Choosing Electric Travel Coolers

Choosing the Perfect Electric Cooler or Travel Cooler

1. What's my budget?
Decide on your budget ahead of time; this'll make things easier. If you want to spend less than $100, then focus on a 12v cooler. An 110v cooler is a powerful option, but they can be quite pricey. Whatever your budget, shopping online will allow you to stretch it furthest.

2. Where will you use your cooler? What contents will you store?
Electric coolers cool their contents a number of degrees below the ambient temperature. For instance, a high-quality 12 volt cooler will cool to about 30°F below ambient. That's good even in 90°F weather, but you might not need that much power if the temperature in the area never breaks 80°F.

3. Do you need portability, home convenience or both?
Portable coolers are great because most people use their cooler when out on the road. But e-coolers also offer a cost-effective alternative to a mini fridge that you can use in the garage or elsewhere in the home. Combo units work equally well as a portable and station-based cooler.

4. What kind of strap, handle and side handles do you want?
These features are some of the most important on any cooler. Make sure side handles are deep enough to allow a solid grip. Choose a strap that relaxes comfortably on your shoulder, and opt for a handle that's sturdy enough to support the cooler when loaded.

5. Is the extra expense of a built-in thermometer worth it?
Most e-coolers don't have built-in power supplies. That means when you disconnect them from the power, they maintain their coolness just through insulation. An externally visible thermometer lets you know when the box is getting too warm and needs to be reconnected.

6. Is a battery or power supply worth it?
Electric coolers with batteries and power supplies can continue to operate for long times while disconnected from the main power source. These units can be expensive, but they're convenient for hikers and such that are away from the car for long periods.