Thermoelectric coolers have serious advantages when compared with traditional iceboxes: unlimited ice retention values, high operational freedom, guaranteed temperature maintenance, and optional warming capabilities. Until quite recently, thermoelectric coolers have been considered cumbersome and too heavy to deal with; however, the appearance of new portable and semi-portable models, such as the Koolatron Voyager cooler, allow us to slough off these obsolete prejudice.
Obviously, versatility comes in league with complexity: modern thermoelectric coolers with intelligent energy-saving circuits and various thermoregulatory sensors are more sophisticated and require special consideration. What features are crucial when it comes to choosing the best cooler? What options are necessary and what features are rather obsolete? Below are several key factors you may need to consider before a final decision.
Key considerations on choosing the best thermoelectric cooler
Is freezing mode necessary?
Well, if you plan nothing more than preserving a couple of sandwiches and sodas cold, a freezing mode is a certain overkill. The best models that feature this mode are quite expensive and may require additional maintenance. However, if you fancy rather extended trips then powerful freezing capabilities are strongly recommended. For a number of occupations, such as a truck driver, a freezing mode is pretty much the most important feature – when on the road you cannot risk your health. The Dometic’s TropiCool iceless cooler seems a reasonable choice in such a situation.
Of course, a freezing mode is remarkable convenient for using your cooler as a stationary backup cooling agent. In this case, you may need iceless models with increased storage capacity in order to optimize the efficiency/cost ratio.
What are the advantages of warming capabilities?
At the cost of slightly increased consumption of power, you may get a handy warmer/cooler with doubled efficiency and obvious multipurposeness. The heating option is great not only when you need to prepare frozen food but also if you plan to serve both warm and cooled dishes. For instance, both Koolatron Voyager and Cooluli models provide enough warming capabilities to deal with such a tricky task. Naturally, this feature is rather redundant in extra-small iceless chests and intended for average-volume coolers.
How to Deal With Tight Spaces or the Advantages of Compact Coolers
An ideal cooler should contain everything you need, occupying minimum space. While smaller sizes are preferable but hardly essential for stationary coolers, when it comes to portable models ergonomic design is the most important feature, save for performance rate. A cooler of satisfying quality must be not only fit in tight places but also demonstrate necessary durability in order to withstand extended trips. Naturally, you may have your own requirements towards this issue in accordance with your ideas about the spare place you may be ready to sacrifice to fit a cooler. However, among the provided above models, Igloo Iceless Coolers provide the highest ergonomic adequacy, so if this issue is of great importance to you, you may start your search with these coolers.
Efficiency determines what amount of time it takes to reach the desired temperature. It is reported that the best results are shown by thermoelectric coolers with USB-compatible chargers. Since both warming and cooling features depend on the quality of thermal insulation and cooling elements, the coolers featuring warming modes also demonstrate top results. You may not experience troubles with low-rate coolers until you start loading them until you reach their maximum capacity – this when the effects of slower cooling show themselves. Hence, highly efficient thermoelectric coolers are preferable even despite their increased cost.
This factor determines how your cooler withstands rapid changes in the ambient temperature without failing to maintain a steady inner temperature. Usually, models with additional insulation have no problem with drastic temperature changes. The best results are demonstrated by premium coolers, which is only natural. This factor is crucial for those who plan long trips.
Volume and Size
When it comes to size and volume, the only correct answer is that the best size is the size you need. Of course, a certain balance between size and volume is preferable, yet a compact cooler that cannot store all necessary food won’t do you any good. Nevertheless, it should be noted that the correlation between the size and the storage capacity is not linear – some coolers have additional inner compartments whereas other models can keep only limited amounts of food despite their great size because of thickened walls.
Thermoelectric coolers are useful and multipurpose tools that may be of use in a countless number of everyday events. Although these models are pretty durable, they also require careful maintenance in order to provide satisfying performance rate. Therefore, when choosing a shiny new cooler, you should keep in mind such forgettable yet utterly important details as wide access, rust-resistant coating, along with additional cords and adapters. All of the provided above coolers are good enough to work long and steady, so you may stop worrying about the overall quality of the product and consider what features are of the most importance to you.