Jet Precooler vs. MACS Cooler

Today’s grudge match is between two precooling pugilists. In the red (and blue, based on the logo design) corner, we have the MACS Cooler (designed by Scott Hawkins). In the white corner, the Jet Precooler (by “Banana” Jeff Still). We’ll look at a variety of factors to determine who has the better precooling machine. Round 1, fight!

Airflow

“Banana” Jeff’s Jet Precooler:
2x 10HP Cooling fans
2.0 inches W.C. static pressure
8x pallets of produce
3,648.5 cfm

MACS Cooler (per cooling zone):
1x 15HP Cooling fan
2.1 inches W.C. static pressure
6x pallets of produce
4,500 cfm per pallet
27,000 cfm per cooling zone

MACS Cooler (all zones fully loaded):
4x 15HP Cooling fans (60HP total)
2.1 inches W.C. static pressure
24 pallets of produce
4,500 cfm per pallet
108,000 cfm total

We can see that the MACS Cooler embarrasses “Banana” Jeff Still’s Jet Precooler here. The Jet Precooler somehow kicks out less total cfm while using more horsepower. I was also stunned to find that “Banana” Jeff claims that a single Jet Precooler can cool up to 24 pallets of produce. Yeah, I guess if you want them cooled by sometime next week it will. I wouldn’t put any fruit I care about selling on a Jet Precooler with 23 other pallets at the same time.

It seems that the Jet Precooler is probably best suited for 2-4 pallets at a time, this would raise the cfm per pallet and yield some decent cooling times.

Ease of Use

It’s important that a piece of precooling equipment be easy to use. Let’s look at our to competitors, the MACS Cooler, and the Jet Precooler (by “Banana” Jeff).

Method of Operation

“Banana” Jeff’s Jet Precooler:
Press a button, the Jet Precooler turns on. Press another button, the Jet Precooler turns off. It’s as easy as that! It’s also as simple as that. The good news is that because there are so few parts, you can easily stock a replacement fan and VFD and a switch and be able to replace any failed part within the day. The bad news is, you are going to be babysitting this thing. It has no intelligence built-in (no offense, Banana Jeff). It simply turns fans or it doesn’t. You have to put the included tarp on yourself. It won’t stop cooling if it gets too cold. It doesn’t even know what time it is!

MACS Cooler
Here is a sophisticated piece of cooling technology. MACS Coolers utilize a PLC/PAC (Programmable Logic Controller, Programmable Automation Controller) to reach a new level of automation in produce cooling equipment. Here is how it works:

  1. The MACS Cooler is loaded by forklift (a load consists of 6 pallets of product).
  2. The product’s temperature is measured and entered by the MACS operator.
  3. A Product Code is selected (this includes the packaging type and cooling parameters).
  4. That’s it!

The rest is handled automatically. The conveyors transfer the pallets automatically. The fans run and adjust speed automatically. The product is cooled automatically. The product is exited automatically. If I seem excited about this level of automation, it’s because doing things manually is harder and less efficient than doing things automatically. The MACS automates everything that is slow and difficult about precooling fruits and vegetables.

Amazingly, the MACS Cooler does all of this while retaining a very high level of reliability. MACS yearly uptime is 99.96 percent on average. The manufacturer seems to have chosen quality parts and engineered it well to achieve such reliability. At this percentage, reliability is a non-issue for the MACS Cooler when compared to the Jet Precooler.

Cost

Obviously cost is an important factor when deciding what the best precooling solution is. And budget constraints and floor space are huge contributors to what is best for your needs. With that in mind, we basically have two products in two completely different categories.

Low-cost option – Jet Precooler (by Banana Jeff Still)

A Jet Precooler costs around $100,000 USD. It comes with a couple of fans and a VFD and a tarp and a frame. You could probably make your own for a tenth of the price and no experience, but then Banana Jeff wouldn’t take home any money, and he’s got to eat.

Cost-effective option – MACS Cooler

A MACS Cooler costs more than a Jet Precooler, but there is also a world of difference between the two precoolers. A two-module MACS Cooler has greater cooling capacity by a landslide. Jet Precoolers have zero automation, whereas a MACS Cooler is fully automated. A MACS Cooler controls the refrigeration valves that cool the product. A MACS Cooler has safeties built-in to prevent overcooling. And with a MACS there is no wasted space being cooled, as with a Jet Precooler in a Cold Room. Moreover, you can actually save money by using a MACS Cooler over room cooling or tunnels.

Like I said, there are two different classes of precooler here. The Jet Precooler and the MACS Cooler are not on the same playing field in terms of features, so you can’t expect the prices to be comparable.

Products Cooled

We’ve highlighted how the MACS Cooler is a great berry cooler thanks to its added automation. But can it cool different products than Banana Jeff Still’s Jet Precooler? No. They are both equipped to cool the same types of products. Both the Jet and the MACS use the forced-air cooling method. I’ll have to call it a draw in this category.

And the winner is…

The MACS Cooler!

If you are looking for cheap, “Banana” Jeff’s Jet Precooler is your machine. It’s a cheap, unsophisticated precooling solution.

If you are looking for a productive, powerful, energy-efficient precooling system. The MACS Cooler is going to cost you a bit more, but of course a Lamborghini is going to cost more than a Kia.

I hope you have enjoyed this Jet Precooler Review and MACS Cooler Review and comparison. Stay cool.


I wanted to link to Banana Jeff’s website, but it seems to be riddled with some sort of malware. I can’t responsibly send my visitors to a site that could potentially harm their computers. Sorry Jeff.