomolded designs, they differ in a few key areas.
While ORCA has better insulation, with 3” thick insulation in the walls of the cooler, it’s also six pounds heavier than the YETI. Strictly speaking in terms of construction materials and functionality, this is an even contest.
Again, these products stand toe-to-toe. Both of these coolers are extremely durable and are designed to hold up to extreme conditions, including bear attacks.
These coolers won’t last years, they will last decades. They are extremely high quality and feature heavy duty hinges.
Plus, the rotomolded exterior means they can take a beating without cracking or breaking. These extremely tough coolers are built to stand up to any adventure.
Performance: ORCA 75-Quart Hard Cooler
These products have a similar array of performance-related features. They use the same type of insulation and both designs feature a heavy-duty lid gasket. In this category, however, ORCA’s extra inch of wall insulation makes the difference.
ORCA coolers repeatedly score better on tests that compare ice melt. Generally, ORCA coolers will hold ice with relative little melt for up to five days.
In comparison, YETI usually lasts for up to five days. While the extra inch of insulation adds six pounds to the weight of the cooler, it’s a clear win in performance.
Special Features / Misc: ORCA 75-Quart Hard Cooler
ORCA offers two very unique features on some of their hard coolers. The Liddup line features an ultra-bright LED in the lid that automatically illuminates the contents of the cooler when you open the lid. The light is powered by four double A batteries and gets a lot of usage off of one set.
Additionally, the available MOLLE system for the ORCA coolers is also a big plus for ORCA. If you’re an outdoorsman, odds are you have some sort of MOLLE gear in your house, and with the MOLLE shell accessory, you can attach them right to your cooler! This game-changing accessory gives the user access to an unlimited amount MOLLE gear and makes the cooler extremely versatile and customizable.
Comparatively, YETI offers a cooler with wheels and an extendable handle. Not exactly cutting-edge technology, not to mention ORCAs are available with the same feature.
Customer Service: ORCA
The deciding factor in this category always comes down to the warranty, and this contest is no different.
YETI offers a five-year warranty protecting against factory defects in workmanship and quality. That’s it.
Conversely, ORCA offers a lifetime warranty that protects against defects in material or workmanship, under normal use, they will repair or replace your product for life for any problem that arises under normal use.
That means if you pick it up and the handle comes off after 20 years of owning it, you’re covered. While with YETI, if the handle didn’t come like that from the factory or if the defect was discovered after the five year coverage period, you would be out in the cold.
ORCA clearly has the better warranty and, since their warranty covers more, they are the clear winner in the customer service category.
This is an easy one to decide. The ORCA comes in 10 different colors in just its basic package. They also offered licensed sports gear from the NHL, NFL, and MLB, along with various other trims.
The YETI Tundra-75 is available in one color, white. That’s it. There’s no contest, ORCA is the winner.
ORCA seems to beat YETI at price across the board, including when comparing these two models.
As you can see from the comparison table above, the Tundra 75 costs $100 more than the ORCA 75-quart. It’s not hard to choose a winner in this category.
Winner: ORCA 75-Quart Hard Cooler
For all the pomp and fanfare associated with these two names, this was a relatively easy contest to call. With ORCA offering a better warranty and better performance in more styles for a better price, the ORCA 75-Quart Hard Cooler is the clear winner.
The real deciding factor in this contest was price and performance. With YETI products generally more expensive than corresponding ORCA offerings, one would think they would perform better to justify their higher price tags.
Unfortunately, it looks like, in this instance, the name is not worth the extra dollars. In fact, outside of being six pounds lighter than the ORCA, the YETI Tundra gets swept in every category across the board, mustering no better than a tie in any of our evaluation criteria categories.
However, don’t let this synopsis create the misconception that YETI coolers aren’t quality products. In facts, YETI coolers are higher quality and better than most coolers available on the market today. However, in the battle of two heavyweights, someone had to come out on top.
