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Going to the great outdoors is not only beneficial to your health and wellbeing, but it is also lots of fun. Picnics, barbeques, beach days and camping trips are certainly a fantastic way for you to spend quality time with family and friends. However, while being outside in the summer sunshine is rewarding, it is even better when you can enjoy a refreshing drink or a fresh snack too. Luckily, the best electric cool box makes keeping food and drinks at the right temperature easy.
Unlike standard coolers, they don’t require ice packs to keep the contents cool. Instead, these coolers are plugged into your car or a mains power socket, ensuring your food stays fresh and appetizing for days at a time. In this review, we take a look at some of the most popular on the market, to help you choose the right one for your needs.
Top 5 Electric Cool Box Reviews
Whether you are trimming the hedges in your garden, having a relaxing soak in your hot tub or on a camping trip underneath the stars, an electric cooler will surely be a great choice in keeping your drinks cool. So, which one is for you? Let’s get started.
The Kool Kaddy has a generous 34-litre capacity, enough space for up to 57 cans, giving you plenty of space for family camping and day trips. It comes complete with a power lead that fits all standard vehicle 12V outlets. However, if you need to use it with mains power, you will need to purchase an additional adapter.
Not only does this cooler keep your food and drinks at a temperature down to 22℃ below the ambient temperature, but it can also be used to keep your food warm, at temperatures up to 57℃. That makes the Kool Kaddy ideal for winter warming snacks and getting takeaways home.
Use this model horizontally or vertically, with the removable shelf that can also work as a divider to keep your contents organised. Note that the fan on this model is pretty noisy, although you won’t notice it too much when driving. Bear in mind that there is no eco mode, so it will run down your battery fairly quickly when your motor isn’t running.
On the whole, it’s a good buy if you need a large cooler for summer day trips or one for getting your fresh produce home safely from the supermarket without risking any spoilage through overheating.
- Cools to 22℃ below ambient temperature
- Removable shelf
- Generous 34-litre capacity
- Use horizontally or vertically
- Use with any standard vehicle 12V outlet
- Noisy fan
- Does not come with a mains adapter
- No eco mode
Our choice for keeping food and drinks cool on the go has to be the impressive Dometic CDF. This outstanding portable fridge-freezer not only chills, but it can also deep-freeze items down to -18℃. So even if you’re driving or car camping in the middle of a heatwave, you can still enjoy ice-cold drinks and frozen desserts, as well as keeping your food at safe temperatures.
This unit runs off a 12 or 24V supply with the included power lead, although if you want to run it off mains power, you’ll need to purchase an additional lead. Despite its high performance, this model is highly energy-efficient and can easily run for several days on a leisure battery or plugged into your vehicle.
Easy to use, it features a user-friendly display panel complete with a digital temperature reading. It is an ideal companion for long drives, while construction makes it easy to transport to and from your vehicle. Thanks to its interior light, you can quickly find what you need at any time of the day or night.
Naturally, this compressor portable fridge-freezer doesn’t come cheap. Also, at 15 litres it doesn’t have a huge capacity. However, for chilling, freezing and keeping your food and drinks cold on-the-go, you won’t find a better cool box.
- Refrigerates and deep-freezes down to -18℃
- Interior LED light
- User-friendly display panel
- Small capacity
- Mains lead not included
If you love spending time outdoors, but don’t want to be bothered with refilling your box with ice packs, this container could be the ideal solution. It has plenty of space inside the 24L interior and also features a removable divider which helps keep your drink bottles from falling over.
If you are travelling, this model can be powered by your car cigarette lighter, as well as a 240V mains connection. Therefore, you can rest easy knowing that your items will keep the desired temperature during transport.
Based on the product description, the cooling capability of this box is between 15℃ and 18℃ below the outside temperature. However, we found it wasn’t quite as cold as we expected. Annoyingly, condensation also accumulates in the lid, which can result in your food getting soggy.
Should you prefer hot snacks over cold, this cool box can also heat items to between 50-65℃. Luckily, there is a useful indicator light which displays the current setting, so you don’t inadvertently heat up items you wish to keep cold and vice-versa.
- Removable divider keeps drinks upright
- Works as both a cooler and a heater
- Indicator light helps prevent incorrect settings
- Carry handle is comfortable to use
- Sturdy design
- Some users had issues with the supplied cable blowing fuses
- Accumulates condensation
- Good for drinks but perhaps not cold enough for perishable items
If you have a large family or wide circle of friends, you need a cooler which has the capacity to match. With an amazing 40L interior volume, this has the largest volume in our list, ensuring there’s a cold drink for everyone.
Its dual voltage can maintain a temperature of 18℃ below the surrounding temperature so your items stay cool on even the hottest day.
While this box is quite bulky and heavy, the wheeled base and pull-out handle makes it easier for you to transport. Although it will roll about in your car if unsecured.
