If you are tired of having to stop to empty the excess water from your cooler and to buy more ice when on the road, you should think about purchasing a good quality electric cooler.
Thermoelectric coolers use very little power, they are compact, they don’t require ice, and the capacity they offer is the capacity you get because you don’t need to fill your electric cooler with ice.
We have carefully tested all of the popular and not so popular electric coolers on the market and have reached the conclusion that the Costway 54-quart cooler is the best option available right now.
Read on to find out more about our top picks for the bets electric coolers on the market, as well as more about how to choose the best cooler for your needs.
Our top favorite electric cooler for 2018 is the Costway 54 quart portable refrigerator and cooler. It has a large capacity of 54 quarts or 52L, so it is perfect for parties, for camping, fishing or other outdoor trips.
You can use it at home, in your RV or in your car.
You can fill it with a lot of drinks, snacks, foods, medicines and whatever you need to be kept cool.
The 54-quart portable fridge has a Max fast cooling setting which can achieve a cooling from 90 down to 32 degrees Fahrenheit in just 30 minutes. But keep in mind that the temperature inside the empty cooler or outdoors should not be over 89.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you are not in a hurry and your stuff is already cool when you put it in the Costway cooler, you can switch on the Eco mode in order to save energy.
When you are on the road with this excellent electric cooler you can rest assured that you won’t run out of power thanks to its 3 levels of car battery protection. They are low, medium and high, so you can use the setting which suits your needs and your vehicle in order to protect your battery when traveling or camping.
Having such a large capacity, it can be expected that the 54 quart Costway is not the most compact of them all. It has a size of 27 x 13.5 x 21 inches.
The LCD display on the Costway portable electric cooler will show the current temperature and can be used to adjust the settings of the portable refrigerator easily. The menu is very user-friendly, so you shouldn’t have trouble learning how to use the cooler.
The 54-quart electric cooler comes with a 12V/24V DC vehicle power outlet adapter for when you are on the road, as well as a 110-240V AV adapter to plug it in at home, the hotel or elsewhere where there is a power outlet.
The rated power of the cooler is 50W. Its noise level is lower than 45 dB, so you won’t have trouble sleeping when the portable refrigerator is working.
This reliable iceless cooler uses a compressor for its refrigerating system and has a cooling range of -68 to -50 degrees Fahrenheit and can hold a temperature of -4 to -50 degrees to ensure that your drinks are always cool and that the food does not go bad.
It has a nifty interior shelf to keep your stuff properly organized too. The shell of the cooler is made of very durable ABS and the overall shock-proof design of this Costway cooler will withstand harsh environment and can also take quite a lot of bumps on the road and still keep your drinks cold and your food fresh.
We love the fact that this is a portable cooler, a mini fridge and a mini freezer at the same time. You can use it all year around – both when you are traveling or vacationing or at home as an extra refrigerator or freezer too!
The runner-up in our list is this slim and compact 18-quart electric cooler from Koolaron which is suitable for all types of vehicles including small cars, minivans, and SUVs and is the perfect cooler for your trip.
It uses 12V DC vehicle outlet to cool or to warm drinks and food while on the road. Made from sturdy plastic and with a foldable handle, it will withstand a lot of wear and there despite the fact that it is very portable and quite small-sized.
When you get to your destination or come back home, you can plug it in a normal 110V AC power outlet and continue using it for either cooling or heating, but you will need to purchase an AC adapter separately.
The motor of this electric cooler is very quiet and helps circulate the air inside to keep the cooling or heating even throughout the box. The Koolaron 18 quart cooler and heater can heat up to 135 degrees Fahrenheit and cool down to 40 degrees Fahrenheit below the temperature outside.
Even though it has a high performance, it will not draw all of the power from your car battery as it has a low wattage of 48 watts.
The dimensions of the electric cooler are 17.5 x 8.5 x 16.5 inches, and it is designed and made to fit in the space between the driver and the captain’s seat in an SUV.
You can store up to 23 cans in it or food and snacks, whichever you prefer.
Thanks to the latch-less opening system, you can easily open the cooler with one hand only which is very convenient when you are driving or restricted by the seat belt.
The handle is collapsible but is comfortable to hold and makes carrying this cooler and heater a breeze. Empty, this compact device weighs only 5 lbs.
To get the best of the cooling feature with this portable 18-quart iceless cooler, it is recommended to place pre-cooled items in it and keep it out of the direct sun, as with most other portable coolers.
