Review: Geizeer air cooler
Here in the UK air conditioning is not common-place in the home, as the climate doesn't warrant it and they are often noisy and almost always expensive. A fan only offers momentary relief when the mercury starts to rise, so once again crowd-funding comes to the rescue to offer an elegant solution in the form of the beautifully crafted Geizeer ice cooler.
Billed as an 'eco-friendly' cooler, the premise behind the Geizeer is simple. Take a hollow cube of wood, stick a fan under the latticed top and place a frozen ice-pack in the bottom unit, which sits atop a battery pack. Rotate the top to complete an electrical circuit and the dual-speed fan starts up. Warm air is drawn in through the top and blown over the ice-pack, then filtering out of the vents around the centre of each side. Simple.
The first thing you notice about the Geizeer is that it doesn't look like a gadget. Made out of wood and available in a variety of colours, it's designed to simply blend in. In fact, you'd be hard pushed to guess what it was if you hadn't seen one before. I opted for the natural wood option, with the standard 'linear' lattice on the top. It's comprised of two equally sized half, with the top balancing somewhat precariously on four screws. This is the only drawback with the design, as it would only take a slight knock for the top to be dislodged. A simple solution would be to make a slight recess for the top legs to sit in.
The bottom unit houses a battery, charged by a micro-USB cable. The manufacturers have added a little extra polish by including a cable that has a built in LED that is blue when it's charging and red when charged. The battery is good for between 3-5 hours of usage, but the Geizeer can also be used when connected to the mains.
The custom-designed ice pack sits in the bottom recess, and is like a compacted four-sided pyramid. The sides are scooped to allow the air to flow over them and exit out of the side vents.The top has a small recessed area where you can insert fragranced liquid or powder/flakes, to add a fragrance to the cooled air.
Moving onto the top, this has the large fan mounted directly underneath the lattice. A small switch offers three speeds - 1000, 1500 and 1800rpm, but even on the highest settting it could hardly be considered loud. On both the top and bottom halves there is a small circle in the centre of one side. When the top is matched to have its circle above the bottom one this creates an electrical circuit in two of the four feet, meaning that there are no on/off switches required. When you want to power the unit off just rotate the top 90 degrees to break the connection.
At its quietest the fan is virtually inaudible, even when you are sat less than half a metre away from it. On the highest speed it is still quiet when compared to, say, a desk fan, however it doesn't provide the same 'full-on' directional air blast either.
The wind is channelled through the four slots around the side, making it much more subtle, which may be more suitable for those that don't actually like to be in the line of any draughts. Having said that, with the unit sat in front of my keyboard and on the lowest setting it still provided noticeable airflow which I could feel on my hands, even without the ice-block fitted.
Next, I fitted the ice-block. When you first take it out of the freezer expect to hear it making a few cracks as it adjusts to the temperature of the room. Don't expect it to feel like you're putting your hand in front of an air conditioner though. Without a thermometer to test I could not give a scientific verdict, but within a couple of minutes of use I could certainly feel a difference - it may only be a degree or two but it was noticeable. I think that if it were a summer day I would be happy with the fact that I could easily move this from room to room, running on either mains or battery.
The design drawbacks
I think there are two minor points that could be improved upon. Firstly, there should be a more robust method of the feet connecting other than the top simply balancing on the bottom. It's far too easy to knock, and the wood would not be forgiving if it hit a sharp object. Secondly, as the photos show, the ice-block is a rather bright shade of blue. It would have been better if they stuck to a more neutral colour - either white or black. Certainly with the deep mahogany wood that i selected it reminded me of the 1970's style blue bath with wooden panelling that adorned my bathroom when I first moved in! It's a minor point, but when you are buying something for its aesthetics this does look like somewhat of an oversight.
The Geizeer is no doubt a beautifully crafted product based on a simple idea. It looks elegant, has a very small footprint, is quiet in operation and in my opinion is just a little more effective than a small desk fan. It's a great deal more expensive though, at €130, but you're buying this more for its looks. The Geizeer is another crowd-funded venture and, as with every single one that I've funded it was late for delivery, with some people still awaiting theirs as a write this. Do I regret buying it (without the knowledge of one summer's use behind me)? - No. It's different to anything else that's out there and has a few more selling points than the traditional fan. Come the summer I'll be making full use of it.