Best Ice Packs for Coolers in 2020
Best Ice packs for coolers
Also called a gel pack, an ice pack is a portable plastic bag that’s filled with refrigerant gel, water, or any other liquid. You use ice packs in coolers for keeping perishable foods, such as dairy products, meats, eggs, and the likes below the 41–167 °F (5–75 °C) danger zone when they’re not in a refrigerator or freezer. Ice packs can also help keep your drinks pleasantly cool.
But not all ice packs are the same: They come in various sizes, shapes, and capabilities. When you’re looking to buy this tool, you’ll definitely want to choose the best ice packs for coolers.
Thankfully, we’ve saved you the hassle of having to surf all over the net to get a top-quality option to purchase. Here are the best ice packs for coolers on the market:
Top 7 Best Ice packs for Coolers - Top Selection
- Engel Ice 20 Degree
- Techni Ice Heavy Duty Reusable Dry Ice Packs
- Yeti Ice (Re-Freezable Reusable Cooler Ice Pack)
- Cooler Shock Zero Degree F Cooler Freeze Pack
- Rubbermaid Blueice Brand Weekender Ice Pack
- Artic Ice Chillin Brew Cooler Pack
- Pelican Ice Pack
Engel Coolers 20 Degree Hard Shell
- The Engel Freezer Pak is non-hazardous, non-toxic, and re-usable
- It’s a reliable cooler companion for keeping contents frozen cold & dry
- It works remarkably well in boat coolers, beach coolers, lunch boxes, cold shipping, soft sided coolers
- The pack is a dry ice alternative and is impact resistant
- Its dimensions are 12.5 x 8.4 x 1.6 inches
The Engel Ice 20 Degree is a relatively large cooler ice that measures 9.375 x 7.125 x 1.375 inches and weighs about 0.9kg (2 lb), in addition to 12.5 x 8.375 x 1.625 inches. It’s a changing phase temperature of 200F as the name seems to suggest.
With a 38-hour lasting duration, the quality of the cooler pack is undeniable, making it the best lasting gel freezer available out there.
It retains ice for extended periods and has no lethal characteristic. The product comes with safety features, which ensure that it’s non-toxic and non-hazardous. It has the ability to sustain sub-zero degrees temperature in coolers & similar containers using suitable charging (freezing at 200 Fahrenheit).
- Non-hazardous, non-toxic, and re-usable
- Offers durability that spans over five years of use.
- The hard shell makes it difficult to break
- Performance could be better
- Techni Ice Packs ensure your food and medicine stay safe and cold when you store them in the freezer
- They can be used hot if you need to make your soup or other hot items stay warm
- The packs reduce swelling on shoulder, back pain, or other kind of injury
- They’re great for food in lunch boxes, during picnics or camping
The Techni Ice Pack sheet looks much like the traditional plastic ice pack, which was quite common some years in the past. To use this ice pack optimally, there’s a hydration setup that has to do with submersing in water, then followed by some firm squeezing, which helps let out any trapped air.
There’s a one-way barrier that allows the water to enter and mix with the polymer in a process that creates the ice sheet. The setup reaches completion once it’s dried and ready to be put in your freezer. These ice packs can last more than 14 hours.
They’re a unique product, used in a microwave for warming up the pack. And that’s an option available on only few ice packs.
However, that isn’t the only uniqueness Techni ice has as it offers an extreme freezing point compared with the majority of ice packs. And the ice pack can be heated.
- Offers reusable ice and heat packs for back & shoulder injuries
- Ideal for keeping food fresh and medications cool
- Helps reduce power usage in refrigerators
- Some users have complained about some weird slime “stuff” the ice packs let out as they thaw
Yeti Ice (Re-Freezable Reusable Cooler Ice Pack)
- It works as an ice alternative or addition to ice stash to keep contents colder for longer
- Yeti Ice comes in a custom shape that reduces freezing time
- With multiple size options, you can outfit everything like Tundra 350 and Hopper Flip 12
- It has a durable design, which is break-resistant and can withstand the toughest of tumbles
The Yeti Ice is arguably among the most popular ice packs and no doubt one of the best ice packs for coolers on the market. That shouldn’t be surprising because the Yeti Cooler is also among the most desirable coolers in the industry.
When Yeti Ice is placed in a cooler with ice, it seems to make the internal temperatures drop rapidly. However, the lifespan of two 2-pound ice packs in a cooler (which contains 10 lbs of ice) wasn’t long- lasting. When coupled with ice, we recorded around 12–16hrs worth of additional ice retention.
When there’s no ice in the cooler, you’ll find that the Yeti Ice exhausts itself even quicker. For this reason, you’ll want to make use of more ice packs, or ensure that most of the cooler contents are chilled already.
The gel cooler ice pack is non-toxic, so is safe for use with your food. It’s a temperature of 280F (20c).
- Works as an ice alternative
- Comes in custom shape that reduces freezing time and has multiple size options
- Has a durable and break-resistant design
- After multiple uses of the ice pack, it will start bulking up, and hence, the shape will start deteriorating
- It’s an extra-large gel pack that makes contents in a cooler slushy cold
- The pack is long-lasting
- It’s available in screw cap style
- Cooler Shock Zero comprises smaller mid-size packs or lunch packs.
