Best 12v Cooler For Car In 2022: Best Picks & Guidance

Katie Finn By, Katie Finn
Updated
Igloo 28 qt , Iceless Gray
Image credit: Amazon.com

The Rundown

1. Best Overall: Igloo 28 qt , Iceless Gray

"The Igloo 28 qt, Iceless Gray is the perfect size for any outdoor event, whether it's a party or a picnic. The quiet brushless motor and convection cooling with a fan to circulate cold air makes it the ideal cooler for parties and picnics. With its 8 feet-long power cord it plugs into any 12V DC receptacle for portable use." Read Review

2. Best For The Price: Wagan 12V Cooler/Warmer - 24L Capacity (6224) -EL6224

"This Wagan 12v Cooler/Warmer has a 24L capacity and will keep your drinks and other items at the perfect temperature for any occasion. With a heavy-duty handle for easy transport and a 7 feet DC power cord that allows the unit to be placed in the vehicle's backseat, this 24L cooler/warmer is ideal for use at construction sites, tailgate parties, picnics, camping trips, or as an air conditioner in your car." Read Review

3. Best Convenient: Knox 48-Quart 12V Cooler

"Carry everything you need in your cooler when you're on the go. The Knox 48-Quart 12V Cooler keeps food and drink at the perfect temp, with or without power. Its large capacity storage container offers flexibility and convenience for any trip, whether you're traveling on the road or camping in an RV, camper, or minivan." Read Review

4. Best Durable: Ivation Electric Cooler & Warmer with Handle

"The Ivation Electric Cooler & Warmer with Handle is a smart option for keeping beverages icy cold or maintaining the heat of pre-cooked foods. Featuring an innovative dual-function cooling unit that allows you to keep your drinks icy cold or maintain the heat of your pre-cooked foods as long as you have access to an AC or DC outlet." Read Review

When you’re out for a long drive with your friends or family, car trips can get pretty boring. This is when having an air cooler becomes really handy. You see, to make the ride bearable, most people bring along some sort of appliance that can keep them cool, be it ice or something more practical like a fan.

Thanks to the great outdoors and all the creatures and plants that live there, coolers are not difficult to find either. Check out the following list to see which Best 12v cooler for car camping.

However, after investing in 15, we've come up with a name that's worthy of your requirement: Igloo 28 qt , Iceless Gray. If you desire extra features not included in this model, you might look into another one, Wagan 12V Cooler/Warmer - 24L Capacity (6224) -EL6224. It could better suit your needs.

