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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 7 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.
If you are more of a rugged adventurer, we strongly recommend the Alpicool G22 electric cool box. This fridge and freezer style electric cool box is shockproof for protection on rocky roads and can even handle an incline on mountain terrain for shorter periods of time.
The Alpicool G22 electric cool box has a large fridge compartment with a smaller freezer container that holds an ice cube tray. For controls, a touch LCD control panel with a USB port adorns the exterior.
With a 22-litre capacity, this electric cool box is great for storing all kinds of food items. It features low energy consumption and car battery protection to ensure you don’t get stranded even if you run the cooler for several days. In addition, it cools rapidly in just about 15 to 30 minutes without the need for any ice in the interior.
While we love this cooler, it might be too short to hold taller containers when standing upright and it could take a somewhat significant amount of time to make ice in the tray. Lastly, in our opinion, the handles on either side could be a bit larger to make carrying it when fully loaded a bit easier.
- Refrigerator with ice cube tray
- Shockproof design for rocky roads
- Low power consumption
- Touch panel with USB port
- Car battery protection
- Could be too short to stand up some items
- Might take quite some time to make ice
- Handles could be a bit larger
Our choice for keeping food and drinks cool on the go has to be the impressive Dometic CDF 36. This outstanding portable fridge-freezer not only chills but can also deep freeze items down to -15℃. 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 be 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.
This 31-litre compressor portable fridge-freezer can also fit two standing 2-litre bottles. Just keep in mind, that the interior flap divider can be flimsy, so be careful. 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 -15℃
- Interior LED light
- User-friendly display panel
- Huge 31-litre capacity
- Flap divider might easily get damaged
- 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 want a slim upright style electric cool box, we think you might really like the AmazonBasics 24-litre model. It has both cooling and warming functions to increase its usability and is incredibly energy-efficient for an electric cool box of this size.
The AmazonBasics 24-litre option is super easy to use with only two switches. One switch for power featuring both an eco and max power mode and another switch to toggle between cold and hot modes. When you use the electric cool box in eco mode, it boasts an A++ energy efficiency rating so it should not significantly drain your power.
Built into the lid on the AmazonBasics cool box is a cable storage compartment that helps you keep them tidy and prevents you from forgetting them when you venture out of your home. The design also features a hinged lid and a locking carry handle.
Drawbacks for this option include it possibly taking a bit longer than expected to cool the interior. Plus, the built-in storage compartment may not possibly accommodate a UK mains power cable. Also, it is recommended you avoid using the max power mode unless the cool box is connected to mains power.
- Cold or hot functions
- Eco or max modes
- Slim upright style
- Large 24L capacity
- A++ energy efficiency rating
- It may take longer than expected to cool
- The storage compartment may not fit UK plug
- Max setting not recommended unless on mains power
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 a 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
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
The Alpicool K25 electric cool box comes with all the bells and whistles you could want for outdoor adventuring. It has a 2-in-1 freezer and refrigerator design and comes equipped with several safety features to ensure your food stays fresh wherever you go.
This 25-litre electric cool box features three-level Car Battery Protection so it shouldn’t drain your car or truck’s battery. To further prevent that from occurring, it also has an optional Eco mode for low power consumption. Depending on the settings, it only takes about 15 to 30 minutes to cool the interior.
To protect the structure and motor of this cool box, it has a vibration-resistant design. An LCD touch control panel or a downloadable app allows you to control the settings as well as the lock on the lid. The panel also features a USB port for charging your phone and other devices. To top it off, an LED light is built into the interior to give you added visibility in low light settings.
Be aware, this cool box could be a bit noisy at times, the lock might take some getting used to, and a user manual may not be included so downloading the app is highly recommended.
- Eco Mode for low power consumption
- Rapid cooling in 15-30 minutes
- USB port for charging devices
- 2 in 1 freezer and refrigerator
- Large 25-litre capacity
- Could be a bit noisy at times
- Might not come with a user manual
- The lock could take some getting used to
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 that can also be powered by the 12V adaptor in your car.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a box that 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 Alpicool G22 is the best electric cool box on our list.
We love how sturdy this cooler is – it can withstand rough rides and can take inclines of up to 45 degrees if you’re travelling on mountain terrain. This shockproof 22-litre cool box can accommodate up to 32 cans and can reach a chilling temperature of 0℃ in 30 minutes. It’s even equipped with a handy touch LCD control panel, providing easy access to temperature settings and power switch.
What’s more, this cooler has low energy consumption and a car battery protection feature, ensuring that your vehicle will have enough power source even if the cooler operates continuously.