Overall, we love the fact that you can easily fit it in between the front seats of your van or SUV, as well as behind the seats of most cars, and that it is portable and yet versatile – it will keep your drinks cold or keep your meal warm for whenever you feel like a snack on the road.
Best budget option
The Wagan 6 quart cooler is the perfect option for those of you looking for a compact and inexpensive electric cooler. It has a remarkably small footprint and yet can keep your beverages and food cold or warm for your day trip or ride.
Thanks to its small size and the built-in strap you can easily carry it to your picnic spot or to wherever you are going without any hassle or without feeling any kind of inconvenience.
The maximum cooling temperature of this small thermoelectric cooler is about 36 degrees below the temperature outside or inside. You can use it to warm your meal to up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit as well.
Of course, it is advisable to place either pre-chilled or pre-heated items in it for a faster and a better effect.
This cooler by Wagan doesn’t use any CFC refrigerant, so there is no danger of anything harmful leaking and harming the ozone layer and the environment. It actually uses thermo-electric cooling which is done by the transfer of current and is the most eco-friendly option available when it comes to electric coolers.
The dimensions of this small cooler are 14 x 11 x 8 inches on the outside and 8.1 x 5.3 x 8.1 inches on the inside.
Naturally, with this kind of size and capacity, you can’t expect to bring drinks and food for a whole bunch of friends, but this personal cooler will help keep your meal warm or your beverage cold while you are traveling, commuting or going on a small trip perfectly.
It won’t take too much space in your vehicle so you can place it wherever you decide – on the console at the front, on the front or the back seat or on the floor in between them. It comes with a 9 foot long 12V DC cable, so you can place it wherever you want in the vehicle. You can use it in your office to keep your lunch cool as well if you buy the optional 110V-240V AC to 12V DC power adapter too.
It is affordable, versatile and portable which is why it is most definitely our top pick for the best budget-friendly personal cooler and heater for 2018.
The rest of the best
The Dometic CFX-35US portable iceless cooler, refrigerator, and freezer is one of the best options on the market if you need a heavy duty and reliable cooler while on the road RVing, boating or simply traveling.
- A capacity of 35L or 36 quarts
- It is also available in a variety of larger sizes and capacities including 40L, 50L, 65L, and 95L so there is one suitable for any need
- The temperature can be set from -8 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit which makes it a perfect portable fridge or freezer
- Sold in blue or blue-gray colors
- It can hold up to 47 12-ounce cans
- The size of the cooler is 25 x 16 x 16 inches, and it weighs 39 lbs.
- Features a very sturdy and rugged construction with added stainless steel hinges and detachable lids, which will keep it safe and working even in off-road or other harsh conditions
- Perfect for use in a car, RV, boat or truck
- Comes with a removable wire basket for better organization of the foodstuffs or beverages
- It can operate on 12V, 24V DC and on 120V AC, so you can use it on the road as well as at home or in the hotel
- Has an electronic thermostat to ensure that your drinks or food are stored at the preferred temperature
- A useful LED digital display will inform you of the temperature inside the cooler
- Has an energy efficient and very useful LED internal light for easy viewing inside even in dark conditions
The handles are foldable to save space when it is not being carried
If you need a large electric cooler but feel like you will have trouble carrying it around, why not pick the Housmile electric cooler and warmer which has convenient wheels and a telescopic handle which make it one of the most portable iceless coolers out there.
- A capacity of 30L, or 30 Quarts
- Can hold 5 2L bottles or 40 cans, or a lot of food and snacks
- It is both a cooler and a warmer depending on your needs
- You can cool your beverages and food down to 41-59 degrees Fahrenheit when the temperature outside or around is 77 degrees
- You can also use it to keep your food warm to a temperature of up to 140 degrees
- The extension carrying bar of 34.25 inches and the large wheels make it very easy to transport from one spot to another just like a suitcase
- It also has a portable handle for easy lifting and moving
- Very quiet operation – it works at less than 35 dB
- Very simple operation – you just need to plug it in the car’s 12V DC cigarette lighter outlet
- It is also available in smaller sized versions of 8 and 10L
- Perfect for snacking when traveling, and will eliminate the need to stop to get an unhealthy and overpriced snack on the way, you can also use it to keep your meals warm so you can save time, money and stay on route as planned
- Very durable construction
- Its size is 11.6 x 10.6 x 14.7 inches and its weight is 12.72 lbs.
The Dometic CF-025DC iceless cooler, refrigerator and freezer is one of the best options for an electric cooler which can keep your beverages and foods cool even when the temperatures outside or in your vehicle are very high.
