A travel refrigerator is the convenient way to keep food and drinks cold while traveling. With a travel refrigerator, there is no ice to buy repeatedly, your food and drinks stay dry, and it simply plugs into any available 12VDC power port in your vehicle.
A travel refrigerator will mostly use one of two primary technologies. It will either be compressor-based like your home fridge or it will use thermoelectric technology pioneered by NASA. There are definite advantages to compressor-based portable refrigerators, but price is not one of them. For most people looking for a travel refrigerator, a high-quality thermoelectric 12 volt cooler that costs less than $200 is a popular choice.
The big drawback of thermoelectric coolers is that they are not true refrigerators. They are more designed to keep things cold than to make them cold. Most can only maintain a temperature about 40 degrees F below ambient outside temperature. So, if you’re looking for a true refrigeration that can keep food and drinks cold even in hot weather, a thermoelectric cooler may be disappointing and a compressor-based 12 volt refrigerator may be a better choice.
If you are really looking for a true portable refrigerator, be sure to see our other articles about some of the best!
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On the other hand, if you’re looking for a way to keep food and drinks cold while traveling and you don’t want the expense or mess of ice, then a thermoelectric cooler is an excellent choice car fridge.
We searched travel forums, camping forums, customer review sites, social media, manufacturer sites, consumer sites, and retail sites to find the most popular and highly rated compact travel cooler.
Take a look at our choice and see if this is the best travel cooler for your needs!
Travel Refrigerator: Top Rated 18-Quart Vehicle Thermoelectric Cooler
Compact and lightweight, the Koolatron P20 23-Can Compact Thermoelectric Cooler was specially designed to fit into tight spaces in your car, minivan, or truck. I can not only keep your food and drinks cool down to 40 degrees F below ambient temperature, it also has the capability to act as a food warmer up to 135 degrees F. Its large 18-quart capacity fits up to 23 standard 12-ounce cans or plenty of snacks and drinks for family trips, sporting events, camping, boating, or fishing. It also features a latch-less lid with easy, one-handed opening and a swinging foldaway handle for easy carrying. It plugs directly into any available 12VDC power port or with an optional available AC adapter, it can even be used in your home, office, or hotel room. Using compact and lightweight NASA-inspired technology invented over 30 years ago, this travel refrigerator replaces traditional ice chests with technology that is far better suited to travel than your home refrigerator. Ideal for road trips, camping excursions, boating, fishing, or tailgate parties this portable refrigerator requires no ice and because it has only one moving part, it draws less power than your car’s parking light.
Travel Refrigerator: Features
- 18-quart, 12VDC solid state, slim, compact, thermoelectric travel cooler and warmer designed to fit in the tight spaces of your car, SUV, minivan, or truck and capable of holding up to 23 standard 12-ounce cans
- Plugs directly in to any available 12VDC power port or can work of 120VAC with an optional available AC adapter
- Capable of cooling down to 40 degrees F below ambient temperature or acting as a warmer up to 135 degrees F with the flip of a switch
- Latch-less, one-handed opening lid
- Swinging, foldaway handle for easy carrying
- Durable plastic, hard-sided construction can take the tough travel environment
- Reliable design is built in North America to last
- Thermoelectric design is not affected by tilting, jarring, or vibration
- Quiet fan circulates air for even cooling or warming
- Dimensions are 16.25H x 8.5W x 17.5D inches and it weighs only 9 lbs.
- 1-Year limited parts warranty
- Compact size fits neatly behind seats in many vehicles and between seats in some minivans
- Reliable thermoelectric cooling
- Quiet operation
- Plenty of storage space
- Must power off if vehicle will not be running for extended periods or vehicle battery will drain
- Does not come with AC to 12VDC adapter
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What do you like about this compact travel cooler? Which portable cooler is at the top of your list to buy? Please take a moment to leave a comment below.
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A cooler or refrigerator that can fit in your car or truck is ideal for keeping all your food and snacks cold while on the road. With no ice to buy and melt, your food and drinks stay drier and there is less maintenance. We sincerely hope that this article has provided you with valuable information that helps you choose the best travel refrigerator for your needs!