For people with diabetes, insulin is life-saving medication and keeping unopened insulin cold is important so it stays effective. But keeping insulin cold can be a hassle when going out or travelling. In this guide, we do a deep dive on 5 coolers for insulin pens and look at cooling methods, size and convenience, and costs.
Our top pick is the 4AllFamily Cooler & Portable Fridge. It’s sturdy and portable, has good storage, and can give you unlimited cooling making it the most complete insulin cooler.
Editor’s note: this article is not sponsored but includes links from our affiliates who may compensate us if you end up buying a product from the link (at no extra cost to you). Read our advertising policy here.
Why Keeping Your Insulin Cold is Recommended
Because insulin contains proteins, it needs to be kept within a proper temperature range to protect it from spoiling.
Manufacturers generally recommended unopened insulin be stored between 36°F – 46°F. This means you want insulin cold but don’t want insulin freezing either. Once insulin is opened, it can be left in room temperature (~68°F – 86°F) but should be disposed of after the expiration date per the manufacturer.
When insulin gets too hot or too cold, it can spoil and become less effective. Spoiled insulin won’t necessarily make you sick but it may not lower your blood glucose levels and lead to hyperglycemia.
Top 5 Insulin Coolers for Diabetes
4AllFamily Cooler & Portable Fridge – “Most Complete Insulin Cooler”
With its durability, large storage capacity and ability for unlimited cooling – 4AllFamily’s Cooler & Portable Fridge ranks high our list. This works great for long trips and just as good as a mini medical fridge for the house, making it the most complete insulin cooler.
- Two cooling methods for unlimited cooling
- Holds up to 7 pens
- Keeps temperatures cold
- Durable stainless steel
- Convenient temperature display
- Biogel ice pack needs to be frozen for 6-8 hours
- Multiple parts to keep track of
Two Cooling Methods
4AllFamily uses both a Biogel freeze pack and a USB-powered cooling lid to keep the inside cool.
The Biogel by itself can keep temperatures between 36° – 80°F for around 48 hours with outside temperatures of 95°F. This is great for long flights or a hot day at the beach.
But the USB-powered lid is the gamechanger because it basically turns it into a mini fridge, giving you unlimited cooling. The USB lid can drop temperatures to 36° – 46°F and if temps drop too low, it automatically turns off to prevent freezing.
Large Storage Capacity
4AllFamily’s cooling case is big enough to hold up to 7 insulin pens, which is among the highest from the other coolers on our list. Of course, you can hold more insulin vials or cartridges and it can probably even fit a glucometer.
And the cooling case is similar in size to an insulated water bottle so it’s not too bulky. It also comes with a carrying case to make it even more portable.
The one negative is that the price of this is on the high side (though you’re basically getting a portable mini fridge). But if you want save some money and don’t need all the features, try 4AllFamily’s 3-in-1 Insulin Cooler.
TempraMed Vivi Cap – “Most Compact Insulin Cooler”
This is the most innovative, high-tech insulin cooler we’ve seen in the market. It uses a patented design to keep your insulin pen within safe temperatures with zero prep-time and fits entirely in your pocket. This is a great solution for an all-day outing where you want the convenience of something small and compact.
- Compact and pocket size
- Keeps temps with no freezing or ice packs
- Zero prep time and no maintenance needed
- Fits most pre-filled and reusable insulin pens
- Cools only one pen at a time
This TempraMed product replaces the cap on your insulin pen and is made with space grade thermal insulation with a heat exchanger. This keeps the pen between 68° – 86°F, which is tracked with its built-in temperature sensor. And it keeps insulin within temperature at all times – no need to refreeze or recharge.
To use, you simply remove the cap on your insulin pen, slip on the adapter ring, and slip it over the pen until it ‘clicks.’ Then press the indicator button and a green light means it’s good to use.
Another great thing is there’s zero prep involved because it’s always ready. No cooling in the fridge, ice packs or battery charging.
And its compact size makes it the only product that actually fits in your pocket. This makes it really convenient when you need to rush out or don’t want to carry a cooling case.
Only Cools One Pen at a Time
The one downside is that it only cools one pen at a time, especially if you factor the price. There’s other coolers on our list that can hold more pens and at a lower price.
But that’s the trade off with having a pocket size insulin cooler that doesn’t need any special parts. So TempraMed’s cooler may not be the best for long trips but perfect for day trips, where you’re out and about.
Disoncare Insulin Cooler Case – “Best Insulin Travel Case”
We think the Disoncare Insulin Cooler case is the best insulin travel case because it’s sturdy, not too big and offers up to 74 hours of cooling time. This is a great option for flights and long trips.
- 60 hours of cooling (plus a 12-hour emergency cool pack)
- Durable case and airport ready
- Holds up to 7 insulin pens
- Biogel needs to be frozen for 6-8 hours
- 12-hour emergency pack needs ice water
Designed for Travel
Disoncare’s insulin cooler case is durable, sleek and portable making it a great traveler.
It’s about the same size as an insulated water bottle so it’s easy to hand carry or fit in a backpack or car cup holder. The stainless steel container is sturdy and helps protect your insulin while on the go.
It also has QR code you can use to upload your medical info in case of emergencies. That’s a really neat feature we haven’t seen with other coolers.
Long Cooling Time
Disoncare uses a Biogel freeze pack that can keep insulin cool at 35° – 46°F for 35 hours, and 35° – 77°F for 60 hours. It also comes with an emergency cooling bottle that you fill with cold water, giving you another 12 hours of cooling.