- It’s non-hazardous and child-safe
- The product lasts up to 48 hours
Just like the Techni Ice reviewed above, the Cooler Shock also needs some setup. As a matter of fact, the setup is a bit more elaborate in comparison with the Techni Ice.
Cooler Shock packs have different sizes, and when their design is flat. To set them up, you’ll have to add a specified amount of water. Then, seal up the pack using a zipper seal (and at the same time, try to expel as much air as possible).
As soon as this is complete, now run a hot iron (like the one used for clothes) across the seam of this pack so as to seal it permanently. While it’s a relatively straightforward process, several people that buy the pack don’t realize that some setup is required.
During our test, Cooler Shock was initially putting up the same performance as the Engel Ice. Not until the last 6–12 hours did we notice there was ice left with the Engel option, while the Cooler Shock had melted. But it prolonged ice quite well at 18–26hrs.
- Available in screw cap style
- Non-hazardous and child-safe
- Slightly difficult to assemble
Rubbermaid Blueice Brand Weekender Ice Pack
- It makes things stay cool without the mess of ice
- The pack stays frozen longer than traditional ice
- It’s non-toxic
- It’s reusable (simply freeze and reuse)
Rubbermaid designs ice packs and also consistently releases high-quality ice chests at pocket-friendly rates. The Rubbermaid Blueice lives up to the solid reputation of this company, which why it’s among the best ice packs for coolers in the industry.
Non-toxic and BPA-free, its size measures 6.6 x1.3 x 11.9 inches. Though it’s a gel pack, the product is made for camping and cooler use. There’s a plastic layer covering it, and while its durability isn’t among its best traits, it’s cheap and lasts a whopping 8–12hrs.
It’s disposable, which makes it a nice fit for lunch box use. Also, it takes a long time to melt.
However, if you’re allergic to blue and don’t like the stain, then Rubbermaid Blueice isn’t the best option for you. Simply consider other products on this list.
- Stays frozen longer than traditional ice
- Reusable (just freeze & reuse)
- There are complaints about the plastic on the product already bulging after some freezes
Artic Ice Chillin Brew Cooler Pack
- It’s a reusable ice pack freezing at 280 Fahrenheit
- The product is built to keep beer and beverages cold
- It’s perfect for tailgating, traveling, day trips, barbecues, parties
- The ice packs & freezer packs are reusable up to 100,000 times
- They’re non-toxic
In addition to Yeti Ice, the Arctic Ice is arguably among the most popular ice packs on the market. It’s sold in multiple sizes and freeze points.
But it’s not the coldest model on this list and can prolong the life of ice for about 12hrs. On the upside, the packs are quite affordable, making them even more attractive.
The Artic Ice Chilling Brew is ideal for those looking for a non-toxic ice pack that boasts 100% chemical-free production. It’s a relatively effective cooler pack, which is a good choice when you’re on a budget.
Also, it’s cost-effective because it’s reusable up to 100,000 times according to tests, and the pack offers a freezing point of 28 degree Fahrenheit, which is quite impressive.
- Long Lasting Ice Pack ideal for use with coolers
- Great for camping, fishing, and more
- Reusable for up to 100,000
- Lack of information or instruction
- Lots of air gaps in cooler
Pelican Ice Pack
- It chills contents faster
- Pelican Ice Pack stays colder for longer periods
- It has a UV protective shell
- The unit is custom-built to fit Pelican coolers
- It’s rugged, reusable, and non-toxic (BPA-free).
- It sports a unique dual-handle design
- The pack is FDA-food compliant
If you’re seeking a manufacturer, who’s mastered the art of building top-quality, premium coolers & ice packs consistently, Pelican comes recommended. So, it isn’t surprising to find the Pelican Ice Pack on this list of the best ice packs for coolers.
t weighs only 5 pounds with a hard shell making it break-resistant. This means the product is a long-lasting pack. Apart from that, the design is customized to fit into pelican coolers easily, and it can also fit into several coolers.
The ice pack measures a 9 x 2 x 11 inches, meaning it’s difficult fitting it into smaller models, which are under 30 QT capacities.
Overall, the Pelican Ice Pack has a UV protective shell, freezes rapidly, and a lot of users have stated that it lasts for a day of ice and up to 2 days at most.
- Features a UV protective shell
- Custom-built to fit Pelican coolers
- Rugged, reusable, and non-toxic (BPA-free).
- FDA-food compliant
- Has a unique dual-handle design
- Difficult to fit into smaller models under 30 QT capacities as it measures 9 x 2 x 11 inches
Buying Guide for the Best Ice Pack for Coolers
What’s an Ice Pack?
That the majority of people don’t have a good idea about what an ice pack really doesn’t come as a surprise. Ice packs feature some sort of special chemicals that keep your items cold. The specific materials made use of in nearly all household ice packs are different from one maker to the other.
