rotomolded cooler vs injection molded cooler

Injection-molded coolers vs rotomolded coolers

Keep it cool with the Right Cooler

rotomolded cooler vs injection molded cooler

The market for coolers has become a huge industry with tons of different options and brands to choose from. These companies have branched out into insulated cups, clothing lines, and many other areas. They have become global brands and people all over the world pour billions into this industry every year. Companies have invested millions of dollars in new technologies that they use to design their products. As the production of plastic becomes more refined and easier to mass-produce, this industry has greatly benefited from that. This article is going to take look at two different types of plastic production methods that are used to make ice coolers of every shape and size. From basic to entirely custom, and small to enormous, ice coolers have evolved dramatically in the last 15 to 20 years. Price points range from 30 to 40 dollars up into the thousands depending on size and brand names. This article is going to take a look at two different cooler designs. It will deliver the advantages of both types and hopefully allow consumers to make the best decision when it comes time to buy a cooler.

 Injection mold coolers and rotomolded coolers are the two types of coolers that the article will focus on. What they are, or in other words what is the process used to produce these different types of ice coolers. How are they made? What is the production process that makes these two methods differ, and how do they end creating a different type of ice cooler? what do both styles offer consumers? What is good and bad about both types of these ice coolers, and ultimately if you are reading this article which of these two choices is right for you? These are just a few of the questions that will be answered throughout this article. keep in mind that there is no definitive right or wrong choice when it comes to purchasing an ice cooler. This is simply an informative article to give you an idea of the building processes, and in no way is it a persuasive article to persuade consumers to buy one or the other. A lot of consumers will buy on brand name alone. Others will buy based on good recommendations and reviews for companies. By the end of this article, readers will be able to make an informed decision about what type of ice cooler is best suited for them.

What is an Ice Cooler?

The first question to answer is what is an ice cooler? The names, ice chest, cooler box, car fridge, cold storage box are just some of the synonyms of an ice cooler. Anything designed to store products in and keep them cold or sometimes hot is what is considered an ice cooler. 

There are literally hundreds of different companies that manufacture ice coolers. The sizes range from very small handheld coolers that can hold a couple of drinks all the way up to three hundred and fifty-quart coolers that can hold close to a hundred gallons of liquid and hundreds of pounds of meat. Most ice coolers are constructed of hard plastic on the outside shell with some type of insulation in the middle. Typically the foam is used as the insulation in the middle of the shells. Ice coolers also have an inside shell where you actually place the products that you want to keep cold or in some cases warm depending on your needs. Ice coolers have handles, wheels, sometimes other personalized features like speakers, it all just depends on what the consumer is looking to use the ice cooler for. The final result any consumer wants out of their ice cooler is to keep things cold or warm though. There are many different ways ice coolers are made, and many different materials they are made from such as Styrofoam, but once again this article will be looking at plastic ice coolers, and the two most common ways they are built.

What is this process?

Injection molding is a process that uses high amounts of pressure to create plastic molding into shells that will become the ice coolers. Because of the high pressure, ridges and other designs are possible in the creation of injection-molded coolers. This is the most commonly used method in mass production of anything plastic because exact replicas can be produced over and over. It does not allow for hollow pieces so an injection-molded cooler must be built in two different shells with insulated foam sprayed in between the shells. This process allows for less plastic to be used in the production process which ultimately results in a lighter product than those that are built using the rotational molding process. The prices tend to be a little higher in rotationally molded coolers because the products used to create the molds must be able to withstand the high pressure, and the high level of heat they are put under during the molding process.

What is inside an injection mold cooler?

Injection mold coolers are created using two different shells as earlier stated. To help insulate the inner shell companies will fill the space between with foam injections using the Cellmould process. This highly scientific process has innovated the plastic industry and become a vital part of the cooler production industry. Injecting foam into the cavities allows for creating a lighter weight product which consumers are always looking for so their ice cooler is never too heavy to handle.

What are the advantages of an Injection Mold?

There are numerous advantages of this type of ice cooler. Production time and quantity is the first advantage. They can be mass-produced using the same molds, and the entire process is fully automated. This is where this type of ice cooler is able to offer better prices than roto-molded coolers. Replacing parts on broken or old worn-out pieces is also much easier on this type of ice cooler as well because of the ability to mass-produce them. The finished product is lighter in weight than roto-molded ice coolers. The weight of the product is what consumers are always concerned with, that and the amount of stuff they can fit into their ice coolers. This method also allows for more designs and shapes because of the high amounts of pressure involved in the production process. The final consumer price is lower than that of roto-molded ice coolers on average. It is much easier to get replacement parts of an injection-molded cooler because of their mass production. This process also uses up to 30 percent less plastic than the other method which is a huge deal considering how much plastic our world uses every single year.

What are the disadvantages of Injection molding?

Since injection molding uses two different shells in its production, there can be more weld lines and connection lines in these ice coolers that can separate or crack. In product testing, injection-molded coolers are not as durable or tough as roto-molded coolers. So depending on what type of stress or activity your ice cooler needs to be able to handle, it may not be the best type of cooler for you. Anytime a product is being produced in the volume of these ice coolers, they tend to be made with a little bit less quality, than that of a more handmade product so to speak. Naturally using a two-shell system in this method will create some weak points or ridgelines that can become cracked or broken if dropped or over time as well. The wall thickness of these ice coolers will not ever be as thick as a roto mold product either, and the consistency of the wall thickness will change also. The last disadvantage speaking from a worker’s point of view is that these systems are fully automated which tends to lead to fewer jobs needed to produce these ice coolers.