- A capacity of 23L, but it is available in all sizes including 10.5, 18, 31, 37, 49, 80 and 106 Liters
- The 23L variant is compact and slim enough to fit into narrow spaces in your vehicle
- The cabinet is very sturdy and weather resistant thanks to the injection molded polyethylene technology used by Dometic
- Features an interior light to find things in the dark
- An input voltage of 100-240V and input frequency of 50/60Hz
- A 2-stage battery monitor to save power
- Its dimensions allow for upright storage of 2L bottles
- Powered by a high-tech Danfoss compressor system which can reach cold or freezing temperatures quickly despite the ambient temperature
- The lid is detachable for easy loading, unloading, access, and cleaning
- Ergonomically shaped carrying handles
- A secure soft touch lid lock
- Works with both 12/24V DC and with 110V AC
- An electronic thermostat which has memory, so you can unplug the cooler and move it to another place with the same temperature settings
- LED display for setting the temperature
- Removable coated wire basket
- Quiet operation
- Comes with a 12/24V DC cable
- Much more usable space than an ice chest because you don’t need to fill it with ice
This 29 quarts electric cooler is inspired by NASA so you can imagine just how reliable and tough it is. Perfect for all kinds of trips and outdoor adventures, the Koolatron P-27 Voyager is one of a kind.
- A capacity of 48 soda cans with no ice required
- Uses an innovative thermoelectric module technology which is NASA inspired
- A very durable design which makes it perfect for travel and adventures
- Plugs in directly in the 12V car plug
- Can be used to store all kinds of foods, snacks, drinks, medicines, baby food, and others
- You can use it as an extra fridge at home, or as a fridge in your dorm or wherever you need it with a 110V AC power adapter
- The thermoelectric module is less than 1.5 x 1.5 inches and yet can cool the contents to 40 degrees Fahrenheit lower than the ambient temperature and has the cooling power of a 10lbs. ice block
- There is no compressor, gases or coils, the only moving part is the fan
- You can also use it as a warmer which will heat up your meal up to 130 degrees Fahrenheit
- The thermoelectric module is not affected by any vibrations, jarring or tilting, so it is safe for off-road adventures, boating, and other rough roads
- The cooler can be placed horizontally or vertically without any problems
- Save money for food on the road, and have a mess-free iceless experience with this cooler
- Its dimensions are 17.5 (W) x 16 (D) x 15.4 (H).
Don’t let the cuteness of the Cooluli Mini Fridge deceive you. It is a pretty good thermoelectric device which you can use for both cooling and heating wherever you want.
- A fantastic design which will draw everyone’s attention
- Available in black, blue, pink, red and in fun white cow color
- Can hold up to 6 12oz. cans
- Its cooling capacity is 40-45 degrees Fahrenheit below the ambient temperature and it can warm food or drinks to 122-144 degrees Fahrenheit
- Works with a thermoelectric cooling system which is Freon free and eco-friendly
- Perfect for keeping it in your living room, man cave, dorm room, office or nursery
- You can change from heating to cooling and back with the flip of a switch
- You can use it as a lunch box for work
- Comes with both AC and DC USB adapters and a USB cord, so you can power it just about anywhere
- It can easily fit on your desk with its size of 11 x 7 ¼ x 10 inches
- It is very quiet
- With a pretty matte finish and magnetic self-lock latching door, it will fit perfectly in any interior or outdoors
- Made of sturdy and yet light polypropylene
- It is very easy to clean
The 40-quart PowerChill cooler is an affordable choice for RVs, long travels and for keeping the beverages and snacks chilled until you get to your picnic site.
- It can cool down to 40 degrees below the surrounding temperature
- Plugs in the car’s 12V plug
- It works best with pre-chilled drinks and foods
- A capacity of 44 cans (1.3 cubic feet)
- You can lay it down like an ice chest or let it stand upright depending on the space you have available in the vehicle
- The door can be converted to open either on the right or on the left side, depending on your preferences and your placement
- There is a storage tray inside to keep stuff organized
- The cooler is 23.5 x 15.3 x 17 inches and weighs just 18 lbs.
- It comes also with a 120V power adapter, so you can use it as an extra fridge at home, or wherever you need it
- Very affordable for the capacity and quality of the cooler
- Sold with a 1-year limited warranty
The Smeta portable cooler is a great option if you need a compact cooler which can fir anywhere in your car, and which can be used as a personal lunch box, or for short trips.