And a lot of these manufacturers will keep the specifics of their ice packs close to their chest (and understandably so). But you can still do some findings about a number of the more
common materials, which are listed on the packaging.
Such materials could be things like silica gel, sodium polyacrylate, hydroxyethyl cellulose, etc. The materials will be blended with some other proprietary materials, bringing about special liquids, solids, as well as gels, which, the ice pack makers believe, will give optimum performance.
The major requirements here are, any ingredients used to make the ice packs must be efficient at staying cold, must be nontoxic (as they’ll be exposed to your food & drinks), and mustn’t be so costly. Also, users like ice packs that can be transported easily and don’t occupy much space.
How Are Ice Packs Different from Ice?
The 2 are different based on the following criteria:
As regards cooling power, you may find it surprising to know that regular ice actually gives a better performance than ice packs in the majority of cases (with an equal volume of each). While we wouldn’t want to delve into a big engineering debate, the reason for this is a straightforward one.
The specific heat capacity of ice is about 2.108 kJ/kg-K. When you compare this to the specific heat capacity of 3–4 kJ/kg-K of propylene glycol (which is a common material used in ice packs), based on the concentration, you could think that propylene glycol’s superior numbers make it the better choice.
It implies that it’ll require a greater amount of energy to raise the temperature of an equal amount of propylene glycol than an equal amount of ice.
But that’s not all. The major reason why ice is great at keeping things cold is due to its latent heat of fusion.
t takes a lot of energy for turning water from solid to liquid state (i.e. from ice to water). About 334 joules per gram to be precise. What this means is, your ice will absorb a lot of heat before it melts.
But propylene glycol doesn’t undergo these phase changes. To compensate for the additional energy absorption, you’d have to make the material extremely cold (a lot colder than your usual freezer can do) so it can stand a good chance against water.
Furthermore, the best step to take for maximum cooling performance is loading your cooler up with as much ice as possible. If you prefer to make use of ice packs instead, consider cramming as many as you can in any available space you’ve left after packing your food & drinks. However, when deciding between ice packs or ice, cooling performance isn’t the only factor to take into account.
The cool thing about ice packs is you’ll still have your ice pack even when they melt. Simply pop it in your freezer, and after one hour, you’ve a brand new ice pack ready for use. But once ice melts, you’re left with a wet mess.
Thus, while ice packs may not usually give you the level of cooling performance like traditional ice would, the added convenience packs offer makes them a very popular alternative.
Also, they’re a lot easier to store. So, when your packs aren’t in use, you can take them out of your freezer & store them away elsewhere. On the other hand, pulling ice out of the freezer and storing it elsewhere can be messy.
Price is also a key reason that make people usually prefer ice packs to ice. While ice packs will nearly always be costlier than an equivalent amount of ice, they’re reusable many times (though you may need to go out and purchase extra bags of ice).
For those that plan on using their cooler often, the cost savings of not having to purchase ice frequently can be quite significant. If you’re a kind of person that uses a lot of ice, you can buy a larger ice maker for your home.
Best Cooler Ice packs — What Are the Things to Look out for
Though the main job of an ice pack is to keep your cooler cool, some ice packs come with features that could make them more suitable for your specific needs and/or could make them easier to use. For instance, some units have sweat-proof covers that prevent your cooler from becoming soggy, whereas others can be cut to precisely fit your spaces.
Freeze Time and Size
When shopping for an ice pack, it’s essential to consider how long it takes to freeze and how long it stays frozen. Also, take into account how frequently you intend using the packs and on what kind of occasions you’ll be making use of it.
Apart from freeze time, size is another factor you need to consider. Are you looking for big ice packs for cooling a large cooler of food or smaller versions you can make use of for lunch boxes & similar containers?
In the same vein, take into account how much freezer space you’ve available and how much of it you’d want to leave to hold your ice packs.
How Long Do Ice Packs Last?
The longevity of an ice pack is affected by things like the quality and life situations it’s subjected to. Premium ice packs will last 24–48hrs if they’re packed properly in a cooler. But at the average room temperature, you can expect 3 or 4hrs of use.
Ice packs do last longer compared with your usual ice and dry ice. You can expect it to keep your food and drinks cold for over 24 hours, but not more than 48 hours.
In a Nutshell
The best ice packs for coolers include the Engel Ice 20 Degree; Techni Ice Packs; Yeti Ice; Cooler Shock Zero Degree F; and 3 other products.
Also known as gel packs, ice packs are portable plastic bags filled with refrigerant gel, water, or any other liquid. You make use of ice packs in coolers to keep perishable foods such as dairy products, meats, eggs, and the likes below a temperature within the range, 41–167 °F (5–75 °C) danger zone when they aren’t in your freezer or refrigerator.
Apart from that, ice packs can also help keep your drinks pleasantly cool. However, it’s not all ice packs that are the same since they’ve various sizes, shapes, and capabilities.
When you’re shopping for this tool, you’ll definitely want to choose the best ice packs for coolers, and we’ve handpicked 7 best ice packs for coolers products for you above to simplify your search and guide you to an excellent choice for your cooler ice packs.