So the cooling time should serve you well for long flights, multi-day trips or even beach outings. But you’ll have to plan ahead (more on this below).
Need to Plan and Prep
The Biogel cool pack needs to be frozen for 6-8 hours so you’ll need to plan ahead before traveling.
You’ll need to have access to a freezer, which can be tricky if you’re traveling. A lot of hotel rooms will have a mini fridge but they may not be cold enough for the Biogel ice pack. That also means multi-day camping trips may not work either.
And if you do have access to a freezer, you have to remember to freeze the Biogel for at least 6 hours. This sounds simple but it’s easy to forget something like this, especially when you’re on the go.
Frio Insulin Wallet – “Most Variety and Options”
Frio insulin cooling wallets come in different sizes, styles and uses for all sorts of situations and needs. And they’re all designed to keep insulin cool by just using water.
- Comes in different sizes, colors and uses
- No ice packs, freezing or complicated parts
- Easy to use and affordable
- Takes some time to prep
- Requires special handling
Multiple Sizes and Options
Hands down, the Frio wallet has the most variety and options out of all the insulin cooling cases you’ll find.
Their sizes range from a mini wallet that’ll fit one syringe and vial. All the way to their extra large wallet that can hold 10 insulin pens or vials and syringes.
Plus, the Frio wallet comes in different colors and prints and they even have Frio bags. So you get have a lot of options to find the right insulin case that meets your needs and style.
Easy to Use and Affordable
Frio wallets cool insulin by acting like an evaporative cooler.
The wallet is lined with special crystals that you “activate” by soaking in cold water. The crystals expand into a gel and stays cool as the water evaporates.
Frio claims that their wallets will keep insulin safe for at least 45 hours, even in a constant environmental temperature of 100°F. That’s pretty impressive for a wallet that doesn’t need to be frozen or an ice pack.
Best of all, Frio wallets are pretty affordable. The classic wallets are around $30 and their more premium wallets are still under $50.
Takes Some Time to Prep
While Frio wallets are easy to use, it does take some time to prep.
To activate the cooling, you soak the wallet in cold water from 5 to 15 minutes (depending on the size of the wallet). While it’s soaking, gently spread the crystals in the panels evenly.
The instructions then say to gently dry the wallet with a towel. But from our experience, the towel still left the wallet feeling too wet so we recommend letting it air dry for another 10 to 15 minutes. So keep in mind it can take 30 minutes or more to get your Frio wallet ready before you head out.
Needs Special Handling
The wallet has to “breathe” for the evaporative cooling function to work so pay attention to how it’s carried around. That means you shouldn’t put it in something airtight or pack it tightly in luggage for too long.
The Frio cooling wallet is also light duty and is not as sturdy as other cooling cases. You have to be careful that it doesn’t get knocked around and may not be the best choice if you want to protect medication, above all.
Dia-Pak Deluxe Organizer – “Practical and Affordable”
The last insulin cooler on our list is the Dia-Pak Deluxe Organizer. It’s not the sleekest and it doesn’t have any cool features – but it’s has a lot of functional storage and doesn’t cost a lot of money.
- Low price
- Practical with lots of storage
- Makes a great emergency medical kit
- Mediocre cooling
- Light duty
Practical and Affordable
The Medicool Dia-Pak Organizer has been around for a while and for good reason.
The case has a lot of useful compartments and pockets to store enough diabetes supplies for up to 2 weeks (as the company claims). It’s also made of lightweight nylon and about the size of a book, so it’s very portable and easy to hand carry.
The best part is the Dia-Pak Classic Organizer is only about $25! That’s great for any budget and is the lowest-priced insulin cooling case in our list.
(Want something small and just for insulin vial and syringe? Check out Medicool’s insulin protector case.)
Mediocre Cooling Method
The main downside of the Dia-Pak is the relatively short cooling time it provides.
It comes with a refreezable gel pack that stays cool for up to 8 – 12 hours. That’s the shortest cooling time compared to other insulin coolers on our list.
Plus, the case is made of nylon. This means it’s not the most insulated and not as protective as a solid insulin cooling case.
Keeping unopened insulin at the right temperature range will keep it effective in lowering blood sugar levels and will save you money by not having to throw away insulin if it spoils. Whether you’re going on vacation or spending a day at the beach, you need to have an insulin cooling case so you stay on track with medication and your diabetes self care doesn’t suffer.
We looked at cooling times, storage and portability and below are our top 5 insulin coolers.
- 4AllFamily Cooler & Portable Fridge: the most complete insulin cooler with unlimited cooling and great storage capacity that’s great for travel or as a mini-fridge for the home.
- TempraMed Vivi Cap: an innovative insulin cooling “cap” that keeps insulin within a safe temperature range with no freezing or charging and the only product that fits in your pocket.
- Disoncare Insulin Cooler Case: it strikes the best balance of cooling time, durability, portability and costs – making it best insulin cooler for travel.
- Frio Cooling Wallet: these are simple to use and easily fit in small bags but best of all, they offer a variety of sizes and options to meet your needs.
- Dia-Pak Deluxe Organizer: there’s nothing flashy about this product but it’s very practical, functional and comes at an affordable price.
Subscribe to get our latest straight in your inbox!
We don’t spam. Unsubscribe any time.