Our test winner is the Electric cooler by Severin with the test mark 9.5/10!
We have taken a close look at four boxes and tested them extensively for you. Our test report will tell you what to look out for before your purchase decision.
Whether for camping, fishing or other excursions: You simply don't want to experience these activities without chilled food and drinks. With an electric cooling box, this is no problem. It can store a lot of things and continues to cool for a long time without an electrical connection.
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TheSeverin - Electric cooling box is a good cooler that absolutely fulfils its purpose. Compared to the other coolers, it showed optimal cooling results and kept cold the longest. The heat mode is also very practical and it has proven to be extremely good that the performance is interrupted when the heat is strong, so that overheating is avoided. However, its construction and workmanship are identical to those of its cheaper competitors.
The Clatronic - KB 3714 Cooling boxconvinces with a very good range of functions and large volume. All connection options are available and the cooling capacity performs well in the test. The keep-warm mode is also very useful. Unfortunately, it has no fastenings for easy transport and is relatively loud when in use. In addition, it looks a bit inferior to the devices of other manufacturers.
The place of use should be well ventilated and protected from sunlight.
Let warm food get cold before you cool it down in the cooler.
Do not open the cooler more often than necessary.
Do not leave the cooler open for too long.
Remember that if you connect the cooler to your car for too long, your car battery could be discharged.
In the run-up to the test, we defined practical requirements and the following test criteria:
In order to evaluate these criteria, we have defined several tests for electric coolers. In these, we check how far and how fast the boxes cool down in all their modes. The temperature is measured every 10 minutes using a thermal imaging camera and an infrared thermometer. Meanwhile, the volume of the devices is assessed. In addition, all existing connection options and functions are checked. The insulation of the boxes is checked after they have been disconnected from the power supply. Using 1.5-litre bottles, it is tested how much the boxes hold and how well the stored products are cooled. Finally, the transport of the boxes, empty and full, is evaluated.
In order to avoid mistakes and to ensure the load of everyday use, each test is carried out in several stages.
The test criteria are given percentages depending on their importance. The final score is then objectively calculated from the test criteria using an algorithm.
Our product selection is based on an observation of the current market. In addition to popular branded products, we also include insider tips in our selection. Criteria such as price and range of functions are an important factor for us. The test field is also determined by analysis and evaluation of customer reviews and external tests (e.g. Stiftung Warentest).
The devices are purchased anonymously or lent to us by the manufacturer. Dealers and manufacturers have no influence on the tests and our evaluation.
As soon as new relevant products come onto the market, our test field is extended by these. The new products go through the same test as the already tested devices.
If you want to enjoy cooled food and drinks on hot days, an electric cooler is just the thing for you. There are different models and technologies.
The following guide will tell you everything you need to know: What is an electric cooler, what types are there, how is the cooler best used, how can you reduce energy consumption and what should you look out for when buying? Find the answers to these here!
In sunny weather, there is nothing better for many than to have a cozy picnic outside. However, it is often not so easy to keep the food and drinks you bring with you fresh at high temperatures. An electric cool box can help. The cool box makes sure that the brought treats are easy to transport and stored at low temperatures.
Instead of spending a lot of money on service areas or petrol stations for a cool refreshment, you can take your own drinks and food with you. Due to its stability and robustness, you can also use the electric cooler to store sensitive food such as bread.
Another area of the application relates to the transport of medical products such as medicines. The electric cool box is a kind of small, mobile refrigerator that is very suitable in a wide variety of situations, for example in the garden, on the beach, during picnics and other excursions or when driving a car. Great advantages are the low own weight, the silent, vibration-free operation and the long-lasting usability for many years.
The box is available in different sizes and shapes. The technical features such as the cooling capacity also vary depending on the model.
The very resistant and durable electric cooler is connected to the mains. An alternative is a cigarette lighter in the car or mobile home. Peltier elements are usually used to cool the interior. These are mounted inside the container. The electrical current flow causes a change in heat transport in the semiconductors.
Remember that if you connect the cooler to your car for too long, your car battery could be discharged.
