Ryobi 18V ONE+ 24 Quart Hybrid Power Cooler
Summer is the time for outdoor barbecues with friends and family. Where would such an event be without a cooler filled with ice and your favorite drinks? Just when you thought you needed to make a trip to your local store for 10 more pounds of ice, Ryobi has designed the 18V ONE+ 24 Quart Hybrid Power Cooler to save the day! After several weeks using the Hybrid Power Cooler, I have found it to be a very unique and worthwhile solution when you need a cooler for your food and drinks.
- Temperature Range: -4 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit
- Operating Voltage: 12V Car Adapter, 18V ONE+ battery, and 120V AC Adapter
- Capacity: 40 12-ounce cans or 24 Quarts
- Weight: 32 pounds
- Warranty: 3-year Limited Warranty
- Batteries and Charger: Not included
- Available At: The Home Depot for $499.00
The Hybrid Power Cooler arrives almost entirely assembled. You need to attach the two wheels in the rear of the unit, which takes less than 5 minutes since it only involves securing some sleeves, washers, and a screw on each side. The somewhat “rubberized” wheels are 4 inches in diameter and 2 inches wide. While the wheels rolled well across our patio and driveway, they had a more difficult time on softer surfaces, such as grass.
The Hybrid Power Cooler is approximately 14 inches tall, 15 inches wide, and 25 inches long. The cooling compartment itself is 24 quarts in size and it can hold up to 40 12-ounce cans. Ryobi includes an almost 10-inch long handle on the left-side so you can pull it across your patio. The handle folds down and secures tightly to the side of the unit.
On the front of the unit, there is a secure latch to open and close the cooler lid. Underneath that lid, Ryobi embeds a really nice seal to keep the cold in when the lid is closed.
To the right of the lid’s latch, Ryobi includes a metal bottle opener that performed well when I used it. Behind the bottle opener is the latch to open the battery compartment.
Beside the battery compartment is the Control Panel and a handy USB-A charging port. Toward the bottom of the unit on the right side is the plug for the AC and DC adapters. Ryobi also intelligently includes 2 integrated tie-down loops near the top of each side to keep it in place when tied down to another surface.
It is also important to note that the Hybrid Cooler includes a very bright LED light on the interior’s right side of the cooling compartment. I am assuming the light is “always on” since there was no switch inside the cooler. I really loved having a light illuminate the interior of the cooler when I was searching for a drink. This LED light is a very thoughtful and useful addition by Ryobi—Bravo!
Some Benefits Of Hybrid Cooler Technology
We enjoy entertaining on our patio and a cooler filled with ice and beverages is a pre-requisite for such an event. After using the Hybrid Cooler many times, I learned the immediate benefits of a Hybrid Cooler that didn’t need ice to keep our cans cold:
- There are no more trips to the store to buy several pounds of ice before your party, saving you both time and money!
- You don’t need to store the ice inside an already cramped freezer 2 days before the party.
- Ice cubes are always stuck together, so you have to drop the bag on the ground several times—hoping it won’t break—to make the cubes small enough to fit in the cooler.
- Putting your hand into a cooler of cold ice and water can be a very frigid experience.
- Once you do find a drink, you have to clean off the top of the can because it’s covered in water from the melted ice.
- When the party is done, you need to find a place to dump out the ice and water.
- And don’t forget, coolers always seem to leak as the ice inevitably melts. There’s no need to worry about a missing drain plug or a leak when you are using the Ryobi Hybrid Cooler!
It’s Heavy Duty!
On both ends of the cooler are handles to lift the cooler and they are certainly necessary. The first time I lifted the cooler, my immediate impression was that it was quite heavy. The compressor on the unit added significant weight to the Hybrid Cooler. Weighing in at 32 pounds while empty, this cooler is quite substantial and it will require effort to move once filled with food and drinks.
Choosing Your Power Source and The Control Panel
The Ryobi 18V ONE+ 24 Quart Hybrid Power Cooler is a triple threat when it comes to power—you can use it with 1 or 2 18V ONE+ batteries, the included 120V AC Adapter, or the included 12V Car Adapter.
It’s also important to remember that you can still use ice with the Hybrid Cooler if that is what you prefer—it even has a built-in drain plug on the bottom for emptying the leftover water.