Our Top Picks

TOP Choice #1 Igloo 28 qt , Iceless Gray
Our Score:
9.7
Igloo
  • Molded-in side handles for two handed carrying or lifting. Capacity-32 12-oz cans; 26 quarts (24 liters)
  • Cools without ice and leaves you more room for food and drinks
TOP Choice #2 Wagan 12V Cooler/Warmer - 24L Capacity (6224) -EL6224
Our Score:
9.5
Wagan
  • Heavy duty handle for easy transport; plus a 7 feet DC power cord which allows the unit to be placed in the vehicle's backseat
  • Capacity: 24L/27 Cans; Dimensions LxWxH (internal approx): 11 x 8 x 12
TOP Choice #3 Knox 48-Quart 12V Cooler
Our Score:
9.3
Knox.Lifestyle by Focus
  • DOUBLE HANDLES AND WHEELED: Two handles and wheels make it easy to carry or pull. A dual functioning handle allows you to carry your cooler in hand or pull it on the ground using the wheels.
  • CHILLS WITHOUT ICE: Forget ice packs that need constant refilling, take up precious space, and leave you with a watery mess when they melt. This cooler maintains a cool 40 F temp without any ice.
  • KEEP FOOD & DRINK FRESH ON THE GO | Powerful Thermoelectric Technology Provides Dependable Cooling & Warming for All Your Potables & Perishables | Maintains Drinks Icy Cold at 40°F & Maintains Hot Food at 130F. enjoy while While Camping, Fishing, Hiking, Catering, Dining Outdoors, Picnicking, Barbecuing, Road Tripping & So Much More
  • 25-LITER INTERIOR COMPARTMENT | Enough Space to Hold Dozens of Bottles, Food Trays, Dishes, To-Go Containers, Refrigerated Medications—Even 2-L Soda Bottles! | Easy-Clean Design Wipes Down in Seconds & Requires No Costly Maintenance
  • 【CONSUME LESS THAN 1kWh PER DAY】JOYTUTUS fridge freezer can be adjusted to MAX MODE for fast cooling and ECO MODE for energy saving. The rated power of MAX MODE is 45W while ECO MODE is 36W. The compressor will work about 16 hours per day and the consumption for MAX MODE is about 0.72 kWh per day.
  • 【SUPER QUIET & LIGHTWEIGHT】JOYTUTUS 12V refrigerator will impress you with how quiet it is. This semi truck refrigerator is almost silent that you won't notice it at all during your driving. Besides, you can carry this portable fridge through a beach by yourself because it's lightweight, portable even with the embedded handle. Weight: 24.9lb. External dimension: 22.4 * 12.6 * 13.8 inches. Internal size: 13.8 * 9.8 * 10.7 inches.
  • Hot/cold/off switch has indicator lights for quickly viewing which temperature mode is in use; maximum cooling capacity is 32 Degree-36 Degree F below room temperature and it can heat up to a maximum of 140 Degree
  • An optional AC adapter accessory is available (Wagan item 9903) for additional use in the home, office or hotel (sold separately)
  • 【45dB Low Noise&Battery Protection】The truck freezer is designed low noise to make sure you have a good sleep after long driving. The RV fridge/freezer is equipped with a 3-level battery monitor to prevent itself from draining your vehicle's battery.
  • 【 Warranty&Certification】With CE and FCC certificated, the 42QT Refrigerator encloses a 2-year warranty for the compressor and other accessories. If you have any questions, please reach out to BougeRV FIRSTLY, and we will provide a better solution. (Package includes: removable basket, dc power cord, ac power cord, and user manual)
8 Electric Cooler and Warmer for Car and Home
Our Score:
8.4
Knox Gear.Lifestyle by Focus
  • Chills to 40-degrees Fahrenheit & Heats to 130-degrees Fahrenheit
  • Cools or warms food and drinks
  • LIGHTWEIGHT AND PORTABLE - 12V DC/110V AC capable for use at home, dorm, or office or on the go in your truck, boat, trailer, or RV
  • SAFE STORAGE - Conveniently and safely store soda, beer, beverages, yogurt, fruit, juice, cheese, breastmilk, cosmetics, medication, baby bottles at home, work or travel
  • Magnetic/removable doors: the dual top-loading doors are magnetically sealed to keep the cold/heat in and are removable for easy cleaning.
  • Dual function: cooling/ warming functions. Max cooling to ≈ 36 Degree below ambient temperature. Max warming to≈140 Degree. Pre chill/heat your items.Insulation: Polyurethane Foam
Product Images, Product Titles, Product Highlights from Amazon Product Advertising API

What to Look For in a best 12v cooler for car?

A range of elements, including those listed below, influence the best 12v cooler for car. The study process varies depending on the material. We'll be able to assist you and provide solutions since we're here to help you.

Please keep in mind the following points before selecting best 12v cooler for car:

Cooler Latch And Closure Systems

The cooler's closure or latch is a key feature of premium models and will play a major role in cooling performance. Two rubber T-handles are a common feature on high-end, hard-sided coolers. They keep the lid in place and prevent it from opening. They are extremely sturdy and user-friendly.

Bear-Resistant Ratings

Many top-rated hard-sided coolers can be listed as being bear-resistant. This is an important consideration if you are camping in bear territory. You should specifically look out for IGBC ratings. This indicates that a cooler has been tested and is in compliance with their regulations. You should ensure your cooler is included if you plan to travel in bear-proof gear or frequent backcountry areas.

Weight And Portability

Weighing your cooler is an important factor for those who will be carrying it or moving it around regularly. For models with less capacity, they can weigh as little as 10-15 pounds and up to 50+ for those that have 75+ quarts storage. This number goes up dramatically when you load it down with food and drinks. Even though the handles are made of rope, some are plastic and others are nylon. They are too heavy to be carried for extended distances. We recommend wheels if portability is important. They are easier to carry for longer periods of time and more convenient for one person, so they're less burdensome.

Cooler Sizes (Capacities)

A few things to consider before we get started: Size. Importantly, coolers do not measure the interior capacity of all models. Some coolers use cans to measure interior capacity, others use liters or quarts. However, most manufacturers use quarts as a unit of measure. We've used that measurement in this article when it was possible. A final point: Don't let the product name fool you.

