5 Electric Coolers That Might Come In Handy On Your Next Camping Trip

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There's plenty to look forward to when planning your summer, but not without some limits. For instance, if using a traditional ice cooler to store any food or drinks, it's important to keep an eye on the ice as it will eventually melt. This may not be a big deal if going to a nearby park or beach, but if you're out for an extended camping trip, you'll need a more substantial storage solution. 

Perhaps the best way to ensure your items stay fresh for any duration is through the use of an electric cooler. As its name implies, these coolers are powered through a charging cable that can be connected to the outlet in your car or a nearby wall, similar to your refrigerator, eliminating the need to stuff your cooler with bags of cold, messy ice. You have two choices of electric cooler to choose from, with either compressor or thermoelectric coolers. Compressor coolers can reach freezing temperatures. Thermoelectric coolers, while still able to keep your food cool, never reach below zero and even have the ability to keep your items warm if desired. There are even smart cooler options that are pushing the level of control you have. 

Whichever choice you go with depends on your needs and what you'll be bringing along. No matter the pick, it will prove to be among the most essential camping gadgets you can get to keep cool. We'll be looking at a mix of some of the best electric coolers on the market today, based on several factors such as their cost, customer reviews, and more. More about our selection process is detailed at the end of this article. 

Alpicool CF45 Electric Cooler/Freezer

A quality compressor cooler is among the most effective ways to keep your items cool while on a camping trip. But that power comes at a high price, as it's not uncommon to see these appliances go for well over $500. But while the Alpicool CF45 certainly stands as one of the more expensive options on this respective list, it's an undeniably more economical option for many that still stands toe-to-toe to its more pricey competitors.

The Alpicool CF45 certainly doesn't skimp on interior space. With a capacity of 48 quarts, it's capable of containing nearly 50 cans of soda, making it perfect for large hauls of food. Although some users have noted that it does not reach its advertised lowest temperature of -4 degrees Fahrenheit, the cooler nevertheless succeeds at keeping your contents sufficiently frozen. Many reviews have commended its ability to maintain its internal temperature on extremely long road trips. It comes with additional power options, including an energy-saving Eco mode, and can even be paired with a small solar system. 

While an overall solid option, the Alpicool C45 lacks the advanced temperature control features of some more expensive models. Some have also expressed issues with the manner in which the handles protrude and, when combined to the cooler's large size, creates difficulty when fitting it in some cars. Still, it makes for a dependable option that will last you a long time while camping. You can currently find it on Amazon for $269.99. 

BougeRV 23-Quart Electric Cooler/Freezer

As great as compressor coolers can be, they are often, as is the case for the Alpicool CF45, very large in size and generally bulky. The good news is that there are more compact options out there. Among these is the BougeRV 23-Quart Electric Cooler/Freezer, an appliance that strikes an ideal balance of efficiency and power.

The BougeRV can reach desired temperatures within a relatively short time frame, going from 77 degrees Fahrenheit to -5 degrees Fahrenheit in under an hour. However, what truly stands out about its performance is how long it can maintain these temperatures. Customers embarking on everything from 2000+ mile cross-country road trips to sailing expeditions have praised its ability to not lose its cool during these extended periods. This is thanks in large part to the BougeRV's efficient power usage, exerting less than 1 kilowatt an hour per day on MAX mode. If needed, users can place it on an ECO energy saving mode or adjust its battery voltage settings to shut down the appliance if needed. 

At 23-quarts, the BougeRV Electric Cooler may not be the most spacious option out there, but it's nevertheless suitable for most camper's needs. Despite its size, it's extremely durable with a shock-proof design made to keep your food safe no matter the conditions, which is sure to be ideal for campers driving off-road. Best of all, it's significantly cheaper than most other compressor coolers at only $169.99 on Amazon.

Costway 54

Another cool compressor with some impressive capabilities, the Costway 54 is a capable appliance. It comes with much of the same size and energy perks you'll find in the best cool compressors, while also adding in some unique surprises that add to its versatility. 

