Premium Coolers: Engel vs. Grizzly vs. Pelican vs. Yeti vs. Yukon

We made the plunge and bought a “premium” cooler even after our less than ideal test with the Yeti – click here for test results. UPDATE!  For the “6 Months Later” post, click here! 

We need a cooler for the travel trailer and after much deliberation decided to go with an expensive premium brand.  Below are the result of our deliberations – we had a certain space to fit the cooler into, max dimensions were 29″ long X 17″ wide X no real height restriction. Weight was a considerations since these coolers tend to be very heavy, even empty  SO without further ado listed below are the coolers we considered and also the first several days ice testing with our final choice.

Grizzly Day 1

Grizzly Day 1

Igloo Yukon 50:  33.6″ long X 17″ wide X 17.6″ high, 32 lbs — $290 on Amazon — size was too big for the 50 which is the smallest they make. We also didn’t like the molded in handles on the ends taking up more space.  But it was a nice cooler.

Yukon 50 - 2 strikes, one they don't make a smaller version and two, we didn't like the molded on handles, take up more space.

Yukon 50 – 2 strikes, one they don’t make a smaller version and two, we didn’t like the molded on handles, take up more space.

Engel 65 & 35 3 year warranty, certified Grizzly Bear Proof:  65 dimensions were 29 1/4 X 16 3/4 X 16 3/4, weight 28 lbs — pretty good.  $292 on Amazon.  Engel 35 dimensions were 25.4″ X 14.8″ X 15.1″, weight 20 lbs $245 on Amazon.  Note – the Engel 35 was almost exactly the same size as the Yeti 45, which was confusing.

Engel Deep Blue 65, one of our finalists, just a smidge too big.

Engel Deep Blue 65, one of our finalists, just a smidge too big.

We talked to a professional fisherman who had both an Engel (much larger than these) and a Yeti.  He said the Yeti might have a slight edge, but he was happy with the Engel as well.  Our problem was the 65 was a bit too big and the 35 a bit too small.

Yeti 35 5 year warranty, certified Grizzly Bear Proof:  21″ X 16″ X 15 1/2″ 20 lbs.  $350 on Amazon

Yeti 45 5 year warranty, certified Grizzly Bear Proof:  25 1/2″ X 16″ X15 1/2″ 23 lbs $350 on Amazon

Why is everyone promoting GRIZZLY BEAR CERTIFIED?  Who are they kidding?  It appears to me that if a griz wanted into any of these coolers, it would be a matter of just a few minutes… maybe.  But they are certified for camping outside in grizzly bear country – maybe it’s because there’s no smell that escapes so they don’t attract bears?  Who knows…

Pelican:  Too big, too heavy, we looked at them, but didn’t seriously consider one.  Here are a few on Amazon, they are generally less expensive.

Grizzly Day 2

Grizzly Day 2 – ice still OK, block is great.

Which brings us to the star of our show:  The Grizzly 40

Grizzly 40, lifetime warranty, made in the USA, certified Grizzly Bear Proof (as we’ve already noted, that’s important):  25 1/2″ X 16″ X 15 1/2″, 22 lbs  $270 currently on Amazon, watch for sales, we got ours for $255 with free shipping on Amazon.

Grizzly Day 3

Grizzly Day 3 – cube ice has pretty much turned to water, but the block is going stong…

The Grizzly 40 is almost exactly the same size as the Yeti 45, but a bit less weight and $100-ish less on the price tag depending on where you find it.

We chose the Grizzly 40 as the best value and space for the money.   So how does it perform?  About like the Yeti.  If we have a block of ice (hard to find sometimes, I might add), the ice block will last 8 days in the Florida Keys springtime.  David loves the cooler because he claims it keeps his beer much colder than the boat refrigerator.  And we all know that’s the bottom line.

Grizzly Day 5

Grizzly Day 5 – block is still good, total water from the cubes.  We added cubes and the block made it to Day 10!  Since they we haven’t been able to buy a block anywhere.   🙁

Comments, experiences to share?  Please leave a comment and let us know!  Cheers!  Jan



  1. You would think that there is a Ice Block Maker available for boats– 12V.. I have not seen one.. How big could it be? I would think not that much space would be needed..

    Yes– Cold Beer is very important!! As is Ice that can be chipped off a block for Docktails..

    I enjoy reading your Blog– Thanks for sharing..

  2. Try using dry ice! It will last much longer!

  3. Yeti and Griizzly coolers rank among the most used at the professional BBQ comps I judge. Teams are about split on either make. Great post – and appreciate the look at other models I’ve not seen before!

  4. The bear proof rating is only valid when those four holes in the front by the latches have a lock going through each respective pair.

  5. Very curious if anyone has tried the RTIC 45 coolers? They make the same claims as YETI but claim to have more capacity for a MUCH MUCH cheaper price. Let me know. Good post.

    • I ordered a Rtic and canceled my order. Said it would be 90 days before it shipped. Claim they have none in stock. Which is the end of jan…..who has that much time?

    • Rich Burr says:

      Ditto on the RTIC. Good product at a great price…. But their customer service is terrible and there is no way I’m waiting 90 days for a cooler. Wife got an RTIC 45 and at the time it only took 3 weeks to arrive. I wanted a 65 and was quoted 90 days! Just ordered a Pelican 65 and it will be here three days after ordering. $100.00 more than the RTIC, but it’s made here in the US (RTIC is made in China) and has a lifetime warranty.

  6. When it comes to Grizzly vs Engel coolers, Grizzly is the winner hands down. Not only do Grizzly coolers have a lifetime warranty, but they’re also made right here in the US unlike the Engel cooler brand and many others in the industry. Why does this matter? For several reasons such as; lead time as far as availability, sticker quality control, amazing support and costumer service, and most importantly…when purchasing a Grizzly you’re supporting American jobs which in turn pumps more money into the local economy.

    As far as ice ratings go, the Grizzly does indeed hold ice much longer than the Engel. ALL brands must be pre-cooled in order to achieve the advertised ice ratings set forth by the manufacturer. Pre-cooling ensures that there’s minimum ice melting when ice is initially put inside the cooler before being used on your next adventure.

    Grizzly and Engel are both IGBC Certified Grizzly Resistant which makes them both 100% legal and ideal choices for when you’ll be needing to use your cooler in any of the National Parks within the US.

    Yeti for the most part is a thing of the past. I seen a comment about RITC and they to I’d recommend staying away from. Unless you like China made and the thought of basically owing a fake/stripped down Yeti cooler.

    Happy coolering folks!!!

  7. I’ve also been weighing the differences between some of these higher end coolers, the Engel, Grizzly, and Orca in particular. I’m wondering why you didn’t consider the Engel 50? Seems like it would have been the perfect size, based on what you said about the 35 being too small and 65 too big. Anyway, I’d be especially interested to see how the Engel 50 and Grizzly 40 stack up to one another.

    • At the time, we were space constrained by what would fit under the salon table in the sailboat. I don’t recall, but it seems like the Engel 50 overall dimensions were too big. 🙂 Cheers! Jan

  8. Grizzly bear certified is very important when you live where I do and do what I do!


  1. […] If you want to see our original post on pros and cons of each of the premium coolers we considered, … […]

  2. […] of similar materials and design, but it does less boasting about its ability to keep ice frozen. This article tested the Yeti and the Grizzly, and found that both were able to keep ice frozen for 8 days in hot […]

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