Best Electric Cool Boxes in the UK 2021

Electric coolboxes keep food and drink cold (or even frozen) for a much greater duration than conventional cool boxes.

They’re best suited for caravans and camping, off-grid houses, RVs, mobile homes, outhouses and anywhere else where reliable mains AC power is not available. 

Coolboxes actually come in many forms and varying price points, and some high-end models are designed for dependable, long-term cooling and freezing. 

In this article, we will cover the best rear electric cool box brands in the UK and what to consider when buying an electric cool box.

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Best Overall – Dometic CDF16 Electric Cooler Box

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This professional compressor portable fridge-freezer unit is capable of deep-freezing right down to temperatures of minus 18C.

Purpose-built for in-car or in-vehicle use, mobile homes, camping, campervans, RVs or for use with inverters or other power supplies. 

This is one of the best portable freezers/coolboxes available today boasting superb performance and power-efficiency. It has a decent 15L capacity. 

Though it works as a coolbox, the Dometic CDF16 doubles up as a powerful slimline freezer. 

In terms of power, this will run off 12v and 24v DC power, or a mains 240V power supply (with an inexpensive converter).

This gives you many options; you can power it from a 12v car cigarette lighter, a leisure battery, a portable power supply or the mains.

It features 3-level battery protection to moderate and control power consumption when powered from a battery (particularly important for use with leisure batteries). 

It can be powered for some 3 or more days using standard leisure batteries, which is superior to the vast majority of other DC coolboxes and freezers. The device runs very quietly also and is lightweight at just 11.5kg. 

The Dometic CDF16 Cooler Digital Compressor is a high-tech portable coolbox/freezer that is a real game-changer for campervans, campsites, RVs or other in-vehicle or off-grid use. 

A high-end model that really emphasises ‘you get what you pay for’.

Features

  • Digital compressor coolbox/freezer
  • 10C to -18C temperature range
  • 11.5kg
  • 15L capacity
  • Runs off 12v/24v DC 
  • Runs off the mains (will need an adapter – not included)
  • Ultra-quiet 
  • Very power efficient with 3-level battery protection 
  • Internal LED lighting 

Pros

  • Exceptional performance
  • Very energy efficient 
  • Impeccably reliable 
  • Safe to use with leisure batteries and other power supplies

Cons

  • None

Bottom Line

A state-of-the-art portable fridge-freezer, the Dometic CDF16 Cooler Digital Compressor is a high-quality coolbox with remarkable power efficiency and performance. It’s a real game-changer – an impeccably built portable cooling device that is capable of cooling and freezing. 

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Runner-Up – Alpicool K25 25 Liter Portable Car Fridge Freezer

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With a juicy 25L capacity, the Alpicool K25 25 Liter Portable Car Fridge Freezer is an excellent portable fridge-freezer for use with 12v/24v DC power sources. It will run from car 12v cigarette lighters and various DC batteries. 

Using compressor technology, it’s very energy-efficient and works exceptionally well with leisure batteries and other portable power supplies.

It also comes with a mains adapter lead for out-the-box function with standard mains power supplies. 3-level battery protection makes it safe to use with leisure and car batteries. 

It’s highly-rated amongst campervan and RV users but will work with any 12v/24v DC power source, and the extra space suits it well to families or other larger parties. 

In fact, it can hold 44x330ml coca-colas or 22x550ml drinking bottles, which is pretty awesome. 

It even has a USB charging port for phones – a nice added feature.

The temperature range is also wide, ranging from 20C to -20C, so the Alpicool K25 is capable of deep-freezing as well as standard cooling. 

An intelligent eco-friendly mode ensures minimal energy consumption, only triggering cooling when the internal temperature rises a few degrees. It’s also very quiet – around 40dB max – and has anti-shock protection – perfect for life on the road!

Features

  • Digital compressor coolbox/freezer
  • 20C to -20C temperature range
  • 12.4kg
  • 25L capacity
  • Runs off 12v/24v DC 
  • Runs off the mains (adapter included)
  • Ultra-quiet 
  • Very power efficient with 3-level battery protection 
  • USB port for charging phones 

Pros

  • XL capacity 
  • Very quiet 
  • Wide temperature range 
  • Excellent performance with leisure batteries 

Cons

  • None

Bottom Line

The chunky but funky Alpicool K25 25 Liter Portable Car Fridge Freezer is a real beast with a 25L capacity. It runs efficiently off 12v/24v DC power but a mains adapter is provided too. A fantastic choice for campervans, RVs or other portable fridge-freezing users. 

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Best Budget – VonShef 22L Insulated Electric Coolbox

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This traditionally-styled electric coolbox is a solid budget option. VonShef has an excellent reputation for manufacturing top-quality food and beverages tech and this coolbox offers a cost-effective way to keep food and drink cool on the go. 

