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Engel HD30 Vs Yeti Hopper M30 – Soft Sided Cooler Comparison

Yeti Hopper M30

4.5/5

Engel HD30

5/5

Table of Contents

The Engel HD30 and the Yeti Hopper M30 are two of the most popular soft-sided coolers on the market. As with most products that carry the Yeti name the Hopper is one of the best selling coolers within its niche. When it comes to high end insulated tote bags these are two of the best options you can find, we tested the key components of both bags to see whether the Engel is better than the Yeti.

Engel HD30 vs Yeti Hopper M30

Quick Verdict

These are two of the best soft-sided coolers on the market, if you want a cooler that checks all the technical boxes - longer ice retention, more features and a lower price then go with the Engel HD30, if you want sleek looks, great customer service and top notch durability go with the Yeti Hopper M30

Comparison Table

Yeti M30

  • Capacity

    30 Qt

  • Weight

    7 lbs

  • Exterior Dimensions (L x W x H)

    25" x 12" (at base) x 17.5"

  • Interior Dimensions (L x W x H)

    22" x 10" (at base) x 16"

  • Materials

    Dryhide™ High-Density Fabric Shell, RF Welded Seams

  • Can Capacity

    20 - 12oz cans

  • Colors Available

    Navy, River Green, Charcoal and the newly introduced Sagebrush Green. (Coral Red has been discontinued)

Engel HD30

  • Capacity

    32 Qt

  • Weight

    5.25 lbs

  • Exterior Dimensions (L x W x H)

    20" x 10" x 16"

  • Interior Dimensions (L x W x H)

    18" x 7.5" x 13"

  • Materials

    Waterproof Nylon, Welded Seams, Thermal Plastic Urethane (TPU) Coating

  • Can Capacity

    48 - 12oz cans

  • Colors Available

    Gray/Black/Orange, Gray/Black/Blue, Gray/Black/Green & Beige/Black/Blue

Ice Retention

While they might not be able to hold ice for weeks at a time like some rotomolded coolers, being able to keep internal temperatures low and retain ice is still an important factor for soft-sided coolers. For many, this category will be the most important point to consider when making their decision, if that sounds like you then I have good news for you. 

There is a clear winner when it comes to this category, the Engel HD30 will keep ice far longer than the Yeti. The HD30 has some of the thickest insulation found in any soft cooler on the market today. They pair this unrivaled insulation with RF welded seams and a waterproof top zipper, the result is the Engel has the ability to keep your food and drinks cold for up to 4 days!

During testing the HD30 was able to keep its internal temperature below 50F degrees (the suggested serving temperature for most lagers/pilsners) for 99 hours (4.1 days) while the Yeti M30 stayed below this temperature for a very respectable 73 hours (3 days)

Winner: Engel HD30

Design

As with most things in life beauty is in the eye of the beholder so personal preference may vary. For me the Yeti Hopper M30 is by far the more aesthetically pleasing bag when compared to the Engel HD30. It manages to retain the traditional tote bag form factor and combines it with their textured DryHide™ shell that doesn’t have the shiny look and feel of the HD30’s TPU shell. 

I do like the color accents that Engel offer and when tightly packed down it is a good looking cooler too. However it just falls short of the Yeti when it comes to pure looks. 

Winner: Yeti Hopper M30

Build Quality

The Engel is a very well put together soft sided cooler. Every strap and handle is double or triple stitched, the RF-welded seams provide top notch waterproofing and strengthens the stitching. The Engel has a boxy shape that maximizes the internal capacity of the cooler while making it stand up well when you set it down. 

The welded, waterproof zipper increases the ice life of the HD30 but can be slightly frustrating to use at first, Engel ships the cooler with a tube of lubricant to counter this issue. The incredible ice retention of the HD30 is mainly due to the thick, closed cell foam insulation that has no weak/thin spots. They combine this with a patent pending vacuum valve that can remove excess air from within the walls of the cooler to further increase its ice life.

 

Yeti are known for producing coolers of all styles with the highest quality materials and incredible construction, the Hopper M30 is no exception here. This cooler just feels solid, the handles and buckles have a sturdy feel to them and the strength of the magnetic strip opening is quite surprising. Yeti coolers do not come cheap but they still offer great value for money because they are built to last

Winner: Tie

Durability

This category is one of the main strengths of the Yeti brand as a whole. They are known for producing durable products that withstand frequent use and retain their high quality feel and performance. The Hopper M30 is no different, the DryHide shell has a more textured feel to it than its predecessor, the hopper 2. It is made from a 840D high-density fabric that resists punctures, mildew and the suns rays. The seams are all RF-welded which while preventing leaks also secures the stitching and the base is reinforced to add strength to the most crucial area of the bag. 

The Engel is also made from 840 Denier fabric but it is then laminated with a Thermal Plastic Urethane (TPU) film which gives it a feel similar to a river raft. The TPU coating adds strength and improves the waterproof nature of the bag. The HD30 also has a reinforced base and welded seams so should last a long time, even with frequent use.

