Techni Ice vs Waeco Cool-Ice — which is the best icebox?

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I have both Techni Ice and Waeco Cool-Ice iceboxes (cooler, esky, ice chest or chilli bin). I conducted a test to compare which icebox held ice the longest and, much to my surprise, found that they performed equally well. I was sure that there was going to be a clear winner!

The Techni Ice iceboxes receive rave reviews by many happy customers on the internet. I have used my 40 litre Techni Ice icebox on several camping trips. I used to have two Techni Ice iceboxes, but I gave the 60 litre icebox away because it was too large for my needs. It was too heavy for a single person to lift when full and took up too much space in the back of my car.

I recently purchased a Waeco Cool-Ice icebox WCI-42 (which curiously is 41 litres) as a second icebox based on Waeco’s reputation producing in-car and mobile fridges.

Having two iceboxes of different brands, I was interested to know whether the Waeco Cool-Ice or Techni Ice icebox performed best.

Techni Ice vs Waeco Cool-Ice test

I conducted a test to see which kept ice the longest — the Techni Ice or the Waeco Cool-Ice. My test methodology was:

  • two bags of party ice in each icebox
  • opened twice a day to inspect
  • drained of water and photographed once a day around 4pm
  • swap positions each day to eliminate any minor environmental differences.

This test was not designed to test the absolute length of time either icebox could hold ice. Let’s face it. Anyone can get ice to last 15 days or longer if they are in Tasmania in the middle of winter! There are also many variables as to how long you get ice to last — pre-cooling the icebox, using block ice vs party ice, using a damp towel over the ice, relative volume of ice to food, how many times you open the icebox, and the list goes on.

A more informative test is of the relative ice keeping capabilities in a given set of environmental conditions. In this case, two bags of party ice in Brisbane in August with winter average temperatures in the range 9.5 – 25.8 °C.

In theory, the Techni Ice should have a slight advantage over the Waeco Cool-Ice. The Techni Ice is deeper relative to its volume than the Waeco Cool-Ice giving better thermal efficiency. The Waeco Cool-Ice is also 41 litres, the Techni Ice is 40 litres. I used the same amount of ice in each icebox so the Techni Ice had a slight advantage over the Waeco Cool-Ice in the ice to volume ratio in the test. The Waeco Cool-Ice, on the other hand is a lighter colour, meaning that it does not absorb as much heat. There are white and yellow versions of the Techni Ice iceboxes available, but the one I own is blue.

Waeco Cool-Ice (left) and Techni Ice iceboxes

Waeco Cool-Ice (left) and Techni Ice iceboxes

 

Two iceboxes and four bags of ice

Two iceboxes and four bags of ice

 

Day 0

Day 0

 

Day 1

Day 1

 

Day 2

Day 2

 

Day 3

Day 3

 

Day 4

Day 4

 

Day 4 drained of water -- the Waeco Cool-Ice had slightly more ice left

Day 4 drained of water — the Waeco Cool-Ice had slightly more ice left

Techni Ice vs Waeco Cool-Ice test result

As you can see, both the Techni Ice and Waeco Cool-Ice iceboxes kept ice for a similar amount of time, so the decision really comes down to a review of price and design. In my opinion, the key differentiating points for review are the following.

Techni Ice Classic (40 litres) Waeco Cool-Ice WCI-42 (41 litres)
Deeper, giving better thermal efficiency Wider, allowing easier access to food
Skids moulded on the bottom — I often drag my icebox around the camp site Moulded feet may not be so easy to drag around camp site
Rugged moulded handles, but can be difficult to pack around in the car Handles fold flat on side of icebox making it easier to pack around in the car, but handles are possibly more prone to damage
Tap-thread-size drain plug Captive drain plug to stop you losing it around the camp site
Rope holds lid open preventing damage to hinges Lid is reliant on hinges to keep it open
Quad latches, but I never use the bungee hooks Bungee latches work well
Lid intrudes into the storage area when closed, making it difficult to judge how full you can pack the icebox Lid is level with the top sides, so it is easier to judge how full you can pack the icebox
Dual airlock seal Labyrinth seal design
I have stood on mine (I am 80 kg) and used it as a seat I have used it as a seat — perhaps one day I will stand on it too
Lifetime guarantee 5 year warranty
$99.00 from Techni Ice + $15.00 delivery to Queensland ($299.00 recommended retail) – try eBay too $127.95 from Down Under Camping ($179.00 recommended retail)

Handles, drain plugs and skids vs moulded feet

In the end, the iceboxes delivered similar performance. Both the Techni Ice and Waeco Cool-Ice are great iceboxes, so the decision really is up to price and design features — the choice is yours!