It’s not a fridge-freezer and will only cool its contents to 8-12C, which is fine for drinks, snacks and other food, but doesn’t match the performance of other portable heavy-duty fridge-freezers.

Still, it has a high 22L storage and can store upright 1.5L bottles, which is great. It’s also super-light at just 3.1kg. 

This coolbox is powered from 12v DC only and comes with a 12v plug for connecting to 12v car/vehicle cigarette lighters. It could be connected to the mains using an adapter (not included). 

A solid, budget choice, the VonShef Electric coolbox is a classic coolbox for keeping items cool – not cold or frozen. Overall, though, it’s brilliant for the money and easily beats standard non-electric coolboxes. 

Features

  • Electric coolbox
  • 22L storage capacity
  • Weighs 3.1kg
  • 8 to 12C cooling range
  • Requires 12v power 

Pros

  • Simple but effective coolbox 
  • Easy to power
  • Lightweight
  • High capacity

Bottom Line

An excellent all-purpose coolbox. The VonShef Electric coolbox isn’t a heavy-duty fridge-freezer, but it’s a solid choice for keeping food and drink cold and works very well powered from a standard 12v car cigarette lighter. It’s lightweight and from a trusted brand, it rates a solid budget choice. 

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Great Value Alternative – Andes Large 25L 12V/240V Coolbox

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By the well-known brand Andes, this coolbox actually doubles up as a heater, which is a bit of a curveball! 

It’s capable of maintaining a heat of 65C for some two hours, which is quite impressive. That means you can pick up fish and chips in town and drive it back to your campsite to enjoy it still piping hot. Also an excellent choice for storing freshly BBQ’d food. 

The Andes Large 25L works as a cooler too, and will maintain a temperature of around 8 to 12C, decent enough for cooling foods and drinks.

The 25L capacity is pretty beefy, easily enough to carry a large stash of food, or booze, or both! It runs off both 12v DC and standard mains power, and both adapters are included. 

The classically designed Andes Large 25L 12V/240V coolbox is unique courtesy of its heating mode, and you might find that more useful than you think initially.

It’s particularly useful when preparing hot meals at home, or on campsite, at your campervan, etc, and then taking them with you on treks, walks or picnics. 

Overall, the Andes Large 25L 12V/240V coolbox is a top option for general-purpose cooling and the heating feature is pretty awesome. A solid high-capacity choice.

Features

  • Powered cool and heat box
  • 25L storage capacity
  • 4.6kg
  • 8 to 12C cooling range
  • Can heat to 65C
  • 12v and mains powered (adapters/cables included)

Pros

  • Both cooling and heating features
  • Runs off 12v DC and mains power
  • High capacity 
  • Durable and tough design 

Cons

  • Cooling mode is insufficient to keep food and drink frozen 

Bottom Line

A unique and well-made cooling/heating box that can both cool and heat foods. The Andes Large 25L 12V/240V coolbox has a large capacity. An innovative great-value cool/heat box.

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Well-Reviewed – MOBICOOL MT48W 34L Electric Cooler

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Upping the ante in terms of size, this mighty 48L coolbox is a true giant and can hold 2L bottles standing.

It will run off 12v power, and a car cigarette lighter adapter is included, but will also run off the mains. A mains cable/adapter is also included (but you’ll need a two-prong to three-prong UK plug adapter). 

This is primarily a coolbox, and thus, it’s not capable of freezing in warm weather. It will cool to some 16C below the ambient temperature, so you could feasibly keep frozen items in there if it’s cold enough. 

Overall, though, this is best used as a beverage crate and is perfect for functions, parties or other events where standard fridge-freezers aren’t available. 

Though it looks large, it only weighs 7.9kg unfilled, but that will obviously dramatically increase when filled. It’s equipped with a sturdy carry handle and wheels for easy transportation.

It also has a split lid which helps retain interior temperature whilst enabling easy access. 

The XL MOBICOOL MT48W is an excellent cooler for general purpose use and is particularly well-suited to cooling beverages. It is capable of freezing if the ambient temperature is low enough but will likely struggle in hotter climates. 

Features

  • Electric coolbox
  • 48L storage power capacity 
  • 7.9kg
  • 12v/mains powered (adapters included) 
  • Lightweight at 7.9kg 
  • Wheeled base
  • Split lid

Pros

  • Massive capacity – excellent for parties 
  • Easy to transport/move 
  • Capable of cold temperatures (depending on the ambient temperature)
  • Easy access via split lid

Cons

  • Not cut out for freezing

Bottom Line

A colossal coolbox for really getting the party started! The MOBICOOL MT48W is a fantastic XL coolbox that can keep items very cold if the ambient temperature is low enough. Perfect for beverages. It’s also pretty lightweight for an XL coolbox.

