Aug 10, 2023

EcoFlow Glacier Review: The Ultimate Ice

Fridge, freezer, it makes ice, and it can even stay running on solar power. This thing is amazing.

The EcoFlow Glacier redefines outdoor entertaining, merging portability with innovative features. This isn't just a cooler, it's a mobile fridge and freezer capable of creating ice wherever your adventures take you. Powered by AC, an optional battery, or even solar power, the EcoFlow Glacier boasts two independently controllable compartments that can chill down to -25 degrees Celsius, with a total capacity of 38L. Whether you're hosting a beach BBQ or tailgating, the EcoFlow Glacier promises to level up your outdoor experiences.

I don't normally get excited for fridge freezers, but the EcoFlow Glacier incredible. If you host BBQs or tailgate parties or love heading to the beach, you’re probably familiar with the concept of wanting a cool, refreshing beverage. Typically, that means packing a cooler full of ice. But the new EcoFlow Glacier portable cooler doesn't just not need to be packed full of ice at all; it can even make fresh ice for you.

Powered by AC, an optional 298Wh battery, or even solar power, the EcoFlow Glacier has two individually controllable compartments that can be chilled anywhere down to -25 Celsius or -13 Fahrenheit, with a total cooler capacity of 38L.

So pull up a chair, grab a cool beer, pour a glass of your favorite chilled Sauvignon, mix up a something on ice, and let's party.

The basic Glacier package doesn't include a battery. It's an optional extra that then slots in around the back. By default, the Glacier can be powered over AC or a 12V car socket. Of course, if you have a portable EcoFlow battery capable of at least 180W output, that would do the job.

If you want to take advantage of solar charging, you must purchase and fit the 298Wh internal battery. The battery can also function as a USB-C power bank, so in a pinch, your fridge can power your laptop, which is definitely a new sentence.

The total cost of the battery and EcoFlow Glacier is $1300, or $1000 without the battery.

Also in the package are an extendable handle and wheels. It's optional whether you fit them or not, though in my opinion, both the battery and wheels are essential.

The EcoFlow Glacier also works great as a countertop fridge in your RV or camper van, but its strength lies in outdoor use.

It's a large cooler by any definition, with a massive internal cavity of 33cm in height (13"), 39cm (15.25") in width, and 30cm (11.75") depth. That works out at 38 liters or roughly 60 cans of coke. It can accommodate wine or champagne bottles standing upright, too.

That can be split into two sections, each of which can be controlled independently. So you could have one freezer section for ice cream, and one just for cooling drinks or keeping fruit fresh.

Alternatively, you can pull out the divider and keep it handily packed into the lid, using the cooler only as a single temperature zone. There's a sensor in the lid that means the display and app will know you're using it as a single zone only, and adjust the temperature setting accordingly.

The left side also features a large basket for convenience, while on the right is a small internal LED panel for those night-time shindigs.

The cooler itself has an overall size of 78 × 39 × 45 cm (30.6 × 15.2 × 17.5 inches), with large handles on both sides. Weighing 23kg or 50.7lbs without the battery, it can be a one-person lift, depending on how loaded up with food and drinks it is.

The wheels are pretty rugged and held up well in our garden tests, with no problem going up and down our hills and dirt paths.

It also looks surprisingly stylish. My idea of a drinks cooler is a hideous white top and red or some other garish color underneath. The Glacier is very much in the same black and dark grey classic EcoFlow style.

The lid of the cooler features a nice dimpled texture—perhaps a non-slip surface to put drinks.

On the right of the cooler cavity is a large, easy-to-read display panel, plus the ice-making compartment, with a smoky clear plastic so you can see the ice forming. Which is fascinating, and only a little bit like watching paint dry.

On the front are five equally large, simple buttons for setting temperatures and making ice. Or you can use the app. Speaking of which...

The EcoFlow Glacier integrates with the one and same EcoFlow app that all of its other batteries and portable appliances do. It has a pleasing, modern UI with slick animations. It's a joy to use compared to your average IoT abomination, and you can connect over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth seamlessly.

Of course, as a portable fridge, there's not a huge amount of settings to manage. You can get a time estimate of battery remaining or set the target temperatures for each zone (with a handy guide of what range of temperatures suit different foodstuffs), as well as enable Eco mode and other settings.

