Engel DeepBlue series of coolers is a popular alternative to the Yeti Tundra series. Before I purchased my first Engel I thought that they were likely going to be better than Yeti in every way (and cheaper). Unfortunately this turned out not to be the case.
It was still a good cooler overall and some of the features I really liked, but there were also some problems with the cooler.
The main problems I had with the Engel DeepBlue coolers was their poor performance in ice retention tests, the speckled finish attracted dirt, the plastic moulded rope handles were annoying and overall the design just made it feel not as nice as the Yeti. There are also some other minor issues as well as some really great things about the cooler.
In this article I’m going to expand on some of these issues with the Engel cooler that I experienced so you can be more informed in your purchasing decision.
This Is Not A Bad Cooler
I want to be clear that I do NOT think this is a bad cooler. In fact it is a really good cooler and I enjoyed owning it.
It’s more affordable than the Yeti, and given how expensive these coolers are that can lead to some significant savings.
Below is a comparison of the Engel DeepBlue series to the Yeti Tundra series.
As you can see the Engel is about $100 cheaper than the Yeti, which is pretty significant! It makes it one of the cheaper roto-moulded coolers out there. For more info see my ultimate guide on coolers cheaper than Yeti.
Before purchasing both a Yeti and an Engel I had heard that Engel had better ice retention that the Yeti. I was super excited to see it in action.
I purchased an Engel 35 (35-Quart) and did a head to head ice test against a Yeti 45 (37-Quart). While the sizes were almost identical the Yeti held ice a full 2 days longer than the Engel.
Don’t get me wrong, the Engel still solidly outperformed a regular cooler, but it fell short when compared to other roto-moulded coolers like the Yeti and Pelican and even lost out to the $50 Coleman Xtreme.
The inside of the lid has all of these indents where there is no insulation. I don’t know why they have done this and if this is why it struggles with ice retention or not, but it feels like a silly decision and Engel definitely don’t talk about this feature of their coolers.
So one of the problems I have with Engel is that it’s ice retention could be better for the price you are paying.
Speckled Finish Attracts Dirt
The Engel DeepBlue series has this mottled/speckalty finish to it rather than just a flat finish like the Yeti.
This means there are lots of grooves and places for dirt to collect…and it does.
It also means you can never completely clean the cooler properly because it’s just too hard to wash out stains from these grooves.
It makes that over time your Engel cooler attracts more dirt and looks dirtier than other comparable roto-moulded coolers.
This isn’t a deal breaker as even my Yeti got completely scuffed up over time which collected dirt that I couldn’t get rid of. But in the early days when I first purchased the cooler and it got dirty really quickly, that was a frustrating experience.
Doesn’t Look as Nice/Worse Branding
The Yeti looks like a designer product. Everything about the branding feels thought out. Heck you open the lid and there is a giant YETI moulded onto the inside of the lid. It looks amazing.
The Engel on the other hand feels like they had less attention to detail when it came to their branding.
Their logo on the inside of the cooler feels like an afterthought, a sticker that is stuck on there.
The Yeti design and logo makes you want to show it off and makes you feel proud to own the cooler. While the Engel design and branding isn’t “bad” it left me feeling underwhelmed and it wasn’t something I wanted to show off to my friends.
I really liked the way the latch mechanism worked for the Engel and the fact that these doubled as bottle openers, but overall this wasn’t enough for me to get over the design issues.
This is a well built cooler and you can tell that from the moment you open it. But it just lacked the “wow” factor I was wanting for a cooler around $200.
Arrrgh how do I explain this? I’m really not a fan of the rope handles on the Engel.
They use a shiny white Nylon rope, as compared to a soft black rope the Yeti uses, which just makes the cooler look cheap. Some people might be into this style but not me.
The rope was also harder which meant the plastic handles were more likely to be on a weird angle and needed more adjustment before you could comfortable carry the cooler.
The handles are solid plastic, not rubber, and they have moulded finger holds. The moulding doesn’t add to the comfort of the handles and actually just makes the handles harder to use.
You need to spread your fingers apart the exact right amount to fit in the grooves and it gives you less opportunity to adjust your hand position when you’re carrying a full cooler and your hands get sore. I really don’t like this design.
The Engel was noticeably heavier than the Yeti. Again this wasn’t a deal breaker but it was just a little bit annoying as you didn’t really gain anything for the extra weight.
Ice retention wasn’t any better and there were no extra features to warrant the extra weight.
Only a 3-Year Warranty
Yeti has a 5-Year limited warranty and other coolers like the Orca cooler have a lifetime warranty on their coolers.
Very few roto-moulded coolers offer a warranty less than 5-Year and Engel is one of them. I don’t know if they just applied the warranty on their cheaper coolers to the DeepBlue roto-moulded range or why they only offer a 3-year warranty…but they do.
Should You Buy an Engel Cooler?
As I mentioned at the beginning I don’t think Engel coolers are bad. These are just some of the potential problems that I experienced with them.
You may love the speckled finish and the white rope handles with the grooved plastic hand holds.
Or you may weigh up the pros and cons of Engel vs Yeti and decide that saving $100+ on a cooler means you’re willing to sacrifice some things.
As you can see a lot of the problems with the Engel are minor problems and more related to my ‘taste’ than anything else. It is still a very well built cooler that I would be happy to recommend.
What you buy is up to you.
Below are some links to popular Engel coolers on Amazon. These are affiliate links so if you click them and buy from Amazon we get a small commission which helps keep this site going (so thanks)
Engel 35-Quart: See on Amazon: $174.95
Alternatively check out the following ultimate buyers guide to coolers other than Yeti.