Imagine you’re ready for a cold one, take a look in the fridge, and realize that you don’t have any cold beer or soda to enjoy. So you have to head to the store, or look in the pantry for a drink that could be room temperature.
We’ve tested it out, and it takes about nine hours for a can of beer to get cold in the refrigerator… and about an hour in the freezer. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was something that cooled your drinks much faster?
That’s the promise of the Chill-O-Matic beverage cooler. More than just a fun name, the device promises to chill your warm drink within 90 seconds or less. It does so by spinning your drink while it’s covered in ice. The motion is supposed to cool your beverage quickly.
We found the Chill-O-Matic on Amazon for about $25 and had to put it to the test to see if is really worked as well as it advertises.
Unboxing the Chill-O-Matic & How It Works
What all is included with the device? It’s actually quite simple. The main body is simply a can-shaped holder and lid that’s large enough to fit a can covered with a layer of ice. Also included is the motor/battery pack (the machine runs on two AA batteries) and a suction cup.
Everything is made of plastic, so this isn’t something we would expect to last forever.
So how is it supposed to work?
First, you stick the suction cup to the bottom of a can, inserting the plastic end of the suction cup into the gear of the motor. Then you slide everything back into the body of the housing.
Once inside the Chill-O-Matic, you cover the can with ice and replace the plastic lid. Then, you simply turn it on. The machine then rotates your can under the ice bath, cooling the beverage.
According to the instructions, it takes about 60 seconds to cool your drink down to 47 degrees and 90 seconds to cool it down to 42 degrees.
Once you are done spinning the can, you can dump out the ice and crack open your refreshingly cold drink.
So does the Chill-O-Matic actually work as advertised?
Testing the Chill-O-Matic
As you’ll see below, the machine actually does cool warm drinks quickly, but it experienced some hiccups along the way.
In our test, we started with room temperature cans of beer. Measured at 72 degrees before we started, we placed the suction cup on the base and then inserted the other end into the battery pack and motor. We slid everything into place and covered the drink and ice.
After turning on the machine, it started to spin the drink and seemed to be working well. After about 10-15 seconds, however, our beer can stopped spinning.
Looking into the issue, we noticed that the suction cup had pulled out of the motor. We reinserted the pieces and tried several more times to spin the can. Each time, after a few seconds of spinning, the suction cup would fall out of the gear and stop.
It turns out that the body of the Chill-O-Matic is a bit larger than the can to allow it to hold the ice. That includes at the end of the can, where there is about 1/2″ to 3/4″ of extra space. As a result, the spinning motion of the can causes it to move away from the motor, pulling the suction cup out of the gear.
This was frustrating, so to fix it, we folded up several layers of cardboard from the beer box in order to wedge the can in place and keep pressure to keep the suction cup in the proper position.
This modification made all the difference. With the makeshift wedge, the can stayed in place and spun how it should.
Retrying the machine, we put a new can in place, covered it with ice and let it spin for 90 seconds. Once or twice during the test an ice cup would lodge itself at the base of the can and cause it to stop spinning again. However, it was quickly cleared and spinning resumed.
During the 90 seconds, we were surprised at noticeable the ice melt was. It was obvious that the ice was melting much faster than if it just sat at room temperature — a strong clue that it was working to chill the drink.
In fact, pulling the can out, it was definitely cold to the touch. We popped the top and inserted the thermometer. After 90 seconds of spinning, the beer had cooled to 40.5 degrees.
And no, there is no explosion when you pop the top like you would expect if you shook the can up. Spinning doesn’t appear to make the can go under pressure.
Does the Chill-O-Matic Work?
After our test, we are confident in saying that the Chill-O-Matic definitely works. In just 90 seconds it took our room temperature beer down to a chilly 40 degrees.
That said, there are a couple of issues you should know about. First, we mentioned how the can sometimes pulls away from the motor. To fix it, we simply put a piece of folded cardboard in the machine to keep the can from pulling away. It’s a simple fix, but still it would be nicer not to have to do this.
Second, remember that the warmth of the beer is going to interact with the cold ice. That means melting ice. In our test, putting ice in and dumping it out led to a lot of water. Be sure to have a bowl for dumping the ice into and definitely place the machine on something you don’t mind getting wet. You’ll also want a rag to wipe up spills.
In total, we think the Chill-O-Matic is a fun way to quickly cool a drink and works largely how it claims. There are some improvements that could be made, but overall it works to make your drink cold quickly.