Cooler Shock Ice Packs Review – An Easy, Reusable and Powerful Alternative to Ice

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Welcome to our very own Cooler Shock ice packs review. If you’ve been reading our cooler reviews for a while, then you are probably no stranger to Cooler Shock products.

We've mentioned them several times when reviewing different coolers, and have also talked about their freeze packs in our post on the best ice packs for coolers.

cooler shock ice packs logo

We loved Cooler Shock’s Freeze Packs so much that we made it number 1 on our list. However, we thought Cooler Shock deserved more than just a blob on a countdown article.

What it needed was a full Cooler Shock review. So we decided to keep a close look at the brand and see if they release any products worth reviewing in the future.

Fortunately, they have. Cooler Shock has released quite a few products on the market, and they are all remarkable and good at their use case. We leaped at the opportunity to do a full review and so here we are.


Cooler Shock Ice Packs: An Easy Reusable Alternative to Ice!

Cooler Shock ice packs come in 3 main sizes: large, mid-sized, and lunch size. They also come in two sealing options. One is with a simple screw cap and the other is a zip-up pack that gets ironed for a permanent seal.

cooler shock review
Cooler Shock Hard Pack – new reusable ice packs for 2020.

How does Cooler Shock work?

Cooler shock ice packs are, like many other similar products on the market, dry ice packs.

So the ice packs consist of a gel-like material known as PCM, or Phase Change Material. While water will freeze and turn into ice at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, PCM will freeze at 18 degrees Fahrenheit, making it much colder than ice.

The main technique that the Cooler Shock uses is something called a phase change. To understand this, let’s look at how ice behaves. Ice has a melting point of 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it gets to the melting point, it will maintain this temperature until the entire ice block has melted. This is called a sticking point, or phase change. After the ice has melted, the now liquid water will continue to melt in a linear fashion.

Cooler Shock’s PCM will also warm up until it gets to its phase change or sticking point. However, its sticking point is much lower than that of ice at 18 degrees Fahrenheit. As it changes from solid to gel, it will maintain this temperature and then start warming up. However, because its sticking point is lower than that of ice, it will keep objects colder for longer than regular ice.

For this reason, Cooler Shock ice packs will freeze room temperature water much faster than ice. Cooler Shock themselves claim that it will freeze room temperature water in 4 hours tops!

Also, because these ice packs are dry, they won’t get your sandwiches soggy.

Cooler Shock vs. Regular Ice

So how well do Cooler Shock ice packs perform when compared to regular ice?

Cooler Shock vs. Regular Ice
Cooler Shock vs. Regular Ice – How well do they perform?

Well, there are quite a few wins for this product:

  • Cooler Shock ice packs are denser than regular ice, meaning they have a higher concentration of energy. That means they will keep your items colder for longer.
  • Cooler Shock ice packs won’t make your food soggy like regular ice.
  • Cooler Shock ice packs save you money in the long run because you need only a few ice packs where you would have used several pounds of ice that would have cost you a lot more (they cost about the same as 10-20 pounds of ice).
    Also, since a Cooler Shock ice pack is reusable, you don’t have to buy a new one every time you want to freeze stuff in your cooler. Just pop the ice packs into the fridge the night before and they will be ready to use in no time.

How Many Ice Packs do I need for a Cooler?

How many ice packs do you need for a cooler then? Something interesting to note is that Cooler Shock ice packs save you plenty of space when compared with regular ice. Each pack is 5 pounds once filled and replaces 7 pounds of ice.

coolershock in action
Cooler Shock freeze
packs inside a cooler.
  • A small cooler, say 16 quarts, will need only one large Cooler Shock ice pack, or maybe 2 if you’ll be keeping food and drinks in it for 2 or more days. By comparison, it will need 6 pounds of ice.
  • A medium size cooler, like 48 quarts or so,needs a maximum of 4 large Cooler Shock ice packs for more than 2 days of cooling and 18 pounds of ice to give equivalent performance.
  • A large cooler, say 64 quarts, will need 4-5 large Cooler Shock ice packs to keep food and drinks in it for 2 days or more. The equivalent on ice would be at least 24 pounds.