In this matchup, ORCA may not have scored a knockout but the 75-Quart Hard Cooler is a winner by unanimous decision.
“What’s the best size cooler for you?”
If you have made the decision to buy a cooler and have found the right product line, the next logical question you will have is, “What size should I get?” Unfortunately, that question doesn’t have an easy answer.
As a general rule, 1 quart is equal to .75 cans of storage, so a 20-quart cooler will hold 15 cans. However, remember that calculation includes no space for ice so adjust accordingly.
For most, one 50-60 quart and another, 20-40 quart cooler can accommodate a wide range of outdoor activities. Review our size guide for more information on what size cooler you need for your preferred outdoor activity.
This cooler is best utilized for personal, one-person trips and as an auxiliary cooler for longer outings with more people. It’s great for:
- Solo camping/hiking/hunting/fishing day trips
- Auxiliary cooler storage
- ATV off-roading
If you’re planning on going on day trips with one or two extra people, then look for a cooler in this size range. It’s also great for weekend solo trips. They are best used for:
- 2-3 person camping/hiking/hunting/fishing day trips
- Solo camping/hiking/hunting/fishing day trips weekend trips
- Primary duty cooler storage
- 4×4 off-roading
This larger cooler size is perfect for weekend camping trips with one or two friends. At these capacities, coolers begin to be too cumbersome and heavy for day trips and are not suitable for hiking, kayaking, or any other activity that involves traveling on foot. They are best used for:
- 2-3 person weekend Trips (2-3 Day) with available vehicular transportation
- Primary duty cooler storage
- Backyard BBQs, garages, and job sites
These coolers are for large parties and high-demand users. They are favored by professional fisherman and serious hunters and can be as large as 350 quarts or even more. They have massive amounts of storage but are very heavy and extremely cumbersome. Best suited for:
- Long distance, multi-day fishing trips
- Family RVing
- Backyard BBQs, garages, and job sites
- Family Boating
- Primary cooler storage
- Multi-day hunting trips with vehicular access
“Which will keep ice longer?”
ORCA coolers tend to hold ice significantly longer than comparable YETI models. For our calculations, we considered how many days the cooler could store ice without showing any significant build up or meltwater, not how long the cooler will keep solid ice. That means that, even though the YETI can keep ice for five days by our estimate, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find any ice whatsoever in the cooler after five days. However, the ORCA is known to hold ice, without melting, for a whole two days longer than YETI products. That’s a big difference, and the contrasting performance is often attributed to the extra inch of insulation in the walls of the ORCA coolers.
“Are these coolers good for camping?”
Yes and no, depending on the kind of camping trip. While these coolers will keep ice for days, they’re also very heavy. If you’re going on a five-day solo camping trip into the mountains you don’t want to be lugging around a 40-pound cooler. However, if you’re going to be pulling up to the campsite in a Winnebago then it could be an excellent camping companion. Make sure you choose the appropriate gear to fit your outdoor adventure.
“What sizes are the special feature coolers (MOLLE, Liddup, Tundra Haul) available in?”
The MOLLE harness is designed to fit the ORCA 26 QT hard cooler. ORCA Liddup coolers, with an internal LED light to illuminate the contents of the cooler when the lid is opened, are available in six colors and have a 35-quart capacity. The Tundra Haul, from YETI, holds 37 quarts and comes in three available colors.
“Does the manufacturer offer payment plans?”
YETI offers to finance through Affirm Loans with rates ranging from 10-30% APR. ORCA does not offer any third-party financing through their website.
“Do the manufacturer warranties cover any kind of damage?”
No. YETI covers only defects in workmanship and materials and your claim period is limited to five years. ORCA guarantees service or replacement for any defects in workmanship or materials, and will even repair or replace defects under normal use and wear and tear. If a clip or a handle breaks on your ORCA cooler, they will fix it. YETI will only cover it if the defect was a result of the manufacturer.