Content of the material
Face cloth or small towel method [ edit
- Use a usual room fan with a grill on the front.
- Dip a facecloth or a small towel into cold water. If possible, use water in a bowl filled with ice cubes to make it as cool as possible.
- Wring the cloth out so that it’s damp, not dripping wet.
- Lay the cloth over the fan. As it blows the air out, it’ll circulate through the cloth and the air will feel cooler. Make sure that the cloth cannot get caught on the fan in any way at all––if this is a possibility, don’t use this method.
- Replace the clothes frequently, as they dry out.
- On a larger scale, soaked blankets or sheets can be hung in front of a window or porch screen and the night breeze can go through the wet fabric and cool the room.
Styrofoam cooler combined with a fan [ edit
A step up from the ice bowl is this ice cooler that provides continuous cool air for hours due to its larger capacity and styrofoam insulation. Note that while this method does cool a room for longer and with less maintenance effort, the cooling effect is still enough for only one medium or small-sized room.
- Acquire a styrofoam cooler and a desk fan. Remove the front grill of the fan if possible.
- Cut a hole to the cooler’s lid that’s wide enough for the fan to efficiently blow air through but small enough that the fan won’t fall in through when placed on top of it.
- Cut one to three smaller holes for the air to exit through. If your fan isn’t very strong you may want to add only one hole. You may want to add the exit holes to the lid (if there’s enough space) or to the sides of the cooler.
- Optional: Fit some PVC plastic tubes or metal vent tubes to the holes to direct the airflow where you want it.
- Fill the styrofoam cooler with frozen water bottles, place the fan on top of the intake hole, and turn it on.
Pros and Cons of Styrofoam Coolers
Styrofoam is one of the most popular materials to make a cooler out of. The biggest reason for this is their low price. They are very affordable, widely available, and easily disposed of. Also, they are extremely light, with most coming in at well under a pound, even the large sizes. Compare this to a conventional plastic or metal cooler that might weigh 20 pounds or more in these sizes.
They come in a variety of shapes and sizes that might not be normally found in a conventional plastic or metal cooler. This is because the production process is so simple that seemingly any shape imaginable is possible. Some companies will easily make you custom-sized Styrofoam coolers with a very small turnaround time.
This is great if you have a unique enclosure size such as the back of a motorcycle or a crevice in a boat corner and you want a temporary cooling solution without breaking the bank.
However, Styrofoam doesn’t come without its issues. The ice life on them is quite poor. Even a thick-walled Styrofoam cooler typically won’t have ice performance that lasts beyond a day. This is for a couple of reasons.
First, there is significantly more heat transfer that goes through Styrofoam than goes through a comparable thickness of most plastics or metals. Styrofoam is simply not dense enough.
Second, the lid typically forms a very loose seal since you aren’t using a gasket or creating a metal-to-metal barrier. This means that there is a huge opening at the top of the cooler that is constantly allowing cold air to escape, even when closed.
This means that for any trip or excursion lasting longer than a day you will either need a conventional cooler or be prepared to reload it with ice.
Another issue with Styrofoam is that it is easy to damage and break. Have you ever accidentally dropped a full Styrofoam cooler on the ground? It typically ends in a disaster. Even somewhat gentle bumps and scrapes can cause significant damage to the walls. If you plan on being rough with your cooler then Styrofoam might not be for you.
Finally, there is the environmental impact. Styrofoam is non-biodegradable and made of non-renewable petroleum products. Whether or not that is a concern to you will vary from person to person but there has been controversy historically with using Styrofoam products.
Pros and cons of Styrofoam coolers:
Pros: extremely affordable, lightweight, available in tons of shapes and sizes, easily available, short manufacturing time
Cons: very poor ice life, very fragile, bad for the environment
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The Best Styrofoam Cooler
So what is the best Styrofoam cooler?
Unlike conventional plastic and metal coolers, there isn’t a lot of variance in Styrofoam coolers. Most won’t come with unique features outside of the occasional molded cup holder and the ice life is dictated by how thick the Styrofoam is. The thickness will also have a pretty direct relationship to how tough it is (and also the price to an extent).
That being said, the best Styrofoam cooler in our opinion is the Lifoam Hercules Ice Chest
Lifoam Hercules Ice Chest Check Current Prices on Amazon This product is made of extremely thick, 2” Styrofoam that is quite dense, which assists with both cooling performance as well as durability, and makes this a Styrofoam cooler that actually might survive multiple uses without issue. Also, the lid is hinged to assist with maximizing the seal and also prolonging cooler life. The dense and thick foam does add a bit of weight, but it is still extremely light, coming in at less than 2 pounds. This particular model has 45 quarts of storage which is plenty for most day-long activities, even for a family or group of friends. We do wish it had some sort of overhead carrying case but this is a minor complaint.
We hope this article helped explain what Styrofoam is, where it comes from, and how it applies to coolers. For many, a Styrofoam cooler will be the way to go and we encourage you to check out our many other cooler reviews if you decide to go with a more conventional plastic or steel cooler!