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  1. Default any tips for shopping for a plug in cooler?

    Any tips on plug in coolers? We've never owned one. Were there any duds you wish you hadn't bought? Any tips?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default don't ask it to be something its not

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The biggest thing I can say with plug in coolers is that there are two types. There are the kind that really are mini-fridges. These are a fairly good size and usually cost quite a bit. There are also smaller ones that can fit a 6 pack or other small quantities. The small ones are designed to keep things cool, but they just don't have the power to take something warm and cool them off.

    I have a small one that I will use for lunchmeat or other things to snack on while on the road, but nothing beats a real cooler with ice for being cheap and doing a simple job well.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Wouldn't be without mine!

    If you are going to purchase a plug-in, make sure it has a temperature control. These are not just coolers, they are the mini fridges and come in sizes from small to fairly large and cumbersome.

    I have these, and swear by them... but I would still not keep meat, fish or chicken, cooked or uncooked, for more than two days. Dairy foods and cold cuts 3 or 4 days. Salads and such keep quite well.

    All plug-ins for cars, whether with a control, or without, work best if the food you are placing in it is cool, straight from the shop fridge or out of another fridge. And in really hot weather - down south in a hot summer - expect it to struggle, and half the times that anything will keep.

    It is important that you have a 12v outlet which bypasses the accessories setting; you want the fridge to be on whilst you are out of the car seeing the sights. A battery in top-notch condition is also essential, as is a power adaptor to plug it into a wall socket at your accommodation.

    As for me, I would not be without mine. I have one in the USA and one at home. They have been a great saving when it comes to eating along the way.

    Lifey who travels on a budget

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Pluses and minuses

    We've had an average size plugin cooler for several years now. It doesn't have temperature control, but it has performed admirably for what we use it for. Generally we put a couple of days worth of meals in there, including some drinks for the road.

    However, when we are at our destination, we prefer to put the drinks in a separate (ancient) smaller cooler with ice on top, as that will keep the drinks much colder. There is a limit to how much you can expect from something running from a 12v power source, after all. We also recently purchased a collapsible soft cooler, which has come in handy for day trips and grocery shopping.

    The meat that we pack is generally frozen when we put it in the cooler, allowing it to slowly defrost and keep for a few days, but I wouldn't try to keep fresh meat beyond maybe 3 days. Newer models than ours probably perform somewhat better.

    We had to buy the AC adapter separately.

    Make sure you keep the vent fan clear of obstruction and free of debris. Don't try to pack too much - while freezers operate more efficiently when full, the same can't be said of refrigerators or coolers. While regular coolers are pretty good at surviving out in the elements, anything with a power cord would need special precautions. No leaving it out in the rain at a campsite, for instance.

    It may be time for me to look into what the newer models offer...

  5. Default

    Thanks for the feedback. I think we would want a good one, aka mini fridge, but we wouldn't use it enough to make it worth it. I have so many different kinds of regular coolers (2 medium sized coleman types, 2 medium sized soft sided folding coolers, 2 lunchbag size folding coolers, 1 lunchbag size non folding hard inside cooler, a couple bottle coolers, and Lord knows what else in the basement), I think we'll make those work to our benefit. As much as my husband and I love to buy gadgets, I think this is one we'll skip. I think if we still camped like we used to, or maybe went to sporting events or whatever, it would be worth it. But otherwise, no I don't think so.

  6. Default

    The best choice! Some years ago we had bought a cooler, when you plug it in a car it was noisy, not very loud, but the kind of noise giving you headache. It is not cooling so much, as I had expected. Finally we are using it as normal cooler. On my wish list I put mini fridge( the one with compressor, cost 300-400euro), not thermo-electrical.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 01-16-2010 at 09:50 AM.

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