What is roto-molding or rotational molding?

Roto-molding is also known as rotational molding is a process that is much more hands-on and not fully automated like the other process. This process is a lot like a rotisserie cooker to give a visual. Powder forms of plastic resins are poured into forms and steel shapes and then begin to be heated. These plastic resins are a little rarer and harder to find, but this process also wastes very little material as well. It is rotated in vertical and horizontal motions during the hardening process. This process allows these particular ice coolers to be made into hollow walls that are thicker than other processes. This type of ice cooler when produced is more custom than other production methods.

What is on the inside of the roto mold ice cooler?

The inside of an ice cooler that is made using the rotational mold produces a much thicker product. There is only one solid hollowed-out piece created so there is no need for foam injections either. Another advantage is that there are no stress points or fragile lines in a roto mold because it is all one solid piece. Because this process produces rotomolded coolers are a one-piece product, it also allows for custom shapes or any type of customization to be easily created. The insulation of these ice coolers is made during the process and creation of the thick walls so these ice coolers will maintain their cold temperatures in any weather condition for very long periods of time.

Advantages of a roto-molded ice cooler

There are many advantages of this type of ice cooler. The way the rotating and heating process work together, the process allows for wall thickness to become the insulating feature of these coolers. Consumers at the end of the day will make their decisions on two things. How much does the ice cooler cost, and how long will the ice cooler keep the stuff inside of it cold? These extra-thick walls allow for insulation time to last anywhere from 3 to 10 days depending on weather conditions. Another key is the fact that these ice coolers are built all in one piece. The rounded thickness on the corners of these coolers creates a product that is next to indestructible and usually offers a lifetime warranty. Unlike other coolers that are built-in separate pieces, a roto mold turns into one solid piece of an insulating ice cooler. For avid hunters and fishermen, this is very valuable because these ice coolers are built to withstand animals trying to into them. One of the worst things for a hunter is to lose all of their packed goods because an animal goes into the cooler and destroyed it. A roto mold ice cooler is not a mass-produced item, therefore it is possible that just about any shape and size can be made upon consumers’ request. So between longer insulation times, more durably built products, and a more customized product, there are many advantages of roto-molded coolers. The amount of product used in this process ends up saving a lot of materials in the long run also. Last but not least is the ability to easily customize these ice coolers. Tags and other accessories can be placed into the mold during the healing process instead of added later. The same goes for handles and straps that can be built into these ice coolers. some rotomolded coolers are also bear-proof, which means they have been tested by bears to withstand its forces.

Disadvantages roto-molded ice coolers

Since ice coolers are the topic of this article, it goes without saying that pricing and production will be the main buying point for consumers. Roto mold coolers for a mass-producing item will take longer to produce, and be a bit more in price to buy. Some consumers are hesitant to spend two or three hundred dollars on an ice cooler. Another disadvantage is the time and material it takes to build these coolers. The plastic resins that are used are not as widely available for companies. The production process for that reason takes longer which means there are fewer products available for consumers which increases the price and makes it more difficult to find replacement pieces if a consumer needs one. Shortages in the plastic resins can drastically affect the production of these ice coolers as well. Since these ice coolers are made into one piece, it is much difficult to get designs like cup holders or shapes built into these ice coolers. This type of ice cooler is going to weigh more than other ice coolers as well. Because these ice coolers are produced into one sturdy hollow piece they will weigh more than an ice cooler built in different shells. When one of these coolers is loaded up drinks and food or whatever needs to be carried plus ice in the cooler, they can get quite heavy for one person to handle.


The industry has become a worldwide industry in the past fifteen years, and that is due in large part to these two production methods. Bevanda has now become a household name for coolers, and maybe only igloo was known before the last fifteen years. The ice cooler industry produces bag coolers now too that can be worn over a person’s shoulder. They make insulated cups of all shapes and sizes, they make lids and stainless steel straws for the cups. The industry itself has just exploded over the last few years. The technology that has led to these two production methods has created the opportunity for these companies to make money worldwide selling ice coolers and other products. The question becomes which type of ice cooler is better? After researching both ice cooler types and discussing in this article how both production methods work, it is beneficial for consumers to have the option of buying either type of ice cooler. With all of the different choices that are out there, any and every niche that consumers are looking for in an ice cooler, as well as price points can be met because of both of these production methods. There are obviously pros and cons to both models which have also been discussed in this article, but the ice cooler industry has truly become a buyers market with literally thousands of different choices to choose from. No matter what the needs of an ice cooler are, or where the needs must be met, there is the perfect choice for consumers to buy to meet those needs. As technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, it will be very interesting to follow this industry and see if prices begin to fall. It will also be something to look for as to whether or not these two production methods come together for an even more economical way to produce ice coolers. At the end of the day, a decision to buy either of these ice coolers will be a smart one. Here is to happy camping, golfing, fishing, hunting, construction, or whatever it may be that you plan on doing, and having all the stuff you need in your wonderful ice cooler!

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