Cold loss is cleverly reduced, thanks to a split lid which is handy when all of your friends are opening the box every 5 minutes.
As with most large gatherings, there’s always the potential for things to get lost. Luckily, this has a special lid compartment for the supplied cables, so you don’t have to worry about them getting misplaced. For us, this is the best cool box for camping trips or big gatherings.
- Largest capacity we have seen
- Easy transportation thanks to the wheeled base
- Split lid reduces cold loss
- Cable tidy limits the potential for loss
- Keeps items cold even on a very hot day
- Can be powered via a cigarette lighter socket
- Needs to be secured in the boot as it rolls about
- Can only fit two 2-litre bottles
- Quite heavy and bulky
If you are looking for a high-capacity cool box for days out with friends and family, then this Thermoelectric Cool Box by Mobicool could be just what you’re looking for. Thanks to its dual-fan cooling system and extra-thick insulation, this model will keep your food and drinks down to 16℃ below the ambient temperature.
With its large 48-litre capacity, this exceptionally large cool box can even fit two-litre bottles standing upright, so you’ll have plenty of space for all your consumables. To make getting into your vehicle and to your picnic destination nice and easy, this version features two wheels with a pull handle. There are also two side carry handles. However, be careful with the handles when the box is fully loaded, as it can be very heavy and they are not of the most durable construction.
This cool box is large, so double-check that you definitely have enough space if your vehicle is on the small side. Power leads for both 12V and mains power are included and store neatly away in the lid. To help to keep temperatures low, the lid features a split opening to reduce cool air loss without compromising on accessibility.
This large electric cool box is a good choice, although if you don’t need one quite this large, you can find other smaller models of similar quality and performance.
- Large 48-litre capacity
- Split lid for minimal cool air loss
- Dual fan system
- Vehicle and mains cables included
- Wheels, pull-handle and carry side handles
- Handles are not very robust
- Too large for small vehicles
Benefits of Electric Cool Boxes
Now we have seen some that are available on the market, let’s examine the benefits of owning an electric cool box.
More Storage Space
One of the biggest attractions of an electric cool box is that you don’t need ice bags to keep the contents cold. Multiple ice bags will take up quite a lot of space, which then eats into the capacity of the box itself.
Because electric coolers use thermoelectricity to create the cooling (or warming) effect, this means you can fit much more inside them while food and drinks stay cool or warm if desired.
Portable & Versatile
An electric cool box is designed to be used while travelling on day trips or camping trips, therefore, they are highly portable and often can be used with multiple power sources.
For example, many electric coolers can be plugged into your car cigarette charger, as well as the mains. So, you can keep all of its contents cold while on the road much like having a portable fridge. They will easily fit in the boot or back seat of your car, and often have wheeled bases and carry handles to enable effortless mobility once you reach your destination.
Potential To Both Heat and Chill Items
A further advantage of using an electric coolbox over a standard coolbox is that you can find many models that can also double as food warmers, thus eliminating the need for multiple devices.
Switching between heating and cooling modes is simple and takes moments, but of course, you will need to allow some time for the temperature to adjust. Many models will include a useful mode indicator light, so you do not get any nasty surprises should you accidentally hit the wrong switch!
How To Choose The Right Electric Cool Box
In this section, we look at some of the most important features to consider when choosing an electric cool box:
First and foremost, you should find out the minimum temperature that the cool box can maintain, and how long it can achieve this for. A good electric cool box can reach as low as 20℃ below the ambient temperature, and keep this temperature as long as they are connected to power. Once disconnected, a high-quality cool box should be able to hold an adequately low temperature for at least 6 hours.
As mentioned previously, a major benefit of an electric cool box is that it can often be powered by multiple sources.
If you regularly travel long distances by car or go on a remote camping trip in your family tent, you should get a cool box which can also be powered by the 12V adaptor in your car.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a box which can simply be used as a backup fridge in a hotel room or cottage, a 240V mains powered unit will be sufficient.
If you are a light sleeper, you should investigate the noise level which will be emitted by each cool box you consider. Because these items use fans to cool the contents, the motor and the fan combined can mean that they are often a little noisy, especially in quiet surroundings.
Some will be worse than others, but there are also good models which allow the fan speed to be reduced overnight, in order to lower the noise when you are trying to sleep.
While any of the options mentioned in our electric cool box reviews would be a great choice, we find that the Koolatron Kool Kaddy is the best electric cool box on our list.
We love how versatile this cooler is – you can set it vertically or horizontally and it even comes with a handy shelf to be able to organise all of your food and drinks whichever way you decide to have it. You can plug it into your car or the mains at home and it can fit up to 57 cans so you can fit all of your favourite snacks no matter where you plan to go.
What’s more, this cooler not only cools your food but can also keep it warm, too – so whether you’re packing for a camping trip, or transporting your dinner home, this cool box really can do it all.