Wheeled (Rolling) Coolers

We mentioned above that if you have cooler needs such as mobility and large capacity or maximum ice retention it is a good idea to look into a hard-sided rolling model. These wheeled monsters can still be difficult to maneuver on uneven terrain, and will need assistance if there is no clear path. A rolling cooler is a good choice for camping, tailgating or days at the beach.

Cooler Drain Systems

Many of our hard-sided coolers have drainage systems that allow you to drain the water out once the ice is melted. This is usually a pop-off or screw-on cap located at the bottom of cooler. Simply remove it and let the water flow out.

Cooler Construction

There are two main types of construction techniques used to make premium hard-sided coolers: injection molding and rotational molding. Yeti popularized rotomolding (even though they weren't technically the first company to do so) and is the dominant market at the top end. This type of cooler is made from a single, continuous piece of plastic which is then rotated to form the desired shape. These coolers have fewer stress points, so they are more likely to break under pressure. They also feature a thicker outer shell that ensures exceptional durability. Cost and weight are the main drawbacks.

Ice Retention And Cooling Capabilities

Ice retention is one of the most difficult things to determine when researching coolers. This is largely due to external factors. The temperature of the air and direct sunlight have a significant impact. Ice quantity is also important. Most brands suggest a ratio of 2:1. You should also open the lid as often as possible to let warm and cold air into your cooler. Pre-chilling your cooler before loading it is a good idea to ensure maximum efficiency. To reduce the cooler's interior temperature, you should fill it with ice at least for a couple of hours. Once you are ready to go, add fresh ice in the right ratio. You can also expect your cooler to become pre-warmed if it is left out in the sunlight before you load it up.

FAQs

How Does A Portable Cooler Work?

Combining the insulation of the cooler with the ice you put inside, either ice cubes, ice packs, or foam, slows down warm air circulation and helps keep things cool.

How Do I Clean My Cooler?

Warm water and dish soap will generally clean your cooler. You can also use warm water and bleach to remove stubborn stains or odors.

Which Size Cooler Do I Need?

Although you might feel compelled to buy a large cooler, make sure it fits in the car. Smaller coolers can be lifted without the need for assistance. However, coolers with larger capacities can hold more ice and so tend to stay cool longer than smaller models.
Higher coolers can store bottles more upright. Models with recessed lids are better for loading items higher, but they may become warmer.

Does Food Stay Cool In A Portable Cooler Without Ice?

But it will take longer than if you put ice inside the cooler. Insulation in the cooler stops food from heating up faster than if left out. The temperature of the cooler and how chilled the food were at the beginning will determine the time it takes to cool down. Even frozen foods will heat up faster if they are kept cool in a trunk compartment of a vehicle.

How Long Does A Cooler Stay Cold?

It all depends on how efficient the cooler is at insulation. This includes the temperature outside, initial temperature of food and its stacking. Food can be kept cold for up to 4 days with ice (the best), in ideal conditions. A high-end cooler may even keep it chilled for as long as 10 days.

How Much Do Coolers Cost?

Consider what your cooler will be used for. If you need it to store food or drinks for several days or at extreme temperatures then more money is an investment in food safety. A cooler that is cheap and cheerful may suffice if you just need to chill a handful of drinks for an afternoon barbecue.

What Is The Best Hard Cooler?

There are many coolers. It really doesn't matter which cooler you choose. A cooler that is more resistant to damage will be the most suitable if you intend on using it every week.

Can I Use Dry Ice In A Cooler?

Most times, the answer is yes. Some coolers can be damaged by dry ice, but the majority should work fine. However, you will need to cover dry ice with blankets or other insulators. A cooler designed for dry ice is best if you plan to use it every day. You won't have to do any special tasks because the cooler has compartments to store dry ice.

When updated data are available, our system and editor will update a list of best 12v cooler for car. Please periodically review our website for the newest data.

We can help you with more than just finding best 12v cooler for car.  Please do not hesitate to contact us when you need assistance.


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About Katie Finn

Katie Finn

Katie Finn is a freelance writer who loves to explore the world and go camping. She's also an editor for CampfireUSA, where she enjoys writing about wildlife and camping tips. She also has a passion for reading and learning new things, which she often incorporates into her writing.

Read Katie's full bio