Why are Yeti Coolers So Expensive?

Why are Yeti coolers so expensive

If you’re reading this, you already know what a Yeti cooler is and you’re not here in search of the Abominable Snowman.

Look elsewhere, squatchers! We don’t know where Bigfoot is, any more than you do.

For the rest of us outdoor fans, a Yeti is one thing: it’s a cooler. But not just any cooler, it’s the Rolls Royce of coolers. Or at least that’s what you’d assume, given the hefty price tag.

Yeti coolers currently retail from between $200 to $1,300. Yep, you read that right. That’s upward of 200 big ones for a thing that keeps a can of beer cool, or a dead fish chilled.

In some cases that retail price is ten times the price of your bog-standard Costco or Walmart cooler. So why are Yeti coolers so expensive? Let’s take a deeper look.

beer bottles in yeti coolers

1. Because They Were Pioneers

Yetis use a manufacturing process called roto-molding. This involves using high temperatures and low pressures to create a box out of a single hollow plastic shell. (Fewer joints mean fewer breaking points.) Then, pumping this shell full of lovely insulating, commercial-grade, polyurethane foam. The result? A very difficult box to break.

It’s a nifty system that creates very durable coolers – but it’s also one that a lot of Yeti’s cheaper competitors use. So what makes the Yeti cooler most expensive?

Well, they got in there first. They pioneered the process. When Roy and Ryan Seiders, the brothers behind Yeti, sold their first box market back in 2006, everyone was used to coolboxes falling apart in their hands after one or two uses. It was a complete pain.

Nowadays, every cooler company worth their salt uses the same roto-molding technique. But Yeti had the headstart and they made their advantage stick, bigtime. The brand is now valued at a whopping $1.5billion. A tidy sum of money, that’d take more than a few coolers to carry!

2. Because of Innovative Technology

The guys at Yeti will tell you their coolers have such a hefty price tag because they’re packed full of a lot of innovative technology. And it’s true, a quick look at the specs of a cooler on their website would make a Nasa engineer reach for a cold beer… probably from a Yeti.

If you thought you were just buying a cooler, you’d be wrong. Inside each of Yeti’s flagship hard coolers you’re actually getting the following patented technologies:

  • T-Rex™ Lid Latches
  • Anchorpoint™ Tie-Down Slots
  • Vortex™ Drain System
  • Bearfoot™ Non-Slip Feet
  • Neverfail™ Hinge System

Now, that’s a lot of trademarks. And the list doesn’t end there; it goes on and on. That’s a whole bunch of technology for what’s essentially a plastic box you put ice in. But what do they all mean? Well, we’re not official coolbox scientists… but we’ve definitely used enough to moonlight as experts.

It means that Yeti’s overengineered the living hell out of coolers. They’ve thought about them from every possible angle. And they’ve come up with solutions to problems most of us didn’t even know existed.

In short, they’ve done the job right. Whether it was a job that needed doing that well is a completely different question.

3. Because They’re Bear-Proof

This probably isn’t a huge concern for everyone shopping for a cooler – but it is for a significant portion. Yeti coolers have been certified bear-proof by the IGBC, that’s the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee if you didn’t know.

Here is a nice little marketing video from Yeti, showing their cooler taking a good beating from a Grizzly.

Now, of course, that could just be Ryan or Roy Seiders in a bear suit, but we’ll take their word for it!

4. Because They Are Cool

“Of course it’s cool, dumbass! It’s a cooler!”

Yes, ok, cleverclogs. You know what we mean. A Yeti cooler is a very trendy bit of kit. The marketing team at Yeti has done an amazing job to turn a large plastic box into the must-have item for the Instagram-conscious outdoor enthusiast. The bear attack video above is just one in a line of slick advertising moves the company has made that’s turned a regular backyard bit of gear into an object of desire.

Yeti, as you probably already know, don’t just make coolers; they make a whole range of outdoor gear. They have become the go-to lifestyle brand for the discerning outdoorsman and woman.

It’s for this reason, above all others, that Yetis cost so damn much. Sure, they’re good – but so are other coolers. Yeti is so expensive because people are willing to pay for it. They are buying into the lifestyle.

5. Because of Cold Business Practices

Yeti took a few plays from the Apple playbook. The first step? Making products that are useful, well designed and very cool. The second? Following some cold and calculating business practices.

You can only get Yetis from your higher-end outdoor stores, Yeti refuses to allow Walmart or Costco to stock their gear. This ensures Yeti maintains its status as an exclusive brand, appealing to those genuine outdoor enthusiasts and genuine Instagram enthusiasts who are really “in the know”.

Yeti reportedly offers very thin profit margins to retailers in exchange for stocking their coolers. That means if a retailer wishes to offer any decent sale on a Yeti cooler they are going to be eating a loss.

Final Thoughts: Why is Yeti so Expensive?

coffee filter on yeti mug

So we’ve answered the question, why are yeti coolers so expensive? But we haven’t answered the far more critical one. Are they worth the price tag or not? Well, to be honest, value is in the eye of the beholder. The person be-holding the cooler, that is.

If all you care about is keeping your drinks cool at a kiddies picnic at the park, then splashing the cash on a Yeti could be overkill.

However, if you’re a true outdoor enthusiast, you will have a very different set of criteria. You will also know full well that the true return on investment only becomes apparent after years of use. $400 for a coolbox might seem expensive upfront; but when you’re still resting your feet on the same cooler five years later, it begins to look like an astute purchase indeed.

Keep it frosty!

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