How Much More Beer Can You Fit in an Electric Cooler vs. an Ice Cooler?

by Scott Rank April 08, 2019

How much ice do you need to get your drinks cold when using a cooler? According to estimates from Business Insider, the ratio is ten pounds for every 12 drinks. That's a lot of ice—the weight of the coolant ends up being far heavier than the weight of the drinks you and  your friends are about to enjoy. Plus it costs $1-3 each time you fill up your cooler.

The volume needed for ten pounds of ice is wasted space that could fit plenty of extra cans or bottles of beer. But if no ice is needed to keep your drinks cool—which is the situation with such electric devices as GoSun's solar cooler—then the math is very different.

Before we talk about the carrying capacity of solar coolers, let's take a closer look at the calculations that show us how much ice we need to chill a drink. Here's how they break down the math:


Let's say I have one can of soda or beer... I am assuming the drink (and the aluminum can) start at 22 degrees C. The key here is that the change in energy of the ice (turning to water) plus the change in energy of the drink must be zero. The problem is with the change in energy of the ice. If you assume all the ice melts and all of this energy comes from the decrease in thermal energy from the drinks, the drink could end up colder than the starting temperature of the ice.

And while this is okay in terms of conservation of energy, it just doesn't happen... This says that with 100 grams of ice, you could end up with a mixture of zero degrees Celsius of water with your drink. Expanding this to a six-pack (of drinks, not my stomach) you would need 600 grams of ice.

What if I think of this in a different way? Instead of determining the amount of ice, suppose I purchase a 10-pound (4.5 kg) bag of ice? How many drinks would this cool down? Using the same calculations above, I get eighteen drinks.

So, what is the answer? I think I would recommend one 10-pound bag for every twelve drinks. This way, not all the ice will melt and you can keep your drinks cool for a longer period of time.

That's a lot of ice. Fortunately, it is completely removed from the equation when a solar cooler comes into play. 

A portable lithium battery pack powers the GoSun Solar Cooler (its 150 watt-hour solar power  lithium battery pack can also power laptops, cell phones, and many other portable accessories).

How much beer can it hold?

If you use the GoSun Solar Cooler, it holds 21 bottles of beer, or 55 cans of beer or soda. Based on the size of your ice cooler, this is is an increased capacity of 30 to 50 percent since you do not have to make any room for ice. That's a great reason for using a solar cooler if there ever was one. 


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