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Pelican Vs Yeti

Pelican vs Yeti

Pelican Coolers vs YETI Coolers – Winner?

Two of the most popular coolers on the market out there are the innovative Yeti, and another – the Pelican. These two coolers are able to keep your food cold and fresh for extremely long periods of time, and Most importantly though, these coolers are the best of the best for numerous reasons. But when you pit them against each other, which one takes the verdict and wins the race? Well, it my depend based on what you want and need with your cooler. In this guide though, we’re going to give you some information that may help you decide! We’ve taken four coolers from the top of these lines’ favorites lists, and pitted them against each other!

Pelican’s Elite 30 QT against Yeti’s Tundra 35

In the first match, we decided to look into the Pelican Elite. This large cooler is extremely popular with anglers and outdoorsmen. You can literally hold up to 30 cans with up to twenty lbs. of ice in order to keep them ice cold. Of course, food lasts for quite some time too! Pelican is the first one we checked out, and it gives you some features right out of the box that Yeti doesn’t have. You get a very tight fit when it comes to the gasket and the locking latches. There are a couple extremely notable features to this cooler – one being the built-in bottle opener. The other being the awesome cupholders at the top of the cooler that are self-draining as well. And just like a Yeti, you get a lifetime guarantee. While this is one of the most popular models out there for Pelican, let’s see what you get with the Yeti!

Yeti’s cooler somehow offers the same capacity, but both coolers offer a little bit difference in how much ice you’ll have to not use. Yeti takes pride in giving you a dry storage basket along with their stuff too though. This allows you to store food and dry items at the top of the cooler, and Yeti offers the same capability to keep your food cold. Both coolers are extremely portable, but unfortunately the Yeti doesn’t win in this department. Part of the reason, is because even though the Yeti gives you rope handles compared to the pre-molded plastic ones that are on a Pelican.

Let’s Look at the Larger Models

Looking at the 65-quart by Yeti and Pelican’s seventy-quart model, you can definitely start to see why the Yeti is the more favored of the two. Both brands offer an up-to-150 cans capacity, and they are perfect for keeping cold air in and giving you the cooling, you need for your food, along with your drinks. Pack them with dry ice, and you’ve got an instant freezer almost. And they have great cooling capacity.

Both the Yeti and the Pelican coolers can keep your food fresh for over a week. Of course, you have to keep in mind that you may have to drain the water out every so often to maintain proper ice retention. It doesn’t take away from the internal temperature of both coolers though.

Unfortunately, Pelican Lacks in a Couple Departments

One thing that many users complain about with the pelican, is that the drain plug , which both coolers have, is susceptible to leaking, and when you’re spending that much on a cooler, you should feel comfortable knowing that it’s not going to leak anywhere. 

The Yeti definitely takes the cake in the medium-large cooler category because you essentially have a 70% chance of getting a Pelican cooler with a leaking drain plug. You don’t want your melting ice to leak all over the ground or floor, and this can also contribute to the decrease in temperature faster since there’s also technically a cold air leak.

The Biggest and Baddest Capacity Coolers

Now we’re playing with the big boys, aren’t we? We decided to take a look this time at the Pelican Elite 150-quart cooler compared to the Yeti Tundra 160-quart coolers. You probably don’t have to worry about running out of storage space when it comes to using this large of a cooler. However, they’re going to be extremely heavy if you fill them as full as you possibly can.

The Pelican offers about the same capacity as the Yeti models, and as it is also heavy duty, it’s also heavy. That’s one thing that the Yeti ends up winning on for sure. The weight of a yeti is actually lighter compared to other similar brands and models of cooler. 

On the portability scale, it’s also definitely true that the Yeti doesn’t disappoint as it does in smaller models. It has pretty durable handles as compared to the rope handles in smaller models. And they’re pretty darn handy. One thing however is that the Yeti is only 146.5 quarts, but even though it’s smaller than Pelican cooler of the same size, it’s pretty darn big.

Both the Yeti and the Pelican can offer the capability to keep your food like new for a very long time. The ice that you put into it can stay cold for about 10 days, just like with other Yeti and Pelican models. This is something that they take pride in – their larger than life cooling capacity.

When it comes to the weight, unfortunately it’s the Pelican is 80 lbs. even when its empty. But that’s because of all of the extra things that you get with a Pelican. However, the portability is a little more difficult with the Pelican vs. the Yeti cooler.