After choosing a power source, you use the power button on the top control panel to turn the cooler on. The LED control panel will illuminate and tell you several things. The current temperature setting is displayed in large numerals that are even easy to read in the bright sun.
The temperature range for the cooler is -4 degrees to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. You can increase or decrease the temperature using the large + and – buttons on the control panel. I found that the Ryobi Hybrid Cooler remembers the previous temperature setting and it will work to achieve that temperature the next time you power it on. I think that “temperature memory” is another very beneficial feature of the Hybrid Cooler.
Pressing the Settings button one time on the control panel will allow you to set it to MAX for fast cooling or ECO for the energy saving mode—the default setting is MAX. Whenever I had it plugged into an AC outlet, I kept it in MAX mode. I do believe the ECO mode is a nice addition when trying to save battery life—perfect for when an alternative power source isn’t available deep in the woods or at a neighborhood block party.
Pressing and holding the settings button for 3 seconds enables you to cycle through the 3 battery protection modes. I used the High (H) setting when the cooler was using the 120V AC Adapter and the 12V Auto Adapter. The Medium (M) and Low (L) settings are recommended by Ryobi when using the 18V ONE+ batteries. The Medium and Low settings prevent the 18V battery sources from dropping below predetermined voltages as outlined in the user manual. I appreciated that Ryobi built-in so many safeguards to conserve power and protect your battery sources.
Also next to the control panel, Ryobi has included a USB-A charging port for your mobile devices. This USB-A charging port is another smart addition to the Hybrid Cooler when you need a charging boost to stream music at your gathering. The cooler can also be set to Celsius using the settings button.
Using The Ryobi Hybrid Cooler – 120V AC Adapter
The first time I used the Hybrid Cooler, I had it plugged into an AC outlet in my house. The 120V AC Adapter is 7-feet in length, so there is plenty of length to access a nearby outlet. Rather than make the receptacle on the cooler accessible by a typical extension cord, Ryobi included a special adapter instead. I found no problems with the provided AC Adapter, but it’s important to remember to store this is a safe place since it is not a typical AC adapter.
When I initially turned it on, the temperature was 78 degrees inside the Hybrid Cooler. I wanted to see how quickly it could reach a temperature of 38 degrees, so I set it to MAX and High. Within 10 minutes, the temperature dropped from 78 degrees to 68 degrees. After 15 minutes, the temperature had dropped to 56 degrees Fahrenheit. Amazingly, the Ryobi Hybrid Cooler dropped from 78 degrees to 38 degrees in only 23 minutes. This 40 degree drop in temperature in 23-25 minutes was replicated another 3 times, so I think these are very valid results. I was thoroughly impressed at how quickly it had dropped 40 degrees.
Later, I set the unit to 10 degrees Fahrenheit to see if it was capable of freezing 4 inches of water in a small plastic cup. Within 70 minutes, the 4 inches of water had formed a layer of ice across the top of the cup. Within 3 hours, the entire cup of water was frozen. I didn’t monitor it constantly, so it was hard to gauge how quickly the water froze completely, but this Hybrid Cooler absolutely has the ability to make ice when you need it to. There was also a great deal of frost on the sides of the cooling compartment, proving things were quite cold inside the cooler.
When plugged in, the Hybrid Cooler’s compressor makes almost no noise. While sitting right next to the cooler, the cooler only registered 33 decibels while running. Our full-size refrigerator is louder than the Ryobi Hybrid Cooler.
Using The Ryobi Hybrid Cooler – 12V Car Adapter
Having a 12V Car Adapter included with the Hybrid Cooler really increases the usefulness of the cooler. My wife and I used it several times on trips to the grocery store this summer and we also used it on our trips to Plymouth, NH to see our oldest son. On the 105-mile drive to Plymouth, the cooler performed admirably and kept our food and drinks within 2 degrees of the temperature I set before leaving.
I usually had the Hybrid Cooler in MAX Mode and set to Medium for battery protection. Like most devices using a 12V outlet, the Hybrid Cooler will only be powered on when the car engine is running. Once you turn off the car, the cooler also shuts off. There is no need to turn it back on when the car is started again since it will do that automatically and it will work to achieve the previous temperature setting, too. If you don’t want the cooler to shut off completely, have 1 or 2 batteries installed and it will switch over to that source for power while the car is off. So cool!!
