Best Car Refrigerators

Won’t you love to party with ice-cold beverages or super cool delicious ice-creams while vacationing at far-away landscapes or sunny beaches? Well, you can’t take your home refrigerator with you everywhere; however, a car refrigerator perfectly does the trick. 

The trend of installing a car refrigerator in the car is catching up rapidly. Whether you are a frequent traveller or love travelling long-distance, a car refrigerator allows you to enjoy your cold drinks anytime.

Apart from quenching your thirst with cold water during long drives in summer, a car refrigerator also helps keep your food consumable for longer periods.

In this article you will read about the working of car refrigerators, advantages, seasonal fridges, how to install, buying guides, frequently asked questions, and the top 6 best picks of portable car refrigerators in the market.

Top 9 Car Refrigerator in India

Product (Best Brands)Average User RatingPrice RangeBest Price
Durable
4.1.3/5
Check-Price
Durable
3.9/5
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Durable
3.3/5
Check-Price
Our Pick
4.3/5
Check-Price
Large compartment
4.2/5
Check-Price
Huge Space and Portable
3.7/5
Check-Price

How Do Portable Car Refrigerators Work?

A portable car refrigerator is small-sized (portable) and is used to keep drinks, food and other consumables at a low temperature, to avoid them getting warmed up in temperature while in the car.

These devices’ complexity ranges from simple ice chests to more complex thermoelectric refrigerators and those powered by compressors. These are three types of fridges, which will be discussed in detail.

The working of the car refrigerator depends on what type it is. However, all these three types of refrigerators depend on insulation. The fridge is a closed section which has its sides insulated, thereby reducing the rate at which heat radiates.

When the fridge is closed, the temperature is exposed to a very sluggish movement, with this, consumable products in the refrigerator are kept cool, with the exhaustion of little energy.

Ice chests

In this type of refrigerator, when heat leaks in, it melts the ice. The fridge would remain in its freezing temperature until enough heat leaked in to melt the ice. This can be a very long process, taking hours or even days in some cases.

For the compressor powered refrigerators the same cooling process applied by the conventional household refrigerators and air-conditioners are utilized. It is the most efficient portable refrigerator out there.

Compressor powered refrigerators

This form of refrigerator features a pump called a compressor pump, and its sole purpose is to pump a fluid called the refrigerant into a high-pressure chamber called the condenser.

When the refrigerant is pressurized in it, there is an increase in the temperature. The excess heat leaks out of the compressor into the atmosphere.

When there is a flow of the refrigerant into the low-pressure evaporator, there is a reduction in the refrigerant’s temperature. The evaporator is located inside the refrigerator, and there is a continuous flow of heat into it, this results in the cooling of the fridge.

This circuit results in heat being pumped out of the fridge and into the atmosphere; hence, the contents in the refrigerator is left in its cool condition.

Thermoelectric refrigerators 

This form of refrigerators uses the Peltier effect in the supply of cooling to the contents of the fridge.

There is a differential in the heat when there is the movement of electric current between two different types of conductors. One of the Peltier coolers is heated up, while the other is a relatively lower temperature.

The cooler end is placed in the refrigerator, which therefore cools the contents of the refrigerator. The hot end is then placed outside, harmlessly radiating heat into the air.

Due to the fact, bulky pumping units are absent in this form of the refrigerator; they have a relatively lower weight and more compact than compressor-powered units. However, this system of cooling requires more energy.

Advantages of Car Refrigerators

There has been a recent boom in the number of persons making use of the portable fridge, mainly with urban dwellers and those that travel extensively. Several advantages come with the mini-fridge, other than the contemporary fridge used in the house.

