Taiga Cooler Review
Last Updated by Brandon F. on December 9, 2021
Taiga is a local Texas-based company that sells a small lineup of hard-sided coolers, soft-sided coolers, cooler accessories, and gear. Their approach is pretty straightforward: they use proven manufacturing methods, quality materials, and Made in USA quality to deliver products that they feel can hang with the best in the industry.
In this ultimate Taiga Cooler Review, we will introduce their hard-sided cooler and soft-sided cooler lineups, go over the various features and specifications, test their ice life, and finally give them a rating.
But before we jump into that, here is a table listing out some of the best Taiga Coolers.
- 1 Taiga Cooler Review
- 1.1 Taiga Cooler Lineup
- 1.2 Taiga Cooler Features
- 1.3 Taiga Cooler Ice Life
- 1.4 Taiga Cooler Aesthetics
- 1.5 Taiga Cooler Price
- 1.6 Taiga Cooler vs. Yeti
- 1.7 Taiga Cooler Review
Taiga Cooler Lineup
Taiga has both hard-sided and soft-sided coolers to choose from. We will discuss both in this section.
Taiga Hard-Sided Coolers
You can choose between 27Q, 55Q, and 88Q options. This size selection is pretty limited but it does at least meet our requirements for what we consider small, medium, and large coolers. If you happen to be after a personal-sized cooler or need an extremely large cooler, you will be out of luck.
Taiga is very adamant on their website that their coolers are true to size. We have seen certain cooler brands exaggerate the true storage volume of their ice chests so it is refreshing to see Taiga stick to the facts. What this means is that you will have a much easier time predicting how much ice or cans of coke or beer you can store in your cooler.
All sizes utilize similar manufacturing approaches but there are some subtle differences between the different sizes (particularly with the smallest 27Q model). We will get into more detail about these in the next section.
Taiga Soft-Sided Coolers
Taiga also has a soft-sided cooler product line. It is currently limited to just one model: their 18-can cooler. Unfortunately, we were unable to get our hands on one so the rest of this will review will be focusing on their hard-sided coolers. But we just wanted to make mention that they do have a soft cooler if you enjoy the brand but want something else.
Taiga Cooler Features
Taiga isn’t adorned with endless features like some of the other coolers we have reviewed. Instead, they take a more straightforward approach and let the quality of their construction and overall performance do the talking.
Having a thick shell is essential both from a durability standpoint as well as for maximizing ice life. Taiga has you covered in this regard thanks to up to 3” of R5-rated foam insulation and 3/16” thick injection molding using ASTM-tested polypropylene. Specifically, the lid will be near the 3” mark in total thickness while the sidewalls will be more around 2 to 2.5”.
Also, the inside of the walls is lined with an anti-microbial material that helps to minimize the likelihood of mold or mildew forming. When you are going to have food and water constantly around, it is important to keep things sanitary!
To help make the most of these thick walls, you need a good gasket and locking system in place. Taiga Coolers take advantage of a very similar gasket that we are used to seeing on most premium coolers these days. This gasket is inspired by the larger gaskets that are commonly found on refrigerators and freezers.
And for squeezing this gasket, you will find 2 to 3 latches (depending on the model). On the 27 Quart and 55 Quart models, there will be two latches. This number is increased to three on the 88 Quart model. We are glad that Taiga decided to increase it to three as using just two latches on an area as large as the 88Q would probably not provide enough sealing force.
For added grip, there are high-performance hydro-turf traction feet at the base of the cooler. An added benefit of this is that they elevate the body of the cooler off of the ground which might give a slight boost to ice performance. Finally, all sizes will come equipped with a high-flow drain plug.
Now we will discuss the notable differences between the features of the various models.
The largest models, the 55 and 88 Quart, take advantage of the normal rope handles that we are used to seeing on larger hard coolers. The 27 Quart, however, doesn’t have rope handles OR an overhead carrying handle. This is one of the first times that we have seen a small premium cooler that doesn’t have either.
Instead, the 27 Quart simply has side handles that are molded directly into the cooler itself. We kind of wish that Taiga would add a way to carry beyond that as they can be hard to grab on to when wet.
Next, you will find a built-in fish ruler on the two largest models. But (likely due to size constraints), the fish ruler didn’t make it onto the 27 Quart Cooler. We appreciate it any time that a cooler brand includes a measuring ruler on their cooler.
Beyond these, there aren’t a lot of other notable features. Taiga does offer up a few accessories that can be purchased separately such as a cooler divider, dry goods basket, tie-down kits, mesh cargo bag, etc. but they do cost extra.
