Keeping your favorite beverages cold on the go has long been a headache for tailgaters, concert-goers, and car campers alike. These days, most vehicles boast more cupholders, power outlets, and computer capability than NASA’s original moon lander. All that tech means they make a great home base — for sleeping, cooking, and entertaining — for your next outing. If you’re looking to keep the party going along the way, even at your next campground, these are the best coolers for your car, truck, or SUV.
Due to the complicated technology and hardware required, the best coolers for your car are also the most expensive. Thermoelectric coolers, on the other hand, aren’t as efficient, but they’re far more affordable. Igloo’s 28-Quart Thermoelectric Cooler is a steal at less than $100. The waterproof interior is large enough for 32 12-ounce cans and can chill them down to 36 degrees F below the ambient air temperature. It’s a solid step-up from ordinary coolers, and the iceless design means you can fit a lot more food and drinks inside. For casual road trips, this is our pick for the best travel cooler for cars.
Aspenora’s Portable 37-Quart Car Cooler is a solid mid-range choice for those looking to upgrade from a Yeti-style cooler or a thermoelectric cooler. This dual-zone, inverter-style car cooler has a wide operating range between -4 and 68 degrees F, split between a large refrigerator compartment and a smaller freezer space. An advanced aluminum core and 1.5 inches of insulation allow the cooler to keep cold for up to 10 hours, even with the power off.
For epic road trips or seriously thirsty travelers, SetPower’s AJ50 offers a whopping 53-quart cold storage capacity. The sturdy design is shake-proof and allows it to be operated on slopes up to 30 degrees, making it an ideal choice for overlanders and hardcore offroading. It’s also whisper-quiet and boasts three levels of battery protection, so you needn’t worry about it killing your vehicle’s power supply.
Ivation’s Electric Car Cooler & Warmer is an excellent option for those on a budget. The 25-liter interior is plenty spacious, even for two-liter soda bottles, yet compact enough for one person to transport when full. While it won’t work as a freezer, the 90-degree operating range is the widest and most versatile on this list. That means it can chill down to 40 degrees F or keep cooked food warm up to 130 degrees.
For solo travelers seeking a compact portable chilling solution, there’s AstroAI’s Mini Fridge. The ultra-portable size measures less than one foot cubed and holds just a single six-pack. But, the thermoelectric design is capable of chilling down to 32 degrees below the surrounding air temperature or warming up to 150 degrees F. It’s also available in a handful of colors, in case you like to color-coordinate your travel gear.
Koolatron’s D25 Hybrid Portable Cooler Bag features a soft-sided design that feels more like a traditional cooler than a powered, go-anywhere refrigerator. The 26-quart capacity is perfect for most day trips, and the dual power options (12V DC or 110V AC) mean it’s versatile enough to charge at home or in your vehicle. Plus, built-in interior and exterior stash pockets make quick work of smaller kitchen essentials like silverware, napkins, bottle openers, and more.
For hardcore food and beverage enthusiasts, Iceco’s JP40 Portable Refrigerator is arguably the best bang-for-your-buck car cooler on the market. It’s pricier than most on this list, but you get what you pay for. The operating range can freeze to -7 degrees F or “simply” chill your favorite hard seltzer to a more modest 50° degrees. The integrated Secop compressor delivers ultra-fast cooling, while the unit can also run in economy mode to minimize electrical use in the event you’re running off of a portable battery.
Dometic has long been the go-to brand for RV campers and hardcore outdoorsmen looking for the best in portable refrigeration. The latest lineup includes the CFX3 45 Powered Cooler, arguably the best electric cooler for cars and the best cooler for car camping. With Bluetooth connectivity and its own mobile app, it’s probably smarter than your fridge at home. It boasts a durable ExoFrame construction and waterproof high-res display that are both built to take a beating. Inside, you’ll find 46 liters of cold storage space that can chill or freeze — your call. The best part: Three-way power means you can run it off your vehicle’s DC outlet, a home AC wall outlet, or solar panels.
If money is no object, check out our roundup of the swankiest, most luxurious coolers for elevating your outdoor drinking game.
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