The 53-quart cooler is spacious enough to hold a wide variety of items, but is more portable than other similarly-sized models thanks to its slimmer design and the implementation of two wheels that allow it to roll. The Costway 54 also excels at keeping your items frozen, with a test by Outdoor Gear Lab showing it getting to nearly -9 degree Fahrenheit, which is far below its advertised the lowest temperature of -4 degree Fahrenheit. But if you're only looking to keep some items cool, then the Costway is equipped with a refrigeration section that can be separated and adjusted accordingly from your frozen items. It's another cooler equipped with a low energy consumption mode and three-level battery monitor. 

Some complaints have been made of the loudness of the fan, as well as its compatibility with the accompanying app that aids in controlling its temperature. It still contains largely positive reviews, with a 4.2 out of five-star rating average on Amazon. On the site, you can currently buy it for $259.99. 

Wagan 6-Quart Personal Thermoelectric Cooler

Whether meeting up with friends for a picnic or traveling across the state to reach a vacation spot, a leading reason for wanting an electric cooler is for their portability. The Wagan 6-Quart Personal Thermoelectric Cooler is no exception when it comes to this function, while sporting extra versatility for those who need to be more conservative with their space. 

The Wagan's compact design is one of its major upsides. Whereas some more bulky coolers demand a good amount of real estate within your trunk or backseat, the Wagon Thermoelectric Cooler is sleek enough to comfortably fit in between car seats or even on a center console if needed. For those with smaller vehicles that fill up easily, this is an ideal option. Additionally, it comes equipped with a convenient carrying strap for additional portability. 

There are some limitations to keep in mind here. Its overall tight build means a significant sacrifice in interior space, with the ability to only carry a handful of bottles or cans at a time, although it does also sport two exterior cupholders. Similarly, its absence of a digital temperature gauge means you won't be able to tell the exact interior temperature unless you get a gauge of your own. Nevertheless, for those with simpler camping needs or who want to save on space, the Wagan 6-Quart Personal Thermoelectric Cooler is a great economical choice, costing as little as $78.84 on Amazon.

Igloo Versatemp 28-Quart Portable Electric Cooler

Even if you're not an expert on ice coolers, you're more than likely familiar with Igloo's product line. These simple yet durable ice coolers are instantly recognizable by their company's bold logo, which you're bound to see across every beach you visit this summer. With electric coolers readily gaining in popularity, it should come as not surprise that Igloo would throw its hat in the ring with the Igloo Versatemp 28 Qt Portable Electric Cooler

This doesn't have the same bells and whistles that you'll find in more advanced models. It has no freezer function, accompanying app, or fancy compartments that make it stand out in any outstanding way. But what it does, it does very well. This thermoelectric type cooler can range in temperature from 36 to 136 degrees Fahrenheit depending on your needs. While it won't freeze anything you put inside of it, it can keep them cool for a long time thanks to its Cool Riser Technology, with many positive reviews pointing towards its durability across long distances.

While Igloo certainly has some controversially expensive options to check out if you're interested, the Igloo Versatemp remains one of the most affordable coolers you can get today, currently going for $149.99 on Amazon. It may not be the best for every specific scenario, but if seeking something durable and dependable, it's hard to go wrong with Igloo.

How we chose these coolers

Given the high price of electric ice coolers compared to their traditional ice-filled counterparts, getting one could be considered more of an investment that will hopefully last for a while. So in choosing the coolers that went on this list, we wanted to ensure that each one had something that made it worthwhile. Whether it be enhanced endurance, powerful freezing capabilities, or a spacious design, we sought out an array of these heavy-duty appliances to help suit the wide range of needs out there. 

Similar consideration was put on price. While this wasn't a budget-specific list, we didn't want to place any coolers on here that were over $500 as there were plenty of quality options available that are well below that price point. Even within these barriers, however, we looked to implement a good variety of prices ranging from under $80 to nearly $260 to account for whatever budget our readers might have. Finally, we ensured each pick, no matter its price, received largely positive reviews from users. We consulted various Amazon reviews, with no item on this list scoring below a 4.1 review average on the site, as well as trusted industry platforms that have ranked and reviewed these items such as Car and Drive, GearLab, and Food & Wine.