Fatigue is a lousy ally behind the wheel. To avoid it, the General Directorate of Traffic recommends that we stop to rest every two hours of continuous driving. Or when we have a maximum of 200 kilometers traveled. They also suggest that the stop be at least a quarter of an hour. Thus, we will have enough time to recover and continue our journey.
And what better way to recharge your batteries while we rest than to have fresh fruit or a cold soda? However, we don’t always stop near a coffee shop or store. Therefore, it never hurts to take those supplies with us. And to keep our food and drink cold, a car fridge is an ideal option.
Most essential points about car fridge
- There are different kinds of car coolers. The main ones are compressor, thermoelectric, hybrid, and gas absorption.
- Typically, they plug into the car cigarette lighter socket. However, there are other options that we will see later.
- Size and capacity are some of the essential purchase criteria. These aspects will affect the space that the refrigerator will occupy in our vehicle and the amount of food we can transport.
The best car fridges
Road trips have fueled the fantasy of many generations. Much of its popularity is due to books like On the Road by Jack Kerouac. Or to movies like Dennis Hopper’s Easy Rider. However, these trips can be long and tedious at times. A car fridge, like the ones we show you, will help us stay cool and hydrated.
- The favorite car cooler for online users
- The best value for a money car fridge
- The best high-end car fridge
- The best large capacity car fridge
The favorite car cooler for online users
The AmazonBasics car fridge is one of the options with the most positive ratings from online users. This practical model allows us to keep our drinks and food refrigerated.
If we prefer, this thermoelectric refrigerator also gives the option of heating our food to 65 degrees. It has 26 liters capacity, and its dimensions are about 40 centimeters long and high and 30 wide.
The best value for a money car fridge
The Mobicool T08 DC Bordbar refrigerator is an attractive option due to its fair value for money. This model is designed to be fastened with the seat belt in the passenger seat or the rear.
Also, this option allows you to keep food hot up to 65 degrees. On the other hand, the Mobicool refrigerator measures 30 centimeters high, 20 long, and 44 wide. Finally, its capacity is 8 liters.
The best high-end car fridge
Dometic offers us an option with a somewhat higher price, but with exciting features. Its Waeco CoolFreeze DCF 26 model manages to keep the temperature at minus 18 degrees.
It is important to note that its cooling capacity is independent of the ambient temperature. The capacity of this compressor cooler is 21 and a half liters. Its energy efficiency, on the other hand, is class A ++.
The best large capacity car fridge
The Severin car fridge stands out for its large capacity: 28 liters. Besides, it is capable of refrigerating up to 20 degrees below room temperature. The power system of the KB 2923 model is through the car’s cigarette lighter.
This option also includes a USB connection that allows you to connect it to an external battery. On the other hand, it consists of a cable if we want to join this electric refrigerator to the current.
Shopping Guide: What You Should Know About Car Coolers
Car refrigerators are an efficient complement to our vehicle. Thanks to them, we can have a cool drink at any time. However, we must inform ourselves well before choosing a specific model. Therefore, we will try to solve the most frequent doubts that may arise when buying the best car fridge in 2020.
What types of car coolers are there today?
Car refrigerators share the same function: keeping food fresh and drinks chilled. However, specific characteristics make some models differ from others. Here is a list of the main types of car coolers that exist today:
- Compressor car coolers: this type of refrigerator is generally the most powerful. Its operation is similar to that of a domestic refrigerator and manages to reach 22 degrees below zero. Its size is usually larger than other models. Its capacity is also higher and can exceed 100 liters.
- Thermoelectric car refrigerators: thermoelectric refrigerators have the particularity that, in addition to cooling, they incorporate the possibility of heating food and drink. These refrigerators are usually lighter than the previous ones and, usually, cheaper. They allow food to cool between 20 and 30 degrees below room temperature. Or heat them 60 degrees above.
- Hybrid car refrigerators are those models that are halfway between the two previous options. Its operation depends on the power source. If we use direct current, it will work like a thermoelectric refrigerator. If, instead, we use alternating current, it will work like a compressor cooler.
- Gas absorption car refrigerators: this type of refrigerator is one of the most versatile due to its power source. These models can use gas as an energy source. But, if we prefer, they can also use 220 or 12-volt current input. Also, they can cool 20-30 degrees below room temperature.
- Large capacity refrigerators: there are models of refrigerators that can exceed 200 liters of capacity. However, they may not be the most suitable for a car due to their large size. They are, however, an exciting option for larger vehicles, such as vans or caravans.
How much does a car fridge cool?
The answer to this question depends on each model. There are two types of the refrigerator, depending on its ability to cool. On the one hand, we have refrigerators that rely on the ambient temperature. On the other, there are those whose minimum temperature is absolute. That is, its ability to cool is not significantly influenced by ambient temperature. As for the former, some options manage to refrigerate food about 30 degrees below room temperature. The second type of refrigerator is usually more powerful, so it is typically a compressor. In this case, temperatures of about 20 degrees below zero can be achieved.