Both of these coolers are actually just about tied in comparison to one another. What the Pelican lacks, it makes up for in another end. And so does the Yeti. At the same time, the Yeti is a bit pricier than the Pelican for a “smaller” size, but the innovation behind the coolers’ weights is completely different. Why would you want a cooler that you couldn’t lug around easily? If you’re wanting a cooler that you can at least carry with two people, and want to spend a little less, then you can go ahead and opt for the Pelican. Do note though, that they still have the same drain plug problem (regardless of ice chest size).

Pros and Cons of Both Brands

The first thing we’re going to do in this section, is that now that we’ve compared individual coolers. The Pelican brand and the Yeti brand are so iconic, and it’s hard to pit them against each other. But both have pros and cons. Here’s where you may make your decision on which one you’ll want.

  • Pelican Cooler Pros

  • The Latches are excellent with Pelican coolers. They hold tight with the thick rubber gaskets.
  • Pelican coolers have an extremely durable design. Literally, they are also just as bearproof and could handle just about anything you can dish out at them.
  • The gasket is something that Pelican takes pride in making sure that they give you a high-quality cooler. It’s much thicker than the average cheap cooler, and when locked tight, you get a practically watertight lid for holding your belongings.
  • The handles are great since they’re easily gripped to carry the cooler. The bigger models we talked about also have handles that extend out so you can carry it even easier.
  • All Pelican coolers come with a lifetime warranty, so you can use this to your advantage. Even if you do somehow end up busting the cooler or smashing it, you can get a replacement just by calling customer service and giving them your warranty info.
  • Pelican Brand Cons

  • Unfortunately, some of Pelican products have been known to have issues. This lack of production quality is something that you don’t want to see, especially when you are paying a high price, and want to keep your food safe for you and your family. This applies to the entire cooler, not just the drains.
  • The drains, since we mentioned it, are a great feature that larger coolers should have when you’re able to put so much ice into them. Pelican drains have the potential to leak, and this is a very frequent problem. Something you may not want in a cooler.
  • Yeti Cooler Pros

  • Yetis have this innate ability to cool beyond what they seem like they would. Some people have even used Pelican freezers to keep food frozen for days at a time. It’s also what makes Yeti the choice for anglers – since they can keep their fish fresh in them.
  • Despite their thick insulation, and even their added features, Yeti coolers have always been extremely lightweight. This is something that you don’t get with other cooler brands out there. Yeti is one of the top brands, because they are so convenient and portable.
  • Yeti gives you a storage basket that can help to keep your dry foods fresh too. Other brands don’t offer this feature which helps you organize what’s inside the cooler more.
  • Yetis are one of the top manufacturers of coolers out there also because of their capability to keep ice and even water in them. By having a watertight cooler, you can guarantee that your food will continue to stay cold for a long period of time, and you don’t have to worry about water getting everywhere should you need to move them around. Their drain plugs are top notch.
  • Yeti Cooler Cons

  • The price is the biggest downsides of Yeti coolers. Many people don’t like the fact that they don’t offer their coolers at a cheaper price, when you don’t even get as many features (like cupholders and already installed bottle openers).
  • The handles unfortunately aren’t as good on a Yeti as they are on other brands. While they do offer decent handles on the larger capacity models, having the rope handles and the uncomfortable grips on the small and medium-sized coolers should be a little better. You should be able to enjoy the comfort of being able to tote your ice chest – especially when you have to spend so much money on them.

The Verdict – YETI vs Pelican Coolers

The final verdict is actually a tie. There are so many things that make Pelicans one of the best coolers out there, but the Yeti takes the cake in categories that the Pelican doesn’t. Pelicans have a better and bigger true storage capacity, and sometimes if you get a good Pelican (that doesn’t have a faulty part on it), then you may end up liking it even more than a yeti.

There is the downside that both of them have, but Yeti is a lot lighter than a Pelican. Because of this, as we mentioned earlier, this downside is one of the reasons why Pelicans aren’t as popular. While they’re more portable, they are still a lot heavier.

Yeti and Pelican can offer a standalone performance over one another in certain areas like the drain plugs too. Since you have to drain your ice frequently, this is a huge problem, and the odds of getting a bad drain plug with a Pelican is actually high. While it’s cheaper than a Yeti, you still have to pay quite a bit for this brand of cooler. You can definitely see why Yeti is a more popular choice. The whole point of having a cooler to store your ice and water that much is because you don’t want to make a mess but be able to take your food and drinks with you, right?


So, there you have it, the Yeti or the Pelican. Unfortunately, it’s almost too hard to make a decision on which one you’re probably going to choose. However, we do recommend Yeti coolers over any other brand out there ultimately, because there are less flaws than other brands like the Pelican brand does. That, plus the capability to have the highest amount of capacity and watertight, not to mention bear-proof, seal on your food and beverages is an extremely important feature too!

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