With almost all electric coolers it is possible to keep food and drinks warm, depending on the direction of the current. When direct current flows through, cold or heat is generated at the junction of the metals, which is called the Peltier effect. Without electricity, the electric cooler works like a normal cooler. Thanks to the thermal coating, the temperature remains cool for quite some time, even without electricity.
Alternatively, you can add cold packs from the freezer compartment and keep the food and drinks you take with you cool for hours.
There are different types of electric coolers:
1. The thermoelectric cooler with Peltier element
2. The compressor cooler
3. The absorber cooler
The principle is always the same: the heat is extracted from the inside of the box in order to conduct it to the outside. This keeps the inside of the cooler cool.
If a Peltier element is installed, a thermoelectric converter generates a temperature difference when current flows through the box. The cooling capacity is not too high and depends strongly on the outside temperature. Energy consumption also increases with rising temperatures. Therefore, you should always precool food and beverages well.
These boxes are ideal for temperatures from 1 to 15 degrees for cooling and 50 to 65 degrees for heating. High-quality models are equipped with a fan, whereby the cooling capacity is increased additionally.
The heavier and not always low-noise compressor boxes are technically more complex, function as a refrigerator (up to - 18 degrees Celsius) and can also be used as a replacement for it. They work with a refrigerant and compressor so that they cool particularly reliably and are more independent of the ambient temperature. The refrigerant is compressed with the compressor, liquefied and then evaporated again.
The heat is thus dissipated from the inside of the box to the outside. Compressor boxes are suitable for continuous operation, for example for regular camping trips, as they have the best cooling performance. Some of these coolers consume a lot of electricity so that the car battery can be completely discharged when connected to the car. A battery monitor prevents the battery from being completely discharged.
It ensures that the cooler, car radio and other devices are automatically switched off when the car battery reaches a critical point.
The absorber cooler is considerably heavier than the thermoelectric box with Peltier technology. It is powered by an electrical socket or if you want to be independent of the mains supply by propane gas.
In order to generate the required temperature in the interior, an ammonia solution must be brought into different aggregate states (principle of absorption cooling). This cools the content down to up to 25 degrees below room temperature. However, the cooling capacity of this box also depends on the outside temperature. It is often installed in caravans or motorhomes and operates almost silently.
Absorber coolers often have a very large capacity, making them a good substitute for refrigerators.
In the past, food was cooled with ice to make it more durable. A very cumbersome way of cooling. In ancient Rome, it was taken from the mountains to cool drinks like wine. However, the cooling was not strong enough. In the 19th century the first stationary chillers were developed and in 1918 refrigerators came onto the market. However, it took a while before the electric cooler was invented.
First, there were mobile cooling containers in the form of bags and boxes with an insulation layer that functioned with passive cooling. Cooling packs were inserted to support the cooling function. But passive cooling was only sufficient for a certain period of time. The electric cooler has been around since the 20th century. This made active cooling possible, with which the contents of the box remained cold even after several hours.
Jean Peltier (1785-1845) discovered that a current flow produces a temperature difference. This works not only in one direction but also in the other when the current is reversed. Such a system is therefore suitable for cooling and heating. Coleman made the cooler popular. From then on it was used for grilling, hiking, camping, picnics, and other outdoor activities. Meanwhile, there are different types of functions for various areas of application.
The sun is shining outside and it's nice and warm? It's high time for a trip outside. Now the cool box is taken out and drinks and snacks are filled in. But when using the cooler there are a few things to keep in mind so that the food and drinks really stay cool. Ideally, the products should be pre-cooled well in advance.
In addition, the cool box should be turned on a few hours before filling, as a certain amount of time is needed to cool down the interior. It's also a good idea to put frozen ice packs in the cooler to improve the cooling performance so that the cooler doesn't need so much energy to cool it down. A thermoelectric cooler can keep the temperature cold well, but it's harder to cool it down.
The more the box is opened, the more water is formed. Storage of sensitive food is more likely to be replaced by drinks bottles at the bottom, which makes condensation less of a problem. Absorber and compressor coolers, on the other hand, can handle heat better.
Let warm food get cold before you cool it down in the cooler.
Tips for reducing the energy consumption of an electric cooler
The aforementioned pre-cooling of food and drinks and the use of freezer packs are good tips. In addition, the air exchange when opening the box should be short so that as little cold as possible escapes from the interior. Not only does this keep food and drinks cool for longer, but you can also reduce power consumption. The box uses a lot of electricity to cool everything down again.
