How We Examined Lunch Coolers
Hello, I’m Julia MacDougall, the Senior Scientist at Reviewed. I’ve been bringing my lunch to work/college for a very long time, so I had numerous emotions and opinions about this matter. I’ve examined all kinds of things up to now, together with sensible thermostats, backpacks, and fireplace extinguishers, so I’m used to serving to individuals navigate via tons of merchandise to search out the one that’s the greatest match.
From testing fridges, I do know that merchandise that should protect cool temperatures can cool extra effectively when they’re full of frozen materials. Mainly, if there’s numerous empty air, it’s tougher for a lunch bag to maintain meals chilly as a result of it has to combat towards the ambient air trapped contained in the bag, which is usually a lot hotter (i.e. room temperature) than the meals that simply got here out of the fridge/freezer.
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With that data, and after freezing the 2 freezable lunch luggage in a single day, I packed every lunch cooler as much as (or almost as much as) capability with ice ballast (mainly, ice in plastic containers) and a temperature knowledge collector, which resides in methylcellulose goo. This goo is a proxy for lean meat; by inserting a temperature knowledge logger within the methylcellulose, we are able to get an excellent learn on how meals temperatures would change over time.
If a number of the coolers nonetheless had main air gaps to fill, I threw some ice or some ice packs. In any other case, I let the luggage/coolers themselves do the heavy-lifting, temperature-wise.
Then, I left the luggage outdoors in a single day, the place they skilled a day/evening cycle on a sizzling summer season day right here in New England. Throughout the course of testing, I opened and closed every cooler twice in speedy succession. Afterwards, I collected the temperature knowledge, and regarded to see how lengthy it took for the temperature inside every lunch cooler to surpass 40°F.
This temperature is the start of the “danger zone” for micro organism; it’s the purpose at which consuming chilly cuts begins to change into a dicey prospect.
Aside from the uncooked temperature knowledge, I additionally opened, closed, lifted, and carried these coolers round. I needed to get a really feel for a way user-friendly and moveable every lunch cooler was.
How Are Lunch Coolers Completely different From Common Coolers?
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To make a protracted story quick, lunch coolers are designed, with respect to each cooling means and capability, to maintain meals cool for about six hours—the standard time between when the lunch is packed and when it is eaten. Lunch coolers additionally must be extra compact and moveable in order that they will match inside a child’s backpack or behind the automotive throughout a protracted automotive journey.
In my view, there are three main varieties of lunch coolers:
Small coolers – these are hard- or soft-sided coolers which have a most capability of about 20 to 30 cans (about 15-20 quarts). They’re meant to take a seat upright, and usually don’t slot in backpacks or different baggage. They’re usually used at the side of ice or ice packs. Examples: Stanley Journey Cooler, Clevermade SnapBasket 30-can Delicate-Sided Collapsible Cooler, Coleman 9-can Delicate Cooler with Laborious Liner, Yeti Hopper Flip 8, Igloo Playmate Elite
Insulated lunch luggage with freezer gel in-built – these are luggage which have insulated partitions and will be put into the freezer in a single day to activate the built-in freezing gel. They might be used at the side of ice packs, though the freezer gel usually works nicely sufficient. They don’t have to take a seat upright, and might slot in backpacks and different baggage (however could also be crushed in doing so). Examples: Packit Freezable Lunch Bag, Rubbermaid LunchPak Insulated Freezable Lunch Bag, YETI Daytrip Lunch Bag
Insulated luggage – these are luggage which have insulated partitions that may present extra temperature safety than a daily brown paper bag. In case you are making an attempt to maintain meals chilly, they have to be used at the side of ice packs. They don’t have to take a seat upright, and might slot in backpacks and different baggage (however could also be crushed in doing so). Examples: L. L. Bean Lunch Field
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Different Lunch Coolers We Examined
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