These mini-refrigerators can be used in various places, in which the regular fridge can never be used. These fridges, when used in your car, have a whole lot of benefits to offer you, amongst which are;

  • Convenience: Just like every consumer, satisfaction is one thing the car refrigerator would provide you with. You can move it in your car, place it anywhere, and just enjoy your contents cool and sweet.
  • The 12 volts charger makes it possible for you to make use of it in any car. You can switch it between cars, or even make use of it in your home.
  • Designed to save space: This is no regular refrigerator, and you can make use of it in your car because it is designed to give you more space.
  • You can simply have it in the trunk of your car, and if your car is a big one, you can just have it somewhere close to you, where it would surely not interfere with your sitting convenience.
  • Very handy: You can even carry this refrigerator with you, anywhere. Imagine going on a picnic, and you need to take something cold. This is when your car refrigerator can come handy.
  • It can be taken to the park and disconnected from the car, as it will still retain its coldness. You can also store your lunch, and can also serve as your mini-bar.
  • Refrigerator back-up: In case your main refrigerator breaks down, you don’t have to be left stranded. Your mini-refrigerator can serve as additional storage for drinks, fresh meat, and other frozen food.
  • If you want to defrost your regular refrigerator, you can store some consumables in the car refrigerator.
  • Energy-saving feature: Most of the car refrigerators are designed to save energy. They help store your food without expending excess energy.

Seasonal Fridges

 There are different fridges modified for these seasons. However, there is a change in the reason behind its need.

Summer car refrigerator

It is not difficult installing a refrigerator in your car as there are manuals that can help with that. Getting to add a refrigerator to the car in summer is a cool idea, especially if you are going to be having extended road trips.

In this fridge, you can store several things, ranging from drinks to sandwiches, desserts. With these, you can save yourself the cost of buying as you travel.

Hence, you get to the destination faster. With good food stored in the fridge, your body is well nourished despite being on a trip.

Winter car refrigerator

You can also make use of the car fridge in the time of winter. In this season, the car’s heater would most likely be turned on, while you still want to enjoy cold drinks. This is where the refrigerator comes in handy.

To get the cold drink you want, you don’t need to stop at a shop to do that; you only need to reach into your refrigerator. You can go for winter recreation trips like skiing, sledging, and tobogganing.

Your trip can also involve you visiting family and friends for the holidays. Having a fridge in your car is really a smart move, as it offers you a great deal of convenience, and you get to enjoy your consumables in perfect conditions.

Simple Steps to Installing Your Car Refrigerator Yourself

Here are some steps you can follow to get your car refrigerator fixed in no time;

Positioning and Measuring:

First, you need to decide where you want to place your car fridge. Irrespective of where you are going to place the fridge, you should ensure that there is enough room around the vents, which would allow enough air to circulate.

There should also be two points that would make the fridge stay in place. With this, you can determine the wire length you would need, but the cable should be about 6 mm in diameter, this is to ensure efficiency in the fridge’s performance.

The wires can either be twin-core, which allows earth run to the battery or single core with the ground run at the rear of the car.

Wiring:

First, at the battery, you need to solder an inline fuse holder to the tip of the wire you are holding, fold an appropriate ring terminal to this, then you can apply heat shrink on the joints.

You can always connect this to the battery when you are done, but ensure that the fuse holder is disconnected, until after installation. To ensure that your wires would not be destroyed by sharp objects and chafing, you should check that all your wires are run via a conduit, and secured with cable ties.

Pass the wire to where your fridge would be located, and in, via the grommet in the firewall. Under the carpet, you should kick the panels and interior trim.

Auxiliary Socket:

Next, you need to install your auxiliary socket in a panel near the socket.

A flush mount plug would make the finishing look really nice; however, before drilling a hole, you should ensure sufficient clearances behind the panel for both the plug and the wiring.

You should pull the wirings through the holes that you bored with. Next, apply a spade terminal to both the positive and the earth.

However, if you feel the need to run an earth lead, you can simply select a factory bolt with a solid bare-metal connection, and run the length of black wire the same gauge as your earth from this to your socket.

Installation of Fuse and Test:

When you are done mounting your power socket, you can then install a fuse. A current of about ten amps would be sufficient for the fridge.

Once this is done, you are good to go. It’s time to have a good life.

Buying Guide for Cheap Car Refrigerator

When you want to buy your car refrigerator, there are some essential features you should examine. Here is a quick list;

Total Capacity

If you are going to use an electric cooler in the car, it should fit enough content for use by one person.

Hence, if you are going to get your car refrigerator, you should go for one that would suffice your need. How many persons would need it depends on how large your family is.

