Orca Vs Yeti Coolers


The cooler battleground is heating up with Yeti and Orca fighting for the top spot. In fact, most coolers seem at loggerheads with Yeti and are trying to grab a large slice in the cooler workspace.

There’s no getting away from the fact that most of us have heard of YETI but few of us may have heard of ORCA, although it’s a good cooler. ORCA users that have searched for a YETI alternative are satisfied with ORCA’s cooler performance. However, the fact remains that ORCA has been dominated by the acclaimed market leader with ORCA refusing to yield ground. Orca Vs Yeti Coolers has always been a battle royale.

How Yeti and Orca Coolers Compare

YETI has a cool background and is developed by the Seiders brothers- Roy and Ryan, two avid outdoor enthusiasts who were frustrated with the second-rate coolers in the market. Their efforts to produce a cooler that was almost nonpareil succeeded and the first roto-molded cooler was introduced way back in 2006. The YETI cooler soon became a staple piece in hiking, trekking and fishing trips and it created immense brand value. It soon became a household name and for some time exercised a monopoly of sorts in the cooler market.

ORCA (Outdoor Recreation Company of America) CEO Cliff Walker, while drinking a beer from a YETI cooler, brought high-end coolers just as good as YETI but with a difference. They should be exclusively  American-made. The ORCA cooler was born in 2012 and YETI now had competition

Both companies are vying with each other to be the best and are doing their best to come up with technology that gives them the edge in terms of design and functionality.

Where Yeti and Orca meet

Yeti’s roto-molded construction makes it bear resistant and almost indestructible. Orca’s exterior is also certified as bear proof and its thick roto-molded walls keep the outer shell durable.

Both the coolers have additional attachments that allow users to organize and stabilize their coolers while in transport. Yeti’s T-Rex lid latches are made from heavy-duty rubber secure the cooler from accidents while its tie-down points enable easy mounting of cooler on to the vehicle. Orca is not far behind with its whale tail type rubber latches that prevent coolers from being unexpectedly opened. The rubber used is thick and long-lasting. Orca coolers have tie down latches that secure them while being transported. Slipping and sliding is never a problem.Double haul and lip grip handles make for a strong grip and ease the burden of carrying and conveying Yeti coolers from one point to another. The handles feature is made from rubberized marine grade rope. Non-Slip feet at the bottom of the coolers prevent sliding. A vortex drain system that’s leak-proof facilitates swift draining. Orca’s functions include extendable handles that make it easy to carry. The handles feature durable and tough rubberized nylon that helps to get a good grip. The nylon also ensures that weight will not be a problem. Its drainage system is efficient and the spouts are constructed for quick draining. These coolers also include different baskets to organize items.

When it comes to cooler security both Yeti and Orca allow coolers to be locked up so that animals can’t get at them. Orca coolers have drilled out corners in the front- locks of your choice can be placed at each of these corners. Yeti’s Tundra line also has such a locking facility. Both place a great onus on safety and security.

How they score on Accessories

Orca has a large selection of accessories you can attach to your cooler. A cushion turns the cooler into a seat when you're outdoors, while the Molle Wrap webbing- a snap on water repellent cover- can house your phone, a knife, a first aid kit, and even a torch. The cooler also comes with solar panels that have built-in LED lights- the panels can be attached to the cooler. It has a cargo net too that allows you to store cutlery and other stuff. With over 18 accessories to choose, you’re spoilt for choice.

Yeti coolers to come with rod and drink holders, bottle openers, cutting board dividers an interior basket that helps keep sandwiches dry. However, it can’t beat Orca’s selection. Orca wins this round.

Price Points

Price is a huge consideration when it comes to comparing two brands that are equally good. If you’re in search of a quality ice chest, brand and reputation then the YETI is for you. These coolers might just need you to cough up a lot of dollars. Its high prices have made many people back off. ORCA coolers don’t come cheap, but when the same sized coolers are considered, they are more affordable. As far as quality and ice retention goes, ORCA can give YETI a tough fight.


Orca hard-sided coolers span a nice spectrum of sizes- Orca 20, Orca 26, Orca 40, Orca 58, Orca 75, and the Orca 140. It caters to small, medium and large-sized users but doesn’t forget those that are looking at large storage volumes.