There is also a cool “Special Edition” Taiga Cooler that has a dove seat installed on top of it. This model is exclusive to the 27 Quart model, however. But it is a feature that we have never seen on another cooler before.
And if you still aren’t sure about the overall toughness of a Taiga Cooler, just look at its warranty. Taiga provides a limited lifetime warranty. This warranty covers defects in workmanship and materials for the life of the cooler. This is extremely impressive and something that few other brands can match.
Taiga Cooler Ice Life
If any cooler brand hopes to compete in this packed market, they need to offer great ice retention. This is particularly true in the premium cooler market where brands state that their products can have a week or more of ice life in certain cases.
Taiga has also followed suit with these claims. According to their website, they are capable of up to 7 days of ice retention. At numbers like this, they would be right in the thick of things with some of the top cooler brands such as Yeti, Engel, and Orca.
But are they accurate?
On paper, Taiga presents a strong case. They have very thick insulated walls, a large freezer-grade gasket, and strong latches that help to keep the cold air in. But to get to the bottom of this, we did some of our testings.
Following our typical procedure, we filled our test coolers up with around 1/3 of ice, left them outside in the Texas heat, and opened them from time to time. This provides a more real-life test rather than leaving them inside and never opening them.
You can check out the results of our testing in the chart below:
These ice numbers are about average compared to other premium ice chests near these sizes. This isn’t a big surprise to us as the ice retention features found here are very similar to other models that we have tested. In particular, the thick walls play the largest role in maximizing ice life.
The largest model, the 88-quart, saw a maximum ice life of around 170 hours. That is right at 7 days which is what Taiga stated that their coolers are capable of. We appreciate their honesty in this regard. We are confident that if you put these coolers in optimal conditions (that don’t represent real-life scenarios very well), that the ice life would likely be much higher than this.
The smaller sizes won’t quite produce a week’s worth of ice life but they still don’t slouch. Both models should have enough ice life to make these ice chests suitable for any sort of weekend activity that you can throw at them.
Taiga Cooler Aesthetics
Despite not having the largest selection of coolers to choose from, Taiga makes up for that with its huge array of color options, lid decals, and customization choices.
Starting with the default selections, you will have 4 different color choices. The image below shows the 4 color options (white, tan, standard camo, and premium camo) on the 88-quart model.
But that is just the beginning. You will also find a host of lid graphics that you can add on for a small fee. They include styles such as US Gadsden, Footlocker, Take it, and more. These graphics can help to add a further unique feel to an already unique cooler.
And for those who want even more flexibility, Taiga has one of the largest custom shops that we have ever come across. They are set up to take in custom orders on lid graphics, molded logos, and cooler colors. They not only are capable of solid colors but also two-color swirl and three-color camouflage. This is impressive and something that not even the big boys like Yeti and Orca seem to be able to handle.
As for the styling of the cooler itself, Taiga plays it pretty safe. You can add some flare if you decide to do the molded logo but beyond that, the overall body shape isn’t anything special. We do like the Taiga logo, however. The embossed piranha (we think?) stands out and you are sure to get some questions from curious observers as to what brand it is.
But outside of that, you won’t find any eye-catching stainless steel bottle openers on the side, attractive specialty latches, pressure release buttons, or aggressive curves.
But the sheer amount of flexibility that you will enjoy when it comes to color customizations makes that minor complaint easy to overlook.
Taiga Cooler Price
One area that smaller USA-based cooler companies often seem to struggle with is the price department. When you are using high-performance materials, Made in USA Craftsmanship, and manufacturing in smaller batches, it can drive the asking price up quite a bit.
That is certainly the case with Taiga Coolers. Their asking prices, while not the absolute highest that we have seen, are certainly up there. And when you start throwing in custom colors and/or optional lid decals, they go up even further.
And from a performance and features standpoint, they don’t do anything that many other premium cooler brands do just as well if not better. Sure, some of these other brands have a higher asking price but there are also several examples at the same price range if not lower.
Of course, for those who are wanting a truly specialized cooler with your logo embossed on it and in the colors of your choosing, then you may be more open (or rather have to be more open) to higher prices. Also, the lifetime warranty truly is awesome and helps to make the sticker shock much easier to swallow.
Taiga Cooler vs. Yeti
At first glance, Taiga vs. Yeti might seem like a David vs. Goliath battle. Most people have not heard of Taiga while Yeti is a household name. Taiga’s product lineup is small vs. Yeti’s seemingly endless catalog of coolers.
