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What Is the Best Electric Cooler for Your Car?

A man takes fruits out of a BougeRV 12V electric car cooler while camping with his car

Traveling by car, especially on long trips or during a hot summer day, often comes with the need to keep food and drinks cool. Whether you're going on a family road trip, heading to a picnic, or just want the convenience of having cold refreshments on hand, an electric cooler may be just what you need. So, are electric car coolers worth the investment? What’s the best car electric cooler? Let's take a closer look.

Are Electric Car Coolers Worth It?

Electric car coolers offer a convenient and efficient way to keep food and drinks cold while on the road, making them a worthy investment for frequent travelers and outdoor enthusiasts. 

Unlike traditional ice chests, electric coolers don't need ice, which saves space and eliminates the mess from melting. They can be plugged directly into your car’s 12V outlet (cigarette lighter), maintaining a consistent temperature and ensuring your items stay chilled or even frozen, depending on the model. Electric coolers don’t use tons of electricity, so they won’t quickly drain your car battery. Moreover, some models can run on portable power stations and solar panels, saving even more energy.

Many high-end electric coolers feature digital temperature control and low-battery protection, enhancing their usability. While the upfront cost may be higher than that of a standard cooler, the long-term savings from not purchasing ice, combined with the convenience factor, often justify the expense. 

With a cooler in your car, you can buy groceries or bring homemade meals and beverages, avoiding overpriced stops at convenience stores or restaurants. By keeping perishable foods at safe temperatures, you reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses on your journeys. If you're hitting the road for long trips or just want hassle-free cooling without dealing with ice, getting an electric cooler for your car can really make your travels way better.

Best BougeRV’s Electric Coolers for Your Car

At BougeRV, we offer the best small 12V electric coolers for cars, including the BougeRV CR & CR PRO electric coolers, BougeRV CR22 Colorful Electric Coolers, BougeRV E Series electric coolers, BougeRV ASPEN & ASPEN PRO electric coolers, and BougeRV Dual Zone Series electric coolers. Our compact and portable coolers range from 21 to 53 quarts, making them perfect for compact cars, trucks, 18-wheelers, RVs, SUVs, and overlanding vehicles. All models are designed with an ECO mode to prevent draining your car's battery. Additionally, they can also run on BougeRV's solar panels and portable power stations. Let's take a look at them.

1. BougeRV CR & CR PRO: Best 12V Small Electric Cooler for Cars

BougeRV CR & CR PRO Best 12V Small Electric Cooler for Cars

  • Cost: $199.99-$299.99
  • Size: 21 quarts, 23 quarts, 26 quarts, 30 quarts
  • Wattage: 36W-60W

The BougeRV CR and CR PRO small electric coolers for your car come with an awesome compressor that nails both cooling and freezing. They've got energy-saving ECO mode, super straightforward temperature settings, and tough build quality to take on the road and wild outdoor camping. Plus, they plug right into 12/24V DC outlets in your ride, no sweat. Whether you need 21 quarts. 23, 26, or 30, these coolers have got your back, keeping snacks crisp and beverages ice-cold all through your camping trip.

2. BougeRV CR22 Colorful Edition: Best Mini Colorful 12V Electric Cooler for Cars

BougeRV CR22 Colorful Edition Best Mini Colorful 12V Electric Cooler for Cars

  • Cost: $199.99-$239.99
  • Size: 23 quarts
  • Wattage: 36W-60W
  • Color: Black, White, Pink, Green, Purple

The BougeRV CR22 Colorful Edition spruces up your road trips and camping getaways. They stand out from the usual gear, making it super easy to find when you're itching for a cold drink. Plus, it's a cool way to flash a bit of your style with that splash of color.

