Solar Powered Coolers: Which Is Best?
Updated July 10, 2023
Solar-Powered Coolers have revolutionized what it means to live and thrive off of the grid sustainably. By using the power of the sun to keep your food cold, you can go for longer periods without having to resupply any ice or perishable items.
Here, we look at the three best solar-powered coolers available right now, discuss the pros and cons of each model, and provide the answers to some frequently asked questions. We hope this guide makes it easy for you to choose the right solar-powered cooler for your needs!
Overall, the LionCooler from ACOPower is the ultimate choice for anyone looking for a solar-powered cooler. The brand offers many portable models in varying sizes and prices, perfect to match any solar setup or budget.
- Extremely Portable - LionCoolers are built to be moved around. The luggage-style handle paired with the durable multi-terrain 6-inch wheels makes ACOPower’s solar cooler the best option for mobility. This device is perfect for bringing out to the campfire across a rugged surface or simply rolling out onto the deck for your next cookout.
- Battery & Charging - You can charge the LionCooler in three different ways: solar panels, standard AC wall outlets, or a DC car port (cigarette lighter). The battery fully charges in about 4 to 5 hours, so if you are going camping. The options are limitless.
You can charge the cooler at home the night before you leave, in your car on the way to the campsite, or with the sun while you enjoy the great outdoors. The battery is also easily replaceable, so you can bring along as many batteries as you need to maximize your cooler's lifespan.
- Performance - ACOPower’s solar-powered coolers are high-performing. With a full charge, the LionCooler can power between 10 and 15 hours of 0℃/32℉ cooling.
You can control the temperature settings, setting it as low as -4℉ via the built-in LCD screen or remotely with the free Bluetooth App for Android or iOS. The LionCooler works as a solar-powered cooler and freezer as the unit can cool to 10℉ in as little as 40 minutes.
- 17 Quart
- 32 Quart
- 42 Quart
- 52 Quart
ARB Solar-Powered Coolers
ARB is a well-known and highly rated producer of solar-powered coolers. Although they are not portable, ARB coolers may be the best choice if you want a permanent solar-powered cooler setup.
- Size & Capacity - ARB’s solar-powered coolers are spacious and well-designed, making them perfect for storing large amounts of food. The brand’s largest model has a capacity of 82 quarts, which is large enough to hold a significant amount of groceries or 120 12-ounce cans, depending on how you are planning to spend your weekend.
- Performance - ARB coolers come with built-in Danfoss compressors that are powerful enough to maintain temperatures below freezing even during the warmest summer days. The smart system actively detects the interior temperature and rapidly cools down the contents if it gets too warm. These features combined with its weight and size make the ARB cooler perfect for sitting in your truck bed during a tailgate.
- Bonus Features - ARB coolers come with a few thoughtful features to help you maintain your unit. In addition to the standard LCD screen for temperature control and monitoring, there is a separate compartment for dairy items or fruit, a built-in cable storage system, and a drain plug for cleaning. Although you won't need ice to keep your food cold, having the drain plug is useful when cleaning the product’s interior.
The Dometic CFX
Lastly, we recommend an electric cooler that is both portable and capable of keeping many items cool for an extended period: The Dometic CFX..
- Built to Last - Both models of the Dometic CFX come with heavy-duty foldable carrying handles that ensure long-lasting portability. The lid is completely detachable and connected with a stainless steel hinge. The display and interior lights are also powered by LED to extend the life of the battery.
- Awesome Bonuses - Dometic Coolers include 2 USB ports built right into the hardware for phone or tablet charging. It also includes an AC wall cord, DC car power cord, and removable baskets for dividing and organizing your groceries.
- Cooling Capabilities - Dometic coolers come with a built-in turbo rapid cooling system and can save temperature presets even while the unit is turned off. Larger models include two separate interiors that can keep the dual compartments at different temperatures.
Does a Solar-Powered Cooler Work When it is Not Plugged in?
Yes. Although you can plug most solar-powered coolers into solar panels, an AC wall outlet, or a DC car outlet, they do not have to remain plugged in to keep food cold. When the battery is charged, the device continues to monitor and cool the interior. Even after the battery runs out, most high-quality solar-powered coolers are insulated enough to stay cool for even longer.
Can I Use a Solar-Powered Cooler as a Freezer?
Yes. You can program most high-end solar-powered coolers to maintain temperatures far below freezing, even in very hot conditions.
Can I Put Ice in an Electric Cooler?
No. You will not need to stop at the gas station for ice as solar-powered coolers work using electricity. Solar-powered electric coolers can be damaged if the electrical components come in contact with water from ice melt.
If you're in the market for a solar-powered cooler, we hope this guide was helpful to you. We’ve tested just about every solar-powered cooler on the market, so we stand by our recommendations.
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