Any outdoor enthusiasts who want to keep their meat in good condition need a meat cooler. But buying one ready-made can mean spending eye-watering amounts of money. So why not try making one yourself instead?
We’ve scoured the internet to find brilliant DIY meat cooler plans to help you tackle this project. Take a look and see if you’re inspired to give it a go!
1. DIY Meat Cooler
This video walks you through every part of a DIY meat cooler. This one uses simple build techniques and a CoolBot to maintain the internal temperature. A list of all the equipment used is included in the video information, complete with links to online suppliers. There’s even a discount available on the CoolBot if you order via the link. Note that this cooler also includes a floor drain, although that’s not shown in the video.
2. Poor Man’s DIY Meat Cooler
This forum post isn’t a detailed how-to guide – but it still contains helpful information on how you might use a cooler. And it gives an overview of the CoolBot, which is used in many of the DIY meat cooler projects. If you’re planning on undertaking a project yourself, you’ll need more detail. But if you’re still deliberating over whether to go ahead, it’s worth a look to help you decide. And it will only take you a minute to read.
3. DIY Walk-In Cooler for Small Farms
In this video, YouTubers Amy and Hayden show how to create a large walk-in cooler in a packing shed. This one is used for fruit and vegetables, but it would work well for meat too. Just adjust the temperature. This one uses an air conditioning unit to keep the interior cool. There’s lots of information on the practicalities of using the cooler too. Smaller scale farmers will find this particularly helpful.
4. How to Build a Walk-In Cooler for Your Small Farm
This super-detailed guide from the manufacturers of the CoolBot is packed with helpful information. It focuses on using coolers for fruit and vegetables, but lots of the guidance will be just as appropriate for meat. It provides advice on where to locate your cooler and how to seal and insulate it. And you’ll also get detailed information on how to choose the right air-conditioning unit to maintain the temperature.
5. DIY: Deep Freezer to Meat Cooler
This video from the Backwoodsman’s Institute is focused on storing meat. It demonstrates an ingenious way to repurpose an old deep freezer into a meat cooler. The key element in the transformation is the addition of a thermostat. If you want to replicate the technique, you’ll find a link to the thermostat in the video information. You’ll also find information on how to create a PVC rack inside.
6. Build Your Own Walk-In Cooler
This is another guide that focuses on the use of a CoolBot to control the temperature in a DIY cooler. It doesn’t provide detailed step by step instructions on building your cooler. In fact, it’s more of an advertisement than a plan. But if you’re not sure what a CoolBot is, or whether to use one in your project, this is a helpful resource.
7. How to Build an Inexpensive Walk-In Cooler by Installing a Coolbot
This is another video that explains how to use a CoolBot together with an air-conditioning unit inside a meat cooler. It talks you through every aspect of the CoolBot and shows you how to connect it up. There’s also a link to a second video filmed after a month of use. This includes a review of how it’s worked and information on how to maintain it.
8. Topic: Building a DIY Meat Cooler
This forum shares lots of ideas and real-world experience of building DIY meat coolers. It won’t take you through the process step by step, but it’s a mine of useful information. There’s lots of discussion on different options for each part of the design, plus links to other resources. If you want to create your own cooler, this is a great source of advice on how to make it work effectively.
9. Walk-In Meat Cooler
This video is aimed squarely at hunters looking for a meat cooler to cope with warmer hunting seasons. The cooler here is a walk-in version housed in a ten-feet square shed. It incorporates a couple of air conditioning units and uses Styrofoam for insulation. The cooler itself is 3 feet wide by 10 feet long and about 6.5 feet tall. This one is also easily dismantled. That allows you to use the space for other purposes after the hunting season is over.
10. Building a Walk-In Cooler
With this guide, blogger Tom walks you through his project to create an indoor cooler in a basement. There are photographs at every stage, and the text is short and to-the-point. Tom also shares what he would do differently if he repeated the project. Check out the questions and answers underneath for more detailed information on different aspects of the design.
11. How to Build a Walk-In Cooler
This video from YouTuber Dutch shows a home-made cooler housed inside a shed. It’s another design that uses an air-conditioning unit connected up to a CoolBot to get the temperature lower. You’ll hear how much every aspect of the build cost. And because Dutch’s cooler was built 5 years ago, there’s also lots of information on how it’s performed over time.
12. How to Build a Walk-In Cooler for Deer
This guide provides lots of detail on every aspect of building a walk-in meat cooler that’s big enough for deer. It covers why you need one and tips for success. And there are clear directions for every stage of the build. There are plenty of photos too, so you can follow the project as it proceeds. You’ll also get comprehensive lists of all the materials and tools you’ll need.
13. Farm Walk-In Fridge Built Without Coolbot!
CoolBots are great, but they’re also expensive. This brilliant guide shows how to construct an effective temperature controller using simple parts for a tenth of the cost. You could make it even cheaper if you used salvaged parts. You will need some electrical knowhow for this one, though. If that doesn’t put you off, this plan is well worth a look.
14. Deer Cooler with a DIY CoolBot Clone
This is another guide that’s perfect for those who want the performance of a CoolBot without the price tag. It provides a detailed explanation of how to build your own temperature controller. And it explains why an initial design didn’t work perfectly, and how it was tweaked for better results. There’s even a wiring diagram so you can see exactly how to connect up the parts.
15. DIY Walk-In Cooler Build (Insulating Walls)
This video from YouTube channel Sow the Land is one of a series showing you how to construct a walk-in cooler. This episode focuses on insulating the walls to maintain a stable temperature. There are links below the video to lots of other resources, including one to buy the CoolBot used in the project. And there’s a playlist of all the cooler videos, so you can see every aspect of the build.
16. Build Your Own Walk-In Cooler with a CoolBot Controller and A/C Unit
This post follows blogger Amber’s project to build a walk-in cooler inside her garage. It’s another design that makes use of a CoolBot. And there’s lots of information on every aspect of the build. That includes detailed guidance on choosing your air-conditioning unit and connecting it to the CoolBot. You’ll also find information on the costs of the build. And you can hear from Amber on her experience of using the cooler one year on.
17. DIY Indoor Cooler
This video comes from the manufacturers of the CoolBot. It’s 18 minutes long and shows you every part of a cooler construction. Unlike many guides, which walk you through the finished product, with this one you see the project as it progresses. That makes it much easier to replicate the project yourself. And if you need more detail, there’s a link to a manual in the information below the video.
18. How to Make a Deer Cooler with an Air Conditioner
This short but helpful guide is perfect for giving you a framework for your DIY meat cooler project. It lists every step in the order it needs to be taken. And it provides information on the different alternatives you can choose between. There’s a list of the necessary materials and tools upfront too. There isn’t huge amounts of description – but if you’re a competent DIYer, there’s enough to follow the process.
19. How to Build a Mobile Walk-In Cooler
If you need a walk-in cooler that can travel, check out this clever guide. It shows a trailer that’s been converted into a mobile cooler. That means it’s great for deliveries as well as storage. And if you’re storing crops, you can position it right next to where you’re harvesting. The cooling technology here comes from a CoolBot. There’s less detail than with some videos, but it’s great to see the key features to get inspiration.
Time to Build Your DIY Meat Cooler!
That brings us to the end of our review of guides to making your own DIY meat cooler. We hope they’ve given you the confidence to try this project for yourself.
If you’re a competent electrician, you can make a temperature controller yourself. But if you’re not confident in your wiring skills, buy one ready-made. It may cost more money, but you’ll still be getting a very reasonably priced meat cooler at the end of the project.
Whichever route you choose, we hope you enjoy making your new meat cooler!