Driftsun Cooler Review
Last Updated by Brandon F. on September 26, 2022
We have only semi-recently learned about Driftsun’s cooler line but are glad that we did. Their price and construction are designed to compete in the mid to premium-range market. They might still seem to be somewhat expensive to some people but will be significantly cheaper than the most expensive brands such as Yeti and Engel. That being said, you might have to sacrifice some performance and toughness to enjoy these more affordable prices.
Our Top Rated Driftsun Coolers
|Price by Volume (Amazon)||$$$$|
|Ice Life||4-5 days|
|Our Full Review||Link|
A Small but Diverse Product Size Lineup
When you first see the list of sizes to choose from you might be a bit underwhelmed with what Driftsun coolers have to offer. However, upon closer inspection, you will notice that the sizes that they do offer are diverse and cover a large range of what most people would be looking for. The only people that may feel left out are those that are after the absolute largest cooler sizes the industry has to offer.
On the lower end, they have their 20/25-quart models which are good for those needing something a bit more mobile. They then step up to 40 and 60-quart options for those who need more storage space but also have to be able to fit their ice chest in the back of an SUV or other somewhat tight space. Finally, Driftsun bumps things up to their 85-quart or 110-quart line which is large enough for just about every application.
More than Adequate Ice Life for Most
When most people think of ice chests with long life, the standard juggernauts instantly come to mind. However, Driftsun feels confident that they can compete with the best. They hope to accomplish this through several vital construction steps that they have emulated from other premium cooler lines.
By now everybody knows that if you want a tough cooler that has great ice life you have to go Roto-molding. This one-piece design helps to ensure consistent walls and takes away potential escape routes for the cold air to take in between wall sections.
Thick Walls on all Sides
Driftsun advertises as having 2-inch thick walls of commercial-grade insulation. We love thick insulation as it means that you lose as little cold air as possible. It is hard enough to keep ice frozen when dealing with the lid and the gasket. Not having to worry about the walls themselves takes a huge load off.
Another thing that we like to see and that Driftsun coolers thankfully include is a ThermaLock freezer-style gasket. This large gasket forms a great seal and helps to minimize the impact that the gap between the lid and the base has on the ice inside. Including this is a must if one hopes to compete with the big dogs in ice life.
Plenty Tough for Most Applications
Driftsun didn’t just stop there. They also took inspiration from other brands (and even go so far as to call them out on their website!) by including various features that can help to maximize the life of the cooler. While the wall thickness plays the biggest role, other components can also help (or hurt) with ice life.
Roto-molding: Not Just for Ice
Another reason we love roto-molded construction is that it makes for a very tough structure. Traditional assembly methods require that multiple pieces of a cooler have to be attached through glue, heat, or some other type of method. While a more cost-effective method, it results in weak points between the plates that are also stress risers. These connection points are where you will see many coolers fail first.
By Roto-molding, you are left with a single piece that is tough all around and doesn’t have to deal with the stress risers that lower caliber coolers struggle with.
Driftsun coolers also come with military-grade nylon rope handles that should last for many years and provide a great grip while holding up to standard wear and tear. In addition, the tie-down slots are molded directly into the structure of the ice chest. This is a benefit of roto-molding and allows you to be able to securely fasten the cooler without worrying about the die-down slots ripping off of the base of the cooler.
A Cooler Targeted for Premium Buyers on a Budget
Probably the most interesting approach that we have found with Driftsun coolers is that they attempt to copy the big boys of the cooler world in regards to build quality, ice life, and toughness while being much more affordable. That isn’t to say that their coolers are cheap because that cause that isn’t the case) but they are still noticeably less expensive than the highest tiers of coolers that they are trying to emulate.
Driftsun vs. Yeti
Which is better? Driftsun Coolers or Yeti Coolers?
Well, like most things, there isn’t a simple answer. Both have their pros and cons. To help you decide which is right for you, we will briefly go over each.
Driftsun, as this review has shown, is trying to tap into the impressive performance of a premium cooler while staying somewhat affordable. You will enjoy some of the features of a typical top-tier cooler (rotomolded construction, metal hardware, thick insulated walls, etc.) but at a price point that is oftentimes much lower.
