What the Tech? Father’s Day Portable Fridge

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(ABC 6 News) – I know what you’re thinking: a portable refrigerator, freezer, AND ice maker? I’ve never seen anything like it. The cooler/generator/refrigerator/freezer/ice maker/phone charger from EcoFlow is called the Glacier.

EcoFlow is a Japanese company that developed portable generators or rechargeable batteries that are used as backup power and chargers for practically any appliance in the home. The company has taken some of that same technology and put it in, of all things, a portable cooler.

The EcoFlow Glacier boasts some bold claims, and the company sent me one of the first devices to check out and see how well it works. On one side is a refrigerator for drinks and food.

On the other side, is a freezer for ice cream and other frozen foods. Each side is controlled by a digital thermostat you can control on the device, or with an app.

There is also a removable divider between the refrigerated and freezer section if you’d rather simply refrigerate. The divider can then be put inside the cooler’s lid so that it doesn’t become misplaced.

The engineering on this thing is remarkable and it seems the company thought of every problem and came up with solutions.

On the far left side is an ice-maker EcoFlow claims can make 18 ice cubes in about 12 minutes even in the sun. It’s powered by an electric compressor that also has a USB-C charging port for phones and laptops.

Charge up the fridge before you leave on a standard electrical socket and plug it into power when you get to your destination. If you’re going to be away from electrical outlets, such as a camping site, the beach, or a tailgate party in a parking lot, there’s an optional battery that’ll keep the fridge and freezer running for up to 40 hours. The battery is sold separately for $300. It can run off a car’s cigarette lighter, and for camping or getting off the grid completely, it’ll plug into an EcoFlow solar panel to keep operating which is also sold separately for $1,000.

Those are the claims, let’s see how well it works.

I filled the fridge side with soda cans and bottles and set the thermostat at 23 degrees. I placed a tub of ice cream in the freezer set to -4 degrees. The Glacier is unable to have more than a 27-degree difference.

Then, I took it outside. Optional wheels and a handle (sold separately as well) made it easy to move the 50-pound fridge. I left it in the sun for 6 hours at which time the battery had been drained to just 60%

To make ice, I poured water into a tray. Small probes inside the ice or water bucket then froze so that the water around each one of them turned to ice. In about 12 minutes, I lifted the ice mold to find 18 nice round ice cubes.

A check on temperatures after 6 hours found the cans at 23 degrees and the ice cream was frozen to -4 degrees. All that was while running on the battery.

Once the charge got down to 6% I plugged the Glacier into the EcoFlow solar charger and it began charging the battery. After 2 hours it was charged to 76%. The day was a bit overcast and I didn’t adjust the solar panel to move with the sun’s position in the sky or imagine it could have charged faster.

Like its portable generators, the EcoFlow Glacier works just as advertised and I can see this being handy not just for camping, but for trips to the beach and tailgate parties. It can also be stored away fully charged, for use in an emergency when the power goes out.