The Best Electric Cooler

Updated on August 31, 2023

After testing 7 popular electric coolers, the MT48W from Mobicool proved particularly convincing thanks to its excellent value for money, large capacity and practicality. Smaller budgets looking for something simpler to transport, meanwhile, can turn to the Mobicool MS30. Finally, the Mobicool FR40 is more interesting for those who want a more advanced, less power-hungry model.

This comparison is certified 100% impartial and follows our selection process.

Our choice, Best mid-range model

Mobicool MT48W

Ideal for barbecues with friends or for motorhoming, it has the largest capacity of this comparison and is very efficient. Its lid is practical and its wheels make it easy to move.

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Mobicool MT48W

Somewhat bulky, this thermoelectric cooler can nevertheless fit in the trunk of a car (provided you don’t have too much luggage). Weight-wise, it weighs 7.9 kg, and when filled with beverages, it proves heavy to carry. Fortunately, it comes with 2 side handles, 1 telescopic handle and 2 wheels for gliding over smooth floors. The magnetic closure prevents accidental opening during transport. With its dual power supply, it can be installed both in a vehicle and on a normal mains socket, although the cigarette-lighter socket is a little shorter than the others. An open compartment in the lid provides cable storage.

It boasts exceptional capacity (48 L), and we were able to fit 14 1.5 L bottles lying down (and 8 upright), and 88 25 cl cans. It also accommodates 2 L bottles upright. Access to the contents is easy, and to promote better organization, you have a removable divider.

According to the manufacturer, its dual-fan system can cool down to 16°C below ambient temperature. The rotating bezel controls the unit (ECO and MAX modes). Its large capacity takes a little longer to cool the container, but during our test it cooled well or kept drinks cool (even after 1h30 without plugging in, thanks to the insulation of the casing), but it does not keep items frozen. Unlike the others, we found very little condensation on this model. What’s more, the split lid minimizes cold loss.

Despite everything, this cooler is fairly energy-hungry (96 kWh/year, energy class F), and in terms of noise level, our sound level meter indicated 51 dB in MAX mode.

 

 

 

Best cheap

Mobicool MS30

Perfect for multi-purpose use and especially for travel, this cooler stands out for its ease of use and transport, as well as its affordable price which makes it interesting for small budgets.

£ 99.38 on Amazon

Mobicool MS30

This thermoelectric model is rather compact, which means it can be carried in the trunk or on the seat of a car without much difficulty, as it also includes attachments for passing through a seatbelt. Its weight is also reasonable (4.2 kg) and despite the absence of wheels, it’s easy to carry with its top handle, which locks the lid at the same time.

It, too, features a dual power supply: a mains socket (230 V) and a cigarette-lighter socket (12 V), enabling it to be operated in a vehicle (car, truck, camper van, etc.). A closed storage space is provided for connectors. Rated in energy category F, it consumes around 78 kWh/year, and with the sound meter, we reached 56 dB in Max mode.

its container has a total volume of 29 L, and depending on the brand, it admits up to 40 25 cl cans or 6 1.5 L bottles. In our test, we did indeed reach these figures. Access to the contents is fairly straightforward thanks to the fully removable lid, but we do criticize it for lacking an interior divider.

In terms of performance, the device features Eco and Max modes. According to the brand, it is capable of cooling down to 18°C below ambient temperature. In 1 hour of operation, we dropped 12°C from the initial temperature. As for the merchandise placed inside, we found that it was able to cool and maintain cans at a relatively cool temperature with ice packs, and even 1h30 after unplugging it. However, it is unable to preserve frozen foods. In use, condensation is not excessive. Nevertheless, when the lid is opened, some cold is lost and there is an unpleasant noise.

 

Best high-end

Mobicool FR40

This compression cooler stands out for its superior cooling performance, lower energy consumption and integrated electronic controls for precise temperature adjustment.

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Mobicool FR40

This unit takes up a lot of space, and can be difficult to store in a car if you’re already loaded down with luggage. What’s more, its empty weight is substantial (12 kg), and with no top handle or wheels, it’s not easy to move around. Only the 2 side handles allow you to carry it. On the other hand, the lid has a release handle, which prevents accidental opening during transport.

Like the others, it embeds a dual power supply (230 V mains socket and 12 V cigarette lighter), making it suitable for use at home or in a vehicle. Connectors are removable. With a consumption of 40 kWh/year (energy class C), it consumes less energy than the other models tested.