Controllable Options

One of the first things you should do when you are getting a car refrigerator is checking out the controls. The controls allow you to switch from cold to hot, and vice versa. This is so that you ensure the ease with which you can control the fridge.

Indoor Use

Don’t just consider its aesthetics, you should also find if it can be used with an indoor 12V Dc adapter. You would enjoy your car refrigerator more if it is one you can always use outside the car.

You should ensure that the one you are getting can serve you both ways.

Cooling Performance

You should not bank on the information written on the manual or any other information provided by the manufacturer.

The information might just be to create a selling point that is not real. Read the customer reviews to get the best choice for yourself.

Space Required

Before you buy your car refrigerator, you should have enough space in the car for the fridge you want to fit in. Measure the space and use it as a guide before buying your fridge. 

Temperature Range

You should pay attention to your car refrigerator’s temperature range and check how cold the fridge can get.

Installation

The ease of installation should also be considered. If the fridge installation is too tedious, you shouldn’t get it, except if you have the technical know-how, or have someone who would help you install it.

The easier to install, the better. This way, you would be able to use it in different conditions and events.

Reliability

You should also check for the material used in making the fridge and if its of sturdy nature, and if it can be destroyed easily by shaking and another movement that might occur.

You don’t want to get a fridge that would break open, or dented after a few days of use.

Warranty

You should always have a warranty on an electrical appliance, and this is no exception.

1. Blackcat Car Fridge 

Blackcat is a car-o-bar refrigerator that comes with a compressor, and it is designed to take power from both AC and DC power sources. It features a large capacity of 15 litres. It is an ice-maker fridge that can provide robust cooling up to -18 degrees celsius.

It is easy to install a refrigerator that provides quick freezing and employs high-efficiency technology. It comes with a vertical space for keeping 2-litre bottles. It also has a sleek screen for displaying digital electronic temperature.

 

Main Features
  • It is an energy-efficient fridge that consumes lesser power than a single headlight lamp
  • It features an intelligent battery protection mechanism that provides safety from over-draining of your car or automobile’s battery
  • It features a digital temperature display, and it maintains the optimal temperature range from +10 degrees to -18 degrees
  • It has a high storage volume of 15 litres
  • It comes with a simple plug-and-play design that enables you to connect the fridge to the car’s cigarette lighter socket for taking either 12V AC power or 24V DC power
  • You can easily set your desired temperature without requiring any installation
  • It measures 32 x 25 x 57 cm in dimensions, and it weighs only 8.75 kilograms
  • It comes with a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty against manufacturing defects
PROS (What we liked)
  • It comes with a low battery sensor that automatically cut-offs the power when battery levels get lower
  • It is a professional and efficient cooling product that is specially engineered for Indian customers
  • It requires minimal maintenance and provides superior cooling
  • It is an automotive refrigerator that is built using high-quality components
  • It is optimized for delivering excellent performance in the Indian environment
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • No negative points were observed so far

2. Black+Decker Car Beverage Cooler & Warmer 

Black & Decker is a thermoelectric cooler and warmer that provides great convenience and comfort for enjoying ice-cold beverages and hot food during long drives or outdoor excursions.

It keeps your food and drinks cooler or warmer for a much longer duration than conventional coolers and ice chests. It is manufactured from high-density plastic material for ensuring rugged usage and enhanced durability.

It is engineered for maintaining an optimum cooling temperature in the range between 15-18 degrees. Moreover, it also provides a hot temperature in the range up to 50-60 degrees. This makes it an ideal cooler and warmer for storing food and beverages.

