Compressor Coolers in Comparison 2023
Which are the Best Coolers?
The advantages and disadvantages of each cooler varies and depends really on what they are used for. Here, we briefly explore the different cooler types and give recommendations for choosing the right cool box to suit your needs.
The Most Important Models at a Glance:
1 Compressor Cool Boxes
Compressor coolers are connected to your 12 or 24 V on-board power supply. Many models can also be used with 230-volt shore power. In an evaporator, the refrigerant turns from a liquid into a gas. By extracting surrounding heat, it cools the area around it. The compressor circulates the refrigerant back into the evaporator and the refrigeration cycle starts again.
- Thumbs up: made with the latest technology and are very efficient in terms of energy consumption and cooling capacity. Work well, regardless of outside temperature.
- Thumbs down: Need to be powered by electricity. The compressor tends to be noisy. Weight and price are considerably higher than absorption coolers.
2 Passive Coolers
Passive coolers work without power and keep contents cold for short periods. Thick, insulating walls keep the cold in and warmth out. They're perfect for taking with you on your dinghy or when fishing.
- Thumbs up: No power supply necessary.
- Thumbs down: Keep food chilled for a short period of time only.
3 Thermo-Electric Cool Boxes
Thermo-electric coolers are also known as Peltier coolers. These coolers use a voltage to create a temperature difference, which results in cooling. The warm air is fed outside via a Peltier element in the cool box.
- Thumbs up: Extremely light and quiet. Can be operated in an upright position or lying on the side. Good price for relatively large cooling volume.
- Thumbs down: Require a lot of electricity in relation to their size and cooling capacity. Cooling capacity greatly depends on the outside temperature. Can only cool down to max. 30° C below ambient temperature. Considerably heats up the air temperature in small rooms. Freezing not possible.
4 Absorption Coolers
Absorption cool boxes are electrically operated and use a gas as a coolant. A mixture of water and ammonia is heated. The ammonia evaporates and absorbs heat as it cools, lowering the temperature inside the cooler. The absorber converts the refrigerant from a gas back into a liquid, which allows the cycle to repeat.
- Thumbs up: Can be operated with gas and also electricity, making them very popular with anyone who does not have their own self-sufficient source of power. Cheaper than compressor boxes. Maintenance-free and virtually noiseless in operation.
- Thumbs down: Consume a lot of electricity or gas. Maximum 25 to 30 degrees below ambient temperature possible. Cooling capacity varies greatly due to external conditions and is not reliable.
Our Comparison Test
In our cooler comparison, we took a closer look at we took a closer look at various compressor coolers from different manufacturers. Compressor coolers have several advantages over passive absorption or thermoelectric coolers, and manufacturers such as Dometic, Mobicool or Engel each offer compressor coolers with various strengths.
Our comparison test will help you find the best cooler to suit your personal needs:
How Does a Compressor Cooler Work?
Compressor coolers are made with the latest technology and are very efficient in terms of energy consumption and cooling capacity. They work virtually independently of the outside temperature, which makes them particularly popular as coolers for campers and boat owners. However, compressor coolers can only be operated with electricity, are not very quiet and are significantly higher in weight and price than, for example, an absorption cooler.
Compressor coolers are connected to your 12 or 24 V on-board power supply. Many models can also be used with 230-volt shore power.
Which Cooler is Best for my Boat?
Whether you choose a fixed on-board fridge or a mobile cooler depends on the size of your boat and space. Today's compressor coolers offer virtually the same cooling comfort as an on-board fridge. They are easy to connect and have high cooling power. So, if you don't have that much space on board, a compressor cooler is a good choice. It can also be used in the car or camper van, provided you have a power supply (12V).