How To Choose A Portable Refrigerator For Your Trip

December 2, 2019

A portable car refrigerator is an indispensable thing for modern drivers. It serves as an aid both in planning a country barbecue and for cooling food on the go. And if you are a person who loves traveling, you may have thought about buying a portable refrigerator more than once.

Thermoelectric Refrigerators

Thermoelectric car refrigerators are the simplest of existing models. Functioning based on the current flow through semiconductor plates, they can cool the temperature of drinks by more than 20 degrees. But it takes time.

Thermoelectric car refrigerators are not large. The maximum volume of such a refrigerator is 49 liters, and there are devices in which only one small water bottle can fit.

Do not think that you can put a drink there, and after half an hour get it cool. You should put already cooled products into the thermoelectric device since they very slowly gain temperature. Unlike standard devices, they do not have charging fuses and a temperature controller. For more advanced options, you could look here

Advantages of thermoelectric refrigerators:

  • low price, due to their simplicity and low functionality;
  • not noisy;
  • low sensitivity to any vibrations, rolls, etc. while in the car;
  • able to work both for cooling and heating.

Disadvantages of such devices:

  • lack of temperature control option;
  • high energy consumption.

Compressor (compression) refrigerators

The work of compressor car-refrigerators is more reminiscent of how the refrigerators in your kitchen function.

The main advantages of compressor refrigerators:

  • have low thermal inertia, due to which the products do not need pre-cooling;
  • efficiency energy consumption, a compressor refrigerator consumes 2 times less energy than other models;
  • the refrigerator compartment has a large volume and power, allowing you to take more food with you;
  • maintained temperature is stable and lasts a long time;
  • the presence of a built-in fuse activated in case of battery discharge.

Disadvantages of compressor refrigerators:

  • sensitivity to roll, vibration and shock loads;
  • takes up a lot of space in the car;
  • heavyweight;
  • higher price.

Absorption Refrigerators

Unlike other models, the principle of gas cooling boxes is based on heating a water-ammonia solution. There are no active components, and the desired temperature is achieved due to the absorption of ammonia with water under the influence of a gas heater. The capacity of such refrigerators can reach up to 140 liters, and the price is only slightly cheaper than compression models.

The main advantages of absorption refrigerators:

  • consume little electricity, are the most efficient among other models;
  • not limited to a single power source; they operate both from electricity and gas;
  • do not create excess noise;
  • there are no strict power requirements.

Disadvantages of gas refrigerators:

  • sensitive to vibration and road rolls;
  • high cost, although cheaper than compressor models.

Despite the significantly high prices, these refrigerators are ideal if you often go on a picnic or on a camping trip. They can work both from the cigarette lighter unit and from the electricity.

Low-temperature chambers / portable freezers

The main advantages of portable freezers remain:

  • the difference between the chamber temperature and the environment;
  • the ability to cool foods and drinks to low temperatures;
  • fast freezing, low thermal inertia.

The disadvantages of freezers for cars are:

  • large weight with small size and volume;
  • significant price.

Isothermal bags

Recently, drivers are increasingly using nylon refrigeration bags equipped with an isothermal layer. Such containers will not replace capacious cooling boxes, but they remain a good alternative for short-term storage of cold drinks and products, their volume varies from 6.5 to 64 liters.

Car cooling boxes volume

A more capacious portable fridge can simply not fit in the car cabin. The larger the volume, the more electricity it will eat up and the bigger its cost. And if you do not often travel, you will not need a refrigerator with a capacity of more than 15 liters.

In order to determine the optimal volume, you need to understand why you are buying a cooling box.


Power sources are similar for all models.

If you want a cooling box working from a cigarette lighter, these are models operating on a 12 W power source. This type is the most common among car refrigerators, and if you are not a truck driver, that’s what you need. In addition, most models can work from a standard of 220 watts. All that is needed is a car inverter. Such refrigerators can be used both in the car and at home.


When you buy a portable refrigerator, remember that not all models will fit in your car. If you need a stationary refrigerator, a heavy compressor option is also suitable. If you need a portable one to take with you on all the trips – pay attention to a portable cooling bag. Choosing it is very simple. It is necessary to understand what quantity and volume of products it is needed, and what temperature range you need.

There are many different models of car refrigerators. Therefore, if you do not want to make a mistake in the selection, you should not be limited to just one parameter. You should find the answer to the question, “Why do I need an auto-refrigerator” and select the right model based on your desires.

Go top