Buying an ice cooler can sometimes be a tough decision because there’s a few to choose from and you want to make the right choice. Here are few things to consider before you buy. You’ll want to consider what features are important to you. Grab a pen and paper and consider which are important to you…
* Does your ice cooler need to fit in a particular spot in your vehicle or boat? If you’ve got set dimensions to work with then that is important to know.
* Do you need to cater for a certain number of people? The more people the more space and then you should consider if two smaller ones are better for you than one larger cooler.
* Here’s an important point about size. You don’t want a cooler that is bigger than your needs because you’ll have a hard time getting the ice retention performance you need. For example if you put one slab of beer and one bag of ice into a 120qt cooler you’ll end up with a whole lot of air inside that will be displaced with warm air every time someone opens the lid. So if for most of the time you only need to carry one slab of beer then get the right size for that, and if occasionally you need something bigger then consider two smaller ones, or getting a smaller one and bigger one.
* Do you need ice to keep for 1 day or 5 days and under what conditions? If you only need it for a tailgating party then you need ice to last for a day. If you need it for a weekend camping trip then you want to be able to purchase one lot of ice and you’re done for the weekend. Or perhaps you’re out camping in the backcountry and need ice to last up to a week under controlled conditions
* For food safety you want a food grade liner using virgin food grade polyethylene resin. Don’t risk your family’s safety by accepting a cooler that doesn’t offer this as standard
* Material – Rotomolded polyethylene casing is the toughest you can get in a cooler. Fibreglass looks great although breaks and scratches easily. Cheap blow molded coolers are … well cheap to buy but wont last as long.
* Insulation – Commercial grade polyurethane insulation works best.
* Hinge design – your cooler will only last as long as your hinges do and this is where most of the cheapies come unstuck
* Latches – you want a good latch that gives good compression of the seal and will last for many years
* Bung design – you want a nice big bung that is easy to remove and lasts well
* Handles are important for carrying when full
*Trays and or baskets – these are important to some people although many end up leaving them out depending on what the cooler is used for
* Tie-down facilities – these are important for some people, for example if you leave the cooler permanently in the back of a pickup truck you want to be able to lock the cooler down
* Color choice is important to some people. Some colors like blue, granite and green are excellent for hiding the dirt and they will often look great even years on they still virtually look like new
* Lighter colors will reflect the heat better so you may get slightly improved performance from a white or a light color, so this might be great if you’re going to have your cooler out in the sun for example
* Other reasons might affect color choice. If you’ve got a white boat you may like a white cooler. If you want to use your cooler for marketing purposes you probably want something that stands out and looks flashy
So there you have a whole list of things to consider when buying or reviewing ice chest coolers. Make sure you do your research, there’s plenty of information available online.