04.What to look for
Size Check the esky fits the space you intend to transport it in. Narrow eskies are easier to lift without assistance. Vertical bottle storage is offered by taller eskies. While models with recessed lids allow loading above the top of the compartment, items stored in this area could be very warm.
Insulation Thicker walls generally provide better insulation. Look for walls that are consistently thick, not just at the top. The thickest walls of the eskies on test are approximately 50mm.
Handles should be easy to grasp and robust if they need to double as tie-down points.
Non-slip rubber feet help stop the esky sliding around in a vehicle, but they may also make sliding the esky into position difficult.
Wheels make pulling a loaded esky on smooth surfaces much easier than carrying the esky and contents, particularly when coupled with a tall towing handle.
Cleaning Cheaper eskies have white textured lids that can be difficult to keep clean. Flush-mounted drains don’t trap dirt or objects.
Bungs that seal the drain hole should fit well and be attachable so they don’t get lost.
A hose fitting allows the esky to drain without being moved.
Latches should be easy to operate and the lid should be able to be secured so it can withstand wind or vermin. None of the models on test can be padlocked.
Dry-ice compatibility Check the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the use of dry ice. Generally, a dry ice block should be heavily wrapped so it doesn’t come into contact with the liner and therefore damage it.
Latch fault design
The two lid latches of the Downunder broke on the first day of testing when two testers independently used the anchor-shaped handles to stretch the rubber loops over the knobs. The correct way to use the latches is to push the concealed divot onto the knob, but this isn’t clear. Instructions on the esky itself or a more obvious design are needed. The manufacturer told CHOICE the latches could be replaced under warranty or bought for $10 each.