Main Features
  • It is a compact and portable thermoelectric refrigerator that serves as both cooler and warmer
  • It comes with a 24-litres large tank capacity that allows you to store water bottles, packed foods, coffee cups, and more
  • It features robust construction as it is manufactured with high-density plastic material
  • It is an ergonomically designed cooler that features a shock-proof body for absorbing light impacts
  • It is a portable appliance that comes with a wide handlebar that provides easy carrying without any hassle
  • It can be operated with multiple power sources including 220V AC and 12V DC source
  • It features a Peltier cooling system that includes coloured LED indicating lights. The red light indicates warming, and the green light indicates cooling
  • It has on/off and hot/cold switches that are engineered for easy usage
  • It comes with three zippered pockets that provide added convenience. These pockets comprise plugs and adaptors for connecting to power sources. Moreover, these can be used for storing your essential belongings
  • It provides a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty from the date of purchase
PROS (What we liked)
  • It is a portable refrigerator that is ideal for storing beverages for keeping them cold or warm during long drives or any outdoor excursion
  • It is engineered for providing optimal storage space for keeping all your beverages
  • You can easily carry this refrigerator by using its foldable handle
  • You can also connect this thermoelectric refrigerator to your car cigarette lighter sockets
  • It allows you to enjoy your favourite beverages on-the-go while you are on the road.
  • It is a versatile and compact refrigerator that can be used inside cars, automobiles, hotels, offices, parties, homes, picnics, and more
  •  It gives you immense convenience and the luxury of supping your favourite beverage anytime during your journey
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • The price of the refrigerator is a little bit on the higher side.

3. Tropicool Portable Chiller cum Warmer 

Tropicool PC-05 is a mini thermo-electric chiller cum warmer that employs thermo-electric technology. It is the most efficient chiller in its range that is engineered for cooling the temperature up to 23 degrees celsius below the ambient temperature.

It features a compact design that makes it easy to place in compact spaces like the tabletop of your gym, room, or office. It comes with a convenient handle that makes it easy to carry anywhere while travelling with friends or family, like garden, beach, etc.

Main Features
  • It features 2 in one functionality including chiller & warmer
  • This refrigerator can hold up to 2 bottles of 500ml capacity
  • It provides robust cooling performance up to 20-22 degrees below ambient temperatures
  • It features two modes of operation including a hot & cold switch
  • It comes with a large cooling compartment that provides quicker contact cooling
  • It features 2 power cords that are meant for your car and home usage
  • It features a magnetic locking door that provides effortless opening and closing
  • It is a versatile refrigerator that serves as your perfect bar companion as you can use it for serving chilled beverages at parties
  • It does not feature compressor Peltier cooling, and thus it does not use a compressor or refrigerant for cooling
  • It is a user-friendly chiller cum warmer that requires minimal maintenance
  • You can use it either as a car fridge and a home mini-fridge
  • It takes power from multiple sources including 110-240 volts AC and 12/24 volts DC
  • It comes with a 1-year manufacturer brand warranty
  • The package comprises a partition panel, user manual, DC cord, and AC cord
PROS (What we liked)
  • It is a compact and high-efficiency chiller and warmer that elegantly fits on the tabletop of your room, gym, or office
  • It is a versatile product that can also serve as a bar accessory
  • It features superior matt finishing that looks classy and elegant
  • It comes with an adjustable panel for providing convenient accommodation of food items, cans, bottles, etc
  • It gives you the flexibility to either set to warm or choose to chill
  • It can be used for storing or carrying your baby food, medicines, insulin, fruits, etc
  • It gives you the convenience and flexibility of warming up the food any time while driving or at home
  • You can also keep your cosmetic items in this fridge
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • It cannot be used for making ice
  • It is not effective when the ambient temperature is above 28 degrees

4. Cooluli Mini Fridge 

Cooluli 6 Can AC/Dc Portable Thermoelectric System Mini Fridge
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If you are looking for a portable fridge for your office, home and car, this is your best shot. This fridge has the capacity of holding six cans that are 12 ounces each. One very cool function that you can enjoy with this is the cooling of beverages.

It also comes with a warming section that serves just well. It comes with a USB 2A power bank, which is very convenient and easy to use. 

There is no need for you to buy extra wires. Also, you shouldn’t worry about switching from the cooling function to the warming section.

It features an easy to read display which tells what setting the fridge is on. This fridge is compact and very easy to use, and this is all you need to complement your car.

Main Features
  • It features a button that makes it easy to switch from heating to cooling and vice versa
  • It comes with an AC/DC ad USB adapter
  • It runs on a thermoelectric cooling system
PROS (What we liked)
  • It can offer you a great deal of coldness
  • The fridge is very portable and easy to carry around
  • Perfect for storing skincare products
  • Users have appreciated its efficiency
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • It makes some noise
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5. Yapaspt Car Cooler Bag 

YAPASPT YAPA Electric Car Cooler Bag
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Have you been looking to travel with comfort? This car cooler is designed in the form of a travel bag and can contain many items. This is designed to be comfortable and easy to carry.

