Best Plug-In Electric Coolers – Forbes Home

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If you’re headed out for a picnic or a day a the beach, a cooler is an effective method for maintaining the temperature of food and beverages for those trips that last several hours. However, even top-tier coolers have limitations, typically remaining optimal for around a day or so. They work best when the items are already cold before storage and receive regular ice refills. For longer periods away or to avoid the hassle of constant ice loading, an electric cooler provides a convenient solution for a smoother adventure. Rv Roof Top Air Conditioner

Best Plug-In Electric Coolers – Forbes Home

Electric coolers come in various types – some are battery-powered, others require being plugged-in to operate, and still others combine both features. Depending on how you use your cooler, one of these methods is preferable, eliminating the need for ice and the associated mess. The latest products even have features that go beyond keeping your food and drinks cold. Some models even offer recharging capabilities while actively cooling your food.

With an available outlet, you have an ice-free way to keep your food cool, making these plug-in coolers ideal for your next adventure, or day trip. Looking For Car Accessories? Match your car to your style with varied car accessories like seat covers, floor mats and more. Get competitive pricing from top brands here. Advertisement THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT AND NOT EDITORIAL CONTENT. Please note that we do receive compensation for any products you buy or sign up to via this advertisement, and that compensation impacts the ranking and placement of any offers listed herein. We do not present information about every offer available. The information and savings numbers depicted above are for demonstration purposes only, and your results may vary. Explore Options On Amazon

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Igloo Thermoelectric Plug-in 12V Cooler

12V DC operation, 8-ft long power cord, swing-up bale handle, ice-less cooling

Igloo Thermoelectric Plug-in 12V Cooler

Insulated, portable, 12V DC operation

40-130 degree F temperature range, 2 x 6-ft power cords for wall socket and 12V cigarette lighter outlet

Dometic’s CFX3 line-up is one of the best on the powered cooler market. There are seven different sizes available ranging from 25 liters to 99 liters, including a 75-liter and 95-liter dual-zone version. These powered coolers draw 50.7 watts of power while cooling—even to sub-zero temperatures—which is less power than a typical 60-watt household light bulb. To top it off, the CFX3 offers better temperature control and insulation quality than other powered coolers in its class.

Igloo Thermoelectric Iceless 28-Quart Electric Cooler

Igloo is a brand name that is synonymous with coolers, and the cooler giant has expanded into electric coolers as well. While many of the products on this list have advanced features, the beauty of this product is its simplicity. It has an 8-foot-long cord that can plug into a 12V DC outlet, but even if you don’t have access to an outlet, it can operate simply as a cooler. This simple, conventional design keeps weight down to ten pounds and pricing relatively affordable. It’s also offered in multiple sizes.

Not exactly a known brand in coolers, and in fact, it’s a Michelin-branded cooler, made by Koolatron. This portable cooler has many of the benefits of a flexible-style cooler, including a front zip pocket and a smaller access lid (in addition to the large lid) to prevent the cold air from escaping. Not only is it a cooler, but it’s also a warmer, and uses multiple power sources, including USB and 12V DC. While it is technically a soft-sided cooler, it does not collapse like some other flexible coolers, but at its narrowest, it’s 8 inches wide, which should help with storage.

KOUDERA Electric Portable Cooler and Warmer

It’s not always about keeping things cool. Sometimes you want to make sure warm stuff stays warm. Perhaps you made a nice dinner at your house and need to bring it an hour to your parents. This cooler/warmer can operate at 64 degrees below ambient temperature and the heating mode can warm foods at a temperature of 140 degrees.

The Koudera has a large capacity for its capabilities and can hold up to 30 cans. It also has an automatically locking handle that seals tightly to keep foods at their desired temperature. Thankfully, you can also use a wall-style power outlet once you’ve arrived at your destination (many new trucks also offer a wall-style outlet).

For those seeking to freeze freshly caught fish or maintain an exceptionally low temperature, the Bodega cooler proves to be a robust solution. This compressor-style unit is specifically engineered to rapidly cool items from room temperature down to freezing levels, ensuring they remain consistently cold. It can use multiple power sources, including 12-volt car outlets, standard wall outlets, and even solar power inputs.

Given a product this robust, the wheels that are part of the design are necessary. One of the standout features is the smartphone control, which allows you to operate the cooler from your Apple or Android wireless device.

Best High Volume Electric Cooler

Best High Volume Electric Cooler

Many of these products offer tradeoffs, but if you priority is sheer size, it’s hard to beat the ARB Portable Fridge/Freezer. You’d be hard-pressed to find a rival that has more than 50 quarts of capacity. You can load up days and days of food and beverage and not have to worry about restocking. Carrying such a product will probably require a large truck, SUV, or RV to have the space, but if you need a lot of stuff at a low temperature, this is how you do it.

Getting away from it all (and other people) is more important than ever. You need one of the most popular pieces of equipment for overlanding, van life or daily family routines: an electric cooler.

They don’t require ice, eliminate the usual leaky mess and do double duty while charging your phone or keeping your food warm. Plug it into a 12-volt adapter or wall outlet to chill your drinks on the way to the lake and warm your barbecue on the way home.

We evaluate all plug-in coolers on these weighted metrics:

The best type of plug-in cooler depends on your specific needs and preferences. There are several types of plug-in coolers available, each with its own advantage. Thermoelectric coolers are often more compact and lighter than compressor-based coolers, making them suitable for use in cars, trucks or small spaces.

However, they may have limitations in cooling capacity compared to compressor coolers. Compressor coolers are highly efficient and can cool down to lower temperatures even in high ambient temperatures. Compressor coolers are suitable for more extended use, such as camping trips or road trips where a consistent and lower temperature is required. However, they are generally heavier and bulkier than thermoelectric coolers.

In a car or SUV, it’s preferable to have a cooler with a top-opening feature for convenient access. In an RV or at a campsite, the orientation of the cooler’s lid (top or side opening) is less crucial, but if your campsite is exposed, it’s advisable to opt for a cooler with a tightly secured lid for added protection.

Older trucks might offer a space between the front seats suitable for such coolers, but modern vehicles often have a central console that may obstruct this placement. However, if the cooler is sufficiently tall, it can be easily accessed by reaching behind the front center console from the front seats.

That depends. If you are going for a day trip or even a weekend trip, this might be overkill, especially if you have access to ice at the camp store. But if you are on an extended road trip with many hours in the car, the powered cooler is a great solution, using your own vehicle’s power outlet to keep food fresh. These are especially helpful for long-haul truckers.

Plug-in coolers often use the vehicle’s 12V DC outlet, which has the potential to drain the car battery if the vehicle is turned off, however, some vehicles specifically cut power to the 12V outlet when the vehicle is not running. But if your vehicle allows 12V use when the car is turned off, it can certainly drain your battery over time. If you do have to cut power, make sure to start the vehicle periodically to ensure the battery is not depleted.

Some coolers are offered with the ability to warm up foods, but they work best when the food is already warm. If you are trying to warm up a room-temperature item, it will not be very effective. It’s not an oven.

Best Plug-In Electric Coolers – Forbes Home

Car Freezer 12v George Kennedy has reviewed cars and provided car advice for outlets such as Consumer Reports, CarGurus, U.S. News & World Report, the Boston Globe, AutoBlog and others. He is the managing editor for UpShift, the official publication of the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, Massachusetts. George has owned multiple future-classics before they were collectible, including a 1986 Toyota 4Runner, an XJ Jeep Cherokee and a two-door Chevy Tahoe.