Rubbermaid DuraChill Wheeled 5-Day Review
Cons: Poor insulation, lack of durability, difficult to drain
Our Analysis and Test Results
The DuraChill was the worst performer in our insulation tests, earning a score of 2, and did not live up to it titular 5-day claim. It was able to maintain safe food storage temperatures for 2 full days and ran out of ice after 4 days. It should also be noted that it briefly reached temperatures above 40˚F in the middle of day 2, but for less than an hour, which is inside the time limit for safe food storage set by the FDA. This result makes the Rubbermaid the only model we tested that would not last through a long weekend camping trip. Considering this poor performance and the fact that it includes built-in wheels, the DuraChill is better suited for rolling a bunch of cans to the end of the dock for sunset drinks rather than storing food on any extended adventures.
The DuraChill displays the level of durability one might expect from a traditional cooler. Its hinges and handles are fairly flimsy and a number of user reviews can be found that mention them breaking during normal use. The drain plug leash broke during our testing, it was the only structural casualties we experienced first hand. While the drain plug still functioned properly, we had to remember where we put it after draining, something that shouldn't be required of a model with a drain plug leash. The lid on the DuraChill was the most bendable one we tested, and the only one we had any real trepidation about using as a seat. The lid also leaked large amounts of water in our slosh test, indicating a lack of structural integrity. If you're looking for longevity you would be better served with a high-end model, all of which scored 7 or 8 in our durability testing.
Ease of Use
The internal latch design on the DuraChill's lid is the least favorite amongst our testers and can be finicky to get open, especially when the cooler is empty. Once open the lid easily stays open. The dual opening lid design lets you check on contents without opening the entire lid, but probably contributes to the lid's flimsiness. The drain on the DuraChill is fairly easy to open and produces a splash-free stream of water. However, the addition of wheels forces the DuraChill's drain to be very high up the body, meaning you must essentially tilt the cooler 90 degrees to get all the water to drain. This can be quite a pain, especially in our crowded testing room, or when trying to drain from within a car trunk. The DuraChill avoided the bottom spot in our ease of use scoring, but still received a below average score of 6. The top score in this metric was an 8 and the bottom was a 5.
The DuraChill's carrying handles are all hard plastic. They are similar to but longer than all plastic handles of the Max Cold, and much shorter and skinnier than the all plastic handles of the Pelican Elite Cooler 70. These handles made for a reasonably comfortable carry during our carry test. Our testers put it in the middle of the pack in terms of carry ability. Our testers were not particularly impressed with the DuraChill's wheels, some remarking that the other smooth bottomed traditional models slid just as easily without the benefit of wheels. However, you definitely won't find us sliding any of those other models across a parking lot, so the DuraChill's wheels do have an added value. Overall it scored a 6 in our portability testing. This puts it just about average in a field with scores ranging from 4 to 7.
The DuraChill's standout feature is its wheels, and the associated long handle that facilitates their use. It also includes two cupholders built into the lid and a drain plug leash. We awarded the DuraChill a score of 4 in our features test. In a metric with scores falling from 3 to 7, this puts the DuraChill just below average.
The DuraChill was outperformed in our tests by the other traditional model we tested. It lists for $20 more than the Best Buy winning Coleman Xtreme 5-Day. The wheeled Igloo Glide PRO 110qt is orders of magnitude better, and lists for only $10 more.
While still comparable, the DuraChill received lower scores than the other traditional model we tested. Whether you just want an inexpensive model or specifically want wheels, there are better options out there.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata
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