The 12V Car Adapter that Ryobi includes fits the same receptacle in the cooler that the 120V AC Adapter does. The adapter’s cord is 8 feet in length, which is more than enough length to plug it in at the front dash of the car and leave the cooler in the second row of seating. If you also had a 12V receptacle in the rear of your car, the cooler might still be able to sit on the second row of seating since 8 feet extends quite far. Many new larger cars and SUVs also have 120V AC Adapters included in the passenger area, so the 12V Car Adapter might not even be necessary, but this one is really awesome!
Using The Ryobi Hybrid Cooler – 18V ONE+ Batteries
On the box the Hybrid Cooler arrives in, Ryobi includes the following estimated runtimes when using 2 18V ONE+ batteries: two 2Ah batteries = 5 hours; two 4Ah batteries = 11 hours; two 9Ah batteries = 23 hours. In the user manual under “Using the Power Cooler”, Ryobi recommends pre-chilling the contents of the cooler by using the 120V or the 12V adapter before switching to the 18V ONE+ batteries in a more remote location. When a battery is inserted, I found that the cooler automatically switches over to battery power when you unplug the adapter. I loved that the cooler didn’t shut off, all while maintaining the previous temperature setting. Just remember to set it to Medium or Low inside the battery protection mode.
On three separate occasions, I used the Hybrid Cooler set to MAX and Low for gatherings on our patio. The air temperature each day was more than 80 degrees and the dew point was usually 65-72 degrees. Each time, I used AC power to reduce the temperature to 40 degrees and then I used battery power for 3 to 3.5 hours outside. I intentionally set an alarm to monitor the temperature each hour. While the cooler was set to 40 degrees, it would often drop to 34-38 degrees for the majority of the 3 hours. Maintaining an even colder temperature was very impressive, despite people opening the cooler lid frequently for drinks.
When the batteries are placed into the compartment, you can’t access the button to determine how much power is left in them. Ryobi however brilliantly includes a power gauge on the LED control panel for both the left and the right battery. It also indicates the voltage the cooler is drawing. Most of the time, the power remaining matched, but there were times when a battery indicated 4 bars of power remaining on the control panel, but the battery indicated approximately 3 bars when you pulled it out and pushed the integrated button.
I was surprised to learn that while both batteries can be inserted at the same time, the Hybrid Cooler only draws power from one battery at a time. This of course means that you could run the cooler with only one battery if that was all you had. Over several uses, I watched one battery drain down slowly while the other remained at 100%. Once the left-side battery was at 0%, the right battery took over. I had not expected this, but it was an intriguing power-saving design.
Perhaps most impressive of all was the unbelievable longevity that the batteries exhibited inside the Hybrid Cooler. Two Ryobi 18V 6Ah ONE+ batteries were used for the majority of my testing and the temperature was set to 40 degrees at MAX cooling, not ECO to conserve battery life. I very closely monitored the time I used the cooler and was astounded to learn that the batteries were able to power the cooler for 17.5 hours!! I would never have imagined that 2 18V 6Ah ONE+ batteries would be capable of keeping a cooler at 40 degrees or less for almost 18 hours.
Out of curiosity, I also ran a test for the cooler using a single 18V 2Ah ONE+ battery. While set to MAX and Low, the single battery was able to keep the cooler at 40 degrees for 3 hours and 28 minutes before it reached 0%. That would probably be more than enough time for a BBQ in your yard, and the battery would last even longer if it was set to ECO mode. This extended battery power makes this Ryobi 24 Quart Hybrid Power Cooler a highly coveted item for preserving perishable food and drink anytime you don’t have access to electricity.
Quality Insulation Built-In
The ability to keep food cold is the entire purpose of a cooler. So, what happens when the Ryobi Hybrid Cooler is unplugged and no longer running? I did several tests to see how well the cooler compartment retained the cold air once it was no longer being powered. Each time, I was very impressed by how well the Ryobi cooler was insulated. In one test, I brought the cooler back into our house after it was used for a get-together. The air temperature in the house was 73 degrees. I placed two different thermometers inside the Hybrid Cooler to monitor the temperature change. After one hour, the temperature rose from 38 degrees to 50 degrees. After 90 minutes, the temperature had risen from 38 degrees to 55 degrees. Finally, after two hours, the temperature inside the Hybrid Cooler had risen to 66 degrees.