Both of these soft-sided coolers score highly in the durability category but the Yeti M30 comes with a 3 year warranty compared to the Engel HD30’s single year. So if you combine Yeti’s reputation for quality with the much longer warranty then we have to side with the M30 on this one. 

Winner: Yeti Hopper M30

Comfort While Carrying

Both coolers have a similar handle and strap set up. They both have a detachable padded shoulder strap, short lift handles on both sides and the top level carry straps. The Yeti has an additional short handle strap attached to the back. 

The Yeti is slightly more comfortable to carry than the Engel due to the fact that it narrows towards the top which allows the bag to sit more comfortably against the hip. You do lose some cooler capacity to gain this shape so the comfort does come at a cost.

Winner: Yeti Hopper M30

Leakproofing

Soft-sided coolers are built to be a more portable option that traditional rotomolded coolers, so these bags will be used in many different scenarios. Nobody wants to be carrying a cooler and get covered in ice water so we make a point to test how leak-proof each cooler is. We test both bags in all common carry situations and also push them to the extreme by tipping them upside down and testing all angles. 

Between the Hopper M30 and the Engel HD30 the Engel is the most leak-proof bag. Both bags are great in regular carry positions but the Yeti is not quite fully leak-proof when tipped upside down due to the hydroshield magnetic strip opening. The HD30 has waterproofing added to the main zipper that helps contain the liquid within the bag. 

Winner: Engel HD30

Can Capacity

Manufacturer Claims

0
Engel
0
Yeti

Actual Results

0
Engel
0
Yeti

Winner: Engel HD30

Features

Engel HD30:

  • Bottle opener included
  • Unique vacuum valve technology
  • 2 styles of carry handles + detachable shoulder strap
  • Outer pocket

Yeti Hopper M30

  • Hitchpoint grid
  • Magnetic strip opening
  • Regular tote bag handles + detachable shoulder strap
  • Bottle openers & side dry bags available but not cheap

Winner: Engel HD30

Value For Money

The Engel HD30 is a definite winner when it comes to getting bang for your buck. A cooler with this level of ice retention and build quality could easily be in the $300 range with the likes of the Otterbox LT30, the Pelican SC24 and the Icemule Boss. The HD30 is available for under $200, a whopping $100 less than the Hopper M30 which makes it one of the best priced high-end soft coolers you can buy.

Winner: Engel HD30

Real World Performance

The predecessor to the Yeti M30, the hopper two had small opening that had frequent sticky zipper issues so they changed up the opening to feature a full length opening that is sealed using a strip of powerful magnets. The strength of the magnetic strip makes loading the cooler slightly problematic. It usually took two of us to fill the M30 but we did find a video Yeti put together to show some techniques to counter the issue (included below). 

The Engel HD30 is one of the most functional soft-sided coolers on the market, it has a huge capacity, keeps ice better than a lot of chest style coolers and its almost completely leak-proof. The HD30 just has no weaknesses when it comes to real world usage.

Winner: Engel HD30

Bottom Line - Engel HD30 Vs Yeti M30?

In reality you can’t go wrong with either of these bags, they can both hold ice for days at a time, are comfortable to carry and incredibly functional.

The Yeti Hopper M30 is a top quality soft-sided cooler, it looks great, feels rugged and retains ice for days on end.

When we total up the results of our key testing categories we simply cannot look passed the level of performance and price combination of the Engel HD30. So for that reason we would suggest the HD30 when compared to the Hopper M30.

Overall Winner: Engel HD30

Engel HD30 vs Yeti Hopper M30 Summary

 

Ice Retention: Engel

Design: Yeti

Build Quality: Tie

Durability: Yeti

Comfort Wile Carrying: Yeti

Leakproofing: Engel

Can Capacity: Engel

Features: Engel

Value For Money: Engel

Real World Performance: Engel

FAQ

Most frequent soft-sided cooler questions and answers

Engel can outmatch Yeti when it comes to ice retention times and pricing. So if those are your biggest concerns when buying a cooler then in that case Engel is better than Yeti.

Yeti coolers are undoubtably expensive but if you combine the high quality of the materials and the construction with the long warranties that the company offers then I believe that Yeti coolers are worth the money. 

The Engel HD30 is the best soft-sided cooler on the market if you are looking for long term ice retention at a reasonable price. 

The Yeti Hopper M30 will hold ice for up to 3 days. In testing it was able to stay under the recommended serving temperature for lagers and pilsners (50F) for 73 hours (3 days).

The HD30 will keep ice for up to 4 days. In testing it was able to stay under the recommended serving temperature for lagers and pilsners (50F) for 99 hours (4.1 days).

Performance Over Time

Yeti M30

  • Initial Usage

    - Quality feel
    - Strong magnetic opening
    - Great looks

  • After 2 Weeks

    Condition: Excellent, no change

  • After 2 Months

    Condition: Excellent, no change

Engel HD30

  • Initial Usage

    - Incredible Ice holding time
    - Proprietary vacuum suction option to optimize functionality
    - Very competitive pricing
    - Sticky zipper (lubricant included)

  • After 2 Weeks

    Condition: Excellent, no change

  • After 2 Months

    Condition: Excellent, no change. Zipper becomes far easier to use with consistent lubrication