Mobile Living Made Easy
The ideal portable cooler varies from person to person. This guide sets out important considerations to have in mind, allowing you to make an informed decision based on your individual needs and preferences.
- Cooling technologies – what’s available?
- Cooling and freezing in hot climates
- What size should your cooler be?
- Which energy sources do you want to use?
- Avoid a flat vehicle battery
- Are you concerned about noise from your cooler?
- Will you travel for long or short periods of time?
- Coolers for use away from the vehicle
- Is it possible to cool “passively” without the need for power?
- Do you want to pre-select a target temperature?
- Cold drinks for the driver
- Easy to clean features
- Refrigerate and freeze simultaneously
- Is there a cooler that can heat too?
Ways to keep cool
There are three types of cooling technology: absorption, compressor and thermoelectric cooling.
Each technology has its own advantages that recommend them for certain conditions. The key features of each are:
- Gas-powered cooling allows you to travel off-grid
- Silent operation
- Cooling performance depends on the ambient temperature
- Convenient three-way power options: 12 V DC, 230 V AC and gas operation
- Low purchase cost
- Performs well in inclined position
- Typically heavily dependent on ambient temperature, but the unrivalled cooling power of certain Dometic thermoelectric models break the mold!
- 12/24 V DC, 230 V AC operation possible
- Excellent cooling even in extreme ambient temperatures
- Powerful cooling enables refrigeration and deep-freezing
- Low power consumption
- Performs well in inclined position
- Suitable for solar operation
- Integrated battery protection
- 12/24 V DC, 110 – 230 V AC operation possible
Sizing up your options
Firstly, consider the amount of storage space available in your vehicle. Next, the number of people who will be dependent on the cooler. Also consider, how long you intend to enjoy complete independence from the shops – perhaps you intend to travel to remote areas? Finally, larger coolers require more energy to run – is the added drain on resources worthwhile? We provide sizes to suit all circumstances.
The range of capacities according to cooling technology are:
- Absorption: 31 l – 40 l
- Thermoelectric: 8 l – 33 l
- Compressor: 10.5 l – 95 l
The search for power
The standard energy sources for Dometic portable coolers are:
- Absorption: 12 V, 240 V
- Gas Thermoelectric: 12 V, 24 V, 240 V
- Compressor: 12 V, 24 V, 110 V – 240 V
Absorption coolers stand out for their convenience as they run on AC, DC and when used outside the vehicle, gas power too! Whereas, compressor coolers are ideal for solar power due to their low energy consumption. Solar is a cheap and clean option.
Staying silent and cool
Depending on where your fridge will be placed and how sensitive you are to noise, the operating noise of a fridge may be important. Noise levels depend on the cooling technology used in the cooler:
- Absorption: absolutely silent
- Compressor: occasional, quiet running
- Thermoelectric: continuous fan noise
A cooler for every traveller
While travelling for long periods, you’ll appreciate having a deep-freeze function that extends the life of your food. A compressor cooler can freeze down to –22°C.
For shorter trips of a few days or a week, an absorption cooler will be perfectly suitable. In certain models, you can even store ice cubes inside the refrigerator’s evaporator component. Although not as powerful as compressor units, absorption fridges will cool contents.
A thermoelectric refrigerator keeps items cool, rather than cools them itself. This makes it necessary to pre-cool items before setting off on your trip. It also makes it a less suitable option if you intend to rely on it for more than a day or two.
Several models of Dometic cooler are suitable for taking to the beach or for use at picnics away from the vehicle. For this type of usage, we recommend a lightweight model of cooler which should, ideally, also feature a carry strap and/or sturdy handles for convenient transport.
To maintain cooling performance, wherever you are, an absorption cooler’s ability to run on gas is a significant advantage. All types of portable cooler could rely on a battery for power away from the vehicle. Alternatively, you could adopt the traditional and cheap solution of reusable ice packs.
Finally, there are the non-powered, passive coolers which are specifically designed for cooling “off-grid”.