3. BougeRV E Series: Best 12V Electric Coolers for Trucks 

BougeRV E Series electric coolers—Best 12V Electric Coolers for Trucks

  • Cost: $289.99-$329.99
  • Size: 42 quarts, 53 quarts
  • Wattage: 45W ECO Mode, 60W Max Mode

The BougeRV E Series 12V electric coolers come in both 42-quart and 53-quart sizes, perfect for storing meals during those long hauls, especially in an 18-wheeler. They have a heavy-duty build to handle the bumps and vibrations of the road. 

With a reliable compressor, these coolers will keep your food and drinks cold, no matter what. They can cool down from 77℉ to 32℉ in just 16 minutes and can drop to -4℉ within 50 minutes.

The clear LED display and smart touch buttons make temperature control and monitoring a breeze. Plus, with the ability to switch between cooling and freezing modes, you’re all set for either a chilled beverage or a frozen snack whenever you like. These coolers can be powered using 12/24 V DC, making them versatile enough to be used in SUVs, trucks, RVs, campers, Jeeps, vans, boats, etc.

4. BougeRV ASPEN & ASPEN PRO: Best 12V Electric Cooler for RVs 

BougeRV’s ASPEN electric cooler—the best electric cooler for RV

  • Cost: $429.99-$569.99
  • Size: 34 quarts, 43 quarts, 53 quarts
  • Wattage: 60W

The BougeRV Aspen electric cooler is a total game-changer, being the first of its kind to rock that cool IceDrive™ System. It has an awesome dual-zone setup so you can freeze your treats to perfection on one side while keeping your eats nice and fresh on the other. If you're the type who loves RV adventures, camping out, hitting the open road, or just enjoying a laid-back picnic, then the Aspen fridge is pretty much your new best friend for all those good times.

5. BougeRV Dual Zone Series: Best Dual-Zone 12V Electric Cooler for Cars

BougeRV’s dual zone fridge

  • Cost: $399.99-$569.99
  • Size: 34 quarts, 43 quarts, 53 quarts
  • Wattage: 60W

With BougeRV's nifty dual-zone electric coolers for your car, you've got the ultimate setup. You can keep drinks cold on one side and freeze food on the other, all at the same time. It's perfect for long road trips and outdoor adventures. These dual-zone car electric coolers are a total win for anyone who loves to travel. If you're looking to manage your food efficiently while on the move, it doesn't get much better than this!

*All BougeRV’s car electric coolers prices are as of the time of writing, for the latest prices please see our website

BougeRV is dedicated to enhancing your travel experience by providing superior electric coolers, solar panels, portable refrigerators, power stations, and a range of related accessories. Our products are designed for those who love the freedom of going off-grid, offering long-lasting power solutions that cater to all your energy needs. Whether you're facing an emergency at home or planning a remote adventure, BougeRV's offerings ensure that your lights stay on and your journey remains uninterrupted.

Customers rave about the reliability of BougeRV's 12V electric coolers, their energy efficiency, user-friendly design, portability, durability, and their perfect fit in various vehicle types. Designed to perform optimally in both temperate and harsh conditions, these coolers maintain a consistent chill, keeping your provisions cold throughout your travels.

With BougeRV gear, you can go further, stay out longer, and live better. Regardless of the trip size – from solo escapes to large group outings – we've got your cooling needs covered!

10 Factors to Consider When Buying an Electric Cooler for Your Car

A man cooking and taking food out of the BougeRV’s electric cooler

As we mentioned, when you're planning to hit the road and want the luxury of chilled beverages or fresh food at your fingertips, investing in an electric cooler for your car is a game-changer. But before you buy, consider these 10 essential factors to ensure you select the best electric cooler for your needs.

  • Electric Cooler Types

First, you've got to decide if you want a thermoelectric cooler or a compressor-based electric cooler. Thermoelectric models are ideal for moderate cooling and are typically more affordable. 

On the other hand, if you need stronger cooling power, compressor coolers are the way to go. They cost more, but they can actually freeze your stuff, which is super handy for long trips or when you're out in varying temperatures.