What are the advantages of a car fridge?
The main advantage of a car fridge is, of course, being able to have cold food and drink whenever we want. Having the option of stopping on any secluded road and enjoying a very fresh snack is excellent. However, this practical device has more advantages. In the table that we show below, we detail the most notable ones:
- They allow us to keep our food and drink refrigerated.
- Some models also give the option of heating food or, at least, keeping it warm.
- They work thanks to the vehicle’s energy.
- Specific options are compatible with external batteries.
- Some car refrigerators include the possibility to connect them to a regular wall socket.
- Typical options are very versatile and allow you to switch between different cooling and power systems.
- Many models stay cool for a while, even if they have been turned off.
- Most cars only transmit power through the cigarette lighter socket when they are on. Therefore, the refrigerator only stays on when the vehicle is also on or when we have another power source.
What is the power source for a car fridge?
The most common power source for car refrigerators is 12 or 24-volt sockets. As a general rule, this type of refrigerator is plugged into the vehicle’s cigarette lighter socket. On the other hand, some models also offer the possibility of connecting the appliance to an alternating current socket. That is 220 or 230 volts. Alternating existing sockets are the ones that we usually find on the walls of homes, hotels, and other establishments. Some models do not include this type of connection, but a converter can be purchased separately. However, we recommend that you read the manufacturer’s specifications carefully before connecting the refrigerator to an outlet.
What precautions should we take when using a car fridge?
As we have seen, car refrigerators are an efficient complement to our vehicles. However, we must exercise a little prudence when we want to use one. For this reason, we have compiled this list with some of the most important precautions that we must take into account:
- When we connect the refrigerator to the cigarette lighter socket, we must ensure that the car battery does not discharge. It is essential to exercise caution in this regard. If we run out of battery in the vehicle, we will need assistance to recharge it. In the worst case, we could damage the battery of our car.
- In the case of compressor refrigerators, we must be careful not to open and close the lid repeatedly. By doing so, the refrigerator mechanism kicks in, causing it to consume more energy.
- When we disconnect the refrigerator from the power source, we must pay attention to the food. Many models stay cool for some time after they are unplugged. However, we must be careful with the food that can spoil.
- When we are driving, we must always pay attention to the road. It is crucial that we do not get distracted when we want to take something out of the fridge.
Car refrigerator purchase criteria
A car fridge is a convenient device for long trips, but also in other situations. When we go on a picnic or camping, for example, this accessory can be handy. However, before deciding on a specific model, we must take into account certain fundamental criteria. Here we tell you the most important ones.
- Cooling power
- Power supply
One of the first things to consider is cooling power. The most potent refrigerators are those whose minimum temperature is not influenced by the heat from outside. As we have seen, some models reach 20 degrees below zero. On the other hand, others depend on the room temperature and manage to cool 30 degrees below this.
This is an aspect that we must bear in mind when choosing a refrigerator for cars. Most of the options available on the market are designed to be powered through the cigarette lighter socket. However, there are some variants. Next, we tell you the most frequent:
- As we said, one of the most frequent connections is through the car cigarette lighter through the vehicle’s cigarette lighter. Its voltage is usually 12 or 24 volts.
- With alternating current: some car refrigerators also allow them to be powered with alternating current (220 or 230 volts). Most often, if they include this option, they do it as an extra in addition to the previous one. In case our model does not have this possibility, there are adapters to connect the appliance to a wall socket. Of course, make sure before that it is compatible with your refrigerator to avoid damage or overloading.
- By gas: another alternative is the refrigerators that are powered by gas. As a general rule, they are models that include this option and incorporate the previous two.
- Other types: some car refrigerators models include the possibility of connecting them to external batteries as well. Others even have an internal rechargeable battery.
The size of car coolers varies from model to model. We must keep in mind to acquire the model that best fits the space of our vehicle. There are compact models, about 30 centimeters high, 20 long, and 40 wide. Of course, there are also larger models, more than 50 centimeters on each side.
This aspect of the refrigerator will influence the amount of food and drinks that we can keep inside. Some models have a somewhat reduced capacity, around 8 liters. Others, however, reach 30 liters. There are also 80 or 100-liter models. It is important to weigh how many foods we are going to want to store to choose accordingly.
Finally, we must not forget the versatility of the model we choose. Some car refrigerators, in addition to cooling, allow you to heat food. This can be an exciting option. Besides, the device’s versatility will be influenced by the fact that it has different power modes. Specific models accept AC and DC, gas, and external batteries.
At this point, indeed, you have everything ready for your trip. The suitcases, the planned route, the hotel reservation, or the camping place. You only lack one thing. Food and drink for the long haul. And if it can be fresh, even better. How? Thanks to a car fridge. With it, you can keep your food refrigerated even when you are on the go.
Today, there are very varied options that adapt to all tastes and needs. Therefore, you must keep in mind that you can reserve space in your vehicle to place the refrigerator. It is also vital that you weigh whether you need a model with a large capacity or one with less. Nor should you overlook a crucial aspect: its power supply.