For a more detailed picture, refer to the two tables below:

Number of Ice Packs

item-titleCooler Size1/2 DayFull Day2 Days
16 quarts112
32 quarts122-3
48 quarts22-34
64 quarts23-44-5
80 quarts2-345
96 quarts34-66-10

Ice Equivalent

item-titleCooler SizeCooler ShocksRegular Ice (in pounds)
16 quarts16
32 quarts212
48 quarts318
64 quarts424
80 quarts530
96 quarts636

Data for Large Cooler Shock Pack size, double for the Medium size.

Are there any Cons of the Cooler Shock packs?

The main disadvantage that Cooler Shock ice packs have when compared to other ice packs is that they are actually pretty pricey when compared to the other brands.

However, given their superior performance, we think they’re worth it.

You will decide for yourself, of course, when you compare them to the other ice packs we shall take a brief look at in this review.


Cooler Shock Reviews


Cooler Shock 18-Degree F. Hard Packs - No Ice...

Clear 2 Pack


Cooler Shock 18-Degree F. Hard Packs - No Ice...

Gray 2 Pack

Cooler Shock PC Hard Pack (New for 2020)

The Cooler Shock PC Hard Pack is an improvement over the older Freezer Packs because of a few changes Cooler Shock made.

First, they made it out of Polycarbonate (PC), which is stronger than the previous plastic used to make the Freeze Pack. This is the same type of material used in bulletproof glass, so you know it is strong and dense.

This density helps the pack to transfer energy up to 20% faster than its predecessor.

The pack also has a radiate ribbed design to increase the surface area of the ice pack so it can transfer energy even faster. They are available in 2 or 3 packs, in transparent or gray color. We will not hide that we like transparent ones the most.

Where will they work best? The reusable and stackable Cooler Shock Hard Pack ice alternatives are great for camping, picnics, boating, fishing, tailgating, and any perishable transport (including commercial). They work in both hard and soft coolers, so they are a very versatile product.

Get the Cooler Shock Hard Pack at Amazon >>

Pros

  • Larger than its predecessor
  • Freezes items up to 20% than its predecessor
  • Much stronger pack means it’s harder to puncture

Cons

  • Only one size is available for now since it’s a new product

Cooler Shock Instructions – for Setup and Use of the PC Hard Pack

Using the PC Hard Pack is fairly simple. Here are five easy steps to success:


cooler shock instructions steps

Step 1

Remove the cap on the pack and squeeze the funnel that comes with the package onto the opening on the pack. It should kink slightly, which is totally okay as this helps air flow out of the pack.

You need to add about 56 ounces of water to each pack, which should total to about 7 cups.

The water will mix with the special powder in the pack to form the freezer gel.


step 2

Step 2
Squeeze the pack gently unto the water reaches the top and lay it against the edge of the sink. This should help the excess water flow out.


how to use Cooler Shock 3

Step 3
While the water is visible at the top of the pack, screw the child safety cap tightly onto the pack. It should be easy to remove when you realize that you need to let some air into the pack, but this should be difficult for a child to figure out.


step 4

Step 4
The final shape of the pack should be such that it should be narrower in the center than at the top and bottom.

If it is wider at the center than at the top and bottom, that means you may have added too much water or left air in the pack. In that case, you should squeeze out the water or air until the center becomes narrower than the top and bottom.


using Cooler Shock step 5

Step 5
Once you have tightly sealed the pack, shake it vigorously for a full minute. This will help the contents to blend properly.

Put it in the fridge and freeze it for about 48 hours the first time for the best results.


Cooler Shock 16 lb. Shock Block Largest Ice...

Cooler Shock Block (New for 2020)

The Cooler Shock Shock Block is Cooler Shock’s response to block ice, and it is a heavy one in more ways that one!

This monster block can achieve a maximum of 16 pounds when water is added, making it super heavy! It is also quite large, measuring 9.5 by 10.5 inches wide and a height anywhere from 7 inches to 8.5 inches, depending on how much water you add.

Speaking of adding water, it takes about 5 to 7 quarts of water to get the formula to turn into a gel.

The block container has a ribbed design for increased surface area and even comes with a thermometer installed. This is useful as the thermometer will tell you when the Shock Block is ready for use.