Strangely, this is one of the few devices where I found myself preferring to use the app. Not because the buttons are complex or the display is hard to read—neither is the case. But being able to sit there sipping a drink and remotely instruct it to make more ice was definitely fun.

In terms of performance, we should talk about the ice-making feature first because it's ingeniously simple. You fill the compartment with water—making sure the tray is inserted.

This isn't a typical silicon ice cube mold. Instead, it has holes on the bottom, through which a series of metal nubs in the base push through from underneath. These nubs get really cold—I want to say "supercooled", but that's probably a scientific term—and the ice forms around those.

Once finished, the ice is detached, and you can pull out the tray. The entire ice-making cycle takes 12-15 minutes, depending on the size of the ice you want (small or large). I'd also estimate it took around 5% of the battery.

You can use the ice immediately, dish it out to your guests, or scoop it into a container and keep it in the freezer section (assuming you've set the temperature to freezing). But don't leave the tray of ice sitting in the water, or it'll melt back to its original wet state. You can then return the bath tray and make more, or drain the excess water from the nozzle on the side.

You should get about three to four cycles of ice-making before you need to refill the bath.

One small note: if you're running directly from 12V of your car battery—that is, without the optional battery unit installed—then you can't make ice. You need the internal battery installed or AC power to do so.

Starting at a reported ambient temperature of 11C and 100% battery, we timed how long it took to reach the target temperature of 2C for the left cooler section, and -18C for the right freezer section. It managed that in less than 20 minutes, which is incredible, and took about 10% of the battery power. You could easily do that before you left home using AC power, of course, to preserve battery. Maintaining temperature is a lot easier than cooling it down, depending on how often you open the compartment.

It estimated it could maintain that for about four hours running purely on battery power. You also have an Eco mode that is slower to cool and may fluctuate slightly more, but that'll also extend battery life if needed.

And I should note, that is an extreme case. If you're cooling from 30C to 0C in one single zone, EcoFlow states it should take 15 minutes to reach temperature and last for up to 40 hours. If you need below-freezing temperatures, that drops to 19 hours, but that's still incredible.

For longer periods, you can actually make use of an onboard solar controller, with up to 240W of solar input possible at 11-60V 11A max. That's a good range that enables it to work with smaller portable panels and higher voltage static panels. But to reiterate: you need the battery fitted to make use of solar power. Like all appliances, you need a middleman to smooth out the energy and provide the correct voltage.

Potentially though, that means you can keep the Glacier going indefinitely in good weather, and be fully charged in just over 2 hours. It's a similar charging speed when running from AC or 12V from your car socket.

Portable coolers and fridges for RVs aren't a new concept, and you can buy a decent-sized one that runs off a car battery or AC for as little as $200. So what makes the EcoFlow Glacier stand out?

Firstly, the ice-making is outstanding, outperforming even a full-sized freezer for speed of ice production. Secondly, it has a freezer function and two independently controllable zones. That's a lot of flexibility to suit every situation. Lastly, the battery and solar charging features shouldn't be underestimated. Most coolers operate on the assumption that you'll be away from power for a short time only, and once disconnected from that power source, the temperature slowly rises. No one wants a melted 99 Flake. The EcoFlow Glacier keeps going—potentially indefinitely—with the addition of some solar panels.

Whether or not those features are worth the four to five times asking price compared to a standard 12-24V cooler or portable fridge is the only question to ask yourself. You'd have to be pretty dedicated to your BBQs to lay down that much on a thing to make drinks cool and stop your ice cream from melting. I admire that dedication.

But the EcoFlow Glacier isn't just a fantastic party cooler—it's also great for off-grid living, especially for those who like the resilience of having multiple independent smaller systems without relying on a large central AC inverter and battery backup. While a centralized system is more convenient, it's not resilient because if that one part of that system goes down, all your appliances fail at once. If your fridge/freezer can run by itself with a solar panel, that's one less thing to worry about in a grid-down scenario.

The EcoFlow Glacier is an incredible, innovative cooler and freezer system, and easily one of my favorite gadgets this year. It transformed our BBQs and firepit nights. I think I may have enjoyed a little too many refreshingly cool beverages, actually, destroying my love of the great British tradition of a lukewarm beer.

James has a BSc in Artificial Intelligence and is CompTIA A+ and Network+ certified. When he's not busy as Hardware Reviews Editor, he enjoys LEGO, VR, and board games. Before joining MakeUseOf, he was a lighting technician, English teacher, and data center engineer.