- A capacity of 6L
- Compact size of 14.6 x 7.3 x 11.2 inches
- Cools down to 68-77 degrees Fahrenheit below the ambient temperature with thermoelectric technology
- A comfortable belt will allow you to carry it hands-free as the cooler weighs only 5.9 lbs. when empty
- Made of durable ABS
- You can place in the back of your seat, on the console next to the driver’s seat or anywhere you prefer
- It works both with 12V DC and 110V AC power, so you can use it both in your car and anywhere else you want where there is a power outlet
- It has two can, cup, bottle holders on the outside
- The molded handles make it very easy to lift up and move
- There is an adjustable internal divider for a neater and better organization
What you need to know about electric coolers
You may think that an electric portable cooler is a simple device which can serve only a small niche of people and has very few advantages, but you may want to think again. Here is why:
The history of electric coolers
Ever since the first portable cooler was invented by Richard Laramie in 1952, they have been evolving, and today coolers – both iced and iceless are items which nearly any family in the US has.
Today, there are coolers which you can simply plug into your car cigarette lighter plug and which will keep your drinks, snacks or whatever you need cool while you are on the road. The electric coolers can cool your food, drinks, medicaments or other to 40 degrees Fahrenheit lower than the temperature surrounding them.
Now, you can get coolers which can easily be powered by solar energy, so you don’t need to use your car battery or other power sources when camping or traveling.
There are also now smart coolers which can be controlled via smart apps on your phone too.
We have picked the top iceless coolers for you which are in all price ranges, types and sizes.
Benefits of an electric cooler
Have an electric cooler has multiple advantages, even if you think that such a purchase can be a bit too much. Here are some of the benefits of owning an iceless cooler:
- An electric cooler doesn’t require that you fill it with ice in order to keep your drinks and food cool. This means you don’t need to spend money on ice, and you don’t have to keep stopping at gas stations to buy and add more and more to keep everything cool while you are spending time outdoors. Also, this eliminates the mess of having to drain the melted ice and also have all of your beverages and foodstuffs drenched in water. Last but not least, you can use its entire interior for your drinks and food, instead of wasting half or more of it for ice.
- With an electric cooler in your vehicle, you will save time and money for having to stop and buy food or eat in a restaurant. Instead, you will have all the food, snacks and beverages you desire while you are traveling, and can eat and drink whenever you decide without even having to pull over.
- Thermoelectric coolers are more versatile than refrigerators. They are portable, smaller and compact which makes them suitable for short and long trips. Many of them can be placed as ice chests or upright, so you can easily find space in your vehicle, boat or other for one of them.
- Many of the coolers can be used for warming food and beverages as well. This is incredibly convenient if you need to keep a meal warm when you are on the road.
- The thermoelectric principal on which these coolers work is a power saving, innovative technology. Since there are very little moving parts in these coolers much less power is used for their operation. This means that you won’t drain your car’s battery while you are keeping your beverages or snacks cool.
- Many of the electric coolers can be used both with 12V DC and with 110V AC power. So, you can use the cooler at home, in your hotel, dorm or office as well.
- You can use a smaller electric cooler as a nifty lunch box, and keep your lunch warm until it is time to eat by plugging the cooler in your office.
What is a thermoelectric cooler and how does it work?
The thermoelectric cooling technology used for the portable mini fridges and coolers is based on the so-called Peltier effect. This is the process of the electrical current being applied across an intersection between two different types of metals. This allows for the heat on of the sides of the device to be transferred to the other side. The hot side is attached to a heat sink which keeps the device at ambient temperature and allows the other side to cool down below ambient temperature. This allows for the cooler to cool your beverages and food below ambient temperature, and in some cases, it can take advantage of the hot side and warm your food as well.
The thermoelectric coolers don’t use any harmful substances for cooling, they have more accurate temperature regulation than traditional coolers, and they require less power and are much smaller and lighter than regular refrigerators.
This makes them perfect for camping, RVs, or any kind of trips where there is limited power and not too much space.
Some of the leading thermoelectric cooler brands
There are many companies which are offering electric coolers nowadays, but some of them are more widely recognized. Here are some of the major brands.
Koolatron is one of the most recognizable names in the electric cooler market. It does offer regular coolers, but the powered coolers are what Koolatron is famous for. The company offers a wide assortment of electric coolers, some of the most notable being the two Koolatron coolers in our list – the P-20 18 quart compact and the 29-quart Voyager, as well the following popular coolers (listed from large to small):
Most of Koolatron’s electric coolers can cool down to 40 degrees Fahrenheit lower than the ambient temperature. These units can turn into warmers with a flip of a switch and can heat your food up to 135-145 degrees Fahrenheit.