While I performed this test inside a 73-degree living room without any direct sunshine on the cooler, I was very impressed that in 2 hours’ time, the temperature inside the cooler rose only 28 degrees.
I usually had 2 digital thermometers inside the Ryobi Hybrid Cooler for all of my temperature testing. For further verification, I borrowed a Milwaukee 30:1 Infrared/Contact Temp-Gun to confirm the temperature settings of the cooler. In one instance, the cooler was set to 40 degrees initially and the internal temperature had dropped to 36 degrees. When I checked the temperature with the Milwaukee Temp-Gun, it also had the temperature at 36 degrees. The temperature of the front, the back, the left side, and the top of the cooler were all 66 degrees while the room’s ambient temperature was 72 degrees. I used this Infrared Temp-Gun many times and it almost always matched the temperature on the Ryobi control panel—sometimes it was 1 to 2 degrees colder inside the cooler than was stated on the control panel.
My many tests helped prove to me that the insulation and the control panel that Ryobi incorporated in their Hybrid Cooler are of high quality.
Possible Uses For The Hybrid Cooler
I have had several weeks with the Ryobi Hybrid Cooler to test it in a variety of situations. I think it does offer a lot of unique applications that an ordinary cooler does not.
- We often used the cooler as an overflow when the refrigerator was full or not easily accessible. It was so quiet while using it, we almost forgot it was on.
- My wife’s first thought when she saw the Hybrid Cooler was how helpful it might be when going to the grocery store. The Ryobi Hybrid Cooler fit well in the back of our Subaru Ascent and it easily maintained a 10-degree temperature for our frozen food items when using the 12V car adapter.
- When spontaneous neighborhood gatherings occur, the Hybrid Cooler allows you to use either electricity or batteries to keep your food and drink cold while enjoying the outdoors. Rolling the Hybrid Cooler into the driveway or onto the patio is so easy to do when an unplanned get-together develops.
- I could imagine that a food delivery service or a medical delivery service would really appreciate the opportunity to keep their sensitive packages in a climate-controlled cooler such as the Ryobi Hybrid Cooler.
- My oldest son felt that he could use it when he went camping with friends. He knew the 120V Car Adapter would get it to the temperature they needed and then the batteries could take over when the cooler was wheeled to the site. With enough 18V ONE+ batteries in hand, he knew they could keep their perishables safe, or they could use blocks of ice when the need arose.
Things To Consider
I wanted to fall hopelessly in love with the Ryobi 18V ONE+ 24 Quart Hybrid Power Cooler, but there are some things to consider prior to purchasing the $499.00 cooler. Some of those things were:
- The Hybrid Cooler is quite heavy. Starting at 32 pounds, it will only get heavier when you place items inside it.
- The Hybrid Cooler is not waterproof, so you need to be careful using it next to a pool, in wet weather conditions, or when emptying ice from it.
- The wheels are smaller in size and it would probably not roll well on dry sand at the beach. More importantly, there are ventilation openings in the rear of the unit near the wheels and compressor. I would not want sand getting into the unit and causing any potential damage.
- Considering how large the actual cooler is, the cooling compartment could have been bigger. The compressor takes up a lot of space, so only an area of 11.5” long x 11.5” wide x 10” deep is available for food and drinks. The entire cooler is approximately 3.038 cubic feet in area and the cooling compartment is approximately 0.765 cubic feet in area, which is less than 1/3 of the entire cooler. In the picture below, the cooler is maxed out while holding 6 half gallon containers and 8 12-ounce cans. If this was the only cooler you were bringing with you for a weekend camping trip, you would have to pack and prepare your meals strategically.
The Ryobi 18V ONE+ 24 Quart Hybrid Power Cooler is unlike any cooler I have ever owned. The 3 power options it offers allows you to leave the ice behind when rolling it out to your next party, though with the included drain plug, you could still bring the ice, too! The convenience, extended battery life, and quality engineering are unique and appealing. If you feel its few considerations are vastly outweighed by the utility and accessibility it offers, then I think you will really enjoy having the Ryobi Hybrid Cooler at your next summer celebration.