Engel Coolers Vs. Yeti Coolers

Yeti Cooler

Image via flickr

Today, one brand stands above many others in terms of its ability to keep drinks and food insulated and cold for a long time: Yeti. While the Yeti company deserves recognition for its product, how much of this popularity is related to brand recognition?

Are there any other products out there that offer a similar level of cooling functionality without the expensive price tag? The Engel coolers brand comes in a close second in terms of popularity. 

The Engel company claims to offer the same cooling capabilities as the Yeti brand at a fraction of the cost. But is this claim legitimate? Or do the Engel coolers come with a noticeable drop in quality and durability? 

In this Engel coolers review, we will take a close look at the company’s best selling product: the Engel UC19 Ice/Dry Box. We will dive into all the product specifications and even compare it with some Yeti products. 

That way we know for sure who will win the Engel coolers vs. Yeti coolers fight. So without further delay, let us take a look at the Engel brand. 

What Are Engel Coolers?

The Engel company started in Japan in the 1960s until 1991 when it moved to the United States. While it began with portable fridge freezers, the company soon shifted toward more outdoor-based products for camping and traveling.
The Engel brand offers a variety of different products for different needs. As you can see, the company offers too many products for us to cover in one single review. 

These models include the rotomolded hard coolers, soft-sided coolers, dry box coolers, twelve-volt fridge coolers, and performance drinkware tumblers. So, for this review, we will focus on their most popular model: the dry box series. 

Specifically, we will look at the Engel UC19 Ice/Dry Box. The product lies on the more affordable side and offers increased portability. However, if you think that one of the other models we mentioned would fit your needs better, then we encourage you to research them further.

What Are Engel Coolers Product Specifications?

Now that we know a little more about the Engel company let us take a closer look at Engel UC19 Ice/Dry Box. As the name suggests, the product can serve two different functions: keeping food, beverages, and ice-cold, or keeping essential things dry. 

The dry box features airtight EVA gaskets that keep water locked in or out of the coolers. This feature means that you can use it to store standard camping provisions, or as a safety feature for your valuables in the wilderness. 

If you go on a long river or hiking trip, then the threat of rain or submersion can keep you from bringing expensive cameras and electronics. Luckily, with the dry box, you will not need to worry about water accidentally getting inside. 

The company makes the outer case material out of polypropylene, while the interior insulation comes in polystyrene. The product weighs twenty-eight pounds and comes with a sling and handle, which makes it pretty portable. 

The Engel UC19 Ice/Dry Box comes in eight different color options: white, red/blue, blue, pink, camouflage, black, silver, and tan. Unfortunately, the product does not come with a warranty option. 

Spec Table

Case material

polypropylene

Insulation material

polystyrene

Product dimensions

eleven in half inches by thirteen in half inches by seventeen inches

Total capacity

nineteen quarts

Total weight

twenty-eight pounds

Number of handles

 one

Color options

eight different color options 

Warranty

no warranty option

Where Can You Purchase Engel Coolers?

CASH

Image via pexels

You can find the Engel UC19 Ice/Dry Box at most online retailers that sell outdoor hunting and fishing gear, though we recommend sites like Amazon and eBay. Alternatively, you can visit the Engel website and shop on there. 

You can also find Engel coolers in person at major retailers like Home Depot and Walmart. However, you may find that your selection will be more limited than if you shop online. 

How Do Engel Coolers Compare With the Yeti Brands?

In this section, we compare the Engel UC19 Ice/Dry Box with two other product from another famous brand: Yeti coolers. Specifically, we compare it with the YETI Tundra 65 Cooler and the YETI Roadie 20 Cooler. 

We make these comparisons because Yeti is Engel’s top competitor. As such, it helps us identify some of the strengths and weaknesses associated with the Engel coolers product line. It also helps readers know which brand offers a better value and function. 

ETI Tundra 65 Cooler

The YETI Tundra 65 Cooler ranges on the more expensive side of the Yeti product line, but it does get the job done in terms of keeping ice frozen. We find that in general, it keeps the life of ice going around three times longer than other cheaper cooler brands. 

However, what you gain in space and performance, you lose in portability. The YETI Tundra 65 Cooler weighs twenty-nine pounds when empty, which means with food, ice and drinks it can quickly become unmanageable. 

As such, we recommend it for barbecues, extended beach trips, and extended camping trips. For anything else, it becomes hard justifying the price and the portability of the product. Unfortunately, the product suffers from stress when it is full, and you try and lift it. 

Expect some bends and flashpoints around the hinges and handles when you try and transport it while filled with material. 

YETI Roadie 20 Cooler

If you still want the cooling power of the Yeti brand, but do not want to lug the YETI Tundra 65 Cooler around with you everywhere you go, then we recommend the YETI Roadie 20 Cooler. 