 

What is your favourite icebox? Tell me in the comments box below.

 

6 thoughts on “Techni Ice vs Waeco Cool-Ice — which is the best icebox?

  1. Graman

    Hi, great post! I have the exact same TechniIce in blue color.

    However, my experience with it has been less than stellar. I have used it a handful of times, and I find the ice melts within a day or so. This past weekend, we went camping and even my mate’s Coleman esky was far better than Techni-ice, which I was very surprised about – given it is supposed to be a much better product.

    I checked the seals etc. and everything is fine. What I did notice is that when I touch the outer walls of the Techni-Ice box, it is cold. This can’t possibly be a good thing as it means the cold is not being retained inside the box and instead gets drawn to the outside, mixes with the warm air outside and gets dissipated. Is my basic understanding of the laws of physics/thermodynamics correct?

    Do you find that your esky is cool to touch on the outside when you fill it in with ice and other stuff? I would think that the best esky in the world will completely insulate the chill inside from the outside, i.e. the outside surface should be at room or ambient temparature, so suff can remain cold inside for a very long time.

    Reply
    1. Rex

      Hi Graham

      Thanks for your comment. I would think that the best iceboxes would feel similar in outside temperature to that of a fridge or freezer. The best iceboxes have similar insulation in them.

      Many years ago, I had a free promotional icebox given to me. It had thin walls and the lid did not seal very well. I bought the Techni Ice to replace it, but the promo icebox actually outperformed the Techni Ice. After several parties using both iceboxes for drinks, the promo icebox would keep ice for a couple of days longer than the Techni Ice. Unfortunately, the promo icebox was breaking up from old age, so I eventually had to throw it away.

      I purchased the Waeco Cool-Ice thinking that it would outperform the Techni Ice, but as you can see from the test, their performance was nearly identical.

      I do not know why my old icebox performed so well, but I wish I could get another one!

      Rex.

      Reply
  2. Joanne

    Hi there, thanks for your entertaining and interesting blog. We like you are desperately trying to avoid taking the trailer away with us camping and want to keep our stuff down. Just wondering re iceboxes and esky’s what your reasoning is for not using the electric / gas fuelled Eski’s. Is it just to avoid taking gas, or running it off your car battery, do you prefer using ice??? We sometines take the 3-way esky and run it off gas or electricity if we have it, and sometimes we use 2 round collapsable soft esky’s and fill them with ice everyday which is a bit of a hassle but at least we don’t have to take the gas bottle. Anyway I’m interested in your thoughts in this.

    Thanks v much Joanne

    Reply
    1. Rex

      Hi Joanne

      My reasons for using an icebox, rather than a fridge are:

      1) Icebox plus LOTS of ice is still cheaper than a fridge plus dual battery system and/or solar panels plus fridge slide, etc, etc. After the first fill, which tends to melt quickly, I only generally only top up my icebox up every couple of days.

      2) An icebox takes up less room in the boot of my car, particularly when you factor in a fridge slide and space for the fridge air vents.

      3) My car is primarily used around town. It is not a dedicated camping vehicle. I therefore need to return it to its around town state after our trips. Having a fridge slide permanently mounted in the back makes it difficult to do this.

      4) I have totally eliminated gas from my camping kit — I run dual fuel stove and lights — therefore I do not want to carry gas for a fridge.

      I hope that helps.

      Rex.

      Reply
  3. Don Hannay

    I purchased the 41 litre Cool Ice by Waeco and looked forward to its superior cooling. However, the 10 day rated cooling effectiveness was unattainable. A bag of party ice only lasted a day which was the same as the non-insulated Willow 55L I was using previously. This was in April in Hervey Bay with an ambient day time temperature of about 26 – 28 degrees. Ice chest was kept in a cool tiled bathroom floor of a unit and only opened for drinks. Once or twice a day.

    Reply
    1. Rex

      Hi Don

      The claims by ice box manufacturers are achieved under very specific conditions.

      I used two bags of ice in my test and the ice melted within four days.

      But that does not mean that the ice boxes are not useful. I have used both my ice boxes camping on several occasions. Once the initial contents and ice box has been cooled down, I use about one bag of party ice every day or so — that is in camping conditions of opening the ice box multiple times per day and also outdoors in the weather.

      Rex.

      Reply

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