It has a large compartment to contain all you would want to place in it. It comes with a plug located at the bottom. The cooler is designed with high tech and is versatile.

Main Features
  • It features a hardliner car cable
  • It is leakproof
  • It is designed to imitate the feel of a travel bag
PROS (What we liked)
  • It is actually larger than it looks in the picture
  • It gets cold easily and for a longer time
  • Has a versatile use
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • It is not easy to locate the wire
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6. Coleman Ice Box 

Coleman 30000001842 Polypropylene Ice Box
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It’s time to get you ready for the party, the Coleman 30 quartz cooler is all you need to get it going. It can also serve you well on the campsite, market, or any other event that would require you to come with cold drinks.

This cooler can house about 38 cans, and it is also tall enough to hold about 2-liter bottles in their upright position. You can always make use of this cooler either if you are going to work or chilling out with friends and family on a picnic.

It features a large grip with which you can easily handle, and carry comfortably.  

Main Features
  • It is made of the outer case and an inner liner material
  • It has a retextured EZ-Clean top for quick and easy washing
  • It comes with a bail handle that allows you to hold it with just one hand
  • It has a hinged lid with two moulded cup holders prevents spills and keep drinks close
PROS (What we liked)
  • Easy to carry with one hand
  • It has a huge capacity of 28 litres
  • When properly closed, the ice cubes can last very long
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • It is prone to be easily damaged
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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I put ice in an electric cooler?

Well, in most cases, no. If it was a conventional mini-fridge, you still can. But once you are making use of a thermoelectric cooler, you shouldn’t. It would surely ruin the fridge.

Since your thermoelectric cooler contains the Peltier plate, you don’t need to worry about the fridge’s cooling as it can sort itself out. You just concentrate on chilling.

If you put ice inside this fridge, and the Peltier plate gets wet, it can easily get damaged.

2. How should I package the content of my car fridge?

You should ensure that the contents you would transport in your fridge are well packaged. You should make sure to use a quality package for items like soup. Make use of quality containers, so that the fridge’s content does not get on the plate.

3. How cold can the car fridge get?

This differs from product to product. This is due to the difference in the refrigeration unit of the fridge. This would mainly depend on the cooler’s ambient condition and the quality of the cooler in question.

When the outside environment is warm, a device for warming function will do better. But when the ambient condition is cold, the colder function will do better.

Also, if the cooler is built with a larger thermoelectric motor, the fridge would rapidly attain very low temperatures. The result, however, depends on the strength of the unit

4. How effective is the warming function?

Some refrigerators are designed to have a button for warming; however, the insulated interior is enough to get the warming done. Since the main function of the refrigerator is to keep things cold, the heating function is not as useful.

This feature is not the main feature, but a technical compulsion resulting from the Peltier plate used. The heating feature takes time to start up, unlike a dedicated heating system.

Conclusion

A car refrigerator proves to be a great car accessory for experiencing an ultimate level of convenience while driving your car. You can drive long-distance travel for a vacation without worrying about cold water, drinks, or ice-creams.

Our top picks for you are the Blackcat Car Fridge, Black+Decker Car Beverage Cooler & Warmer, and Tropicool Portable Chiller cum Warmer

It gives you the flexibility of organizing your food during long-distance travelling. It helps you prepare your food in bulk and keep it fresh in your car fridge for longer durations. This way, you can consume it many times during multiple journey breaks.

It is a small-sized refrigerator that does not occupy much space within your car. It can be easily disconnected from the car and taken with you to a park or a beach. It can also work as your mini-bar.  

Investing in a car refrigerator reaps you rich rewards with luxurious comfort and enhanced convenience.

Preksha
 

Preksha is passionate about writing articles that will inspire readers to make better choices. You will find her eating desserts for lunch, dinner and any time of the day. Also, she is the chief playlist engineer for any road trip.

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