The product weighs about half as much as the YETI Tundra 65 Cooler and comes with a handle that makes it manageable enough for one person. It also works a little better than Engel product at keeping the ice-chilled. 

As long as you use it correctly, you can expect the ice to stay frozen for a weekend trip instead of a day trip. Unfortunately, the product does come with its share of flaws. 

For one thing, some customers note that the product leaks, so you should not expect the foolproof insulation offered by the Engel UC19 Ice/Dry Box. This issue happens because of the cheap gasket that comes with the device. 

Considering that the product is almost just as expensive as the rest of the Yeti lineup, we think the company should fix this significant problem, especially if they want to justify their price. 

Engel Coolers Pros and Cons

In this section, we will go over some of the things we love about the Engel UC19 Ice/Dry Box and some things we think could use some improvement. We use both our observations on the product and user reviews, so we get a more objective picture of the pros and cons. 

Pros

Right off the bat, one of the first things we like about the Engel UC19 Ice/Dry Box is the price tag. Compared to the Yeti product line, the dry box is far more affordable for simple camping trips or seasoned fished who care about keeping their bait chilled. 

While the dry box might not work as well as the rotomolded coolers at keeping ice frozen, it will keep things chilled even during hot days. This feature makes it ideal as a lunch box for construction workers or similar manual labor jobs. 

Plus, you can fit a lot of food and drinks in it since it comes with nineteen quarts of space. Considering the Yeti version of this product costs four times as much for a similar area, we think this feature on the cooler is a good deal. 

It also weighs much less than the rotomolded coolers that Engel and Yeti offer. This feature makes it much less of a hassle when it comes to transporting it. You will not need two people to carry it around when it is full of ice, drinks, or food. 

As the name suggests, the product also excels at keeping things dry. Even if your ice does melt, you do not need to worry about the water leaking out and damaging your camping equipment. 

Similarly, you can keep valuables inside it and expect that they will remain safe and dry while inside. 

  • Affordable price
  • Works excellent for lunches and water
  • Lots of room
  • Lightweight design

Cons

Unfortunately, the Engel UC19 Ice/Dry Box is not perfect. For one thing, the hinges that come with the cooler remain weak throughout its life span. This issue relates mainly to the material that the company uses on them. It is a cheap plastic material that does not take damage well. 

If you are not careful when you open and close it, then you can very easily apply stress to the delicate points of the product. Many people experience signs of these stress points, and a handful had their hinges break directly off the merchandise. 

As such, you must remain careful whenever you use the Engel UC19 Ice/Dry Box. However, we think this issue seems silly since it is supposed to be an outdoor device that can handle wear and tear. And you should not expect customer service to handle the problem. 

Customers that called them typically experienced rude employees who blamed the problem on rough use, instead of faulty craftsmanship. You can purchase replacement hinges separately, but we think the company should strive instead to sell a better product that does not break. 

The main issue with the Engel UC19 Ice/Dry Box comes down to the fact that the company markets it as a cooler. The reality of the situation is that the dry box will keep things chilled for a day trip and little more than that. 

If you take anything for an overnight camping trip and expect it to remain frozen, then you will be disappointed. If you want your ice frozen, then go with the Yeti brand. You will pay more for it, but the ice will remain cold. 

  • Weak hinges
  • Poor customer service
  • Does not function as well as a cooler
  • Does not keep ice frozen

Engels Coolers Review Conclusion

So who wins in that battle of Engel coolers vs. Yeti cooler? We think it comes down to the specific circumstances in which you use a cooler for your trip. 

If you go fishing frequently or want to keep something chilled for a few hours, then the Engel UC19 Ice/Dry Box works excellent, and we highly recommend it. We also think it works great at keeping things dry and safe — specifically water-sensitive valuables in wet environments. 

However, while the Engel UC19 Ice/Dry Box comes highly affordable, it does contain some serious design flaws — mainly in the form of its insulation. 

With that said, the brand’s series of rotomolded coolers do keep things frozen almost as well as Yeti products. However, the rotomolded products do cost a lot more than the Engel UC19 Ice/Dry Box. Similarly, the Yeti brand offers some great products with an increased price due to brand recognition. 

But they are not perfect either and come with their share of user complaints right alongside the positive reviews. However, the Engel UC19 Ice/Dry Box does not hold a candle to some of Yeti’s coolers in terms of preserving frozen things. 

As such, we give it a final rating of three stars out of five stars. We hope this Engel coolers review helped you decide which product fits your needs the best. Good luck on your next camping or fishing trip!

James Moore
 

Hey, I'm the founder of Fishing Kayaks Guide. As a professional angler for over 10 years now, I love to hear and share experience and knowledge about kayak fishing and get connected to all of you people who are enthusiastic to hit the water.

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