Of course, you should avoid leaving it open altogether. To escape the warm air, the cool box needs a fan, which is mounted on the side or integrated into the lid. Make sure you leave enough room for it and don't place anything around the fan. To keep power consumption as low as possible, you should always place them in the shade and not in the sun.
Of course, the energy efficiency class also determines the power consumption. Good coolers are marked A, A+, A++ or even A+++.
The supply of coolers has become almost unmanageable in the meantime. It is therefore important to concentrate on decisive purchase criteria in order to make a good selection:
Size and capacity
In terms of size and volume, what you want to stow away naturally plays a role. There are coolers in which only beverage cans or a few litres of contents fit. Models with a capacity of fewer than 25 litres are suitable for one-day use and a maximum of two people.
The medium-sized boxes with up to 50 litres hold food for several days and people over a weekend, while a large box with a capacity of 40 to 50 litres holds a lot. If the box is tall, it can even hold upright 2-litre bottles.
High-quality compressor coolers are very advanced. There are already models that reach -22 degrees in the interior and with an optimal energy label are by no means, energy guzzlers. While the thermoelectric cooler and absorber box depend on the ambient temperature, the compressor cooler cools completely independently and achieves a very good cooling performance comparable to that of a refrigerator. For this reason, pay attention to the temperature difference between the compressor and the outside temperature.
Material and insulation
The outer material is usually made of plastic. Some coolers are made of aluminum. They are even more robust. Other models are equipped with a double wall and keep the temperature a little longer. Optimal insulation is also very important. Otherwise, the cooling capacity is not sufficient. High-quality boxes are often insulated with PU foam.
The synthetic resin has extremely good insulating properties, is light, water-repellent, weatherproof, heat-insulating, dimensionally stable, durable and recyclable.
Power consumption of the electric cooler
Do not save in the wrong place when purchasing the electrothermal cooler. Models with energy efficiency class A+++ work much more economically than, for example, class A+ coolers. Although the purchase costs are somewhat higher, you will save a lot of electricity and money in the long run.
Modern coolers have various connections and can at best be powered by a car battery with 12 volts, 230 volts (household electricity) and gas. So you can use them anytime, anywhere. With different connection possibilities, you are very flexible, especially on a camping site.
Many electric coolers are equipped with practical accessories such as a trolley handle, a rolling function and several separate compartments and baskets for better sorting of bottles and food.
Particularly practical are the separable lids, which can only be opened on one side. The other side, therefore, remains closed, so that much less cold is lost when the lid is opened briefly.
Depending on the use, the volume also plays an important role. If, for example, the electrothermal cooler is used near the sleeping area, the noise level should be as low as possible.
In this case, the absorber cooler is the best choice because it works silently. With the thermoelectric cooler, there is continuous fan noise and with the compressor cooler, there is temporary noise. Once the latter has reached the preset temperature, it switches itself off automatically and only switches on again if it cannot be held.
The durability of the electric cooler
Better spend a little more money for good shelf life. The electrothermal cooler should be robust, well made and large enough with sturdy handles and optimal sealability to keep the contents cool for as long as possible.
The electric cooler is very practical because especially in the hot season it usually only takes a few minutes until the food and drinks are cool. It is available in different versions. The intended use plays a decisive role in making the right choice.
For good quality and durability, you should spend a few Euro more. The box should be stable and optimally processed, have a sufficient size and of course cool as long as possible. If you are looking for a cooler that is not dependent on the outside temperature, you should choose a compressor cooler that works similar to a refrigerator. These coolers can cool down to -18 degrees Celsius and also function as a freezer.
Live and authentic: We get the devices into our Hamburg test laboratory. Here we take a close look at everything.
Each test is preceded by an extensive search:
Which suppliers are on the market?
What current products are there?
What are the comparison criteria?
What tests are we going to run?
What is the test procedure?
When everything's settled, we'll bring the devices to us. For each product the test procedure, the measured values and product properties are documented in detail. We create photos and videos. We evaluate the results for you, summarize everything in a test report and calculate the test grade.