As you can see they come in all sizes and shapes, including a small tote cooler and a soft-sided one, so we are pretty sure that there is a Koolatron thermoelectric cooler for just about anyone.
They are all sold at reasonable prices given their high quality and their sturdiness and versatility.
Coleman is another top brand when it comes to coolers. The company offers a wide variety of coolers and only two thermoelectric coolers – both with a capacity of 40 quarts.
We have added the PowerChill to our list of favorites because it can be used both as a heater and a cooler, while as the other electric cooler offered by the company is the Coleman 40 quart version which is a cooler only and comes at a lower price.
The Coleman thermoelectric coolers will drop the internal temperature by 40 degrees, and if you choose the PowerChill it will increase the temperature by 40 degrees when you need to use it for heating. So, overall these thermoelectric coolers have a pretty impressive 80-degree overall temperature range. These coolers look pretty good too, so they are great for both temporary use or as a permanent solution in an RV or boat for example.
The Coleman coolers are also quite reasonably priced too!
Wagan offers a wide assortment of coolers ranging from the small personal 6L cooler which we have added to our top best coolers list, and reaching up to 46-quart coolers.
The smaller ones can easily fit on the console between the front seats of your car, and are easy to carry and are actually pretty efficient for cooling, and can cool down 35 degrees, and can heat up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
These coolers have a power output of 40-55 watts and are reasonably priced too.
Cooluli offers four different models of electric coolers, the smallest 4L of which we have added to our top best list, as well as a 10L option with a capacity for 12 cans and a larger 15L and 26L coolers.
These coolers are all small and medium-sized, but still are sufficient for most people’s needs given the fact that you don’t need to add ice to the cooler to keep the temperatures cool.
They can reach a maximum cold temperature of about 30 degrees below ambient temperature and can be used as warmers with a temperature of up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
The best part about the Cooluli electric coolers is their wonderful retro design. Each of these coolers will look great in your office, living room, RV, dorm or anywhere you want.
Features to look for when choosing an electric cooler
You probably feel overwhelmed by the wide choice of electric coolers on the market and are wondering how to make the right choice. Well, here are some of the main features to keep in mind when you are shopping for an iceless cooler.
The storage space you will need
The sizes of these coolers vary from tiny tote boxes up to very large variants. Naturally, they won’t reach the size of traditional refrigerators but they are meant to be portable, so this is perfectly normal.
If you have experience with a traditional ice-based cooler, keep in mind that when you are choosing a thermoelectric one, you will get the full capacity for your beverages and food, rather than having to fill it up with ice first. So, you may want to get a smaller size for your needs than that of your ice chest or another ice cooler.
Access to a power source
Since these devices work only when they are plugged in, you will need to make sure that you will have access to a 12V power outlet for your coolers. Most of them can be plugged into 110V Ac power outlets with the appropriate adapter too.
The cooling temperature you want
Thermoelectric coolers rely on the ambient air around them, unlike traditional refrigerators or ice coolers. So, if you are going to use the electric cooler in extremely hot temperatures of up to and over 100 degrees and your thermoelectric cooler has a minimum cooling range of -40 degrees Fahrenheit, this means that your cooler will only offer a storage temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit. So, always consider the climatic conditions before buying a thermoelectric cooler if you don’t want to be disappointed and end up with warm beer and stale food. The same goes for the heating part. If you are going to use the cooler in extremely cold conditions, don’t expect it to be able to warm your meal to a steaming hot temperature.
Do you need a cooler which you can take hiking or trekking with you, or are you looking for a more permanent solution for your RV, dorm or another place? Choose a cooler which will fit the space you have allocated for it, as well as one which you can carry comfortably if you are planning on carrying it around. For a permanent solution, you can opt for the larger capacity coolers which are bulkier and heavier.
A thermoelectric cooler is a perfect accessory to have if you travel a lot, spend time outdoors or go on road trips. You can use it both in your vehicle and in your home, and it will use very little power.
Thermoelectric coolers are eco-friendly, durable, versatile devices which in some case can be used for cooling and heating, and they are perfect alternatives to traditional ice coolers.
So, hopefully you have found the best electric cooler for your needs in our list.
We wish you good luck with your purchase and hope that you enjoy the convenience of these incredibly clever devices!
Last update on 2019-01-15 at 22:15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API