In its 38 L volume, we were able to fit 7 x 1.5 L bottles (6 upright) and up to 64 x 25 cl cans. The removable lid makes it easy to access the contents (except where the lid doesn’t lift). It features a practical LED interior light for viewing in the dark, but there’s no divider. In terms of safety, the 3-level protector protects the vehicle’s battery. The small digital display shows the temperature in compressor mode, and the digital controls are simple for precise cooling. Despite this, the thermostat lacks precision. Its operating range is +10°C to -10°C.

According to our tests, this cooler holds its cold well whatever the ambient heat. Your food is cooled in less than 1 hour, and it keeps certain frozen foods (not all) cool (except when unplugged or in a cigarette lighter). Its structure is perfectly insulated and hermetically sealed. Finally, at 49 dB in use, it’s quieter than the others.

 

Mid-range alternative

Dometic BordBar AS 25

This compact thermoelectric cooler fits anywhere in a vehicle, and its Velcro fasteners even allow it to be attached with a seatbelt. It’s also relatively easy to carry, thanks to its low weight (4.2 kg), top handle (which doubles as a lid lock) and shoulder strap. Only the absence of wheels is lacking.

There are the usual 2 connectors, namely the mains socket (230 V) and the cigarette-lighter socket (12 V) handy for plugging it into your vehicle. The 2 cables can be stored in the cover. On the other hand, it’s quite an energy guzzler (92 kWh/year, class F), and our sound level meter read 54 dB in Max mode.

Given its size, its volume is smaller (20 L). Its height allows it to hold 2 upright 1.5 L bottles (no more than 4 lying down) and 36 25 cl cans, so it’s less than the others. But it makes up for it in practicality, with 2 external side pockets and 1 front mesh pocket for storing keys or a smartphone. Access to contents is easy. Still, a few shortcomings were noted: there’s no internal divider, and when open, the lid tips the cooler backwards if it’s not very full.

With this model, Dometic promises refrigeration up to 18°C below ambient temperature. You can adjust the power with Max and Eco modes (only with mains plug). Given its small size, it cools quickly but condenses slightly. In our test, it proved effective for cooling or chilling ingredients, but unable to hold frozen items. Once unplugged, it gains around 4°C in 1h30. Nevertheless, as the removable lid is not divided, this implies potential cold losses.

 

Our selection

Our choice, Best mid-range modelBest cheapBest high-endMid-range alternative
Mobicool MT48W Mobicool MS30 Mobicool FR40 Dometic BordBar AS 25
Ideal for barbecues with friends or for motorhoming, it has the largest capacity of this comparison and is very efficient. Its lid is practical and its wheels make it easy to move. Perfect for multi-purpose use and especially for travel, this cooler stands out for its ease of use and transport, as well as its affordable price which makes it interesting for small budgets. This compression cooler stands out for its superior cooling performance, lower energy consumption and integrated electronic controls for precise temperature adjustment. Perfect for a picnic, a trip to the beach, hiking or camping, it's versatile, but it's its compact, lightweight, convenient-to-carry design that sets it apart above all else. Its pockets are equally practical.
£ 144.43 on Amazon £ 99.38 on Amazon See the price on Amazon

 

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How did we test?

To begin with, we took into account the ease of transport and storage of each model through their weight (empty and filled), size, practicality (handles, wheels, lockable lid, seatbelt attachment, shoulder strap, etc.). We also placed them in various places in our car. Next, we checked the power mode, the energy consumption, and the noise by measuring with our sound meter while they were running.

With regard to ergonomics, we first looked at the interior and exterior organization (divider, cable storage space, access to contents, pockets, mesh, interior light, etc.). For the contents, we tried to fit as many 1.5L bottles and 25cl cans as possible, in every possible position. Next, we checked the power modes and settings (electronic controls, buttons, digital display or not, grip, etc.)

To assess performance strictly speaking, we carried out our tests at the highest cooling power and in a room of 26-27°C, and provided ourselves with ice loaves, cans, plastic bottles, small frozen weights and ice creams. Using a thermometer, we regularly measured the temperature of the interior space to see how quickly the machine was cooling down. We then placed our ingredients in the machine and took their temperature before and after 2 hours in the cooler. Finally, we continued to take their temperature even after unplugging the machine. We also took into account elements that could accelerate cold loss (lid opening fully, etc.) and possible condensation..

 

How to choose your electric cooler

To help you find the electric cooler best suited to your needs, you first need to know that there are different types:

Cooler

  • The thermoelectric cooler: this is the most common model because of its simple operation, based on the Peltier effect. The motor, combined with small fans, lowers the temperature by around twenty degrees compared with the outside temperature. It is therefore less effective in extreme weather conditions. In all cases, it’s best to place already-cooled food in it.