YETI comes in different sizes and the range is just enormous.- the small Roadie 20, the Hopper 20, 30 and 40 with  30 being versatile, the YETI Tundra coming in various sizes- 35, 45, 50, 65, 75, 105, 110, 125, 160, 250 and even a 420. Although coolers between 20-75 quarts are likely to be more popular, that extra range of options gives people the choice of a bigger cooler when they need it. Orca’s smaller range though adequate cannot compete with Yeti’s enormous spectrum. This large span of coolers caters to almost every need and requirement.As far as cooler sizes go, Yeti emerges the winner. Coolers are generally measured in quarts, which indicates ice chest capacity- beware! The actual size of the cooler may differ from the capacity in quarts. Most coolers, including YETI, are not reflective of their size- The YETI 35 holds about 28-quarts and a Yeti 45 about 37-quarts.  Orca sizes though are ‘what you see is what you get’- an ORCA 20 will hold 20 quarts and an ORCA 58 holds 58 quarts.

Colors Choices

Yeti models come in White, Desert Tan, Charcoal, and Ice Blue. When you buy through Amazon, some Yeti sizes are available in sea foam green and LT Charcoal. These may cost a little more.Orca coolers are available in the basic green, tan, pink and green. When bought through Amazon, the color selection widens. The coolers are available in crimson, purple, blue, orange, burnt orange and more. The Orca website gives you a big selection of colors and patterns. Custom log colors are also possible with users being able to have their favorite print, color or logo on the cooler they buy. When it comes to color options, ORCA wins hands down.

Ice-Retention: How long will they hold ice?

By using roto-molded polyethylene, Orca has effectively maximized ice life. The thick-walled insulation coated with a seamless plastic layer and absence of seams make Orca’s ice chests very effective. The heavy duty gasket wedged between the walls and the lid keeps the cold in and ensures that warm air from outside doesn’t enter the cooler. It’s arrangement seals off the leak paths and makes the cooler impregnable. Its 3” thick walls and a similar thick roof provides an area of equal thickness throughout the cooler auguring improved ice-retention. No wonder Orca steals a march over Yeti when it comes to ice retention. It holds its own when it comes to premium coolers like YETI and its coolers are designed to retain ice for a long time.  

Using advanced insulating technologies keeps contents cold for a much longer period than any other branded cooler. Thick walls and no seams seem to be a feature that both coolers advocate. ORCA claims its coolers have 10 days of ice life if properly prepped and actual results show that its ice chest stayed at just below 40 degrees F even after four days. Orca coolers have incredible ice retention capacities and are likely to retain ice for a week during summer and a little longer in winter. The larger sized coolers hold the ice in longer.

YETI is not far behind when it comes to ice-retention- so long as the cooler remains closed, it retains ice even after 5 days. It uses Permafrost insulation, which is made of commercial-grade polyurethane foam that’s pressure injected. As the insulation is within the lids and the walls, it ensures that ice lasts longer. Three inches of Permafrost Insulation and use of the Fat Wall Design keeps the ice chest icy and the contents cold. Also, the coldlock gasket, which runs throughout the length of the lid, adds another layer of insulation to ensure that it retains the ice.

Insulating properties were tested when both the coolers were exposed to the 5-day challenge. Orca Cooler 58Q and Yeti Tundra 45 were completely filled with ice and 5 canned drinks were placed within. The coolers were left in sunlight for 5 days. At the end of the period, it was found that the Orca cooler held more ice than its Yeti counterpart. It showed that Orca scored over YETI when it came to ice-retention as it could preserve far more ice than the Yeti.

Restricted Product Lines- the good and bad

ORCA coolers are good! There’s no doubt that the company has been working hard at innovating and adapting. It’s easier for them to do that as they have to confine themselves to a single product line. Such a focus driven approach is sure to pay dividends. That’s why users are noticing its ice chest capabilities. This, though, has made them lose out on other big chunks of market share. That’s why ORCA is not a fully recognized brand like YETI.

YETI’s product lines are diversified and include small coolers for single users, easy carry coolers, tumblers and of course ice chest coolers. It has a finger in many pies, can appeal to a bigger audience and different audiences and also give users a wider variety of products to choose from. This translates into greater brand value and brand recognition.Should ORCA diversify? Maybe it's better it does. A premium product with multiple product lines will help to spread its name across a broader spectrum and become a recognized brand like YETI.

The ultimate analysis? Two great quality coolers that have proved themselves time and time again. Apart from minor differences and a small price difference, there’s nothing to make you choose one over the other. Unless brand name matters to you- then its YETI and if you want to save a few dollars then its ORCA. Whatever way you choose, you can’t go wrong!

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