It can take up to 3 days to freeze it down to its usable temperature range, which is between 0 and 5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Even with all the blockiness (pun intended) of this Cooler Shock product, it does have lots of plusses. It can outperform block ice by up to 30%, which means it will keep your items colder for days longer than regular block ice.

If you use block ice, then Shock Block is the perfect alternative.

Buy the Shock Block at Amazon >>

Pros

  • Great performance
  • Long-lasting for hundreds of uses

Cons

  • Very heavy
  • You still need to use it along with other ice packs or regular ice to pre-freeze the cooler before leaving it for long term use. Though this is the same for regular block ice as well. Block ice alone cannot freeze all the contents of a cooler uniformly.

 Instruction on How To Use the Shock Block

Each package comes with detailed instructions for use. The most important things to remember are:

  • Fill it with between 5 and 7 quarts of water
  • Don’t forget to guide air out of the opening once you have filled it with water.
  • Make sure the screw cap doesn’t go on crooked.
  • Remember to agitate the ingredients to help them mix with each other. Also freeze it for a minimum of 48 hours to get it ready for use.

Cooler Shock 3X Lg. Zero°F Cooler Freeze...

Screw Cap Dry Packs

This particular product has been around since 2016, and so has gained quite a reputation for itself. They come in 3 sizes: large, medium, and lunch bag.

  • Large Pack 10 x 14 add 56 oz. (7 Cups) of tap water
  • Mid Pack 10 x 10 add 28 oz. (3 1⁄2 Cups) of tap water
  • Lunch Pack 7 x 7 add 12 oz. (1 1⁄2 Cups) of tap water

Basically, they have the same PCM material with an 18 degree Fahrenheit melting point contained in a nylon reinforced pack.

Get them at Amazon here >>

Pros

  • Very dry
  • Great performance

Cons

  • Some users complain that the nylon packing is easy to puncture
  • If not careful when adding water and sealing for the first time, some gel might leak out.

How to Use the Zipper Seal Cooler Shocks

Here is a short instruction on how to use screw cap Cooler Shocks:

  • To activate the powder into a gel, you will add 12 ounces of water for the lunch bag size, 28 ounces for the medium size, and 56 ounces for the large size.
  • Let the water stand for a few minutes so the air bubbles can escape, and then hold the dry pack over the sink and pour the water in using the provided funnel.
  • Squeeze the pack gently till the water rises to the top, then push in the silicone cork in with the narrow end first until it is flush. It can’t be removed once installed.
  • Screw the cap on very tightly, then put the packs in the freezer for the initial freezing: between 24 and 48 hours for the large pack, between 12 and 24 hours for the medium-sized pack, and up to 8 hours for the lunch bag pack.
cooler shock Screw Cap instruction
Cooler Shock Screw Cap Instruction Step by Step

3 Pack Large 18°F Cooler Freeze Packs...

Original Zip and Iron Seal Ice Packs

This pack is essentially the same kind of pack as the Screw Cap dry pack, only with a different kind of sealing: a zipper seal.

  • Large Pack 10 x 14 add 56 oz. (7 Cups) of tap water
  • Mid-size Pack 9 x 10 add 28 oz. (3 1⁄2 Cups) of tap water

Get them at Amazon here >>

Pros

  • Same as for the Screw Cap dry pack

Cons

  • This pack is even more susceptible to gel leaking out at the start when filling it with water, because of the zipper opening and the more complicated sealing process.

How to Use the Zipper Seal Cooler Shocks

The usage instructions are also largely the same, with a few notable differences:

  • You should open the zipper bag before adding water, then fold the bag towards you after adding water and start closing the zipper, but leave the last inch open.
  • You will use this small hole to squeeze any remaining water or air out.
  • You will then close the final inch, drying out any escaped water with a paper towel.
  • To seal it permanently, iron the pack with a clothes iron on its max setting.
cooler shock instructions
Cooler Shock Iron Seal Zipper Cap Instruction Step by Step

Here's a video explaining how to use it:


Cooler Shock Maintenance Tips

  • Don’t toss your packs when they are frozen. It might easily damage the packaging as the material is rigid when frozen.
  • Don’t bang your cooler or slide it around too much when it has ice packs inside for the same reason as above.
  • Keep the packs away from sharp objects, including sharp ice.
  • Don’t submerge ice packs in water for too long as the bag may begin to delaminate.
  • Store the packs laying flat.

