Fiberglass or Polyethylene – Which Is Better for an Ice Box?

Cool boxes are certainly a convenient commodity to have when the weather is hot. Whether your ice chest is for keeping drinks cool or for ensuring foods such as meat and dairy products remain safe to eat, or even to prevent humidity building up within the delicate workings of expensive electronic gadgets, in the long run you are going to save money by using an ice box. Taking food and drink with you when you go out enables you to go further afield where fewer fast food chains flip burgers – in fact, you can take your own burgers in your cool box and flip your own for lunch.

A visit to the website of one Australian supplier has revealed the results of the tests they carried out under controlled conditions, showing that the ice boxes they tested would keep commercial party ice in a frozen condition from between 7 to 10 days in the four boxes they tested. Although this test wasn’t specifically designed to show whether fiberglass was more efficient than polyethylene or vice versa, one of the boxes tested was the 80 liter fiberglass box which was found to keep ice frozen until the end of the 10th day. The other ice boxes included in this test were plastic boxes around the same size.

Whether there is a large difference between fiberglass and polyethylene is debatable as the other cooler that kept ice frozen until the end of the 10th day was an 85 litre plastic polyethylene box. Meanwhile, the rest of the boxes kept the ice frozen until the end of the 7th day. This suggests that the efficiency might have more to do with the insulation than with the materials the box is manufactured from. There are certainly downsides to fiberglass ice chests, although benefits present themselves as well.

The most profound problem with fiberglass ice boxes is that they damage more easily than their polyethylene counterparts. Fiberglass is more brittle, making it more prone to crack, which may let water enter the insulation cavity. This will result in the box losing some of its insulating qualities. Another problem relating to reduced insulation is the lid which is often not constructed along the extra thick lines found in polyethylene lids. Having said that, however, fiberglass ice boxes are easier to clean and they look attractive. Many people would purchase a fiberglass cooler box for its appearance, as the gloss finish presents a smooth and aesthetic appeal which is often lacking in the polyethylene ice boxes.

Once you start looking for an ice box you will notice that, whether you look at modern polyethylene ice boxes or fiberglass ones, they are both attractively made. There is often a larger range of polyethylene boxes to choose from, with the fiberglass boxes usually available in a smaller range. Common sizes for fiberglass ice boxes are, 50 liters, 80 liters, and 110 liters. They are also available in a rectangular shape that is long enough to accommodate the length of those extra-long fish.

Modern boxes will usually keep ice frozen for up to 9 days. This is because insulation is paramount, with attention and detail given to the lid seal as well as to the quality of the latches, each of which are usually corrosion-proof and can be easily replaced. Another benefit found on many fiberglass ice boxes is the non-skid thermoplastic elastomer feet that have been designed to prevent the cool box from moving around. These elastomer feet have been designed so that they don’t mark the surface they are standing on. This is just another example of the modern cooler box manufacturer’s attention to detail.