Glacière

  • The compression cooler: uses a refrigerant and a compressor to achieve performance equivalent to that of a mini-refrigerator, whatever the outside temperature. Generally equipped with a thermostat, some can even freeze down to -22°C. Note, however, that this performance depends on a minimum 230 V power supply.
  • The absorption cooler: uses a mixture of ammonia, water and hydrogen to generate cold. The absence of a motor makes it the quietest system. It also has the advantage of being able to do without electricity, running solely on gas. However, its operation is not compatible with very high temperatures, as it only cools by around 25°C compared with the outside temperature. The cooler also requires perfectly horizontal stabilization, at the risk of malfunction.

Less common, this last category of cooler seems to us less convincing from a value-for-money point of view. We’ve therefore chosen to focus on more affordable models with higher performance, even if they do require a power supply.

With this distinction made, the criteria to be analyzed are as follows:

  • Capacity: this is generally expressed in liters, but many manufacturers also convert to the number of bottles that can be stored inside, as this data is more meaningful to the user. It’s up to you to assess the volume required, depending on the number of people who will be using the cooler, but also the duration of that use.

Cooler

  • Transportability: this is the whole point of an electric cooler. Make sure the size is compatible with the space available in your car or motorhome. While one or 2 carrying handles are a must, wheels can be a great asset. Weight may also be important, if you intend to move it often.

Glacière

  • Noise: thermoelectric coolers are equipped with a motor and fans, responsible for continuous noise emission and therefore more or less disturbing depending on your sensitivity and the location of your cooler. Compression models are generally a little quieter, while absorption coolers are completely silent.

Cooler

  • The power supply: it may seem trivial, but don’t forget to check the compatibility of power sources with your cooler. A car’s cigarette lighter generally works on 12 V (sometimes 24 V) and a conventional socket on 230 V.

Glacière

NB: if you’re simply looking for a way to transport a cool meal for several hours, investing in a lunch box and a isothermal lunch bag may prove an interesting alternative.

 

Other electric coolers we recommend

Mobicool W40 (€119.99 at time of publication) : Spacious and practical with wheels and partitions. This thermoelectric cooler (92 kWh/year, class F) features a dual-voltage power system (mains socket + cigarette lighter) with storage space for cables. With a capacity of 39 L, we were able to fit 10 x 1.5 L bottles in the prone position and up to 78 x 25 cl cans during our test. The 2 removable partitions optimize interior organization, and access to contents is easy. What’s more, the lid is divided into 2 parts, ensuring minimal cold loss when the cooler is opened. As for performance, power is adjustable (Eco and Max modes). Even so, it’s a bit bulkier, and even though it fits in a car, it still takes up space. Its weight is also quite substantial (8.4 kg), but fortunately it has 2 wheels, a pull-out handle and 2 small side handles for easy transport. Its biggest concern is excessive condensation, which can dampen the contents. Given its volume, it also takes longer to cool down, but retains the cold well (even after 1h30 without plugging in) thanks to its thick insulation.

Dometic CoolFun CK 40D Hybrid (€345.70 at time of publication): The most efficient and quietest, but the least transportable. It boasts a 40 L capacity and can hold 12 x 1.5 L bottles and up to 68 x 25 cl cans. There’s no partition to organize the interior, but it’s high enough to hold 2 L bottles upright. Its dual power supply means it can be used in a vehicle or on a normal electrical outlet. In terms of efficiency, it features hybrid operation (electric and compression) for food refrigeration and freezing. In thermoelectric mode, it operates down to 20°C below ambient temperature, while in compression mode, it operates from +10°C to -15°C. During our test, there was no condensation, and this is the machine that cooled best and fastest (-16°C in 15 minutes). In compression mode, you can set the temperature precisely on the digital display. Unfortunately, it’s far too heavy (22 kg + the weight of its contents) and bulky, making it too difficult to move and store, especially as there are no castors (only 2 side handles). The magnetic, watertight lid does, however, prevent accidental opening during transport, but it’s not removable.

 

Other electric coolers tested

Mobicool Mirabelle MM24 DC (€45.99 at time of publication):This compact, easy-to-carry cooler boasts a very tempting price tag. Nevertheless, it has a harder time keeping food cool or chilling it in hot weather. Moreover, its power cannot be adjusted, and it operates solely via its cigarette lighter socket, which means that when the vehicle is switched off, it stops working. It also consumes a lot of energy (energy class G).

 

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