Cooler Shock FAQ

Are Cooler Shock packs reusable?

Yes they are. All of Cooler Shock’s products are built to withstand 100s of reuses, making them highly durable.

Do I need to refill the packs?

No, Cooler Shocks don't need to be refilled. After the first time you add water, the PCM should be enough to last 100s of reuses. When it starts holding its temperature as well, or when the outer packaging material begins to fail, you should buy a new pack.

Can I use my Cooler Shock packs in the refrigerator?

Because of how hard it is to freeze these packs, it is recommended that you put them in your freezer, rather than your refrigerator. Also, they are designed to cool the contents of your cooler and not your refrigerator, as that already uses electricity to get the job done.

What is the best way to store Cooler Shock packs when not in use?

It is best to store them in the freezer so that they maintain their cold temperature. Remember to lay them flat on their backs.

How can I repair a wear-and-tear hole in my Cooler Shock pack?

While the PCM in Cooler Shock packs is BPA-free and non-toxic, it is still not advisable to let it get into contact with anything edible. If there is a wear-and-tear hole in your Cooler Shock pack, and you are still within your warranty, send it back for a replacement. Otherwise, you will have to buy a new Cooler Shock pack.


Alternatives to the Cooler Shock


KoolerGel The Ice Extender by TBK Industries...

KoolerGel The Ice Extender

This fantastic product is actually a close competitor of the Cooler Shock ice packs. Its owners claim that it extends the lifespan of ice by up to 50%. We were so impressed by it that we wrote a detailed review of it here.

Get it at Amazon here >>


yeti ice

YETI ICE Refreezable Reusable Cooler Ice Pack

The industry leader has a horse in this race in the form of the ICE refreezable and reusable ice pack. It doesn’t need you to add any water and is ready to use almost immediately.

Its freeze temperature is a little higher than that of the Cooler Shock, though, at 28 degrees Fahrenheit, as compared to 18 degrees Fahrenheit for the dry packs.

Check it in YETI's official store >>


Long Lasting Ice Pack for Coolers, Camping,...

Chillin’ Brew Series by Arctic Ice

The Chillin’ Brew ice packs are quite similar to the YETI ICE packs. They don’t require you to add any water and can be refrozen and reused virtually endlessly.

However, they have the same disadvantage, which is that they have a higher freezing temperature than the Cooler Shock ice packs.

Get them at Amazon here >>


Cooler Shock Review – The Bottom Line

Cooler Shock is a bit like YETI. Coolers existed way before YETI released their products, but lacked innovation, were often of questionable quality and their performance was nowhere near as good as what's possible these days. YETI have changed that.

The same goes for ice packs. A few years ago, ice packs were typically of poor quality and nowhere as good as they're now. Ice was simply better.

Fast forward to 2020 and, as it turns out, ice is no longer the best thing to use in a cooler. Ice packs are. And not only the team behind the Cooler Shock brand attempted to bring a new take on existing products (and were successful in doing so) but have been continuing to iterate on their products and technology.

Their new innovations are already making ripples on the market, and they look set to take the niche by storm.

And with that, we come to the end of our Cooler Shock review. We’ll be keeping our eye on the Cooler Shock, and we’ll keep you updated about any new developments.

Cooler Shock Ice Packs Review

Summary

Cooler Shock's premium ice packs deliver on the promise of being a viable alternative to regular ice. Save water, save that precious space in a cooler, and opt for reusable ice packs. And if ice retention is all that matters to you, then get some Cooler Shock freeze packs for the best performance – you won't be disappointed.

Sending
User Review
5 (2 votes)

Until next time, stay cool!


Resources and Images: www.coolershock.com

Last update on 2020-09-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Greg

Greg’s a co-founder of bestcooler.reviews and author of 100+ product reviews and comparisons on this website. When not at work, Greg’s an avid sportsman who enjoys running marathons, loves snowboarding, hiking and discovering new single tracks on his bike.

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