  • Size and Capacity Relative to Your Vehicle

Match the cooler size with your vehicle’s available space. A large cooler might offer more storage, but it's of no use if it doesn’t fit in your car. Likewise, consider the capacity – how much do you need to store, and for how many people? 

If you've got a compact car, go for a smaller electric cooler around 25 to 30 quarts. This size will fit comfortably in the limited space of a small trunk or backseat. It's enough to keep your essentials cool without cramping your style or storage.

For SUVs and trucks, with their roomier trunks and cargo areas, you can generally go for about 50 quarts or larger coolers. These big coolers can hold a substantial amount of food and drinks, perfect for group outings or extended road trips.

If you're hitting the road solo or with a partner, an electric cooler ranging from 15 to 25 quarts will generally suffice. It's compact yet spacious enough to store a weekend's worth of snacks and beverages. If you're traveling with a family or a group, definitely consider a larger size. you'll want to look at coolers that are 50 quarts or larger.

  • Cooling Performance and Temperature Range

The best electric car cooler should cater to your specific temperature needs. Some models maintain a consistent chill, while others can keep items frozen solid. Check the temperature range and how quickly the unit reaches the desired temperature, especially important on hot days.

  • Energy Efficiency and Power Consumption

If you're going to plug an electric cooler into your car's 12V outlet, energy efficiency is crucial. You'll want to look for models with low power consumption and energy-saving modes to prevent draining your battery. When you’re on the hunt, aim for models that operate at or below 60 watts during active cooling. Ideally, seek out coolers with a power consumption of around 40 to 50 watts that also include features like eco-mode, which further reduces energy use once the desired temperature is reached.

Also, consider units with battery protection systems that cut off power to avoid stranding you with a dead car battery.

  • Durability and Construction Quality

Road trips can be rough on gear. Look for an electric cooler with sturdy construction that can withstand bumps and shakes. Durable materials, quality hinges, and secure lids are must-haves. A robust cooler might cost more upfront, but it’ll save you money in repairs or replacements down the line.

  • Portability and Ease of Use

If you'll move the cooler a lot, prioritize portability. Features like durable handles, smooth-rolling wheels, and lightweight design contribute to ease of transport. Plus, you'll want user-friendly controls and easy-to-clean surfaces without a fuss. Keep an eye out for coolers with intuitive digital thermostats, clear LED displays, touch buttons, or even smartphone app connectivity for effortless temperature adjustments and monitoring.

  • Additional Features

Modern electric coolers come equipped with a variety of additional features, such as USB ports to charge your gadgets, LED lights to help you find your snacks in the dark, eco-modes to save energy, and even compatibility with portable power stations. Determine which features align with your needs for enhanced convenience.

  • Length and Type of Your Trips

The type of cooler you need really depends on how you travel. If you're all about day trips, a basic model should do the trick. But if you're hitting the road for longer hauls, you’ll ’want those higher-end features—think fast cooling, a big capacity of over 50 quarts, and tough construction that can handle a bit of adventure.

  • Budget and Price

Set a budget before you start shopping, but be ready to put down a little extra cash for quality. Remember, the cheapest option doesn't always give you the best bang for your buck in the long run. So try to find that sweet spot between cost, features, and performance that you really need.

  • Warranty and Customer Support

A good warranty reflects a manufacturer’s confidence in their product. Seek out brands that provide substantial warranties and responsive customer support. Knowing help is available can offer peace of mind when you're miles from home.

Final Thoughts

Man car camping on the beach using BougeRV’s 12V electric cooler

In summary, if you're always on the move and want hassle-free cold snacks and drinks, BougeRV electric coolers for cars are the way to go. They come in plenty of sizes with cool features that keep everything fresh. 

Plus, take the time to research and weigh each factor, and you will find the best electric cooler that will serve you well on the open road. Check out, grab one, and make your road trips chill in every way!

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What Is the Best Electric Cooler for Your Car?