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Highly Recommended – Koolatron Kool Kaddy P75 Thermoelectric Iceless 12V Cooler Warmer

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Koolatron Kool Kaddy P75 is yet another superb portable DC-electric coolbox, but like the Andes Large 25L coolbox, it’s also capable of heating food, which is awesome. 

It’s capable of cooling right down to 4.4C, which is an excellent temperature for food and beverages, though obviously falls short of freezing or long-term preservation.

A beefy above-average 34L capacity is plenty enough for transporting a large amount of food and drink.

The heating mode reaches temperatures of 60C, easily high enough to keep meals piping hot. This is actually very useful, e.g. for taking takeaways or other hot foods back to a campsite, campervan or holiday home. You can also prepare hot foods on-camp and carry them with you on your treks or walks. 

Switching between the two modes is easy – you just switch from the red cable to the blue cable. 

The Koolatron Kool Kaddy P75 comes with a car cigarette 12v adapter but could be powered from the mains too, if you have the correct adapter (not included). 

Koolatron has been in the cooling game for 30 years and they’ve clearly learnt a thing or two about attention to detail. The door seal is particularly good and there are split door locks and strong carry handles. The unit weighs 7kg, which is pretty good for a 34L coolbox. 

Features

  • Powered cool and heat box
  • 34L storage capacity
  • 7kg
  • Can cool to 4.4C (or 16C below ambient temperature) 
  • Requires 12v power (but can run off the mains with an adapter – not included)

Pros 

  • XL 34L capacity 
  • Lightweight 
  • Heating and cooling modes
  • Brilliant build quality

Bottom Line

A sturdy, beefy 34L coolbox with heat mode, the Koolatron Kool Kaddy P75 is a brilliant XL cooling/heating device. It’s easy to use and pretty light too. The build quality is strong and durable throughout. 

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Portable Coolbox Buyer’s Guide

Portable coolboxes are all designed to cool or freeze food and drinks for preservation, but some also warm food – excellent for preserving BBQ’d foods and takeaways brought from town to the campsite. 

Temperature 

There are 3 types of coolboxes:

  1. Some cheaper electric coolboxes cool food and drinks to some 3C to 10C, depending on the ambient temperature. These are designed simply for cooling, they’re not ideal for preserving food over long periods of time, especially not meat.
  2. High-end compressor portable fridge-freezers are designed for cooling and freezing. They’re ideal for RVs, campervans, holiday homes and lodges, or any other serious travel where proper cooling and freezing is advantageous. These can often extend down to -20C or so.
  3. Other coolboxes can heat food as well as cool it, with heating extending to around 60C. This isn’t hot enough to cook anything, but it can certainly keep hot food hot. 

Capacity 

Capacity is obviously a big factor. Portable coolboxes and fridge freezers range from some 15L to 40L+. Obviously with size generally comes weight, and large models do sacrifice some portability. 

Power Sources 

The vast majority of electric coolboxes are designed to run off 12v DC power at least, ideal for in-car or vehicle power. 

Some also run off 24v DC power, suitable for running off different types of DC power sources. 

Many also come with mains cables so you can run them off standard 240v AC mains power supplies. 12v DC to AC converters are pretty cheap. 

Battery Protection 

The problem with leisure batteries is that once they run down, they can’t be recharged or resurrected. 

Most high-end portable fridge-freezers have sophisticated battery protection to monitor battery level and prevent complete discharge. 

How Portable Coolboxes Work 

Coolboxes generally run off DC current, so can be safely run from car batteries and other portable power supplies. 

Coolboxes vary from simple, plastic-built, insulated coolboxes with DC power for keeping items chilled on the go to fridge-freezers that can run for days from car batteries, including caravan leisure batteries. 

Powered coolboxes can plug into a 12v cigarette lighter socket present in most cars and vehicles. This is the most common method of powering them. 

Summary 

A superb selection of top-quality portable coolboxes and fridge-freezers here, some of which also have heating modes (namely the Koolatron Kool Kaddy P75 and Andes Large 25L coolbox). 

The standards are high, but the Dometic CDF16 Cooler Digital Compressor is very impressive and rates the best choice overall. It’s designed to last for many years, has exceptionally good reviews and is amongst the most power-efficient portable fridge-freezers around. 

In runner-up spot, the Alpicool K25 25 Liter Portable Car Fridge Freezer is very well-made and has a large capacity. It’s also exceptionally power efficient. 

Budget options include the Andes Large 25L coolbox and VonShef Electric coolbox, both offer far great performance than non-electric coolboxes, and it’s well worth making the upgrade. 

The XL MOBICOOL MT48W is the largest cooler on the list – perfect for larger parties and families. 

Finally, the Koolatron Kool Kaddy P75 is yet another brilliant choice from a reputable brand. 

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