But open closer inspection, the comparison is a lot closer than you might think.
Strictly in terms of performance, both models perform almost identical. They offer almost the same ice life for a given size, come with a very similar build quality, and both proudly display American craftsmanship. But we have to give a slight nod to Taiga due to their lifetime warranty.
As for features, neither brand leads the pack. Both take a more simplistic approach and don’t overload their ice chests with tons of features that you may or may not use. But Yeti certainly does have a more robust list of accessories that can be purchased separately.
Where Taiga has a clear advantage is in its customization options. While we aren’t saying that Yeti isn’t capable of the level of customizing that Taiga has, they likely have bigger fish to fry and stick more to bulk orders.
And in regards to price, Taiga, while certainly not cheap, is still noticeably more affordable than most Yeti Coolers.
Considering all of this, we have to lean slightly towards Taiga simply because of very similar performance at a lower price (plus that great warranty). However, they are quite limited in their cooler sizes so people who are after a specific size that Taiga doesn’t carry will be out of luck and have to go with another cooler brand.
Taiga Cooler Review
Pros: Endless customization options, Lifetime warranty, Nice build quality
Cons: Limited sizes, Not a ton of features, Quite expensive
Features: Hydro-turf feet, Integrated fish ruler, Oversized drain plug, Optional swivel seat, wire basket, and divider (also optional)
Taiga is a smaller cooler company that doesn’t have a lot of cooler sizes but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have some other tricks up their sleeves. You will find the level of customizations that you can to your cooler nearly endless and it comes with one of the best warranties that we have ever seen. But the feature list is somewhat short and the asking prices can creep up some.
Insulation Ability –
Ice life is about average compared to other premium coolers on the market. The performance comes from the tried-and-true method of combining thick insulated walls with a large rubber gasket and powerful clamping latches. The results are over a week of ice life in the large 88-quart model and ranges of about 2 days up to 4 days on the smaller two ice chests. These are still very impressive numbers and are plenty for almost everybody’s needs.
Mobility and Durability –
From a features standpoint, there aren’t a ton of things to get excited about on Taiga Coolers. The most notable features include an integrated fish ruler, no-slip legs, and an optional seat available on the 27-quart model. Some helpful accessories can be purchased including a wire basket and divider.
But in terms of build quality, Taiga shines. Their products are proudly made in the USA and, while they don’t have a ton of features, they certainly don’t take manufacturing shortcuts. This allows them to offer one of the best warranties that we have ever seen: a limited lifetime warranty. This act by itself shows us that Taiga means business and that they know their products are designed to last.
For transport, you will find a standard rope handle design on the larger two models. Interestingly, the 27 quart doesn’t come with rope handles or an overhead carrying handle. You are left with using the built-in handles that are molded into the sides. We aren’t a huge fan of this and hope that Taiga considers updating this design in the future.
Visual Appeal –
When you are looking just at the cooler design, there isn’t much that is noteworthy. It is a pretty simple design with standard curves. There also aren’t any eye-popping features like stainless steel components or pressure release valves.
But that is where the negatives stop. Taiga’s customization options are vast. No matter what color, logo design, or lid decal you are after, they can accommodate you. While you only have 4 default colors to choose from, if you are willing to spend a bit extra, you can have a cooler with the exact colors, team logos, or product symbols that you have always wanted.
For those that don’t want to go that extreme, there are still quite a few lid decals that Taiga can add on one of their existing coolers for a small fee.
The asking prices are about middle-of-the-road when it comes to premium coolers. In other words, there are some brands we have found that are more expensive while others are cheaper. If we are looking strictly at performance and features relative to cost, we are a bit underwhelmed. There are quite a few cooler brands out there that can offer similar performance, more features, and at a lower cost.
But where Taiga makes an argument is in their warranty. Their lifetime warranty surpasses most of these other cooler brands and the peace of mind in knowing that buying a Taiga product means buying a product for life helps to offset some of the sticker shock. Also, for those who are after a very specific cooler design (custom color, custom logo, etc.) no matter the cost, then Taiga is the brand for you.
Overall Rating –
We enjoyed our experience in testing out Taiga Coolers. Their lineup is small and their features are lacking but we can appreciate their great build quality and nice ice performance. Their custom shop and their warranty are the high points for the brand and that is what allows them to be in the conversation for your next purchase. In summary, if you are only after the best “bang for your buck” then there are cheaper options out there. But if you want a cooler for life in the exact color that you want, Taiga can deliver you just that.