However, being a smaller and newer company, there are still some “kinks” to work out. From a quality standpoint, some issues can creep up over time. These problems aren’t necessarily tied to the materials or design approach being used but rather just fine-tuning the manufacturing process. Also, you are very limited in color and design options.
Yeti, on the other hand, has fine-tuned its cooler to the point that it purrs like a kitten. You will enjoy a consistent performance with rock-steady ice life and impressive build quality. You will also enjoy a wide array of sizes, color options, and customization features. And on top of these, the various accessories that are offered seem to be endless. But all of this comes at an extremely high asking price that will easily trump Driftsun’s costs.
So, in conclusion, if you are on a tight budget and want to “roll the dice” a bit on a cooler that has all of the features that other premium coolers do but for a fraction of the price, then give Driftsun Coolers are try. But if you want to “play it safe” with a more proven brand and have the deep pockets to support it, then stick with Yeti.
General Product Information
Products reviewed: Driftsun Cooler
Range of storage sizes: 25 to 110 quarts
Range of estimated ice life: Up to 5 days
Materials used: Plastic and rubber
Price range: Intermediate to Premium
Wheeled options? No
Company website: http://www.driftsun.com/ice-chests.html
Driftsun Cooler Review
Storage Size: 25, 40, 60, and 85-quart sizes
Construction: Plastic and rubber composition
Cost: Intermediate to Premium-priced
Pros: Premium features for a more affordable price, decent size range
Cons: Quality issues, the lid doesn’t hold a great seal, inconsistent insulation walls
Insulation Ability Mobility and Durability Visual Appeal Cost Overall Rating
This is our Driftsun Cooler Review. The Driftsun cooler attempts to do something very challenging by trying to compete with the traditional heavy-hitter in the premium cooler world but at a fraction of the price. Specifically, they try to copy most of the standard production methods and features while finding ways to be cost-effective. Many of the specifications you expect to see are there including thick insulated walls, premium gaskets, and roto-molded construction. These products are available in white and tan, come in 25, 40, 60, and 85-quart sizes, and are primarily made of plastic and rubber.
Insulation ability –
While these coolers have all of the features we would expect in a cooler with long-lasting ice life (thick insulated walls, roto-molded construction, premium gasket, etc.) the performance just isn’t quite as good as many of the other brands on the market. This is primarily due to some shortcuts in build quality such as uneven lids and walls that are not consistent which allows for increased heat transfer from the inside to the outside. That being said, ice life isn’t bad with these products. Depending on size, you can enjoy up to around 5 days of ice life in optimal settings which is still plenty for most people.
Mobility and durability –
As mentioned above, all the great features we like to see are there but there are simply a few too many quality control issues to ignore. We have seen reports of lids not closing correctly and the roto molding not being as high of quality as we would like to see. Don’t get us wrong: these ice chests should be perfectly capable when it comes to sitting on a table or the back of a truck. However, if you plan on throwing them around or putting them through the trials of being in the great outdoors you might find that they don’t last quite as long as you would have hoped for. It is worth noting that Driftsun has recently gone through a facelift and their new products will hopefully be more dependable. They also have some great new features including a pressure release valve on the face.
Visual Appeal –
Styling is very subtle with these products. They don’t have much in the way of aesthetic features other than the subtle curves on the walls. The handles are also a bit less menacing than we like to see and do stand out some when directly compared to other premium models. They come in two colors: white and tan. In the future, we wouldn’t mind seeing the color choices expanded some.
These coolers are situated to be in the intermediate to premium price tier. This isn’t bad at all considering the features that you get. However, several coolers are extremely similar are cheaper, and don’t have a reputation for questionable quality.
Overall Rating –
We like the refreshing approach that Driftsun has taken in attempting to compete with the big boys but at a fraction of the price. They do have all of the necessary components and are approaching the right path regarding construction. However, there are still some quality issues to sort out that are holding them back. Perhaps this is what we will have to deal with to enjoy the cheaper asking prices on these. That being said, there have been some redesigns so we will check the new and hopefully improved Driftsun cooler out in the future.