What is a Cooling Cooler?
The Home Depot lists this item as a Ryobi Air Conditioned Cooler and Ryobi’s website describes this as a 50-quart cooler that can double as an air cooling unit. Without much thought, we believed this cooler was an item that would keep the contents of the cooler cold. It was exciting to think we would no longer need ice, just a battery. Then we quickly read the packaging that said it needed ice to work and we questioned why. Still, with our head firmly ready stuck in believing this unit was meant to cool our beer and water, we thought maybe the ice gave the internal unit some sort of evaporative cooling effect. We moved forward planning an elaborate test to put this cooler up against the Arctic Cove 20 quart cooler and an older igloo cooler.
The morning the test was to start we were reading the instruction and we were mind blown. This cooler did not need a battery to keep our beer cold! It needs the battery to run the fan that draws in outside air into the cooler, through the ice and out the front sending cold air into the air around it. Yes, this cooler takes the ice inside the cooler and uses it to cool the air it pulls through. This is a great idea for camping in a small tent or working in a small office where you have the ability to charge batteries and get a lot of ice!
- True 50 Qt. capacity
- Over 4 hours of runtime on the included P102 battery
- On-board storage compartment
- Handle and wheels for easy transport
- Fits tall items
- Includes P102 battery and P119 charger
- 3-year limited warranty
Sitting with 44 pounds of ice, a case of Coors Light and three six packs of decent beer, we felt the need to do some testing. We packed the large Ryobi 50-quart cooler with the cans and two six packs and put the other Arctic Cove 20 quart cooler held a single six pack. The Ryobi took well over 30 pounds of ice while the Arctic Cove had little room for ice. All the cans and bottle in this test were straight out of the store’s refrigerator. We turned on the Ryobi Cooling Cooler and let it run for about 5 minutes. The Milwaukee IR Gun was used to check the temps of the air coming out of the cooler and we were surprised to see 49-degree air moving at a good pace out of the cooler. It would not take long to cool down a small area.
After an hour, we opened the Arctic Cove 20 quart cooler and found that basically nothing had changed. When we opened the Ryobi Cooling Cooler we found that a solid 1/3 of the ice had melted. But, the Cooling Cooler was still pushing out very cool air that would be comforting to have in a small room.
So the upside here is that the Ryobi Cooling Cooler does work very well if you are looking for something to make a small area a bit more comfortable. We understand why it is packaged with a compact battery because, by the time that battery is dead, most of your ice will be depleted. If you want to use this cooler to keep your beer cool and also keep an area cool, you might have to drink semi warm beer after about 4 hours. This is an interesting concept that allows one to have a decent wheeled cooler or an air cooler if needed.
The Ryobi Cooling Cooler is heavier than other models of similar size as expected. For the right person and the right situation, this might be perfect, but for the majority of us who want a cool way to keep our drinks cold, this might not be it.